Baby routines by age

I am SO excited to be sharing my thoughts on Baby routines by age with you on Leah’s lovely blog! I am so honored! My two little guys also followed the same routines I’ll be sharing with you and they worked AMAZINGLY well for us. 

In my post on how to establish a routine with your baby, I explained in great detail why babies need routine. Before I give some examples of baby routines by age, I’ll give a bit of a recap!

The book that started Baby routines by age

Looking for baby routines by age ideas?! Here is a book and routine ideas for children under 1 that will change your life! #babies #routine #parenting #parent #motherhood #newborn #infant

When I was pregnant with my first, we were handed down some great baby items from a sweet family friend. This included a baby book that would change our ENTIRE thinking of how infants should be cared for. 

Tracy Hogg’s “The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems” gives parents such incredible insight to caring for newborns as well as ways to avoid developing poor habits with your child.

After reading this book and following its advice with my first baby, I firmly believe these guidelines are “dead on” in regards to how babies function and what they need. 

Before reading Tracy’s book, I never really thought about how many times during the day the baby would eat or how many naps he would need. Like many parents, I planned to semi-“wing it” and throw some structure in there whenever I could. 

However, I’ve learned through reading her book that babies desperately need Baby routines by age and guidance from their parents. I strongly suggest you check out the book! Below are some things I’ve gleaned from Tracy!

Why Baby routines by age are essential

Many parents get hung up on being too strict with newborns. I definitely agree that babies can’t be expected to fit into a specific time frame. (Just ask a first-time mommy how it feels when they need to be somewhere at a specific time! The baby will have other plans!) 

However, forcing your baby to do something at a specific time is different than having a routine. A routine is more about the order of events that happen during the day rather than the exact time they occur.  (This was my first point in my 14 Musts When Bringing Home Baby post!)

Having a routine gives the baby structure. This structure builds trust between you and your baby as well as makes them more settled in general. 

Keeping your baby on a routine also helps you to know what he needs at any given time. If it’s getting close to the sleeping part of the routine cycle and the baby becomes fussy… chances are he’s tired. 

Routines eliminate so much of the “questioning” and newborn mysteries parents find themselves experiencing. 

DEVELOPING GOOD HABITS

In addition to knowing what the baby needs, Baby routines by age are crucial for good eating and sleeping habits. It is common for parents to simply feed the baby when they “think” the baby is hungry. What if the baby is actually needing something else? For example, let’s say he is actually tired. 

He will continue to nurse or take the bottle (making you think feeding him helped). It will probably upset his stomach since he never had a chance to digest his last feeding and what he really needed was sleep! 

Can you imagine eating meals constantly throughout the day (and in a newborn’s case through the night!) and never give your stomach a chance to rest and digest? This is HARD on baby’s tummy! 

Establishing a routine is key for keeping a happy, fed, and rested baby. In turn, this resulted in happy rested mamas!

TRACY’S ROUTINE

Tracy’s routine is an acronym called E.A.S.Y. which stands for:

  • Eat
  • Activity
  • Sleep 
  • Your Choice

These activities rotate in a specific order so the baby develops correct sleep and eating habits. 

WAKING TO EAT

If a baby is put to sleep only by nursing or taking a bottle, she will never learn how to self-soothe or put herself to sleep. She will always need mama or a bottle at bedtime making it very difficult (especially down the road) to put to bed. 

Think about it this way. How do we as adults function? Do we need food to soothe us to sleep? (Guilty! I’ve been there at times too, mama!) But we know it’s not healthy for us to eat right before bed, nor does it help our digestion. 

Babies especially need all the help we can give them with digestion since their systems are so tiny and new! Their little tummies get backed up and upset SO easily. You don’t want to upset their tummies, especially right before bed!

ACTIVITY

The activity portion of the routine changes depending on how old your baby is. A newborn baby’s activity will be MUCH different than a 7 month old. 

At first, a newborn’s activity after eating will probably be just a diaper change and some quick snuggles before he’s ready to go back to bed. As he gets older, he’ll be awake longer and need some more physical activity. 

When your baby is around 6 months old and starts to eat solids, this will also be part of the “activity” section of the routine. 

Side note: While baby is still young, nurse or give a bottle before feeding solids during the day. Babies under 11-12 months old (or so) are still getting most of their nutrients from milk. 

(Post coming soon on how we did Baby Led Weaning (or eating) with our boys! It worked wonders! Be sure to check my site often for updates!) 

EXAMPLES OF ROUTINE BY AGE

0-3 WEEKS:

It’s important to get babies started on the eat, play, sleep routine right away. This is a more relaxed way to start Baby routines by age! Most hospitals help you with this. When babies are born, they can usually go 3-4 hours without eating (unless they were a premie or going through a growth spurt). 

Bigger babies can probably make it every 4 hours, but for now, let’s just assume your baby wakes to eat every 3 hours during the day. Hopefully with the right day time routine, you can stretch their night routine longer!)

When babies are still under a month old, they will most likely need a “tank-up” or cluster feed in the evening as well as a dream feed before sleeping as long as possible at night. 

7 am-  EAT

-Feed (nurse or bottle-It generally takes newborn babies about 30-45 minutes to nurse/take a bottle.)

7:45 am-  ACTIVITY

– Change baby and snuggle.

8 am-8:10 am- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

– Swaddle baby, put to bed. (Refer back to my 14 Musts or Establishing a Routine post for more on helping baby sleep!)

YOU TIME!-

If you can, go back to bed until the next feeding!

10 am- EAT

 -Feed (nurse or bottle).

10:45 am- ACTIVITY

– Change baby and snuggle.

11 am-11:10 am- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

– Swaddle baby, put to bed.

YOU TIME!:

-Take a shower! Take a nap! REST, mama! Eat some healthy food (check out How to be a Trim Healthy Mama for an awesome eating plan while you’re still breastfeeding/recovering!)

1 pm- EAT

-Feed (nurse or bottle).

1:45 pm- ACTIVITY

– change baby and snuggle

2 pm-2:10 pm- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

– Swaddle baby, put to bed.

YOU TIME!

-Rest or watch a show on Netflix and gear up for your “tanking-up” afternoon/evening.

4 pm-EAT

 -Feed (nurse or bottle).

4:45 pm- ACTIVITY

– Change baby and snuggle.

5 pm-5:10 pm- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

– Swaddle baby, put to bed.

6 pm- EAT (Tank -up!) 

-Feed (nurse or bottle). You’ll probably have to wake her for this feeding since it’s out of the normal 3 hour cycle. 

6:45 pm- ACTIVITY

-Change baby and snuggle.

7:30 pm- SLEEP

-Just a quick cat nap. If the baby can stay up just a little longer after her tank-up/cluster feedings, it will help her sleep better throughout the night. 

8 pm-EAT (Last meal for the day!)

-Feed (nurse or bottle)

8:45 pm- ACTIVITY

-Change baby for bed

9pm- SLEEP! 

-Put the baby to bed and enjoy a short little evening until baby’s dreamfeed!

11 pm- DREAM FEED:

-Sneak in baby’s room and nurse/give a bottle while they’re still asleep! If you have a super sleepy baby like mine were, it may be easiest to change them first, then feed them. This will help to wake them a bit in order to have a good dream feed. 

He should just fall back asleep while nursing. Once he’s done, just put him in bed and head to bed, mama! 

Hopefully all this tanking-up and dream feeding will help baby to give you a 4-5 hour stretch of sleep! 

3 am- EAT

-Nurse/bottle, change baby and right back to bed for you both!

7 am- 

Start the cycle over!

1-2 MONTHS:

Once your baby is about a month old, he can probably go about 4 hours to feed and probably doesn’t need the tank-up anymore. His activity time will also stretch out a bit.

If his daytime feedings and routines are going well, he should start to stretch his nights longer too. Possibly even 5-6 hours! 

7 am-  EAT

-Feed

7:40 am-  ACTIVITY

– Change baby and snuggle.

8:10-8:20 am- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

– Swaddle baby, put to bed. 

YOU TIME!-

If you can, go back to bed until the next feeding!

11 am- EAT

 -Feed (nurse or bottle).

11:40 am- ACTIVITY

– Change baby and snuggle. Get the baby dressed for the day. Maybe a bit of carpet or play mat time.

12:10- 12:20 pm- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

– Swaddle baby, put to bed.

YOU TIME!:

-Take a shower! Take a nap! REST, mama! Get some house work done that’s driving you nuts, but go EASY!

3 pm- EAT

-Feed (nurse or bottle).

3:40- pm- ACTIVITY

– change baby and snuggle. 

4:10-20 pm- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

– Swaddle baby, put to bed.

YOU TIME!

-Rest or watch a show on Netflix. Do some laundry. Have a friend over!

7 pm- EAT (Last meal for the day!)

 -Feed (nurse or bottle).

7:40 pm- ACTIVITY

– Change baby for bed and snuggle. Eat a quick dinner.

8:30 pm- SLEEP! 

-Swaddle baby, put to bed.

-Put the baby to bed and enjoy a short little evening until baby’s dreamfeed!

11 pm- DREAM FEED:

-Sneak in baby’s room and nurse/give a bottle while they’re still asleep! Once he’s done, just put him in bed and head to bed, mama! 

Hopefully if all goes well, baby will give you a good long stretch during the night!

4:30-5:30 am- EAT

-Nurse/bottle, change baby and right back to bed for you both!

7 am- 

Start the cycle over!

3-6 MONTHS:

By the time my boys were 8-10 weeks old, they could go from their 11 pm dream feed to 6 am-7 am in the morning. I consider that sleeping through the night! This is an advantage to having Baby routines by age.

Your baby will nurse/take a bottle quicker and her activity will be longer too now that she’s older!

Between 3-6 months old usually cut out their 3rd evening nap. Some need a cat nap here and there but you don’t want it to take away from their night’s sleep.

The evening order changes just slightly as you’ll now feed the baby right before bed.

7 am-  EAT

7:25-30 am-  ACTIVITY

10 am- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

YOU TIME!-

11 am- EAT

11:25-30 am- ACTIVITY

1 pm- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

YOU TIME!:

3 pm- EAT

3:25-30- pm- ACTIVITY

5 pm- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

Just a quick catnap! Maybe 30-45 minutes!

YOU TIME!

7 pm- EAT (Last meal for the day!) -Change baby for bed first!

7:30 pm- SLEEP! 

11 pm- DREAM FEED

7 am- Start the cycle over!

6-12 MONTHS:

Now that your little one is 6 months, you’ve probably introduced solids. This helps so much with sleep and super hungry babies. 

Your baby is down to just 2 naps by this point. Now that they’re eating solids, by 7 months or so you can start weaning them from the dream feed!

7 am-  EAT

7:20 am-  ACTIVITY

-real food!

10:30 am- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

YOU TIME!

11 am- EAT

11:20 am- ACTIVITY

-real food!

1:30 pm- SLEEP/YOUR CHOICE

YOU TIME!

3 pm- EAT

3:30- pm- ACTIVITY –keep up a little longer in the evening!

          -real food!

7- EAT (Last meal for the day!) -Change baby for bed first!

7:30 pm- SLEEP! 

11 pm- DREAM FEED (unless 7 months or older)

7 am- Start the cycle over!

The best baby routines by age for children under the age of 1! Follow these routines, and read this book. It will make life as a mother so much easier! #baby #routine #babies #parenting #motherhood

Those are the best Baby routines by age!

As your baby gets closer to 12 months, their naps may get shorter or they may just go down to one after lunch. I also moved our wake time to 8:30 am so this pushed everything forward about an hour or so. Up to you!

These Baby routines by age worked GREAT with both of my boys. Remember, of course, this is just a guideline to follow. If your baby gets off by a half-hour or so, no biggie! Just scoot them 15 minutes here and there to get them back on their routine! 

Also remember, every baby is different. Some will go with the flow and do this easily, and some will push against it. Keep guiding them gently towards the routine and they’ll get there! And give yourself grace, mama! You’re doing amazing!! 

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If you enjoyed what you read here or found it helpful, be sure to check out my other posts on Lisa Michelle Blog for more posts like Baby routines by age!

Meet Lisa

Lisa is a boy mom of 2 sweet little guys who loves to talk about all things mama related. She is a brand new mom lifestyle blogger with a passion for DIY, style, beauty, baby, and household products. Lisa Michelle shares mom and baby styles, easy home DIY projects, her journey with health, her favorite products, and more! Follow Lisa on social media and check out her blog!

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Leah Custer
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2 Discussion to this post

  1. Hannah says:

    Thanks a lot for the schedules! I was following sleep training book exactly at 4 months (with this book: http://parental-love.com/shop/baby-sleep-training – found it super helpful!). We adjusted the schedule while sleep training and it went great. Although I think it’s time to drop night feeding and maybe change the day schedule a little – my boy is 6 months now.

    • savingmamassanity says:

      So glad you found a schedule that works for you and your family! Schedules are routines are so important! Thank you for sharing!

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