Example of a Daily Routine for a 6-9 Month Old ~ Ask Heather!

What a Good Baby Routine Looks Like for a 6 to 9 Month Old - http://incredibleinfant.com

Do you ever just wish you could just ask someone a simple question and…

Poof!

…get the exact answer you needed, sans the  opinionated mumbo jumbo?

Starting right now

Wait…

NOW

…I’m launching a special “Ask Heather!” segment on Incredible Infant.

I will take one of  my beloved subscriber’s questions and lift it up (kinda like Simba) and display it for the entire of  central Africa cyberspace to read.

The lucky reader this month is……..

*rolling the bingo ball cage*

Lida!

Lida wanted see the daily rhythm for her baby’s age group (6-9 month olds).

Since I live to serve (and drink coffee), I boldly poured a  massive cup of God’s Favorite Bean (sorry, cocoa) and dug up this answer.

This article is a sibling to two other scheduling posts I’ve written.  One is for newborns and the other is for 2-3 month olds.

The Funny Thing About a Baby Schedule…

They are incredibly unreliable.

As in, Continental Airlines unreliable.  The one thing you can count on is that your baby is going to be late for 50% , early for 25%, and skip the other 25% altogether.

So why in the #%!@$! should you follow this schedule in the first place?

Because, although your baby may not follow the exact time schedule, the routine is essential.

Babies need predictability. 

She will be happier, healthier, and more rested when you create a predictable routine.

This means, for the time being, your daily schedule of tasks and errands needs to be structured around your baby’s waking/sleeping patterns, and NOT the other way around.  (This “baby’s schedule is first” theme isn’t forever, don’t worry.)

The more predictable your baby’s day, with a steady rhythm of sleeping and eating, the better everyone’s sleeping at night.

Oh, and btw, if your baby snacks all day, she’s going to snack all night too.

Notice the pattern in the routine below, and then use your baby’s cues to recreate your own daily rhythm.

Sample Daily Routine for a 6 to 9 Month Old http://incredibleinfant.com

Download a printable copy here.

How To Adjust This Routine

If your baby doesn’t follow this exact pattern (which is highly likely), the best way to adjust this is to look at the pattern and then rely on your baby’s cues to tell you when to move to the next activity.

For example, after waking in the morning, the rest of the day will follow this pattern:

  • Eat
  • Play
  • Sleep

So on, and so forth, until the end of the day, when you go directly from eating to sleeping.

Try your best to keep bedtime between 7pm and 8pm.  If she finishes her last nap in the afternoon, she’s going to be pretty tired by 7-8.  If you wait longer, she will get overtired and you’ll have a hard time getting her down, and keep her sleeping all night through.

Your Turn

What does your baby’s daily routine look like?

Comments

  1. This is EXACTLY how our 7 month old daughter does her day, aside from when she is at school (daycare). Even the times line up the EXACT same and we have a GREAT sleeper. In bed asleep by 7 and awake at 7 with no night wakings. It is amazing. Thank you Heather for helping to reinforce what my husband and I have been trying to do for a long time with maintaining a routine/schedule for our little Nola bean.
    I love getting your emails they have such great information and help to ease my worries…first time patents over here. You were the one who helped us to find a formula that actually worked for our daughter, after trying every brand and type available on the market except Gerber, who knew??

    • Oh Amanda! I’m so glad to hear this! I’m also glad you were able to find your baby’s perfect formula. Makes a big difference! Thanks for subscribing, Amanda! (HUGS!) 🙂

      • RACHAEL RAMKISSOON says:

        HI HEATHER I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE MY 6 MONTH BABY GIVES A  HARD TIME TO SLEEP.

      • Jenny Blake says:

        Hello Rachael!

        Sleep is so important and we want that for you. We can definitely help you. Amy Potts is our Gentle Sleep Coach Extraordinaire and she has helped many families and their little ones get into a better pattern of sleep that benefits everyone. Look at what we have to offer and we would LOVE to get your little one sleeping as soon as possible. You could meet with Amy as soon as next week if you needed to. We’d need to get more information in order to best help your situation. Thanks so much, Rachael. Here is the link: http://incredibleinfant.com/go/super-sleeper-sp

  2. Wow this is hard for me to believe. 12 hrs of sleep. That’s amazing. My baby is 3 months hope he’ll sleep like this at 6 months lol

  3. Wow I only wish my 7 mo old was on this schedule!! She almost is actually; however she nurses to sleep and then does not nurse again till its nap time, then nurses to sleep again. When she is at daycare or with dad same thing she bottles then falls asleep. She NEVER sleeps for more than 40 min at a time during the day. She does want to go to bed at 7:30 but when I’m working daddy keeps her up because I don’t get home till 8pm, then she nurses to sleep and will sleep till 7am to 8am. so the problem is nursing to sleep which I don’t mind so much except that its not the right pattern and I can’t get her to change. She will NOT go to sleep without eating! Any suggestions??

    • BTW I work 3 days a week 12 hour days can’t be adjusted.

      • Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West is the book that helped us. We just did the “Sleep Lady Shuffle” to help our 7 month old son stop drinking himself to sleep. It was a rough couple of days/nights, but we never left him to cry alone (not part of the “shuffle” plan) and because he is still so young I think, the habit was easier to break. We didn’t break the habit with his older sister until she was over a year old and it was much more difficult and took longer. You can do it! Both you and hubby have to be on board and working together so you both know what to do to help baby. Good luck! I think Heather has an interview from the book’s author, Kim West, on the website somewhere so you can start with that. We are in the same boat, I feel your pain!

      • I totally agree with Jenny. Great advice! 🙂

  4. I’m pretty sure you’re my favorite…like, ever.

    Yeah, pretty sure.

    My favorite.

    • Dear Complete Stranger (whom I may or may not be married to)

      Leaving love notes on the blog.

      Smart strategy. 🙂

      Will it pay off?

      WE SHALL SEE. (but a box of truffles and roses wouldn’t hurt the cause…)

  5. Priya Patel says:

    Hey heather ,

    I am so happy I came across your website…. Your info on formulas helped us make the right choice for our baby!! She was diagnosed with silent reflux at 2 months and still struggles with it during naps and nighttime sleep. She is 6 months now. She never naps more than 40 minutes and would wake up twice for a nighttime feed and is up at 5 generally when her reflux really kicks in and I bring her into bed with me at that time. The past two days she has been waking up every hour or two and it has just been exhausting. Would you recommend sleep training her or should I just wait the reflux to get better before even trying to sleep train her……

    • I’m so happy to hear that Priya! (About the formula, I mean.) At six months, reflux is usually starting to wane as babies start eating solid foods. (Has she started solids? That may be a good thing to try.) I don’t think it’s too early to do some sleep coaching…but your expectations should be very small at the beginning. Try to extend the time it takes for you to feed her after waking for 5 minutes at first. Make SURE she has as full a tummy as you can get her at the end of the day. The more full her stomach, the more confident you can be during the evening that she’s waking out of habit and not out of hunger.

      When she eats, is she polishing off a whole bottle? Or just an ounce or two? If it’s just an ounce, than she’s feeding-to-soothe, and not because she’s really hungry. This means that she’s ready to start learning how to sleep without waking to eat. This article on the sleep shuffle explains how to stop those nighttime feedings in a gentle way. It may take her longer, so be patient, and set small goals so at the end of a few days you can see improvement. It won’t always be this way Priya! Every night try TRY again, and eventually you’ll see that you’re further up the Sleep Mountain than you thought. 🙂

      • Priya Patel says:

        Hey heather,

        Your article on sleeping through the night is great!! I did notice that you say that we need to have her reflux under control before sleep training and I will try and focus on that. Yes we did start solids but she still seems uncomfortable at sleep times. She drinks a whole bottle at the 1.30 feed but not at the 4.30 am feed. So for now maybe I will work on bringing it down to one feed in the middle of the night. Thank you so much for you encouragement!! Hopefully baby and I will be sleeping through the night in a couple of months….. Fingers crossed and ebbing positive…

      • That’s a good plan Priya! Little steps! Hang in there! (hugs)

  6. This will help me greatly,Thank you. I do have a question though. What is the best thing to do if baby wakes up in the middle of night? Do I feed her,soothe her or cio? I am so confused about this.

    • Great question Nicole! Use the steps of the Sleep Shuffle at night. It will give her the assurance you are there, and the encouragement to learn how to put herself back to sleep.

    • Hi Nicole! I’m only answering because we recently went through a spurt with my 7 month old was waking up 6-8 times a night, waking us up too! I always made sure he refused food when he went to bed, but none of our methods worked.

      At first I would answer every call he made until 4 months old. From 4-6 months I tried the Ferber Method AND Heather’s method of the Sleep Shuffle. He wouldn’t have any of it.

      Finally, a friend recommended “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”. I went directly to my baby’s age group and read that I should pick 2 times to feed him during the night and those were the only times I was to go in his room. No pacifier replacements no soothing.

      You have to understand being sleep deprived for 7 months was starting to take a toll on my marriage and my relationship with my baby. I never wanted to use crying it out as a method to get my baby to sleep, but I was at my wits end and it has been the only thing that’s worked.

      He’s been sleeping through the night since I started letting him cry and put himself back to sleep three weeks ago.

  7. We tried this routine for 3 weeks. My 4 month old wouldn’t stick to it because his naps were WAY too short (1 hour max) and he’d only stay awake for an hour. So I was changing his diaper and feeding him each time he woke up. That’s a lot of diapers and unfinished bottles.

    At 6 months old we set specific feeding times, but kept the same general routine since he could stay awake longer. He gets his bum changed every time he wakes up, eats at 7am (bottle), 9am (solids), 12pm (solids), 3pm (bottle), 6pm (solids) and 7pm (last bottle), and naps about an hour after he eats (4, 1 hour naps). Right now it’s working for us, but I still wish he’d take longer naps!

    For this routine to work for us, we had to wait for him to be able to stay awake longer between naps.

    • Natascha,Thank you for sharing your experience.I am glad it is working for you.My daughter will be 6 months on the 22nd of this month.She wakes up twice during the night.I will usually give her the pacifier but if that doesnt work then she gets the bottle.Then she is burped and changed.Most of the time she falls asleep after.She also lays in the bed with my husband and I.She wakes up more often in her crib and we need sleep so we started to place her in the bed with us.This has become very exhausting.I did place her back in the crib last night where she slept for 4 hours.After that she was not having it.I placed her back in the crib where she squirmed,wiggled and moved for 25 mins straight.She was placed back in the bed with us.We will try again tonight but otherwise are not sure what else to do.

      • Nicole! I understand your pain! My baby slept in my arms for all naps until he was 5 months old. At night he had no problems sleeping in his bed because we always put him in there at night since he was born, but here is how I got him used to his bed in as little as four days for naps.

        Day 1: Rocked him to sleep in my arms. When he was completely asleep, I laid him down in his bed (can be tricky, he may wake up). If he woke up, I did it again, and again until I could sneak out.

        Day 2: I rocked him until his eyes were starting to close then put him down. If he woke up, I did it again and again until I could sneak out.

        Day 3: I followed his queue to tell me he was tired and immediately set him in his bed, staying next to the crib until he settled himself down. At this point, he usually fell asleep within a couple minutes.

        Day 4: All I had to do was put him down in his crib then leave. He put himself to sleep.

        I don’t know if this will work for you, but it did for my baby when he hated sleeping in his bed. Keep in mind as well, sometimes my baby has nightmares then REFUSES to sleep in his bed because he’s scared and I’ve had to do it all over again.

        In fact, I’ve had to sleep train him at least three times now with immunizations, teething, being sick, etc. It’s a lot of work, but pays off in the end! Good luck.

  8. Hi! Ever since our daughter was about 3 months old, we’ve discovered that she could only be awake about an hour and fifteen minutes before she got fussy so we would always put her down for a nap about that time. Well, now she is 7 months old and we’re still putting her down after about an hour and fifteen minutes of wake time, but I’m wanting to stretch her naps out a bit so we can get on more of a predictable schedule. Also, her naps are very short, like 30-45 minutes in the morning and will often sleep 1-2 hours in the afternoon. Any tips on how to get her on more of a predictable schedule and how to make her naps longer? Lastly, she always cries/whines for about 10 minutes or so when we put her down for a nap. Is this normal or is it because she’s over tired or the opposite, not tired yet? I’m stumped! Thanks so much!!!

    • Corrie, you could start stretching it by extending it by 10-15 minutes for several days. So tomorrow, instead of putting her down for every 1 hr 15 minutes, try extending it to 1 hour 25 minutes, or 1.5 hours (depending on the sleepy cues she’s sending out). As for the length, I’m wondering if that will improve once you’ve stretched her wake time. The schedule above is “typical” but not absolute, so see what happens if you begin to slowly adjust her wake time. The cry/whine thing is normal for some kids. That may also change with a little nap stretching. Test it out for a week and see how that changes everything else. (Hopefully for the better!) 🙂

      • Thanks!! So for the past week I’ve extended her wake time to 1.75-2 hours and I was hoping when I did that, it would help her sleep longer! Well, she is STILL only sleeping 35-45 minutes!! AHHH!! I’ve found that she doesn’t whine/cry long now, but I’m dying to get her sleeping longer! Any other suggestions?? Thanks so much!!

      • hmmmm…what a little puzzler! Okay…the key here is to respond fast enough that she doesn’t have time to get fully awake, but gently enough that you don’t stimulate her into thinking naptime is over. So…try going in there very quietly the second you get the “I’m waking” signal. Sit next to her crib (or if you’re doing the Shuffle, whichever position you were in the night before) and then sit with her, shushing, trying to give her a full hour to fall asleep again.

        Then, if you’ve been sitting next to her trying to get her to go back to sleep for an hour and she’s still not fallen back asleep, walk out and count to 60 (for a full minute) then walk in all smiles and open the window coverings and announce naptime “over”. Then watch her like a hawk for the next hour to see when she’s getting sleepy, putting her down again and doing this all over. So, mentally, just know that for the 3-4 days, most of your day is going to be spent working on the nap. I still think this is changeable. 🙂 We just have to find the right approach.

  9. Omg this has been awesome for us so far. This will be our fourth day using this routine and my 73/4 month old bubba girl has loved it. Taking the 2 naps ( previously would only do a morning nap ) and sleeping through the night!!! I’ll let you know if we continue to thrive on this 🙂 Where’s the 9 months onward schedule?? 😉

    • Louise, I’m so glad it’s been helpful! You are definitely right in that I need a 9-12 month schedule next. (And I don’t have the 4-5 month done yet, yikes!) I’m going to squeeze it into my February posting schedule. Thanks for the gentle reminder/nudge!

  10. Heather your routine us so good but my question is what if baby starts her day at 5.30 then should I wake her up till 9 am for nap. And another question what to do if naps are of 30 minutes. Oh so confused …. My baby routine varies everyday … Oh gosh

    • Just move the whole day up a bit, Kanchan! And if she only naps for 30 minutes, try to comfort her and see if she’ll go back to sleep, so that she’s been in “nap-mode” for an hour, then get her up and adjust the day accordingly, using her cues and the clock to help you catch her next “sleep window” and try again.

  11. Hi Heather,
    HELP! My 6 and half month old daughter wakes up every night at 3AM. She goes to bed around 7 – 7:30pm, and sleeps mostly well. But then at 3AM, she’s up and its party time! She is really awake, and playful. Not really hungry. We don’t play with her, keep lights off, and have tried to pat her and not pick her up. We tried that sleep shuffle thing and it doesn’t work. She won’t sleep until about 4:30AM or so. Its making me and my husband crazy…..
    Any thoughts?

    • Yvonne, I know this may sound strange, but one thing I’d look at is whether she is too tired when you put her down? Try to make sure she’s not any sleepier than a 7 on a 10 scale. It seems backwards, but I know of a few situations where the baby was waking up because she was being put down too drowsy. Once the parents starting putting them down a little more awake, that issue went away.

      Another thing you could try (it’s a gamble!), is to sneak in there at 2:30 and do a dreamfeed for a few nights. There’s a growth spurt at 6 months, so it’s possible that if you gave her a quick feeding at 2:30 you might be able to break the cycle. Go in and feed her, but with no lights, no music, no talking, nuthin. Unless she has a poopy diaper, don’t change her. You want her to sleep right through the feeding. After doing this for 2-3 days, see if she sleeps through the night. Just do it for 2-3 nights, though. You don’t want it to become an expectation! 🙂

  12. How many ounces do you give for each bottle? solids?

    My son is 6 months old, he eats 5 oz of breastmilk every 3 hours at daycare, along with 2 oz of solids after each feeding, and daycare is telling me he wants more milk… I don’t think I can pump any more and he refuses formula.

    Should I give more at each feeding and spread them out more?

    He also used to go to bed at 7 until a few days ago, now he’s up until 10 and waking up around 2, and then again around 4…

    • Laura, you could start adding solids to his diet, a few tablespoons a day. At this age, though, most of his calories should still come from breastmilk. Unfortunately, I’m not qualified to give you feeding advice. I would run that by your pediatrician and a lactation consultant.

      I will tell you, though, that there is a huge growth spurt at 6 months that will make babies more hungry than normal, causing them to wake more at night to feed. I would encourage you NOT to try to spread out these feedings, but instead feed him whenever he seems hungry. You may want to add a pumping session and feed when he wakes up at night for a few weeks. This is him signaling your body to make more milk, because he’ll need more milk as a 7 month old than he did at 5 months. If you limit the feedings now, you’ll risk having production issues later.

      So I would encourage you to do your best to ride this out for a week or two and then see where you’re standing at the other side. Things should go back to normal after that. 🙂

  13. Hi Heather,
    I am wondering about how to get my son’s bedtime later…yes later. He is 5 1/2 months old and for the life of me I can’t get him to stay awake past 5:00 or 5:30 PM (usually 5:00, 5:30 is pushing it). It doesn’t matter if he wakes up from his afternoon nap at 2:00 or 3:00 (napping is a whole other issue) he is still OUT at the same time, sometimes even as early as 4:45! I’ve tried forcing a later afternoon nap, around 3:30-4:00, but it rarely happens and always results in lots of fighting and tears. I put him down awake in his swing (non-moving, in his room and next to the crib- we’re working toward the crib) and he goes to sleep by himself without fussing in about 10-15 mins (thank goodness). He still wakes up twice to eat at night, sometimes he wakes up between feedings, sometimes he doesn’t. He is up and ready to party for the day by 5:00-5:30 AM. I’ve also tried making him stay in his room until 6 or 7 AM to see if he’ll just go back to sleep, but he just plays for a while and then fusses for me to come get him. His first morning nap ends up being around 7:00. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • Wow Lauren! You packed a lot into that little comment! 🙂 The non-fun answer is…I’m not sure. I would need to get a lot more information. (My assessment form is about 10 pages long when I work with sleep coaching clients. It’s amazing how many things can affect a baby’s sleep!)

      Without looking at all the details, I would encourage you to make sure he’s not getting too tired for his naps – which makes him too tired to go to bed later. Look for his sleep window to close between 2-2.5 hours after being awake. The schedule above is going to be too advanced for him. So perhaps start your napping pre-bedtime routine about 1.75 hours after he’s been awake, so he’s down to nap about 2 hours after waking – and then see where that gets you for a few days. I wish I could be more specific, but that’s the best I can do without looking at the whole picture!

  14. My five month old has just started following this schedule all on her own! Glad to hear we can continue it for a few months!

  15. Hi Heather,
    It’s Lauren again (from above). I really hope you or someone can help me. My son continues to wake up at 5:00 AM, but instead of playing for a while he now SCREAMS bloody murder. I read the sleep lady’s book and have tried all of her tips about early risers. I slept on the floor in his room last night and as soon as I heard him stir around 5:00, I quickly rubbed his back and sh-sh but he woke up as usual, pissed. I picked him up and he was inconsolable until I finally got him out at 6:00. He screamed, flailed, yanked my hair, scratched etc. and no amount of holding, rocking, back rubbing made the slightest difference. I left the room at 6:00, waited a few minutes and did the “dramatic wake up.” After that he was happy as a clam, until he was grumpy and sleepy again at 7:00. He has been doing this every morning for the past 3 days. (He also does this at naptime most days). I feel like I can’t keep doing this every morning, especially when he was up screaming in the same crazy fashion at 12 AM and 3 AM. I know he’s not hungry, he eats at midnight and then when I feed him at 6:00, he’s not even interested and only drinks a few ounces. He’s not teething or sick, either. Should I continue to let him scream like this for an hour every morning or just accept that he’s an early riser? I’m so lost…discouraged…and oh so tired.

    • Lauren, firstly you’re doing GREAT. I know it feels like crap, but you really are doing great – you’re trying stuff. And that’s half the battle.

      One of the reasons a child may be an early riser is because they are going to bed the night before too tired. It seems strange, but it’s true. Based on your earlier comment, it’s possible that may be a part of this. Since he’s falling asleep so early, because he’s so tired, he’s waking up too early as well. I would go back to working really hard to get him napping as much as you can (even hold him if you have to) during the day, to see if you can’t help him stay awake until 7-7:30. (Heck, even 6:30 would be better!)

      Also, there is a major growth spurt around 6 months, that throws everything into chaos. It’s possible that’s hitting now too. That would explain some of his strange sleeping habits during the day (exhausted, but not napping), possibly also the eating issue also. Have you noticed that he’s on the cusp (or just mastered) a big skill?

      Don’t be discouraged – that’s why I’m here. 🙂

  16. Thank you so much for your feedback, Heather! It feels incredibly crappy right now and your encouragement really means a lot. I think you are absolutely right, he’s a crappy napper so by the time 5:00 rolls around he’s beyond exhausted and then when he wakes up early, its not really “early” to him, he’s already been in his crib for 11-12 hours. His naps have been especially crappy the past few days, he’s obviously tired and I do everything I can to get him to sleep from rocking, car rides, swing, stroller, black out shades, white noise, bottle, pacifier etc. but he fights it tooth and nail. Yesterday he took three 20-30 minute naps. He’s getting close to sitting up unassisted and he’s starting to stay awake a lot longer before getting tired (although he might just be wired all the time from refusing to sleep during the day). He’s also incredibly strong willed-yesterday he held out for 4 1/2 HOURS before I could finally get him to sleep a measly 30 minutes.

    I will keep trying on his naps, but what do I do if he continues to refuse to nap and 5:00 rolls around and he’s ready for bed? Should I try to put him down for a nap that late or try to keep him up as long as I can?

    Also, should I even worry about a daily routine at this point or just focus on getting him to nap any way possible and shifting his bedtime? I keep trying eat, play, sleep but most days he’ll eat, we play and then he refuses to sleep until it’s time to eat again or he’ll only nap 30 minutes and it screws it all up.

    • I would think of the 5pm as a possible fourth or fifth “nap”, and wake him 45 minutes to an hour. Then let him play for another hour or so and try to put him down again around 7-7:30. Try that for a few days and see if that helps even things out a little more.

      As for your question about the routine – I would look for a rhythm more than a “routine”, focusing on catching his sleepy window and helping him nap more. Also, in his case, you may find that switching the play and eating helps get him in a drowsy state. It’s hard to go from “rough and tumble play” to “ready to sleep”. I know that’s not normally what’s “recommended”, but every baby is different! Helping him wind down with a feeding could help. Just try hard to not put him down asleep. Feed him, cuddle him to help him get drowsy, and then put him down drowsy but awake so he can learn how to fall asleep on his own. Hope this can help Lauren!

  17. Thank you so much Heather!

  18. Hey Heather,
    Just wanted to give an update and thank you again for your advice and encouragement. My little guy has been napping much better since I started feeding him as a part of the nap routine. We’re slowly working our way toward a 7:00 bedtime, however we seem to be stuck around 6:15-6:30, but that’s an improvement! I’m hoping that as he gets more rest during the day, he’ll be able to stay up a bit later. Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read and thoughtfully answer all of our questions. It really shows that you care about us tired mamas and our little ones.

  19. Hi Heather,

    I found this online a couple months ago and was so happy because it was exactly how my little one’s day went (and i was able to post it to the fridge for when my mother in law watched her!!)

    Now that she is 9 months, I am wondering if the schedule changes in any way from 9-12 months?

    • Kirby,

      That’s a great question! Usually the “wakefulness window” at this age is around 3 hours. So watch for sleep cues to start around 2.5-3 hours after she wakes up. You should also notice a change from 3 naps down to 2 – but keep the 3rd as an emergency nap option if her nap total for the day was less than 3 hours. If she wakes from her 2nd nap at 2:30, she’s probably going to be overtired by bedtime at 7:30 – which means more wakeups at night. In that situation, I would try to help her get a 30-45 minute catnap from 4:30-5:00. (Don’t let her sleep past 5pm if her bedtime is 7:30.) Hope this can help!

  20. Vanessa says:

    Hi Heather,

    My daughter is almost 6 months old and I would like to get her on a daily routine and nap schedule. I was looking at the schedule you have posted and I think it will work well for us. My question is: If my daughter doesn’t wake up when she should, does this mean that I am waking her up?
    Right now she is sick, should I still be waking her up, or should I let her sleep as long as she wants and not worry about the schedule?
    Thanks!

    • Vanessa,

      This is a great question! I don’t recommend using a schedule or routine on “sick days”. Let her sleep as much as possible. The body’s immune system gets a boost during sleep, because the brain doesn’t have to use valuable resources telling body parts to move. It can use those resources in secreting hormones and doing other immune-system tasks. (Why sick people sleep so much!)

      As for when she’s NOT sick, I wouldn’t worry if she’s 30-45 minutes “off” the normal schedule, as long as you can adjust the rest of the day so she can in the necessary naps. If you find, though, that she’s sleeping too late, and so then there’s no time for a 3rd emergency nap and she clearly still needs it – then I would wake her up a little earlier. Does that make sense at all?

  21. Hi!! I’ve posted on here before and you were so helpful I wondered if you could help again. My little guy is now 5.5months old. His reflux and food allergies I feel are just starting to be managed. He is exclusively Breastfed and I’m going back to work. The past 3 weeks Daddy has watched him the 2 days I’m working but in July I start 4 days and we have a sitter who he seems to like so far 3 days. He fights naps like no other. He is very high needs and has been since day 1. I would be fine feeding to sleep if he’d do it consistently cuz it would mean less lunges/squats for me. He sometimes sleeps in a carrier, bounced on a yoga ball, eating, or in a stroller. He gets tired (yawns and rubs his eyes) about an hour after waking but can not get him to sleep before 2 hours sometimes 3. If inlay him down when he seems sleepy after nursing and fighting sleep so I walk a bit he yawns rubs his eyes I put him down drowsy and he seems more energized. Then he rolls around cooing etc until he is very drowsy and if I just shush or pat it will escalate to histerics pretty quickly. He definitely doesn’t sleep well at night but better than the 4 month regression. Generally we do diaper story sing/walk around 7 and sometimes he nurses to sleep others he walks to sleep. Sometimes asleep by 7:30 but usually 8. Wakes around 5 when my husband gets ready for work and back to sleep round 6 until 7 or 8. He typically wakes 5 times a night. We just got the reflux managed 2 weeks ago so I had been reluctant to do anything but try to survive. And I know his 6 month growth spurt is coming plus he’s learning to sit up on his own and desperately wants to crawl. Any ideas for how to get my high needs guy to nap? I’m ok with his night wakng as he’s so distractible he doesn’t eat as well during the day. He will only take 2 45minute naps for Daddy. The sitter is doing 2 hour chunks this week and 2 half days next week then 2 full 9 hour days the following week. We bed share but again he’s been only needing to be held half the night these days so its improving. Wow sounds a lot worse when I write it all down! Sorry for the novel thanks for your input! (I don’t think he’s ready to self sooth but he is wanting to try longer naps with me and is able to go back to sleep without nursing some in the night now)

    • Leslie, I think you’ve got the right idea about making little changes along the way. Trying to change EVERYTHING would be a bit much. The very first thing, though, is that you need to decide about the bed-sharing. Are you going to continue that long-term? Or do you want to end it at some point? If you want to end it sooner, rather than later, you should end it now. It will hurt your attempts to sleep coach him if sometimes he spends half the night with you and half the night in his crib. He doesn’t understand the concept of time, so it will frustrate and cause more crying if he doesn’t know where he’s going to sleep. I would decide where you want him to sleep and then stick to it. Consistency is key when it comes to babies. They need to feel the comfort of a good bedtime routine, so they can start to recognize the difference between sleepytime and playtime.

      Usually I recommend working on nighttime wakenings first because that’s usually easiest. Have you read my article on the sleep shuffle? Start there. Once you’ve got the wakenings managed to as many as you and your doctor feel he should have, then you can start working on the napping situation. (My napping webinar may help you there.) You may decide (with your doctor) that he needs to keep a feeding session (or two or three) at night. Some moms just like to keep those feeding sessions for bonding, or to help with milk supply. Don’t feel like you have to drop them all. 🙂

      Also, keep in mind he may backslide after you go back to work (that’s very common). He’ll probably miss you and many times babies will wake up in order to get their “Mom quota”. So it may be best to take it slow. Perhaps working on getting him used to sleeping in his crib and practicing falling to sleep on his own for a few weeks. (Try nursing him and then reading a book, or having Dad put him down, or giving him a bath in order to break up the nurse-sleep connection.) Then after he’s adjusted to the new “Mom working” schedule, you could start coaching him through the nights with the sleep shuffle. I hope this can help Leslie!

  22. Hi Heather. Well my little one’s sleep routine seems to have fallen in hole… Boo! She’s now 6.5 months and has gone from having 3 naps (1.5 morning, 1.5-2 afternoon and up to 40 mins in late afternoon) and sleeping 7-7 with one breast feed between 3-5am to two naps (40-80 mins in morning, 40 mins in afternoon and nothing in the late afternoon) and waking 2-3 times at night to nurse. She’s started solids but is refusing breakfast solids (purée/cereal) unless I give her finger foods, eats lunch solids ok and eats well with dinner solids. She nurses as you suggest above but with the extra night time feeds, she’s also often refusing to nurse at 7am.

    For the past 8 weeks I’ve been getting her up at 7am and it seemed to help keep her daytime routine consistent and since then she has self settling at bedtime at 7pm, every night, in her cot.

    Now that her naps have gone to poo, she is so overtired at bedtime and the last few nights she has been falling asleep while nursing (then crying hysterically when I sit her up for bedtime books before bed).

    Do you think this could be the 6 month growth spurt and/or the beginning of separation anxiety? She’s self settled for naps too since ~14 weeks of age but now seems to have difficulty transitioning between sleep cycles (at least I think this is why she’s waking after only 40 min naps??)

    I can’t decide if the extra night time wakings are due to hunger/growth spurt (she feeds for 5mins each side which is the same as a good feed during the day), due to being overtired at bedtime or something else.

    Should I bring in sleep crutches (holding to sleep etc) to get the naps better again or compensate by putting her to bed earlier than 7pm at night and not waking her in the morning at 7?

    Any advice appreciated. I’m sorry it’s so long!!

    • The best way to see if it’s a growth spurt is to consider how long it’s lasted. If it’s been more than 3-4 days, it’s probably not a growth spurt. Check her for teething signs instead.

      I’m not sure if you’ve attended the Napping Know-How Webinar, but I would for sure try to use the Emergency Nap in the late afternoon to prevent that over-tired meltdown at bedtime. (Which could also be why she’s waking after only 40 minutes.) I would only resort to holding her to sleep for the Emergency nap, and see if you can avoid it the rest of the day. I also think your instinct on putting her down at 7pm is a good one. Don’t wake her in the morning for a few days and see what happens. It’s possible she’s trying to catch up. Also, double check with your doctor about the night feedings (and perhaps your lactation consultant) to see how many they recommend she keeps (if any) and then consider what you’re comfortable with and how many night feedings you think she needs (if any). I will be going through how to wean off night feedings in my upcoming Sleep Coaching Workshops. You may find that helpful as well. I hope this can encourage you Alison!

      • Thank you Heather. I’ll give those things a go and also look in to your webinar series. At this stage I’m thinking she only needs one, if any breastfeeds at night – she’s growing very well. I’ll stop trying to lengthen the earlier naps by holding/patting rocking etc and just accept the 40 mins and aim for the emergency nap later as needed.

        Some mornings she wakes at 6 and if I nurse her and put her back in her cot she’ll sleep for another 1-3hrs?! I’m not sure if I should be doing this or accept any wake up around or after 6 as her wake up for the day. What are your thoughts?

        And yes I think teething is playing a role. None to see yet but clear runny nose, gnawing on everything in sight, red cheeks and fussy… I give acetaminophen before bed at night if fussy in the day and it seems to help.

      • I would consider any wakening after 6am to be the start of the day for now (eventually this will change, don’t worry.) Don’t let her nap before 8am and then only let the morning nap 1.5 hours before waking her up. Otherwise the rest of the day’s rhythm will feel out of whack. Good call on the acetampinophen. 🙂 You’re doing great, Alison. Just a few small tweaks and you’ll be there!

  23. Heather,
    I’ve been trying to get my son on a similar routine for weeks with no success. The problem is that he wakes up for the day between 4:00-5:00 AM and no matter what we do, he WILL NOT, go back to sleep. I’ve read Kim West’s book and tried all of her suggestions for early risers with no success. Do you have any additional suggestions other than those in her book? We try to keep him up until at least 8:00 AM for his first nap, but he will literally fall asleep in his highchair or playing on the carpet, especially on days when he wakes up at 4:00. He’s 7.5 months old, takes great naps and bedtime is between 6:30-7:00. Thank you!

  24. Hmm, I guess I would say probably an 8 or 9 most nights, especially when we try to keep him up until 7:00. It doesn’t seem to make much of a difference if we put him down earlier than that…last night he was a bit more awake and played for a few minutes before falling asleep and this morning he was up at 5:15.

    • Lauren, I would try putting him down a little more awake at night. Maybe a 6 or 7 on the tired scale. Putting him down at 7:00 is perfect, I would just cut back on the rocking or whatever you do that makes him SUPER sleepy so he’s a little more awake. Try that for 4 nights and see if that changes the early waking. 🙂

      • Hi again,
        We’ve been working hard to put our little guy down more awake and it’s just not working! I’m at a bit of a loss…if we put him down more awake closer to 6:30, he’s up around 5:00 and I’m worried that it’s because he’s already had about 10 1/2 hours of sleep so he’s just not tired anymore. If we make him stay up until 7:00, he’s totally pooped and always falls asleep during our bed time routine, even with the lights on and then is still up at 5:00.He takes 2 naps, 1.5-2 hours each so I don’t think it’s nap deprivation. I think that it might be because there’s a really long gap between his afternoon nap and bedtime, but he dropped his third nap like a hot tamale so I don’t know what to do anymore. His afternoon nap is usually from 12:30ish-2:00 or 2:30. Any thoughts?

      • I know this may sound strange, but oftentimes the main culprit of early waking (before 6am) isn’t the timing of the bedtime. It’s more closely tied to how tired he is when you put him down. I would, for the next few days try putting him down around 7-7:30, at a 6 or 7 on the “sleep scale”. Usually we find that babies who are waking really early in the morning, are too drowsy when put down the night before.

        Another common culprit to the early wakening is that parents have gotten into the habit of bringing baby into bed with them in the morning. Baby doesn’t have any concept of time, so starts waking earlier and earlier expecting to be brought into the family bed. Consistency in sleeping location is key to overcoming this. If he sleeps in his crib, he should sleep in his crib 100% of the time at this age. There will be time for family bed cuddles later on (when he’s no longer early waking, and good sleeping habits are being established). Not sure if this could be your situation – but I just wanted to mention it just in case. 🙂

      • Thanks for the feedback! I think the problem is that he is too drowsy when we put him down, but I don’t know how to break the cycle…he wakes up super early, so he barely makes it until 8:00 AM for his first nap, so then his second nap ends up being kinda early, at 12:30, then he absolutely refuses to take a third nap so by the time 6:30 PM rolls around he’s totally wiped and can barely stay awake long enough for me to put on his pajamas…so he’s too drowsy at bedtime and then wakes up super early the next morning and it starts all over. I hope that made sense.

        He sleeps in his crib 100% of the time. We hear him on the monitor around 5:00, he usually plays for 20 minutes and then cries/screams until I get him up for the day, usually around 5:30-5:45. It’s probably the same concept as you mentioned, but instead of bringing him in our bed, we just get him up for the day.

      • Try doing an “Emergency Nap” for the 3rd nap. Ditch all the “rules” and do whatever it takes for him to take a 1 to 1.5 hour nap between 3:30 and 4:00. Rock and hold him while he’s sleeping, take him for a drive and let him nap in the car…whatever you can do to try to get him to sleep, even if it’s only for 45 minutes. I’d try to do some experiments on that 3rd nap, trying different ways to try to help him get that 3rd nap. Start there, and see what happens. 🙂 If you can squeeze out that 3rd nap, I think you’re early wakening will dramatically improve.

  25. Hi again, dear Heather! Your articles and advice have been priceless so far… but babies keep on changing all the time and so do parents’ dilemas. My 6 mnths old baby girl has been mastering the art of settling herself to sleep for the past two months and 99% of the times she has done so with success (although with some complaining and tears). She has been kind of begging me to let her cry it out( as much as I hate the idea) but that was the only way she fell asleep at nap times. Me shushing and comforting her will just make her more unsettled. This was breaking my heart, but at least I knew she is soon falling asleep and will have a good nap. But recently we transfered her from a moses basket to a travel bed and everything changed. She loves the big bed, but all of a sudden she wants to be rocked in bed to lull her into sleep…. ( which is not a problem for me at this stage, but I live with the fear I am commiting a baby sleep coaching sin! The curious thing is that she does not want me to rock her at bed time at night, but is something she needs for naps only. What I do for nap times is to put her to bed with a toy as soon as I see the first sleepy cues, then I let her get sleepy by herself and when she starts turning and crying in bed (with closed eyes) I give her a little final push with 1-2 min of rocking. It is not a problem for me and I even prefer it to the cry it out period, but what happens when we eventually move her to a bed that does not rock… Or is it just a stage she will go through?thanks!

    • Nadia, it may be a stage…or it could be the beginnings of a new habit. It’s great that she doesn’t need it for bedtime – that’s key. If she’s able to fall asleep at night without it, that’s a sign that perhaps it’s not a sleep crutch. Also, don’t let it move the entire time while she’s napping. At this age, motion sleep (in a swing or car) doesn’t give her the quality of sleep that she needs. However, that doesn’t sound like a problem here. I would continue doing what you’re doing, with a close eye on any developing habits. 🙂

  26. So when does a solid food, like puréed whatever, take the place of a bottle or nursing session? I can’t figure out if the nurse/solid food means both or one or the other.

    • That’s a great question Melanie! Up until past the first birthday, most of your baby’s calories are going to be filled through breastmilk or formula. In the graphic above, it means both – nursing or a bottle AND solid foods. Thanks for letting me clarify that!

  27. Hi Heather,

    I desperately need some advise. WE have tried everything we can think of find but our second baby will just not sleep well during the night. I am talking about 5-6 or more night wakings that she wont settle from with out nursing. We moved her to a crib about a month and a half ago from a bassinette in a pack-n-play. It only took a few days for her to settle there and sleep but she would not settle for naps she would only sleep in her swing. we were able to get her sleep trained for naps in the crib just fine. She will go to sleep no problem at night but it is unpredictable when she will wake again. Sometimes it is within 45 minutes and sometimes it is 3 hours. EIther way after about 10 pm she wakes every hour to two and wont settle with out nursing. Here is the schedule I have tried to follow:
    7:30 Up for the day (lately it has been closer to 7) and Nurse half the time she is not nursing a full feed here and it is fight to get her to nurse because of a night waking too close to wake up time.
    8:15 Breakfast. She will take a full jar of fruit plus some cereal
    9-930 down for a nap. I typically wake her from this nap at 11. Sometimes she wakes naturally at 10:30
    Nurse upon waking
    12:00-12:30 Lunch. Usually 1/2 -1 jar of veg plus cereal
    nap at 1:00-1:30. I typically have to nurse her before she will settle for this nap. This nap usually lasts til 230 sometimes later to like 300.But I ensure she is awake no later than 330.
    Nurse upon waking
    5:45-6 DInner. 1 Jar of veggies plus cereal or 1/2 jar of meat
    6:45 Jammies and Nurse
    7:15-7:30 Asleep.

    Last night she woke at the following times: 10:30. 11:43, 3:00, 3:45, 4:34, 5:00, 6:45. Some of these she would take a little to get back to sleep, Others she would be alseep with in 5 minutes of nursing. WHich makes me think it is just for comfort but I have not been able to get her to settle back down for the life of me any other way. I know such a bad habit.

    Any ideas to change her schedule? I have tried the 3rd nap but it only works on days her second nap is not too long. and she always wants that 3rd nap to be longer than 30-45 minutes. She gets really made when I wake her.

    Please advice. Thanks in advance.

    • I would love to help you with Lisa! The 6-9 month age range is a GREAT time to address sleeping issues like this. There are many reasons and factors that can affect a baby’s nighttime sleep. I would really encourage you to take a look at joining one of baby sleep workshops. I send a questionnaire to fill out and then we talk back and forth while I teach you multiple sleep coaching and night weaning methods, working out which methods you feel would be best for her. I’m confident that we can get her walking down the right path! It just takes a deeper conversation than I can do in a blog comment. I still have a few spots open this month, if you’re interested. Click here for more details on how these workshops work.

  28. Catherine says:

    Hi Heather! Your blog has been a great resource for baby F so I figured I’d come back and re-read this post…. BAby F is now 7months and is mostly following the schedule you have on this post except we wake him up at 6am so I can nurse him before I go to work. He’s still taking 3naps during the day. What I’m really wondering is if I should be changing his bedtime routine… Right now, we’re nursing at 5pm, followed by a dinner of solids, bath time, and then nursing at 7pm… He falls asleep every night while nursing. I don’t dare wake him, I just plop him into his crib and he stays asleep. And as per your last suggestion, we are still doing a 10pm dream feeding. He stays mostly asleep through a 20-30 mins nursing session and I put him right back in his crib. He will then proceed to sleep until 6am, he wakes up around 3am but he can usually soothes himself back to sleep within a few minutes. Should I wake him when he falls asleep during his 7pm nursing session? When should I phase out the 10pm dream feed?? He seems hungry while we do it so I was hesitant to cut it out. Sorry for the long post but I just know you’ll have the perfect answers for us! Well it’s 10pm, time for someone’s dream feed! Thanks in advance!!

  29. Hi! I love your blog. Thank you for all you do.

    My daughter is 7 month and takes very short naps at the times on this schedule. However, the naps do not go over 30-40 minutes. She becomes extremely irritable around 5:45 pm and passes out by 6:15. Any suggestions on how I can extend nap time?

    Thank you!!!!

    • Melissa, I would encourage you to listen in to one of my two-hour Napping Know-How Webinars. I spend a lot of time talking about overcoming catnaps. If you find you can’t make a specific time, or can’t sit and listen for the entire two hours (because BABY), I email you a link to listen again (or get caught up) that’s good for 48-hours. I want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to participate who needs it!

  30. My 6 month old and I have pretty much the same schedule woo! but lately I’ve weaned her from her middle of the night feeding and all of the sudden I’m having a hard time getting a let down in the evening when nursing so close together at 5&7pm. Last night she cried until 8:30 because she wanted to nurse but I couldn’t get a let down. I even tried pumping and that didn’t work. I know milk supply is lower at night but this has never been a problem. And now that it’s been happening for a few days I’m afraid is becoming a mental thing too..feeling pressured to let down, so I’m unable to relax. Any suggestions?

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Meghan,

      Yes, nothing like pressure to make it hard for your body work! My first question would be, are you getting enough water? My next question, are you getting enough rest (ha, ha)? I know it’s tricky to get enough rest with a little one in the house but making choices to rest (rather than fold laundry) might be necessary until your supply grows.
      Try pumping for 5-10 minutes after each time you nurse and this should help as well. Keep in mind that it takes around 3 days for any change in your milk supply so give it a good 72 hours before you expect to see a difference.

  31. Heather,
    I have a 6 month old who typically follows this kind of schedule. He is usually awake for 2 hours before napping for 1.5-2 hours. We have always been able to pick up his sleepy cues and put to him to sleep fairly easily by rocking him. However for the past 4-5 days whenever he becomes sleepy he becomes fussy. We try to soothe him and he eventually becomes hysterical no matter what we do. This is so unlike him. He does it for naps and at night time. We have resorted to walking him in a stroller driving him around which sometimes helps. My mother in law kept him the other night and he went to sleep perfectly for her. I don’t understand because he has always preferred I be the one to put him to sleep. I am a stay at home mom so I don’t think it’s separation anxiety and he seems to have been teething for a while but not cutting any teeth. He is just fighting it at all cost? His dad and I don’t have it in us to use CIO method. Any advice you can give will be appreciated.

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Lindy,

      Well, it could certainly be teething… but maybe it’s just time to change things up a bit (your 6-month-old seems to think so!). Read Heather’s articles about sleep to get some fresh ideas that could help you get past this bumpy time. Wishing you more rest in the days to come!

      P.S. If the sleep challenges continue I recommend attending one of Heather’s sleep webinars. You can find more information here.

  32. hi Heather,
    Night sleep has gotten muuuuch better for my 6mo old since we did sleep training. Bedtime is 715, usually wakes at 1am or so for a feed. THEN, sometimes she will sleep through till morning, sometimes wake at 4ish. She can’t be hungry if I just fed at 1 can she?

    We try to let her cry a bit but she usually doesn’t fall back asleep. We tried giving her paci since it’s so early and close to morning already we just want to squeeze another 1 or 2 of sleep out of her. She wakes up crying so clearly she’s not ready to play.

    I try really hard to follow the sample schedule u posted. Feeding times are pretty close to it, but her naps aren’t long enough still. I would get one that’s about 1hr, up to 1.5 if I’m lucky. But otherwise the other 2 are 30min only and sometimes I have to squeeze in a 5-10min nap around just to take the edge off so she can make it to early bedtime 645-7, if not 715.

    The whole schedule gets thrown off when she wakes early, like 5-6am cause then I definitely can’t get her in time for bed. what can I do to help her make it past those early wakings?? I’m trying to get her to transition to 3 naps and it’s so hard! Her sleep
    cues aren’t that reliable either cause she rubs her eyes all day. Occasionally she will stare off to space or hiccup

    • Sharon, I see a few things going on here that seem to be throwing you off. 1) Napping issues 2) Early waking (anything before 6am is considered “early waking”). Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to follow the schedule above – your baby is just too tired to hit those milestones – that’s okay. You’re still a great mom, and she’s a unique and special little girl. 🙂 (There’s no shaming on Incredible Infant…) 🙂

      My BEST suggestion is for you to consider signing up for one of my sleep coaching workshops (I’ve got one scheduled for Saturday). This way you can submit a health history for me to look through and then we can talk back and forth over the Internet during the workshop to uncover the causes and create a workable plan to get her back on track.

      That said, if you just can’t swing that right now, look closely at her waketime windows. Usually babies this age are ready for a nap about 2 hours after waking up. Also look at how you’re putting her to bed. Early waking is often tied to her being too sleepy when you put her down at night. (I know that sounds weird, but science says it’s true.) Finally, the napping webinar is 2 hours of material, if you haven’t tried that yet and need something cheaper than the workshops – that would be a good place to start as well. I hope this can help, friend. xo

  33. I have a 7 month old and he is not on a schedule at all. I don’t know what to do or how to start one. He wakes up and goes to bed at different times everyday. And his naps are very short (cat naps). Any advice would help.

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Cara,

      I’m wondering if this article would be a better one for you. Not everything in this article will apply but there are a lot of helpful hints that you can still use.
      Also, regarding your little one waking at different times every day. I find it helpful not to watch the clock but rather to aim for a “sleep, eat, play…repeat” kind of a schedule. This more laid back kind of routine has worked very well for my family.

  34. Hi
    My little boy is 8 months old in 4 days time. He used to go sleep every 1.5 hours and nap 30-45 mins. I overcome this by extending wake times. Hes up by 6 has 2 1.5 hour naps the 2nd nap ending 2.30ish. Now though very recently the cat nap (4.30) to keep him going has shortened to 20 mins. Im wandering if its time to cut it out as when he goes to sleep at 7.30 latest hes up within 2.5 hours and has to be fed to go back down again and is up alot from there. I also sometimes get a wake up for 1.25 hours to the second in the middle of the night then hell go back to sleep for 3 hours straight so does this sound like he is undertired!? Thank you x

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Michelle,

      I think your instincts are right on cutting out the cat nap. I would do what you have done in the past and keep him up a little longer and then try to put him down for the night (6:30?). It’s worth a try. Also, take a look at this article for a review on some great go to bed ideas for your routine. Hope this helps your little guy (and you!) get some better sleep!

  35. Hey There,

    My 21 week old is really struggling with nap time. She’s been all over the map since 4 months old and I can’t’ seem to get a handle on it – or when I think i do, it switches. For a couple weeks, it was dropping the third nap – she just fought it soo hard. So we moved her bedtime back to 7-7:30 and she would take a long three hour nap in the morning (had to waker her) and a shorter afternoon nap. That was good for about a week or so. I couldn’t transition her out of her swing for naps, so I  just continued to let her nap there in her nursery and again, for about 4 days, we had a good rythym of two 2 hour naps. Then she started taking a three hour nap in the morning again and only taking a 45 min nap in the afternoon. We tried nap extensions, but she still would only go for another 30 min or so in the afternoon. I tried waking her after an hour and a half or two hours in the morning, but it did nothing for the afternoon nap. NOW, she’s only sleeping for 45 minutes at BOTH naps. We’ve moved her bedtime back to 6:30 the past two nights, but it hasn’t helped the daytime. I’m suspecting its the 45 minute intruder??

     

    To be fair, we have traveled a few times in the past 6 weeks with the holidays and I’m pretty sure she’s begun teething, though no signs of popping through anytime soon.

    HELP!!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Anne Marie,

      It will really help when the holidays are past and we can all get back to some regularity in our routines, right?! Oh, and teething…the great wreaker of all schedules!
      I suggest you focus on what you can do, since things like teething are out of the “mama controls” category. Why don’t you start with the swing? Here’s a step by step process to help transition her away from the swing for her naps:
      1. Put her in the swing like normal, but turn down the swing so it’s moving slower. Do this for 2 days.
      2. Put her the swing, but turn it off the moment you see she’s asleep. Do this for 2 days.
      3. Put her in the swing to sleep, but don’t turn it on. Do this for 2 days.
      4. Put her down for her morning nap (because it’s usually the easiest) in the crib, and not the swing. Use the suggestions in this article to incline the mattress safely – it may help her with the transition.
      Hope this helps! Sometimes just one change can make a difference for the better in every part of your schedule. May this be that change for you. 🙂

  36. Anne Marie says:

    Danielle,

    Thanks so much for the reply and the suggestion – I am going to try that this week. Should she still wake at the 45 minute mark – do you have another suggestion to help get her over the hump? We’ve tried going in and picking her up the moment we hear her and rocking her back to sleep and putting her back down. We get another 30 minutes 50% of the time, and the other 50% we can never put her back down without her waking up. Any suggestions are welcome!!

    Also, a final question – I keep reading that we shouldn’t try sleep training of any kind until she is through teething – if she teeths for two months before it pops through, does that mean I need to just do whatever I can for two months?? I’m afraid of creating bad habits if I have to go that route…. plus…. two months of terrible sleep?? Noooooooo!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Anne Marie,

      I am with you on not wanting to wait for sleep until the teething passes! Plus, your baby really NEEDS sleep.

      That being said, I recommend you take a look at this sleep article for some more suggestions. Also, take a look at this article for some help with teething.
      These two articles should give you some more ideas to try. Hope you (both of you) get more sleep soon!

  37. Hello.
    Ok so I feel terrible for some of this but hopefully you have tips to help my little Joseph get on a healthier schedule.
    He is 8 months and there’s some things that have to be changed. A lot I feel are my fault.
    First off I propped a bottle up for him too much and now he won’t sleep through the night without one in his mouth.
    His sleeping schedule is all messed. He had to stay with my sister in law for a few weeks and she sleeps all day so he did too. I’ve been waking up early and trying to keep him up most of the day besides a couple short naps here and there and he seems to be starting to sleep more of the night but still only if the bottle is propped up. And another thing is he sleeps in bed with me but I actually like it but if he needs to sleep in his crib to help him I will.
    Joseph is my first baby and I need some advice to be a better parent for him. I would appreciate it.

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Amanda,

      It’s not too late! First-babies are always the ones we practice and learn on (not fair to them, but that’s how it goes!).

      Regarding the bottle, it might help to switch to a pacifier. It sounds like the need to suck is pretty intense right now and this would be a good alternative while you are focusing on helping his sleep schedule.
      Take a look at this article for some suggestions on how to get started. I do recommend you try to get your little one into his own crib. He will probably be able to sleep longer in his own space (and you will be able to sleep better too!). Before you start the sleep shuffle (see article #1) you should also take a look at this one for ideas of how to prepare his room. And one more for some additional ideas of how to help your little one adjust to the crib
      So, lots of reading but hopefully you will find what you need in these articles. If you need additional help there are still more articles about sleep on the site and Heather offers a napping know-now webinar that is so very helpful (and reasonably priced at $20 for a 2 hour class).
      You two will figure it out, Amanda! Your little one is lucky to have you.

  38. Meagan Braithwaite says:

    Hi, when you say nurse/bottle ‘breakfast’ solids. Do you mean give them the bottle and then solids? My baby is 6 months and he’s on formula. I’m just trying to figure out how to start solids with him.

    • Yes – if he’s ready for solids. Talk over that with your doctor. This article on baby food may also be helpful. At this age, though, it’s good to remember that 99.9% of all his nutrition is going to come from the formula. The baby food is really just practice and fiber at this age. 🙂

  39. Sarah Cunningham says:

    I saw this schedule on Pinterest. I’ve been using it as a model, and I’m learning what my baby does to make adjustments. I’ve got up until the two naps down. The stretch from being awake from 2-7 I haven’t tried. So my question is, if babies get tired every 2-3 hours approxiamately, then how is it that they stay awake from 2-7 for 5 hours? Like I said, I haven’t tried it yet, so I don’t know. But your babies stay awake fine for that last stretch? I guess my question is why the long stretch. I’m a first time mom. I’m trying to learn all I can.

    • I would look over the sleep totals for the day. If your baby hasn’t gotten near the recommended amount, do a third nap in the middle of the afternoon at 3:30. It will help him tremendously. If you need help with that Emergency Nap, I would recommend taking my Napping Know-How Webinar. I go over EVERYTHING and talk about different techniques and how those techniques work with certain baby personalities (and help you figure out which personality your baby has, etc.) You might find it helpful!

  40. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for this information! My husband and I are at our wit’s end. My baby boy is eight months and hasn’t slept through the night since he was just under three months old. Looking at this schedule, I simply cannot imagine him sleeping twelve hours a night AND taking naps. He wakes up multiple times a night. We tried the Ferber method for almost a month and he never got to the point that he would put himself back to sleep without at least a half-hour of crying. Right now his schedule is that I put him to bed at 10:00pm-ish, he wakes up at least three times throughout the night (often more times), immediately stands up in his crib and cries until I rock or nurse him back to sleep. Then he gets up around 8:00am, and again cries until I get him, but then we’re awake for the day! He takes a nap at 11:00am and usually only sleeps for about a half-hour to forty-five minutes. He’s then awake until around 4:00pm, at which point he takes another nap, which is usually around an hour to an hour and a half. That’s about twelve hours of sleep total for an entire day, with no sleep at any point longer than three hours. Does he just need less sleep than other kids or am I doing something wrong? I can’t imagine putting him to bed at 7:00pm. I don’t think he would sleep, and I would be terrified he would wake up at 5:00am and not go back to sleep. I am NOT a morning person, but I am so sleep deprived at this point I would just be happy to sleep longer than three hours at one time.

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Lindsey,

      I recommend you try the Sleep Shuffle! Also, focus first on your nighttime sleep and then you can think about lengthening nap time. When your little guy stands up in the crib just gently pat the mattress and say “It’s time to sleep now”. The important thing to remember is that you don’t want to turn it into a power struggle. Just stay calm and completely boring. 🙂
      Regarding when to put him down at night, I would try putting him down earlier (you can move his bed-time up a half hour at a time until you find the sweet spot). The counterintuitive part of the sleep equation is that when he isn’t getting enough sleep (goes to bed too late) he will actually wake up sooner, crazy huh?! Anyway, give it a try. You might be surprised. 🙂
      If you continue to have trouble I highly recommend Heather’s sleep workshops. They are a live event and Heather will work with you to come up with a sleep plan that works for your family.

  41. Hi Heather,

    I like your schedule its quiet doable i just wondered if you have one for a 4mth old or i can just use this one. I haven’t tried it yet, myself and hubby have been “had” because my son loves to be carried and he can cry hysterical only for me to pick him up and his quiet, also he now only sleeps when his rocked or in my arms he cant nod off alone. Please help me break this cycle. i was told to let him cry but i’ve tried doing that and he cries so hysterical that he starts sweating and am not sure what to do.

    Please advice, thank you.

    • Marilyn, 4 months is a difficult age, so you’re in good company. Firstly, 4-5 months is when reflux peaks in babies, so if you haven’t asked your doctor about that, I would do so. Just in case. 🙂 If he is really having a hard time lying flat on his back, that could be related. Orrr…he could just prefer to be held. Also normal. I wouldn’t try using CIO, since he’s so little. After getting him checked out for other medical reasons, I would continue to carry him, or try to put him in a swing like the Rock ‘n Play, or try the slanted crib trick in this post. That could help also. Most importantly, don’t feel stressed or like you’re a failure. His brain is absolutely exploding in growth right now, so it’s normal for 4-5 month olds to seem particularly fussy. Hang in there, it will get better. And if it doesn’t…that’s why I’m here and why I do sleep workshops. Hope this can encourage you. xo

  42. I am worried if my baby is sleeping too much and if she is getting enough formula. This is the schedule of our 7 month old.

    8:30- wake up and feed 8oz formula

    9-10:30- Play

    10:30-12- Nap

    12Noon- 4 oz of vegetable

    12-1pm- play

    1pm- 6oz formula

    1:30-3pm- Nap

    3pm- 8oz formula

    3:30-5pm- Play

    5-6pm- Nap

    6 pm- 4 oz fruit

    6:30-8 Play and bath

    8pm- 8oz formula

    8:30- Sleep for the night until morning (No feedings through the night)

     

  43. hello,
    I hate to ask a question that may have been covered above but here goes. The last feeding of the night, I notice it is only an hour and a half after their 5pm bottle. Traditionally, should you expect them to finish an entire bottle so soon or do you let them eat what they can to help them fall asleep? My boys have reflux and I’m afraid that if I tried to give them 6 ozs so soon after their dinner, they’ll puke it all up before bed.

    Thanks!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Amanda,

      Only encourage them to eat what they need… you are so right, especially with reflux, over feeding with just cause a lot of spit up!

  44. are u saying in your schedule from 2pm-5pm that if the baby seems tired to throw in a 45-1hr nap at 3:30, and if not the LO should be up from 2pm to 7pm?

    • Great question Eve. He should get around 3.5 – 4 hours of daytime sleep. If it’s 3:30 or 4:00 and you see that he’s not got anywhere NEAR that amount (maybe just 2 hours of sleep), then put him down again for another nap – just don’t let him sleep past 5pm if you’re wanting him to sleep again at 7. If he’s close to the 3.5 hour mark, you can try to put him down again, but he may not be ready.

      In that case, start your bedtime routine at 6:30 so he’s asleep by 7. This is a tough age, because some days they may be able to stay awake (when they’re 9 months), and some days they’ll need that 3rd nap. As he gets older, you can start spacing out the other two naps a little more, so he’s moved to a 2-nap schedule in stead of a 3-nap – that would also help cut that 5 hours down, because you’re spacing the other two naps out more. I hope that makes sense!

  45. thanks heather, one other thing, if he’s def at that 3.5-4 hrs of nap time  and wakes up at 3:00 to 3:30 from second nap. Do i try and keep him up till bedtime which is around the same time he gets his last bottle? or put him down again even though he has 4 hrs of nap maybe even 5 hrs? i ask because my baby is 6months old and hell get his last bottle between 6:30-8 depending on the day and no matter what he still tends to get up for a bottle at 3:30-4am.

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Eve,

      You can try to keep him up as long as that doesn’t mean missing his sleep window (you will know if that happens because he will act over tired and have a hard time settling down). I would recommend trying for a dream feed at around 3:00 to help break the habit of getting up at 3:30 or 4. Feed him before he is fully awake for a few days then try a night without the dream feed to see if the habit is gone. Hope this helps!

  46. Samantha says:

    My son is now 6.5 months old and my husband and I have worked hard on maintaining a schedule for him! Our hard work has paid off. I am now starting nursing school and he is staying at home with our nanny. I feel so confident that I can give her a schedule and know that it makes life easier for everyone. Here is our schedule:
    740: Wake & Nurse before leaving to school
    800: Change, play, hangout
    900: eat solids (fruit and oatmeal)
    945: Take a walk, play, etc
    1045: 6 oz breastmilk bottle
    1100: Put in zipadee and he falls right to sleep
    1230-100: Awake, change, play
    215: I get home 🙂 & nurse him
    300: nap time
    530: Awake, change, play
    630: Dinner; eat solids
    730: bath every other night
    800: bedtime
    430: Wakes up (I nurse him on one side and he goes right back to bed)
    Start over…..
    🙂

  47. Great article – thanks. This is roughly what my daughter is on. The part I struggle with is self settling. Sometimes (about 50%) she goes to sleep perfectly happy. Other times she gets hysterical and just wants to be nursed. Have tried sitting in room with her, leaving her in room alone, playing music. Always follow a pre sleep routine of diaper change, books, white noise on etc.

    Once she starts getting upset, it usually increases, she can go for 40 mins with me sitting next to her crib trying to comfort. In the end I nurse as she’s soooo upset. She loves falling asleep nursing.
    Also, she sleeps 11 to 12 hours overnight once asleep. No issues overnight but getting to sleep for night sleeps and day sleeps can be tricky.
    Thoughts?
    Thanks!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Sara,

      You are right to go to the nursing to calm her when she gets really riled (aren’t you glad you have that option?!). If you see her heading toward frustration you can try to catch her before she gets really upset and nurse her sooner. After you nurse her you could try adding one more thing (like a quiet diaper change in low light) before you put her down. This gives her a chance to go down while she is sleepy but not asleep. Also, pay attention to the timing when she has her “hard to soothe” moments. Is it possible that you may have missed her sleep window, did she get a little too exhausted rather than just tired? Some things to think about…

  48. Thanks Danielle.
    Yes, re sleep cues and tired signs – do feel I’m on top of this as she gives strong clues.

    Re trying to calm her in crib – have tried patting, stroking head, tapping side of crib or mattress but none of these work. The shh noises unfortunately don’t do anything either.

    Any other ideas for calming whilst in crib?

    Thanks!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Sara,

      Have you tried giving her something that smells like you? 🙂 Try something small like a t-shirt or a baby blanket (I recommend afghans since they have holes!) sleep with it yourself and then let her cuddle with it. If you use a regular blanket, I recommend tucking most of it under the mattress and just leaving a corner for her to hold so there’s no risk of suffocation!

  49. Roxanne says:

    I’ve been following the routine for my 8 month old and it’s going pretty well. Is there a routine for 9 to 12 months? How and when should I drop breastfeeds? Thanks

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Roxanne,

      This article is the 9-12 month schedule (It’s much less of a schedule because that’s all 9-12 months really need!). Regarding dropping times you nurse I recommend you talk this over with your doctor. It depends on the child, and your lifestyle too, when you will want the weaning to start.

  50. Help! LO is a catnapper – he naps for only 30 mins at a time, 3 or 4 times a day. He has never slept through the night and has recently been waking every couple of hours. Some nights he is WIDE awake for up to 2 hours. I am absolutely exhausted!! Routine is wake anytime between 6 and 7, breakfast, nap 2 hours later for 30 mins, milk at 10.30ish, nap at 11.30 for 30 mins, lunch at 12ish, milk at 2.30, nap at 3 for 30 mins, bed at 6.30/7.

    Any advice at all about what to change or try to get longer daytime naps and longer more restful nights??

    Thanks

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Rosie,

      So sorry for your tough time with your little guy and sleep! The first thing I mention when you’re dealing with a catnapper is that it’s important to make sure that your little guy is getting enough to eat at each feeding. It looks like he is probably doing just fine in that department from your posted schedule. The next thing I would try is putting him down 20-30 minutes earlier for his nap time. Sometimes little ones take short naps because we have, unintentionally of course, missed their sweet spot and put them down too late. Try this and see if it makes a difference. Otherwise, I can highly recommend Heather’s Napping Webinar or her Sleep Workshop. If you want to just focus on naps then the Webinar is the best fit for you. If you want to deal with nighttime sleep too (sounds like you might!) then I recommend the Sleep Workshop. Heather will work with you to find the best sleep solution for your family.
      Hope you can find some better rest soon!

  51. Hello,

    Can u guve me some advice….my son has huge sleep problems…
    When my LO was 1month old he got lungs infection amd ever since he has trouble sleeping….till 4 5 months the after effects of infection seemed to be der so i didn bother for sleep training my baby and he was sleepin in my arms or near me all the time….
    He is 9 months now snd the symptoms seemd to have dissapeard but still he has issues in sleeping…he wakes up every 2 hrs at night and needs to b rocked or nursed to go back to sleep…i ve tried not nursim or rockin him but he wakes uo and even strts playing until i rock him to sleep….his naps are also very poor…sometimes he sleeps for one hour and sometimes it is as short as 10 mins so such days hes very cranky and affects the entire schedul…
    Is there anythng i can do to improve his sleep?

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Mark,

      It’s so hard when a medical reason gets in the way of good sleep! We experienced this with our second born. It was the most exhausting year of my life!
      At this point you probably have a very good case of “too tired to sleep” on your hands. Check in with your doctor first to make sure that your little guy has a clean bill of health and it’s ok to start sleep training. If your doctor gives the ok I recommend you start with nighttime sleep and then go from there to naps. Try, first of all, to begin putting him down when he is sleepy not sleeping. So rather than rocking until he is asleep, rock until he is almost asleep and then put him in his crib. If he gives you trouble with resisting sleep (and making you start the routine all over again) take a look at this article for a very gentle method to sleep training.
      If this doesn’t do the trick then I highly recommend Heather’s Sleep Workshop. She will help you come up with a sleep plan that works for your family. We also offer a Napping Webinar that will help with daytime sleep.
      I hope that you and your little one get some better sleep soon!

  52. hi Heather,

    I have a question about the 6-9 month old sleep routine posted… or well any routine rather, are you supposed to wake your baby up in the morning or if they are sleeping too long for the napping allotted time? Like lets say I was up with my boy from 500am to 600am trying to get him to sleep, then do I wake him at 7am?

     

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Sammy,

      Good question! I do not recommend waking your little one in the morning but rather letting him find his own rhythm. This might mean you need to tweak the schedule a bit (move it forward 30 minutes) in order to make it work for you but, as Heather mentions, it’s more important to help your little one find a routine (babies need this!) then to follow the clock.

      Hope this helps!

  53. Hi!
    Wondering if you could help me out. My son who just turned 7 months has been waking up 5am for forever. I don’t take him out of the room till 6am, but the early wake up really effects him during the day. I have been trying so hard to push his naps to 8:30 and 12:30 in hopes that he will eventually do 9am and 1pm naps , but it’s very difficult bc of the 5am wake ups! He usually does a cat nap around 3:30 but for the last 2 days he’s been waking up 2pm from second nap and is therefore refusing the cat nap. So last night I put him down at 5:50 for the night, and he woke up 5:15am and of course didn’t go back down. He’s a decent napper! Usually 1 hour in the morning and 1.5-2 hours in the afternoon. Should I just wait this whole thing out and hopefully he will wake up 6am one day? I’ve tried 6:30,45, even 7pm bedtimes and he’s still up at 5!! And bc of the Early wake up , if he were to have it his way, the naps will be much earlier in the day . Any help will be much appreciated!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Talia,

      I hate to say it but I think you just have an early bird on your hands! 🙂 Since he is sleeping like a champ I really would try to just wait it out. The good news is that research shows that people that get up early accomplish more and are more successful in life!

  54. Danielle, Thanks for the reply.  I don’t mind having an early riser as long as he’s not fussy during the day 🙁

    Lately he has been chugging the bottle when I take him out at 6AM (while he has already been up for a full hour in the crib since 5AM). After chugging the bottle, he usually falls asleep for about 30-45 minutes but is still very exhausted during the day.  I already put him to sleep at 6/6:30pm!  Today he took his morning nap at 9-9:45 and by 11:30 he was already exhausted!  Would love for him to give me more wakeful times but he is just too exhausted.  I am just assuming that his night time sleep isn’t deep which is making him tired during the day…..thoughts if possible??

    • If he’s going through a growth spurt, that may account for some of the extra drowsiness. I would consider slipping in there at 4:45 before he normally wakes up and doing a dreamfeed, seeing if that can help him get past that 5-6am wakeup. Then give it a few days and drop that feeding and see what happens. It’s possible he just needs a schedule adjustment. Try that and then let us know if you’re still having problems.

  55. Hoping this isn’t getting doubly submitted (I think I submitted before but it was on my phone so who knows!)

     

    My daughter will be 6 months on Friday and she is not a good napper. It seems as though we are getting our night sleep back in order (it was great for a while – one wakeup for the longest time and then many wakeups…) but nap sleep is horrible. She’s never been a great napper but it’s so unpredictable and it drives me crazy. I am trying to go to two/three naps because of preschool pickup and drop off and that would just be easier. We are doing baby led weaning and just starting solids.

    Here is our schedule.
    6:45 wakeup and eat
    7:30 leave for preschool
    8:15 nap (sometimes 45 minutes, sometimes 2 hours!)
    10:30 eat
    if she took a short nap then I usually try and put her down around 11
    12:15 leave for preschool pickup
    If she didn’t nap before we left then she goes down at 1:00 when we get home and eat when she wakes up or
    2:00 eat and then nap
    The sometimes down for another nap in the late afternoon.
    5/5:30 eat
    6:30/7:00 eat and bed.
    If my husband or I are on our own she usually doesn’t eat again until 7:30 and then bed around 8 because we try and get the 2.5 year old down first. If we are both home I usually nurse her around 6:30 and then get her down after that. I am working on making this the same no matter what.

    She often doesn’t sleep after that second nap. Yesterday she took 2 short naps in the morning – 45 minutes – and actually slept in the afternoon.

    I am thinking that maybe this is where we are having issues. The sometimes two naps before pickup sometimes only one is maybe causing issues. I don’t know.
    Sunday she took two huge long naps from 8:15-10:30 and 12:15-3! But that’s so rare and on a normal day she can’t sleep at 12:15 because we are leaving for preschool.

    Suggestions!? Would love any input you might have. THANK YOU!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Jessica,

      You may be on the right track, thinking that she is ready to go to just two naps in the day. The biggest thing to know is that from 6-8 months you are aiming for 11 hours of sleep per night and 3 1/2 hours of sleep during the day (however, some babies will need more then that and some less).

      I highly recommend Heather’s Napping Webinar. It’s very affordable (at $20) and there is so much helpful information. It would help you now and then later as her naps change from time to time.

  56. Hi,
    I’ve been reading this site since my little one was born in April. So helpful! She is 6 months old now and her routine is somewhat like the schedule posted here except she doesn’t usually have a feed so close together at 5 and then 6:30pm before bedtime usually 7pm. She dropped night feeds herself at 5 months, but she often wakes at night to play for 1-1.5hrs before crying because she can’t resettle herself back to sleep. She drinks 8oz at each feed so I was wondering if giving her that extra feed at 6:30 before bedtime will help her sleep through the night. She’s never been a great napper and have always woken up through the night. I also think I’m in the midst of a sleep regression as she refuses to nap in crib again (I held her for naps until she turned 4 months) and will nap only in my arms. Bedtime, I’m able to put her down drowsy but awake still, but she has been waking every 1/2 hrs. I’m exhausted! Thoughts?

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Ella,

      I think you’re on the right track. If she will take an extra feed around 6:30 or 7 then she might not get the urge (from her tummy?) to wake up and play halfway through the night. She might not be up for a full feed but give it a try and see if it makes the difference.

      Also, have you see our article about sleep training gently? It’s the first approach we recommend and now that your little one is 6 months she has the skills to self soothe. The article might help you, help her.

  57. I also have been following this fab blog since May and my new baby. I was hoping that by 6 months we’d have some sort of routine. We do in that we do the same thing each day, in the same order but his day time sleeping patterns are completely unpredictable.
    He was waking at completely different times in the morning, depending on how many feeds he had but he seems to have now begun to have one feed at night. He goes to sleep on his own and sleeps well at night, waking at 5.00!!
    He can only really stay awake for an hour and a half at a time so has been going back to nap at 6.30, from then every day is different, sometimes he’ ll have 40 minutes, sometimes an hour, sometimes an hour and a half. This makes our day totally different.
    I have to take and pick up my son from school so we have to work around those times too. It’s impossible to plan anything when every day is different.
    Any tips for getting him more regular, should I start trying to feed and nap at fixed times or continue to follow his lead and wait for regularity to appear?

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Kirsteen,

      It sounds like you have a light at the end of a tunnel with him switching to just one feeding at night. You might even try eliminating that feeding by doing a dream feed 20-30 minutes before he usually awakens. If you can satisfy his tummy without him actually waking up then after a couple of nights he might just sleep through even without the dream feed.

      In addition, are you keeping a log of his schedule? It’s worth writing everything down for a couple of days to see if you can find his natural pattern. You might find that he really needs to go down earlier for his naps so that he will sleep longer. It’s a classic problem with the second child to miss the sweet spot because you are busy with the 1st born! 🙂 Anyway, give these suggestions a try but also feel free to write back if you need more input. Hope this makes a difference for you!

  58. Thanks for your reply Danielle, they’re great suggestions. I’ve always kept a log (at first so that in my haze I didn’t have to remember last feed/sleep times etc) the only pattern he has is that he can stay awake for an hour and half to 2 hours and gets hungry every 3.5 to 4 hours.
    I go with his cues as much as I can but I’d really like some regularity.
    I suppose what I’d like opinions on is whether I should start to set feeding and sleeping times or whether I need to wait longer for regular routine to emerge.
    He usually falls asleep OK when I put him down for a nap and his nights are OK (although he wakes at different times every night to feed – the other night not waking at all).
    Thanks for your input!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Kirsteen,

      If you feel like having set sleeping and eating times would be best for your family then, by all means, give this a try with your little guy! I’m trying to remember how old he is (guessing over 6 months because of the name of the article). If your little one has passed his 4 month milestones then he has the ability to self-soothe. Now would be a great time to do a little gentle sleep training. Did I have you look at this article yet?

  59. Hi! I’m really trying to get my lo on a schedule because I’m a stay at home mom and he’s a terrible sleeper! The only thing is that he’s so unpredictable in how long he will sleep, which really can throw everything off. He could sleep 30 or 90 minutes, which makes a schedule so difficult. What would you suggest? Should I just stick to a schedule even if he takes a30 min nap?( meaning then guys wake time would be quite lengthy). He’s 6.5 months old and a bad night sleeper too:(

    • Jodie,

      30 minute naps are KILLER because it’s just enough for him to FEEL like he’s not tired, but it’s not enough for him to actually get the brain-rest he needs to function for the rest of the day.

      That said, I would work on your nighttime sleep first. Many times helping that process can drastically change the daytime sleeping habits and routine. This article discusses one of my favorite gentle sleep methods. Start with that. If you’re still having trouble, or feel like that method may not be a good fit, consider attending one of the monthly Baby Sleep Workshops where we can talk back and forth about your case and create a plan together. Nothing is impossible to change, it just takes consistency and some know-how!

      Once you’ve gotten some of the nighttime sleep established, if he’s still catnapping I would sign up for the Napping Know-How Webinar, and I’ll walk you through how to help him extend those catnaps into a better more consistent daytime sleep schedule. Hope this can help! xo

  60. I have been struggling to get my little guy onto a good schedule because he always wants to go right back to sleep after his 7 am feeding.  Sometimes just for an hour, sometimes for close to two hours….  Every schedule I find online suggests that he should be awake immediately following his morning feeding (even ones that do not revolve around an “eat, play, sleep” structure).  So far I have been allowing him to go back to sleep but I am hoping to have a job soon which means we will be getting him up and taking him to his grandma or daycare….  I’m worried about that being an abrupt change and just curious if you have any suggestions about whether I should let him sleep when he wants to or if I should start trying to keep him up until a 9 am nap time….  Any thoughts would be helpful!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Maggie,

      I would definitely go with your mama instincts on this one. I’m not sure how old your little one is but if he’s 6-9 months then he’s probably ready for a change. After the holidays might be a good time to try this so he’s ready when you go back to work. Also, this article might be a help to you at that time as well.

  61. Hi Heather!
    Do I understand correctly this schedule: if both naps are 1,5 hrs long a 6 month old baby can be awake a 5 hrs strech? ( from 2pm to 7pm?).
    Isnt that a very long awake time? Will my baby not become overtired?
    At the moment we have 3 naps: morning nap is 1,5 hrs; afternoon nap 1 hrs abd late afternoon 30 mins. My main problem is bedtime ( 2,5 hrs after last nap). It always takes at least 1 hrs to sleep and he is unable to calm down on his own- i have tried several times and he only becomes more and more hyper. At the end i always need to rock him un his bed- holding his legs- in order to calm him down. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for a wonderful blog!
    Cheers
    Rebecca

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Rebecca,

      Hi, I’m answering for Heather. 🙂
      Since this schedule is for 6-9 months that stretch might not work for your 6-month-old but once he reaches 7 or 8 months might be perfect. You just have to follow your mama instincts on that one.
      I’m wondering, from what you described if you might want to try moving his bedtime up a bit. It’s easy to miss the window that leads to sleep (without a fight) and have your little one get to the “too tired to sleep” state (As Heather likes to say “Missing this window means he’ll have a brain full of cortisol, think Red Bull for babies.”) Why don’t you try moving his bedtime up 20-30 minutes and see if that helps. If not, then try dropping that 3rd nap and the earlier bedtime.
      Hope this helps your little guy!

  62. I struggle to get my 6 month old into a nighttime routine and normally ends up being around midnight before getting her to settle. She can’t self soothe so I have to rock her. As she is getting too big for her moses basket, I will be moving her to her cot soon. Really need some tips on how I can get her into a routine and settled in her cot

  63. Thanks Danielle for your answer 🙂
    I have tried all sorts of timings for bed time- 1,2,3,4 and 5 hrs after last nap. Whatever I try I always get same result- that is, a baby that practices crawling all over hos crib non stop. It seems like he can’ t manage to calm down/ unwind. The only thing that seems to work to make him telax is to hold down his body and rock him. I hate having to do it and am aslso aware that the bigger and more mobile he gets this technique will become harder and harder 🙁 My son has never EVER fallen asleep without assistance ( not even as a new born). It is worse if i leave the room- we have tried all sorts if techniques and result is a very red baby screaming at the top of his lungs ( he sleeps in m bedroom as we still live in a small apartment).
    Have you ever heard of something like this? And any idea how to fix it?
    Thanks again!

    • Rebecca,

      A few things pop up in my mind reading through your questions (and Danielle’s wonderful answers)! Hopefully these can be helpful!

      • Highly-Alert babies may need a longer bedtime/naptime routine to help their minds slow down and start producing the Melatonin they need to feel tired. You may need to extend your routine a little bit – moving slowly, talking softly, sitting in the dark nursery for a cuddle, etc. To help his brain start to slow down. (Just like most people can’t immediately drop off to sleep after a rock concert. 🙂
      • That’s okay if you’ve helped him fall asleep when he was a newborn. That period of parenting is all about survival, so don’t feel bad about that! I’m not sure if he was premature, or had reflux, or perhaps just has a more cuddly personality, but all those things can cause a baby to need more cuddles before bedtime. That’s totally fine! (I personally loved those newborn cuddles!) That doesn’t mean he can’t learn how to fall asleep on his own now, or in the future. Nothing you’ve done up to this point can ruin anything. Everything is adjustable! All habits can be tweaked and relearned!
      • For a more in-depth look at how to gently coach him to nap better, you may want to consider signing up for my Napping Know-How Webinar. Or, if you’d rather talk with me and we can come up with a plan together to help him learn how to do these skills together, perhaps consider signing up for the Baby Sleep Workshop. (I’m adding new dates for Janaury/February later this afternoon.)

      The average waketime window for a 6 month old is about 2 hours, so adjust the schedule above to move in quadrants of 2 hour wake times. For example…

      • He wakes up at 8am, you’d start putting him down early,so it’s lights out at 10:00am. Then let him sleep until he wakes (even if it’s longer than the 1.5 hours used in the example). Perhaps he slept until noon.
      • He wakes at noon after a 2 hour nap. He has lunch, you play a little, and then put him down so he’s sleeping again at 2:00. (Again, he may need you to start helping him get sleepy at 1:30 in order for him to be asleep at 2.)
      • Perhaps he sleeps until 3:00, a shorter nap of just an hour. You’re right, he absolutely won’t make it until 7:00 before being overtired at this age, so you decide to have him sleep at 4:45 (before the normal 2 hours). This way he can squeeze in a shorter 45-minute Emergency Nap to bridge that gap before bedtime. (TIP: Never let him nap past 5:30 at the LATEST or he won’t be ready for bed at 7:30.)
      • Even though 4:45 was the plan, you start noticing him rubbing his eyes and yawning at 4:30. Those are both RED ALERT signs that he’s on the very cusp of being overtired. As quickly as possible, you get him down for a nap at 4:30 instead (this time, a shorter nap routine, perhaps just a diaper change.)
      • You wake him at 5:30, and then start his bedtime routine at 7:00 so he can be sleeping at 7:30.
      • So that’s another example of how you can tweak the schedule above to better fit your specific day’s rhythm. If you’re really struggling to put him down and have him start falling asleep on his own, I would encourage you to sign up for a Workshop. I have several gentle coaching methods we can talk over, and then you can choose which of those you feel match your family and his temperament best. It will help you know exactly what to do when perhaps you’re feeling unsure about something! You can get more details on those monthly workshops here. I will be adding new dates this afternoon, so if you don’t see those updated for the rest of January/February, check back tomorrow!

        I hope this can help you and other parents out there struggling with a similar thing! The MOST important thing to remember is that you’ve not screwed anything up. You have a baby who KNOWS he is loved and cared for. Everything else can be adjusted. Nothing is impossible to fix!

  64. Hi Heather,

    Our wee boy is coming up to 6 months. He is pretty much on the schedule that you suggest in your article and is a pretty happy chap (although suffering from eczema and reflux).  My issue is that he wakes at 5-5:30am most mornings.  He doesn’t cry, he doesn’t ask for anything, just babbles to himself.  He seems quite content.  He can be awake for anything between 30 mins and up to an hour an a half but then puts himself back to sleep and wakes at 7am/7.10am.  Any ideas?  I have to admit that I haven’t been going in to him because he seems fine…but I do have guilt about it!? Is that awful? Should I be getting him up/feeding him?  Although he is on three meals a day, he is also drinking about 30oz milk  day which I think may be too much but the health visitor says is fine as he will drop it when he needs to.  I’m a little confused!  Thanks so much, Sarah

     

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Sarah,

      It sounds like you’re doing so well, mama! Do not feel guilty for letting him talk to himself for a little while. Babies need quiet time just like kids and adults do! Since you know he is safe and happy you should sleep! 🙂

  65. Thanks Danielle, that’s kind, but I can’t take any credit…he’s been an amazing bean and done it for the most part himself 🙂  Good luck to the mummies out there!

  66. Hello,

    My kiddo is a week away from being 7 months and I am struggling with early wake ups! I have been working with a sleep consultant who says that developmentally he should be starting his day between 6-7 and in bed no later then 7. Also, she says that naps cannot start after 4:00pm that he cannot sleep past 5:00, and that his naps should be at 9 and 1. With him waking up at 5:15 everyday, she encourages me to stretch him as close to 9:00 as possible but it is a struggle! We have been doing naps from 8:30-9:30, and 12:30-1:45 (most often lengths). I try for a nap at 4 but it’s often refused which results in an early bedtime of 6:00 or 6:30. My sleep consultant notes that he should be sleeping 12-13 hours at night so if I just leave him in his crib every morning until 6:00am, he will eventually get the picture and fall back asleep, but that never happens and it results in a screaming child.

    I guess my question is, in your opinion, when is the latest I could start a nap on the current schedule? I think if I let him sleep from 4:30/4:45-5:30, cap that nap, and then put him to bed at 7:30, he might start waking later. I HAVE tried a later bedtime when he’s gotten the 4:00 oclock nap in and it’s still resulted in an early wake up, but I only tried it for a day or two. I’d be happy if he even work at 6:00 or 6:30! The early wake ups are just making it impossible to get a good routine going.

    • Shannon,

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having such troubles! Hopefully I can offer a few suggestions to try! Many times early waking is connected to the child being too tired when he goes to bed the night before. (Seems strange, but I swear it’s true.) Personally, I think your instincts to cap the nap at 5:30 and try a 7:30 bedtime make a lot of sense and are worth trying.

      Also, at this age, I think he should still be napping three times a day, not two. Instead of letting the clock dictate to you, I would use his cues and a “rhythm”. The typical rhythm for a 7 month old is that he will start to get overtired approximately 2 – 2.5 hours after waking from a nap. So if he is waking at 5:30, you should be starting your naptime routine at around 7:45, so he’s asleep by 8:00. (I would make 8:00 the earliest a child that age naps, not 9.) Then when he wakes, make a note of the time and then count 2 to 2.5 hours ahead and you’ll have the time of the next nap. Make sense?

      Just remember that if you miss the window, even by a few minutes, his brain will start making Cortisol, a hormone that will give him a “second wind” and make it harder for him to fall asleep. No disrespect to your current sleep coach, but I would have made different recommendations. She seems a little to “let me tell you how it’s going to be” rather than “let’s talk about things and do it together”.

      Try these recommendations (my Napping Know-How Webinar may be helpful as well), and then see if things get any better after a week or so. If not, Amy and I (who is also a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach) would be happy to work with you and get things back on track. Just contact me here.

      I hope this can encourage you, Andrea! There are always things we can try, so don’t be discouraged! We’ll keep adjusting until we get that morning extended!

  67. Rachael says:

    Hello, I need some major help as my 7 month old hasn’t been napping well for the last 6 weeks. Lately his naps are only lasting 30 mins. He’s so overtired and cranky because he’s not getting enough sleep. I recently transitioned naps from the swing to the crib which didn’t help. Our schedule is: 6:30 wake, reflux meds, bottle, breakfast. 8:15 nap, 11am bottle then lunch, noon nap, 3pm bottle, 5pm dinner, 6:30 bottle, 7pm bed. He sleeps through the night. I know he’s tired and ready for a nap when I put him down too. I’m tempted to move him back in the swing. Please help!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Rachael,

      Before you put him back in the swing (I understand the impulse!) try elevating his mattress a bit and adding a little sling/seat as described in this article. It sounds like he is really missing the elevated head that the swing gives, understandable if reflux is present, so this might help. Hope it does!

  68. My almost 6 month old goes to bed at 7:00 and gets up at 5:00. Really want him to sleep longer but he won’t. He naps pretty good during the day and eats good, but it seems like he is ready to start his day at 5:00. Is there away I can get him to sleep longer?

    • Tammy, many times early waking can be linked to a baby being put down too drowsy at night. Firstly, look over the days naps and see if he’s getting a good amount of daily sleep. The average for a 6 month old is 3.5-4 hours of daily sleep. (This means she should be getting ready for a nap about 1.5 hours after waking.) Then try to put her down in her crib a little more awake. If she was an 8 on the sleepy scale, try to put her down as a 6 – drowsy but not sleeping. Eyes open, but ready to close. Give that a try and see if it helps! xo

  69. Thank you I will give it a try. He usually gets about 4- 4 1/2 hours sleep during the day but because he’s up so early sometimes by 2:00-2:30 he already has his 4 hours in, should I try putting him down earlier for bed or try another small nap?

  70. I feel like I’m in good company here, which is a relief. My baby boy will be 7 months next week (90th percentile in weight at his 6 mo visit) and we’re struggling with nighttime feedings and early mornings still when it seems like he’s eating more than enough during the day. He’s on 3 meals of solids (although his interest in morning oatmeal has decreased) and takes 5 bottles of formula (about 6-7 oz each) between 6 am (or earlier if he wakes early) and 8 pm but lately has been needing another one in the middle of the night. I thought it was a growth spurt but this has been happening for several weeks now and although my husband and I are tired, I’m mostly concerned that he’s not getting enough sleep at night because he’s waking. He’s napping about 3 hours during the day. We usually start his bedtime routine at 7:45 pm because our thought was that the later he got that last bottle the greater our chances were that he’d sleep until 6 am, but after reading some of the posts above I’m starting to think we’re putting him down to sleep too late. Thinking I will try to give him his evening bottle earlier. I usually have to hold him until he’s asleep to get him to sleep, which I know is not a great habit but I’m not ready to let him cry it out yet. He’s trying so hard to roll over in the crib but can’t yet. I feel like he’ll sleep better when he can roll over, but in the meantime do you have any suggestions?

     

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Melissa,

      I think you’re on the right track in considering an earlier bedtime. He will sleep better if he gets to bed before his body has a chance to produce any cortisol (think Red Bull for babies). This might be what is happening now.
      The other idea I have (if moving the bedtime up doesn’t work) is to try a dream feed 30 minutes before he usually wakes in the night. This might take a few days/nights of tracking his sleep in a journal or an app so you know when he typically wakes. The idea is to fill his tummy before he wakes up on his own, so he is able to sleep through the wake time that is habitual. Try doing this for 2 nights in a row and then try the next night without a feed to see if he sleeps through!

      Hope this does the trick. Congratulations on such a healthy little guy!

  71. Hi, I have tried I think just about everything, he naps ok during the day and he goes to bed completely awake and he still gets up between 5:00-5:30. I’m not to sure what else to try or do. I even changed his room around to see if that would help. I can’t put him to bed any later because he gets really miserable and he then won’t take his night time bottle. I’m wondering if this is just his time to get up? Thank you for your help and advice.

  72. Katie Fites says:

    Hi Heather,

    I have a 7.5 month old son.  He has been a pretty poor napper pretty much since say one.  When I was on maternity leave we went around and around trying to get him to take nap longer than 20-30 minutes.  I tried the cio method, putting him in his swing, letting him sleep in my arms after eating a bottle, even driving to the end of the earth and back.  He slept really well in the car and pretty good in my arms but wouldn’t last longer than 30 minutes in his crib.  Now that I am back at work part time, he splits his days with me, my mom and my mother in-law.  Both of who follow very similar schedules that I do.

    Now he has more of a routine (which is below) however the length of his naps are still super inconsistent, lasting anywhere between 15 min and 2 hours.  I am wondering if you have any tips to help make the length of his naps more consistent.  The below schedule shows the start times.

    Wake up: between 7-730am

    Eat first bottle: between 7:30-8

    Plays: 8-9

    Eats Cereal/babyfood: 9-9:30

    Plays: 9:30-10/10:30

    Naps: 10/10:30

    Plays: this depends on how long he naps

    Eats 2nd bottle: noon-1

    Plays/naps: 1-3 – afternoon naps are really tough.  They are more inconsistent than the morning nap

    Eats evening cereal/babyfood: 4:30-5

    Plays: 5-6:45/7

    Bedtime routine: 6:45/7

    Sleep: 7:30/8

    I do want to mention he has always slept well through the night.  He also has a noise machine and darkening curtains in his bedroom.  Any suggestions on how to make his naps more consistent?  I appreciate any help I can get!

    Katie

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Katie,

      I would recommend trying to get him down for his first nap a little sooner? His wake time for the morning should be around 2 hours. It might be that you are missing his “sweet spot” and he’s getting too tired (this can send him into the “too tired to sleep” downward spiral!).
      Give this a try, the schedule on the article can help you find ideas for nap times, and then if it is still an upward battle I recommend you consider Heather’s sleep workshop. She will talk through the details and help you find a schedule that works for your family.

  73. sampada says:

    What should be daily routine of my 7 months old baby including naps and feedings if i wants his bedtime around 9 pm

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Sam,

      Why don’t you take the schedule in this article but just shift it later. You will want that last nap to be later for sure. It’s important that your little one doesn’t have too much wake time before bed. You don’t want to hit the over tired place!

  74. -y daughter is 7 mos old up around 5:30, nurse, (sometimes back to sleep for 1/2hr), Daycare 7:00 breakfast, 8ish nap, 915 nurse, play, 11 lunch, nap after, nurse 12:30, 2 nap, Home 3ish, nurse, nap from 330-5:30ish,-eat dinner, nurse,bed 6-7 p.m., another nursing before I go to bed between 9-10.

    The problem we’re having is she doesn’t nap longer than 30-40 mins at daycare, maybe 1x/week she’ll take a 1 hr nap. She has been like this since she started at 10 wks.  We’ve (her caregiver and I) tried everything to get her to sleep better at daycare.  At night she gets a feeding at 9ish (before I go to bed) to keep her through the night. She will fuss a couple times during the night, but since I’ve stopped going to her she goes back to sleep after a few mins.  I know she’s probably sleep deprived but I don’t know what else to do. On the weekends I try to keep very close to the same schedule and she will sleep 2 hrs for most naps. Any ideas?

    • Abby, Amy and I would love to look over some sleep logs, read through an assessment, and talk with you about the details of what’s going on at daycare, what you’ve tried before, etc.

      Would you be available early next week to talk things over on the phone and create a plan together? If this interests you, click here to learn more about Super Sleep Sessions, and we can get you scheduled for a talk early next week.

  75. Jen You says:

    Hi Heather,

    I’ve been trying to use this schedule for a week and have been having a hard time knowing what to do when my 6 MO baby boy only takes 45 min naps and wakes up earlier than the schedule says.

    1) Do I wait to feed him at the scheduled time or feed him when he wakes up?

    2) What do I do about his next nap? Should I put him down for his nap after his usual 2-2.5 hours of wakefulness or try to put him down for his nap based on the schedule time?

    3) He’s been waking up anywhere between 5:45 – 6:45am daily. We have been letting him stay in his crib and waiting to feed him at 7am. Is there a solution to helping him wake up later? He currently falls asleep between 7-7:15pm daily.

    4) Any advice on elongating his naps? He falls asleep on his own in his crib in his own room, we have blackout curtains in his room and use a noise machine. We have a 10min nap routine (sing lullabies in a rocking chair in darkened room) before we put him down awake in his crib and he drifts off on his own within 10-20min. He is usually awake for 2-3 hours at a time. He has been a short napper pretty much his whole life.

     

    Thanks!

    Jen

  76. This is how my son has his routine too, but the thing that i question is how much milk does he need to have at each feed. He is Bottle fed and takes 5oz at 4:45 and again at 7am. He then eats breakfast at 8. Naps between 9-10am. Has a 7oz bottle at 11am then again at 2. Has veggies at 5 with a 5oz bottle then a 7oz before bed at 7. Does this seem normal or should I change his bottles?

    • Jenny Blake says:

      I think that this is normal, Natasha. Eventually, you could increase the amount to 8 oz at breakfast, lunch, afternoon bottle, dinner and then one before bed. This will get him used to eating at normal times and fill up his belly until the next feeding. It might even stretch his naps out longer. It is also important to feed him his solids close to the time he gets his bottle. Think of bottle/solids like his whole meal. If you give them to him at separate times, he is going to think he is snacking throughout the whole day. The more he gets filled up at mealtimes, the more likely he will give up that 4:45 feeding.

      Hope this helps!

  77. Hello!My baby will be 6 months in 3 days. She sleeps very well at night (usually sleeping by 7 or 7:30 pm the latest and goes until around 7 am with one feeding during the night around 4 or 5 am. I wake her up at 7 am if she isn’t already). But naps are something that I can’t figure out. Every day is different. She does sleep on her own, I do a nap routine and put her on her crib awake (she either plays a bit with her lovey and falls asleep easily or cries and I go in to soothe her doing PU/PD until she settles and falls asleep). She used to sleep 1:30-2 hours in the morning and have longer naps during the day, but now she almost always sleeps for 45 min only. I can’t figure out what is wrong, because she falls asleep on her own, I guess she should be able to connect sleep cycles. I try to put her down every two hours, when she is showing sleepy signs, but every day is different, sometimes she will sleep a little longer or she will take more time to settle to go to sleep and this makes every day look different, which is upsetting. What can I be doing wrong?

    • Naps are often the hardest part of sleep training, Carol. You’re in good company. Also, there’s a growth spurt around the 6 month period, which can be having a factor here. Honestly, I’d need to look over your sleep logs and interview you about your current naptime routine. Then we’d create a plan on how it would be best to approach your specific child and help her stretch those naps. I would recommend that you consider doing a Sleep Session with Amy and she can share various methods you can choose from to help get on a better place. That way we can dive deeper into what’s going on and talk with you about what’s the best option for you, moving forward.

  78. Ekaterina Reier says:

    Heather,

    My baby’s routine is almost exactly that, except we have not started lunch yet. The problem I am having is this. She has been sleeping through the night just fine for a few months 7-7, no issues. At about 5 month mark she however started waking up at  5-6 AM and whining. Sometimes she would fall back asleep and sometimes she will not and I end up with a full on screaming baby at half past way too early in the morning. Which makes me think that she probably has reached her point of “sleep saturation” and doesn’t need as much sleep in the daytime any more. But…. if I try to extend her wake times and shorten her naps, I WILL have an overtired baby. It is catch 22, really. She is a week shy of being 7 months now, and I am not sure how and where to shift her schedule. She normally takes an hr and a half nap in the AM, and an hr and a half in the afternoon. She may or may not take a catnap at around 415. Lately it is a struggle, but I make her do it anyway, cause otherwise she ends up being up for 5 hrs before bedtime, which is a no-no. I guess the question is, how long is too long between sleeps at this age. Should I insist on stretching her wake times and drop that catnap or what? Should I push her bed time back and shorten her night time sleep? It does not seem to help though, cause she wakes up early in the AM anyway. No idea what to do and she is driving me crazy with her 5 AM wake p calls.

     

    • Ekaterina, it’s normal for there to be some sleep disruptions at this age. She’s going through a major milestone shift right now – moving from “newborn” to “baby”. You may notice her appetite increasing as well. At this age, the longest she can go is about 1 – 1.5 hours in between sleeps. 5am is considered “early waking” and can often be caused by her being overtired at bedtime. (Which makes sense, looking at some of the napping issues you’re having.) I would recommend signing up for a Sleep Session with Amy, so she can look over your sleep logs and give you more specific personalized suggestions for handling those naps. There are a lot of different factors that can cause disruptions at this age, I hesitate to get too specific. I could accidentally give you the wrong advice. Talking things through one-on-one would let us get specific answers to specific questions, and get a better feel for what’s going on at home. Then we can help you create a workable plan, and identify what is reasonable to expect for her at this age. Hopefully that makes sense. Click here to learn more about the Sleep Sessions.

  79. My son just turned 7 months old and is up every two hours at night! I could count on one hand the amount of times he has slept a 5 hour stretch. He wakes up screaming and does not stop until he is fed, and then falls asleep, but wakes screaming again once I put him in his crib. I’ve tried to let him “cry it out”, but he ends up winning and getting rocked because I have a two year old in the next room and don’t like leaving him to cry long (it is not just a fuss or wimper, but screaming) Please help!

    • Mel, I’m so sorry to hear this! It’s exhausting to try to chase down a two-year-old AND a 7-month-old when you’re well-rested, let alone when you’re getting no sleep whatsoever! I would recommend setting up a Sleep Session with Gentle Sleep Coach Amy Potts for next week. This will allow her to ask you some more questions, get to know your situation better, and then help you create a workable sleep plan on how to get him sleeping better – without disrupting your toddler. There are lots of different methods we could try, besides cry-it-out. Getting to know you better will help her recommend one that may be a better fit to your situation. 🙂

  80. My little one is 8 months old and just transitioned to 2 naps…after several weeks, we finally realized that 2 hours of wake time in the morning was not enough to get him to nap more then 30 minutes for nap 1.

    6:00am: Out of crib (sometimes up earlier)
    6:30am: 8oz Bottle
    7:15am: Breakfast solids
    8:45/9am: Nap (usually 1.15 hours)
    10:30am: 8oz Bottle
    12:30pm: 2oz Bottle and Snack
    1:00pm: Nap (usually 1.15 hours)
    3:00pm: 8oz Bottle
    5:30pm: Dinner solids
    6:15pm: 8oz Bottle after bath
    6:30pm: Book and Bedtime, sometimes up 1x a night for a 4oz bottle.

    I think this schedule is working nicely, but I am concerned that his last wake time is too long (sometimes 4.5 hours!) and that he isn’t getting enough day sleep (2.5 hours max). He is usually ready for sleep by 6pm, but we try to extend him until 6:30pm because we both work full time. He does not cry going down for any naps or nighttime sleep, and wakes up happy.

    Any recommendations or am I trying to change something that is working? We didn’t start getting super solid nighttime sleep until we dropped to two naps, but I want him happy when he goes to bed at night!

    Thank you!!

    • You’re instincts on this are right, Shelby. I would toss in a shorter nap between 4:30 and 5:15 to help him avoid being overtired at bedtime. (Which could be responsible for his occasionally waking before 6am.) You want to get as close to 3 hours of daytime sleep as possible. If you could stretch those two naps a little more, you might be able to avoid that 3rd catnap. You may also want to move his afternoon nap up by 30 minutes, that may extend the nap a little. *fingerscrossed* (At this age, his waketime window is usually around 2 hours.)

      If you want help with this, or to help gently wean him off that 4oz nightly bottle, set up a Sleep Session with Gentle Sleep Coach Amy Potts. She can look over your little one’s health history and help you create a workable gentle plan to get these sleep issues resolved. Click here to learn more about Sleep Sessions.

  81. Hi Heather, thoroughly enjoyed your writings. I have a question here. My soon to be 6 month old is currently being nursed to sleep (since born) and it’s fine for me. My concern is, he is sleeping way too late. Most of the nights when he finally sleeps is about 10pm to 11pm. But we did start our bed time routine at about 830 to 9pm.

    He will wake up once or twice, usually 3am and 5 am for feeds and go back to sleep till 8-9am.

    In regards to nap, he’s nursed to nap as well. Usually 2-3 naps lasting 1-2 hours each, at mid morning, noon and late afternoon like 4pm.

    I understand the bed time is way too late for a 6 month old. How would you suggest I go about to practically bring forward the bedtime? Been trying to do it on my own by moving forward by 15 mins each day but some days he just doesn’t show any sleepy cues and just wanted to interact and play.

    Im so worried the lack of sleep will affect his development but so far he’s been on the track and all well.

    • June,

      Firstly, I don’t think the lack of sleep will affect his development here because he’s getting closer to his daytime needs, even when they’re all over the place. If he wasn’t sleeping at ALL for 3 days…well that would be an issue your doctor will want to know about. But that’s not happening here, so let it put your mind at ease a bit. 🙂

      Okay – to your question. I think his morning is starting too early, which is throwing off the rest of the day. If he’s napping for 2 hours at 4pm, it makes sense that he’s wired and not ready to sleep. Also, my guess is you’re missing his sleep window, so his brain stops making melatonin (the sleepy hormone) and makes cortisol instead. This gives him a “Second wind” and makes it hard for him to fall asleep. (Adults have this same thing – it’s why you can be really tired until 11:30, and then all the sudden be ready to pull an all-nighter.)

      I would start his day closer to 7:00 or 7:30 in the morning, and then plan on his naps being 2 hours after that. (So after he wakes up, assume he’ll be ready again for naps 2 hours later.) Naturally, this is all generalization. If you’re still struggling with this, I would recommend signing up for a full sleep coaching package here with Gentle Sleep Coach Amy Potts. This way we can help with the nighttime sleep, naps, and the scheduling issue all at once.

      Amy looks over a comprehensive health history to get to know his little personality and then talks with you for extended periods of times about your parenting preferences and the types of strategies you can use. Then she meets with you regularly until you meet all your sleep goals. There’s also a 110% Sleeping Money Back Guarantee that we offer to show that we are as committed to your success as you are. Sometimes it’s just helpful to know you’re not “going it alone” and have an expert to bounce ideas on. 🙂

  82. Hello heather, i need HELP. My son 7 months never had bedtime routine, never on schedule. Hes my second child i have irish twins therefore i never had time or energy to help him. But its about time to do something.
    His daily schedule is all over the place. I dont know what time is his bedtime because everyday he wakes up at a different time. He sometimes takes a nap after being awake for one hour. Also, he has multiple night wakings.

    I dont mind trying CIO but i think i need to help him have a predictable schedule first. However, Im not sure how i can do this.

    • Maha, since you have more than one sleep issue to work through, I would recommend a complete Sleep Coaching package with Gentle Sleep Coach Amy Potts. This way she can read through your baby’s health history, see your daily sleep logs, and help you work on naps, nighttime sleep, and scheduling all at once. She meets with you every few days to keep the process moving along, and make tweaks as needed. This way she can customize the plan to your baby’s personality and your parenting preferences. It also comes with a 110% Sleeping Money Back Guarantee to show that we are as dedicated to helping your baby sleep better as you are. 🙂

  83. This is so reassuring to see.  This is exactly how my 8 month old has her day.  Sometimes she doesn’t want that last nap.  Lately though we’ve been having the issue that after bed, she wakes up after maybe 3-4 hours and doesn’t want to go back to sleep. We’ve tried a lot of different things but the only thing that I’ve found that gets her back down is letting her get up for an hour and work out some of her energy.  I know that is surely not the right answer.  Do you have any thoughts on that? It’s only been happening for 2 weeks but I’m praying this phase is over FAST

    • Jenny Blake says:

      That is amazing, Ashley! Good job! It sounds like you are having a very specific sleep issue with that 3-4 hours, though. She might benefit from a sleep session with Amy, our certified sleep coach here at Incredible Infant. Amy has helped parents with specific problems. She has full coaching packages for people struggling with schedules, naps, etc.. but it sounds like you have that under control. She is extremely discerning, would figure out what is going on with those 3-4 hours and help you quickly through it. Good luck and great job mothering, Ashley!

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