Everybody talks about the importance of keeping a schedule and staying consistent when you have kids and I’m right there with them. I tell all of my private coaching families that they will hear me say “be consistent” 150 times while we work together. Consistency helps babies adjust their body clock, anticipate what is coming next, it cues them for sleep and ensures they are eating plenty. However. Life happens right? So how can we stay on schedule but also allow for those “life happens” moments? Let’s walk through this together with the schedule of a 7 month old as our example.
7 Month Old Wake Window vs Set Schedule
Most parents follow “wake windows” to determine when their baby is ready to sleep next. A wake window is the amount of time that passes from when your baby wakes up to when they fall asleep again. This window will change as your baby grows and matures. Check out my sample schedules for the first 2 years here.
After about 6 months old most babies do very well on a set schedule which means that we move from watching that window between sleep to just saying ok, I know that nap time is at the same time every day. The benefit to a set schedule is that it helps your baby’s body clock stay very consistent. It can take a minimum of a few days for the body clock to adjust so don’t be surprised if things feel a bit messy the first few days you move to a set schedule.
Sample Set Schedule for a 7 Month Old
A 7-month-old baby is just a blast. At this age, they are learning and doing so many new things!
- More advanced fine motor skills like “pinching” with the thumb and index finger
- A bit of “stranger danger”
- Communication and babbling
All of this means a busy baby who needs lots of sleep to let their brain process the things they are learning.
At 7 months I like to see 2 naps a day each lasting a minimum of 1.5 hours (total of 3 hours day sleep) and 10-12 hours of sleep overnight. Most often we see babies beginning to drop overnight feeds by this point but if you have questions about overnight calories talk to your pediatrician.
Wake for the day at 7:00 am
First milk feed 7:10
Maybe solid food breakfast at 8:15 (again if you have questions about solid foods talk to your pediatrician)
Nap 1 10 am
Wake from nap at 11:30
Milk feed 11:40
Nap 2 2:30 pm
Wake 4:00 pm
Milk feed 4:10 pm
Start Bedtime 7:00
Say Goodnight at 7:30 pm
Working toward an eat, play, sleep can ensure that your baby is getting good, full feeds and is having the opportunity to put themselves to sleep instead of getting too drowsy at the breast or bottle. Babies who sleep independently turn into toddlers who sleep independently and that is what I am all about. Keep in mind that this schedule is a sample of what your day may look like. If your little one falls asleep in the car or has a short nap don’t panic. Just adjust the timing a bit. The set schedule can work even if you have to move things up or back within a 30-minute time frame.
We are all just humans trying to do our best and so is your baby. Their days and nights will not be exactly the same and that’s ok. Just do your best to be consistent and adjust when necessary. You’re doing a great job! I promise.