20 Ways to Help a One Year Old Who Won’t Sleep Through The Night

Updated: This post has been updated several times in the last few months because it seems to be information that is needed right now! You are not alone because many parents are asking why my one year old won’t sleep through the night. We asked our Facebook community to share their tips for helping a toddler sleep through the night to give some additional information on solutions that parents can try to help a baby sleep restfully. We think our readers will find this info really helpful because the best advice often comes from moms who have been there and found a solution that works for their family.

If your one year old won’t sleep through the night — we are here to help!  

one year old baby won't sleep through the night, awake in crib waiting for mother
When your 1 year old baby wakes up during the night, it’s important to figure out what is causing the sleep problem!

Helping Baby Sleep Through the Night

We have been there and helping your baby sleep through the night  is a goal that we are going to try to help you reach!

First, a basic question that puts all this in perspective…

When do Babies sleep through the night?

What the Baby Experts Say…

In general, baby experts will give the milestone of babies sleeping through the night at 4-6 months. Much of this wisdom is based on the ability of a 4-6 month old baby to have a full night’s sleep without needing a feeding.

What Moms Say…

Moms are going to give you different ranges based on their experience and the crazy thing is that each baby will be very different. Two of my babies slept through the night at between 2-3 months and the other one didn’t let me have a full nights sleep until 7 months.

Do not worry if your baby doesn’t fall within the sleeping through the night at 6 months, that is really common which is why we have these ideas to help…

What age does a baby sleep through the night?  Baby shown with eyes open but tired.
Sleep, baby, sleep!

Things to Try When Your One Year Old Baby Won’t Sleep Through The Night

Every parent has an idea of what might work, so we joined all of those ideas together for you!  I’m sure that you will find something that can work for you & your family.

1. Put Baby to Bed Earlier

Move bedtime UP.   Yes, it is crazy, I know, but try it.  

Sometimes kids are overtired and they tend to have a harder time going to sleep and staying asleep.

Give it a full week of trying this.  Even just 30 minutes sooner could be all that you need. This is something that worked for my kids. I felt a little crazy because their bedtime was extremely early, but it worked like a charm.

I think they needed more sleep than I originally thought.

2. Feed a Banana before Bedtime

Try feeding them a banana before bed!  It can help them sleep.  Try it!

Or mix it with oatmeal:  a warm snack, like banana oatmeal, before bed, is always a good trick.

3. Start Bedtime Routine Earlier

Start the bedtime routine sooner, but read a little longer.  Have more “relaxing” time before bed might be all that you need to calm your child down enough to fall asleep.

Have some relaxing fun with this finding quiet activities you can include into your routine.

4. Try Dream-feeding Your Baby

Is your baby still taking a bottle?  

Try Dream-feeding your baby.  This is where you will put a bottle to their lips, as you cuddle them.  Let them drink, half-asleep, and then lay them back down gently when they are done.   You have’t fully woken them, but you have filled their little tummies and have switched the time of their REM sleep just a bit.   (Do not leave the bottle in the room, for safety reasons).

5. Get Serious About a Bedtime Routine

Have a nightly routine: bath time, lavender lotion, snack, bottle or a warm cup of milk, then bed.

This was one of the most valuable things that helped change things in my house. Every night we did exactly the same thing which included the exact same bedtime book.

Yep, we can all still recite that book from memory!

6. Change from Milk to Water at Night

If your pediatrician gives the OK (after 12 months), you may want to switch to water when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, instead of milk.  

Many babies dislike this and will start sleeping through the night, as there is not quite the desire  to wake up if you are just getting water.

7. Try a Hug Instead of a Bottle

You could even try just snuggling or giving a little hug, instead of offering anything to drink (if you are offering a bottle).

How to get 1 year old baby to sleep through the night - sleeping one year old laying on a mattress
Sleep, baby, sleep!

“It is perfectly normal for a child to wake during the night… all in all, you are blessed.  Enjoy your baby.”

~Renee Redekop

8. Try a Later Bedtime

Do the opposite of #1 and try putting them to bed 30 minutes later, if they have a very early bedtime.  

I always tend to try the earlier bedtime first, as I think that being overtired leads to difficulty falling asleep and sleeping, but if this doesn’t work, try the opposite.   (7:00 – 7:30  is a good bedtime to aim for at this age, depending on how early they wake up).

9. Stand Back & Analyze

Is she trying to walk or do something new?  

Remember that this almost always causes sleep disturbances.  She may be burning more calories throughout the day, or wanting to stay up and ‘practice’ the new skill.

10. Change Afternoon/Evening Feeding Schedule

Add an extra feeding in the evening or late afternoon.

11. Check for Ear Aches

Be sure that it isn’t your child’s ears that are bothering them.  

Ear pain typically hurts more when the child is lying down, so many kids will start to wake up if they have an ear infection or if they are teething.

12. Daylight Only During Day

Try being aware of when your 1 year old is being exposed to daylight and dark and sync that with their sleeping schedule. During the day, try to expose them to natural light and then have them sleep in a dark room.

Because my kids always seemed to go to bed before it got dark, black out shades on the windows were really helpful!

Getting 1 year old to sleep through the night - sleeping baby with happy look on face
Sleep, baby, sleep!

Remember that this will end, soon enough. “Our job as parents isn’t to make them adults as soon as possible, but to help them grow and thrive.  This, too, shall pass.  Take turns with dad, if you can, getting up with her.  Hang in there!”

~ Erin Rutledge

13. Cut Back on Naptime

Cut back on nap time.  

If your child naps for two hours, cut it back to 90 minutes or even just an hour.

This is one of those “last resort” type ideas…most of the time kids need more sleep, not less!

14. Add More Playtime Outside

Add more outdoor playtime during the day.  

Kick the ball around, go on a scavenger hunt, play on a trampoline… whatever it is, let them burn that energy during the day, so they are ready for bed at night.

15. Try to Wait and See…

Wait to see if she goes back to bed after she wakes up.  Give her 5 minutes or so.  Many babies wake just a bit as they move into REM sleep.

16. Growth Spurt & Sleep Patterns

Remember that it could be a growth spurt and it will pass.

17. Alter Feeding Amount at Night

Babies rarely need nighttime feedings at this age.   It may be out of habit.  Try reducing the bottle by an ounce a day.

18. Try a Night Light

Try a night light.  It is around this age that they start to notice how dark their room really looks.

1 year old laying in crib awake - trying to get baby to sleep through the night
Parents can be frustrated when their toddler’s sleep schedule becomes erratic. Try to establish a bedtime routine that helps calm your child to ensure they sleep through the night.

19. Sleep Training…for You

Check out the Coos to Snooze ecourse – it is a brilliant system designed to get your baby sleeping and what’s more, if it doesn’t get your baby to sleep, you get your money back.

20. Give Yourself a Break and Take a Deep Breath

All in all, every child is different, as is every parent.  There are so many great ideas, from parents who have tried them, but you will need to find what is best for you and your child.   If the waking doesn’t bother you, maybe you can think of it as your one-on-one time.  

If you are ready to sleep through the night, try out some of these suggestions and see what works.

We’d love for you to share your experiences in the comments below to help other parents who have a 1 year still not sleeping through the night…