We're often asked about "Getting Baby on a Schedule" here at LMS. While baby's routine is something that naturally emerges if we follow baby's lead, it's understandable that the rest of the family can benefit from predictable feeding and sleep times. Below is a sample schedule for a typical 6/7 month old baby. This is by no means the *only* schedule, and it's certainly not the best schedule for everyone but if you are looking for a starting point, the schedule below is one we often use in Sleep Consultations.
Sample Schedule for a 6 to 7 Month Old
6:00am: wake up, play and cuddle
6:30: diaper change, get dressed, feed 6-8 ounces when baby is exhibiting signs of hunger; this can beright at wake up or after 1/2 hour or more.
8:00: breakfast of solids: oatmeal + fruit. Give as much as s/he wants. ***Remember that any milk used to make oatmeal counts toward daily ounces.
8:00 – 9:00: Play
9:00 – 9:30: quieter play and wind down activities such a cuddling and books. Look for sleepy signs such as eye rubbing or disinterest in toys. If you have trouble seeing those “sleep cues” a good rule of thumb is to place baby in the crib, after you see 1 yawn.
11:00 milk, 6-8 oz
12:00 solids: grain + veg, ***top off with milk
12:00 – 1:00 activity (having a meal or snacks counts as an activity)
1:00pm – 1:30pm: wind down for nap
1:30 – 3:30: nap
3:00: milk, 6-8 oz
3:00 – 5:00 activity
5:00 dinner of solids
6:15 – 7:00 bath, milk 6-8 oz , quiet activities, low lights and in bed at 7ish
10:00p dreamfeed several ounces if needed to ensure she’s reached about 28 ounces. A dreamfeed is one last feed for baby. This may not be needed at 6/7 months but we're including it as another tool to help take away the question “What if s/he’s hungry?” when baby wakes overnight. To do a dreamfeed, simply place breast/bottle to baby’s lips and s/he will instinctually take in what’s needed. Do a quick diaper change at this time as well.
Things to remember:
- THIS IS JUST AN EXAMPLE. It is FINE if your schedule differs and we should never force baby into a schedule that doesn't work. The goal here is to give baby a start and end to the day with efficient feeds during daytime hours to set the stage for long sleep overnight.
- We are just using 6:00am as a starting point. If baby wakes earlier or later, simply adjust the schedule accordingly.
Natasha Pressley, RN and the University of Maryland Pediatric Sleep Center
"Secrets of The Baby Whisperer", Melinda Blau and Tracy Hogg
The hundreds of babies our nurses and NCP's have cared for at Let Mommy Sleep from 2010 to the present.