Baby Schedules 101

One important part of setting your baby up for sleep success is making sure they are on an appropriate schedule. So many moms I talk to keep their baby awake too long in between naps and before bedtime. What ends up happening is that the overtired baby ends up sleeping worse, taking short naps, and waking frequently in the night.

I created a guide to help you determine an age-appropriate schedule for your baby during his first year of life. Remember all babies are different and some may not fit into this schedule perfectly. The important thing to look at is the amount of wake time in-between naps and nights, not necessarily the time on the clock. Some babies may take a longer or shorter nap than I write.  That is fine, look a the time I recommend for your baby to be awake in between naps and use that as your guide for when the next nap or bedtime should happen.   I am not including meals or nursing in my schedules, try feeding upon waking from sleep instead of feeding to fall asleep

 

Under 4 months

At this point your baby is probably taking 4 naps a day, he should be sleeping A LOT! Babies this age should be going down for bed every 1 -1.5 hours. Your baby is probably also waking for 2 nighttime feedings each night.

  • 7:00 – Wake for the day
  • 8:15- 9:45 – Nap 1
  • 11:15 – 12:15 – Nap 2
  • 1:45 – 2:45 – Nap 3
  • 4:15 – 5:00 – Nap 4   (This may be a short cat-nap)
  • 6:00 – Start bedtime routine
  • 6:45 – Bedtime (baby to be asleep by)

 

5 – 6 Months

At 5 months you want to start working on dropping that 4th nap. This should be a pretty easy transition. You will find as your baby can handle more awake time during the day there isn’t time for that 4th nap. Once you drop the 4th nap you will need to pull bedtime earlier to make up for the lost daytime sleep.

  • 6:30 – Wake for the day
  • 8:15 -9:45 – Nap 1
  • 11:45 – 1:15 – Nap 2
  • 3:15 – 3:45 – Nap 3
  • 5:45- Start bedtime routine
  • 6:30 – Bedtime (baby to be asleep by)

 

7- Months

Try to hold on to the 3rd nap as long as possible. Most babies drop this nap around 8 months, if you drop it too early you may end up with an overtired baby. If you are struggling to fit in all 3 naps you may need to cap some of his naps to allow the 3rd nap to end by 5 pm.

At 7 months you should be down to 0 -1 night-feedings. If you have more than this you probably have a sleep association on your hands!

  • 6:30 – Wake for the day
  • 8:30 – 10:30 – Nap 1
  • 12:45 – 2:15 – Nap 2
  • 4:30 – 5:00 – Nap 3 (Try to have this nap finished by 5 pm)
  • 6:45- Start bedtime routine
  • 7:30 – Bedtime (baby to be asleep by)

 

8 Months

Around 8 months you are going to start the transition to 2 naps. The schedule I am listing below is after this transition. During the transition you may have some days with 3 naps and some days with 2 naps. Try to slowly stretch the wake times until you are comfortable on 2 naps every day.

  • 6:30 – Wake for the day
  • 9:30 – 11:00 – Nap 1
  • 2:15 – 3:45 – Nap 2
  • 6:30 – Start bedtime routine
  • 7:15 –Bedtime (baby to be asleep by)

 

9 – 11 Months

By now you should be settled into a 2 nap schedule. If you try to hold on to 3 naps too long you will probably end up with a middle of the night waking and/or early wakeups. Your baby is probably not waking to eat at night anymore. Some parents may wish to keep a night feeding at this point and that is fine, but if you find your baby waking more than once you probably have a sleep association on your hands.

  • 6:30 – Wake for day
  • 9:30 – 11:00 – Nap 1
  • 2:30 – 4:00 – Nap 2
  • 6:45 – Start bedtime routine
  • 7:30 – Bedtime (baby to be asleep by)

 

12 – 15 Months

Most babies hold on to 2 naps until at least 15 months, many until 18 months. Again try not to drop that 2nd nap too early or you are going to end up with an overtired baby. If you are in daycare and they transition your baby to 1 nap you can always keep 2 naps on the weekends in hopes of making up lost sleep. Most babies should be sleeping through the night at this age. If you are struggling with nighttime wakeups read my article 5 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night.

  • 6:30 – Wake for day
  • 9:45-11:45 – Nap 1
  • 3:15 – 4:00 – Nap 2
  • 6:45 – Start bedtime routine
  • 7:30 – Bedtime (baby to be asleep by)

 

Remember every baby is unique in his sleep needs, your baby may wake a little earlier or a little later.   Use these schedules as a guide but keep an eye on your baby as well. When you start to see sleepy signs it is time for him to sleep. Sleep begets sleep, the better your baby sleeps during the day, the better he will sleep at night.

If you are still struggling with sleep please be sure to reach out to me. I can create a customized plan to meet the needs of your unique family!

amelia@nighttimedreamers.com

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