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Sleep Routines in a Nutshell

Every mom and baby is different and a routine that proposes to be a one fits all is not realistic. Here are guidelines for different routines at different ages:

Routines for newborns
Your newborn is too little to have a fixed routine and routines at this age generally do more harm than good. Here are the principles:


Routines for 2 – 4 months

Patterns begin to emerge, with your baby guiding the way; a routine may be possible in this age band:

Read more about awake times


Routines for 4-6 months
Routines begin to emerge in earnest and most babies do well with the predictability of when to sleep and when to feed:

Read more on introducing solids

o Wake between 5 and 7am
o Wake +1 ½ hours = morning nap – 45 minutes
o Wake +1 ½ hours = late morning nap or sleep
o If this sleep short – wake +1 ½ hours = afternoon nap and another cat nap at 5pm (4 sleeps)
o If this sleep is long – wake + 2 hours = afternoon nap
o Wake from naps by 5pm
o Bedtime routine starts 1 hour before bed
o Bedtime by 6:30


Routines for 6- 9 months
At this age, routines can make the difference between a good eater and sleeper or poor habits:

o Wake between 5 and 7am
o Wake +2 hours = morning nap – 45 minutes
o Wake +2 hours = midday sleep
o Wake + 2 ½ hours = afternoon nap
o Wake from naps by 4:30pm
o Bedtime routine starts 1 hour before bed
o Bedtime by 6:30


Routines for 9-12 months
A good day sleep and feeding routine assists good night sleep habits:

o Wake between 5 and 7am
o Wake +2 ½  hours = morning nap – 45 minutes
o Wake +2 ½  hours = midday sleep
o From 9 months - drop afternoon nap
o Wake from naps by 4pm i.e. very short cat nap if needed
o Bedtime routine starts 1 hour before bed
o Bedtime by 6:30


Routines for toddlers
By now a routine should be a way of life and will free you up in many ways:

o 6-7am Wake
o 11:30 lunch
o 12pm – one midday sleep
o Wake from sleep by 3pm
o Bedtime routine starts 1 hour before bed
o Bedtime by 6:30- 7pm


Routines are not a priority
If you are a go-with the flow, laissez-faire type person you may not want a routine at all and that is perfectly good, particularly if you have a settled baby

Read more about baby personality