A sample feeding schedule for your baby (6-12 months)This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure.
Schedules and babies mix really, really well. They keep things predictable for you, they help your baby to understand when meal times, nap times and bedtime are, and they give babies much needed structure in their day.
Babies on a schedule sleep better and longer, eat better, and are generally in a better mood than babies whose days are constantly changing. Here is a sample feeding schedule for your little one (best for ages 6-12 months). Layla has been on this schedule since she was about 6 months old (with some modifications as she’s gotten older) and it has been working great for us!
Of course, all babies are different and develop differently – so this may not work exactly the same for your baby – especially in terms of quantities of food. But hopefully this helps as a guideline for what a schedule for a 6-12 month old might look like 🙂 Naps and other non-food-related activities are in [ ], and mealtimes are underlined to distinguish. These simple baby food recipes should help you create an easy to follow routine for your baby.
8:00am Breakfast – 5oz Fruit Purees or Chunky Fruit pieces + 2oz Oatmeal
Fruit options: Blueberry “smoothie”, apple & prune, pear, avocado puree to name a few, but honestly any fruit combination works!
10:00am Snack (Bottle): 7-8oz bottle or sippy cup (breastmilk or formula)
12:30pm Lunch – 3oz veggies + 2oz lentils / beans + 2oz yogurt / cheese + 1oz grains (quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta).
Veggie ideas: Green Beans, Peas, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Sweet Potato, Zucchini Baby Food, Broccoli/Spinach/Cauliflower
For the lentils/beans – I usually cook them down to be really soft and add spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala
3:00pm Snack (Bottle): 7-8oz bottle or sippy cup (breastmilk or formula)
5:30pm Dinner – 4oz veggies + 2oz lentils / beans + 1oz yogurt / cheese + 1oz grains (quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta)
OR whatever we are eating for dinner.
[7:00pm Bath, Songs, Massage with lotion or coconut oil]
7:30pm (Bottle): 7-8oz bottle or sippy cup (breastmilk or formula)
[1 book before bed]
Be sure to check out my post about the best organic baby formula, and once baby is older you may want to consider the best multivitamin for kids.
Hi Anjali! I love this schedule! 2 questions:
1. Where can I incorporate egg into his meal?
2. What schedule would you recommend for 12 to 18 month old babies?
Hi Jeena! I’m so glad this was helpful! To your questions: 1) You can do eggs in the morning with his breakfast, instead of the oatmeal (e.g. fruit on the side + scrambled eggs), or you can add it in at lunch instead of the lentils/beans. 2) For 12-18 month old babies, it’s actually the exact same schedule, with maybe just a bigger quantity of food at each meal (and likely more chunky/finger foods vs. purees at each meal); and maybe a little less milk in between meals! I also recommend giving water in a sippy cup with meals after 12 months of age, so that would be the only addition here. For both my son & daughter, from 12 months – 24 months, their breakfast ended up being about 6-8oz of food (pureed or soft chunky fruit mixed with either soft oatmeal or plain whole milk yogurt); lunch was 1 slice sprouted wheat toast with nut butter or cheese + steamed soft veggies on the side or veggie purees (4-5oz) on the side; dinner was a softer or mashed up version of whatever I made for me and my husband! But the timing of meals + milk was the exact same as this schedule 🙂 Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!
oh nice! I’m gonna make Tamir use this schedule to make up a menu. He’s in charge of the meals!
Awesome!! Can’t wait to hear how it goes for you Yiwei! 🙂
Hi Anjali! I really love your recipies. I have a question. What if I dont want to give my baby all the kind of grains? And just continue with all your recipies as you have described but without them ?Should I have to increase something else? Thank you
Hi Andi! So yes! If you want to eliminate all the grains from your baby’s diet, you can just replace the grains with the same amount of fruit/veggie puree, beans/lentils, or yogurt/cheese. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!
Hello Anjali! Can I do a change because at 8 o’clock I have to be at work. Can I give my baby breastmilk at 7 o’clock and the puree with fruits at 10 o’clock? Thnx
Hi Ami! Yes absolutely – you can switch the milk and meal times if that works better for you! That should work just fine 🙂
Hello Anjali! I am very happy that i discovered your site. I only have one question. My baby girls soon will be 6 months and we will start with solids. I am searching for everything organic but due to some gene mutations that she has I am also trying to avoid oats, cereals, rice. Can I use quinoa everytime I make the recipe?Looking forward for your response. Thank you
Hi Amanda! Yes absolutely – you can use quinoa every time you make her baby cereal. What I would do is grind the uncooked quinoa into a fine powder using a food processor or blender, and then cook that the way you would with regular quinoa so it develops a “porridge” like consistency. Then you can mix that into any fruit/veggie puree you like! Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!
Hi again! I have another question if you can help. Why some websites say that quinoa or other grains and also lentils should be started at eight months because their stomach is not prepared for legumes and grains at 6 months? Thank you
Hi Amanda! Lentils / beans and whole grains have a lot of fiber, which can cause gas in some babies – which is why some websites recommend waiting to introduce those until the baby’s digestive system is a little more mature. But we introduced lentils/beans around 6-7 months with no issues. It all depends on the baby – there’s no hard and fast rule on waiting until 8 months to give your baby lentils. You can always introduce it at 6-7 months and if it does seem to cause more gas, then wait a month or two before trying it again! Let me know if you have any other questions!
When you give meals do you also give a drink?
Hi Deanna! From 6-12 months, I only gave water with meals. In between meals I gave her milk. Once she got past 12 months, I gave her milk and water with meals and let her choose what she wanted to drink. Hope that helps!
We have been using part of a smaller bottle (4 oz) to mix with rice or oatmeal and then when he is done with his meal (we usually give him about 4 oz of solid foods) we let him finish off what he wants of the bottle. Between meals he is taking a 6.5 oz bottle.
Another question (Sorry first timer here…)
What kind of yogurt? I know whole milk organic but I noticed that the store had “Plain” and “vanilla” is there a clearly better choice there?
That sounds totally fine to me! 🙂 (the bottle/timing).
So for yogurt — always, always do plain yogurt. Plain is actually plain (no sugar or weird stuff added). Even though “vanilla” sounds natural it’s actually code for “tons of added sugar” because it’s a flavored yogurt! So stick to plain, and don’t buy any other flavors of yogurt (if you want to add flavor you can add fresh fruit or fruit purees yourself because that way you can control how sweet it is, and fruit has natural sugar which is much much healthier than added table sugar!) Hope that helps!
Hello Anjali – My daughter is 6.5 months and it’s been a month since we started solids. How do you measure the quantity? Do you measure her meals during each feed?
Hi! Yes I did measure out her meals for each feed – but it was really easy! Because I made her purees at home and froze them in ice cube trays – I didn’t have to measure anything specifically since the ice cube trays did it for me. 1 ice cube = 1 oz. Also 1 tbsp approximately equals 1oz. So if I gave her 3 cubes of puree + 1 tbsp oatmeal (for example), I knew she had eaten 4oz. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!
Anjali – My daughter is almost 6 months old. She has been eating solids for about a month now but I was surprised to see the quantities you have listed here. My daughter eats ~3 Oz per meal (3 meals) plus has breast milk 3-4 times (total of ~22 Oz) in a 24 hour period. Did Layla start eating these quantities at 6 months or this is more for later? Thank you in advance.
Hi Disha! Layla has always been a big eater – we always joke that she’s the hungriest person we know! haha. So I’d say that if your daughter is eating 3oz per meal for 3 meals, and ~22oz of breastmilk and she’s happy/full/growing well, then there is no reason to give her more unless she indicates that she is hungry. This is just meant to be a guide – so definitely adjust the quantities based on your daughter’s needs! As she gets older she might get closer to the quantities Layla was eating from 6-12 months. Also, Layla didn’t really increase her quantity of food between 6 and 12 months, she just started out eating a lot and kept that same amount going, she started eating more than this after she turned 1. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!
Hope all is marvelous!! I was just wondering;what brand of yogurt did/are you feed your daughter? My son is six months and I just want a variety of options and not make the food boring… think he’s fed up of apples, sweet potatoes, rice cereal and carrots.. lol..Also, when did you start introducing chicken and rice to your daughter? Thanks!!!
Hi! I just bought any brand of whole milk, plain, organic yogurt. The Whole Foods organic brand is great, so is Stonyfield Organic, Wallaby Organic, etc. And yes absolutely! You can give your little one any of the recipes listed here – which will give you more variety for sure 🙂 We are vegetarian, so we haven’t given our daughter meat yet, but we gave her rice at 6 months, and I’ve heard you can introduce meat anytime between 6-8 months as well! Hope that helps!
Thanks a lot! I willl buy the stonyfield and next time I go to Traders Joe and Costco to look out for it too. Tomorrow, I will be making th lentil stew tomorrow!
Sounds great! I hope your little one loves the lentil stew!
I forgot to ask.. how did you prepare your rice cereal/oatmeal for your daughter when she was an infant? Did you mix it with water, formula or breast milk? Thanks! Xoxo
Oh! I actually mixed the baby oatmeal (I used Earth’s Best Organic) with the fruit/veggie purees. It worked really well because the oatmeal would thicken the purees after I defrosted them, and then she got a bit of grains in every meal. I never gave her the oatmeal with just formula or breastmilk straight. Once she became about 11 months old, I switched her from the baby oatmeal to just plain quick cooking oats, and then eventually to plain rolled oats. Now she eats plain rolled oats with banana, blueberry, ground flax seed and milk for breakfast. Hope that helps!
Sounds great! Thanks for the confirmation.
No problem! 🙂
Thanks! Question, just for clarification.. When to introduce a new solid ?.. I know every 3-4 days but for e.g. If I fed carrots from Friday-Sunday. Can I introduce new solid like sweet potato on Monday? How does it works? Thanks.
Yup! It’s every ~3 days, but once you’ve introduced your baby to a few solids and they’ve had no issues, you can just introduce something new every other day or every day. What I did with Layla was I did Avocado – 3 days, Sweet Potato – 3 days, Pear – 3 days, Green Beans – 3 days, and then she didn’t seem to have any issue so I started doing a new food every other day, and then I did a new food every day. Hope that helps!
My son is 5months now and i am breastfeeding him purely as he does not take bottle..what should i do to take bottle or any other way to take bf..as sometimes am out n he is hungry and can not feed him .
Hi Maani! Here are some ideas to help your son transition to taking bottles:
1) Let someone else feed him the first bottle (that way he won’t be confused about why he’s not getting your breast), and try to be away from him when the bottle attempts happen (so he doesn’t think you are home!)
2) Hold your baby differently than you do while nursing – ideally propped up so he can easily drink from the bottle.
3) If your baby takes a pacifier, see if you can find a bottle nipple similar to the pacifier.
4) Make the bottle nipple more appealing by warming it and putting some breastmilk onto the nipple so that it reminds your son of your breast.
5) Try different temperatures for the milk – it could be your baby prefers his milk slightly warmer or colder than you’ve been giving it to him. And experiment with giving the bottle at different times of the day.
6) You could try nursing a little first, if your baby is starving – but don’t let him fill up on breastfeeding. Switch halfway through when you know he’s still hungry but not starving so he might be more inclined to try something new. Then let someone else step in to finish the job with a bottle.
7) Don’t give up! If your baby doesn’t take the bottle after just 1 minute, try for another 9 minutes to see if he will take it. You obviously shouldn’t wait too long if your baby is hungry, but waiting just 10 minutes and trying the bottle during that time might help him to eventually take it!
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!
Okay. Thank you. Yeah Earth best just as good. I’m trying to order the Dutch version of HIPP from organic munchkin but it’s out of stock. I googled try looking for USA RETAILERS who sell the Dutch version but no results. Do you know of any other retailers who sells the Dutch version? Thanks
Hi! Unfortunately I don’t know of any other US retailers who sell the Dutch version of HiPP. But Organic Munchkin usually restocks within just a few days – so I’d contact them and just find out when they expect to have more Dutch HiPP in stock and order it then 🙂 Hope that helps!
I forgot to add, you should do comparison with organic cereal. Which brand organic cereal you think is best? I’m currently using Happy Baby brand organic cereal and oatmeal. Thanks!
Good point! The reason I haven’t done that post is because basically all brands of organic baby cereals are the same 🙂 As long as it’s organic baby oatmeal (and not rice cereal) it’s great. Happy Baby is a great option, and it’s equivalent to the one I used (Earth’s Best). Hope that helps!
Thanks for your quick response. I was wondering what did you used to mix the cereal with? Breastmilk? Water or formula? I am trying to keep a schedule with cereal morning, lunch and dinner but I between I breast find and when it’s time to make the cereal and go to pump breast I don’t have enough to mix with and tried water but noticed my son don’t like it water. I’m very skeptical about the for imma but what do you suggest because I want to make sure he’s eating adequate cereal. Thank you!
I actually mixed the cereal with the fruit & veggie purees. It’s a great way to make the cereal more substantial, and it helps to thicken the fruit/veggie purees so that they aren’t super runny. So that way your baby can get cereal 3 times a day along with his meals. And then for breastmilk/formula I’d just give it in a bottle (or via nursing) in between meals. Let me know if that makes sense!
Sounds great! Thanks a lot!! I’m starting purée tomorrow then will start mixing the purée with the cereal. What age did you start your daughter with the organic formula? I read the organic formula and I’m still contemplating on which one to give when it’s time..
That’s perfect! For my daughter, she was about 7-8 months when I started weaning her from breastfeeding and started giving her more of her diet in formula. Prior to that she did have formula but it was more of a once-in-a-while or once every couple days thing (like if I didn’t have enough milk or she was especially hungry). Once she was 9/10 months she was basically 100% on formula. I used HiPP for my daughter, but I’m sure you saw from my post that there are a few other options out there now that are just as good as HiPP!
Wow! Great website!! I have a 5 months old son who is very strong, active and develops quickly. By 3-4 months he was sleeping through the night and demanding less breast feeding. I’m exclusively breastfeeding. The pumping can be tedious and especially when the breast machine works when it feels like or maybe I just get tired of pumping and balancing my son. My son never did straight 15-20 breastfeeding hence, we have to do a lot of breast feeding session which I don’t mind because it’s a bonding experience but at times I can be so worn out. I’m trying to get in a mental space to workout. Also, I from New York so will incorporate more outdoor trips in the stroller..especially before it gets too cold. I’m home now, and happy to be privilege to watch my so. Grow. I got fired from my employer because I was high risk pregnancy and had to go on bed rest. In addition, I encountered a tear (had to get stitch)when I give vagainal delivery and haven’t rest.. So i am trying to get rest..As my son got older I felt the breast milk wasn’t adequate enough. At 3 months my son was showing interest in solids. From birth he had great head control so by 2/3 months he was balancing his neck on his tummy, hands under chin etc. Last week, my son had a well visit and his pediatrician advise to start him on solids, cereals – vegetables then fruits.. I wanted to wait until he was 6 months but I don’t want to inhibit his growth and development. I purchased happy baby organic cereal and oatmeal and he loves it! He was grabbing the spoon and bowl.. I was so proud of him to cooperate like that .. Then I purchase the Beabababy cook pro which steams blends etc.. It’s quite an investment but will help the hubby and I a great deal because I am making my own purée and sticking to everything organic and natural. I Began to notice before supplementing with solids like 2-3 weeks ago his sleep pattern changed- waking up like 2-3 during nights or early morning for breast feeding that’s when I had a feeling maybe it wasn’t enough..I am really trying to commit to pumping more again since I’m mixing the cereal with breast milk but as your 6-12 months schedule outlined to be giving at least 24oz breast milk a day.. That will be great so I can measure his input.. God will help me… Also, I am going to try your 6-12months schedule…more like sticking to the time frame. At birth I tried incorporate a schedule and by 1 month he was able to put himself to sleep and with all his energy after tumbling and rolling, kicking.. How can he not fall asleep.. Lol.. Thank God for that.
My questions for you will be
1. About how many breast sessions to give if pumping becomes to cumbersome? Or recommend a great breast pump.. I’m currently using Ameda that was given to me through my health insurance.
2. My don has a lot of hair.. A lot.. I use to wash everyday but cut down every other day… Cuz the water so hard in NY and don’t want to him to get head cold especially during water and dry scalp.. I used Cetaphil baby products!! The best and raw coconut oil from my pricing country( original from the Caribbean- West Indian) how often should I was his hair?
3. I give my son bathes everyday sometimes twice.. But want to be sticking to twice. A day..Am I inane for doing that?
4.after introducing vegetables when should I introduce fruits?
5. I have tried everything to stop my son from sucking his thumb.. I gues the prayer gods didn’t hear me because I wasn’t looking forward to that.. I caught it late.. He takes off the mittens.. So they’re useless.. His pediatrician says its for comfort.. I know but I pray he breaks out the habit soon.. Any suggestions?
Excuse my long narrative but thanks for your guidance. I can’t wait to try your receipes on Friday! I will start off with carrots then sweet potatoes after.
Looking forward to your response. Thank you very much!!
Hi there! Thanks so much for sharing your experience and for reaching out to me! I’m so sorry you had such difficulties with your job when you were pregnant, it’s a shame they didn’t support you better. But it sounds like you’ve been adjusting well and your son is healthy which is all that matters! So to your question: 5 months is totally fine to start solids. Sounds like your baby is completely ready so I wouldn’t hesitate there, especially since, until about 11-12 months your baby’s primary nutrition will still be breastmilk (~24oz / day like you said). To your questions:
1. I liked the Medela hospital grade pump (I rented it from my OB) when I was pumping – it was more efficient and more comfortable than the pump given to me by my insurance. But as for how many breastfeeding sessions = 1 session of pumping, I honestly have no idea. It really depends on the person, how well your baby nurses, and how much milk you have. There’s no real way to measure how many oz your baby gets in one session of nursing unfortunately. If you’re concerned he’s still hungry after you nurse him, I’d pump right after and then give him whatever you get from that pumping session.
2. I washed my daughter’s hair every day – at the same time as her bath. They are so small and move around so much at that age in the bath, that it’s almost impossible to just wash their face and not their hair haha. So I just did it all at once every day. I used California Baby Unscented Body Wash/Shampoo and it worked great – it didn’t dry out her hair at all and I’m in a cold climate as well!
3. 2 baths a day is a lot — it will dry out the natural oils in your son’s skin. I’d recommend one bath a day, at night, before he goes to bed. If he goes swimming or gets especially dirty during the day then I’d just shift his bath for that day to the afternoon.
4. You can introduce fruits right away! There’s no need to wait. I introduced Layla to solids in this order: avocado (fruit), sweet potato (veggie), pear (fruit), green beans (veggie), blueberries (fruit), carrots (veggie), broccoli/cauliflower/spinach (veggie). But you can do whatever order you want – it doesn’t really matter 🙂
5. Don’t worry about the thumb sucking! It’s 100% normal and your pediatrician is right, it’s for comfort and he will grow out of it eventually. You can always give him a pacifier and that will cut down on his thumb sucking, but babies need to suck on stuff – between teething and just the instinct to nurse, sucking is soothing and comforting for them, so it’s important 🙂
Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions and keep me posted on how it goes!
My 6 months old used to sleep atleast a 4 hr stretch at night but the last one month she gets up every two hrs for a breastfeed which becomes really tiring as i have a 5 yr old n a 12 yr old so dont get time to nap at daytime. As morning im busy with my household chores n afternoon once kids home from school busy with them. Ive started weaning her introducing new foods one per day. Avocado, sweet potato, banana, rice puree. But only one meal a day. The schedule uve given is three meals is it fine for first eaters to give three different meals. I tried introducing formula milk as feel she stays hungry thats why she wakes up several times for a feed. For beginners is it fine if i introduce her to another meal at night. She only eats foods mixed with breastmilk otherwise rejects everything with formula.
Hi Munira! It sounds like you have a few questions so I’ll try to answer them in order. For a 6 month old who has just started solids, it’s totally fine for her to have 3 meals a day with different foods – e.g. avocado for the first meal, then sweet potato, then banana. But babies 6-12 months should still be drinking a lot of milk – about 24 oz a day, and sometimes more. Your baby might be going through a growth spurt which is why she has started to wake up – so absolutely you can give her another meal before she goes to sleep. You can also try bulking up her food with some oatmeal instead of just breastmilk. And if she rejects formula, then you can try pumping and giving her an extra bottle of milk before she goes to sleep — so she’s good and full and is able to sleep for longer stretches. At 6 months many babies are able to go ~10 hours without eating at night, so I would check to see if she’s actually hungry when she wakes up at night, or if she just wants to be soothed. Many babies associate nursing with just being soothed, so they will act like they are hungry so they can be soothed back to sleep. So the next time she wakes up at night, try just soothing her (and not feeding her) and putting her back down – see if she will go back to sleep without eating. Then you can get a sense of how hungry she actually is! I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!!
Thank you so much for all the tips and recipes. I m a first time mom and My daughter is going to be 6 months next week and will try one of your recipes definitely. I am currently having the same problem as Priscilla’s .. my baby wakes up in the middle of the night and she wants to play. but this new routine only started 2 weeks ago. She was sleeping quite well before that even she did wake up few times for feedings which is quite normal I think. Last night she woke up at 12am and cried on top of her lung and demanded to be picked up. Once i picked her up, consoled her, she was ok and started to play until 2am. she slept quite well after that but she woke up at 7am as i had to send her to the daycare. I wish i have the luxury to control her routine during the day but sadly, I m a working mom. she stays with her nanny during the day. I talked to her nanny and she said my daughter usually sleeps for about 2 hours right after i send her there. and she ll sleep again at noon for another hour. I really hope this is just a phase for her and will be over soon. I m extremely worried as I know sleeping is important for our babies’ development.
Hi Zaida! No problem! I’m glad you found my recipes helpful. Regarding your daughter’s sleeping — if your daughter is only napping about 3 hours total during the day, then that sounds about right, there is no need to worry about her naps. It sounds like your daughter is going through a sleep regression, which is common for babies 0-18 months (it happens periodically and coincides with developmental leaps). The main thing to do during the regression is to follow the same recommendations I gave Priscilla: keep the room dark when your daughter wakes up. Don’t play with her – if she’s hungry, feed her and put her back down and let her settle herself back to sleep. If she’s not hungry, then console her, once she’s calmed down put her back down and let her fall asleep on her own. She may cry a bit, but as long as she’s not hysterical she should be able to fall asleep on her own. Most parents do some form of sleep training around this age because of the sleep regressions that start to happen! Hope that helps! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions!
Yup.Makes sense. Thanks.
Great! Keep me posted on how it goes!
I am new to your blog..say 4-5 days old but I am hooked to it. Its great info for new moms like me and also for a “wife”. Ill try out your recipes soon. For now I was wondering if you can suggest anything for my almost 6 month old who takes long deep naps during day and is up a night. He has never slept through the night. I had surgery so after I came home with him I had to physically get well . i also went through postpartum depression for first 3 months of having my son. First 3 months my son cried at night and slept during day too. I guess it continued and now he is almost 6 months. He wakes up multiple times during the night and when he is awake he wants to play. He doesn’t cry like before but he wants to play. I dont have separate room for him, his crib is in my bedroom so its hard to leave him alone and cry himself to sleep. i’m trying to cut the day time naps for shorter periods but its hard cause I am so tired that when he naps during day , i try to nap or catch up on household chores, or wash his bottles, prepare milk for next feed, cook . The nights are brutal, He is up from 12 am , sleeps on and off till 5am or 6am is when he goes into deep sleep. We wake up at 11am or 12noon in most cases. Our day starts late. I am always rushing to get everything done. How can i change his schedule around? will the EASY technique work here? If he sleeps at 5am then im exhausted and i cant get up again at 7 or 8am. Baby needs their sleep in order to grow right…so cutting down naps completely during day is something i am not too fond of. Making them shorter i feel is more practical, Any suggestions for me?
Hi Priscilla! Thank you so much for sharing your story and for reaching out! It’s so nice to “meet” you 🙂 I’m so sorry your 6 month old is still not sleeping well at night and that you went through post partum depression. That must have been (and still is) incredibly hard and exhausting, I can’t even imagine. It sounds like your baby still has “day-night” confusion, which happens to many newborns and infants (usually in the first 1-8 weeks). Layla had the exact same schedule as your son from 1-8 weeks of age – she was wide awake at night, and took super long naps during the day. She would basically be up on and off from about 10pm-430am, and then she’d sleep soundly from 430am-830am, feed, and go back to sleep from about 9am-12pm. So I totally know what that’s like, although Layla shifted to a normal sleeping schedule on her own at around 8 weeks (thankfully!) I don’t know what I would have done if she had stuck to that schedule for 6 months! In general, yes, you shouldn’t wake a sleeping baby or cut down on naps, but at 6 months he really shouldn’t be napping for more than ~4 hours during the day (he should be taking 2 naps about 2-2.5 hours each). So temporarily, you will have to wake him up from his naps and slowly restructure his sleep so that he shifts his long sleep times to the evening and is up more during the day. Think of it like getting over jet lag 🙂 Here are some things you can try:
1) Make sure he gets lots of exposure to daylight / light during the day, and keep him awake for brief periods during the day (about 30 minutes at least) in between naps to start. Light is one of the primary things that helps ‘set’ our internal clocks, so exposure to sunlight (along with having some awake time) will help your son understand that daytime is for being awake.
2) By contrast, keep nights very dark, and free of stimulation. Keep your room dim (use only as much light as you need to see for feedings and diaper changes). Keep feedings calm and quiet, and do diaper changes quickly. Then, put your son right back to bed (no playing/talking/etc.)
3) Don’t keep your son awake too long during the day because then he’ll get overtired and his nighttime sleep could get worse. This is where the EASY schedule could work really well for you. In 90 minute cycles – he can eat/be awake/nap and then wake again 🙂
4) Naps can definitely get too long. Long naps during the day will impact night sleep (as you’re seeing). This is because babies only need a certain amount of sleep each day, so if they get all that sleep during the day, they won’t sleep at night. I know it’s hard to cut your son’s naps short during the day, but letting him take long naps to make up on lost sleep at nighttime will just reinforce the problem you’re trying to break 🙂 Focus on solving night sleep and then keep his naps balanced and eventually it will all work out! Basically, if he’s sleeping longer than about 2 hours, wake him up from that nap and keep him up for at least 30 minutes before his next nap.
5) Don’t let your son go more than 3 hours between feeds during the day (even if you have to wake him up to eat). This will encourage him to eat more during the day so he won’t wake up as much at night, and it helps add more awake time to the daytime!
I hope this helps, keep me posted on how things go and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions! Good luck and hang in there!
Thank you for your quick response. I read your response and started applying your recommendations next day with few changes. So far his sleep cycle has improved but not yet perfect . He is not eating solids yet so he still wakes up at night to feed 2 -3 times. Some times he still wants to play. But overall better than before. Its still work in progress for me to get him into a decent schedule.
Funny part is it was really hard to convince my mom (who lives wih me ) that the “new” routine will be a good thing. My mom is old school so she was not very keen on the changes i was making. E.g. giving him bath in the evening was like a big issue because she thinks he will catch a cold. I had to convince her somehow. My mom is just being a protective grandmother. I understand. But it was bit of a battle. Thanks again for the quick feedback.
I have another question – did you start Layla on oatmeal and fruit combined ? or did you try oatmeal alone first? my LO does not like the rice cereal- tried 5 days in a row and he is spitting out lol. So I am thinking of trying oatmeal alone tomorrow. If that doesn’t work i was going to skip cereals overall and start a veggie. Fruits I was told by my pediatrician to introduce after veggies as they are sweet and my LO may not like the veggies after that.
No problem at all! I’m so glad you found it helpful and were able to start applying some of my recs! It will take some time for his sleep cycle to improve completely, but as long as you are seeing some improvement just keep doing what you’re doing and things will eventually normalize. The main thing for you is to be super super consistent about his routine. One thing you may want to try is, when he wakes up during the night, see whether he’s actually hungry, or whether he just needs some comfort to go back to sleep. Babies naturally wake up multiple times at night (so do adults!) but adults are able to put themselves back to sleep easily. Babies haven’t developed that skill yet — it’s something they actually have to learn how to do — and so when they wake up at night they just cry because they don’t know how to fall back asleep. At around 6 months, many babies end up not actually needing to eat in the middle of the night, but they will still wake up when one sleep cycle ends (and before the next sleep cycle begins) because that is the natural way sleep cycles work! So one thing you might want to try is to see if, when he does wake up, if he actually needs to eat, or if he will go back to sleep with some comforting. And if he does go back to sleep with comforting, then the next thing to try is sleep training if you’re comfortable with it. There are many different methods of it but the main goal is to teach your little one how to put themselves back to sleep if they wake up in the middle of the night. We sleep trained Layla at 4 months and she was able to sleep for 10-12 hour stretches at night after that! Totally understand that it’s a challenge getting your mom on board but keep at it! You are doing the right thing. Giving him a bath at night will not make him catch a cold at all 🙂 In fact, it will be soothing and relaxing and will help him sleep at night! For food, Layla’s first food was avocado mashed up (no oatmeal added). Then we did sweet potatoes (again no oatmeal), then pear (again no oatmeal). Then we did green beans pureed with yogurt + oatmeal, and after that I started making veggie/fruit purees and adding oatmeal into all of them to thicken them up. I never actually gave her oatmeal alone, because when mixed with breastmilk or formula it became too runny and hard to feed. You can totally start with veggies first, I did a combo of fruits and veggies but there is no “right” way to do it 🙂 Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!
Thanks Anjali. The more i researched and asked questions about starting solids, i realized that every one had their version of a “starter food”. I was going by what my pediatrician said but I suppose its not a “must”. So he had 3 spoons of oatmeal today. Still resisted and spit out a little so i am going to try sweet potato puree tomorrow. We can come back to oatmeal as a breakfast item eventually. The thing i fear about solids is that what if he stops drinking the formula? i know few moms that went through this. Their babies wanted to eat solids only and did not want to drink the milk (formula) at all. I am giving him HIPP stage 1 (german version) . He was pretty gassy baby from birth so Holle stage 1and Lebenswert bio Stage 2 was not doing that great for us. However, Lebenswert bio Stage 1 was actually good for my son but the suppler is out of stock most times. Meanwhile i moved to Hipp which is going good so far, touchwood. So lets see.
Thanks for your input. Ill try out the rec on skipping night feed.
*Oh , and what kind of cheese do you mix with the yogurt for your LO?
Hi Priscilla! That’s exactly right! There is no one “right” starter food — avocados, sweet potatoes, just about any veggie, pears, etc. are all fine. You can even mix oatmeal with fruit for his breakfast and that should be fine! So yes, many babies go through a phase where they prefer solids and drink less milk. My advice would be to give him his milk first, and then give him solids an hour or so later — so that way you make sure he gets his milk when he’s hungry and whatever solid food he eats after that is good enough! Oh, and I don’t mix cheese with yogurt — if I gave Layla yogurt at that age, I mixed it with veggies or fruit, and if I gave her cheese, I gave that to her separately with her dinner or as a snack. Let me know if that makes sense!
For your baby lunch or dinner, do you mix everything (veggies, lentils, grains, yogurt/cheese) and then feed her, or do you feed her one after another? I want to know if its okay to mix all together?
Hi Shivi! I absolutely used to mix everything together (veggies, lentils, grains, yogurt/cheese). It was the easiest way to get her to eat everything and recognize veggies in the context of things she loved (yogurt/cheese mainly!) So yes, definitely you can mix it all together. I still do that sometimes (even though Layla is 2) because it’s just easier, especially when we’re on the go! Hope that helps!
Wow you really are a pro … Schedule looks perfect… I am managing my 11 week baby .. OMG every week he comes up with a challenge .. Since couple days he is not napping at all I am kind of lost
I hardly getting any sleep… Any ideas on how to help baby’s younger than 6 months to nap? Thanks for this post I am sure once my baby is old enough I will follow this.
Thanks Jyo! Awww 11 weeks old! He is such a little one! 🙂 At that age they are constantly changing, so I’m not surprised that you have a new challenge every week 🙂 Regarding the napping, there are a bunch of things you can do:
1) Have you heard of the 90 minute (EASY) infant napping schedule? EASY stands for: Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your Time. Essentially, what you do is every 90 minutes from the time they wake up, you put them down for a nap. You can do that by rocking them to sleep and laying them down, putting them in a swing, etc. – whatever it takes at 11 weeks is what you do. Once they get to about 4 months you can start sleep training them by laying them down drowsy but awake and encouraging them to nap by “using your words.” So for example, if he wakes up at 7am for the day, then his first nap should be at 830am. And you just keep doing that until bedtime (when hopefully he sleeps longer stretches for you!).
2) Try to get him napping without being held, but rocking him to sleep is totally ok. Using a paci to help him sleep is ok too at this age.
3) The first sign of tiredness you see (yawning, rubbing his eyes, etc.) whisk him into the bedroom for his nap (even if it’s before the 90 minute time limit). And at 90 minutes even if he doesn’t look tired, just put him down.
3) The main thing to getting him to nap is to keep a very consistent schedule. If he knows his nap is coming, he’s much more likely to take it. We started the EASY schedule with Layla when she was about 2 months old and it worked like a dream!
Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!
hi anjali thank you so much for taking time to give me detailed info. yes i am following this schedule already but it didnt work out so much yet, i am just hoping it will work out one day :-)..atleast his morning naps got so much better now. hey can you tell me which Vitamin D drops have u used for layla..our ped told to give him Tri vi Sol but my god, it has artificial flavours, colors what not..i am surprised to see all those nasty ingredients in an infant supplement. Please let me know what did you use and where did you buy it from?
Aw that’s too bad that schedule hasn’t worked out for you yet! Keep at it – consistency is key. And try to follow his sleepy signs (rubbing his eyes, yawning, etc.). Oh for Vitamin D I totally agree with you – the standard drops they recommend are filled with random artificial ingredients. I buy this one from Amazon and it is great: https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Ddrops%C2%AE-400-IU-drops/dp/B003CT36NE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422242237&sr=8-1&keywords=vitamin+d+drops
Hope that helps!
Great post, Anjali! Surprisingly, my son followed similar schedule like Layla. I saw that you recommended the Vitamin D drops. What is your recommendation on something better that is equivalent to Poly-Vi-Sol?
Hi Cece! So glad you found this post helpful! That’s so cool that your son had a similar schedule as Layla did. So honestly, I haven’t found an all natural version of a baby multivitamin drop (with the same vitamins as Poly-Vi-Sol). That being said, is there a reason you want to give your son a multivitamin drop? If he’s eating and drinking well, he should be getting the vitamins he needs through food — and then the only vitamin you need to supplement with is Vitamin D (and the all natural version of that can be found here). If your pediatrician is asking you to give your son a multivitamin, I’d recommend going to a natural foods store like Whole Foods, and asking them for a recommendation on a baby multi that’s without artificial coloring/flavoring like Poly-Vi-Sol has. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!