Best Toys for 3 Month Old Babies: Aligned to Milestones

When your baby turns 3 months old, it’s a perfect time to think about what toys will aid their development.  Hand-eye coordination is developing rapidly, as well as the ability to recognize objects and people.  Your baby may start turning to you and babbling when he hears you talk! One of the sweetest milestones during this age range, as they have mostly just been looking around up to this point.  My third son is almost 4 months old, and we’ve tried a variety of toys after three kids.  These are some of the best toys for 3 month old babies.

Related: 3-6 Month Baby Activities and Sample Schedule

To make it on a list for best toys for 3 month old babies, the toy has to correspond with babies’ big developmental milestones.  Babies and young kids learn through play, so toys are essential in aiding their growth in these areas. 

Even though it may seem like they are not doing much, babies are constantly learning and developing at an incredibly high speed.  For example, simple play with a rattle is part of developing hand eye coordination. 

On the other hand though, there are also some toys that they find incredibly entertaining.  I don’t completely disregard having a couple of these on hand. A combination of the two is what we have gone for.  They do not need a lot of toys and stuff.  One or two from each category should suffice all their needs.

This post contains affiliate links, please read the disclosure policy for more information.

Hand- Eye Coordination- Rattles & Teething Toys

At 3 months, your baby is able to bring their hands together and close their fingers around a toy.  Some of the best toys for 3 month babies work on hand-eye coordination.They are pumping their arms and legs, reaching out for things and slapping stuff away. Oh, and also grabbing chunks of hair really tightly- watch out for that!

Holding out a toy for them to grasp is a perfect way to practice this milestone.  Or setting them up on a mat with a small rattle or teething toy. Bringing the toy to their mouth works on hand-eye coordination as well.

Hand Eye Coordination Toys for 3 Month Old Babies

    • A great colorful teething and rattle toy.
    • Manhattan Rattle and Teether Grasping Toy– made with sustainable wood and natural materials is a great alternative to the plastic teething toys. 
    • Wooden Montessori Styled Baby Rattle– If you are looking for a more green toy this is a great start- organic wood, sanded and sealed with a mixture of organic coconut oil and beeswax, all natural pieces and colors.
    • Icy gel teether keys– teething may not start until 5 months, but it can be as early as 3 months. 
    • Baby wrist rattle and foot finders are fun additions to help them find their hands and feet during mat play.

Language Development- Books

Speaking to your child is the most important aspect of helping them learn language.  Describe what you are doing during grocery shopping or while you are changing their diaper.  It’s also never too early to start reading to your baby.  Books will always have a vast extension of words that you may not use in your ordinary speech.  Exposure to as many words as possible makes a profound impact on babies and toddlers.  

Books for 3 Month Old Babies

    • Board books are the natural starting point.  
    • Soft interactive books or this pack of 6 books can withstand teething, bath time and rough play. These serve a double purpose of play and language.  

Interacting with Others- Mirrors and Facetime

In the same fashion they are learning to absorb language, 3 month babies are working on other modes of communication. They are interacting with us by observing our movements and mocking our facial expressions.  Making eye contact and showing them your facial changes will not only help them developmentally- but the big huge grins they will give you in return will surely tug at your heartstrings.  

Mirrors where they can look at themselves and even some facetime with grandparents will help your baby learn all the different human expressions.

Toys for Babies 0-3 Months

    • Tummy time floor mirror gives a perfect view while also practicing motor skills. 
    • Car mirrors are great for your baby and for you to see them as you drive. 

Muscle Development: Playmats & Tummy Time

Those initial baby push ups are so incredibly adorable to me.  This is evident when you look through my phone and see how many pictures I have of my kids during this age and developmental milestone.  It’s a new vantage point for them also, so my boys were always super excited when I plopped down on my stomach and hung out with them. 

After being able to push their head and chest up with their arms, they begin to roll over.  Your baby may accomplish this in month 3 or later.  But they’ll start working on it at this age. To encourage rolling over- you can place them on their stomach and put a desired toy to one side that they are leaning towards.  

Playmats 3 month old baby toys for muscle development

    • Tiny Love Magical Tales Mat– Extra large mat for your baby as he grows and rolls around the space. 
    • Music playmats are a lot of fun! They get a real kick out of playing the piano with their feet. Pun intended. 😉
    • Lovevery Play Gym– Organic accessories, sustainably harvested wood. Water-based non-toxic finishes. This one is pricy but the materials used are all completely natural and it has suggestions for how to use it through the toddler years. 

Sense of Touch- Toys with Texture

Another big work for babies at this age are appreciating touch and the sensorial experiences of toys with different textures.  Your touch will always be number one- but having a variety of toys that are soft, hard, fur, crinkly, felt, terrycloth will stimulate your baby’s developing sense of touch.  Most of these toys fall into the categories above- as playmats will have a couple and rattles come in different materials.  

best toys for 3 month old babies that aids development

Large Motor Skills

These toys may be more appropriate for your baby at 4 months or close to. They need to have strong head control before they can be placed in any jumper or exersaucer.  But it has to be mentioned here- my boys were all starting to use it at the end of their 3rd month.

They are game changers! The level of fun and activity they have in these things is phenomenal.  I felt like it led to better sleep and engagement, because it’s such a good workout and stimulation. 

toys that aid large motor skills 3 6 month old baby toys

    • This jumperoo was the BEST purchase we made at this age! Both my boys loved this thing and had some super exciting jumping times. We just assembled for the 3rd time for baby Rhys. 
    • Evenflo Exersaucer– another great option for sitting and bouncing play. 
    • We lived in a small condo until recently, so just stuck to the jumperoo as our main “sit in” toy.  We had this infant seat at my parents and it was perfect for this age range before they can sit up on their own. 

Related: Encourage Brain Growth with these 50+ Gifts for Babies and Toddlers

Entertaining Toys

We have toys with music at every age.  The boys have all loved them.  They aren’t  necessary, and there are a lot of toys out there with excessive noise and features.  Decide what works best for you- we’ve always had a few of these that were well played with.

entertaining baby toys music development

    • Anything like this lil’ critter that is soft and cute with music can leads to endless fun.
    • Oball classic ball– play lasts well beyond 3 months as they change the way they play with it.
    • Baby Einstein Music Explorer Toy– music toys have always been a hit.  We started with toys like this and moved on to play guitars and microphones as the boys got older. 

Subscriptions

A more recent trend for kids and toddler toys has been monthly subscription boxes.  We’ve explored a few of these with my two older sons and just started MontiKids for Rhys.  It can seem pricy- but I have a promo code you can use! And you get your money’s worth.  They use the best materials, align to your baby’s developmental milestones, arrive at your doorstop without additional thought and provide instructions for extending play. 

best subscription boxes for babies

    • MontiKids– Use promo code URBANMOM to save $30 & receive free shipping! My oldest is in a Montessori school and I love that I can start that kind of education at home. You don’t have to do a lot of research and decide what you need for each age. They have done that for you and provide the resources you need to understand the materials and how your kids can enjoy them. 
    • Lovevery– the same company that makes the play gym above also has a monthly subscription.  A bit more economical than MontiKids, because you can do it monthly while MontiKids is billed every 3 months.  They are very similar concepts and toys though. A lot of parents love this subscription. I would look through both websites and decide which is a better fit for your household. 

Enjoy your fast growing baby. Most of these toys will be well loved beyond 3 months, well into 4-6 months. 

A Simple & Promising 9-12 Month Baby Schedule for a Happy Baby

The 9-12 month baby age is exciting!  Between 6-9 months you started seeing more of their personality and it keeps getting better. Also, many babies that had trouble sleeping through the night start at 9 months.  The days can be slow but the years are fast, and it’s probably really crazy to think, but you almost have a one year old! Your baby is probably crawling all over the place and they may start walking or are getting ready to walk. Transitioning to a toddler also means eating more finger foods instead of pureed baby food. And of course the first birthday party! Keep reading for a 9-12 month baby schedule that creates happy and healthy babies!Simple 9-12 month baby schedule to learn the right amount of sleep, activity ideas and developmental milestones needed for the happiest baby routine.

The essence of creating a working routine is establishing something that works for you, your baby and your family.  Schedules are essential for mom and baby, but it has to be something that you can sustain on a regular basis.  So, as you look at examples of 9-12 month baby schedules, use the essentials to create your perfect version.

In this post, you’ll find key elements of a 9-12 month baby schedule, as well as toys and activities that are perfect for this age.  Following, there is a sample schedule that will give you a “typical” structure that you can follow or modify to fit your life and personality (Free to download at the end!).

Key Elements of a 9-12 Month Baby Schedule

  • One of the biggest changes with sleep is getting rid of the late afternoon nap and going from 3 to 2 naps at 9 months. 13-15 hours of sleep with 12 hours at night. 2 Naps- going down around 9-10am and then 1-2pm.
  • 24-32 ounces of breastmilk or formula (4-5 feedings).
  • Eating finger foods more regularly. 3 meals and 2 snacks (supplement to milk, not primary source of nutrients). Learning how to feed themselves more.
  • Movement milestones- coasting (walking along furniture), climbing on top of things, walking or getting ready to start walking.
  • Uses pincer grasp, pokes with index finger and imitates scribbling, begins to use objects correctly
  • Language- Understands a lot of what you say, recognizes familiar people, lots of babbling and imitation of words, instances of first word or two, expanding a lot after 12 months.
  • Teach them to wave bye, give high fives, give kisses, shake head “no” and “yes”, narrate your day to them and read everyday to help develop language.
  • Separation anxiety can start at this age- being upset when you leave the room, shy or anxious around strangers, and becoming fearful in some situation.  This is normal and will eventually pass, but establishing good bye routines may help.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, meaning I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you!

Toys for 9-12 Month Old Babies

  • Push and pull toys
  • Musical Instruments
  • Pounding bench wooden toy
  • Stackable block towers
  • Cause and effect toys- like ball roll slides
  • Bath toys
  • Activity cube
  • Discovery books
  • Tall wooden activity cube– encourages standing
  • Learning walker (AAP does not recommend walkers, but we loved it and both our boys walked on their own on time.  Make sure you baby proof more, because they can get around pretty fast on the thing. 🙂 )

Activities for 9-12 Month Babies

  • Talk to your baby- describe everything around them and what you are doing.  Helps develop language!
  • Read everyday if possible, or as often as you can
  • Play with blocks and soft toys to develop hand-eye coordination
  • Play peekaboo and patty cake
  • Crawling and pre walking classes
  • Music and early art classes
  • Play dates for socialization

We use Pearachute to try out lots of fun new classes all the time! Everything from music, art, gymnastics (or what that looks like with babies), and open play in indoor playspaces.

*If you are in Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington DC or San Francisco, you can try your first 4 credit month of Pearachute for free!   🙂  Just click on the link or go to: https://www.pearachutekids.com/referred?coupon_code=REF-31UMAY

Sample Baby Schedule

7- 7:30am | Wake Up- Nurse/Bottle

7:30-8am | Play: work on waving, high fives, naming things in sight, toys that have objectives like stacking rings or blocks, or pounding wooden bench tray.

8-8:45am | Breakfast

8:45am | Start nap soothing routine- Example: Dark room, snuggling, sucking on pacifier or fingers or nursing, rocking in chair or glider, soft singing then white noise machine.

9am | Morning Nap

10:30am | Wake Up- Nurse/Bottle

10:30- 11am | Snack

11- 12:15pm | Play time: focus on language, standing/walking, reading, going to new surroundings, having play dates or attending music classes or other baby classes.

12:15pm-12:45pm | Lunch

12:45pm | Start nap soothing routine- same one every time.

1pm | Afternoon Nap

3pm | Wake up and Snack

3:30-6pm | Play: same as above. Go outside at least once a day for fresh air.

6:00pm | Dinner and nurse/bottle (or include the bottle/nursing for end of bedtime routine)

6:30pm | Start bedtime routine. Include same soothing routine for naps but add extra to signify night sleep: like a bath, calming music, lotion massage, pajamas and read stories.

7:00pm | Put down drowsy, but not completely asleep to help baby develop self-soothing practices.

Simple 9-12 month baby schedule to learn the right amount of sleep, activity ideas and developmental milestones needed for the happiest baby routine.Subscribe below to download your copy! See you next time for the 12-18 month schedule.

6-9 Month Baby Schedule and Sample Activities

This is truly one of my favorite ages of the first year.   The 6-9 month baby schedule is fun because it’s similar to 3-6 in terms of how many naps, so you’ve already developed a rhythm that can just be continued, which is the essence of a working routine. And your baby becomes more mobile and social- it’s a lot of fun to see them turn more and more into a little person.A 6-9 month baby schedule with key developmental milestones, sample activity ideas, the best educational toys and printable sample schedule!

There are lots of new milestones! Whenever there is a major milestone, you start seeing a new side of your baby.  These months are all about starting to sit up and them showing you even more of their personality.  Sitting up is a new vantage point, so they play more and start to throw and manipulate objects.

Then of course is crawling, or pre-crawling, or army crawl- however they start getting themselves across the room.  My first crawled at 9 months, and my second close to 11 months.  All babies have their own timelines, and all major milestones have a pretty big window that is “normal”. So don’t worry too much about the “exact” times these things should happen!

In this post, you’ll find key elements of a 6-9 month baby schedule, as well as toys and activities that are perfect for this age.  Following, there is a sample schedule that will give you a “typical” structure that you can follow or modify to fit your life and personality (Free to download at the end!).

It’s important to make a routine, they have many benefits for mom and baby, but it’s also key to make a schedule that you can follow and aligns with who you are as a mom.

Key Elements of a 6-9 Month Baby Schedule

  • 15-16 hours of sleep with 12 hours at night. 3 Naps- going down around 9-10am, 1-2pm, 4-5pm
  • 24-32 ounces of breastmilk or formula (4-5 feedings).
  • Eating solid baby food more regularly, 3 meals and 2 snacks (supplement to milk, not primary source of nutrients)
  • Movement milestones- sitting up, crawling or pre-crawling (pushing back and forth, pulling body with just hands), pulls up to standing
  • Bangs things together, puts objects into container, stacks objects, cause and effect
  • Language- responds to simple requests, recognizes names of other family members or pets, pays attention to speech even more, babbling more- instances of first word or two could be now- but more common towards 12 months.
  • Continues to become more attentive and expressive, responding to the world around.
  • Teach them to wave bye, give high fives, give kisses, shake head “no” and “yes”.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, meaning I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you!

Toys for 6-9 Month Old Babies

  • Stackable block towers
  • Cause and effect toys- like ball roll slides
  • Bath toys– sitting up in the bath means play time!
  • Activity cube
  • Soft blocks
  • Discovery books
  • Tall wooden activity cube– encourages standing
  • Learning walker (AAP does not recommend walkers, but we loved it and both our boys walked on their own on time.  Make sure you baby proof more, because they can get around pretty fast on the thing. 🙂 )

Activities for 6-9 Month Babies

  • Talk to your baby- describe everything around them and what you are doing.  Helps develop language!
  • Read everyday if possible, or as often as you can
  • Play with blocks and soft toys to develop hand-eye coordination
  • Play peekaboo and pattycake
  • Sitting up practice- help support back, surround with pillows until comfortable
  • Pre-crawling classes
  • Music classes
  • Play dates for socialization

I’ve said this before, but we love baby classes and the excuse to get out of the house.   We use Pearachute. The app helps us find everything going on in the city on that particular day, and we can drop in to music one day and art the next.

*If you are in Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington DC or San Francisco, you can try your first 4 credit month of Pearachute for free!   🙂  Just click on the link or go to: https://www.pearachutekids.com/referred?coupon_code=REF-31UMAY

Sample Baby Schedule

7- 7:30am | Wake Up- Nurse/Bottle

7:30-8:40am | Active Time. Tummy time to learn to sit up and crawl.  Play peekaboo and pattycake, play with blocks to learn stacking- taking things in and out of containers.

8:40am | Start nap soothing routine- Example: Dark room, snuggling, sucking on pacifier or fingers or nursing, rocking in chair or glider, soft singing then white noise machine.

9am | Morning Nap

10:30am | Wake Up- Nurse/Bottle

10:30- 11am | Feed Solids

11- 12:40pm | Go to a music class or park or have a play date for socialization.  Or listen to music at home and play.  Work on sitting up and crawling.

12:40pm | Start nap soothing routine- same one every time.

1pm | Afternoon Nap

2:30-3pm | Feed Solids

3-4pm | Active Time. Same as above.  Go outside at least once a day for fresh air.

4-5:30pm | Soothing and quick afternoon nap. Nursing/bottle when wake up.

5:30-6:30pm | Play in pack n play or contained area while you cook dinner.

6:30pm | Feed solids and nurse/bottle (or include the bottle/nursing for end of bedtime routine)

7pm | Start bedtime routine.  Include same soothing routine for naps but add extra to signify night sleep: like a bath, calming music, lotion massage, pajamas and read stories.

7:30pm | Put down drowsy, but not completely asleep to help baby develop self-soothing practices.

*You may still be doing night feedings. Keep them calm and relaxing to help your baby ease back to sleep easily.

A 6-9 month baby schedule with key developmental milestones, sample activity ideas, the best educational toys and printable sample schedule!

Remember- this is a guideline.  Not every day is perfect and that’s okay.  Make a routine that works with your personality, your family and life.  Sign up below to hang this schedule on your fridge!  Until next time for the 9-12 month schedule!

 

3-6 Month Baby Activities and Sample Schedule!

Don’t get me wrong, there are many things I love about having a newborn.  The excitement of a new baby in your home, the endless cuddling and bonding time, and seeing them smile for the first time. Priceless.  It may not be a surprise to you, since I’ve written a whole series on routines, that I love a well scheduled baby. 3-6 months is when babies start to  develop some regularity in their daily rhythms and are so fun with their endless smiles and laughs. Everything you need to create a 3-6 month baby schedule! Includes milestones, activities and toys for this age, and a free sample schedule to download.Related Post: The Absolute Best 2 Camera Baby Monitor

You’ll find all the elements that should be included in a 3-6 month baby schedule, as well as activities that are perfect for this age.  Following, there is a sample schedule with a “typical” structure you can follow or modify to fit your life and personality (Free to download at the end!).  It’s important to make a routine, they have many benefits for mom and baby, but it’s also key to make a schedule that you can follow and aligns with who you are as a mom.

I’m sure you are absolutely exhausted after the first 3 months with a new baby. Maybe you’ve been frustrated or worn out, but remember to be nice to yourself! Personally, I think that is the number one rule of motherhood- try your best and know that you are a great mom. Because you are. 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, please read the disclosure policy for more details.

Key Elements of a 3-6 Month Baby Routine

  • 15-16 hours of sleep with 12 hours at night. 3 Naps start to happen at regular times around 4 months.  9-10am, 1-2pm, 4-5pm
  • 24-32 ounces of breastmilk or formula (4-5 feedings).
  • May start feeding baby food between 4-6 months, talk to pediatrician about their recommendation for your baby.
  • Biologically- babies are ready for an earlier bedtime around 4 months.  Between 6-8pm, around 7 is what I use because that’s what has worked for me.
  • Movement milestones- rolls back and forth, while laying on stomach starts to push head then chest up with hands, beginning signs of sitting up, and transfers objects from one hand to the other.
  • Language- starts to respond to name, responds to sounds with own sounds, babbles consonants, distinguishes emotions.
  • Starts to become more attentive and expressive, responding to the world around.

 

Babies learn the MOST through play.  Check out this related post on Best Toys for 3 Month Old Babies!

Activities for 3-6 Month Old Baby

  • Tummy time
  • Music- at home and baby music classes
  • Pre- crawling classes
  • Mommy and me classes
  • Story time at the library and at home
  • Open playspaces
  • Play dates- meet other babies
  • Go on a walk or the park to get fresh air!

We love, love love baby classes.  They are a nice change of scenery and help us be around other moms and babies.  A service we use called Pearachute is our saving grace in planning outings, because we are able to drop in to various types of classes.  We can try different things, and we aren’t locked into a specific time and day each week.  Now you know your baby will not stay on schedule every day! Things happen!

*If you are in Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington DC or San Francisco, you can try your first 4 credit month of Pearachute for free!   🙂  Just click on the link or go to: https://www.pearachutekids.com/referred?coupon_code=REF-URBANMOMTALES

Updated to add a feeding that I left out initially! It was in my actual schedule- just mistype in post. 🙂 

Sample Schedule

7- 7:30am | Wake Up- Nurse/Bottle

7:30-8:30am | Active Time. Tummy time, listen to music, play with soft and textured toys, use musical toys on a playmat, or look at soft baby books. Lots of snuggling.

8:30am | Start nap soothing routine- Example: Dark room, snuggling, sucking on pacifier, fingers or nursing, rocking in chair or glider, soft singing then white noise machine.

9am | Morning Nap

10:30-11am | Wake Up- Nurse/Bottle

11- 12:00pm | Go to a class together. Or tummy time: work on rolling over both ways, reaching with one hand, transferring objects from one hand to other, and practice sitting up.  Also, could put in baby carrier to do housework.

12:00pm | Start nap soothing routine- same one every time.

12:30-2:30pm | Afternoon Nap

2:30-3pm |Wake Up- Nurse/Bottle

3-4pm | Active Time. Same as above or attend a class together.  Go outside at least once a day for fresh air.

4-5:30pm | Soothing and quick afternoon nap. Nursing/bottle when wake up.

5:30-6pm | Play in pack n play, jumperoo or infant seat while you cook dinner.

6:15pm | Have an extra feed/bottle to get ready for nighttime sleep.

7pm | Start bedtime routine.  Include same soothing routine for naps but add extra to signify night sleep: like a bath, calming music, lotion massage, pajamas and read stories.

7:30pm | Put down drowsy, but not completely asleep to help baby develop self-soothing practices. (If you have a later bedtime, try to move it earlier around 4 months)

10:30-11 | Dream feed.  Give bottle/nurse.  Dimly lit, no active play or talking.  Put right back to sleep and hopefully see them again in the morning!

*Maybe one or more feedings during the night,  but one dream feed may be sufficient at 4 months and after.

Everything you need to create a 3-6 month baby schedule! Includes milestones, activities and toys for this age, and a free sample schedule to download.

Join our newsletter to download the 3-6 month baby schedule. Then you can hang on your fridge as reference. See you next time for the 6-9 month schedule!

Get a Simple Newborn Baby Schedule

If you have a newborn baby, you are probably reading this in a sleepy daze.  There is a lot going on right now, and you may be wondering if there is a way to get some order to this new and amazing (but exhausting) life you’ve brought home. And there is!  The first few months are the most varied in terms of exactly when and how long your baby sleeps, but there is still a clear system you can follow to help develop good sleepers, good eaters, and all around happy babies. It is a simple newborn baby schedule (0-3 months) that you can follow exactly or tweak to fit your life and personality. Get a simple newborn baby schedule or newborn baby routine that is easy to follow and helps promote great sleepers! Includes free sample newborn schedule.

Related Post: The Absolute Best 2 Camera Baby Monitor

First and foremost, this can be a tough time.  Your body is still healing from labor, your hormones are all over the place- causing mood swings as you adjust to not being pregnant anymore and potentially creating milk for breastfeeding.  And then of course, you have a brand new baby and are getting up multiple times throughout the night.  So please, please make sure to take care of yourself and ask for help so you can get rest! Be nice to yourself, it will get easier and easier. 

The first few months for your baby are all about sleeping, eating and adjusting to the world around them.  It may seem like that’s all you do- feed your baby, rock them and change diapers.  But slowly, they will start to smile and play and develop into amazing little beings.  

You can read more about how and why you should have a baby routine, as well as sample schedules up to two years old!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, meaning I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you!

How to Make a Newborn Routine

This age is the most varied in terms of time than any other age group. Your baby still has not developed an internal clock to regulate their day.  You are helping them develop this, and things will regulate more around 3 months.  The routine is organized around a couple of things:

  • Awake Time: they should be awake for 1-2 hours MAX between sleep.  In the beginning, it will be closer to 45 minutes and an hour before you start your soothing routine for sleep.  You can read all about newborn sleep training if you want more details.
  • Food: eat every 2-3 hours, can be more or less depending on growth spurts and how long they are sleeping at night.
  • Sleep: usually in 2-4 hour stretches until 6 weeks where it stretches to 6 hour stretches of sleep (typically).
  • Activities: your baby isn’t doing much yet, so there are not many activities for this age range.  You can take them to Mommy and Me classes or baby music classes.  Other activities include lots of tummy time, snuggling, relaxing in a baby carrier, hanging out in the swing, looking at soft black and white books, listening to music while staring at a mobile and taking stroller walks so you and baby get some daily fresh air. 

*If you are in Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington DC or San Francisco, you MUST check out Pearachute. You can search tons of different kids’ classes to drop into and they also list all the free events in the area.  The search can be filtered by age, so you’ll find the classes best for newborns. Try your first 4 credit month of Pearachute for free!   🙂  Just click on the link or go to: https://www.pearachutekids.com/referred?coupon_code=REF-31UMAY

Sample Routine

*Times are approximate, will change based on how long periods of sleep are and how long your baby stays awake.

7- 7:30am | Wake Up- Nurse/Bottle

7:30-8:15am | Lots of snuggling and “play”

8:15am | Start nap soothing routine- Example: Dark room, snuggling, sucking on pacifier or fingers or nursing, rocking in chair or glider, soft singing, put in a swaddle then white noise machine.

8:30am | Nap #1

10:30 | Wake Up- Nurse/Bottle

10:30- 11:15am | Tummy time, snuggling,  play with rattle or soft books

11:15am | Start nap soothing routine- same one every time.

11:30am | Nap #2

2:30pm | Wake up, nurse/bottle. Snuggle and tummy time or go outside for a walk (at least once a day for fresh air)

3:15pm | Soothing routine.

3:30 | Nap #3

5:30pm | Nurse/Bottle. Swing time, snuggle, and look at mobile with music or soft books.

6:15pm | Start soothing routine

6:30pm | Nap #4 (Catnap)

7:30pm | Wake Up and Nurse/Bottle.

8:30pm | Start bedtime routine.  Include same soothing routine for naps but add extra to signify night sleep: like a bath, calming music, lotion massage, pajamas and read stories.

9:00pm | Put down drowsy, but not completely asleep to help baby develop self-soothing practices.

11:00pm | Dream feed.  Give bottle/nurse.

*Keep all nighttime feedings dimly lit, no active play or talking.  Feed them if they are hungry and put right back down to sleep until morning.  Your actions teach them the difference between day and night!Get a simple newborn baby schedule or newborn baby routine that is easy to follow and helps promote great sleepers! Includes free sample newborn schedule.

Access Your Free Newborn Baby Schedule

Use this schedule to help plan your perfect routine!

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Things to Consider

As outlined in the newborn sleep training guide, watch for drowsy signs like rubbing eyes or ears, being less active, yawning, and not being responsive with facial expressions can all be signs of being tired.  Do not wait until your baby is crying, they may be overtired at this point and harder to put down.  Develop a consistent soothing routine that you and ALL caregivers follow in the same way. This makes the routine a clear sign that sleep is coming. 

With my second son Ellis, I had to wake him up to feed him during the day. If he slept past 3-4 hours, I would wake him up.  During the day, not at night!  If he slept too long during the day, he would wake up really hungry and it wouldn’t help him learn day/night differentiators.  

Create environments conducive to sleep- dark rooms, a good swaddle and a white noise machine. Also invest in this amazing pacifier if your kids take one.  

It may help to keep a baby sleep log or baby activity log to write down the events of the day, or have other caregivers take notes.  It can be easy to forget when you last fed the baby since it seems like you’ve been doing it all day! Jotting it down helps you remember, but also helps you see patterns over a few days.  

Between 3-4 months, nap and sleep schedules will start to normalize at certain times in the day and longer night sleep!  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  🙂

Just focus these first few months on sleeping and feeding your baby. Don’t feel bad to stay home to keep your baby’s schedule, but also don’t be scared to venture out.  If you can, try to schedule outings right after they wake up and eat.  

Save the 3-6 month baby schedule for future reference and you can read up on  benefits for making a routine.

Til next time!

Why You Need a Routine (with Sample Baby Schedule Printables)

I searched constantly about what activities to do with my babies and how to schedule their days. Constantly because I would search again at every new month, from newborns to 6 months and so forth. And I still do as we get to new milestones and changes, the next one being preschool!  I’m nowhere near Type A, but routines work wonders for babies and kids so I wanted to know why and how to create one.  It’s always helpful to see examples of how others have organized their babies’ schedules, which is why I have put together a sample baby schedule for every age range to help you create your baby routine.Creating a baby routine is essential. What is a sample baby schedule for a 6 month old? Or one year old? Read all about schedules from newborn to 2 years. 

Creating a baby routine is essential. What is a sample baby schedule for a 6 month old? Or one year old? Read all about schedules from newborn to 2 years.

Last week, I wrote an article about how my day looks like with a toddler baby schedule (an almost 3 year old and 12 month old).  But I know that is not everyone’s situation! To share everything I’ve learned on creating baby daily schedules and what to do with your babies at different ages, here is an overview of how and why to create routines and infant daily schedules, as well as a series of posts dedicated to each age range. Each age range article has developmental milestones, a list of activity ideas and a free sample baby schedule printable!  

Why Make One?

There is a lot of literature out there on the importance of routines and infant daily schedules.  And I spoke a little bit about it in my toddler and baby schedule post.  It is essential enough to recap here.  Structure is a huge comfort to babies and toddlers.  They are still figuring out a lot and require stability to feel truly secure in this crazy world.  Kids feel a sense of security when they know that they will sleep, be fed and have all of their needs met throughout the day.  With a set routine, there is no concern if or when it will happen. It doesn’t mean that complete spontaneity is gone forever, but a framework will help you AND your baby, I promise.  

Sleep

Knowing how much sleep and when is the skeleton of each baby daily schedule, and helping your babies get into a good routine is the first mission.  Babies, toddlers and people in general develop sleep associations. Things that are consistent every time they go down to fall asleep.  They (and we) develop regular sleep windows, where they are most likely to fall asleep. If they go past the window, they become overtired and is more difficult to get a good rest.  You may have noticed this in your own schedule.  

Kids don’t understand all of the feelings their body may be telling them yet.  They rely on us for that. Having a consistent sleep window and sleep associations helps your baby and toddler be better rested. I started with newborn sleep training, but if your baby is older- it’s never too late!Creating a baby routine is essential. What is a sample baby schedule for a 6 month old? Or one year old? Read all about schedules from newborn to 2 years.

Behavior

In turn, rested babies and toddlers behave better!  It’s not that they want to have tantrums or cry at every situation.  They may be overtired or overstimulated by a new environment.  It is usually a sign that they are not coping well with what is going on around them.  Read more about positive discipline for two year olds here.  

Change is hard for some adults, and it’s incredibly hard for young kids.  A routine gives them a framework of knowledge: they understand what will happen when and can be happier as a result! If you are doing something different, tell your toddler ahead of time to ease the transition.  Also, try your best to schedule activities or outings during awake periods and not nap time.  I know it’s not always possible, but as often as you can!

**Also, must mention that my second son, even while on a consistent routine and sleep schedule gave us a run for our money! He is strong willed and determined, great qualities for his future but not for parents of him as a two year old.  I’ll devote a whole post to how we had to revamp our discipline tactics with him.  All that to say, don’t feel bad if you have a tight schedule and are still battling behavior.  It is part of parenting toddlers! You are not alone. 🙂

Makes Sure that Everything gets Done

In the toddler baby schedule, I spoke about the weekly planning method I use to organize my week.  I write my events, goals and to dos for the week and assign them for certain days and times.  This way, I’ll actually do some housework because it has a designated time.  The fact that each thing is at the same time everyday makes it easier to remember, and now my 5 year old can go through his daily routines on his own. 

*Update 2019: I have 3 kids now, I wish my schedule was this organized still and plan to get back to it ASAP.  Still believe it makes me run a lot smoother, but life has hectic phases like 3 young boys to take care of. 

How to Create a Routine or Schedule

Routine and schedule are used interchangeably because there are lots of people that cringe at the word schedule.  It sounds suffocating and hard to maintain a super regimented baby daily schedule where each minute is planned.  That is not what you need.  

All you need is a rhythm to your day, it can be as relaxed or as strict as you want to make it.  Same way with planning your to do lists- there are many different ways people accomplish tasks and organize their lives.  You need to find the best way for you.  Because the most important thing about creating a routine is that you can keep the routine going everyday.  That may seem obvious, but it’s a reminder to not create an infant daily schedule that doesn’t flow well with your personality or way of doing things.  

It may be tough at first to remember, but it becomes second nature.  I’m pretty much a zombie in the morning before coffee- I don’t get up before my kids even though it’s highly recommended.  It’s just not something I have figured out how to make work for me since I stay up late to work.

But even though I haven’t had my triple espresso (haha, yes, that’s a lot of caffeine, blame my parents), I go through the morning routine with both boys and my dog as my coffee is brewing.  They get hugged, kissed, changed, use the potty and set up with milk and toys, dog gets taken out and given breakfast. This ties them over until I’ve gotten my coffee in, then we eat breakfast together.  Only possible because it’s a set routine, since my mind hasn’t completely turned on yet.  

What to Consider when Creating One

    • Sleep, food, and activities are the main parts of a schedule for babies and toddlers.  Then you decide how you want to transition to different things.  
    • Decide if you want a more rhythm based routine, instead of a time based.  The sample schedules are time based, but a rhythm based schedule is doing everything in the same order but not necessarily tied to a certain time.
    • If you want a time based schedule but not sure if you can remember all of the things, set a timer or alarm on your phone to remind you of key times.  
  •  
    • Print the sample baby schedule at home or make your own to hang up on the fridge.

Click on the age for a sample baby schedule, developmental milestones and activity ideas:

Make a Great Toddler Baby Schedule that Works for You!

A routine or schedule isn’t a regimented, strict schedule for every minute of your day.  It won’t make your life mundane or boring.  Actually having a routine will help you NOT have to plan every single minute, because your organization helps free up some time.  It also contributes to being a happier stay at home mom when your day has structure.  What a schedule does is help regulate your baby and toddler’s sleep, mood, behavior and overall well being.  Creating a toddler baby schedule may feel daunting but it doesn’t have to be!Make a great toddler baby schedule that works best for you and your family! Includes sample schedule and steps for creating your own baby toddler schedule.

Being consistent in how things are done daily will make caring for two kids easier. Once you have a routine established, bending it here and there won’t completely throw them off.  We do the same things in the same order but if we have an activity that pushes nap or bedtime by 30 minutes every once in awhile, it won’t ruin their sleep or daily rhythm.  

Structure is a proven comfort to children, and in turn moms and dads! Because if structure makes their moods and behavior more regulated, then that is a clear blessing for you as well!  Make a schedule that works for you, which is what I have done. I’ll share an example of my daily toddler baby schedule and steps for creating your own.

                This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, at no extra cost to you!

The following schedule is for a 9-15 month old (two naps a day) and a 18 month to 3 year old toddler (one nap and able to participate in structured activities, but not in preschool yet).  Right now my sons are 12 months (Ellis) and 34 months (Miles) and we’ve been following this schedule since Ellis went to two naps around 9 months.  

Scroll to the end for steps on creating your own schedule and modifications for younger babies!!

7-7:30 Wake Up and start the day!  Change diapers/pull ups.  Get dressed.  Boys get milk and play independently, while mom makes and drinks coffee.  While they play, make sure baby Ellis doesn’t eat the dog food or toss dog water all over the kitchen floor.  Make sure Miles doesn’t run Ellis’ toes over with toy motorcycle.  

8:30-9 Make and have breakfast together.  Cereal with fruit on unambitious, ok fine, lazy days.  Or we’ll have eggs with toast, pancakes with fruit or oatmeal with fruit.  

9:30 One year old Ellis goes down for nap. Miles used to come with me but for some reason (maybe because he’s a two year old) he doesn’t understand the concept of whispering while a baby is trying to fall asleep.  So I set him up with a puzzle, blocks or magnetic book that will take his attention for at least 15 minutes.

Involve toddler in your housework

After Ellis is down, I convince Miles to help me with some housework or cooking. He loves to help, even though it can take a lot longer when he is helping.  It’s better than having him get bored with his toys though and it’s great for his development!  If it’s not something he can really help with, he’ll have an hour of iPad time or PBS.  I unload/load the dishwasher, start or completely prep dinner depending if I’m using the crockpot and start a load of laundry.  

Ugh- I hate laundry and dishes.  Putting them everyday helps them not pile up and be a complete burden.  To be completely transparent, some days this happens and sometimes not, because I rather make a gourmet meal then do laundry.  For sure my area for growth!

10:30-11 Ellis wakes up and we get ready to hit the road! Make sure diaper bag has all the essentials, change baby and get toddler to use potty.  This is my favorite part of the day and the ideal time for both of them to have an activity.  When Ellis drops his first nap, I will plan their outing earlier and push nap up to 1pm.  I do it this way so Ellis can have his nap at home and be fully rested.  His first few months, he could have it on the go and still have two more naps at home.  The naps on the go are never as effective as home- just like when we sleep in the car or on a plane, never the same.  

Activity Ideas

We use this amazing service called Pearachute to schedule many of our outings.  They have it in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth and Kansas City.  It’s a service to drop in to various kids’ classes all over the city, instead of going directly through one business where you may have to buy a multi week session. 

*If you are in Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington DC or San Francisco, you can try your first 4 credit month of Pearachute for free!   🙂  Just click on the link or go to: https://www.pearachutekids.com/referred?coupon_code=REF-31UMAY

I sign up the week before so I know what I have going on the coming week: Bookworms (reading and art) at 11 on Monday, Mr. Dave Music on Wednesday at 11:15,  and soccer at 4pm on Thursday.  I shoot for 2-3 a week and leave the other days for errands like the grocery store or house projects.

The best classes for a toddler and baby together are music classes hands down!  They both benefit from it so much and we try to go at least one a week.  I can’t wait until Ellis is 15 months because it will open up other options for him like art and then more sports classes at 18 months.

Right now I take him along to a lot of Miles’ classes and we play on the side, which he is usually pretty happy with (I may bribe him with snacks if he gets bored, lol).  Our favorites are art classes, soccer, book readings and music/art class combos.  Chicago favorite spots are Mr. Dave Music, Easel Art Studio, Super Soccer Stars and Lil’ Street.

Other options are the park if it’s nice which Miles loves to do or an open play session at an indoor playspace.  We have a park a few blocks away so that is usually our post nap venture since it’s easy to grab the stroller and go.  Chicago favorites for indoor playspaces include Little Beans Cafe and Bubbles Academy.  Really they are the closest to us, because I’ve heard great reviews of many other spots!

12:30 Lunch together! If I’ve done my monthly prep of baby finger foods, I pull out something from there to feed them.  Many times I give Ellis eggs- it’s my go to protein for one year olds because it’s so easy!  I’ll also create my own “lunchable” by cutting up cheese, turkey and some whole wheat crackers or toast.  Then add a little fruit on the side.  PB&Js are also favorites for Miles.  If we have leftovers from the night before, that is my first choice.

1:30-2 Go down for nap.  Miles gets a pull up and Ellis a diaper change, we get into the reading corner and read one book together.  They’ll sleep 1-2 hours.  I usually work on my blog instead of folding that load of laundry I did earlier.  Hey, we have clean clothes- that’s a win for me!  This is a good time to do house stuff, but also get some rest for you since you’ll have to gear up for the post nap/dinner/bedtime shenanigans.  

3-4pm Wake up and snacks.  Ellis usually gets up first and I’ll have at least 30 minutes to play alone with him.  Then Miles is up by 4 at the latest.  In the winter, I hate post nap activities because it gets dark around 4:30- we at least try to get a walk around the neighborhood in our stroller.  

The summer is a lot nicer so we may do a second outing.  It could be walking to a park near by or we have soccer on Thursdays.  In the winter, I put together a craft corner in Miles’ room so post nap is a perfect time to do a little craft project or play in a sensory bin (my favorite ideas are in this book).  

Try and get outside at least once a day because sun is beneficial for babies and toddlers, plus it helps them sleep better!

5-5:30 Finish dinner if needed.  Listen to music or Spanish videos on youtube.  

5:30-6 DAD IS HOME!! YAY!!!  This is me and the kids’ reactions. 🙂 Daddy play time!  I wrap up dinner and work out at either 6 or 7.  I didn’t always exercise while I was working full time and I see now that it really helps me recharge and ready to tackle the next day.  

6:30 Kids eat and we sit down with them (or my hubby does if I’m at workout class),  my husband and I eat at 8pm after the kids are down and I’ve worked out already.  Eventually, we’d love to all eat together but this is working for us right now.

7pm Miles cleans up his toys.  Bath time by Daddy!! ( I use a lot of exclamation points for the activities led by Daddy, I’m sure you understand)

7:15- 7:30 Ellis is dressed in pjs, relaxing lotion, read 2-3 stories, cuddle time and put down with lambie white noise machine. Miles gets a little extra bath time play, then gets the same routine but we’ve come to a conclusion of 3 stories- no more per our rules, no less per Miles’ rules, so he can’t manipulate us to stay awake longer.  🙂 Except when he gets me to come back in because he has to go “potty” again.  Working on that one…

8pm Miles is down while Mommy and Daddy get some adult dinner time talk and wine of course!  

Night time is when I work on my blog, because I’m naturally a night owl.  My husband usually goes down around 9:30 to get up early and do his workout before work, so I stay up until about 11 working on the blog or watching binge worthy shows on Netflix (if I’m being honest).

Baby 0-9 months

Having a toddler and a baby with more frequent naps changes things a little bit.  For newborns, I followed this sleep training strategy where Ellis would sleep after 1-2 hours of wake time.  This gives you a little less flexibility than when they are older.

To create this schedule- we’d stick to home a lot more or I would have Ellis take one nap in the stroller or car seat.  Around 3 months, he started to have a consistent 3 naps a day schedule so we could go to our morning activity with him sleeping on the go for that first nap.  Walks around the neighborhood or trips to the park were always great.  He was entertained with just staring at the leaves on the trees and people walking by.

Create Your Own Toddler Baby Schedule

How do I keep it all straight? The routines are easy to remember because you do them daily (you just have to decide what yours are and stick to them), but then you have to organize all of the other stuff.  I used this system by Suzi at Start a Mom Blog to organize my week in terms of events, appointments or big goals for the week.  I modified it a little bit to fit my life, and update it every Sunday. 

We are in a small condo with no real office or dining room, so the desk planner just wasn’t working for me.  I have this hanging in my kitchen and really like the visual reminder as I’m running around.  Also, I like that I can grab a post it and move it to a different day or time if it doesn’t work out when I originally planned it.  Make a great toddler baby schedule that works best for you and your family! Includes sample schedule and steps for creating your own baby toddler schedule.

Using a desk planner works also! This happy planner is adorable and I hope to get one some day when I have a home office or desk area.

My 4 main buckets are (assigned to different color post its):

  • Events/ Kids Activities
  • To Do Items
  • Blog
  • House

Decide what your main priorities are for the week and make sure they are scheduled first. Mine are enrichment activities for the kids, exercise classes, meal planning to keep with our budget and lastly because I have to in order to stay sane- housework.

Fill In Top Priorities First

Make a great toddler baby schedule that works best for you and your family! Includes sample schedule and steps for creating your own baby toddler schedule.I reserve 30-45 minutes every morning for housework of laundry, dishes, and dinner.  I have to write this down to get me to stick to the habit, instead of brushing it off for something else.  (Notice a trend here??)

The routine activities I listed above aren’t here because they are the same every day.  But I add in our activities scheduled through Pearachute and then make 2-3 house goals for the week beyond the regular dinner, dishes, laundry, and general clean up.

After that I write in my workout days, blog objectives and list what is for dinner on a large post it.  If other things come up, I can look to see where I can fit it in.  If you notice, Saturday is not on here at all. Family time is on Saturdays and we try to keep that.

That’s it! Cross off your activities when they are done and be amazed at how productive and organized you’ve been!

How to Learn the Most about your Baby’s Sleep

There’s so much to think about and consider when taking care of a baby. Whenever you can use a simple system that helps the day to day, it is very appreciated!  Keeping a baby sleep log is a great way to track how your baby is sleeping.  You don’t have to wait until there are “problems”.  Using it right away helps you see patterns and trends and understand your baby’s personal sleep rhythms. If you have read the newborn sleep training article and are ready to try it out, having a sleep log will help tremendously!

It may not seem like a lot, but remembering the time when your baby woke up last, in addition to all of the other things in your mind, can be easily overlooked.  One of the most important elements of a newborn sleep training plan is keeping the wake time window to 1-2 hours.  Tracking sleep using a baby sleep log helps you figure out your baby’s own ideal window.  Keeping a baby sleep log or tracking your baby's sleep can help you see patterns and trends to improve their sleep schedule! Journaling your baby's sleep with notes can help you learn a lot over 1-2 weeks than can transform your baby's sleep for the better!

What is a baby sleep log?

Sleep tracking, logging or journaling is recording your baby’s sleep.  Taking notes of various things to get an overall picture of your baby’s sleep.  When they go to sleep, how long it takes to fall asleep, how long they slept, where they slept, how long they had been awake and mood when they wake up.  It helps you look back and notice patterns or trends. Then those patterns can help you adjust your routines to create an even better sleep schedule for your baby.  Jotting things down throughout the day and going back to review it can give you great insights that you may not notice on the spot!

We had our first son Miles on a pretty regular nap schedule.  His second nap was the hardest to get him down for, he would toss and turn- play etc.  By the time he fell asleep, it was late and his nap would be short.  What we concluded by looking at our sleep log was that he was staying up for a really long time between waking up in the morning and his first nap. We started putting him down a half hour earlier and it worked! He’d fall asleep faster and have a more restful nap. It turned out that his wake time was a lot shorter in the morning then between his first and second nap. Sometimes babies can act like they are not tired or have a hard time falling asleep because they are overtired.

It’s also helpful to see how much sleep your baby gets in a 24 hour period.  And most importantly- how that sleep is divided between naps and nighttime sleep.  If they usually get 14 hours of sleep and took 3 one hour naps, then they will probably sleep 11 hours during the night.  

Example of a Typical Day

*6 month baby with 3 naps:

  • Wake up= 7am
  • Put down= 8:45am
  • Fall asleep= 9am
  • Wake up= 10:30am
  • Notes: Total time awake= 2 hours, good mood, slept in crib

 

  • Put down= 1pm
  • Fall asleep= 1:30pm
  • Wake up= 2:30
  • Notes: Had gone to park and then made lunch.  Wake time was 3 hours.  Seemed overtired and took a long time to fall asleep, woke up cranky.

 

  • Put down= 4pm
  • Fall asleep= Right away
  • Wake up= 5pm
  • Notes:  Happier than earlier, playful. Wake time had been 1 and ½ hours

 

  • Put down= 6:45pm
  • Fall asleep= 7pm
  • Notes: Went down easily, wake time had been 2 hours

How Long?

Keep a record for 1-2 weeks, then look at your notes to notice trends.  Sometimes even 10 minute differences can really affect the sleep schedule!  Also, pay attention to wake times. Babies up to 3 months old should not be awake longer than 1-2 hours between naps/sleep.  If you want more details on the importance of wake time- make sure you’ve checked out the newborn sleep training guide.  

How about if you don’t want to use paper?

Our paper baby sleep log is simple and to the point.  But if going digital is more your speed, there are many apps out there where you can track sleep, as well as everything else your baby is doing!  “Baby Tracker” is great for recording notes about sleeping.  Other good ones are “Baby Connect” “Total Baby” and “Glow Baby”.  The best things about apps are sharing it with a caregiver.  So if you are at work, you can open the app and see how your baby is doing on sleep, feeding and activities for that day in real time!  No waiting until you get home, which is pretty nice.  

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Til next time!

Newborn Sleep Training & The Most Important Tip for Good Sleep

First things first. There are no universally right or wrong ways to raise kids, or to sleep train kids.  After I had my first son Miles, and he only wanted to sleep by being held- I became really passionate about sleep.  In a really dorky, read too many books on newborn sleep training, kind of way.  After some knowledge coupled with trial and error, we developed a pretty great system that I have to share with you all! Will it most definitely work for every baby? Maybe not. Every baby is different. But it’s an easy, proven method and it just might work for you!   

Related:Simple Newborn Baby Schedule

Related Post: The Absolute Best 2 Camera Baby Monitor

This article is focused on what you can start day 1 of your baby being home to help them self soothe and develop a sleep schedule.  Newborn sleep training is one of the first important routines that helps our babies develop.  I know- it’s a lot of pressure! And feels daunting.  But I promise these tips are simple to implement and effective.  Newborn Sleep Training that you can start from Day 1. The most important tip for good sleep that prevents future sleep problems.

Our Experience

This post contains affiliate links that I make a small commission from. They are always of items I have found most helpful and strongly recommend.  Thanks for your support! 

The first time I was pregnant, what I heard about sleep training was that it was something you did starting at 4 months. And you let your baby cry for hours! Ahh! No thank you.  Obviously, that is not true. Sleep training is really just helping your baby learn how to sleep, and we all do it.  We don’t have to endure 4 months of a baby not sleeping well and then use strategies to “fix” their sleep problems. There are things you can start right away that will help prevent sleep problems.

We used the following newborn sleep training tips with our second son Ellis right away.  He followed a schedule, soothing practices, and routines that helped him learn to self soothe and when to expect sleep.  One of these tips was the most important part of his sleep training that I will explain below! What was amazing is that we didn’t have to “fix” any sleep problems with Ellis, because he developed into a good sleeper from the start. Yay!

We didn’t start true sleep training with our first son Miles until he was about 3-4 months. Even though he had a good routine, he did have some trouble falling asleep and we tried various methods to help him self soothe and sleep longer.  Such as some cry it out while checking on him every 5-10 minutes and the shushing while rubbing his back from Baby Wise.  There was success and he became a great sleeper, but the anxiety of going through it was not fun!  And after I learned that it didn’t have to be that way, I changed my whole mindset and approach to sleep.  

The First Week

The beginning is exhausting.  It’s a 24 hour round the clock care.  Babies do not have internal biological clocks their first few weeks. There will be a lot of sleeping, but it won’t necessarily be at night when you want it to happen. The first few days, they sleep about 15-18 hours a day, in 2-4 hour stretches.  Your focus will be feeding your baby and helping them stay awake long enough to eat. In order for Ellis to stay awake for a full feeding, I had to gently tickle his feet, or unswaddle him.  If he fell asleep in the middle of a feeding, he’d wake up early from his nap and be really hungry. newborn sleep training

There are bonuses to the beginning, like your baby can sleep anywhere.  We had a birthday party for my husband when Miles was a week old.  He slept in the middle of the party the entire time.  At this age, babies can sleep through any loud noise.

Weeks 2-8

I separated the first week, but your baby may easily sleep through noise in the second week as well.  As you’ve gotten settled at home, you can start using the following sleep training plan.  It will still be hard to have a set schedule, like exact times when your baby takes naps. They also don’t know how to differentiate between day and night, which is why they don’t know to sleep longer at night.  You can still start helping them develop a routine! What helped me most was to keep a baby sleep log, so that I could follow the newborn sleep training plan. You can read all about how to keep a baby sleep log and download your own FREE copy!

Night sleep does get longer after 6 weeks! They will start to get drowsy earlier and start to “learn” the difference between day and night sleep.  At 6 weeks, their longest sleep periods are usually at night and can last up to 6 hours.  So baby sleeps longer and you get to sleep longer too!

** I know that there are articles promising through the night sleep at this age.  From my personal experience and research, it isn’t a natural age to expect all night sleep.  I’m sure there are babies out there that do sleep through the night at this age, but it is not the most common time.  

 One to Two Hour Window of Wake Time

This is the most important part that made the most difference for us!  It is the beginning of sleep training a newborn and creates that much loved routine for mom and baby.  It can also help prevent future sleep problems.  The key is to be consistent and stick to the time frame.

So how long should babies be awake?  And why? How about if my child doesn’t show drowsy signs, what are the best times to put them down for naps?

Watch the clock or jot it down in your app or baby sleep log.  1 to 2 hours after they wake up, they are ready to sleep again.

There has been research on this and I read most of it in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  After various studies on babies and sleep, it was observed that babies have an ideal window of wake time before they become overtired and need to sleep again.  Your baby is naturally going to be drowsy at the end of a one to two hour window of being awake and you should start your soothing routine then.  If they do not fall asleep right away, continue to soothe a little longer. How you soothe is not as important as to when.

We don’t want them to be crying and irritable when we start to put them down for their nap.  That means they are already beyond drowsy and have become overtired.  Right at the two hour mark (or earlier), I’d take Ellis to his room (or our room in the bassinet) for soothing and nap time. Make sure all caregivers are following this window as well! Some people will think it’s silly to follow the time so closely. I know there were some around me that did.  The baby isn’t crying yet, are you sure they need sleep? Yes!

Whenever I have left the house, my first question coming in is “how long has the baby been awake?”  Even though my husband found this very annoying, he now loves to tell people how much this helped our baby sleep train so well! 

Finally, naps in the first 3 months are not based on the time of day, but when your baby wakes up from their last sleep.  Then plan for 1 to 2 hours of wake time before soothing to sleep.  

Soothing Tips

It doesn’t matter how you soothe, but decide what works for you and your baby and be consistent.  And make sure all other caregivers follow a similar system!  (I keep saying this because it’s that important 🙂 )This helps give familiarity and predictability as to what those actions mean- “it’s time to sleep”.  Also known as sleep associations, because your baby associates those things with sleep.

When your baby starts showing drowsy signs, begin a soothing routine to put them to sleep.  Some signs of drowsiness could be:

  • Decreased activity
  • Slower movements
  • Quieter
  • Not smiling as much
  • Eyelids look heavier

If they have moved past drowsy to overtired, they may be crying or very irritable.  Ideally, you want to catch them before they are overtired because it can be harder to put them to sleep.  As you observe your baby, you’ll notice what their particular signs are.  Ellis is usually laughing and active, but right when he gets tired he stops playing, it’s harder to get him to smile and is not happy doing any of his favorite things.  

Soothing is just helping your baby get out of a playful state to a more relaxed, peaceful place.  The most common soothing techniques that work when done all together are:

  • Cuddling
  • Sucking
  • Gentle rocking

Routines

Related: Simple Newborn Baby Schedule

A routine that includes a combination of these three soothing practices creates a perfect scenario for sleep.  Include an environment perfect for sleep and you have a winning recipe! Dark rooms, a nice swaddle, and white noise help babies fall and stay asleep.  We used swaddles and the halo sleep sack (gave them room to kick!) at night.  Blackout curtains are a must for the nursery! Our babies initially slept in our bedroom so we made sure it was dark there as well. 

We have a hold that everyone who takes care of our boys know. It is the golden hold! For us at least.  So grandma, auntie, nanny, etc all knew it.  When you figure out that magical touch with your baby, make sure everyone else learns it also to keep the consistency.  Ours is chest to chest, with a light bum patting.  

As an example, this is our nap routine: Change diaper and swaddle (for the first 6 weeks- 3months). My boys punched out of their swaddles a lot around 8 weeks, so this merlin sleepsuit also helps with the startle but lets their hands be free.  Then I sit in the glider while using the “golden” hold, in their dark room and glide back and forth.  Sometimes if my boys couldn’t relax, I would sing softly to them. If no one has ever liked your singing, say hello to your new biggest fan! After laying them down practically asleep, I turn on their white noise machine.

For night time sleep we add a bath, gentle massage with lotion and reading.  With Miles, we actually played classical music during bath time.  Yeah I know.  First baby life.  It was very calming! Poor Ellis’ bath includes a toddler screaming, throwing toys and splashing him. He still loves it though, and while it’s not as relaxing- he still associates it with sleep.  He immediately starts rubbing his eyes when I put him on the changing table after bath.

Common Concerns

At the beginning, I often nursed both boys to sleep or very close to sleep.  Neither took a pacifier, but I’ve heard this one is great because it doesn’t fall out! Miles sucked his thumb and Ellis sucks two of his fingers also.  Babies naturally use sucking as a comfort.  So however you or your baby wants to accomplish this- it works wonders! I personally do not think nursing to sleep created any sleep problems for my boys, even though I know others say it can.  If you have always nursed your baby to sleep and want to transition, just make sure they have something else as a soothing replacement.

Your baby becomes more and more social as they grow and they want to hang out with you all the time! This is great, but they can also use that to trick you into thinking they don’t need sleep.  There were many times I would go start my soothing routine for Ellis’ nap and he’d be drifting, but then suddenly he pops his head up and gives me the biggest, gummiest smile.  Then he puts his hand on my face and starts laughing.  It is the cutest thing ever.  And it is a great moment to share, but I continue my soothing routine because I know he’s been up two hours and needs to wind down for his nap. Even if he’s developing a strong case of FOMO (fear of missing out), I know he needs to sleep train.

Pausing. So essential. Many times at night Ellis gets up and starts talking to himself a little bit.  I don’t go in to get him.  It usually lasts a minute or two and then he falls back asleep. Pause if your baby wakes up. This also helps them learn to fall asleep on their own, which is a huge part of sleep training a newborn. If they continue to wake up more and get increasingly upset, then go in and repeat your soothing routine. A video monitor works wonders for this, because you don’t have to wonder what they are doing but can just look at the screen.  

Other developmental milestones to be aware of in the future: Nap times do eventually take place naturally at certain times of day.  Between 3-4 months, your baby starts taking a morning (9-10am), afternoon (1-2pm) and a short third nap (4pm).  If you notice, it still follows the same wake time window.  At 4 months, babies naturally want an earlier bedtime. We did a 7pm bedtime. The recommended window is 6-8pm. Night time sleep should be about 12 hours. Both my boys dropped their night feedings around 6 months, but they may need them up to 9 months.  

Sources

  • Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child– my sleep bible! If you only buy one book on sleep- this is the one to go with! I’ve read it several times, he not only helps you learn about sleep but has several options for fixing sleep problems.  
  • On Becoming Baby Wise. This is widely referenced as the introduction to the Eat-Wake-Sleep Cycle.  After my sons started sucking their thumb/fingers, I started following this more.  At the beginning I did nurse before sleep.  The biggest take away is a consistent routine! There are also strategies to help babies sleep without crying

In Conclusion

  • The first couple of weeks home with baby is all about feeding and sleeping on demand, cuddling and bonding.  
  • As you settle into a rhythm (around 2 weeks is ideal), start your routine.
  • Keep your baby’s wake time to 1 to 2 hours tops!
  • Log your baby’s sleep and feeding times.
  • Use consistent soothing techniques and routines to help your baby develop healthy associations with sleep.
  • Make sure all other caregivers use the same techniques and routines for consistency and predictability.

Most importantly- just breathe and relax.  Take everything you read as guidance, not law. With Miles, I was too rigid with the advice I read and tried following guidelines but not observing him enough.  It’s a delicate balance between the two. Not every nap or day will be perfect.  That’s okay.  Anything to do with kids takes some flexibility and sleep is no different.

I promise a good night’s sleep is in your future!

Things that are Better & Easier with the Second Baby

Some things ARE easier with more kids! The anticipation of the second baby does bring a whole new set of worries that did not exist the first time. We just got used to taking care of one baby, how are we supposed to take care of two??!! How can I give the second baby enough attention? Will my toddler be jealous and attack the baby? Wait a minute, how can I sleep when the baby sleeps if I have a toddler?!

Related Post: What You Really Need to Buy New for a Second Baby

Things that are Easier and Better with the Second Baby, Second baby concerns, toddler ready for second baby

As my second baby Ellis turns 8 months old, I have experienced some of the fears to be completely warranted. But even though there are some things that are harder, the things that are easier are so important to remember and can really make life better while parenting two kids.  There are adjustments and life is totally different. Just like everything changed when you had baby #1, it changes again. A whole other baby is a big deal! You adjust, just like you did before. How? The experience, instinct and confidence that only a seasoned mom can have. This is my personal experience of things that are easier and better the second time around. 

*Curious about scheduling your day with two? Read about creating a toddler baby schedule that works for you and your family!

Related: 8 Tips to Prepare Your Toddler for New Baby

Confidence

My first baby Miles was finally put in my arms after a long 3 days of labor. I immediately froze. I looked up at my mom and said, “I don’t even know how to hold a newborn. How am I supposed to do this?” My feelings of anxiety and nerves overwhelmed my feelings of happiness. I had no experience with newborns. Then we try to initiate breastfeeding, and again- no clue what I’m doing.  I felt so awkward not knowing how to position him so that he could latch.  Another wave of doubt- frustration and nervousness that I won’t be able to feed my baby and I won’t be able to figure this out.  Yes, I was happy and excited to be a mom but all of these worries and anxieties were clouding the joy and it was hard for me to just be present and enjoy the moment.

When Ellis was born 20 months later, labor was so easy.  LOL.  No it wasn’t, it still sucked, sorry! What was different though was when Ellis was put in my arms. I looked up at my husband and just smiled.  The magical fact this time around is my confidence in being a mom. I had done this before.  When I looked at Ellis, I was just happy- nothing else.  An overwhelming feeling of happiness. I knew how to hold and take care of a newborn baby.  I had figured out how to breastfeed. Was I still nervous about this new baby and how our lives would change? Definitely. I had time to worry about that later. In this moment, the nerves didn’t matter and I could just be present, soaking in this new little being.  

My first got many things- the excitement of being a new mom, all of my undying attention for almost 2 years. My second gets my confidence though, and with that, an ability to enjoy the tougher moments because I had overcome them before.

Mother’s Instinct

The motherly instinct did kick in with Miles….eventually. I had it from the beginning with Ellis. I’m not researching every tiny cough or noise while he was sleeping.  Or forget researching, I’m not losing sleep staring at the monitor- debating to go back in the room to check if he’s still breathing! Or if he is going to stay cross eyed, if that rash is ever going away or if a visit to the ER necessary. I’m able to decipher what his cries mean, not always of course, but I can usually tell if it’s a sleep, hunger or discomfort cry.  

I haven’t been obsessively looking for milestones, but enjoying them when they come. You know they are going to figure out how to sit up, crawl and walk.  I work with Ellis on these things, but I watched Miles like a hawk to see when anything new happened.  Honestly, there’s just no time for that now!

I understand more that phases come and go. As I got up in the middle of the night those first few months, while still hard, I know that it does eventually end. Trust me, I need my sleep.  Not being able to catch up in the day because there is a toddler to take care is not always fun. This too shall pass.  I won’t always be getting up at night so why not enjoy all these little things as they come. Those nights were usually the only times Ellis and I got to bond on our own.

Related: Mothering Two: Acknowledging the Bad & Celebrating the Good

Experience

With Ellis, I have tricks in my arsenal! He tries to fight my sleep hold, but sorry honey I know this works like gold and you are going to fall asleep very soon! Blowouts are still the worst thing ever.  But I’m not going to walk out of Target if he has one (yes this happened).  I always bring an extra pair of clothes, or maybe two.  

When Miles was a week old, I tried to wear my moby wrap for the first time.  You know the longest piece of fabric you’ve ever seen, with multiple steps on how to put it on.   I lost it. Like, I might have started crying and thrown it across the room. Drama, I know.  It was complicated and I was so overwhelmed with the idea of having to put that on and take Miles outside. Now I can put it on like nothing! I know my favorite carriers for different phases of their first year.

And that is just the beginning. Think of all the uncertainties and insane amount of new things you had to master. The second time around you can just work on perfecting them. Yes, things will be completely different.  There are tough adjustments.  There are times that are so busy, because they both have their own individual needs and you have to navigate them simultaneously.

The experience, confidence and instinct that you already developed are priceless.  I know there will be even more tough times alongside the great ones, but it’s completely worth it. Brothers, Toddler giving baby bottle

Boy Mom

What do you think was easier with the second or subsequent children?