Category Archives: Schedules

How To Put Your Baby or Toddler On A Schedule

 
How To Put Your Baby or Toddler On A Schedule

Sure, we’ve got a ton of helpful sample sleep and feeding schedules by age on our site – but since your baby or toddler presumably can’t read yet, how are you supposed to get your child to, you know, actually follow one of these sample schedules?

Having a schedule is all well and good, but how do you get your child’s day to match said schedule?

Fear not, parents – we here at The Baby Sleep Site® are known for our awesome scheduling help. And in today’s article, we bring that scheduling help to you! Read on to learn how you can gently help your baby or toddler follow a predictably daily schedule.

How To Put Your Newborn Baby On A Schedule

Remember that when it comes to newborns, you have to use the word ‘schedule’ loosely. Your definitely don’t want to try for a clock-based schedule with your newborn – instead, you want to think in terms of shaping a loose schedule that’s based more on routine and ordering your baby’s activities than it is on the clock. You’ll also watch your baby’s sleep and hunger cues carefully – they are the single best indicator of what your baby needs.

In order to promote healthy sleep habits, we usually recommend an eat-play-sleep schedule: you feed your baby, engage him in an activity (like reading a book, playing with a soft toy, etc.) and then put him down for a nap. While it’s not based on fixed feeding and sleep times, this rhythm will support the timed schedules that come later. You can also work towards helping your baby learn to fall asleep alone by putting him down slightly awake for at least one nap of the day.

Once your baby is about 8 or 10 weeks old, you can start working in one or two fixed points into the daily schedule. This will be a step towards a schedule that’s clock-based.

See our sample newborn sleep and feeding schedules, or check out our e-book on newborn sleep, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep.

How To Put Your 4 Month Old Baby On A Schedule

By 4 months, your baby still isn’t ready for a strict schedule, but you can work towards a semi-clock based schedule by 4 months. You’ll still want to focus mainly on establishing strong routines, as you did in the newborn stage, but you can work towards plugging in more fixed points into your baby’s schedule – at this age, the first morning and first afternoon naps make good fixed points, as well as morning wake-time and bedtime.

You can also work towards establishing strong sleep-time and bedtime routines at this age. Start by creating a predictable, consistent bedtime routine. Later on, you’ll do a mini-version of this routine at nap time.

Keep in mind that the 4 month sleep regression usually strikes at this time, and that will throw off your baby’s sleep in a big way

See our sample 4 month sleep and feeding schedules for more information, or perhaps consider becoming a Baby Sleep Site® member. Our Members Area provides you access to over 50 sample schedules by age.

How To Put Your 5, 6, or 7 Month Old Baby On A Schedule

You can start moving to a by-the-clock schedule at this point, if you want to (although if you’re more of a go-with-the-flow parent, you certainly don’t need a rigid schedule!). By 6 months, most babies are eating solid foods, so you can start to carve out more fixed “meal” times and sleep times. Naps will also start to consolidate, for most babies, around 6 months or so, so it may be easier to have a predictable, timed nap schedule at this age.

As for how to get your 5, 6, or 7 month old baby onto your desired schedule – you will simply extend your baby’s awake time between naps (do this VERY gradually), until your baby’s naps line up with the scheduled times.

Still, plan to be flexible – while your baby’s schedule may become more predictable overall, there will still no doubt be days when your little one throws you for a loop! And often, when you try to force a rigid schedule too soon, you end up focusing on the clock instead of on your baby’s cues, which leads to a cycle of overtiredness.

See 5 month, 6 month, and 7 month sample sleep and feeding schedules here. Or, consider purchasing a copy of Mastering Naps & Schedules, the e-book designed to solve your persistent nap challenges!

How To Put Your 8, 9, or 10 Month Old Baby On A Schedule

For this stage, you’ll do the same thing you did above – you’ll gradually increase your baby’s awake time until it lines up with the 2-nap schedule you’re working towards. In general, it becomes easier to achieve a clock-based schedule at this age, simply because by this time, your baby is most likely down to just 2 naps per day, and you’re out of that “hamster wheel” of constant nap transitions that you experienced in your baby’s first 6 months of life. From here on out, your baby will have 2 naps per day for quite awhile, until she transitions to 1 nap in early toddlerhood.

Do keep in mind, though, that your baby will go through the 8/9/10 month sleep regression during this time, and that will likely mean set-backs with any schedule progress you make.

See sample 8 month, 9 month, and 10 month sleep and feeding schedules here. Or, if you’re continuing to struggle with getting your baby on a predictable schedule, you may want to consider a personalized sleep consultation with one of our expert consultants.

How To Put Your 11 or 12 Month Old Baby On A Schedule

By now, even the most unpredictable babies tend to fall into SOME kind of regular daily schedule – even if it’s not the schedule you intended! ;) At this age, it’s actually best to start paying more attention to the clock – and it’s also best if you focus on extending your baby’s awake time. While young babies need short wake time in order to ward off over tiredness, at this stage, you’ll probably need to focus on extending your child’s wake time to ensure that your baby’s bedtime doesn’t get too late. It’s especially important to make sure that the afternoon nap isn’t too late in the day.

See sample 11 month and 12 month sleep and feeding schedules here.

How To Put Your Toddler On A Schedule

Of all age groups, a toddler’s schedule is often one of the easiest to achieve. As long as your toddler is napping independently and can nap long enough, your toddler will fall into a predictable schedule. You can set the schedule based on the clock and, generally, will get a good night’s sleep and a good nap out of him. Granted, over-tiredness can still lead to shorter naps or night-waking or your baby waking too early, but if you follow a standard 5 hours awake before and after the nap, most toddlers should do pretty well.

See our sample toddler sleep and feeding schedules for more information.

Baby and Toddler Scheduling Help That Works…Guaranteed!

If scheduling help is what you need, we can certainly help with that. We have a team of caring, compassionate expert consultants standing by, waiting to create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.
 

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 
 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

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Newborn Sleep and Feeding Schedule

 
Newborn Sleep Feeding Schedule

This article outlines newborn sleep patterns and habits, as well as sample newborn sleep and feeding schedules.

Skip to the schedules

Newborn Sleep

A baby is considered a newborn from birth until about 3 months of age. During the first 3 months of life, your newborn’s sleep patterns will look nothing like yours – your baby will sleep in short bursts (anywhere from 30 or 45 minutes – 3 or possibly 4 hours), and then eat between sleeps. In this way, newborn’s don’t follow a typical day/night sleep schedule. Their circadian rhythms need time to adjust – in fact, some newborns come out of the womb having their days and nights completely mixed up! This is called day/night confusion, and babies who struggle with it tend to sleep a lot during the day and then wake up frequently at night.

Many parents discover that their newborns are extra sleepy in the first week or two after birth – you may find that you have to wake your newborn to feed, or that your newborn often drifts off during a feeding, before eating her fill. But your newborn will definitely “wake up” within three weeks after birth – at that point, you will start to deal with more wakefulness (in fact, you may start to miss the early weeks of having a super-sleepy newborn!!).

Newborn Feeding

Newborns feed very, very frequently, but this isn’t a problem to be solved – it’s perfectly natural! Your newborn’s tummy is quite small, so it’s understandable that he needs to eat often.

Formula-fed newborns may need to eat slightly less often than breast-fed newborns, because it takes a newborn’s tummy longer to digest and break down formal, resulting in baby feeling fuller for longer periods of time. Breast milk, on the other hand, is digested fairly quickly.

As for how much breastmilk or formula your baby needs – when it comes to formula, you can use a fairly simple formula to help you determine approximately how much formula your baby needs. Take your baby’s weight and multiply it by 2.5. So, following this approach, an 8 pound baby would need about 20 ounces of formula in a 24-hour period. As for breastmilk – as a general rule, most newborns need between 20 and 30 ounces of breastmilk (and between 25-35 ounces once they’re past the newborn stage). In general, if you are exclusively nursing, it’s best to nurse on demand in the first few weeks after birth – this will ensure that your milk supply becomes well-established. In the first 12 weeks, your newborn may have one 4-5 hour stretch of sleep during the day or night, but your baby really shouldn’t have more than one (or possibly two, in some cases) – in order to maintain your supply, you’ll need to nurse every 2-3 hours, on average. Once your baby is past 3 months of age, and is in the infant stage, that will slowly stretch into 5-6 hours, and then 7-8, and eventually right up to 10 or 11 hours once your baby is 9 or 10 months old.

Newborn Growth Spurts

Believe it or not, A LOT is going on with your newborn baby. So much growth and development is happening in that little body! Your newborn will very likely go through growth spurts at the following times:

  • 7-10 days of age
  • 2-3 weeks of age
  • 4-6 weeks of age
  • 3 months of age

During these growth spurts, it will feel like your newborn is feeding almost constantly (and like when she’s not feeding, she’s sleeping). This is 100% normal – feed your newborn as often as she needs it, as the extra nourishment is important during the growth spurt.

Newborn Feeding and Sleep Schedule

Your unique newborn’s wake times and total sleep needs may vary from what is recommended below. These schedules are based on averages, but your baby may need more or less sleep (or shorter/longer wake times) than what is shown below. Remember, watch your baby’s sleepy cues closely (rubbing eyes, yawning, staring off into space, etc.), and let those guide the sleep schedule. Remember, too, that if your baby is already fussing, he’s already overtired – strive to get him down for his nap earlier next time, before the fussing starts.

 

2-8 Week Old Newborn, Breast Feeding

(This schedule is best for babies who consume average amounts of breast milk, and for moms who have average breast milk production and storage amounts. Babies who eat smaller amounts, babies with reflux, and moms who produce and store smaller amounts of breastmilk would need a different schedule, as would babies who eat larger amounts per feeding, and moms who produce/store greater amounts of breast milk. Schedules for those scenarios, as well as schedules for older breast-fed newborns, are available in our newborn book, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep).

9:00 AM – Wake and Feed*
10:00 AM – Nap (30-60 minutes)
11:00 AM – Wake and Feed
12:30 PM – Nap (30-60 minutes)
1:30 PM – Wake and Feed
3:30 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
4:30 PM – Wake and Feed
6:00 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
6:30 PM – Wake and Feed
7:30 PM – Catnap (20 – 30 minutes)
8:00 PM – Wake and Feed
9:30 PM – Catnap (20 – 30 minutes)
10:00 PM – Wake and Feed
11:30 PM – Feed and Bedtime*
3:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep
6:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep

* – we recommend you make these fixed points in your baby’s schedule. You can read more about this in our article on fixed points in a baby schedule.

2-8 Week Old Newborn, Formula Feeding

(You will see that this schedule outlines longer naps and fewer feedings than the breastfeeding schedule above; this is simply because formula is more difficult for baby to digest, so baby tends to feel fuller longer, and therefore needs slightly fewer feedings. For formula-feeding schedules for older newborns, see our newborn book, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep)

9:00 AM – Wake and Feed*
10:00 AM – Nap (60 – 90 minutes)
11:30 AM – Wake
12:30 PM – Feed and Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
1:30 PM – Wake
3:00 PM – Feed and Nap (60 – 90 minutes)
4:30 PM – Wake and Feed
6:00 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
6:00 PM – Wake
7:30 PM – Feed and Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
8:30 PM – Wake
9:30 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
10:00 PM – Wake and Feed
11:30 PM – Feed and Bedtime*
4:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep
7:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep

* – we recommend you make these fixed points in your baby’s schedule. You can read more about this in our article on fixed points in a baby schedule.

Essential Keys to Newborn SleepThe schedules above come from our newborn sleep e-Book, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep. At over 90 pages long (and containing a variety of sample schedules for breastfed and formula-fed babies from birth – 16 weeks), this e-Book truly is a one-stop resource designed to help your newborn establish healthy sleep habits, right from birth. Whether you’re a brand new parent or an experienced parents who needs to brush up newborn sleep basics, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep is a comprehensive and budget-friendly resource that will provide the information you need to work towards excellent sleep for your whole family, from day one.

Additional Newborn Sleep Articles

Want more newborn sleep tips? Check out our other newborn sleep articles:

Newborn Sleep Resources, and Personalized Newborn Sleep Help

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.
 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

 
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bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
 
 
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!
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Tell us about your newborn’s schedule and sleep routines!

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Baby Feeding Schedule: Rigid, Flexible, or On-Demand?

 
Baby FeedingSchedule

Figuring out your baby’s sleep schedule can be tough – very tough! – but you know what can be just as challenging? Figuring out your baby’s feeding schedule! While it’s true that a small percentage of families will struggle with sleep while not having any issues with feeding, we’ve found that sleep and feeding are so closely connected that families usually have trouble with both. (That’s just one of the reasons we created our sister site, Your Baby’s Start To Solid Food.)

Sleep and feeding problems usually become cyclical. Here’s an example: an over-tired 3 month old may start to routinely take short, incomplete feedings, simply because he can’t stay awake long enough to get a full feed. Then, he may wake too early from a nap, or wake too often at night, because he’s hungry (he didn’t get that full feeding in earlier, after all), so he needs to eat again – only he can’t take a full feeding, because he’s so tired, so he falls asleep after just fa few minutes of eating, but then he wakes too early from his next nap, too, because he’s hungry…..

You get the idea. :)

So, along with sleep schedule help, our consultants often offer feeding schedule help, too, in cases where feeding schedules may be problematic. You just can’t separate out feeding and sleep – they’re so connected!

That’s why we’re talking about feeding schedules today on the blog. Specifically, we’re looking at different kinds of feeding schedules, to help you determine which is best for you. When it comes to baby feeding schedules, is it best to go with a more rigid schedule? A more flexible schedule? Or should you throw out the schedule altogether and feed on demand?

Let’s take a look!

Baby Feeding Schedule: A Rigid Schedule

Rigid schedules are generally clock-based – parents set times for feedings and then stick to those times, even if baby wakes early from a nap or at night. Some parents will even wake their child from a nap in order to stick to the schedule!

I’ll say right now that if you try to implement a rigid schedule with a newborn, or a young baby, you’re likely wasting your time – most newborns and young babies just aren’t ready for a rigid baby feeding schedule. True, some very consistent babies may have no trouble sticking to a clock-based schedule, it’s rare that a very young baby can do that. In fact, in our experience, most babies aren’t ready for a rigid schedule until they’re at least 6 months old. And a rigid schedule can be downright dangerous for young babies, since it may not allow for enough feeding to accommodate their growing bodies and brains.

Even past 6 months, whether or not a rigid schedule will work depends a lot on your baby’s temperament. Consistent, predictable babies will likely do better with a rigid schedule than will inconsistent, unpredictable babies. Of course, what kind of schedule works best will depend at least in part on YOUR temperament, too! Type-A parents will likely do great with a rigid schedule, but if you’re parent who prefers to go with the flow, and loves it when each day is different, a rigid schedule may not work well (even if it works for your baby). It’s all about finding balance, and working out an arrangement that suits both of you. ;-)

A final word about rigid schedules – remember that if you’re using a rigid schedule to try and promote more sleep at night (for example, by only “allowing” a set number of night wakings), it may not work out as you plan. Some babies (especially newborns) actually need to eat more frequently during the day in order to get that long stretch of sleep in at night, but if you have carefully timed the day feedings, they may not get enough calories during daylight hours to get the long stretch at night.

Baby Feeding Schedule: A Flexible Schedule

79079804 A flexible schedule allow you to be just that – flexible. With a flexible schedule, you have general times in mind for feedings, but they may not be clock-based. Instead, you may focus more on the timing between feedings. With a flexible schedule, you may strive to feed at roughly the same time each day, but then you would also allow for interruptions – if baby sleeps through a feeding time, then you adjust the schedule. Or, if baby wakes too early for a nighttime feed, then you offer it but adjust the timing of the next day.

Flexible schedules work well at just about any age (although you may want to “tighten the reins” on flexible schedules once you reach the toddler stage; by the time your baby is a year old, she’s ready to organize her feedings into meals and snacks). Flexible schedules are great during the newborn and young baby stages – they help build in a measure of predictability and routine, but they also for baby to get in all the feedings she needs. They also allow for the unexpected things in life – last-minute errands, visitors who just pop-in unannounced, etc.

Flexible schedules can help promote sleeping through the night, in that they can help to gently space out feedings that are too close together. And if your schedule allows for plenty of daytime feedings, then your baby may have a better chance of getting that long, nighttime stretch of sleep. However, flexibility is a balance – schedules that are VERY flexible may cease to look like schedules at all, and you may be more in the territory of feeding on demand.

And speaking of feeding on demand…

Baby Feeding Schedule: Feeding On Demand

When you feed your baby on demand, you basically forget about trying to establish a predictable schedule and instead use your baby as your guide. You feed whenever your baby seems hungry, and the feeding is over when the baby seems done. While on demand feeding is a hallmark of attachment parenting, you certainly don’t have to be an attachment parenting to try feeding on demand.

Feeding on demand is probably the best approach to feeding during the very early newborn stage – in the first few weeks after birth. It ensures that your baby gets enough nourishment, and can provide a period of transition time before you move towards a more predictable schedule. On demand feeding is also great in those early days because it allows for the extra nourishment needed during growth spurts.

Of course, on demand feeding can become exhausting for YOU as your baby grows, and if your a parent who likes predictability, the lack of schedule may begin to wear on you if you feed on demand for more than a few months. And while on demand feeding may actually help promote longer stretches of sleep for young babies (since they will be able to cluster-feed in the evening), it may create sleep issues, too. If a baby gets into the habit of “snacking”, for example, and taking in many, many short feedings, it can actually sustain a night-waking problem, or a short-nap problem.

Baby Feeding Schedule: Our Recommendations

First, let me be clear – the decision about which feeding schedule to use is best left up to you. :-) Second, I want to point out that while we have taken each one of these types of schedules separately, you don’t have to view them that way. You can use these schedules in combination. You can also use different schedules at different points in your baby’s development.

For example, if you have a 4 month old, you may choose to feed on demand during the day, so as to encourage plenty of daytime calorie intake, but then use a flexible schedule at night, and pay attention to the gaps between your baby’s feeds, trying to encourage gaps of at least 2.5 hours. Or, you may use demand feeding with your baby when he is sick, or going through a growth spurt, but then return to a more fixed schedule after that. Perhaps you try to implement a flexible schedule if your baby is waking too much at night, or waking too early from naps — the schedule may help you lengthen those sleep times. Or maybe you use a flexible schedule until your baby is 9 or 10 months old, at which point you make an attempt at night weaning and then move to a more rigid schedule. The point here is that you don’t have to pick one and use it forever – you can change it up as you see fit, and to fit your baby’s needs at various stages.

Baby Feeding Schedule (and Baby Sleep Schedule) Help That Works – We’ve Got It!

Easy to talk about what kind of feeding schedule to use with your baby – harder to make the schedule happen! If you need baby feeding schedule help – or baby sleep schedule help – we are here for you! Our consultants are standing by, ready to offer their expertise, and to create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you, that will contain important feeding and schedule information. Simply browse our list of consultation packages and choose the one that you like best.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftYou may also be interested in purchasing a copy of our e-Book, Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

Which type of feeding schedule do you prefer? Share your scheduling tips with us – we love hearing from you!

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3 Steps To A Better 6 Month Old Baby Schedule

3 Steps To A Better 6 Month Old Baby Schedule

6 months – the magical age! This tends to be the point at which parents decide that they are more than ready to sleep again, thankyouverymuch, and that it is high time they helped their babies get on a decent sleep schedule (and maybe even start sleeping through the night!)

As always, The Baby Sleep Site® is here to help! This article tackles common 6 month old sleeping challenges, as well as 3 easy steps you can use to help your 6 month old baby establish a predictable, healthy sleep and feeding schedule.

6 Month Old Baby Sleep Challenges

If your baby is still struggling with sleep at 6 months old, that’s okay (and understandable). However, take comfort in the fact that by this age, babies truly can start to follow a more predictable, by-the-clock schedule.

That said, if you are still struggling with your 6 month old baby’s sleep, the following factors may be making things even more challenging:

  • Your 6 month old baby has probably started eating solid food. By 6 months old, most babies have started solid food (in addition to taking in plenty of breastmilk or formula – that’s still the main source of nutrition for the first year!) While some babies transition to solids with no issues whatsoever, other babies react to starting. They show signs of food allergies, they develop tummy issues, etc. – and all of those can interfere in a big way with sleep!
  • Your 6 month old baby’s sleep associations are getting even stronger. By now, your baby has had 6 full months to develop strong habits associated with sleep. That means that if he has become used to being rocked to sleep, or fed to sleep, or held until he falls asleep, that is now a fixed habit. Same with using a pacifier to fall asleep, or being swaddled in sleep. That’s not to say that these sleep associations can’t be overcome – they certainly can! But a 6 month old baby will no doubt show a little more resistance to learning a new way to sleep than a 5 month old baby will.

6 Month Old Baby Sleep Developments

What’s happening with your 6 month old baby’s sleep? Several new developments, actually:

  • Your 6 month old baby’s naps should begin to consolidate. Note the ‘should’ – not all 6 month old babies will show signs of naturally establishing a nap schedule, and some will continue to take many short naps during the day. But most will. You will probably notice that the unpredictable naps you’ve been working with over the past 6 months slowly begin to merge into three semi-predictable naps.
  • Your 6 month old baby will likely be able to drop down to 1 night feeding. It’s still normal for a 6 month old baby to need 1-2 night feedings, but most 6 month old babies are able to get by with just 1 feeding at night. (Most – not all! Don’t feel bad if your 6 month old still needs to feed twice during the night). If your baby is nursing more than once or twice per night, however, work to gradually decrease those night feeds.

6 Month Old Baby Schedule: 3 Steps To A Better One

If you haven’t yet adjusted your baby to a somewhat clock-based schedule, it can be a daunting process to start. We understand that! That’s why we are outlining 3 steps to help you establish a healthy 6 month old baby schedule:

  1. 6 month old baby bedtime – To begin, establish a consistent bedtime for your 6 month old baby. Develop a bedtime routine, too – that’s key for signaling to your baby that it’s time for sleep! This doesn’t have to be exactly the same time each night – aim for having your baby down for bed within the same half-hour window each night.
  2. 6 month old baby wake-up time – Next, try to establish a consistent wake-up time for your 6 month old baby. This will be a bit tougher than the bedtime, because your baby may wake too early or too late, and what do you do in those circumstances? Well, if your baby wakes too early, treat it as a night waking – interact with your baby (whether you are feeding or simply offering comfort) and then put your baby back to bed until it’s wake-up time. If your baby sleeps past wake-up time, try to wake your baby within about a half hour of the established wake-up time.
  3. 6 month old baby first nap time – Once you have a pretty firm bedtime and wake-up time established, work to make sure that the first nap of the day happens at about the same time each morning. Again, this doesn’t have to be exact, but aim for putting your baby down for the morning nap within the same half-hour window each morning.

6 Month Old Baby Schedule: Suggested Feeding Amounts and Nap Times

Need help in knowing when (and how much) to feed your 6 month old baby? Want to see several sample 6 month old baby schedules that will help you create the best possible schedule for your 6 month old baby?
 
Check our our sample 6 month old baby schedules here!
 

6 Month Old Baby Sleep Help

If you are struggling with your 6 month old baby’s sleep, remember that you don’t have to struggle alone! We are here to help you – it’s what we do! Sleep training can be tough, and hundreds of parents turn to us for sleep coaching help every month. We can help you, too. Take a look at our consultation packages, and see which one looks like a good fit for you.
 
Click here to see all our personalized consultation packages.
 
Once you purchase, you will immediately receive access to the Helpdesk, and you can set up your account, fill out your Family Sleep History form, submit it to a consultant, and get started on the journey to better sleep!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

What is your 6 month old baby’s schedule? Share your scheduling tips with the rest of us!

  • Feel like you can handle sleep coaching on your own? Why not take a look at our The 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep? Available in three affordable packages, this book is designed to give you practical, hands-on tools you can use to help your baby learn to fall asleep on his own, and stay asleep (and stop fighting bedtime!). For toddlers, try The 5-Step System To Better Toddler Sleep. Best of all, both books is available to download instantly – you can put it to use as early as tonight!
  • Want an abundance of resources to help you in your sleep coaching? Consider becoming a Baby Sleep Site Member. Our Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! And as a member, you have access to a once-a-week chat with one of our expert sleep consultants – ideal for those times when you need some expert advice! And the icing on the cake? Members enjoy 20% off all sleep consultation services. That savings alone can pay for the cost of membership!
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5 Month Old Baby Schedule

 
5 Month Old Baby Schedule


This article outlines the average 5 month old baby schedule, including feedings, solids, naps and night sleep.

Skip to the schedule


5 month old baby’s sleep

At this age, if you are not lucky enough to have a baby who sleeps through the night, many 5 month olds are still waking 1-3 times to eat at night. Anything more and likely you have a sleep association problem. Your 5 month old should be taking 3-4 naps per day for a total of 3-4 hours per day plus 11-12 hours at night. If you’re having trouble with naps, you might be interested in helping your baby nap.

Obviously, all babies vary, but here are some sample schedules you can use to make your own for your unique baby. Schedules are iffy at this age because many babies simply cannot stay up past 2 hours to get to the next scheduled nap-time, so at this age, it’s likely naps are still on the short side, but come frequently. Over the next several weeks, you can work on getting down to just 3 naps to get closer to the 6 month schedule.

I should warn you that I am in the camp that breast milk or formula should be the primary nutrition for the first year and solids come secondary. Below are the amounts we recommend. For more information on starting your baby on solid food, visit our sister site, Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods. It includes recommendations about how and when to start solids, as well as helpful information on food allergies, recommended products, baby-friendly recipes, and more.

Amounts per day:

• At least 7-10 breastfeeding sessions per day (5-6 during daylight hours, and 2-4 at night) or 24-32 ounces formula or combination (decrease solids if your baby is not taking in at least this much)
• Water is unnecessary (breast milk and formula have plenty of water in them). If your baby has any constipation issues, focus on P-foods (pears, prunes, etc.)
• 1-2 servings baby cereal (1 serving = 1-2 Tablespoons dry)
• 1-2 servings fruit (1 serving = 1-2 Tablespoons)
• 1-2 servings vegetable (1 serving = 1-2 Tablespoons)

Note: If you did not start solids until 6 months (I did not start until 6 months), you will work your way up to the amount of servings above. Don’t worry about feeding this much right away!


Sample 5 month old schedule

This first schedule works best for babies who become overtired quickly and can stay awake for about 1.5 – 2 hours between naps:

Schedule 1

6:30 – Wake and Breast milk or Formula
7:15 – Breakfast
8:00 – Morning Nap (at least 1 hour)
9:00 – Breast milk or Formula
11:00 – Nap (often 30-60 minutes at this age)
12:00 – Breast milk or Formula
1:30 – Breast milk or Formula
2:00 – Nap
4:00 – Breast milk or Formula
5:00 – Catnap (30 minutes)
6:30 – Begin bedtime routine
6:45 – Breast milk or Formula and Bedtime
7:00 – Goal to be asleep

+Plus possibly 1-2 nighttime feedings

If your baby is able to stay up longer between naps, and is not as sensitive to over tiredness, you may want to take a look at our 6 month schedule, and modify the schedule above to more closely match the 6 month schedule.

Note: Many people prefer to follow an eat-play-sleep routine, which is a good routine to follow, however, sometimes hard to implement at this age when the amount of time between naps is not long enough and your baby wakes too early from his nap because of a feeding. I take all of that into consideration when making my schedules. The most important part is to be careful not to create sleep associations with feedings too close to sleep times, which we saw become important at 4 months old.

Need Baby and Toddler Sleep Help? We Have the Resources You Need!

 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.
 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

 
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Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!
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What is your 5-month old’s schedule? Share it in the comments section below!

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3 Easy Steps To A Better Baby or Toddler Sleep Schedule

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How To Build A More Consistent Sleep ScheduleIf we have said it once, we have said it a thousand times: consistency is key! That’s true when it comes to sleep training, AND when it comes to ensuring quality sleep for your baby or toddler. But while consistency is easy to talk about, it can be harder to actually put into practice.

But never fear, readers – we are here to help! We are outlining 3 easy steps to build a more consistent sleep schedule for your baby or toddler.

3 Easy Steps To Build a Consistent Sleep Schedule For Your Baby or Toddler

  1. Establish a (pretty) regular bedtime. First, work on getting your baby or toddler to bed at about the same time each night. This doesn’t have to be exact (in fact, there are times when our consultants will actually recommend moving bedtime around, based on naps). A 30-minute bedtime window is fine. But sticking to that bedtime window is important – if your little one’s bedtime is erratic, it can have big repercussions when it comes to behavior and to overall sleep quality. Remember, too, that the large majority of your baby or toddler’s sleep should happen at night, so don’t make the excuse that you’ll compensate for late bedtimes with longer naps – that’ll cheat your little one out of optimal sleep. Don’t worry about whether or not your little one actually falls asleep right at bedtime – in the beginning, just strive for putting him into bed at the same time each night.
  2. Establish a regular wake-up time. Your baby or toddler’s morning wake time is important, too – it sets the schedule for the entire day. If your baby or toddler isn’t awake at the designated time, then wake her up. (Want more info about the 4 times when it’s okay to wake your baby from sleep? Read this article.) If she wakes too early, then try to keep her content, but avoid getting her up and out of bed until it’s wake-up time. Keep in mind, though, that if you’re having to frequently wake your baby from sleep in order to stick to the schedule, you may need to rework the schedule itself. Waking your baby from sleep should be a temporary solution, not a long-term one.
  3. Establish one regular nap time. Once you have a pretty consistent bedtime and wake-up time going, work on establishing a consistent time-frame for one of your baby or toddler’s naps. The first nap of the day is usually the best one to work on. It tends to be the longest and most restorative nap, and as long as your baby or toddler is waking at about the same time each day, it should be pretty easy to time it up.

What steps have you taken to build more consistency into your baby or toddler’s schedule?

Need help in creating a sleep schedule that works for you AND for your baby or toddler? We can help! Take a look at these Baby Sleep Site resources:

  • Need more sleep training resources? We have a ton! Browse our list of e-books and e-book packages, designed to help your baby, toddler, or newborn develop better napping and sleeping habits.
  • Want Unlimited Access to ALL Our Products, Including E-Books? Join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars.
  • Need Personalized Help? If you want a customized solution PLUS support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. You will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about!
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2 Strategies For Surviving the Daylight Savings Time Change

Surviving Daylight Savings Daylight Savings tends to be a big topic here at The Baby Sleep Site®; we start getting e-mails in the Helpdesk up to a month before it ends, asking for suggestions on how to help babies and toddlers ‘fall back’ and adjust to the time change.

After working with many, many, many families to adjust to new time change schedules, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to make the transition a smooth one.

And that’s what we are talking about today! We’re presenting two strategies for surviving the daylight savings time change.

2 Options For Surviving Daylight Savings

  1. Do nothing. If your baby’s is fairly adaptable to change, and is not sensitive to overtiredness, then you can simply do nothing, take the time change in stride. This means sticking to your baby or toddler’s normal schedule as best you can. The exception to that would be the morning wake-up time; that will likely be earlier for a few days, or maybe a week. For example, if your baby normally wakes at 7 a.m., then after the time change, she will probably wake closer to 6 a.m. However, keep naps and bedtime close to their usual times. You can bump them up a bit if your baby or toddler seems really exhausted, but remember, this is a short-term solution. You don’t want to do this long-term, or you will create a long-term schedule change.

    This is also a good option for babies and toddlers who are waking up and going to bed too late. If this is the case, and if you would like your child’s wake time, naps, and bedtimes to be a bit earlier than they currently are, consider yourself lucky — the end of daylight savings will shift your child’s schedule backwards by an hour!

  2. Tweak your child’s schedule ahead of time. If your baby is already waking up too early in the morning, in relation to your ideal family schedule, we recommend doing some preemptive work ahead of time to ease the transition. Moving your baby’s schedule isn’t always easy, but in the next week or two, you can successfully move your baby’s schedule forward by an hour and then move it again, if necessary, to achieve your family’s ideal schedule.

    For example, if your baby is waking at 5 a.m., and you’d like her to wake at 6 a.m. or later, you can move her schedule forward one hour to 6 a.m., wait for the time to change (where she will be waking at 5 a.m. once again) and then move her schedule forward again. This works best when your baby is at least 8 months old, but some 6 month old schedules can be moved as well. Younger babies generally will adjust naturally within a few days to two weeks as long as you don’t strictly stick to the earlier schedule (a young baby’s sleep is already highly disorganized).

If you are interested, our Shifting Schedules e-Book outlines detailed steps (with examples) to moving your baby’s schedule. It deals with managing early-morning wake up times, as well as late bedtimes. It also provides tips and insights that are useful for tackling the time change. It even includes a case study that follows one family’s schedule shift as they worked one-on-one with Nicole.

Reminders About How Daylight Savings Affects Bedtime

Keep in mind that late bedtimes equal overtiredness. And overtiredness equals restless nights for babies and toddlers, and even earlier morning wake-up times. So watch your baby’s bedtime carefully, and make it earlier, if needed (for a few days, at least – while your baby adjusts). Here’s an example, to help you visualize this point: if your baby normally goes to bed at 7 p.m., after the time change, 6 p.m. will ‘feel’ like 7 p.m., since it WAS 7 p.m. just a few days ago. So if your baby seems sleepy around 6 p.m., respect that, and put him to bed a little early (maybe at 6:15 or 6:30). This shouldn’t be a long-term strategy, of course (few families want a bedtime that early!) But it’s a good short-term strategy.

How are you planning for the end of Daylight Saving’s Time? How do you anticipate it will affect your baby or toddler’s schedule? Let’s put our heads together and share some tips and advice!

Need help with your baby or toddler’s sleep? FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. Or, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars (including one about managing the time change!). It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

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Exclusive Wake-Time Formula – Your Missing Link For Great Baby Sleep

A guest article by Angela Braden. Angela blogs at www.sciencemommy.weebly.com

Nap times go array when we miss the “sleep window”—that magic snippet of time in which baby is primed for la la land and will drift off peacefully (in the right environment). Perhaps you’ve seen your baby’s sleep window open—a glazed look, a yawn, or some agitated movements (depending on age)—but by the time you finished that bite of food, changed the diaper, and swaddled, that window had slammed shut on you! One missed window can set in motion a vicious cycle of overtired, short naps and more disturbed night sleep. Going by a strict schedule can be problematic too, because every night and every nap is different, (particularly in the first six months). You usually end up with a baby who’s overtired or under tired at the “scheduled” sleep time.

So should you watch the baby (for signs of sleepiness) or watch the clock in order to put baby to sleep during her sleep window? The answer is “both”, but here’s how: The heart of consistently successful “sleep window synchrony” (my term) is staying within an optimum “wake time” zone. (Wake time is the duration of wakefulness between sleep times, counting the time it takes to soothe your baby to sleep.)

Simply put, wake time is the single most powerful determinant of when your baby will need to sleep again! Knowing the best wake time will help you stay ahead of overtired like nothing else, because you’ll be ahead of those tricky sleepy cues too (some babies are just hard to read!).

Below, exclusively for The Baby Sleep Site, I’ve outlined my secret formulas for knowing when baby’s “wake time” is going to expire. The formulas vary by age, so look for your baby’s age range to know which number to start with, then “tweak it” with the factors that follow and you’ll have a nearly exact predictor of when your baby next needs to snooze. (You should still keep logs to optimize for individual differences, until you’ve got it down.)

Here’s why these formulas have proven to be golden in terms of avoiding healthy sleep enemy #1, overtired: They factor in the second most powerful determinant (in my opinion) of when baby needs sleep—duration of the last sleep time (age of baby is the first factor). Since babies through at least six or seven months normally have erratic sleep durations—some naps last 20 minutes, some 2 hours—we have to factor in duration or we’re shooting in the dark for that critical sleep window.

I discovered with my little one, and later through consulting for other mommies, that for young babies (particularly zero to four months), the duration of the previous sleep time, predicts the next wake time! After around six months, baby should be taking the full, one-hour-minimum, naps anyway (most of the time), so we can look more to the age-determined wake times, though duration can still be a factor.

The Wake Time Formulas

0 to 1 month – Wake time = Duration of the last sleep time, up to 40 minutes max.

Newborns are rarely awake longer than it takes them to feed and have a diaper change. If they don’t doze back quickly, they need our help to make sleep happen in time! Of course, if baby goes to sleep sooner, don’t try to keep a newborn awake for the full 40 minutes.

*Note: During what is often called, “the witching hour” (or in my case, full blown colic time) many newborns simply will not sleep for hours on end, despite your best soothing efforts. This doesn’t mean they don’t need to! This is the time to really take Nicole’s sleep-inducing tips to heart. Diligence pays and every bit of extra sleep you get out of baby during this time will help in the big picture, even in the long run, after colic has passed.

1 to 2 months – Wake time = Duration of the last sleep time up to max, 40 to 60 minutes.
During these months, the best rule of thumb is the duration of the last nap, since nap length is biologically a work in progress for babies at this stage. Plan to put back to sleep within one hour of wakefulness (or less if last sleep period was less). Lean closer to 40 minutes for colicky/sensitive babies, especially during the morning hours. (Also see “witching hour” note above.)

2 to 3 months – Wake time = Duration of the last sleep time up to max, 60 to 80 minutes.
At this age, if baby sleeps less than 45 minutes, you should immediately try to continue the nap (by rocking, soothing, etc.) to equal at least 45 minutes, but if your attempts are unsuccessful (as they often will be), simply calculate wake time by the sleep duration, instead of max time.

3 to 4 months – Wake time = Duration of the last sleep time up to max, 60 to 90 minutes.
Yawn or no yawn …cranky or not…. At 50 minutes or so (depending on tweaking factors below), begin your nap time wind down routine, aiming to have baby asleep within this range.

4 to 6 months: Wake time = Duration of the last sleep time up to max, 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Baby usually has developed three somewhat predictable naps, but the wake time is still a more important indicator of the sleep window, than the “scheduled” nap.

6-8 months: Look for wakeful periods to begin to stretch to 2.5 hours without becoming overtired, provided that the naps are not too short. Nap duration is less of a factor now. The first nap of the day will still need to occur a bit earlier (within 2 hours).

*Note: Activity level now becomes a factor, because many babies are mobile. If your little one has had a very active wake time, you may need to tweak in the earlier direction 10 minutes or so.

8-10 months: Wake time – 2 to 3.5 hours. For the first two naps, wake time should be between 2 and 2.5 hours, so you’re starting with just one three hour period of wakefulness per day (the one before bedtime).This range depends greatly on whether baby has dropped the third nap (usually at 9 months). Generally, thereafter, the 3.5 hour wake time works (from the time baby drops the third nap) until baby drops the second nap between 14 and 18 months (approximately).

Tweak It Factors

Now that you know the range to shoot for, here’s how you can hone in on a more precise prediction of the infamous closing sleep window.

  • Time of day: As noted above, the morning nap (from the morning wake up) usually will still need to happen at the early end of the given range. The later time given applies to the longer period of wakefulness in the late afternoon/early evening.
  • Temperament/Colic or post-Colic: With colicky babies, always go with the shorter wake time and keep a log to pinpoint even further. Once colic has passed, at around 3 months for most babies, these sensitive little ones still need this shorter wake time, especially in the morning. The same applies to babies who are sensitive to over-stimulation (but may not be considered “colicky).
  • Quality and quantity of night sleep: Usually, if baby has a bad night, he will close his sleep deficient with the length of his nap, but it’s worth checking out Nicole’s night sleep totals and if your baby gets less night sleep and takes a short nap, move that wake time back to the shorter end.

Every baby is different, but the vast majority will fall within these ranges. (Most babies are also chronically overtired!)

This “Wake time formula” is the clock-watching part of knowing when to facilitate baby’s next nap, but it’s the antithesis of rigid scheduling. It gives you a starting point from which to log what works best for your baby, as regular naps develop.

Please let me know how these formulas are working for you!

Angela Braden is mother of Kian, 5 and Gianna, 17 months. She has researched and reported on wellness and lifestyle for a decade and a half and been published hundreds of times in national and international magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Health and Fitness, and Lucire (New Zealand). Angela served as a columnist and healthy lifestyle expert on TBS for 2 years. She swears her two babies are angels…but only when they’ve had optimum sleep.

©2012 by Angela Braden. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Angela Braden.

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How to Get Your Baby Through Daylight Savings 2011

Baby Daylight Savings 2010The end of Daylight Savings is when we turn our clocks back one hour and is one of the biggest worries for parents of young babies. Daylight savings this year ends in Europe this weekend on October 30th and on November 6th here in the United States (most of them). I start getting questions about the time change up to a month or more ahead of time and understandably so, which is why this year I made sure I did a tele-seminar back in September about it, for those who wanted to get ahead in tackling this very “scary” issue. If your baby is already waking too early, just the thought of your baby waking an hour earlier is enough to make the calmest parent have a few butterflies. If you’re like me who obsesses about sleep (how else could I write about this every week?), it wouldn’t be surprising if you feel extra anxious about your 5 a.m. waker-upper waking up at 4 a.m. This article will help you survive Daylight Savings 2011.

If you already have a baby waking too early

For those of you who have an early riser, you may want to start working on your baby’s schedule, now. If your baby is 6 months or older and isn’t napping well enough, you may want to help your baby nap longer and get on a schedule in the next week, so when the time changes you will be able to adjust easier, keeping your baby from getting overtired. When your baby is already taking short naps, it’s very difficult to put her to bed at her normal bedtime, now an hour “later” than usual. Better napping means an easier transition.

If your baby is already waking up too early in the morning, in relation to your ideal family schedule, I’d recommend doing some preemptive work ahead of the time change to ease the transition. Moving your baby’s schedule isn’t always easy, but in the next week or two, you can successfully move your baby’s schedule forward by an hour and then move it again, if necessary, to achieve your family’s ideal schedule.

For example, your baby may be waking at 5 a.m., but you’d like her to wake at 6 a.m. or later. So, ideally, you would move her schedule forward one hour to 6 a.m., wait for the time to change (where she will be waking at 5 a.m. once again) and then move her schedule forward, again. This works best when your baby is at least 8 months old, but some 6 month old schedules can be moved as well. Younger babies generally will adjust naturally within a few days to two weeks as long as you don’t strictly stick to the earlier schedule (a young baby’s sleep is already highly disorganized). If you are interested, I go over detailed steps (with examples) to moving your baby’s schedule in my pamphlet called Shift Your Baby’s Schedule (I know not a very original title, but I’ve found that tired parents don’t always enjoy clever. :) They just want answers, which I try to provide straight and to-the-point in all my e-Books.). I’ve included a case study that followed one family’s schedule shift whom I worked with one-on-one. And, if you want a day-by-day plan to follow customized to your baby or toddler, I can read your history, review your sleep logs (if you have them), and tell you exactly what to do over the next few weeks. Some babies/toddlers are easier than others, so results do vary, but if you don’t try, you don’t know! You can purchase the book with a consultation at a discounted price, but if you need more than just help with a schedule change, I’d highly recommend a Personalized Sleep Plan™, which is much more comprehensive.

How to handle Daylight Savings

You have three options to handle the time change when Daylight Savings ends, as I went over in my article Time Change Sleeping Tips on WorkingMother.com (2 years ago but the options don’t change much year-to-year) and then again in more detail in my tele-seminar mentioned above.

The key to choosing the best strategy is your baby’s sensitivity to being overtired. If your baby isn’t overly sensitive to being overtired and is not already waking up before dawn, you might just “go with the flow” and wait for the time to change. Many babies will adjust within a few days to a week, just like we do. You will likely have to wake up “earlier” for a few days, since babies tend to sleep in less than adults, though.

For some babies, they will follow a combination of the abrupt time change and a gradual shift. The main thing to remember is that a too-late bedtime can cause over-tiredness leading to an even EARLIER wake-up time in the morning, which will make Daylight Savings even more difficult to manage. Remember that the new 7 p.m. is the old 8 p.m. and can likely have an adverse effect on your baby’s schedule. Rather than follow what your friends might be doing, make sure you take into consideration your baby’s sensitivity and adaptability when tackling the end of Daylight Savings. And, if your baby is already struggling to sleep, there is no time like the present to make the time change the time to make a change.

If you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. If you become a member, you get access to all our e-Books AND the tele-seminar recording (as well as all the others, too, so basically you get access to everything in an organized way).

For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

How will you handle daylight savings in 2011?

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How To Put Your Baby On a Nap / Sleep Schedule

Baby ScheduleWe have a variety of sample baby sleep and feeding schedules, but how do you put your baby on a sleep or nap schedule, anyway? Your strategy for implementing a baby’s nap schedule will depend on the age of your baby. Here are some tips:

4 month old baby

Your 4 month old baby will have limited ability to be on a true by-the-clock schedule. Your best way to add predictability and structure to your day is to follow more of a routine rather than a schedule. Your routine may be something like eat-play-sleep, like Babywise (even if you don’t use all its ideas), or something unique you create for your unique baby. Predictability not only helps you plan your day, but for some babies, particularly slow-to-adapt babies, it helps them feel more secure. For some babies and parents, they prefer to follow baby’s cues. Find what works for you and, most importantly, your baby.

5, 6, or 7 month old baby

Around 5, 6 or 7 months old, some babies can begin to get on more of a clock schedule. Usually, at this age, it’s best to have some flexibility in this, though. For example, a 5 to 7 month old may routinely take her nap around 9 a.m., but on any particular day, when she’s possibly working on a developmental leap or more active that day, she may need to go to sleep earlier than normal. It is often best to watch the clock AND your baby, in this age group. To put your 5, 6, or 7 month old on a schedule, you want to move slowly in extending their awake period until your baby can comfortably get to your target nap or sleep schedule.

8, 9 or 10 month old baby

Your 8, 9, or 10 month old can often be on a more regular and predictable schedule, but remember this age group is prone to the 8-9-10 month old sleep regression. For babies sensitive to being over-tired, though, you probably don’t want to be TOO rigid with your baby’s schedule. Being too rigid may land you into a cycle of chronic over-tiredness, which is sometimes hard to break. And, if bedtime is a little too late, the schedule may work wonderfully for weeks and then BAM, one “off” day sets you into a downward spiral (this can happen at any age, actually). To put your 8, 9 or 10 month old on a schedule, you’ll want to extend their awake period, just like your 5 or 6 month old, but you may be able to go a bit faster.

11 or 12 month old baby

Your 11 or 12 month old will likely have gotten on their own schedule, even if you didn’t mean for it to happen. Most babies will begin to fall into a fairly regular pattern, even if it’s not identical every day. Inconsistent babies tend to start “smoothing” out at this age, even if they aren’t strictly “consistent.” If you are still napping and setting bedtime based on sleepy cues, you may feel frustrated, if your baby/toddler is not napping long enough and still catnapping during the day. Some babies are “good” about sleepy cues and sleeping well based on them, while others need more structure and direction from you. Not enough awake time can wreak havoc in this age group. To put your baby/toddler on a nap sleep schedule, take one for a test drive to see how your little one responds. Different babies need different schedules. That’s why we offer a wide variety of sample schedules in our Mastering Naps and Schedules book.

Toddlers

Of all age groups, a toddler’s schedule is often one of the easiest to achieve. As long as your toddler is napping independently and can nap long enough, your toddler will fall into a predictable schedule. You can set the schedule based on the clock and, generally, will get a good night’s sleep and a good nap out of him. Granted, over-tiredness can still lead to shorter naps or night-waking or your baby waking too early, but if you follow a standard 5 hours awake before and after the nap, most toddlers should do pretty well.

I hope these tips will help you put your baby or toddler on a nap / sleep schedule. All babies are different and some will be able to get on a schedule earlier than others. My first didn’t get “good” at a schedule until 7 months old while his younger brother was on a schedule around 6 months old. I have seen some 6 month olds take just two naps and I’ve seen 11 month olds taking three naps, which is rare. Having a “wrong” schedule for your baby can impact how long their naps are, how well they sleep at night, what time they wake in the morning, whether they are awake a long time at night, and how fussy or happy they are during the day. Even if you don’t believe in rigid schedules, following guidelines can help, if your baby has sleep problems.

If you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

How did you put your baby or toddler on a schedule?

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