Not yet a toddler, not yet a baby—at 11 months old, your baby is teetering right on the edge of toddlerhood, yet you're probably holding on to that sweet babyhood with all that you have. We don't blame you there, mama, and the good news is that your baby will always be your baby.
But if your baby is giving you a run for your money in the sleep department, we've got some tips and tricks to help your soon-to-be one-year-old snooze a little better.
How much sleep does an 11-month-old baby need?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, babies under the age of 12 month need 12-16 hours of sleep per 24 hours. After one, that sleep requirement drops down to 11-14 hours of sleep, so there can definitely be some variance at this age. In general, you can count on your baby needing at least somewhere between 12-13 hours of sleep.
The reason that there can be a lot of differences in how much sleep babies will need at this stage is because of the enormous amount of changes babies are going through at 11 months old.
Related: Baby Feeding Guides & Schedules
"At this stage, your baby is going through a lot developmentally and is likely starting to show signs of trying to walk, increased verbal communication, and increased interest in foods," explains Rachel Mitchell, a certified pediatric and maternal sleep consultant and founder of My Sweet Sleeper. "All of these things can start to affect sleep, although not always in a negative way."
You and your baby may have settled into a good sleep routine by now, but if you need a refresher—or reassurance that you're on the right track, Mitchell provides an example of what an 11-month-old baby sleep schedule should look like:
11-month-old baby sleep schedule
One of the most important things that parents should be aware of when it comes to an 11-month-old baby and sleep, says Mitchell, is that sleep disturbances could actually be a sign that your baby is overtired.
"If you notice your baby is taking short naps or waking frequently at night, this can actually be a sign that they are overtired or struggling to self-soothe," she explains. "If this is happening, I recommend you go back to the foundations of sleep and ensure that you are meeting your baby where they are developmentally."
Wake windows for an 11 month old
According to Mitchell, your baby's sleep needs are similar to 10 months with awake windows ranging from 2.5 to 4 hours. And as you might notice, there's a pretty big difference between 2.5 hours and 4 hours, which means it's important for you to try to learn your baby's sleep cues so you can time their wake windows appropriately.
"It is continually important to pay attention to your baby's sleepy cues and make sure that you're following awake windows that work well for your baby," she suggests.
Related: 11-month-old baby milestones
Sleepy cues can include:
- Rubbing their eyes
- No longer wanting to "play"
- Appearing to stare off into space
- Red around the eyes
- Looking tired
- Not really showing interest in activities
- Increased irritability and fussiness
Sleep tips for babies
As Mitchell pointed out, it might be tempting to add in a lot of new activities to your baby's schedule as they get older, but it's still really important to realize that even an 11-month-old can't tolerate being awake for extended periods of time.
Try your best to stick to a schedule that allows for regular nap times in your baby's own crib (stroller naps and car seat naps aren't giving them the high-quality sleep they need) and focus on sleep routines that are predictable. Even if doing the same things, like reading the same book every day at nap time, seems boring, it's teaching your baby's brain that it's time to sleep—and that's a beautiful thing.
A version of this story was published September 15, 2021. It has been updated.