Sample Baby Sleep Schedules

Practical sleeping guides for baby’s first year

Sample Baby Sleep Schedules

If you are looking for help getting your baby on a sleep schedule, look no further: this is your one stop shop for sample baby sleep schedules that follow the Babywise feed-wake-sleep formula.

Children come into this world with basic needs for nutrition, sleep, cognitive growth, love and security. As a baby grows, these needs do not change, but how these needs are met will change.

Therein lies the challenge: How do you establish a baby’s routine that is predictable, yet “flexible” enough to meet a baby’s growing and changing feed-wake-sleep needs?

Part of the answer comes from understanding the meaning of flexibility.

The root word, “flexible,” means “the ability to bend or be pliable.” To think of a flexible item, think of something with a particular shape that can bend or be pulled and then return to its original shape. Returning to its original shape is perhaps the most critical element of flexibility. 

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Parent-Directed Feeding (PDF) is also critical to that routine. PDF is a 24-hour infant management strategy designed to help parents connect with the needs of their baby and help baby connect with everyone in the family. The two relevant thoughts contained within this definition include: “24-hour” and “management.”

The first represents a baby’s day and the second speaks to Mom and Dad’s involvement in their baby’s day—they are to be the managers. But what exactly are parents supposed to manage? The short answer is the continually evolving, changing, and growing needs of their baby.

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With that in mind, here at we want to provide you with highlights from sample baby sleep schedules that will help you improve baby's sleep habits and get baby started on a sleep routine, particularly as it pertains to that every important first year.

Sample Baby Sleep Schedules

Starting a Sleep Routine for Your Baby

This is where to start: before even taking a look at a sample sleep schedule for your newborn, you need to understand the thinking behind starting a sleep routine and your overall bedtime routines. 

Sample Newborn Baby Sleep Schedule: Weeks 1-2

There are nine feed-wake-sleep cycles distributed evenly over a 24-hour period. Each cycle, from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next, is approximately 2½ hours in length, which is consistent with the basic nutrition and sleep needs of a newborn.

Sample Baby Sleep Schedule: Weeks 3-6

This represents the first "merge" in baby's sleep routine, reducing nine feed-wake-sleep cycles in a 24-hour period to eight cycles. At this point in time, most PDF babies sleep from 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. They nurse or take a bottle and then sleep until 6:30-7:00 a.m. Sleeping 4-hour stretches at night becomes baby’s “new normal.”

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Sample Baby Sleep Schedule: Weeks 7-10

Between weeks seven and ten, most Babywise babies drop their middle-of-the-night feeding and begin to sleep through the night (yes, you read that correctly: this is when your newborn could start sleeping 8 hours at night as eight cycles are now reduced to seven).

Your baby, however, will not be reducing his daily caloric intake, just rearranging when he takes those calories. He will consume more milk during the daytime feedings, especially at the first morning feeding.

Sample Baby Nap Schedule: Weeks 10-15

This is when most Babywise babies are capable of dropping their late-evening feeding and begin sleeping 10-12 hours at night. (The spread of 10-12 hours reflects a baby’s unique sleep needs.) When that happens, seven cycles are reduced to six.

Baby's Sample Sleep Schedule: Weeks 16-24

Between weeks 16 and 24, Merge Four happens: This is when many Babywise babies begin to extend their morning waketime by merging the early morning feeding and the mid-morning feeding. This merge reduces six feed-wake-sleep cycles to five. As a result, there will be only one feed-wake-sleep cycle between breakfast and lunch (although lunchtime is usually moved up at least a half-hour).

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Baby's Sample Sleep Schedule: Weeks 24-39

Your baby is now half a year old and it's time for another merge, which is why we are here with a sample baby sleep schedule for weeks 24-39. While you are no doubt seeing your child's personality take shape and routines form, that doesn't change the fact that her body is still in transition. Once your baby drops his third full nap, his daytime feed-wake-sleep cycles can range between 3½ to 4½-hours each day.

Dropping the Catnap: Merge 6 Baby Sleep Schedule (Weeks 28-40)

Once Baby hits the seven month mark, parents may begin wondering whether or not dropping the catnap is a good idea. Sometime within the weeks listed, most Babywise babies drop their catnap, reducing the five feed-wake-sleep cycles to four, requiring more daytime adjustments.

Of course, as with any sleep training methods, use your best judgment as a parent with regards to baby's timeline and nap schedule. While these sample sleep schedules will get you started on the right track, remember that every baby is different and it's important for you as the parent to adapt to individual cues.

For more help with sleep habits and nap schedules after your baby hits that 12 month milestone, you can refer to On Becoming Babywise: Book Two.

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