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This is How to Put Your Baby on a 6 Month Old Schedule

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 to 9 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.

Get Your Own Free Scheduling Worksheets

Why is that a direct link and not behind a give-me-your-email wall? Because I don’t want to bully you into a friendship. 

If you like the free download, why not subscribe to my weekly email and get a free copy of all my baby schedules for the first year?

Or, if you’re grateful, but not interested in subscribing, can you share this article with your social media pals? That works too!

 From one working mother to another, thanks! 

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:

  1. Eat
  2. Play
  3. Sleep

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.)

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 here.

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.

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! 

Have You Read These Yet?

We  honesty!  This post contains affiliate links that provide extra money for our mutual coffee habits addictions. Click here to learn more.

We Love Citations

Answers About Your Baby’s Sleep. WebMD.com
Why is My 6 Month Old Still Waking at Night? SleepLady.com
Sleeping for Babies at 6 Months. Sleep.org
Studies on Infant Sleep. KellyMom.com

173 thoughts on “This is How to Put Your Baby on a 6 Month Old Schedule

  1. 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. 🙂

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

     

  5. 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.

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