9-12 Month Baby Sleep Guide

sleep guide for older babiesThis is it parenting peeps, the last few legs of the race. Enjoy these last days of being a parent of a BABY because in mere seconds you will be the proud parent of a TODDLER. Your older baby is no longer a screaming mess of short naps and blowout poops. Your baby is NOW a delightful smiling, laughing, ball of cute baby chub and tickle toes. Seriously, there is nothing better than a 9 month old baby. Absolutely nothing.

Things That Are Normal for 9-12 Month Old Babies

  • Bedtime is pleasant and happening at a reasonably consistent time each day somewhere near(ish) to 7:30 PM.
  • Baby is taking 2 consistent long(ish) naps a day.
  • Baby may still need a 3rd nap although this may vary from day to day. It’s generally short, maybe as little as 10-20 minutes. Also the 3rd nap is unlikely to happen in the crib so you may need a stroller walk/baby wearing/car ride to make it happen.
  • Baby is enjoying solid food and finger foods – YAY!
  • Baby is sleeping ~11 hours a night – YAY!
  • Baby is eating 0-1 times at night.
  • Baby is falling asleep on their own at bedtime and naptime.
  • Baby is sleeping where you would like them to sleep (crib or co-sleeping).
  • Baby is done with most sleep aids (swing, swaddle, pacifier) but is still happy with a dark room, loud white noise, and possibly a lovey.

This may not describe your baby which is OK. Baby sleep is not like a race. What matters is that you DO cross the finish line, not WHEN you cross the finish line.

If your older baby is still up all night, taking short crappy naps, and struggles to go to sleep at bedtime, then start reading here:
How to Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night – Part 1
How to Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night – Part 2
How to Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night – Part 3

If your baby is 9-12 months old and sleep is still a misery (20 minute naps, bedtime battles, baby up all night, unwilling co-sleeping, only sleeps on Mom’s boob, etc.) then it may be time to consider sleep training. If you’re curious and want to learn more you can find everything I’ve written about cry it out here.

Further Reading

How and Why to Use and Loose the Paci
Weaning Baby OFF the Swing
When Night Weaning isn’t Working
Bedtime What Time?
Why Your Baby Hates the Crib
What to Do About Short Naps
Are You Keeping Baby Awake Too Long?
Why You Need White Noise
And of course the ever popular – Baby Sleep What is Normal?
{Photo credit: Lisa Stout}

 

119 Comments


  1. Hello!
    I have a question about third naps. My 9 month old (almost 10 month old) keeps moving his nap further and further. He just fell asleep for his third nap at 5:45. It used to happen at 4:30. His bedtime is 7:30. My question is, should he even be taking a third nap now? He gets fussy if not. Should I move his bedtime up for awhile? He wakes up at 6 AM and naps twice in the morning and afternoon. Thanks!

    • Does he have trouble going to bed at 7:30 when he takes the late nap? If so, I would suggest trying to drop the third nap and move bedtime earlier, maybe to 6 or 6:30. That’s what I imagine Dr. Weissbluth would advise, and his book (Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child) has worked wonders for our whole family’s sleep.

  2. Hi, this may seem stupid but am really starting to doubt myself! My 9 month old daughter now only has two naps during the day and neither are any longer than 40 mins. I can’t get her to go back to sleep once awake even if she’s yawning her head off! I’ve tried letting her CIO but she’s been known to keep going for 45mins and then vomitting! She used to sleep well at night (going down at 7pm and up at 6am) but for the last week has been waking around 2/3am and screaming. When we go to comfort her, she calms down but as soon as she is put back in her cot the screaming starts. In desperation, the last couple of nights I have put her in our bed and once calmed down she goes to sleep. I’ve then tried to put her back in her cot but the screaming starts again. She keeps pulling herself up to a standing position and screams her head off. Any suggestions?! I’d love for her to nap longer during the day but my main concern is her night waking.

    • I’m having the same problem where my daughter at first slept great until 5 but that has slowly creeped back 30 min at a time until now she wakes up at 3:30 am screaming her head off and I can’t get her to go back to sleep. Don’t know what to do!

      We do our bedtime routine and she goes down to sleep great and sleeps all through the night but just is waking up so early and is still obviously very tired.

      One thing that could be affecting her is that when she first started waking at 5, i got in the habit of bringing her back to bed and nursing her to sleep so we could go get more rest. But now when I go get her she only cries and settles down if I bring her to bed but she still never goes back to sleep. I think she likes coming back to bed enough that she’s waking earlier and earlier to do it.

      Anyone have any ideas of what I can to to transition her back to sleeping longer at night?

      • Hi Nicole,

        I persevered with the Progressive Waiting method with my little ones naps during the day and after three days her naps were closer to an hour, sometimes even two hours long. Once we got that sorted, we tried it with her early waking. It didn’t work. SO, had read about a method called ‘wake to sleep’. This is where you rouse them (not fully wake them) an hour before they’d usually wake. For our little one that meant moving her to a different position in her cot and covering her. She moaned a little and then drifted back to sleep AND slept through till 6 (now 6am we can cope with!!) The theory is that it interrupts their sleep cycle and they start a new sleep cycle again. It was suggested to do this for three days. We did it for two mornings and then tempted fate by not doing it on the third day. Seems she didn’t need it. We now have a little one who naps pretty well and sleeps from 7pm to 6 – 6:30am!! Don’t know if this will help but…

  3. HI, My baby is about to be 11 months. He is not the best napper – usually 45 min to 1 hour – twice a day. Although fights the 2nd nap like crazy. He used to be great at sleeping through the night, went down awake, sometimes would cry but eventually down after a few min. He recently started waking up at 2am, wide awake and starving. He also went through a bottle strike as well so that could be the reason he is waking up for a bottle in the middle of the night. So I am not really sure what to do, should I let him try to work it out and fall back asleep, should I continue to feed him, even though he hasn’t had any night feedings for the last 4 months. I know developmentally a lot of new things are happening but just wondering how to manage and work through this lovely sleep regression. P.S. We have hit regressions at 4 months, 8 months and now 11 months. We got over the other ones within a few weeks but now that he is so much more aware of what is going on, just looking for some extra tips. Thanks!

  4. Dear Alexis,

    Good afternoon. Ever since my son was born I have been reading your blog. He started out very fussy and was challenging to get on a schedule. We did this sleep lady shuffle method around 4 months old and after that he had great naps and slept pretty well at night- although he always woke for at least one feeding. He was a child who put himself to sleep and things were pretty easy for a while.

    About a month ago things hit the fan. He is all over the place in terms of sleep. Last night, for instance, he cried for two hours- he was inconsolable. Today, he went down well for his first nap, now for his second he is throwing a huge fit.

    He is almost 10 months old and has recently been able to stand up in his crib. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated. My husband and I are at our wits end. We feel like if we let him cry it out at night he will literally cry for hours and hours.

    Thank you so much,

    Carlyn

  5. My daughter is 10 months old and she pretty much wakes up twice a night for a bottle.She goes to bed around 7:30-8pm and she gets a 6 once rice bottle also every night, can someone please tell why she doing this.

  6. I honestly don’t know what to do anymore. My 9month old only sometimes takes long naps during the day. She is in a daycare so I really have no control about her daytime sleeping. Our bedtime routine has been the same since she was 4 months old. Bath/snuggles/bottle then bed. She hasn’t woke up for a night feeding since around 4 months as well. But now for the last month or so she has been waking up in the middle of the nighy ready to play. No amount of rocking or soothing does any good anyway. She just wants to play. If she is up playing I can’t sleep and it is really starting to affect my work. I am open for just about any suggestions at this point!

  7. I’m sure this has been asked and answered somewhere else, but what do you do when your 9-month-old still can’t sleep overnight and the cry it out method didn’t work?? Tried it for 3 weeks with my daughter, she screams for 2-3 hours then falls asleep for 10-15 minutes, then screams for another 2-3 hours, then 15 minutes of sleep, repeat all night. Shouldn’t it have worked, or at least helped, by now?? She has no health issues or food allergies, she’s well established on solids and is generally a happy kid. She just doesn’t sleep at night, even before we tried the crying method she was up 3-5 Times a night for no explainable reason. Since she was born we’ve been able to lay her down when she’s awake and she falls asleep on her own, but then she’s awake a lot all night. She sleeps well during her naps. Am I missing something here??

  8. This has been a lifesaver, we did sleep training with our 9 month old and now she is on a daily schedule. Before she was waking every 30 minutes all night long, would only sleep if held, and didn’t want naps. We never thought we could have easy naps and her sleeping 11 hours a night!! We are all so much happier and healthier. She is doing all of the healthy habits you listed here, so for anyone who feels hopeless, stick with it! Your whole family will benefit greatly. .

  9. Oh my, my baby doesn’t do any of those things at nine months. I feel like crying.

    • Hey Mika,

      You go ahead and have a little cry if it helps. Sometimes crying helps me, you know, get it out.

      Once that’s done, figure out what steps you could take to make things even a tiny bit better. Almost always this means changing what happens at bedtime. Change is hard and often a bit scary but you would be surprised at how quickly things can change for the better.

      You can totally do this, trust me!
      Alexis

  10. Is this for real? Baby doesn’t have a pacifier, goes to sleep on his own and sleeps eleven hours. Keep dreaming moms!

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