Updated: Oct 20, 2022
How do you decide what to do when it's 5 pm, and your baby is tired and grumpy, but it seems too early to put them to bed?
Well, thankfully, today, I'll give you some guidelines that can help you decide!
A few things to keep in mind!
Some babies do really well with an early bedtime! Others, treat it like a nap!
You're going to have to try it for more than one day to know if it helps! Ideally, 3-4 days before changing it up again.
Make sure that your baby has enough awake time before bed will help, remember, that the last wake window tends to be the longest of the day
Okay, let's get into it!
If a nap ends after 4:30 pm, don't try for another nap, but rather start the bedtime routine at 6:00 pm and have the baby in bed by 6:30 pm
If your baby is due for a late afternoon nap because they woke up at, for example, 330 pm, then don't let them sleep past 6 pm
End of day wake window: 1.5 hours
4 & 5 months
If a nap ends after 4 pm, don't try for another nap, rather get your baby ready for bed at 6:00 pm and have them in bed by 6:30 pm
Don't let baby nap past 5:30 pm, so they can be ready for sleep at bedtime
End of day wake window for a 4-month old: 2 hours
End of day wake window for 5-month old: 2-2.5 hours
If a nap ends after 3:30 pm, don't try for another nap, rather start the bedtime routine at 6:00 pm and have the baby in bed by 6:30 pm
Don't let baby sleep past 4:30-5:00 pm, so they can be ready for sleep at bedtime
End of day wake window: 2.5-3 hours
7 - 9 months
Some 7-month-olds need 3 naps per day. Keeping this in mind, don't let them nap past 4/4:30 pm
Bedtime of 7/7:30 pm works well for this age group
End of day wake window: 3-3.5 hours
No napping past 4:00 pm
Bedtime of 7:30-8:00 pm works well for this age group
End of day wake window: 3.5-4 hours
12 months +
No napping past 4:00 pm
If still taking 2 naps per day, a bedtime of 7:30-8:00 pm works well
If transitioning from 2 to 1 nap, a bedtime of 6:30-7:00 pm is often needed during the transition time, which can be 4-6 weeks
When on one nap for a few weeks, a 7:00-7:30 pm bedtime works well
End of day wake window on 2 naps: 3.5-4 hours
Second wake window on 1 nap: 5-5.5 hours
Are naps difficult these days?
I get it!
I've had two kids myself and sometimes figuring out naps can be a challenge, to say the least.
I help parents like you every day! Want to know more? Get in touch here. Chat soon! Melody Patton