Baby's Sleep Schedule at 12 Months
You have a one-year old—welcome to toddlerhood! As you contemplate smash cakes and impending tantrums, let’s also take a moment to consider your little one’s sleep.
Timing of Naps
Your toddler’s daytime sleep is as important as her nighttime sleep. At this age, we expect two naps of at least one hour each, around 9am and 1pm. (A bit earlier if she’s an early riser). Be sure she’s awake by 3.30pm to protect nighttime sleep.
Dropping to 1 nap
It’s a common misconception that toddlers are ready to drop their naps as early as 12 months. Almost always, your toddler will benefit from two naps for a while longer. Most hang onto the 9am/1pm schedule until 15-18 months.
Around this age, some toddlers “fake us out” by refusing one of their naps for a week or so. Don’t be fooled! Keep offering both naps consistently at the appropriate times and she’ll very likely fall back into the two-nap pattern.
If your daycare only offers one nap per day after 12 months, unfortunately, it is what it is. Short of finding a new childcare solution, your best bet is to offer two naps on days when she’s with you. And on the days where she only has one nap, compensate with an earlier bedtime whenever possible.
We recommend a bedtime between 6-7pm. If your toddler is only taking one nap or taking two shorter naps, then you’ll need to aim closer to 6pm. If they’re taking two awesome, naps then you can aim closer to 7pm. Always watch for tired signs—it’s always better to get your little one into bed versus risk them getting their second wind.
By 12 months, your little one should be able to sleep a 11-12 hour stretch overnight without needing to eat. If you find that she’s waking up (either for food or for comfort), it usually means that a) she was overtired at bedtime (so bump it earlier!) or b) she needs to learn to self-soothe. If moving bedtime earlier doesn’t help, then it may be time to consider sleep training to help her to fall back asleep independently between sleep cycles.