Your baby is about to celebrate a first birthday! What a whirlwind of a year it’s probably been for you. This past year has been filled with “firsts” for your 11 month old baby. First tooth, first word, first food and maybe first steps. Many of your baby’s milestones happen naturally. But other milestones, like sleeping through the night, require parental guidance.
Getting your 11 month old sleeping through the night and taking long naps everyday is totally possible at this age! Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have your family sleeping great by baby’s first birthday?
This article explains the 9 steps that will help your 11 month old sleep like a champ. So you have all the energy and stamina you need to keep up with your soon-to-be toddler!
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Your 11 Month Old Baby’s Sleep: What You Can Expect
Naps & Awake Times
- Your baby needs 2-3 total hours of napping everyday.
- This is usually divided between 2 naps, but short nappers may take 3 naps.
- Awake times of 2.5 – 3.5 hours throughout the day work best at this age.
- Bedtime should fall between 6:30-8 pm.
- This is the “normal” range for bedtime, but try to keep your baby’s bedtime within a 15 minute range each night. (Tight bedtimes lead to the best night sleep.)
- Most 11 month olds need 11-12 hours sleep at night. (Some can get by with 10 hours night sleep if they nap for a total of 3 hours each day.)
- Your little one CAN sleep through the night without feeding!
- If you’re worried about your baby’s growth or weight gain, please double check this with your baby’s doctor.
- Check out my Weaning Night Feedings Guide.
Total sleep in 24 hours
- 13-15 hours
*There can be a nap-specific regression at 11 months. (More info below.)
Tips to Help Your 11 Month Old Sleep Like a Champ!
With sleep training, it’s best to focus on one aspect of sleep at a time. If you try to fix your baby’s naps and night sleep at the same time, you’ll most likely end up with a cranky and overtired baby who refuses to sleep!
Instead, I always recommend starting with night sleep. That’s because night sleep is usually easier to “fix” than naps. Your baby’s drive to sleep is the strongest at night, so she’s more likely to comply with changes to her sleep routine. Plus, most exhausted parents are usually more desperate for a good night’s sleep!
The following nighttime sleep training tips will get your 11 month old sleeping great. I recommend you start here, then move to daytime tips once that’s going well.
Tip #1: Create a sleep-friendly bedroom for your baby
This is one of the easiest things you can do to help your 11 month old sleep great. It’s hard for any of us to sleep in bright, noisy or distracting sleep environments. Your baby is no different. Some of these tips may seem pretty obvious, but others may surprise you. Let’s discuss the steps for creating a sleep-friendly bedroom for your baby below.
White noise helps babies fall asleep quickly and sleep long stretches. It blocks environmental noises from waking your baby, like a barking dog or older sibling.
White noise is safe for your baby, too. As long as you place your white noise machine several feet away from baby’s crib and don’t turn it up to full volume, it won’t damage your baby’s hearing. You can download a decibel tracking app on your phone to test how loud your white noise machine is. Aim to keep it around 65 decibels.
If noises typically come from outside your home, place your white noise machine near the window. If your home tends to be loud, place your white noise machine near baby’s bedroom door.
If you’re struggling with early wakings or short naps, a darkened bedroom can improve your baby’s sleep dramatically. Our bodies are naturally programmed to sleep when it’s dark and be awake when it’s bright outside. Bright bedrooms can confuse our baby’s body clocks. Your baby may be tired and ready to sleep, but his brain is telling him to stay awake because his bedroom is bright.
I’ve seen so many babies instantly sleep 1-2 hours later in the morning (and take longer naps) just by providing a darkened sleep space. Trust me on this and black out your baby’s bedroom!
Have your baby sleep in a crib
Young babies often sleep well in small and cosy sleep spaces like a bassinet or co-sleeper. But as your baby learns to roll, scoot and sit up, she needs space to move around and get into comfortable sleep positions.
You might be co-sleeping now because it’s the only thing that helped your baby sleep well. But most parents find that as their baby grows and approaches her first birthday, she wants to practice karate while she sleeps! Getting kicked, pushed and prodded all night will ensure no one in your family bed sleeps well!
That’s why a crib is your baby’s best option for quality sleep. If your baby is used to co-sleeping, she may not sleep amazingly her first night in the crib. But if you implement all the tips from this guide, as well as transition your baby to the crib, you’ll be setting her up to sleep through the night!
Make sure your baby’s crib is bare. Truly minimalistic. Your baby should sleep in pajamas and a sleep sack and have nothing else in the crib. No stuffed animals, pillow, toys or a mobile. This provides the safest (and least distracting) sleep environment for your baby. There’s nothing else for her to do other than sleep!
Tip #2: Start a relaxing bedtime routine
Research has shown that having a consistent bedtime routine each night helps babies sleep better. Although your 11 month old baby is probably babbling a few words, his comprehension is still very limited. That’s why we have to use behavioral and environmental cues to help our babies understand it’s time to relax and fall asleep. A bedtime routine is your perfect opportunity to do this!
Put a strong focus on your baby’s bedtime routine being relaxing and calming. At this age, most babies are easily stimulated by bright lights, stimulating play and upbeat music. My Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit walks you through the essentials for your baby’s relaxing bedtime routine.
What’s most important is that you do the same routine, in the same order at the same time each night. This sets your baby’s body clock to expect and accept sleep more easily. Trust me, it’s the absolute best seeing your baby relax on cue every night with a relaxing routine you created for her.
Here are more 11 month old sleep tips!
Tip #3: Get bedtime right
Bedtimes that are late or inconsistent each night make babies sleep worse. One of the goals of sleep training is to set your baby’s body clock to sleep at the same time each day. This is one of the best things you can do to help your 11 month old sleep consistently well.
The majority of 11 month olds will sleep well with a bedtime between 6:30-8 pm. This is the time your baby falls asleep (not the time you begin their bedtime routine.)
In my sleep training program, we put a strong emphasis on your baby’s bedtime. That’s because finding the right bedtime for your baby leads to fewer night wakings and sleeping later in the morning. Every parent’s dream!
Tip #4: Teach your baby to fall asleep independently
If you help your baby fall asleep by rocking, nursing, or holding, then he associates these activities with falling asleep. He needs your help in order to fall asleep.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this! It only becomes a problem if your baby needs you to get out of bed and repeatedly rock, nurse or hold him back to sleep several times during the night.
Your 11 month old baby has the ability to learn to fall asleep on his own. (This develops around 5 months old.) When your baby can settle himself to sleep at bedtime, he’ll be able to resettle himself back to sleep each time he wakes at night. I promise you, he can do it! (I’ve helped hundreds of babies learn this skill. It’s pretty amazing.)
Plus, the majority of 11 month olds can sleep through the night without needing to feed. Wouldn’t it be great to have the family sleeping through the night by your baby’s first birthday?! My sleep training program will get you there!
Tip #5: Treat all night wakings the same
The way that your baby falls asleep at bedtime is the way she will want to fall back to sleep each time she wakes at night. (It’s normal for babies to stir or wake several times each night.)
So, if you feed your baby to sleep at bedtime she’s going to insist you feed her with each night waking too. Even though 11 month olds can technically sleep through the night without needing to feed, your baby will have gotten used to multiple night feeds.
When your baby goes into her crib awake at bedtime, and falls asleep without your help, she’ll know exactly how to resettle herself during the night. She’ll just do exactly what she did at bedtime! But, if your baby is fed or rocked to sleep, she doesn’t know how to fall back asleep on her own.
This is why it’s critical that you start at bedtime by getting your baby falling asleep independently. Then each time she wakes at night, you encourage her to do the same. When you treat every night waking the same, your baby will adapt quickly and start sleeping through the night.
When you handle each night waking differently (sometimes feeding your baby if she cries long enough and other times holding or rocking her) the inconsistency will confuse her and cause her to resist more. She’ll continue crying with each night waking because this eventually leads to a feeding.
A simple rule we have in my sleep training program is that every waking before 6 am is a “night waking.” This means that you handle each night waking in the exact same way. Babies thrive with routine and consistency. When your baby understands exactly what will happen each time she wakes at night, it reassures her and helps her adapt to her new sleep routine quickly.
During the day:
Tip #6: Follow awake times of 2.5 – 3.5 hours
Most 11 month olds take 2 naps per day, spaced 2.5 – 3.5 hours apart. These awake times work best at this age. Your baby still can’t handle very long stretches of awake time during the day. It overstimulates and over-tires him, making sleep more difficult.
An easy rule to follow is to have your baby nap 3 hours after waking from his last nap. If you want to fine tune it a bit more, keep shorter awake times in the morning and longer ones in the afternoon. Some babies this age can handle 4 hours awake time before bedtime, too.
Your 11 month old needs 2-3 total hours of daytime sleep. (That’s the total combined hours for all naps.) If your baby naps less than this, over-tiredness could worsen his night sleep. If your baby naps more than this, he may not be tired enough to sleep well at night.
Short Napping Tip: If your baby takes chronically short naps, shorten awake times!
Tip #7: Begin nap training once baby is sleeping through the night
Remember, we always fix night sleep first. So while you’re sleep training your 11 month old at night, all you need to do during the day is stick to the recommended awake times.
Once your 11 month old is sleeping through the night, it’s time to fix naps! Nap training can sometimes be more frustrating and tiring. That’s because your baby’s drive to sleep comes and goes during the day. If you miss your baby’s sleepy window, no matter what you do to help her nap, it just won’t work! Plus, we have more obligations and distractions during the day. This can make sticking to a consistent sleep schedule more difficult.
Once you begin nap training, have your baby nap at home in the crib everyday. Motionless sleep away from the distractions of the day leads to the best quality sleep.
If your baby gets used to napping in the stroller or your arms everyday, this will become the only way she knows how to nap! Although at times it can be nice to have baby nap on-the-go, it can quickly become a burden if you have to leave the house twice a day for your baby to nap. (Or if you’re trapped under a napping baby on the couch!)
Use the same sleep-friendly space you use for night sleep. If you’re at home, your baby should nap in the crib in her darkened bedroom with white noise playing. Bring along a Pack n Play if you need your little one to nap at Grandma’s. And if your baby goes to daycare, just do the best you can! Ask daycare to follow awake times and ideally darken the room and play white noise for naps.
For nap training, use the same sleep training method you used at night. Your baby already knows the process of falling asleep independently. He does it at night! By using the same sleep training method, your baby will understand exactly what you expect. It may take several days, but he’ll adapt and start falling asleep on his own and taking long naps.
Get Your Baby Taking Long, Restful Naps Everyday with My Nap Training Program!
Popular Travel Cribs
Tip #8: Watch out for the 11 month old nap regression
Repeat after me: “My baby is NOT ready for one nap a day!” There’s a strange phenomenon that happens at 11 months old. Many babies start fighting naps.
Most parents assume that this is a sign that their 11 month old is ready to transition to one nap. But the 4-6 hours of awake time necessary for your baby to transition to one nap is usually too long for babies this age.
Instead, we treat this as we do every other sleep regression. Expect it to last 1-2 weeks and do your best to stick to your sleep routine. Your baby may need an earlier bedtime if he rejects a nap or sleeps for only 30 minutes. That’s ok, start over tomorrow. It’s a temporary phase and when it passes your little one will go back to 2 long and restful naps for the next few months. (And if he wasn’t napping well before the 11 month old nap regression, check out my nap training program.)
Hear what moms have to say about the 11 month old nap regression:
Tip #9: Follow a consistent sleep schedule
Remember, a critical aspect of sleep training your 11 month old is setting the body clock to sleep at the same times each day. When your baby’s naps and bedtime occur “by the clock” sleep will come easier. It’s a losing battle trying to get your little one to sleep at different times each day. Her body won’t be ready for sleep, so she’ll fight it.
Once you have your 11 month old sleeping through the night and napping well, try to stick to a consistent daily sleep routine such as the following:
Example 11 month old sleep schedules
6:30 Wake, milk*
9:00 Morning nap*
10:30 Wake, milk*
1:30 Afternoon nap
3:00 Wake, milk, snack
5:00 Set the scene for relaxation*
5:30 Dinner, bath*
6:15 Peaceful Nightly Ritual, top-up feed*
6:30 – 7:00 Asleep*
6:30 Wake, milk*
9:30 Morning nap*
10:30 Wake, milk*
2:00 Afternoon nap
3:30 Wake, milk, snack
5:00 Set the scene for relaxation*
5:30 Dinner, bath*
6:15 Peaceful Nightly Ritual, top-up feed*
6:30 – 7:00 Asleep*
* These are by-the-clock events, so try to keep them on a fixed schedule. This sets your baby’s body clock, making sleep come easier over time.
If your baby wakes at a different time in the morning, move your schedule accordingly.
Remember, getting your 11 month old sleeping through the night and taking long naps everyday is totally possible at this age! And what a great gift it would be to give yourself a full night’s sleep by the time your baby turns one next month.
Following the above 9 steps everyday will help your 11 month old start sleeping amazingly. Sleep training is a combination of starting a consistent sleep schedule, pre-sleep routines and teaching your baby to sleep independently. You’ll be amazed at what a few days of sleep training can do for your baby’s sleep routines. Good luck!