When you have a baby, you become obsessed with sleep – how much baby is getting, how much baby is supposed to be getting, how much you’re NOT getting.
You spend your days trying to get your baby to sleep or into some sort of sleep pattern, all the while Googling sleep routines, talking about sleep habits with other tired mums and cursing your husband for getting a full night’s sleep!
As a mum with a seven-month-old non-sleeping baby, I KNOW exactly how you feel! This is why we at Mum Central put together a few baby sleep schedules and our best baby sleep routine tips to help you and your little bubba settle into a blissful daytime and bedtime routine.
5 Important Things to Remember About Sleep Routines
- Babies often don’t care about your well-meaning sleep routine. Even if you have read ALL the books, made a calendar, tracked her sleep AND consulted a sleep expert, your baby still might not be a great sleeper. Some babies just don’t sleep well.
- Sleep routines are only as good as the person implementing them. It’s up to you to do the dirty work, which can mean teaching your baby to self-settle and sleep on their own through controlled (or comforting) crying. It won’t happen overnight either and often, babies will completely ignore your sleep schedule when they are going through a leap or wonder week.
- No sleep routine is set in stone. Your baby, your sleep, your routine. It’s entirely up to you how strict you want to be with routine. Getting bub into a routine can mean putting your life on hold and staying home A LOT, which can be quite isolating and lonely.
- Every baby is different. One six-month-old baby may need 12 hours of sleep during the day while another may only require 10. Learn your baby’s cues and trust your instincts. In time you and your little one will settle into a system that works for you.
- A good routine to follow, at three-months, six-months and twelve-months, is the Eat, Play, Sleep routine. Feed baby first, then let her play, then put her to sleep. This helps to teach her to sleep without needing to be fed to sleep.
Now that we know a bit about baby sleep routines, let’s put them into action. Check out our sample baby sleep routines below:
Sample Sleep Routine: Three-Month-Old Baby
Three-month-old babies are still pretty new and probably not into any sort of consistent routine. This is perfectly normal. Your baby may nap for three hours one day and then just 30 minutes the next day, even though you’ve done everything EXACTLY the same.
Generally speaking, three and four-month-old babies will need around 14 to 16 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period but many babies will have less and be content. Babies at three to four months can generally last 1.5 to 2 hours in between each sleep before they need to go back down. They will usually have three to four naps a day. Three to four-month-old babies will also be having several breastfeeds/formula feeds each day and most likely at night too.
7.00am: Wake up, feed and play. Possible feed before sleep if needed.
9.00am: Morning nap (aim for around 2 hours).
11.00am: Wake up, feed and play. Possible feed before sleep if needed.
1.30pm: Afternoon nap (aim for 1.5 hours).
3.00pm: Wake up, feed and play. Possible feed before sleep if needed.
5.00pm: Final nap (aim for an hour).
6.00pm: Wake up, feed and play.
6.30pm: Bedtime routine – bath, massage, feeds.
Overnight: Many babies will still feed every 3-4 hours overnight at this age. Most babies at three months still need AT LEAST one feed at night.
Sample Sleep Schedule: Six-Month-Old Baby
At six months of age, babies tend to need around 13-14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. They will usually still be having three naps (or four if they are cat nappers). Many babies transition to 2 naps a day around 7-9 months of age. Babies at six months can generally last 2 to 3 hours in between each sleep before they need to go back down. Six-month-old babies will also be having several breastfeeds/formula feeds plus solids (at least once a day).
6.30am: Wake up, feed and play.
9.00am: Morning nap (aim for at least an hour).
10.00am: Wake up, feed and play.
12.30pm: Afternoon nap (aim for 2 hours).
2.30pm: Wake up, feed and play.
4.45pm: Catnap (aim for 40 minutes).
5.30pm: Wake up, feed and play.
6.30pm: Dinner (solids), bedtime routine (bath, massage, book, feed).
Overnight: Many babies will continue to wake throughout the night at six months, wanting to be fed, cuddled or patted back to sleep. 1 in 10 babies at six months will wake 3 or more times.
Sample Sleep Schedule: 12-Month-Old Baby
At 12 months of age, babies tend to need around 13 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. They will usually be having two (or even just one) naps each day and three solid food meals a day, plus breastfeeds or formula feeds. Babies at 12 months can generally last 3 to 4 hours in between each sleep before they need to go back down.
7.30am: Wake up, feed and play.
9.00am: Breakfast and more play.
10.30am: Morning nap (aim for 1.5 hours).
12.00pm: Wake up, feed and play.
1.00pm: Lunch and more play.
3.00pm: Afternoon nap (aim for 1.5 hours).
4.30pm: Wake up, feed and play.
5.30pm: Dinner and play.
6.30pm: Bedtime routine (bath, massage, brush teeth, book, feed).
Overnight: Babies at 12 months can go without an overnight feed, but many will still wake up for a comfort feed or simply a cuddle.
Keep in mind that these are just three sample baby sleep routines. Your baby may follow something similar to this or you may find that your routine is much different.
Some babies, for example, will sleep just 20 minutes several times over the day and be perfectly content. Others may have one long four-hour nap in the middle of the day. There is no right or wrong when it comes to baby sleep. It’s all about finding a routine that works for your life (and hopefully allows you to enjoy a few minutes of quiet mummy-time every day).
What to Read Next
Looking for more sleep-related help? Have a read of:
- This Is What It Feels Like When Your Baby Won’t Sleep
- 17 Tricks to Try When Baby Won’t Settle
- Easy Bedtime Routines for Kids of All Ages
- SLEEP CHARTS: How Much Sleep Do Your Kids REALLY Need?