NEW & IMPROVED! Sample Schedules for the First Year and Beyond

I will preface this blog post by saying that all babies are different and yours might not necessarily fit into this schedule perfectly every single day but it is just meant as a guide to know what is typical at each age and as baby grows.  I intended this to be a helpful guide to see what a day in the life of a baby on an age-appropriate schedule looks like - feedings, naps, and nightsleep. When looking at these schedules, what's important to note is the time awake in between sleep times, not necessarily the time on the clock. I generally recommend putting baby down (or starting the soothing routine if baby is not falling asleep independently) 15 minutes before these targeted 'asleep' times to give them ample time to fall asleep.

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4 months

Babies at this age are still sleeping a lot, about every 1.5 hours during the day.  Nightfeedings are still the norm at this age (usually 2) and normally continue until baby is 8/9 months of age.

6:30am - up for the day, nursing/bottle
7:45am - 9:00am - nap#1, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
10:30am - 11:30am - nap#2, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
1:00pm - 2:15pm - nap#3, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
3:45pm - 4:30pm - nap#4, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
 -- this nap is often only a 30-45 minute catnap
5:30pm - bedtime routine, nurse/bottle at the beginning
6:15pm - bedtime (baby to be asleep at this time)

4.5 months

Very similar pattern to the above 4 month schedule except baby is able to handle a bit more awake time in the morning and before bed.

6:30am - up for the day, nursing/bottle
8:00am - 9:15am - nap#1, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
10:45am - 11:45am - nap#2, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
1:15pm - 2:30pm - nap#3, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
4:15pm - 5:00pm - nap#4, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
 -- this nap is often only a 30-45 minute catnap
6:15pm - bedtime routine, nurse/bottle at the beginning
7:00pm - bedtime (baby to be asleep at this time)

Babies should be sleeping approximately 11-12 hours at night + 2 nightfeedings are normal at this age (first about 5 hours from the bedtime feed, second about 3.5 hours later).

5 months

Five months is when you want to start working on dropping that 4th nap and pushing the 3 nap schedule. The amount of time baby is awake in between naps will slowly lengthen to move them to a solid 3 nap schedule by 6 months. Because you've lost an entire sleep period (nap 4) bedtime needs to move earlier to compensate.

6:30am - up for the day, nursing/bottle
8:15am - 10:15am - nap#1, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
12:15pm - 1:30pm - nap#2, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
3:30pm - 4:15pm - nap#3, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
-- this nap is often only a 30-45 minute catnap
5:45pm - bedtime routine, nurse/bottle at the beginning
6:30pm - bedtime (baby to be asleep at this time)

Babies should be sleeping approximately 11-12 hours at night + 2 nightfeedings (first about 6 hours from bedtime feed, second about 3.5-4 hours later).

6 months

Babies at this age are on a solid 3 nap schedule and may be down to only 1 nightfeeding (more than 2 nightfeedings and you likely have a sleep association problem on your hands).  This is the age when most babies begin to experiment with solids, although breastmilk or formula should still be baby's main source of nutrition until after the first year of life.

6:30am - up for the day, nursing/bottle
7:30am - breakfast
8:15am - 9:45am - nap#1, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
12:00pm - 1:15pm - nap#2, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
3:30pm - 4:15pm - nap#3, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
-- common for this nap to be a 30-45 minute catnap
5:30pm - dinner
6:00pm - bedtime routine, nurse/bottle at the beginning
6:45pm - bedtime (baby to be asleep at this time)

Babies should be sleeping approximately 11-12 hours at night + 1 nightfeeding is normal at this age (about 7 hours from the bedtime feeding).

7 months

Hanging onto 3 naps until as close to 8 months of age as possible is ideal in order to ensure a smooth 3-2 nap transition. This means that at this age, you may need to start capping naps to fit all 3 in before 5:00pm. While waking a sleeping baby is the pits, it can really help to avoid overtiredness down the road.

7:00am - up for the day, nursing/bottle
8:00am - breakfast
9:00am - 10:15am - nap#1, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
11:45am - lunch
12:30pm - 1:30pm - nap#2, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
4:00pm - 4:45pm - nap#3, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
5:45pm - dinner
6:30pm -  bedtime routine, nurse/bottle at the beginning
7:15pm - bedtime (baby to be asleep at this time)

Baby should be sleeping approximately 11-12 hours at night + 1 nightfeeding (at least 7 hours after the bedtime feeding).

8 months (start of transition)

The 3-2 nap transition begins at this age (or you should begin the transition if you haven't already as holding onto naps for too long can start to wreak havoc on nightsleep) and the schedule changes drastically from the beginning of 8 months to the end. You want to ensure to continue slowly stretching baby's awake times to move them to a solid 2 nap schedule (as getting stuck on 2 naps with short awake times can be a recipe for a bad night's sleep). No surprise here - an early bedtime is needed to account for the loss of the 3rd nap.

7:00am - up for the day, nursing/bottle
8:00am - breakfast
9:30am - 11:00am - nap#1, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
12:00pm - lunch
1:45pm - 3:15pm - nap#2, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
5:00pm - dinner (starting to offer the last nursing/bottle of the night with dinner or immediately before/after dinner at this age is a great idea to further separate feeding from sleeping)
5:45pm - bedtime routine
6:15pm - bedtime (baby to be asleep at this time)

8 months (part-way into the transition)

6:30am - up for the day, nursing/bottle
7:30am - breakfast
9:30am - 11:00am - nap#1, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
12:00pm - lunch
2:15pm-3:45pm - nap#2, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
5:45pm - dinner, last nurse/bottle with or immediately before/after dinner
6:45pm - bedtime routine
7:15pm - bedtime (baby to be asleep at this time)
 

Baby should be sleeping approximately 11-12 hours at night + 0-1 nightfeedings. If a nightfeeding still exists, it should be close to/after midnight (and at least 7 hours from the bedtime feeding).

9-11 months

Most babies at this age have now transitioned to a 2 nap schedule and will keep these two naps until 13-18 months (with 15 months being average).  We can often comfortably work on eliminating all nightfeedings at this point (if baby hasn't dropped them on his own and as long as your pediatrician is on board as well).  If baby is eating more than once, it is a safe bet that there is a sleep association problem.

7:00am - up for the day, nursing/bottle
8:00am - breakfast
10:00am - 11:30am -  nap#1, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
12:30pm - lunch
3:00pm - 4:00pm - nap#2, nurse/bottle upon wake-up
5:30pm - dinner, nurse/bottle with dinner or immediately before/after
7:00pm - bedtime routine
7:30pm - bedtime (baby to be asleep at this time) 

Babies should be sleeping approximately 11-12 hours at night.  No nightfeedings required at the end of the 9th month (although some parents wish to keep one and that is completely fine as well) unless directed otherwise by your doctor.  If you are working to eliminate nightfeedings, make sure you've tried moving the bedtime feeding away from the bedtime routine and instead, to immediately before/after dinner.

12-18 months

It is a big misconception that babies at one year of age only need one nap.  In fact, most babies still need 2 naps up to 15 months or beyond.  Babies at this age are able to comfortably sleep all night without feedings although many who have sleep associations will continue to wake for feedings into their second year of life.  The schedule below is an average for all babies who are still taking 2 naps, there are not many changes to their schedule until the afternoon nap is dropped around the 15-18 month mark.

6:30am - up for the day
7:15am - breakfast w/ milk or water
9:15am - snack w/ milk or water
9:45am - 11:15am - nap#1
12:15pm - lunch w/ milk or water
2:15pm - snack w/ milk or water
3:15pm - 4:00pm - nap#2 -- the afternoon nap becomes less restorative at this age, bedtime needs to be earlier to compensate
6:00pm - dinner w/ milk or water
6:45pm - bedtime routine
7:15pm - bedtime (baby to be asleep at this time)

Babies still need 11-12 hours of nightsleep at this age and most will not be waking up throughout the night for a feeding.

 

I hope you have found this guide helpful to get a feel for what a 'normal' schedule for your child is.  I really do not like the term 'schedule' because I do not believe in rigid schedules for babies or children of any age.  However, it is very important that we are keeping one eye on the clock and one eye on baby to avoid that overtired state.  A well-rested baby is a happy baby!
If you feel you need further help in developing a schedule that fits your baby, or if your baby is waking up much more than the averages I give above, contact me and we can find a solution for your family!