SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Babies at 6 to 12 months are beginning to know the difference between night and day. They may not need to wake up as much at night because night feeds will have reduced.
- At this age, most babies sleep 10-14 hours in a 24-hour period. Their longest sleep period tends to be at night.
- By 6 to 12 months, babies can become upset if you leave the room. They know you are the one who cares for them and keeps them safe.
- From 6 to 12 months, your baby may have 2 daytime naps for 1 to 2 hours, but don’t worry if they aren’t as each baby is different and sleeping patterns vary a lot.
On this page
In your language: For translated fact sheets go to Information in community languages.
Baby sleep patterns and behaviours (6 to 12 months)
From about the age of 6 months, your baby’s sleep patterns gradually become more developed.
They begin to recognise the difference between day and night.
As they are learning to self-settle and go back to sleep on their own, they may not wake up as much.
Most babies sleep 10–14 hours in a 24-hour period.
Every child is different, so don’t worry too much if your child has different sleep patterns to those described here.
If you are concerned about your child, contact your local maternal and child nurse, your doctor or the Maternal and Child Health Line on Tel. 13 22 29.
Sleep rhythms at 6 to 12 months
From 6 to 12 months, babies tend to sleep for the longest period at night.
They may start to nap only about twice a day for 1 to 2 hours. Daytime napping is still important for the healthy development of your baby.
All babies are different, and your baby may sleep more or less.
Separation and your baby at 6 to 12 months
From 6 to 12 months, babies can become upset if you leave the room, even if it is for a short period of time. This is because they associate you as the person that cares for them and keeps them safe. This is known as person permanence. This is normal and does not mean that you can’t leave the room.
If your baby wants to stay close to you at all times and cries when they are separated from you, we sometimes call this separation anxiety.
This means it might take longer for babies to fall asleep.
More information about anxiety in children can be found in Child health 0-6.
Settling at 6 to 12 months
The number of times your 6 to 12-month-old baby wakes up during the night may temporarily increase.
You can help your baby settle by:
- recognising and responding to tired signs
- using positive and consistent bedtime routines
- parental presence – using your presence as a safety signal to reduce your baby's anxiety by sleeping in their room
- camping out – by staying in their room until they fall asleep then leaving
- responding to your baby’s comfort needs while helping them settle and sleep – responsive settling.
There are a few different strategies you can use to help your baby sleep and settle. By 6 months, you will begin to recognise their signs and cues.
Every baby and family is different, and it is up to you to decide which strategy you are comfortable with and what works for you and your baby.
To learn more about each of the things in this list, see:
- Preventing sleep concerns (8) – babies 6 to 12 months
- Solutions to sleep concerns (11) – babies 6 to 12 months.
If you are worried about your baby’s sleep and settling, track your baby’s sleep for a week or so. This can give you a clear idea of what might be going on.
If you are still concerned after you have tried different approaches for 1 to 2 weeks, talk to your family’s maternal and child health nurse, call the Maternal and Child Health Line on Tel. 13 22 29 or see your doctor.
Information in community languages
This fact sheet is available for download in the following community languages:
Maternal and child health nurse visits are important
Victorian parents have free access to the Maternal and Child Health Service, which is a great support after your baby is born.
Specially trained maternal and child health will work with your family to help you care for your child until they are ready to start school.
As part of this service, you will visit a maternal and child health nurse in your local area at 10 key ages and stages in your child’s development. These visits are important because they you an opportunity to identify and address any issues and concerns early in your child’s development.
Visits take place:
- following discharge from hospital (home visit)
- 2 weeks
- 4 weeks
- 8 weeks
- 4 months
- 8 months
- 1 year
- 18 months
- 2 years
- 3 and a half years.
Families can access the service at other times by telephone or through a centre visit.
Where to get help
- Your local maternal and child health service
- Your GP (doctor)
- Maternal and Child Health Line Tel. 13 22 29 – available 24 hours a day for the cost of a local call throughout Victoria
- Mercy Health O’Connell Family Centre Tel. (03) 8416 7600
- Queen Elizabeth Centre (QEC) Tel. (03) 9549 2777
- Tweddle Child and Family Health Service Tel. (03) 9689 1577
- Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) Tel. 03 9419 3000
- Parentline Tel. 13 22 89
- Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) Tel. 131 450 (24 hours, 7 days) – available for callers who speak other languages
- National Relay Service (24 hours, 7 days) – Speak and listen Tel. 1300 555 727, TTY Tel. 133 677, SMS relay Tel. 0423 677 767. Captioned, internet and video relay calls are also available through this service.
- NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. 1300 60 60 24 – for expert health advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Sleep and settling for early childhood – factsheet 3: typical sleep behaviour: babies 6 to 12 months, Department of Health, Victoria.
- Sleep and settling for early childhood – factsheet 8: preventing sleep concerns: babies 6 to 12 months, Department of Health, Victoria.
- Sleep and settling for early childhood – factsheet 11: solutions to sleep concerns: babies 6 to 12 months, Department of Health, Victoria.
- Sleep and settling for early childhood – factsheet 14: Self-care and support for parents and caregivers, Department of Health, Victoria.
- Sleep and settling, Department of Health, Victoria.
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