"Is your baby on a schedule yet??" This is one of the top Mommy questions I got when I had my first child. And it drove me INSANE- what the hell is a schedule and why do I need one? Of course I won't bore you to tears with all the scientific stuff (you've already cried enough, right) on why children need and crave schedules, but if you've made it far enough to know what a "schedule" even is, than bravo! If not- that's ok, you came to the right place.
A mature schedule, or one that is simply too old for the child could be to blame for all those sleepless nights (could you imagine someone trying to put YOU down at 30 years old for two naps a day?! Of course you wouldn't sleep either!) Scroll down for a super easy instructions by age and PIN THIS PAGE for easy check-back-when Baby is older ;)
NEWBORNS 0-3 MONTHS: Unable to go on a clock schedule (duh, they fall asleep all over the place), it's best to keep these little ones on a rotating schedule, or napping every 45-90 minutes. Always swaddle for naps & night and use white noise from the very beginning.
4-6 MONTHS: Here's where it starts to look fairly consistent when it comes to a schedule- it's not perfect but a tiny bit more predictable than those newborn days. You'll want about 3-4 naps at this age, with about 1.25-1.75 hours between them. Watch for those sleep cues but be mindful of the clock- an overtired baby has a harder time falling asleep AND staying asleep!
6-9 MONTHS: Ahhhh you've made it to the land of "Clock Scheduling"- which is so much easier to plan your day but you're still in "NAPJAIL" at least 2-3x a day. Stretch those wake windows between sleep to about 2-2.5 hours and you'll be shopping the Nordstrom sale with a happy baby in no time.
9-14 MONTHS: ALL REJOICE your babe should be down to two naps a day: one in the morning about 2-3 hours after waking (3 hours if they are sleeping all night) and one in the mid-afternoon. This will make your day even more predictable and keeps all the other Moms at the playground jealous when your baby isn't the one having a napless meltdown.
15 MONTHS-3/4 YEARS OLD: Drop that sweet little toddler down to one nap about 5-5.5 hours after waking for the day and drive straight to the Target dollar aisle to celebrate.
3-5 YEARS OLD: I caution all my clients of tired toddlers not to simply drop the nap one day out of the blue and assume your tiny one can power through an entire day without a moment's rest. Give this babe at LEAST 45 minutes of quiet time, preferably in their room, and move up bedtime about 30-60 minutes if you're experiencing post-dinner meltdowns.
5-100 YEARS OLD: Whenever you get the chance. Or after brunching harder than usual.
Scheduling NOT working for your child or have questions? Contact us here for a quick mini-consultation where we can create a customized schedule AND wakeup time (woo-hoo!) for your babe ;)
(My sweet son Jack, 3.5 years old, on a schedule since 8 weeks old, and still loving his afternoon 2-hour nap!)