Sample Sleep Schedules 4 months – 5 years

Sep 25 2017     /     , ,

Written by: Hailee Schollaardt

There is always so much confusion on when babies should be sleeping, how long they should be sleeping and what a daytime schedule might look like for a baby at different ages.  Although there is not one specific answer for every baby there are general guidelines that you can look at to see if you are close or if you are way off.  You may be close and just want to tweak things a little bit or you may be way off, and moving closer to the guidelines outlined below can make big improvements for sleep in your home.

In this blog I am going to outline some common sleep “rules” to follow at each age following the 4 month sleep regression.  Prior to this regression sleep is newborn sleep and so my blog “A Guide To Newborn Sleep” can help guide you through this fun/exciting/scary/tiring time.  For each age I will outline wake time information, a sample sleep schedule and some general information that can help get and keep sleep on track!

Please always remember that your baby is unique and so if the times are not exactly the same but they are sleeping good then that is o.k!!  This blog is just to give guidelines.

4 Months

This age is busy because they are going through the 4 month sleep regression.  Lots of changes occur here and I do often find that sleep becomes a little disorientated for a couple weeks.  Around the 5 month mark it begins to even out.  You might see some shorter naps or fussiness as your baby’s body adapts to the major changes going on.  Please click on my blog in this paragraph to read more!

Wake Times: Don’t keep your baby awake for more than 2 hours at a time.  Preferably keep them closer to 1.5 hours during the day and even 1.25 for that first morning nap!

Nap Guidelines:

  • Cap a nap at 2 hours in length or earlier to allow for 4 naps to occur
  • End the last nap by 5 p.m. latest to allow for a healthy bedtime approx.. 1.5-1.75 hours after waking.

Sample Schedule

7:00 – wake up

8:15 – 9:15 – Nap #1

10:45-11:45 – Nap #2

1:15-2:15 – Nap #3

3:45-4:45 – Nap #4

6:15-6:30 – Asleep for the night

** Bedtime is based on when they wake up from that last nap or wake them up at 5:00 p.m. if they are still asleep. Bedtimes will move earlier if naps weren’t as good that day

** At 4.5 months babies begin to fight that 4th nap as their body is getting closer to the 4 to 3 nap transition.  The wake time in the morning can stretch longer to about 1.5, the wake time before the 4th nap can stretch to 1.75 and before bed up to 2 hours.

Night Wakings

Night wakings depend on MANY factors some which include daily calorie intake, developmental milestones, growth spurts, sleep regressions and gestational age of your baby if they were born premature.

At this age the average or “normal” amount of night feedings for breastfed babies is 3-4 and for formula fed babies is 2-3 as per the baby sleep site.

5 Months

5 Months is a good time to move from that 4 nap schedule down to a 3 nap schedule. As with any nap transition this is a big adjustment for a baby because wake times are lengthening plus they are losing an entire sleep period.  We want to prevent your baby from becoming overtired by moving bedtime earlier.  This will naturally happen if you are following wake times because the wake time will still be fairly small and that last nap might end quite early in the day. Don’t worry though, as your baby gets closer to 6 months sleep will continue to balance out with naps lengthening and wake times increasing.

Wake Times: Don’t keep your baby awake for more than 2.25 hours.

Nap Guidelines:

  • Cap naps at 2 hours in length.  Long spurts are for night sleep!
  • Wake up from last nap by 5:00 p.m. latest to allow for a healthy bedtime falling around 2-2.25 hours after that.
  • If you are going to have a nap on the go then I would opt for the 3rd nap being in the carseat or stroller.

Sample Schedule at 5 months

7:00 a.m. – wake up

8:30 – 10:00 – Nap #1

12:00-1:30 – Nap #2

3:30 – 4:30 – Nap #3

6:45 – Asleep for the night

** Bedtime is based on when they wake up from that last nap or wake them up at 5:00 p.m. if they are still asleep. Bedtimes will move earlier if naps weren’t as good that day

Night Wakings

Night wakings depend on MANY factors some which include daily calorie intake, developmental milestones, growth spurts, sleep regressions and gestational age of your baby if they were born premature.  We are hoping to get a longer stretch at the beginning of the night of around 5-6 hours.

At this age the average or “normal” amount of night feedings for breastfed babies is 1-3 and for formula fed babies is 1-2 as per the baby sleep site.

6 Months

Your 6 month old baby should have a well established 3 nap schedule.  You may start to notice that the 3rd nap often falls under 1 hour in length and this is normal.  Our goal is to have two longer naps and one shorter one.  That 3rd nap is meant to be a cat nap to hold your baby over until bedtime.

Wake Times: Don’t keep your baby awake for more than 2.5 hours.

Nap Guidelines

  • Cap naps at 2 hours in length.  Long spurts are for night sleep!
  • Wake up from last nap by 5:00 p.m. latest to allow for a healthy bedtime falling around 2.5 hours after that.
  • If you are going to have a nap on the go then I would opt for the 3rd nap being in the carseat or stroller.

Sample Schedule at 6 months

7:00 a.m. – wake up

8:45 – 10:30 – Nap #1

12:30 – 1:45 – Nap #2

4:00 – 4:45 – Nap #3

7:15 p.m. – Asleep for the night

** Bedtime is based on when they wake up from that last nap or wake them up at 5:00 p.m. if they are still asleep. Bedtimes will move earlier if naps weren’t as good that day

Night Wakings

Night wakings depend on MANY factors some which include daily calorie intake, solid introduction, developmental milestones, growth spurts, sleep regressions and gestational age of your baby if they were born premature.  We are hoping to get a longer stretch at the beginning of the night of around 6-8 hours.

At this age the average or “normal” amount of night feedings for breastfed babies is 1-3 and for formula fed babies is 1-2 as per the baby sleep site.

7 Months

Your 7 month old baby is still going to be on a 3 nap schedule although it might seem like they are fighting that 3rd nap more often.  This is because their body is preparing for the 3 to 2 nap transition that occurs closer to the 8 month mark.  Wake times need to be stretched to continue to build up the sleep pressure for that 3rd nap to occur.  You might also find that the 3rd nap comes closer to 30-45 minutes in length and you may have to do a little clock watching and baby waking earlier in the day to have room for that 3rd cat nap.  That 3rd nap is still beneficial at this age!

Wake Times: Don’t keep your baby awake for more than 2.75 hours.

Nap Guidelines

  • Cap naps at 2 hours in length.  Long spurts are for night sleep!
  • Wake up from last nap by 5:00 p.m. latest to allow for a healthy bedtime falling around 2.5 hours after that.
  • If you are going to have a nap on the go then I would opt for the 3rd nap being in the carseat or stroller.

Sample Schedule at 7 months

7:00 a.m. – wake up

9:15 – 10:30 – Nap #1

1:00 – 2:00 – Nap #2

4:30 – 5:00 – Nap #3

7:30 p.m. – Asleep for the night

** Bedtime is based on when they wake up from that last nap or wake them up at 5:00 p.m. if they are still asleep. Bedtimes will move earlier if naps weren’t as good that day

Night Wakings

Night wakings depend on MANY factors some which include daily calorie intake, solid introduction, developmental milestones, growth spurts, sleep regressions and gestational age of your baby if they were born premature.  We are hoping to get a longer stretch at the beginning of the night of around 6-8 hours.

At this age the average or “normal” amount of night feedings for breastfed babies is 0-3 and for formula fed babies is 0-1 as per the baby sleep site.

8 Months

Around the 8 month mark is a really great time to begin the 3 to 2 nap transition.  You do this by increasing the wake times which will push out that 3rd nap.  As with any nap transition it is good to do it over the course of the month so that by 9 months they are on a solid 2 nap schedule.

Wake Times: Don’t keep your baby awake for more than 3 hours.

Nap Guidelines

  • Cap naps at 2 hours in length.  Long spurts are for night sleep!
  • Wake up from last nap by 4:00 p.m. latest.
  • Now that your baby is on a 2 nap schedule we want both naps to be happening in their safe sleep space.

Sample Schedule at 8 months

7:00 a.m. – wake up

9:30 – 11:00 – Nap #1

1:45 – 3:30 – Nap #2

6:30 p.m. – Asleep for the night

** Bedtime is based on when they wake up from that last nap or wake them up at 4:00 p.m. if they are still asleep. During any transition bedtimes fall on the earlier side to make up for that lost nap but as you get closer to 9 months it will start to stretch out again.

2nd Step of Transition

A week or two after your baby gets used to the above schedule it is time to continue moving forward with the transition.  You can move to a 2.75/3/3 schedule for another week or until 9 months!  Remember, wake times are the time we want your baby asleep by!

Night Wakings

Night wakings depend on MANY factors some which include daily calorie intake, solid introduction, developmental milestones, growth spurts, sleep regressions and gestational age of your baby if they were born premature.  We are hoping to get a longer stretch at the beginning of the night of around 6-8 hours.

At this age the average or “normal” amount of night feedings for breastfed babies is 0-3 and for formula fed babies is 0-1 as per the baby sleep site.

9-10 Months

Yay!  You have made it through the 3 to 2 nap transition!  This is sometimes a hard one.  We are now sitting at longer wake times and so it might feel like you have a little more time to do things during the day!

Wake Times: Don’t keep your baby awake for more than 3.5 hours.

Nap Guidelines

  • Cap naps at 2 hours in length.  Long spurts are for night sleep!
  • Wake up from last nap by 4:00 p.m. latest.
  • Now on a 2 nap schedule we want both of these naps happening in their sleep space as much as possible.

Sample Schedule at 9-10 months

7:00 a.m. – wake up

10:00 – 11:30 – Nap #1

2:45 – 4:00 – Nap #2

7:15 p.m. – Asleep for the night

** Bedtime is based on when they wake up from that last nap or wake them up at 4:00 p.m. if they are still asleep. Your baby has longer wake times which is great but this is not a good age to try and push bedtime too late.

Night Wakings

Night wakings depend on MANY factors some which include daily calorie intake, solid intake, developmental milestones, growth spurts, sleep regressions and gestational age of your baby if they were born premature.  We are hoping to get a longer stretch at the beginning of the night of around 6-8 hours.

At this age the average or “normal” amount of night feedings for breastfed babies is 0-2 and for formula fed babies is 0-1 as per the baby sleep site. Any more wakings than 2 at this age is not beneficial for anyone!  I do typically find that 1 feed is what is most common if a feed is needed.

11-12 Months

This age is very similar to the 9-10 month mark except generally babies are ready for a bit more wake time.  If they seem to fight sleep a little more then try increasing the wake times to build up that sleep pressure!

Wake Times: Don’t keep your baby awake for more than 3.75 hours.

Nap Guidelines

  • Cap naps at 2 hours in length.  Long spurts are for night sleep!
  • Wake up from last nap by 4:00 p.m. latest.
  • Now on a 2 nap schedule we want both of these naps happening in their sleep space as much as possible.

Sample Schedule at 11-12 months

7:00 a.m. – wake up

10:15 – 11:30 – Nap #1

3:00 – 4:00 – Nap #2

7:30 p.m. – Asleep for the night

** Bedtime is based on when they wake up from that last nap or wake them up at 4:00 p.m. if they are still asleep.

** Your baby’s daytime schedule will sit here for awhile until they closer to the 2 to 1 nap transition!  If they start fighting that 2nd nap then first try and preserve it by capping the morning nap and lengthening the wake time before the 2nd nap to build sleep drive.  If they are still fighting it and you are noticing a pattern of no 2nd nap then it might be time to make the transition!  This transition goes the smoothest between 15-18 months in my opinion.

** If your baby is showing signs that they are wanting to drop a nap around the 12 month mark then please read my sleep regressions blog as this may be why!

Night Wakings

Night wakings depend on MANY factors some which include daily calorie intake, solid intake, developmental milestones, growth spurts, sleep regressions and gestational age of your baby if they were born premature.

At this age the average or “normal” amount of night feedings for breastfed babies is 0-2 and for formula fed babies is 0-1 as per the baby sleep site. In my experience I would say that 1 feed is sometimes needed but more than this is disrupting the good quality sleep that your baby needs!

13-18 Months

The biggest sleep change that happens during this time frame is the 2 to 1 nap transition!!  This is a big one because your baby goes from being awake 3.5/3.75 hours at the most to having to increase this wake time to closer to 4.5-5 hours on a 1 nap schedule. Prior to this transition sleep stays consistent with the 11/12 month sleep schedule although some wake times may increase as their body prepares for the nap transition.

Wake Times: Don’t keep your baby awake for more than 4 hours.

Nap Guidelines

  • Cap naps at 2 hours in length.  Long spurts are for night sleep!  You may have to cap naps even earlier at this point because as their body prepares for the 2 to 1 transition they often need to be awake longer between nap 1 and 2 to build enough sleep drive to fall asleep easily.  Often times through this time you will find them resisting the 2nd nap and you might have to cap the first nap at 1 hour and stretch the wake time to have a 1 hour nap in the afternoon as well.
  • We want to hold off on the transition for as close to 15-18 months as we can.  Those wake times get longer and so the older they are the easier it will be for them.
  • Wake up from last nap by 4:00 p.m. latest.
  • Now on a 2 nap schedule we want both of these naps happening in their sleep space as much as possible.

Sample Schedule during these months

7:00 a.m. – wake up

10:15 – 11:15 – Nap #1

3:00 – 4:00 – Nap #2

7:30 p.m. – Asleep for the night

** Bedtime is based on when they wake up from that last nap or wake them up at 4:00 p.m. if they are still asleep.

** Your baby’s daytime schedule will sit here for awhile until they closer to the 2 to 1 nap transition!  If they start fighting that 2nd nap then first try and preserve it by capping the morning nap and lengthening the wake time before the 2nd nap to build sleep drive.  If they are still fighting it and you are noticing a pattern of no 2nd nap then it might be time to make the transition!  This transition goes the smoothest between 15-18 months in my opinion.

** If your baby is showing signs that they are wanting to drop a nap around the 12 month mark then please read my sleep regressions blog as this may be why!

Night Wakings

At this point if solids are well established then night feeds are usually not needed.  If you feel ready to drop them then this can be the perfect time!

Nap transition to 2 years

Once your baby transitions to a 1 nap schedule it can be easy for them to become overtired at the beginning.   Generally for the first few months up until the age of 2 I find earlier nap and earlier bedtime can be beneficial for some babies.  Here are some sample schedules:

7:00 a.m. – wake up

12-3 p.m. – nap

7-7:15 p.m. – asleep for the night

7:30 a.m. – wake up

12:30 – 3 p.m. – nap

7:15-7:30 – asleep for the night

At this age it is less about “wake times” and more about balance.  For example, if your toddler wakes earlier than normal then shift nap time 15 minutes earlier but if they sleep in longer then shift it 15 minutes later.  Establishing some set times like a fairly consistent bedtime can be beneficial.

** If your toddler starts to wake up really early then this is a sign to try an earlier bedtime!  Try not to stretch bedtime too late at the beginning of this adjustment into 1 nap.

** We don’t want the nap going past 3 p.m.

3-5 Years

Your toddler is getting older and so often times we may see the nap time during the day decrease.  This is o.k.  It is better to just cap the nap than it is to eliminate it all together.  Some signs that capping the nap might be beneficial are:

– If they are fighting bedtime quite a bit and not falling asleep until after 8 p.m.

– If they are waking early in the morning (before 6 a.m.)

Many toddlers drop their nap between this age but every child is different and so does it at different times.  Like I said, instead of jumping into eliminating the nap first try and cap it to see if they can still get some rest during the day and still have a successful bedtime and night sleep.

Sample schedules:

6:30 – wake up

1:00 – 2:30 – nap

7-7:30 – Asleep for the night

7:00 – wake up

1-2:30 – nap

8:00 – Asleep for the night

7:00 – wake up

1-2 – nap

7:30-8:00 – Asleep for the night

** Once you do drop the nap remember to pull bedtime earlier for awhile.  A nice 7 p.m. bedtime might be just what they need for awhile until they adjust to no nap period.

Thank you so much for reading another one of my blogs!!  I love writing them for everyone to read and hope that they can give support and guidelines to get you and your baby sleeping better! Please share the facebook post for me to help reach out to more families!  Sharing is caring 🙂

If you are following schedules similar as outlined above and your baby is still not sleeping then remember that it could be due to sleep associations or other sleep foundations that are getting in the way.  I am always here if you would like a more personalized plan to get everyone well rested!

Learn more about my role in your sleep here!

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