When my doctor informed me in my last trimester that I’d be having twins, my sleep deprivation worries got exacerbated. I should start with a disclaimer here. I love my sleep. I love it so much and after reading various sleep literature, I got me on this journey to become a baby sleep expert as I was worried, I won’t be good enough. Fortunately, many parents can learn from my passion to learn sleep training techniques that work. Parents can also avoid paying over $300 for easy tips

Fast forward three years later, my twins probably got the best-in-class sleep training and got used to good sleeping schedules. In this article, I share several tips that I’ve learned as a mother and from various seminars and conferences that I’ve attended over the last three years.

This article is quite lengthy and I suggest you use the content outline below to jump to the age bracket of your baby to get more focussed tips, techniques, training and sample sleep schedules:

  1. Sleep schedule for a newborn
  2. Sleep schedules for babies of 1 to 3 months age
  3. Sleep schedules for babies of 4 to 6 months age
  4. Sleep schedules for babies of 7 to 9 months age
  5. Sleep schedules for babies of 10 to 12 months age
  6. Sleep schedules for babies of 13 to 24 months

#1. Sleep Schedule For Newborns, 0 to 3 months and Sample

When you take your newborn home from the hospital after giving birth, the first thing you should note is that your newborn is used to the fetal sleep cycle. Fetal sleep cycle gets your baby sleeping for most of the day with short naps during the day but your baby may not consolidate long stretches of sleep.

Before I understood this, I thought my twins were abnormal as they could just sleep anywhere, in the stroller, in my arms or just in the crib as soon as I fed them. I was wrong to wish otherwise as a few months down the line, I was struggling to soothe them to sleep.

Human sleep is regulated by two hormones, serotonin, and melatonin. Seratonin hormones get your baby alert and awake and melatonin hormone induces sleepiness.

Melatonin is barely being produced between week 0 and week 8 and they don’t have the Circadian rhythm that regulates sleep-wake period in a 24-hour cycle as shown below:

Circadian rhythm

A typical baby is very wakeful at the first 45 minutes after waking and asleep at the bottom of the cycle, 90 minutes. In the first 2 weeks, the baby is only awake for a maximum of 30 minutes as the two hormones are not being synchronically produced as required to maintain the sleep cycle. The period of wakefulness increases to 45 minutes in week 3 to week 8.

Since there is little melatonin being produced and the baby may not be easily induced to sleep, look out for signs of sleepiness and put the baby to bed straight away. Missing this period of sleep will get the baby back on an alert period and you may have to wait for this window to end. Usually, if this period is missed, you’ll find your baby alert but fussy and tired.

Below is a graph showing a typical baby sleep cycle:

Instead of worrying about a schedule or forming healthy sleep habits, just focus on making sure your baby is getting enough food. Most babies at this age should be feeding every 2-3 hours or so, usually falling back to sleep toward the end of the feed.

The video below explains a typical schedule a mother follows with her newborn

You’d start the night at around 8 pm by feeding then having tummy time with your baby prepare to go to bed. Sometimes you can wash the baby. It is adviced that you give your newborn about three baths a week but you can wash the head and hair.

After washing the baby, you can apply him or her some lotion of your choice considering your baby’s skin.

 Make the baby ready for bed by dressing them and swindle them when necessary.

For any given period, your baby with less than the age of fewer than 3 months may be awake for a maximum period of three hours meaning the 14 to 17 hours sleep period may be broken up into chunks. The trick is trying to establish a routine that gets the baby to sleep at a time when he/she needs it while trying to get them used to a routine that fits your day/night routine.

Below is a table with the basics of what you should know about your baby’s sleep schedule for the first 12 weeks.

Baby ageWeek 0 to week 12
Overall sleep period14 to 17
Sleep trainingNot advisable
Period awake1 to 2 hours at a time

Here are 4 safe sleep tips presented in the video below by CDC:

  • You should place the baby on his or her back for all sleep times – naps and at night.
  • You should use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib.
  • You should keep soft objects, such as pillows and loose bedding, out of the baby’s sleep area
  • You should have the baby share your room not your bed.

Below is a table that shows the sleep schedule for a newborn between the first to the third month.

 TimeNotes
Wake up6 am to 7 amWake up, feed and play
first nap1.25 to 1.5 hours after waking up around 6 to 7 am.1 – 3 hours long
second napAround 10 to 11 am1 – 2 hours long
third napAround 1 to 3 pm1 – 2 hours long
fourth napAround 5 to 8 pm1 – 3 hours long
Bedtime prepFrom around 9 pmPrepare the baby for bedtime
BedtimeAround 10 pm3 – 5 hours. The baby might drift on and off through the night, waking up to feed.

Baby Sleep Schedule 4 to 6 Months and Samples

At this stage, you may notice that the number of hours the baby sleeps becomes less. From the 14 to 18 hours a day when they were 3months or less, now the baby sleeps for 12 to 14 hours a day. Another significant change that you’ll also realize from the 4th month is that your baby will start sleeping longer at night as melatonin and serotonin hormones are now being produced.

At month 4 to month 6, your baby will start getting super hungry when they wake up between 6 to 8 am (or thereabout) and this is great! This means that you can cut back on your night feeding schedule and bank on the morning (baby) breakfast. You can also pump extra milk for feeding later at this time, after the first feeding session in the morning.

After the morning feeding session, your baby at month 4 to 6 may fall back asleep for about an hour and by around 9 am, you can do the second feeding session. Your baby may be struggling to feed and can fall asleep at your breasts but these morning feeding sessions are important.

  • Here is a typical sleep schedule for a three-month-old baby (printable PDF)
  • Here is a typical sleep schedule for a four-month-old baby (printable PDF)
  • Here is a typical sleep schedule for a five-month-old baby (printable PDF)
  • Here is a typical sleep schedule for a six-month-old baby (printable PDF)

You may also notice that the baby may have an unbroken piece of sleep of 6-8 hours. Below is a video that explains more about the schedule

 
Baby age4 to 6 months
Hours of sleep baby needs12 to 14 hours a day
Napping2-3 naps, a total of 3-5 hours a day
Bedtime Around 9 pm

You can download a sample baby sleep schedule designed by Nanit for your 4-months old baby here.

Below is another video on how to get your baby on a schedule;

TimeNotes
Wake up6 am to 8 amDepends on the baby
first napAround 10 to 12 am1 – 2 hours long
second napAround 1 to 3 pm1 – 2 hours long
third napAround 5 to 7 pm1 – 3 hours long
Bedtime prepFrom around 8 pmPrepare the baby for bedtime
BedtimeAround 9 pm6 –8 hours. The baby might drift
on and off through the night, waking up to feed.


Baby Sleep Schedule 7 to 12 Months and Samples

At this stage, you may notice that the number of hours the baby sleeps is not very different from the previous stage. You notice that the baby sleeps for 12 to 14 hours a day.

The table below summarizes the basics of what you should expect from your baby from when they are 7 months to when get to be 12 months.

Baby age7 to 12 months
Hours of sleep baby needs7 – 9 hours a night
Day Start6 – 7 am
Napping 2 – 3 hours a day
Night Time 8 – 9 pm

Every baby’s sleeping pattern is unique. Usually, after closing the 6-month threshold, your baby might be sleeping for a longer duration at night. Here are some tips on how to establish good sleeping habits from the video above;

  1. To bath, massage, playtime, lullaby or changing for bedtime should be in the same order every night so that the baby gets the idea of nap time.
  2. Once a sleep routine is established, it is very important to adhere to it. It certainly does not mean to go straight by the clock but the general timing should be close to nap time.
  3. Once you start following a sleep routine, if you still find your baby waking up occasionally without any reason, you should allow them to settle on their own.
 TimeNotes
Wake up6 am to 7 am Wake up and get ready for the day
first nap Around 10 to 12 am1 – 2 hours long
second nap Around 1 to 3 pm1 – 2 hours long
third nap Around 5 to 7 pm1 – 3 hours long
Bedtime prep From around 8 pmPrepare the baby for bedtime
BedtimeAround 9 pm 7 –9 hours. The baby might drift on and off through the night, waking up to feed.

Baby sleep schedule 1-year-old (13 to 23 months) and Samples

During this stage, you may notice that the number of hours the baby sleeps is not very different from the previous stages. You notice that the newborn still sleeps for 12 to 14 hours a day. However, naps become less.

The table below summarizes the basics of what you should expect from your baby from when they are 7 months to when get to be 12 months.

Baby age13 – 23 months
Hours of sleep baby needs12 – 14 hours
Napping2 naps, 2 – 4 hours daily
Bedtime  between 7-9 pm

Below is a video explaining more about the schedule of a one-year-old infant;

Time Notes
Wake up6 – 7 amWake up and get ready for the day
first napAround 10 am – 1 pm 1 – 3 hours long
second napAround 3 – 5 pm 1 – 2 hours long
Bedtime prepAround 7 pm Prepare the baby for bedtime
Bedtime between 7-9 pm usually averages 7-9 hours at night.

Baby sleep schedule 2-year-old (24 to 36 months) and Sample

When the baby turns two years, you should limit the nap time to two hours during the day so that they may rest more at night.

Below is a video that explains more while giving tips on how to manage your 2-year-old sleep schedule;

Time Notes
Wake up 6 – 7 amPrepare for the day
first nap Around 10 am – 1 pm 1 – 2 hours long
second nap Around 3 – 5 pm 1 – 2 hours long
Bedtime prep Around 7 pm Prepare the baby for bedtime
Bedtime between 7-9 pm usually averages 7-9 hours at night.

Baby sleep schedule when sick

When the baby is not feeling well, they need a lot of comforting because of not understanding what is happening to them. The good thing about having a sleeping schedule for your baby is that you can easily go back to it even after the baby is sick.

If your baby is unwell, cuddle them, tend to them, let them sleep when they want and hold them a little bit more than usual. As soon as they start feeling better, go back to the set sleep habits you had before they were sick. You will be surprised how quickly they actually get back on board and continue with them.

The video below gives some sleep tips for sick children such as;

  • You do not need to feed the baby again because they are sick unless it is a doctor’s recommendation.
  • You should move to the baby’s bed instead of bringing them to yours.

Baby sleep schedule on vacation and Off After Vacation

Travel plans in most cases affect the baby’s sleeping routine. You should, therefore, ensure that there is minimal disruption to your baby’s schedule as much as possible.

Here are some tips that ensure that your baby gets the sleep he needs during travels or vacations;

  1. Do not over-schedule but try as much as possible to maintain the regular schedule.
  2. Be consistent with naps and bedtime.
  3. Be patient as your baby adjusts to the new environment.
  4. Remember to carry your baby’s sleeping toy.
  5. If you do not share the bed with your baby, do not start now.

Premature/Preemie baby sleep schedule

Premature babies tend to have more sleeping problems and that can give a parent a hard time as their sleep milestones are not as structured as babies born in the normal term. This underdevelopment manifests with your preemie falling asleep multiples times during the day.

Some tips on how you can help your preemie baby to sleep better include;

  • Bathing your baby at a certain time followed by a lullaby or a story.
  • Repeating calming activities to your baby before bedtime
  • Instilling dimmer lights that will soothe the baby to sleep
  • Breastfeeding the baby as the prepare to sleep

Baby sleep regression schedule

Sleep regression is any period of time when a baby who has been sleeping well starts to wake up more often and finds it hard to settle. This can go on for days or even weeks.

Sleep regressions have a great impact on the sleep cycle of the baby. Most parents notice them during common stages of the first year especially at around 4 months. This is because it is a transition from light to deep sleep.

Another common stage is when the baby is starting to crawl at around 8 months.

Below are some tips on how to survive sleep regression;

  1. Keeping a consistent napping and bedtime routine
  2. Avoiding to use cues to make your baby fall asleep
  3. Always give your baby the chance to settle on their own

Baby sleep scheduling Tools and Music

There are some great apps and companies that assist parents to schedule sleep for their babies as well as set baby sleep music to help the baby fall asleep faster. Some of these apps include;

  • Baby Shusher
  • Total baby
  • Baby Monitor
  • Sleeping, genius baby
  • Nanit

Baby Sleep Schedule Q&A from a Sleep Coach

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Summary
Baby Sleep Schedules and Samples: Age 0 to 3 years
Article Name
Baby Sleep Schedules and Samples: Age 0 to 3 years
Description
This article has a detailed description of baby sleep schedules at various months/years from week 0 to month 36. You can also download printable sample baby sleep schedules from this detailed sleep training guide
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Publisher Name
10BabyGear
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