Sleep Training - Baby Sleep Schedule for 6 to 8 Month Old
How much sleep should my baby be getting?
On average, a baby this age should be getting about eleven hours of uninterrupted nighttime sleep, plus about three to three and a half hours of daytime naps, spread out over two to three naps.
Here’s a sample sleep schedule for this age range:
- 7:00 to 7:30 am – Wake up time. When baby wakes, nurse or bottle feed plus solids if you’ve started introducing them (consult your pediatrician about the introduction if you haven’t already done so.)
- 9:00 to 9:30 am – Time for morning nap, which is usually about one and a half to two hours. Nurse or give bottle upon waking.
- 12:30 to 1:00 pm – Another one and a half to two hour nap. Again, nurse or bottle upon waking.
- 3:30 to 4:00 pm – This third nap is optional and can depend on the previous nap time. This one should be around forty-five minutes to an hour.
- 5:00 to 5:30 pm – Nurse or bottle feed plus solids.
- 6:00 to 6:30 pm – get started with bath and bedtime routine, which may or may not include an additional nursing or bottle.
- 7:00 to 7:30 pm – Baby should be asleep.
The trick is getting your baby on the proper schedule. It’s important that you try your best to stick to a schedule as regularly as you can, but also be aware of your baby’s cues – it’s okay to modify the schedule slightly when it’s appropriate. Also know that on some days he’ll sleep more, and some days a bit less.
Around this time, babies are starting to roll over, sit up, and some may even start to stand up while holding on to something or someone – they are overall more mobile. Some may even start to crawl; some may start to get their first teeth. If your baby isn’t sleeping through the night regularly, it’s still possible to get them on the right track to help your whole family get a good night’s sleep. Some parents may even find that good sleepers begin to have difficulties around this time. This can happen because of many factors – separation anxiety could be kicking in and your baby may start waking up more often just to see you; simply being more mobile could be a new distraction for your child and may affect her sleep.
The schedule above is just an example (but a good one); there is no one right schedule for all babies. It is inevitable that some variations will occur and it should be expected. If your baby decides to nap for an hour and a half at nine in the morning will be on a different schedule that a baby who naps at nine thirty for two hours. However, the starting and ending times (7-7:30) should be about the same regardless.
You may have to shift the schedule if your child wakes earlier – some babies seem to have internal alarm clocks that go off at 6 am (that’s mine!) In this case, the morning nap in particular should be shifted to a little bit earlier to accommodate the change.
If your baby is in day care or is with a babysitter for part of the day, you should make you at-home schedule conform as much as you can to the day care feeding and nap times to maintain consistency. Of course, the day care routine should be a sensible one for you all.
More helpful tips for good sleep for your baby
- If your child up until this point has not been a good sleeper/napper, then this is a great age to begin sleep training; don’t get discouraged!
- Try to encourage an attachment to a security object, like a small stuffed animal or something similar. This doesn’t work for all babies, so don’t get discouraged if yours doesn’t take to anything (one of mine did and one didn’t, but they both became great sleepers.)
- Make sure you create a sleep-friendly schedule and also create a sleep-time routine that you stick to. This could include quiet activities at night like a massage, a song, a book…
- You have to get rid of sleep crutches or negative associations like when your baby is used to being rocked to sleep, or walked, or nursed, or stroked – whether it’s when your baby initially goes to sleep or when she wakes up during the night. You also need to get your baby sleeping in her crib, especially if she’s gotten used to sleeping in places like a swing or car seat.
- Yes, you may have to tolerate some tears in the beginning, but unlike some “cry-it-out” methods, you do not have to let her cry endlessly or alone. Her cries are her way of telling you that she’s tired and frustrated and not used to this change. Sit by her as she cries and stroke her head or pat her back (mine liked her bottom patted) a bit and whisper soothing words. She will eventually adapt and cope and be able to sooth herself to sleep, which is what you’re striving for. It won’t take as long as you think, but be persistent and patient and it will work.
- Laying a foundation that helps your child learn to soothe themselves to sleep is something that will stay with them their whole lives and make them good sleepers always. Considering how much of our lives includes sleep, teaching your baby to soothe herself to sleep is one of the best gifts you could give her.
For more information and tips on sleep training at different ages, check out my other hubs.