Were you just beginning to think the sleepless nights were over? You had your bedtime routine locked down, you thought you’d cracked the code… Now all of a sudden your one-year-old keeps waking up at night.
The reason your baby wakes at night will be one of the following or a combination of these reasons; Sleep regression, teething, anxiety and stress, naps are too long or short during the day or they are just coming down with something and feeling a little under the weather.
Babies and toddlers waking through the night is completely normal, although it is hard. There will be good nights and bad.
I’ll break each of these reasons down below and go through the things you can do to help get you and your toddlers sleep back on track.
5 Reasons Your One-Year-Old Keeps Waking At Night
1. Sleep Regression
I imagine you thought you were over all of this sleep regression business? Maybe not quite yet. You made it through the 4 months, 6 months and 8 months sleep regression, you can get through this one too. Let’s get into why this could be keeping your one-year-old up at night.
Your little one is learning a lot of new skills right now, they’re probably just figuring out how to walk; Taking their first precious steps and also trying to get out their first words.
All this learning is very exciting for both you and your baby, it’s so exciting they will probably want to be practising at all hours, this is what can disturb their sleep; Keeping you awake with them.
Another thing is your little one is becoming a lot more mindful they may be staging a little protest, trying to test you to see if you have what it takes to keep your routine going. Don’t give in, you’ve got this.
Reasons For The One Year Sleep Regression
Talking. Your baby is probably starting to babble by now and they may have even started blurting out their first words. This gets you pretty excited and your little one takes note of this, they may be trying to use this against you to get your attention when bedtime comes around.
Walking. This is a sure sign your baby is turning into a toddler, taking their very wobbly first steps. This is a massive milestone in their development and they will start to see the world from a whole new perspective.
Your toddler will be very pleased with themselves for this achievement and will maybe want to keep on practising even through the night. (Not all babies will start walking around their first birthday so don’t worry if your little one isn’t yet or maybe they have even been practising for a while already. This is fine, all babies are different).
Protest. Around about the one-year milestone, your baby will start to become more mindful and independent. They will be a lot more aware of themselves and of what’s going on around them.
This newfound independence could lead them to try testing the bedtime routine you have in place. Trying to see whether you have the will power to keep it up, even things that your little one used to find comfort in, they may now resist in protest.
Main Take Away On The One Year sleep Regression
The main thing you need to do to keep this regression as short as possible and to nip it in the bud is to stick with your bedtime routine. I know how hard this can be, I’ve gone through it myself with two babies in the last two years. Just stick in there you can do it.
2. Teething Could Be Why Your One-Year-Old Keeps Waking At Night
You have probably been going through this for a while by now; Your little one probably started cutting their first teeth at around 4 to 7 months old. Plenty of dribble and chewing. It’s around one year that their back teeth could start coming through and these can be a little more painful than the front teeth.
You may find that throughout the day your baby doesn’t really show any signs of teething. This could be because there are lots of distractions going on to keep your little one occupied. But in the quiet of the night, the tenderness could disturb then whilst they are going through their sleep cycle of deep and light sleep.
Explaining why you may find they will wake up around every two hours or so.
More Signs Of Toddler Teething To Look Out For
- Fussy eating
- General crankiness
- Swollen or sensitive gums
Ways To Soothe Toddler Teething
Pain relief medication. I suggest something like Ashton & Parsons teething powder, it’s a natural remedy and I’ve used it on both or babies, it really does seem to help, especially with settling your little one so they can get a better night sleep. You can check out Ashtons & Parsons teething powder on Amazon here.
if your baby seems quite uncomfortable you can use other types of pain medication such as ibuprofen. Although I would speak to a doctor first and always make sure you get the doses right for your Childs age.
Offer cold or chilled foods. Try some softer chilled foods such as yoghurt or some chilled water with ice in a beaker, don’t put ice in the water if your toddler drinks from a cup.
3. Anxiety And Stress
At around the age of one, your little one could be developing some separation anxiety. This can leave them feeling uncertain about being separated from you.
If they have developed some separation anxiety this could leave them becoming less settled when they wake up at night. Whereas your little one may have been a self settler before, they will now want you close for comfort.
This will leave them becoming pretty upset when you try to leave. You may also find this affects them throughout the day; even if you just try to leave the room for a few minutes.
Other causes of stress could involve changes in routine, the introduction of new things such as potty training, a new sibling or maybe you’ve just gone back to work after maternity leave.
Day time stresses could transfer over into night time restlessness.
Tips To Help You And Your Toddler Get Through Separation Anxiety
Be consistent and stick to your routine. This is very important, it may be very hard to try not to give in and maybe even get them into bed with you; but if you can stick to your routine and provide stability it will help you and your baby in the long run.
Stay calm and reassure. When putting your toddler down to bed, say the same reassuring and calming phrase each night, such as ‘It’s time to go to sleep now, goodnight. Mummy/Daddy loves you and will see you in the morning.’
Keeping calm and reassuring your little one with a phrase like this each night will get them into the idea and routine of bedtime; Also letting them know you will still be there when they wake up. Making them more likely to be able to settle themselves back to sleep when they wake through the night.
Follow through on your promises. When you have reassured your little one that you will be returning, or will be there in the morning; Make sure that you are. This will play an important role in your baby being able to develop the confidence to spend time away from you.
Remember This Is Only Temporary
Separation anxiety will pass once your toddler has become more confident with their independence and time away from you. If you can stick to and use the tips I have provided above you could shorten the duration this phase lasts.
4. Naps Are Too Long Or Short During The Day
Your toddler needs around 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day. If they are sleeping too long during day naps this could leave them just not being tired enough at night. It could also be the total opposite; Your one-year-old could be waking at night because they have not slept enough during the day; Leaving them feeling too wired.
If you think your little one is overtired when it comes to bedtime then you could try aiming to get them to bed a little earlier or shortening day time naps.
Does your tot seem too awake when its time for bed? Then try getting them to sleep longer during the day and make sure day time naps are not to close to bedtime.
5. Feeling A Little Under The Weather
It’s totally normal for your child to have 8 or more colds a year. You’re probably already used to the sniffles by now. But this could be disturbing your baby and keeping them awake at night.
It’s really hard to sleep with a blocked nose right? Or your throat always seems more sore at night.
The same goes for your little one.
Some Suggestions To Ease Your Childs Cold Symptoms
- Use saline drops to help loosen dry snot and help clear a stuffy nose.
- If your child has a fever you can use children’s paracetamol or ibuprofen (if your child suffers with asthma you should check with your GP before giving ibuprofen) always read the labels and follow the instructions on the packets.
- Make sure your toddler is drinking plenty of fluids.
Other possible causes could include ear infections, these can sometimes follow a cold and you may find your toddler is grabbing at their ear this could be a sign of discomfort.
Most colds will start to ease within 5 to 7 days but may last up to 2 weeks in small children.
Just know it may be a hard week or two and it’s never nice seeing your baby feeling unwell but colds are a part of growing up and strengthening their little immune systems.
I hope this article will help give you some clarity on why your One-Year-old keeps waking at night and you’ll be able to get back on track and get a well deserved full nights rest soon. Just remember these little changes are almost always temporary, hang in there moms and dads; You’re doing great!