Wish this parenting thing felt a little more stable? Helping your baby get on a 6 month old schedule can do exactly that.
But how do you create a schedule that doesn’t feel all militaristic and strict? That’s what one of my beloved subscribers asked.
Today I’m going to lift that question up out of my Inbox (kinda like Simba) and display it for the entire of
central Africa cyberspace to read.
Since I live to serve, I boldly poured a massive cup of God’s Favorite Bean (sorry, cocoa) and wrote up this answer. I hope it’s helpful!
The Funny Thing About a 6 Month Old Schedule…
…is they are incredibly unreliable.
As in, United 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 rhythmic 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.)
The best thing I can do for you is not to TELL you what your baby’s 6 month schedule should be, but to teach you how to discover your child’s daily rhythm on your own, using your baby’s cues and a reliable clock.
Free Sleep Schedules
3 Steps to a 6 Month Old Schedule
Enough of all this chit chat. Let’s get to the nitty gritty.
Step One: Move Towards EPS Rhythm
Your first task will be to start adjusting your daily rhythm to follow these three events:
As soon as your little one gets up in the morning, let him have a bottle. (I recommend giving him a solid food breakfast later for a “snack”.)
Following the bottle, get dressed for the day and let him play alone or by using one of my developmental games.
Step Two: Figure Out Your Child’s Waketime Window
Your child has something called a Waketime Window. This is the amount of time it takes for his tiny noggin to switch from producing Melatonin (the sleepy hormone) to making Cortisol (the stress hormone).
Stressed babies are a bear to soothe and wake more frequently (if they fall asleep at all). By putting your baby down for a nap or bedtime before he makes that hormonal shift you will save yourself a lot of agony and pain.
Most babies 6 to 9 months old have a Waketime Window between 1.5 and 2.5 hours. This means if your child is closer to 6 months in age, you’ll want him asleep 1.5 hours after he woke up. (So start that naptime routine at the 1.25 hour mark.)
If your baby is closer to the 9 month mark, you may want to jump ahead and peek at my 9 to 12 month sample schedule.
That’s the average the only way to truly figure out your child’s Waketime is to keep a Sleep Log. I’ve included a blank version for you in my free scheduling worksheets below.
Step Three: Rinse and Repeat
All you have to do now is to repeat that rhythm of eating, playing, sleeping, throughout the day until 7 pm bedtime.
Naturally, as your child gets older, you’ll want to tweak this rhythm so he’s awake longer between naps. If your child had a 1.5 hour Waketime Window at 6 months, perhaps move it back 15 minutes at 7 months, followed by another 15 minutes at 8 months, etc.
If You Get Stuck…
You know what’s a beautiful word?
Options mean that there’s always something you can try, something you can do to get back on the right track. As a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, “options” are my bread and butter. I ALWAYS have options and suggestions. There are ALWAYS new things to try and tiny items to tweak.
So if you feel discouraged about your baby’s daily routine, whether that’s in napping, or those persistent nighttime wakeups, keep me nestled into your back pocket. Worst case scenario, I can analyze your sleep logs, talk with you on the phone, and help you create a strong sleep plan to move forward with.
We will get you there.
The calvary is coming!
Free Sleep Schedules
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