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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Brindley

Naps and Feeding Schedules from 0 to 24 Months

Four babies in diapers sitting on a white floor

Many clients of my sleep consulting practice ask about the best schedule for feeding, naps, and bedtime for their babies ages 0-24 months. Before discussing an infant or toddler’s ideal schedule, however, my first piece of advice is that it is essential to nap-train if you have not already.

Some parents will teach their babies to sleep well at night but forget about naps. Sleep training for good nighttime sleep and not naps won't cut it and is unfair to your baby.

Your baby will not only be over-tired, and any progress in nighttime sleep will begin to crumble, but your baby will be confused if you're doing something different for night sleep than you are for day sleep. For them, sleep is sleep. It is best to be clear and consistent with sleep for both day and night.

So, put your sleep-teaching hat on and commit! After your baby knows how to nap, you must keep the integrity of that napping skill and schedule heading into the future. Knowing nap times for each age and stage of your baby is essential and it’s very important to adjust the schedule as appropriate

Every day, I get calls like this: "My 9-month-old baby is taking 30 minutes to fall asleep for his nap! I have no idea why?". My answer is always time to make a schedule change! You are still on a 6-month-old schedule, and your baby is now a 9-month-old!

As a baby gets older, their sleep patterns will change. Your growing baby will need fewer naps, and the timing of the naps will vary. If you're wondering how much sleep your baby needs, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that infants 6-12 months old sleep 12-15 hours per day.

First, remember to encourage healthy sleep habits in your baby by creating a bedtime routine that includes winding down for 30 minutes before sleep. A bedtime routine can consist of reading stories, singing songs, or giving a gentle massage. Keep a consistent bedtime and wake time throughout the day.

Second, be aware of age-appropriate wake windows for your baby. Wake windows are periods during the day when your baby is awake and alert. During a wake window, you should try to engage your baby in an activity, this could be playing games, reading books, or even just talking to them, and of course, fresh air does wonders. In the summer months, swimming is a great activity that promotes great sleep.

Let's go over nap and feeding schedules for specific ages.

Babies ages 6-15 months

Appropriate sleep goals for babies in this age group include the following:

6-9 Months: 11 – 12 hours of night sleep; 2 to 3 ¼ hours of nap sleep (2 to 3 naps)
10-12 Months: 11-12 hours of night sleep; 2 to 3 hours of nap sleep (2 naps)

At around six months old, a baby's sleep patterns will become more regular, and they will begin to move from a three-nap schedule (yay!) to a two-nap schedule. I love a two-nap schedule and adore a one-nap schedule even more. By 15 months old, most babies will be down to just one nap during the day (more on that below).

For babies six months old, the ideal wake windows are:

  • 2.5 from waking in the morning to naps #1

  • 3 hours awake time from nap #1 to nap #2

  • 4 hours from nap #2 to bedtime

So, if your six-month-old baby wakes up at 7 am, they should be ready for their first nap around 9:30 am. And if they wake up from their first nap at 11 am, they should be ready for their second nap around 2 pm. If they wake at 3:30 pm from nap #2, bedtime is 7:30 pm (you may need to do 7 pm as your baby adjusts).

A sample 6-month-old sleeping and eating schedule:

  • 7:00 am Wake up

  • Milk #1

  • 8:30 am Breakfast (Solids)

  • 9:30 am Nap #1

  • 11:00 am Wake up

  • Milk #2

  • 12:30 pm Lunch (if your baby is eating Lunch at six months. I typically start Lunch by seven months old)

  • Milk #3 BEFORE nap #2

  • 2:00 pm Nap #2

  • 3:30 pm Wake up

  • 4:00 pm

  • Milk #4

  • 5:30 pm Dinner (Solids)

  • 6:30 pm Bedtime routine starts

  • Milk #5

  • 7:00 pm Bed!

Of course, every baby is different as they adjust to a two-nap schedule. Some may need a shorter wake window. Just pay attention to your baby's cues as you make the change and adapt as needed. Be your baby's timekeeper. If your child starts to rub his eyes or gets fussy, it is a sign that he is already over-tired.

Babies Age 15 months to 20 months

Appropriate sleep goals for babies in this age group include the following:

12-16 Months: 11 -12 hours of night sleep; 1 ½ to 3 hours of nap sleep (1-2 naps)
18-24 Months: 11 -12 hours of night sleep; 1 ½ to 3 hours of nap sleep (1 nap)

A baby's sleep patterns will change and evolve as they get older. Around 14-15 months old, most babies will transition from taking two naps during the day to just one nap. How do you know when it's time to make this change?

Signs that you may need to shift to a one-nap schedule:

  • The second nap is getting shorter and shorter

  • Your baby is having a hard time falling asleep for one of their naps

  • The wake window is so long that your baby has to sleep much later than the desired bedtime.

Remember, you do not want to borrow from Sleepy Peter to pay Unsleepy Paul. Do not steal night sleep hours to give to naps. It may be time to transition your baby to one nap if you begin to notice the signs. The process can take several weeks, so be patient!

A sample 14 to 24-month-old sleeping and eating schedule:

7:00 am Wake up

Milk #1

10:30 am Lunch part #1 (think of this as a healthy snack like a banana and yogurt or cheese and turkey)

11:15 am

Milk #2

11:30 am Nap

2:00 pm Wake up

2:15 Lunch Part #2

3:30 pm

#4 Milk

5:30 pm Dinner

6:30 Bedtime routine with milk #5 before Bed

7:00 pm bed

Be aware of what you feed your child for lunch Part #1. You could be inadvertently choosing poop-producing foods. If you give mangos, a pint of blueberries, a pear or beans, etc., your baby may wake 45-60 into the nap because they pooped! Save that fiber food for lunch Part #2.

You will have to do an earlier bedtime for a couple of weeks as your baby adjusts to a one-nap schedule.

Toddlers 2-3-year-olds

Appropriate sleep goals for children in this age group include the following:

11-12 hours of night sleep; 1 to 2 hours of nap sleep (1 nap)

By age two, your child can stay up a bit later. The goal is to have toddlers take their one nap around 12 pm - 12:30 pm. An hour or 1.5-hour nap is fine. A two-hour nap is good; however, I suggest capping the nap at two hours. Sleeping for three hours can be problematic at bedtime. If your child sleeps too long during the day, they will not be ready for bed at an appropriate bedtime.

If your child's nap schedule isn't working for your child and your family, it may be time to ask yourself a few questions.

1. What is the ideal time for your child to take a nap?

2. How long does your child usually sleep during naps?

3. What is the best time for your child to take a nap?

4. What other activities does your child have during the day that may impact his ability to take a nap?

5. How will a change in your child's nap schedule impact the rest of the family?


Once you've asked yourself some preliminary nap questions, you can decide if and how you want to change your child's nap schedule. If you choose to make a change, be sure to stick to your change for a couple of weeks because it takes babies that long to adjust to change!

Please know that Little Sleepers is here to help. You can contact me at any time with questions or concerns about your child’s sleep patterns and behavior. Click here to schedule time with me or to explore how we might work together to resolve your family's sleep issues.


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