January 17, 2011 5:42 AM   Subscribe

Is it normal for a child's sleep patterns to change at one-year-old?

Apart from the first couple of months after she was born and needed feeding every 3 hours, our daughter spent the first year of her life blessing us with a sound sleep every night. We got her into a routine as soon as possible, and before long she was falling asleep at 10pm and waking up at 6am with no interruptions. Each day she napped for a couple of hours at noon.

She's now 13-months-old and has been having trouble sleeping for the past few weeks. She still goes to bed at the same time, and none of her surroundings, room temperature, nap time, diet, etc. have changed. However, she now wakes up at midnight then again at 3am and has trouble falling asleep after that. She has a clean bill of health and seems her happy self during the day.

I was just curious as to what contributing factors may be causing this abrupt change in sleep cycle and if it was a normal stage in child development.
posted by Tenacious.Me.Tokyo to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
We're a little later (20 months), but we seem to have cracked a similar recent change with the move from cot to bed.
posted by monkey closet at 5:48 AM on January 17, 2011

posted by k8t at 5:49 AM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

I found it pretty common for mine to change their sleep patterns when entering a new developmental stage such as crawling, walking, increase in talking, etc.
posted by tamitang at 5:52 AM on January 17, 2011

YES, and at 2 years, and at 3 years, and... well, you get my point? Your night time should considered random at best, and hellish at worst (when she's sick). Sleep patterns can and do change for no reason. Just wait until she can crawl out of the crib! Last night I spent 2 fucking hours trying to get the damn baby to stay in his crib. This morning our he crawled out and went down to the kitchen to fix himself some breakfast before anyone else was up. The thought of a toddler alone in the kitchen should give you chills. So, to answer your question, the contributing factors that may be causing this may include: Your kids sleep patterns are totally random and subject to change at any time, Your kids want to ruin your life, Your kids don't want you to sleep and/or Your kids destroy everyting.
posted by Blake at 5:54 AM on January 17, 2011 [11 favorites]

Mrs CBC says that she has heard that children can start dreaming around 12-14 months, and since it is new to them or they can get nightmares - they can wake up.

Little CBC's sleep patterns changed a bit during that timeframe, but now are pretty much back to normal. BTW... my kid sleeps from 8p to 7a, so I win!* :-P

*or I would have won if I didn't work nights, thus rendering my victory empty. :shrugs:
posted by cheesyburgercheese at 6:05 AM on January 17, 2011

Based merely on far too extensive reading of the Yahoo! Answers parenting section over the years I am going to state that LOTS of young toddlers do this -- wake up in the middle of the night and stay up. Loads and loads of questions about this show up there. Baby slept, toddler doesn't; what?

I will offer that when this happened here I kicked about it a bit. I sat there very cross and irritated. Eventually I had an epiphany: nothing I did was going to alter the course of events and we were up for a couple of hours no matter what. So why spend it grumpy? So I made a little ritual of fixing myself a little glass of liqueur and then reading board books with a flashlight and taking us out to look at the stars. Those were nice, nice nights, slight zombification the next day aside. Of course she grew out of waking like that, and of course I miss those quiet hours when it was just the two of us.

So, yeah. It's normal, it will be over in a flash -- make the best of it.
posted by kmennie at 6:07 AM on January 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

Kids are like upper management, just when you get the hang of things and feel comfortable, they change absolutely all the rules for you.

Sometimes that means they fight sleep. Your kid is probably starting to change his or her nap schedule - ours dropped from two naps to one around then and extended the one by about an hour. This pushed his sleep schedule around slightly, and was a little stressful at first - but hey its was his developmental need. I'm not sure if that's where we started to realize that he was dreaming about things, as he had specific topics he wanted to discuss in the morning (or sometimes just a cuddle with mom). Also, just before our son goes through a growth spurt we always have sleeping problems. As stated, teeth have caused major sleep problems throughout the first two years; however, we're through with them now, and we'll need to loose some for next round of tooth problems.

Also, you'll find out that your kid is about to learn that he doesn't have to listen to Mommy and Daddy in very short order. That affects food, sleep, diaper changes, and getting to the car without your kid breaking free from you and running into the street.

Its all good though, it takes a while, but they bounce back into listening... mostly.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:13 AM on January 17, 2011

Seconding Teeth. Major change-of-personality issue. Probably some big'uns coming up behind. Good luck.
posted by Namlit at 6:43 AM on January 17, 2011

Our son did this around the same time as he learned to pull himself up to standing (in and out of the crib), but hadn't yet learned to sit back down. Also, he changed from 2 naps a day to one around this time too.

The one thing I found that remains consistent with babies and that is change
posted by murrey at 7:08 AM on January 17, 2011

Thirding teeth. I would try some children's ibuprofen before bedtime to see if that helps. When our first son was teething, we would give some before bed and then wake him up to have more in the middle of the night.
posted by procrastination at 7:16 AM on January 17, 2011

Agree about teeth. But also, at that age, some kids are ready to drop from two naps to one (ours wasn't - she was 18 months when we made that switch - but something to consider).
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:31 AM on January 17, 2011

FWIW, both our kids have had/have trouble sleeping any time they're going through some sort of developmental milestone. E.g., rolling over, crawling, walking. Really seem to be unable to keep their bodies from wiggling around uncontrollably in new and fascinating ways.
posted by pjaust at 8:57 AM on January 17, 2011

To buck a trend here....I'll stand up and say that there is no such thing as teething. If a child is behaving in a different way or exhibiting signs of being unwell, it's not teeth, it's illness. Kids get transient viruses all the time, the symptoms of which which get attributed to teeth.

I support the folk that suggest that developmental milestones often bring about changes in sleep patterns...but if you remain consistent they will return to the way they were eventually.

Is she going to sleep at 10pm or waking for a last feed then? Or has that feed now extinguished?
posted by taff at 11:22 AM on January 17, 2011

Teething isn't illness but it sure is not comfy...

Baby anachronism will have sleep issues due to food. Egg leads to baaaaaaaad nights as she has an allergy, but other digestive upsets will screw with her sleep without actually have any evidence in the nappy/underwear.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:57 AM on January 18, 2011

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