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Entries in 11 month old (3)


Ask Malia: My 11-month-old's sleep went from bad to worse

Our daughter Maeve has been a light/difficult sleeper ever since she was born. She refused to sleep in anything but her bouncer or swing until she was about five months old. Now she's waking up throughout the night, and it's become much worse since our trip last week.

She usually wakes up between 6:45 and 7:15 a.m. If she has a night where she wakes up for long periods of time, she tends to wake up earlier, like at 6 a.m. On a normal day, she will start getting tired 2.5-3 hours after waking up, so usually around 10 a.m. The length of her nap varies, but on average is an hour at daycare and an hour and a half at home. ­­­­Sometimes she doesn't take a morning nap at daycare. Lunch is between noon and 12:30, followed by a bottle and nap. Since she usually naps longer in the a.m. at home, her afternoon nap may not be until 2 or 2:30. We give her another bottle at 7:15-7:30. She usually falls asleep taking this one (and actually most other bottles). So on average, she is asleep by 7:45. She usually wakes up during the 11 p.m. hour. If we just leave her without intervening, she can be awake for an hour plus. She also tends to wake up anywhere from 3-5 a.m. wanting the same thing. A lot of times I give her a bottle at this waking and then she'll go back to sleep. She is almost a year old, so I would assume that she really doesn't need this bottle.

Last week when we were in the hotel, the night waking and refusing to go back to sleep were the worst they ever been. When we got home on Friday, she did better that night and Saturday, but Sunday was bad again. I’d like to help her start sleeping more comfortably through the night and start to wean her off the bottle. Can you help?


Hi there. First, don’t beat yourself up about the poor sleep on your trip. I think the long wakings at the hotel may have been the result of sleep routine disruption and a new sleep environment, and not reflective of her sleep routine at home (even "good sleepers" have problems sleeping in hotels!). So I would consider her sleep on that trip something of a fluke and focus on your routine at home.

From the routine that you describe, I believe she is overtired. Here are a few reasons why I believe this: At 11 months, most babies need two naps (one morning one afternoon). You said that she is normally tired and ready for a nap within 2.5 or 3 hours of waking, yet she is going 3.5 hours between her a.m. nap and her p.m. nap, and sometimes skipping her a.m. nap altogether. She is also going a long stretch between her p.m. nap and bedtime.

The fact that she also wakes even earlier after a poor night is another clue that she is overtired
. (The adrenaline resulting from overtiredness encourages babies to wake up even earlier that normal, even though they need more sleep).

Since she may be nearing the age where she will drop her a.m. nap and move to one nap (15 months is average for this, but some babies start the transition to one nap before their first birthday), I recommend keeping a close eye on whether she's napping at daycare. If she does not take a morning nap at daycare, she needs to be down for her afternoon nap right around lunchtime, 12 or 12:30 at the latest

On days that she does take a morning nap from 10-11, move her afternoon nap up to 2 p.m. at the latest. Ensure that she is awake by 3:30 p.m. Then begin her bedtime routine by 6:30 or so with the goal of having her asleep by 7 or earlier.

(Of course these are suggestions for timing. You can start with this routine and tweak things as you figure out what's working for you.)

Once you have her routine a bit more solid and her night sleep improves, perhaps in two-three weeks, I suggest helping to break her bottle-to-sleep association with the method I describe in Ready, Set, Sleep; i.e. moving the bottle earlier in the sleep routine and replacing it with another sleep association that can help her get to sleep instead, like music or a special toy.

It's fairly common for babies to have one night feeding at 3-5 a.m. at her age, and the early-morning feeding is the last to go. Once she breaks the bottle-to-sleep association I expect that night feeding will fade away soon enough.

I’m a nationally published sleep expert, health journalist, and mom. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 80 national and regional magazines and on television. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!


Ask Malia: Son Sleeps at Night, Hates Naps

Dear Malia,

I'm hoping you can help me. My almost 11-month-old has never, ever been a good sleeper. What worked for my much older son at night (co-sleeping, nursing on demand) has not worked for him. We did various sleep training methods before finally doing cry-it-out, which mostly worked. After three months, he is now sleeping from 8 p.m. to 6 or 7 a.m., with a short wake up around 1 a.m., which he puts himself back to sleep after only a minute or so. This has been going on for about a week, so I hope it sticks.

The issue we're STILL having is naps (never been a great napper either). He was taking really good naps: two naps for 60-90 minutes each, for about six weeks. And now, he is taking two naps for less than 40 minutes, usually more like 25-30 minutes.

I consistently put him down at the same time, by nursing him to sleep in a dark room, with a humidifier going. We read books to settle down and I always make sure he's comfy and fed.

A friend of mine has a close colleague (she's a psychologist) who is an adolescent sleep expert and she said it's one of three things: an allergy that is upsetting his tummy, he needs me nearby to sleep, and/or overtired. It's not the first two, I am certain, and I like to think that he isn't overtired when I put him down... he's up at 7 a.m., down by 9:30 a.m., and his second nap is at 1 p.m.

Is there something I am missing!? He seems miserable from lack of sleep and wakes up from his naps grouchy! I am in grad school and need those precious naptime hours to study and work!


Hi there. I do have an idea as to what is going on (and it isn't any of the answers you’ve been given). I believe he may be gearing up to start the long process of moving to one nap. This happens, on average, at 15 months old, but for some children it starts much earlier. My oldest went to one nap at 10-11 months.

One clue that this may be the case is that he seems to need less sleep than average. If he's sleeping 10 hrs at night plus 2-3 hours during the day, that's only 12-13 total in a 24-hour period, which is a couple of hours below average for his age. Children who naturally need a bit less sleep than their peers often drop naps earlier than average.

I don't think he is necessarily ready to drop the nap yet, but he may be getting ready to transition (the transition can take 3-5 months).

Another sign is that he is waking up after such a short nap and acting as though he wants more sleep. That's a sign that he can be awake for longer before his naps and that he needs a longer awake period before naps to build up enough tiredness to take a restorative nap. (If that makes sense).

At 11 months, many babies can handle being awake for 3 hours + during the day (slightly shorter for their first awake period of the day). You can try a routine like this: up at 7 a.m., first nap at 10 a.m., up from first nap at 11, second nap at 2, up from second nap at 3:30.

It's also important to wake him from his nap, especially the first nap of the day, so the rest of the day's routine doesn't get thrown off and push bedtime too late. I know you like the two-hour  naps, but the long naps aren't worth potentially ruining his nighttime sleep that you've worked hard for!

My article on navigating the tricky transition from two naps to one, Dropping a Nap Without Drama, might be helpful.

Let the napping commence! Good luck.

Don't miss a post! Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!


Ask Malia: The Skipped-Nap Trap

Wide awake at naptime.My 11 month old daughter has been taking two daily naps for months, one in the morning around 9:30 or 10, and another after lunchtime. Lately, though, she’s been skipping one or the other—sometimes she’ll refuse to nap in the morning (she’ll just play or fuss in her crib until I come and get her). Other days she’ll stay awake all afternoon without napping. It’s making our days crazy and unpredictable, and of course, she’s overtired by the evening. What’s going on?


Few things are more frustrating to parents than skipped naps, especially when you’ve been waiting all day for a much-needed break, and your tot is exhausted and clearly needs to nap.

An occasional skipped nap isn’t something to stress out over. But when skipped naps become a pattern, overtiredness can begin to negatively impact your child’s behavior and nighttime sleep. By skipping naps for more than a few days, your child is trying to tell you something. Take a look at this list to see if you can figure out her message.

Does she need a more soothing environment and wind-down?

Sleep environment is just as important at naptime as it is at bedtime. Ensure your child’s nap environment is dark, cool, and comfortable. A consistent naptime ritual is equally important. Reading books, changing your child’s diaper, drawing the curtains, and playing with soothing toys can become part of a relaxing naptime ritual. Make sure to do the same things in the same order for every nap.

Is she ready for fewer naps?

I suspect that your daughter may be preparing to drop her morning nap—she’s a bit ahead of the curve, but not terribly so. Children often begin skipping their afternoon nap shortly after their first birthday. Skipping a nap every day for a week is a sign that your child is ready for fewer daytime naps. Babies may be ready be awake for longer stretches when they play happily in their cribs at naptime instead of fussing or falling asleep.

When your baby is ready to drop the morning nap (between twelve and eighteen months for most), gradually decrease the length of the morning nap by fifteen minutes per day until it disappears. Alternately, you can gradually move the a.m. nap later by fifteen minutes per day until it occurs at midday, and simultaneously shorten the afternoon nap until it disappears completely. Keep in mind, this transition to a single nap usually occurs over a period of several months.

Is she overtired?

Waiting too long to put your child down for a nap can result in overtiredness that makes it difficult for her to fall asleep easily. When your child seems tired but just can’t nap, or if she throws a screaming, crying fit at naptime, overtiredness may be the culprit. Move your child’s naptime earlier by fifteen to twenty minutes per day until things improve.

Want more information on naps, nighttime, and everything in between? Check out my ebook Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep, So You Can Sleep Too for the latest information on helping babies and tots 0-3 sleep well.