What Kind of Schedule Should My Baby Be On?

 

In my life as a Sleep Consultant and as a mother, I see most mothers fall into two categories: The Schedulers and The Non-Schedulers.

The Schedulers have their baby eating at the same times each day and put their baby down for naps at the same time each day. The Non-Schedulers generally prefer to either nurse-on-demand or offer their baby a bottle more generally and generously throughout the day, whenever baby seems to be fussy. Naps are generally more random and can span a wide range of times each day. While Schedulers expect their babies to take cues from the clock, Non-Schedulers aim to take cues from their babies.

There’s no right or wrong.

In my experience, I’ve seen that babies who are on a set schedule every day go down much more easily for their naps, take longer naps and start sleeping much longer stretches during the night without any formal training. In fact, I see the setting of a proper day schedule as the foundation to getting longer stretches at night!

Here are some general schedules you can follow to start setting your baby up on a predictable daytime schedule. They are all based on a 7:00am wakeup time, so if your baby wakes at a different time, you can shift the timing according to your baby’s wakeup time. Keep in mind that you should always put your baby in for a nap after he has eaten. It’s not fair to expect him to fall asleep hungry.

 

0-3 months = 4 naps or more

It’s hard to set a solid schedule before 8 weeks. For the first 6-8 weeks, focus on putting your baby down for a nap every 45 minutes to an hour. Making sure your baby doesn’t sleep more than 2 hours straight during the day will go a long way towards having her sleep longer stretches at night. Read more about that here.

4-7 months = 3 naps

7:00 am Wakeup

9:00 am Nap 1

12:00pm Nap 2

3:00pm Nap 3

7:00 bedtime

8-15 months =  2 naps

7:00 am Wakeup

9:00 am Nap 1

1:00 pm Nap 2

7:00 pm bedtime

15-18 months and up =  1 nap

7:00 am Wakeup

1:00 pm Nap

7:00 pm bedtime

Some babies (like my own) need two solid naps every single day until their second birthday. Other babies are ready to drop down to one nap one their first birthday! Most babies fall somewhere in the middle, at around 14-18 months. If your baby stops sleeping well at night or starts waking up early in the morning, it’s a possible sign that she’s ready to drop a nap.

Putting your baby down for naps at the same time each day and remaining consistent with your schedule will go a long, long way towards helping your baby fall asleep more easily at naptime. You can teach your baby to set her internal clock to fall asleep at those times, with consistency, stamina and a whole lot of patience!

By | 2019-09-17T10:32:38-04:00 January 16th, 2019|Categories: Sleep Training|0 Comments

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