Solving typical sleep problems at 6-12 months, part 3

Author Name: Heidi Holvoet, PhD

Going on one year old your baby's internal clock quiets down a bit. That means more regular days and nights, especially if you manage to relieve discomfort from teething, illnesses and growing-up issues like separation anxiety.

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Baby's body clock

Cute baby girl asleep

Between 6 and 12 months old, you'll find a huge difference in your baby's body clock compared to the first half year. It is much more settled and regular now.

As a direct consequence, most babies now thrive on a regular, timed daily sleep schedule. You may even find that your baby really needs her scheduled naps.

That may mean your own days are less flexible than before - have to get home in time for the nap ... - but it can also bring much-needed peace and quiet, and predictability.

If you don't see that regularity yet, use the simple techniques suggested below to install a good schedule. It is never too late to organize your child's sleeping and feeding times. Or to adapt your existing schedule to fit her changing needs.

1, 2 or 3 regular naps during the day are all good, as long as they help your baby through the day content and and a not-too-late bedtime also have an effect on the nights.

Both the regularity and the fact that she's not over-tired by bedtime, make for more restful sleep. And that means longer nights too.

What to do
  • The best sleep schedules are finely adapted to what your baby needs right now. Don't mind average or your neighbor's baby's sleep schedule. Your baby will only sleep best on a schedule that fits her best.
  • Finding the right schedule starts with observing your baby well. Then select a nap routine that suits her and finally install it well using suited techniques. These are the exact steps we go through in Nap in a Snap (info and downloads here).
  • Once you have the sleep schedule, give your baby ample time to get used to it and to really settle in it. That is when her body clock will tune in completely and sleeping will be all the better.
  • Do stay flexible too. Your baby's needs will evolve, especially once she's past the 1 year mark. Pay attention to her sleepy signs, how she behaves before and after naps, what her tired level is before bedtime at night, ... This will help you re-adjust the schedule when necessary.

Typical sleep disturbers at 6-12 months old

Teething and separation anxiety are the top sleep spoilers now between 6 and 12 months old.

As many as 10 teeth are scheduled to cut through in the second half year ... causing a lot of true pain and overall discomfort for most babies.

Baby with red cheeks from teething photo courtesy by

Flushed cheeks, sore gums and dribbling are all local teething signs, but your baby may be bothered in different ways too: temperature, runny nose, ... and she may simply be unwell, eat less and not be content.

Some babies suffer less visibly and have none of the clear signs of teething. You may not even notice until the tooth actually shows up.

But either way, whether clearly showing the signs or not, sleep will likely be affected. Relieve teething discomfort may be one of your priorities right now, see "What to do" below.

Separation anxiety is an important phase all babies go through in some way. Your baby is now very well able to understand that you leave sometimes but she has not yet built the confidence that you will always be back. That can lead to tears during the day but also during the night ...

A common baby cold or mild illness can always add to the sleep difficulties. Night terrors can also start to play up and even if they're harmless, they can be heartbreaking and scary for you, and disrupt sleep further.

Under 1 year old, sleep apnea in babies still usually occurs as central sleep apnea. It will be important to be aware of the sleep apnea signs so you can seek medical advice when needed.

What to do

Frequently asked questions

Browse these Q&A's for inspiration and advice in your own situation. Or ask your own question for personalized professional help.

10 month old girl keeps me up all night

My 7 month old is screaming a few hours after going to bed

9 month old nurses all night long

My seven months old baby boy wakes up after half an hour sleep

Not sure if the Ferber Method is working for my 10 months old son

My 9 month old still wakes up 5 or more times a night!

My eight month old has a cold and is napping a lot

Recent sleep disturbance (8 month old)