So you’ve decided to get your baby started on a sleep training plan! That is great, soon you and your little bundle will be on your way to the best night’s sleep ever!
Are you feeling a little bit overwhelmed by all that is involved with baby sleep training? Definitely understandable. While it’s good to look at the entire picture, breaking down the baby sleep training plan into smaller steps helps it feel more doable.
That’s where a baby sleep training schedule comes in. This tool will help you know what to do when and gives you a specific area to focus on. Following a baby sleep training schedule one step at a time will eventually lead you and your baby to a successful night’s sleep.
So what does a baby sleep training schedule look like and how do you use it? We will go over all the details with you so you and your infant can get started with baby sleep training with confidence.
What Is a Baby Sleep Training Schedule?
As an adult, you are probably familiar with following a schedule. You have your own routine. You might follow one at work and arrange activities at home. Aren’t babies a little young to follow a schedule? Not at all.
A baby sleep training schedule is one of the first schedules they learn to follow and are capable of following. You just have to show them how!
In a nutshell, a baby sleep training schedule is an established routine you and your child follow that allows him or her to get the optimal amount of sleep for their age. It includes both naps and night-time sleep. It helps you know when to space out sleep and awake time. It’s a tool that takes the guesswork of when to put your baby down for a morning, afternoon nap, or for the night.
A baby sleep training schedule also varies by age. Younger newborns require more naps compared to a 10-month-old. Same with the amount of nighttime sleep. Brand new babies also are less predictable than an older baby so sleep schedules will have different goals at each age level.
To correctly follow a baby sleep training schedule you will need to pick a routine that’s meant for the right age of your baby.
Let’s break down the baby sleep training schedule even more by exploring different ones for different age groups.
Baby Sleep Training Schedule for 0-4 Months
Younger babies are unpredictable in their sleep patterns. This stage is also when they sleep the most. Typically they wake to eat. Before putting a newborn on a sleep schedule the first thing to work on is teaching them the difference between night and day. To help them get regulated with that concept try:
- During the day keep light and noises at a normal day-time level
- Be active during the day, meaning do normal day-time rituals
- Keep rooms light during naps
- At night darken the rooms
- Lower activity level
- Lessen noise volumes
Once your baby is showing signs of being awake more during daylight and sleeping less erratically at night you can start to implement a baby sleep training schedule. This schedule is looser than other stages because infants are still not developed enough to follow a robust schedule. Babies in this phase usually need more than one morning and afternoon nap. They also will be up every 2-3 hours in the night to eat.
Amount of sleep needed: 14-17 hours a day
- 7:00-8:30 am: Awake for morning routine
- 8:30-9:30 am: Morning nap 1
- 9:30-11:00 am: Awake
- 11:00-12:00 pm: Mid-morning nap 2
- 12:00-1:30 pm: Awake for lunchtime routine
- 1:30-3:00 pm: Afternoon nap 1
- 3:00-4:30 pm: Awake
- 4:30-5:30 pm: Afternoon nap 2
- 5:30-6:30 pm: Awake for dinnertime routine
- 6:30 pm: Bedtime routine
- 7:00 pm: Bed with several feedings through the night
Remember this schedule is just a sample. You can adjust the times to fit your needs best. Perhaps you get up earlier. Maybe you get home from work later. This is to give you a general idea of what sleep looks like in a newborn.
Keep in mind a baby’s sleep pattern can vary too. Some babies have longer naps and only need one in the morning or afternoon. Others may take short cat naps and have more naps throughout the day.
Baby Sleep Training Schedule for 4-8 Months
During this time in a baby’s life, your little one is more alert and interactive during their awake time. They are discovering the world around them more too.
Babies also start eating solids. This greatly helps them sleep for longer stretches because they are full longer so you might get longer stretches of sleep at night.
Kiddos of this age are also working on developmental milestones more, like sitting up, rolling over or even crawling. Exerting energy along with growing are factors that affect sleep.
A baby sleep training schedule at this stage might include 1 morning nap, 1 afternoon nap and longer awake times. He or she may have longer stretches of sleep at night. Babies are more capable of following a daily routine at this point too.
Amount of sleep needed: 14-16 hours a day
- 7:00-9:30 am: Awake for morning routine
- 9:30-11:30 am: Morning nap 1
- 11:30 am-2:00pm.: Awake for lunchtime and mid-day routine
- 2:00-4:00 pm: Afternoon nap
- 4:00-7:00 pm: Awake for dinner and evening routine
- 7:00 pm: Bedtime routine
- 7:30 pm: Bedtime with longer stretches of sleep or sleeping through the night
A baby sleep training schedule like this gives you a general flow to your day. Schedules can get thrown off if your baby is teething, sick, or going through a growth spurt as that impacts sleep and that’s okay.
Baby Sleep Training For 8-12 Months
As baby’s approach their 1st birthday they are leaving their infant habits behind and becoming more toddler-like. You might be hearing more sounds and babble. Your baby may be on the move more too with crawling or pulling up to furniture. There are some early walkers too! Gulp.
Babies are eating more solids and might start to feed themselves some finger food. When it comes to sleep you might see time changes when they wake-up and go to sleep at night. Their nap times may adjust too. Babies may drop down to one shorter nap and one long nap. They might be sleeping through the night too.
Amount of sleep needed: 12-16 hours a day
- 7:00-9:30 am: Awake for morning nap
- 9:30-11 am: Morning nap
- 11:00 am-2:30 pm: Awake for lunchtime and midday routine
- 2:30-4:00 pm: Afternoon nap
- 4:00 pm-7:00: Awake for dinner and evening routine
- 7:00 pm: Bedtime routine
- 7:30 pm: Bedtime
By this time your baby might be able to pick up on your verbal cues when you say it’s naptime or bedtime. They understand the predictability to their day. They may protest when told it’s time to sleep or they may look forward to a special sleep time routine.
Tips For Following a Baby Sleep Schedule
Baby sleep training schedules are great for you and your baby. It gives structure to your day. Babies are happier when they have a familiar flow to their day. So how to start following a baby sleep training schedule? Here are some tips:
- Pick the right type of routine for the age of your baby: Don’t expect a newborn to follow a schedule for a 9-month-old.
- Start small: Work on getting a morning or bedtime routine down first then expand from there.
- Be flexible, not rigid: Things can change. Your day might have a special activity that’s out of the norm. It’s okay if you get off track from time to time.
- Make adjustments as needed: If your baby is resistant to a morning nap at 9 am but does better going down at 10 am, let that be the morning nap time.
When you have a baby sleep training schedule you can set your baby up for sleep success when you start to work on baby sleep training. Babies on a schedule are used to following awake and sleep times during their day.
Get your baby off on the right track and start a baby sleep training schedule!