The 11 Month Sleep (& Nap) Regression Explained

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You’re in the home stretch of your baby’s first year. Maybe you’ve managed to get your 11 month old sleeping through the night and are excitedly planning their first birthday party when BAM their sleep takes a turn for the worse. All of a sudden, your 11 month old is refusing naps, fighting bedtime, or waking up at night. What the heck just happened?!

Could your baby be going through the 11 month sleep regression? Or is it something else like separation anxiety, ready for 1 nap a day, or teething that’s disrupting their sleep?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! As a baby sleep consultant for the last five years, I’ve learned how to survive sleep regressions and get your baby sleeping great again.

This article explains all you need to know about the 11 month sleep regression (also called the 11 month nap regression) and exactly how to get through it. 

This post may contain affiliate links.

RELATED: My Best Sleep Tips for 11 Month Olds

 

What is a sleep regression?

 

Baby sleep regressions are temporary disruptions in sleep caused by developmental changes. Simply put, when your baby goes through big developments (like walking or talking) their sleep temporarily worsens or “regresses” before it gets better again.  

At 11 months old, your baby is probably working on milestones like crawling, standing, and maybe even taking their first steps. There’s also cognitive development occurring too like imitating movements or gestures, developing language like “mama” or “dada”, and beginning to understand that you exist even if you’re not in the same room.

You can read more specifics on 10-12 month old developmental milestones here

It takes a tremendous amount of physical energy and neurological activity for our babies to master physical and cognitive milestones. And it’s normal to see another aspect of development get disrupted in the process. 

 

Related: How to Stop Co-Sleeping

 

Signs of the 11 month sleep regression. And how long will it last?

 

A telltale sign of the 11 month sleep regression is nap refusal. In fact, I call it the 11 month nap regression, because over the years I’ve found that the main struggle at this age is an 11 month old who is fighting naps or just won’t nap in general. (See the next section for tips on this nap regression.) 

 

Other signs of the 11 month old sleep regression are:

  • Your 11 month old is not sleeping through the night anymore.
  • Your baby is suddenly refusing to sleep or crying uncontrollably at night. 
  • Your little one has started waking up again at night, sometimes crying every hour (leaving you to wonder if it’s teething, hunger or separation anxiety causing this.)

 

I typically give regressions two weeks to “run their course” then it’s ok to begin sleep training. At this point, many of your baby’s sleep patterns will be turning into habit so it’s a great time to actively help your baby start sleeping well. 

My 21 Days to Peace & Quiet program shows parents how to get their little ones sleeping through the night. You can also check out my sleep training program for naps here, that guides you through teaching your baby to take long and restful naps everyday (so YOU can get some downtime during the day.)  

 

Is there an 11 month nap regression? 

 

Oh yeah mama, there is one! This is one of the most popular topics with clients in my sleep training program. What’s so unique at this age is that we often see a nap-specific regression at 11 months old (that I don’t see at any other age.) 

When their baby starts refusing naps, many parents assume their 11 month old is ready for 1 nap a day. But let me assure you, they aren’t! The typical age to drop to one nap is 14-18 months, and this guide explains when and how to transition to one nap.

Your 11 month old is fighting naps because they need longer awake times and slight changes to their schedule. Your next four months should be focused on helping your young toddler take two naps a day.

Although they may nap well the first few days of having only one nap, the long awake times catch up with them and we often see disruptions in night sleep and early wakings appear. 

 

What else could be worsening my 11 month old’s sleep? 

 

Apart from developmental changes disrupting your baby’s sleep, there can be other factors that come into play at this age. Everyday I hear from parents of 11 month olds struggling with separation anxiety, who wake up crying every hour at night, or who wake early in the morning. Let’s discuss each of these.

 

Separation anxiety 

 

Separation anxiety in 11 month olds is common and completely normal. You’ll notice that your little one suddenly freaks out when you leave the room, or clings on to you when you try putting them in the crib. This separation anxiety often surfaces when it’s time to sleep. Just when you’re ready to call it a day, your baby starts crying uncontrollably at bedtime, leaving you both exhausted. 

Although it can be tiring physically and emotionally, separation anxiety is a healthy response to our little one’s development. The more our children learn and grow, the more their world changes. And as they sense these changes it’s normal for them to want to retreat back to the security of their parents. 

For example, your 11 month baby is probably learning to crawl, stand, or even walk. They’re now able to do new and exciting things and see the world from a different perspective.

While this is a natural and positive change, it can also feel scary and overwhelming for our little ones (even subconsciously.) So they become extra clingy or fussy. They need their “safety net” of parents close by in order to get through this period of change. 

Your little one will go through separation anxiety on and off throughout their life. But, rest assured, it’s totally normal and it will pass with a little extra patience, love and attention. You can read more about separation anxiety here

 

Early wakings

 

Waking throughout the night with a fussy baby is exhausting. But there’s a whole new level of exhaustion when your baby wakes at 5 am ready to start the day.

If your baby waking too early in the morning is your main struggle, you may not be going through a sleep regression. Here’s my guide on early wakings and how to get your baby sleeping later in the morning. 

 

Baby wakes up crying every hour

 

If your 11 month old is waking up crying every hour throughout the night, you both need to get some rest ASAP!

If this is a new development, it could be related to the 11 month sleep regression. But if your baby has been waking this often for many weeks (or more) then chances are that it’s due to habit.  

Quite often, we parents help our babies fall asleep before we put them in the crib. Rocking, holding, and nursing are natural and normal ways to soothe our little ones. And they work well with young babies.

However, after the age of 5 months, most babies are ready to sleep independently, and when they do they sleep better.

If you’re still helping your baby fall asleep each night, don’t feel bad. All parents do this at one point or another!

It’s important to know that when you help your baby fall asleep, they’ll also need your help to fall back to sleep every time they wake up at night. It’s the only way they know how to fall asleep!

This is when sleep training comes in handy, and you can choose the best sleep training approach for your baby in my sleep training program here.

 

Tips for surviving the 11 month sleep (and nap) regression

 

Now that you’ve learned all about this regression, it’s time I give you my best tips on getting through it. Helping babies learn to sleep well is a cumulative effort, so make sure you’re doing all of the tips below, everyday. 

To get ALL of my best sleep tips for 11 month olds, check out this article. 

(Click to see the tips)

Start a relaxing routine

Sleep regressions make our little ones feel restless and wired, so a relaxing routine done before sleep can help take the edge off, so your baby can settle easily and sleep well.

Starting a consistent bedtime routine has been proven to help children fall asleep quicker and wake less often at night. (It also has been shown to improve maternal mood, but that’s no surprise!) 

Certain activities have been shown to relax babies, and when done in the right order, it sets your baby up for sleeping great at night.

My Exhausted Mom’s Starter Kit walks you through the steps of setting up the perfect routine for your baby. You can do it before naps and nighttime sleep.

Stick to a consistent bedtime

Irregular bedtimes lead to poor nighttime sleep. When it comes to baby sleep, consistency is key. The more consistent your baby’s bedtime is, the better they will sleep at night.

Also, babies sleep best with earlier bedtimes, even though it feels counterintuitive. I’ve found in my years of helping thousands of parents that the ideal bedtime lies between 6:30-7:30 pm. That’s the general bedtime range you can choose from. 

Once you’ve settled into a specific bedtime, make sure it doesn’t vary by more than 15 minutes each night. For example, if you’ve settled on a 7 pm bedtime, your baby’s individual bedtime should only vary between 7-7:15 in order to help them sleep consistently well.

Focus on nights first

Even if your 11 month old’s main struggle is refusing naps, you should first take a look at their night sleep. When helping babies sleep well, we always focus on nights first. How you handle bedtime sets your baby up to sleep well at night… or not! 

Make sure your baby goes into the crib awake at bedtime and falls asleep on their own. If they aren’t able to do this, and you’re in the throes of the sleep regression, a few nights of comfort might be needed. But after that, sleep training is the answer. 

Sleep training is the process of teaching your baby to sleep independently and through the night. When babies can settle themselves to sleep, they sleep deeper and longer. 

Many parents are hesitant to sleep train because they associate this with the Ferber Method, or Cry It Out.

While these approaches do work for some families, my sleep training program 21 Days to Peace and Quiet offers parents a variety of methods to choose from and guides them through choosing the best sleep training method for their baby. 

My goal is for you, your baby, and your entire family to be well-rested and happy together. But you need to do it on your terms! If you’re ready to get your baby sleeping through the night (which 11 month olds can definitely do) join me here and let’s do it together. 

Stick with two naps a day

Once nighttime sleep is going smoothly, it’s time to focus on naps. Since the 11 month sleep regression usually affects naps, we need to put some focus here. 

What’s most important is keeping your baby well-rested during the day. Remember, you want to keep your 11 month old on two naps and wait until they’re 14-18 months old for the 2-to-1 nap transition

Your baby’s awake times should be 2.5-3.5 hours. That’s the amount of time they are awake between sleeps. Staying within this range keeps babies well-rested, which can improve their sleep overall. 

As with nighttime sleep, when your baby sleeps independently for naps, they will nap consistently well everyday. Teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own at nap time helps extend short naps and gives your 11 month old the 2-3 hours of naps they need everyday. 

At this point, you may be helping your baby nap to keep them well-rested, and that’s ok. But once your little one is sleeping through the night, you should start nap training. Your baby will need to nap for the next 2-3 years, so teaching them how to nap well everyday really pays off!

Here’s my step-by-step nap training program that gets babies taking long, restful naps every day. 

Help your baby practice new milestones

Throughout the day, take time to allow your baby to practice their new skill. Are they crawling or walking? Clear off the floor and give them space. Are they standing? Set up some sturdy chairs or baby proof the coffee table and let them go for it. 

The more your baby practices their new skill during the day, the sooner they’ll master it. This way, they’ll be more relaxed when it’s time to sleep, and less wired generally.

Create downtime for yourself each day

It’s really important that you take care of yourself at this time. Your baby is going through a pretty intense nap regression, and truth be told, it can get really exhausting.

Consider if there’s anyone you can ask to watch baby for even just 20 minutes, whether they’re awake or napping. Is there a neighbour you could ask? Grandparents? Your partner? 

Getting someone to help you out, even for 20-30 minutes can really relieve some stress and tiredness. Soak in a hot bath, have a peaceful meal, or take a short walk. If possible, just ignore your phone for a little while and focus on YOU. You deserve it!

Remember that it’s temporary and focus on the good stuff

Remember, I give sleep regressions two weeks to wreak their havoc. That’s it! So feel free to post a countdown on your fridge and don’t suffer longer than you need to.

It can also help to focus on the milestones your little one is mastering. Hearing your baby repeat new words or seeing them stand up on their own for the first time can help relieve any stress or exhaustion you feel from your 11 month old refusing to nap or waking every hour at night. 

Keep yourself and your baby as well-rested as possible

During a recent sleep regression with my son, I was going to bed at 8:30 pm every night. My 6 year old made fun of me, but I didn’t care. It made waking up at 5 am much more bearable. I also made sure to lie down when he napped.

Even if only for 20 minutes, getting horizontal and relaxing made getting through the rest of the day feel easier. 

Begin sleep training

Coming off of a helluva sleep regression can be just the motivation parents need to make things right with their baby’s sleep.

At 11 months old, your baby CAN learn to fall asleep easily on their own and sleep all night. You just have to show them how. The effort you put in here will lead to years of blissful sleep. Let me show you how in my sleep training program here

 

Sleep regressions are no fun, to say the least. I’ve just gone through a big one with my toddler who is learning to walk. The best ways that I found to survive it (when up at 5:10 am with a boisterous 15 month old) are to remind myself that it is temporary, focus on the adorable new milestones my baby is reaching, do the best I can to keep us both well-rested and know that in two weeks’ time we could get his sleep back on track with sleep training. (Which we did!) 

Tip: my brand new ‘Sleep Regression Survival Guide’ explains exactly what to do to help your baby sleep well during a regression. It has proven tips that help each sleep regression pass as quickly as possible. It also explains the best ways to ease your little one’s separation anxiety and tells you what to do when your baby is standing or sitting up in the crib, instead of sleeping!

It’s totally free and you can get it here.

Reach out in the comments if you have any questions!

a guide for parents to help their baby sleep better

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20 Comments

  1. Mila

    Hi-
    My daughter is 11 months 15 days always has been a good night sleeper this past week she has been waking up between 3-4 am screaming crying .m. I sleep trained her already and when I do my check in seems to get worse. I have been thinking she’s teething so when I went the first coupes times soothed her or picked her up once she immediately fell asleep in my arms . It’s once i put her back down we start all over. I started going back to sleep training at these wakings not sure if I should do that as it’s taking over an hour for her to go back to sleep with our training. But during the day she’s fine she reverts putting herself to sleep and when it’s her initial bedtime. Thanks

    Reply
    • Artemis

      Hi Mila,

      so sorry your little one has been suddenly waking at night and crying a lot.

      Since you’ve already sleep trained her, I think we can help you via a private consultation to just give you a plan of what you can do when this happens. You can book a consultation here:
      https://programs.babysleepmadesimple.com/30-minutes-private-consultation-checkout/

      I hope to see you there!
      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  2. Andrea

    Hello, my baby is turning 11 months in the next few days he was slee trained napped with no problem and bed time was also great, he has never slept through the night but that wasn’t a big deal but a couple weeks ago he started struggling for nap times and bed time, he was going through a leap which ended yesterday and I thought it would be that, but I don’t know if it’s this sleep regression now, he naps a little better than he does at night time, naps I out him down and falls asleep sometimes I only go in there once to comfort him and he falls asleep but bed time he needs me to sit there until he falls asleep and wakes up so much during the night, sometimes he wakes up and stays up for about 30 minutes, can it be this or? I don’t know what to do anymore, he also started walking so I don’t know if this all piled up on him

    Reply
    • Ingrid

      Hi Andrea! It sounds like your son’s sleep disruptions could be a combination of a few different things. Developmental leaps (including walking!) can definitely impact sleep. Their little brains want to practice everything, and they cannot turn-off their little brains at nap/bedtime. I would do what you were doing before the regression (getting him to sleep independently) and see how it goes, slowly pulling back your support at naptime and bedtime. Give it a few weeks, and if at that time it isn’t better, I would highly recommend our Naps program, found here: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/naps-getting-downtime-in-the-daytime/. I hope this helps! Ingrid, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  3. Lina

    hello! my little boy is now 10.5months and suddenly taking 20 min naps. it gets really tiring as he also started waking up at 5am too! I try to leave him in bed but he just cries his eyes out until I take him out of his cot. You mentioned that you should stick to 2 naps with 2.5h-3.5h wake window, however if he wakes up at 5am it is essentially impossible to do that.. what would you advise in this instance?

    Reply
    • Artemis

      Hi Lina,

      I completely understand that.

      Early wakings and naps are actually closely connected! I would highly recommend you join our Early Wakings No More course, here is the link:
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/early-wakings-no-more-baby-toddler

      It’s got everything you need – from fixed schedules to use on “off days” when baby wakes up too early, to extensive information about naps. We would love to help you there!

      Hope to see you in the course,
      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  4. Krystal

    Thank you for all the advice! My son is almost 12 months and we sleep trained early in so he’s been an excellent sleeper. He is now fighting his first nap, bad! Taking an hour to fall asleep, off and on crying, screaming, standing. He’s fallen asleep sitting because he’s tryin to fight it so bad. My question is, should I adjust his wake window? Or that won’t help?

    Reply
    • Artemis

      Hi Krystal,

      Happy you find the advice helpful.

      Naps are tricky because there are so many things that affect them. On our naps program, we go through each detail of your little one’s sleep and help you fix their naps long-term.

      We would love to help you, too! Here is the link:
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/naps-getting-downtime-in-the-daytime/

      Good luck,
      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  5. Alex

    My 11-month-old co-sleeps with us currently and we want to get her to sleep on her own. Some days she sleeps well (9 pm to 7:30 am), some days she wakes up screaming a few times at night. If we are not sleeping next to her, it’s a given she wakes up screaming in an hour or so.

    We tried sleep training by putting her in the crib and letting her cry. She will scream non-stop for 30 to 40 minutes and almost always throws up (big spit-up). This happened multiple days in a row. So my question is, is this program a good fit for her? Do you have tips on how to handle babies that are prone to throw up while sleep training?

    Also if we get her to sleep in her crib with this program, is the expectation that she sleeps in a separate room for it to be successful or can the crib could be in our bedroom? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Alex,

      Thank you so much for your post! We can definitely help you get your LO’s sleep on track and get your entire family sleeping better! We can provide the best support to your family in our 21 Days to Peace & Quiet program.

      In this program we offer 4 step-by-step sleep training methods. You choose the one that feels best for your LO. We have super gentle & gradual all the way to quick & efficient. Each step of the way you get advice based on your baby’s developmental stage, energy levels, and temperament. We have helped several parents that have children that get sick during sleep training, so we can use a more gentle approach to prevent/minimize this.

      Many of our parents also room share, so we can discuss ways to ensure your entire family can still sleep well even when sharing a sleep space!

      We have an option that includes personalized support and I find this to be so beneficial during the sleep training journey! Jilly and members of our support team answer questions 5 days a week in our private FB/slack group and we host 2 Zoom calls per week! You will always feel like you have the support you need every step of the way.
      You can find out more info on the program here: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/baby-sleep-consultant

      When you are 100% consistent in following the steps of the program, your baby will be sleeping amazingly within 1-3 weeks. It depends on the method you choose as well as your baby’s adaptability, but we cover all of this in the program!

      Happy to answer any questions you have. We hope we get the chance to help you and your LO on this sleep journey!
      Have a great day!
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  6. Ashley

    My soon to be 11 month old has never really slept the entire night. At most a 5/6 hour stretch. At this point he is now waking up every 3 hours crying, standing up in the bed, and having tantrums in the night. He is teething but I wonder if he is too old to sleep train? Is it even possible when you cosleep?

    Reply
    • Artemis

      Hi Ashley,

      Aww I’m so sorry about this recent change in his sleep. Must be so exhausting for him (and you, of course!)

      He’s definitely NOT too old to sleep train, our program works for 5-24 month olds. We also have a sale running now, get 15% off when using the coupon code ‘2022’ at checkout! Here is the link to our program: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/baby-sleep-consultant

      We can help you stop co-sleeping, no problem. You’re able to room share if you wish! But no, we can’t sleep train and keep co-sleeping.

      We’ll help you with everything in the program, hoping to see you there soon, Ashley, you & your LO deserve sleep!
      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  7. Stella Daniel

    Hello! I think my 11 month old is going through something but it’s different than what you’ve described. He’s always been great sleeper, falling asleep independently and sleeping through the night since 3.5 months old. He has never skipped a nap in his life! However, he has always needed both longer awake times and longer naps than average. Since 8 months old he’s been on two naps with wake windows 3 – 3:30 – 4:00. It worked well until around 10.5 months he started resisting bed time and taking 20-30 minutes to fall asleep. Additionally, he started demanding a very long 1st nap (2 h. at least) and when I wake him up so he doesn’t have an absurdly short second nap, he is always in a bad mood that continues always until his second nap. Once I thought: what’s gonna happen if I just let him sleep and see how it goes? He slept 2h 45 mins, woke up happy and well rested…so I decided to forsake nap 2 for that day and put him to bed 6 hours later. I expected a night from hell, instead he slept 12 hours straight! Ever since I let the first nap determine the rest of the day. He somehow seems much happier and falls asleep within five minutes. If he happens to make a “short” 1st nap (around 1.5 hours), then it’s two naps with 3:15 – 3:45 – 4:30 because he simply refuses to fall asleep earlier, routine and all. Please tell me, is this very strange and should I do something differently? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Artemis

      Hi, Stella!

      It sounds like your little one’s nap situation is unique, indeed! However, almost all 11 month old’s we’ve helped only nap well on 1 nap for the first few days, and then they start resisting that nap, TOO. Needless to say it’s harder to get back to 2 naps again at that point.

      Since there are a lot of details involved with naps, we’d be happy to take a closer look at your situation & your little one’s sleep back on track in our program if you’re interested, we have a New Year’s sale now which gives you 15% off when you use the coupon code ‘2022’!

      Here is our nap program:
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/naps-getting-downtime-in-the-daytime/

      Hoping to see you in there!
      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  8. Mimi

    My 11 month old keeps waking up at every night, I would say every 2 hours for like 3 weeks now. She takes the pacifier all night and just grunts every two hours and we feed her milk she barely drinks it and stops the grunting and then repeats again. I’m so exhausted I don’t know what it is

    Reply
    • Artemis

      Hi Mimi,

      sorry to hear your 11 month old has been waking up so often at night. You must be completely exhausted!

      Good news: we’re having a MAJOR Black Friday discount. If you’ve been considering sleep training, now is the time. We can help you get your baby sleeping through the night!

      Here is the link:
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/baby-sleep-consultant

      Hoping to see you in the program so you guys can get the rest you deserve.
      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  9. Tracy

    My almost 12 month old seems to be going through this now. She was putting herself for all naps and at bedtime with no issues just a couple of weeks ago and now is up at naps in her crib standing, sitting and babbling. She won’t put herself to slee at bedtime anymore and screams about five minutes after we leave the room and takes very long to settle when we come back in. She also has woken up in the night here and there (which she has not done ever since 7 weeks old). All the advice I find is not helpful because it focuses on teaching her to learn to go to sleep independently, however, she already has this skill. What I don’t know is should I leave her at naps even she she isn’t sleeping or go into the room and help her sleep. At night, we try our best to get her to sleep in her crib with our help, but it is taking hours sometimes. Any advice on what to do right now would be extremely helpful.

    Reply
    • Artemis

      I’m so sorry to hear this!

      Seems like your LO needs to be re-trained for night time and naps. Either go back to whatever steps you followed the first time you sleep trained her, or join us in 21 Days to Peace and Quiet. We help tired parents get their babies sleeping through the night every single day! We would love to see you in the program. You could start right away and have a baby who sleeps through the night within a few days or 3 weeks at most!

      Here is the link to join:
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/baby-sleep-consultant

      Hope to see you in the program soon, Tracy!
      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  10. Maya

    Hi, thank you so much for your great advice, it really helps a lot! 🙂
    I have a question about my daughter, she will be 11 months in 10 days. She has never slept through the night and was always a bad sleeper, but reacently it became a lot worse. She naps for only 10 minutes and then scream until I come and get her. She falls asleep independently in her crib, we have a sleep routine before that.
    She falls asleep upset, but fairly quickly and wakes up screaming 10 minutes later. If I leave her in the room she screams for an hour until I come and get her.
    She is so tired all the time, rubbing her eyes and being fussy. I really don’t know what to do, she only sleeps 30 minutes max a day! She also wakes up at night too and nurses 3 time at least, and that has been going for a really long time. She has been a bad napper for months, only taking 30 minute naps, but this is horrible! Please help!

    I

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Maya,

      I am sorry to hear that things have been so tough. I think that working on night sleep first is the best place to start. We really want to get her sleeping through the night and that can also help with naps!

      If you prefer more details and a step-by-step guide to get your LO sleeping through the night, then I highly recommend our program, 21 Days to Peace & Quiet.

      In this program we offer 4 step-by-step sleep training methods. You choose the one that feels best for your LO. We have super gentle & gradual all the way to quick & efficient.

      Each step of the way you get advice based on your baby’s developmental stage, energy levels, and temperament.

      You can find out more info on the program here: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      Sleep Training Methods Explained:
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/sleep-training-methods-baby-toddler

      When you are 100% consistent in following the steps of the program, your baby will be sleeping amazingly within 1-3 weeks. It depends on the method you choose as well as your baby’s adaptability. But we cover all of this in the program!

      Happy to answer any questions you have.
      Have a great day!
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply

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