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

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

    Hope this helps!

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

  4. Hi Heather,

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Thanks!

    Jen

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

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

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

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

  7. Hello Rachael!

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

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

  9. Sam,

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

  10. Katie,

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

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

  12. Melissa,

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

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

  13. Hi Heather,

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

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

    Wake up: between 7-730am

    Eat first bottle: between 7:30-8

    Plays: 8-9

    Eats Cereal/babyfood: 9-9:30

    Plays: 9:30-10/10:30

    Naps: 10/10:30

    Plays: this depends on how long he naps

    Eats 2nd bottle: noon-1

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

    Eats evening cereal/babyfood: 4:30-5

    Plays: 5-6:45/7

    Bedtime routine: 6:45/7

    Sleep: 7:30/8

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

    Katie

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

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

     

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