Daytime Schedules for Infants

Here’s another common question related to infants and schedules:

I understand the night schedule for feeding and sleeping. However you don’t provide a day schedule of feeding, sleep, and play. Would you please eloborate?

– Michael

Hi Michael:

My goal is to help you have a child that sleeps for 12 hours–from 7p to 7a–by the time they are 4 months old. While sleep is extremely important for infants’ physical and cognitive development, it’s also good for the parents. I find that children who sleep all night tend to be the happiest and sweetest.

That being said, I am not as strict about the daytime schedule. Everyone’s life is different. In some families, both parents work, and in others, one parent may stay at home. Different daycares and childcare professionals follow different schedules. In other words, what works for one family may not work for yours.

If you are a “Type A” personality and need a good daytime schedule, I really like the Moms On Call approach (you can get their books here). If you are okay with a little bit of a looser schedule, I am fine with that, too. My only recommendation is that you not let your child nap during the last two hours before bedtime (this will ensure they’re sleepy when it’s time for bed).

Whichever route you choose, I do like for you to try and keep the nap schedule fairly consistent, particularly once they reach 6 months old. Children just seem to function better with an established routine. I find that children between 6 months and 15 months old will typically take 2 naps a day (morning and early afternoon). Then, at around 15 months or so, the child will give up the morning nap and take a longer afternoon nap.

Thanks for the question!

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