A series of guides, sleep schedules, and average sleep needs that outline realistic sleep expectations for each age.
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Realistic Sleep Expectations
At 7 months, the majority of babies are still taking 3 naps. Wakeful windows will have slightly increased and your child’s day will start spreading out a bit - in preparation for that nap transition. Nothing stays constant for very long at this age! Notice that some wakeful windows can vary from child to child. This first wakeful window of the day, especially, is dependent on how your child’s previous night went. If they were up once or twice, this baby will more likely be able to handle a 2.5 hr wakeful window. If your child was up 5 times last night, they’re likely going to be ready for that first nap no longer than 2 hours after waking in the morning.
Naps at this age haven’t typically changed much from our 6 month schedules other than slightly larger wakeful windows and an early afternoon nap which tends to start consolidating. So instead of having variability in which nap is the longer of the three, you tend to see the first two naps of the day take on more girth, and that bonus nap becoming a “catnap”. This catnap is the next nap to go and will start to push later and later into the evening until it is just not worth the energy to attempt anymore.
By 7.5/8 months, most babies are starting the transition from 3 to 2 naps. Babies who sleep in until closer to 7/7:30am are more likely to transition earlier than babies who wake at 6/6:30am for the day. Similarly, babies who are epic nappers will transition sooner than our beloved catnappers. In either case, this transition will be complete by 9 months of age.
Super important to remember that nap transitions are not cut and dry - there will always be a period where three naps are too much, but two are not yet quite enough. Hang in there, your baby will adjust to this new schedule within a couple of weeks. The best way to know if they are capable of handling less naps is to watch their demeanor as they near their nap time and bedtime. Are they content? Or are they a hot mess? I’m sure you can guess which kiddo is ready for that transition and which probably would do better with a late afternoon catnap for another couple of weeks.
On a two nap schedule, we now want BOTH naps to be 1 hour or more. Anything shorter than a full sleep cycle will not be restorative enough to get your baby through these larger wakeful windows without starting to melt.Reach out to Steph
Example sleep schedules for a 7-8 month old
Don’t forget, there could still be some variability from one day to the next at this age, so use this schedule as a starting point and follow your baby’s lead to tweak as appropriate. Remember, you can realistically expect to have both 3 nap days and 2 nap days sprinkled throughout this period.
By now, you’ve likely introduced several types of food into your baby’s diet (too much fun!). But don’t get ahead of yourself - quantities should still be quite minimal as your baby’s primary source of nutrition is breastmilk or formula until one year of age. Keep solids in a supplemental role by giving them to your baby about 45 minutes or so after they’ve had their milk. Be on the lookout for constipation and food intolerances as you add a new food every few days. Both can affect their sleep. Make sure to consult with your pediatrician, a registered dietitian or a pediatric nutritionist if you have any concerns about your child’s solid intake.
With the introduction of solids, night sleep might be consolidating even more now as your baby will be fulfilling more of their caloric needs during the day. It is still completely normal for babies to be feeding once or twice a night at this age though and weaning overnight feeds is not a must.
Gross Motor Skills
Get ready for it - If your baby hasn’t already started, crawling is just around the corner. As with all new milestones, when babies become more active they require more calories (think both solids AND milk). If they’re not getting this during the day, they’ll want it overnight.
There’s lots of excitement and practice that comes with learning how to crawl, often during sleep times. New skills mean waking early from naps to practice. New skills mean waking overnight (prolonged wakings often) to practice. New skills mean waking a bit earlier in the morning to practice. You get where I’m going with this…
A BIG new world is opening up to your little one as they learn to crawl. It will take them some time to feel safe to explore what’s now at their fingertips, and until this happens, you can expect more clinginess and separation anxiety until that big world feels a tad more familiar to them.
Babies are moving into the “discriminate phase” of attachment at around the 7 month mark and start to show strong preferences for one specific caregiver.
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