Of all the baby schedules we’ve used since our daughter was born, our new 6 month old, 2 naps a day baby schedule is by far my favorite. Until this past month, our daughter was a chronic cat napper. She’d take 30-45 minute naps, and no matter what tricks I tried I could not beat what Babywise believers call the 45 minute intruder. To no avail, I tried everything.
As we approached 6 months, I could tell Gemma was almost ready to try 2 nap schedule. I read and read and read, and quickly realized that many moms found switching to a 2 nap schedule was the thing that kicked the 45 minute intruder. So that was that. I planned to try transitioning her just after she turned 6 months old. But I didn’t even have to.
A week before she turned 6 months old, she transitioned herself to a 2 nap a day schedule by consolidating her sleep cycles… all by herself. We still have some days (like daycare days) where she usually needs a 3rd catnap, but most days look something like this:
Our 6 Month Old, 2 Nap Schedule
- 7-7:30 get Gemma out of crib. We almost always hear Gemma wake up during the 6:00 hour. She usually is pretty restless from 6-7AM, but she talks, plays, and falls back asleep a number of times on her own, so we don’t get her from her crib until after 7A. Some days that’s 7:05AM, other days, that’s 7:45AM. At this point, she’s so good about her schedule that I let her sleep for as long as she wants/needs to in the morning. So long as our first bottle is before 8A, I can keep to the rest of the day’sschedule as usual and not see any interruption.
- 7:30 first bottle (8oz)
- 9:30 nap. Her first nap is usually 45 minutes long, but she wakes happy and is content staying in her crib for at least another 15-30 minutes. I aim for at least one hour of crib time for this first nap. She’ll sometimes stay sleeping for 60-90 minutes.
- 11:30 second bottle (8oz)
- 1:00 nap. This is our awesome nap of the day. Her second nap is often 1hr 45min – 2hrs long. She almost always wakes up after 30-45 minutes, but more times than not she’ll fall back to sleep within a few minutes and then stretch her nap to 1hr 45min – 2hrs long. When she wakes up in between, I do not go in. I let her talk, play, toss and turn… sometimes she falls back asleep within 5-10 minutes. Other days it is after 20 whole minutes of being wide awake and playing in her crib! I only intervene if she becomes fussy after being awake for 20-25 minutes. If she fusses and starts to really cry, I know by now that she won’t go back to sleep. My goal is for her to sleep until 2:30PM. This allows for her to be awake for 4 hours before bedtime, and go to bed at 6:30PM. If she wakes up before 2:30PM, she’ll usually need a short catnap around 4/4:30. I try to wake her by 5PM, and on those days, aim for a 7PM bedtime. So far, we have not seen this catnap interrupt her usual, easy to sleep bedtime routine.
- 3:30 third bottle (8oz)
- 6:30 last bottle (8oz)
- 6:45-7:15 in crib for night. At this point, her bedtime always falls within this range. Because she is so good at sticking to her routine day to day, I’m not as strict about feeding her at the exact same time anymore. Some days she’ll get a bottle at 6PM if I’m aiming for an early bed time. Other days we’ll begin to feed her at 6:30P and we’ll lay her down by 7:15P. The important part now a days is that we stick to the general bedtime of 7:00P.
Isn’t this a 2/3/4 Nap Schedule?
If you’re looking closely, you may be wondering whether we’re actually using a 2/3/4 schedule. And the answer is yes and no. On a picture perfect day, Gemma’s 6 month old, 2 nap a day schedule does follow the 2/3/4 schedule.
She is awake for 2 hours in the morning before her first nap (7:30-9:30A). When she wakes up from her first nap, she is awake for 3 hours before her second nap (10ish-1P). When she wakes from her second nap, she’s up for 4 hours before bedtime (3-7P).
However, a decision that I made with this new daily routine and schedule was to start going by the clock for nap times. Instead of closely tracking wake times, I now say her nap times are at 9:30AM and 1:00PM.
Do you ever adjust nap start times?
Even though we’re going ‘by the clock’ for nap times now, I do occasionally make adjustments based on how her day is going. For example, if she takes a 90 minute nap in the morning from 9:30-11A, I may decide to start her second nap a bit later that day. But by saying that we go by the clock now, it makes it easier to convey childcare expectations to daycare, babysitters, family, and even my husband! I always tell these people to use their best judgement, and I would never be mad if daycare put Gemma down a bit early or late because they felt it was best for her that day. Schedules are great, but they are guidelines for us. They aren’t black and white. Gemma is a baby, she’s not a robot, and sometimes we need to adjust!
When do you feed her solids?
Great question. We’ve started feeding Gemma more purees and real solids, but we are not yet ‘scheduling’ these meals. Truthfully we don’t even feed her solids consistently yet. Some days she gets solids 3x a day, some days none.
For now food is still very much a fun thing for us to do with Gemma, and it’s great learning experience for her. I can already see her hand eye coordination improving, and she’s eating solid solids more and more easily each time.
I imagine between 6-9 months we’ll begin firming up our feeding schedule to include actual meals, every day. Until then, we focus on wake time and bedtime, 2 naps a day by the clock, and 4 bottle feedings a day, 4 hours apart.
That’s the rundown on our new 6 month old, 2 nap a day baby schedule. If you have any questions about our schedules, or the transition to 2 naps a day, let me know in the comments below.