SEE ALSO OUR EXPERTS SECTION FOR OUR SLEEP EXPERTS
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
If your baby is older than 12 months and still not sleeping
through the night, now is the time to tackle this!
Toddler sleep problems are usually due to one or more of the
- Your toddler doesn't know how to self settle.
- Your toddler has a sleep association, such as being fed to
- Your toddler's routine needs work
including naps & bedtime routine
- Your toddler is waking from the cold or movement.
Research shows that more than 50% of babies who have difficulty
settling or have continued night waking continue to have sleep
problems as preschoolers and beyond.
So the timing is excellent, as the sooner you get
your toddler into a good bedtime routine, address why
your toddler is waking and build positive sleep
associations, the better your child will sleep now and in the
Ensure your toddler can fall asleep by herself, in
her cot, for both day sleeps and bedtime. This way you ensure
the conditions will be the same when she wakes during the
night and she will be able to re-settle herself and not
cry for you.
Solutions to help with this consistency include a baby
sleeping bag, comfort blankie and teaching your baby to
self-settle at 7pm bedtime.
Also ensure that your expectations for your baby's sleep is
realistic, as babies need less sleep as they get older:
- From 12 - 18 months, your toddler needs 13 1/2 - 14 hours
of sleep daily, made up from 1-2 naps (total 2-3 hours) and 11 1/2
- 12 hours at night.
- From 18 months - 2 years, your toddler needs 13-14 hours
of sleep daily, made up from 1-2 naps and 11 1/4 -12 hours at
- From 2 - 2 1/2 years, your toddler needs
13 - 13 1/2 hours of sleep daily, made up from 1 nap
(1-2 hrs) and 11-12 hours at night.
TODDLER SLEEP TIPS:
- Toddlers are quite capable of sleeping through the night
without a feed. If you are still feeding your toddler during the
night, this is likely to be causing the night-waking.
- When your toddler wakes in the night, settle her without a feed
- eg patting, ssshing, has her comfort item or using another
- If your toddler doesn't lie down at bedtime, look at an
attached sleeping bag to prevent standing in the cot. These are
suitable for toddlers up to about 2 ½ years, but should be
introduced by 18 months at the latest.
- Use a warm sleeping bag to keep your toddler warm all night and
avoid the need for blankets which can be kicked off.
- Introduce a baby comfort blanket or special toy to give your
toddler a tool to settle herself.
- Use a nightlight if your toddler is suffering separation
anxiety or doesn't like being alone in the dark.
- If you haven't already, stop feeding or rocking your toddler to
sleep, as this is often the cause of toddler night-waking. Just
start to gradually change how your settle your toddler, such as
stretching out the time between her bedtime feed and bedtime by a
minute or two each night.
- Decide if you will continue with using a dummy. If you do
continue using one, ensure your toddler can put it back in herself,
put several in the cot to make this easier and do not go in during
the night to re-insert it.
- Ensure you continue with a routine for your toddler's day
sleeps. Resistance to day sleeps can usually be solved by adjusting
the time back slightly.
- Use the same bedtime routine every night, allowing at least 45
mins from bath to lights out. Bath, feed, stories, cuddles, bed
works well at this age, and lights out by 7pm.
- If your toddler continues to wake in the night the most common
reason is that she doesn't know how to self settle.
Written by Louise Tanguay from The Sleep Store, solving your
baby's sleep problems