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How to Create a 9 to 12 Month Schedule That Works


Oh the joys of creating a 9 to 12 month schedule. There seems like so many important things to squeeze in.

Things like:

  • emptying every cabinet, basket, and drawer that’s not already baby proofed.
  • holding the spoon by himself, and watching the food fly, and fly, and fly…
  • pulling off his socks at every opportunity
  • and plenty of other fun (video-worthy) milestones you’ll definitely want to watch out for.

How do you possibly find a daily rhythm that takes these needs into account?

Carefully. 

Because if you don’t (warning: threat ahead), your baby is going to get extremely overtired and cranky at the end of the day, which means…

  • He is going to be tough to soothe down to sleep.
  • It’s going to be difficult getting him to STAY asleep all night long.
  • He may greet the day before 6am.
  • It’s possible he’s going to be SUPER fussy tomorrow.

I know it may sound like an oxymoron, but those are all things that happen when a child lacks a good schedule during the day. Don’t panic, though! I can help.

Your 9 to 12 Month Old:
Appointments vs. Rhythms

Our goal here isn’t to develop a rigid 9 to 12 month schedule for your baby to “fit into”. You should never push back a feeding, for example, just because the “schedule” says lunch is at noon.

Instead, I always encourage parents to see these schedules as more of a daily rhythm, and with the times as a “clue” to see what your baby’s cues may be trying to tell you.

The truth is, not every infant is really obvious with their baby cues.  Some personalities are just so excited to experience the new world around them, that they totally forget to yawn and rub their eyes and show you they need a nap…until they are WAY overtired.

If your baby is highly alert and easily stimulated, you’re going to need more than him to tell you it’s time to start moving him towards a nap. You’re going to need Mr. Clock.

After all, an overtired baby is going to be harder to soothe to sleep and will wake up more at night than a baby who is getting his naps in on time.  My job is to walk you through how to catch that “Waketime Window” before it slams shut. 

We’ll get to most of those numbers in a few minutes, though. Let’s start with the easiest part of the day. EATING.

9 to 12 Month Schedule:
Starting with Food

By now you’ve probably started introducing solid foods and your baby has discovered that he LOVES bananas, but isn’t a huge fan of spinach.  (Or who knows? Perhaps it’s the other way around! *fingers crossed*)

If you haven’t already, now is a great time to introduce the Sippy Cup to your baby. This way he will have time to practice this new (fun!) way of drinking water with his meal (which can keep constipation away).

At this age, you should assume your baby is going to need a bottle when he gets up in the morning, one before (or after) each nap, and then one before bed. He will also need to eat three meals during the day.

Most of his nutrition should still come from your breastmilk or formula. The solid foods he is eating should be considered the “cherry on top”, NOT the main meal. So keep those bottles coming!

We have other helpful posts about nutrition here at Mighty Moms that you may also find useful:

9 to 12 Month Schedule:
Getting the Most Out of Playtime

Now that your baby’s awake so much during the day, how can you stimulate that brain into becoming a Megamind? By giving him toys that are perfectly matched with the skills he’ll be working to conquer.

Here are several articles on Mighty Moms that share the award-winning toys that parents before you have come to love:

9 to 12 Month Schedule:
Understanding Your Sleep Averages

One of the blessings of not being Adam and Eve is being able to discover what other babies are doing at this age. Here are the sleeping averages for the two sides of the spectrum. You’ll want to keep these in mind as you’re filling in your free printable!

Don’t forget, the “Waketime Window” is the length of time between each nap. Going past this time period risks having an overtired baby!

Sleep Averages for a 9-Month-Old

  • Waketime Window: 2 to 2.5 hours
  • Daytime Sleep Goal: 3 to 3.5 hours, split into 2 or 3 naps
  • Nighttime Sleep Goal: 11 hours

Sleep Averages for a 10-Month-Old

  • Waketime Window: 2.5 to 3 hours
  • Daytime Sleep Goal: 3 hours, split into 2 or 3 naps
  • Nighttime Sleep Goal: 11 hours

Sleep Averages for a 11-Month-Old

  • Waketime Window: 3 to 3.5 hours
  • Daytime Sleep Goal: 3 to 3.5 hours, split into 2 naps
  • Nighttime Sleep Goal: 11 hours

Sleep Averages for a 12-Month-Old

  • Waketime Window: 3.5 to 4 hours
  • Daytime Sleep Goal: 2.5 to 3 hours, split into 2 naps
  • Nighttime Sleep Goal: 11 hours

Now, what do you DO with this information? You use these free printables to plug these numbers in and help you discover your child’s natural daily rhythm!

9 to 12 Month Schedule:
A Birthday is Coming!

Can you believe how fast this year is going?

In just a little while you’re going to have a toddler terrorizing your home!  

Every month I scour the internet for fantastic first-birthday party themes and ideas to celebrate your baby’s first year!

True, she won’t remember it.

But by showing my girls the photos and watching the videos years later (they LOVE watching their baby videos), I’m letting them know that they were worth celebrating before they even knew what a celebration was. 

That doesn’t mean I go Martha-Stewart crazy every year.  You can make memories without petit fours. (Although if you enjoy throwing parties, these are pretty darn cool!)

Some years, I only had the energy for a quick-bake-cake and a tablecloth.

That’s okay.  It’s the memories that matter.

These little love-deposits are going to be great to have in the bank as “Teen Insurance” in the years to come:  “See honey?  We do love you!  Just look at that party we threw you when you were a baby!  Now go back upstairs and change your clothes…”

Have You Read These Yet?

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2 thoughts on “How to Create a 9 to 12 Month Schedule That Works

  1. Hello,

    I have a 10 month old girl and she doesn’t sleep through the night!! She has slept through the night only a handful of times and that was early on. I have tried everything it seems. She tends to wake up when she cannot find her pacifer but we keep multiple in her crib. A number of people have suggested crying out method but I feel bad.

    Please any suggestions!!!

    1. Vanessa, there are lots of reasons why an older baby may be waking at night. Some are behavioral, some are medical. I would encourage you to consider signing up for a Sleep Session so Amy and I can look over the details of your case and give you some solid recommendations.

      Or, if you have more than just nighttime wakings, perhaps if you’re also struggling with naps, I would instead look at our complete Super Sleeper Coaching packages here. In those packages, we work through EVERYTHING over a period of a few weeks with you. It also comes with a 110% Money Back Sleeping Guarantee, so you know we are as committed to your long-term success as you are.

      Either of these will help us ask the right questions and really get to know your baby’s personality and your parenting style – then make solid recommendations you can consistently implement that will get everyone sleeping better – without using Cry It Out. 🙂

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