I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!


Find Me Here!

Tag cloud
10 month old sleep 11 month old 2 year old can't fall asleep 2 year old nap 3 year old stops napping 4 month old 45 minute naps 8 month old adults adults sleep alarm clock babies baby baby bedtime baby doesn't nap baby fall back baby nursing to sleep baby rolling at night baby short naps baby sleep baby sleep positioners baby sleep routine bad bedtimes bedroom too loud bedsharing bedtime bedtime baby bedtime books bedtime child bedtime for teens bedtime problem bedtime routine bedtime snacks bedtimes bedwetting best bedtime stories for kids big boy bed blackout curtains boost breastfed baby sleep through the night bsby cosleeping bumpers caffeine child child bedtime child can't sleep child sleeping in a tent childcare childhood fears and sleep children cosleeping cover story creativity crib cry it out cultural intelligence daycare daylight savings time Daylight Savings Time kid bedtime daylight savings time sleep DHA does exercise help kids sleep dropping a nap DST early waker early waking ebook education energy equality equally shared parenting exercise and kids exercise and sleep fall back falling back families family five month old naps five month old short naps five month old sleep five year old bedtime food getting baby to bed getting dad to help with bedtime Getting kids to bed getting kids to bed during the summer getting kids to bed when it's light out getting rid of the pacifier giveaway green Harvey Karp Hawaii health heart health tips help helping kids adjust to daylight savings time helping kids get to sleep after vacation Helping kids sleep in the summer helping kids sleep through the night helping twins sleep holiday how long should babies nap how long should bedtime take how much sleep do adults need how to get rid of nightmares how to help a preschooler nap how to stop nightmares humor immune system infant sleep insomnia kids kids always get sick kids and daylight savings time kids sharing bedrooms kids sleep questions Kindle king 5 large family late bedtime learning leg cramps light math Moms moving child to his own bedroom nap nap routine napping in arms naps new sibling newborn news night terror night waking nightlights nightmare nightmares nighttime dryness nurse to sleep association nutrition one year old overtied kids overtired overtired child overtiredness pacifier pajamas nightmares parenting parentmap pediatric restless legs syndrome potty training pregnancy and newborn preschool Preschooler problem problem solving product productivity pull ups putting kids to bed questions raising a boy robotic safety safey separation anxiety setting a bedtime for kids shared bedroom shared bedrooms Shopping short naps short sleeper six month old sleep skipped naps sleep sleep and learning sleep coach sleep coaching sleep consulting sleep expert sleep for moms sleep gadgets sleep help sleep hygiene sleep pregnancy sleep questions sleep regression sleep through the night sleeping during the summer sleeping well during pregnancy sleeping while camping soundproof spring forward standing and screaming in crib stress sugar summer summer bedtime swaddle teen teen bedtime Teenage brains television time change time zone adjustment toddler toddler 4 am toddler bed toddler leg cramps toddler naps toddler sleep toddlers toilet transition transition to one nap travel with kids tryptophan twins undertired up all night violence and kids violent video games and children waking warm bedroom hurts sleep weaning the swaddle winter women heart health won't fall asleep work worries
« Ask Malia: Son Sleeps at Night, Hates Naps | Main | Transitioning to a School-Year Sleep Routine »

Ask Malia: Sleep Schedule for a 9-month-old?

Dear Malia,

Quick question about my little Alice—at what point should I start enforcing a strict sleep schedule? Currently, she gets up between 6:30 and 7:30 and throughout the day, goes down for a nap about 2 hours after waking up from her last nap. This has her napping 3 to 4 times before going to bed around 9 p.m. She just turned 9 months old and luckily, goes down pretty easily. I am just not sure when to start waking her up in the am if she 'oversleeps' like she is today (it is 8 a.m. and she isn't up yet but she has been sick so I am not surprised she needs to catch up a bit).


First, I never advocate strict schedules for babies, young children—or really, anyone. I’m not much of a strict scheduler, myself. I am, however, a fan of flexible routines that bend when you need them to, and more importantly, bend back.

At 9 months, Alice is old enough to be taking 2 daily naps (one in the a.m., one after lunch), not 3 or 4 . Many babies take a third nap, a short late afternoon/early evening nap (30-45 minutes at most) that they drop around 9 months.

To get her routine started, I suggest waking her up by 7:30 at the latest—setting a consistent a.m. wake-up time is the single most important thing you can do to encourage a consistent, healthy sleep routine. Because she still takes multiple daytime naps, letting her snooze later in the a.m. results in a late bedtime and a routine that varies widely from day to day.

In the morning, try a nap around 10 a.m., and another nap around 1:30 or 2 p.m. If she can't make it to bedtime without a third nap, a short nap around dinnertime is OK--no more than30- 45 minutes, just to get her through. Since this nap is so brief, it can be in a swing, carrier, or carseat if needed. Then she can go to bed around 7 or 7:30 p.m.

So instead of 3 to 4 naps, it's more like 2.5. You're still not keeping her awake for much longer than 2 to 2.5 hours at a time (though at her age many babies can go 3 hours or more, so it wouldn't hurt to gently stretch her awake periods if she's ready). But with fewer naps, her naps should be longer, and she can go to bed earlier (yay!).

Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

References (6)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    NFL is really 1 of the biggest sports in America. It has a significant following.
  • Response
    Response: Mark Galliano
    Writer, Editor, & Sleep Journalist - The Well Rested Family - Ask Malia: Sleep Schedule for a 9-month-old?
  • Response
    Writer, Editor, & Sleep Journalist - The Well Rested Family - Ask Malia: Sleep Schedule for a 9-month-old?
  • Response
    Response: joel mann
    I found a great...
  • Response
    Response: exterminating bed
    Writer, Editor, & Sleep Journalist - The Well Rested Family - Ask Malia: Sleep Schedule for a 9-month-old?
  • Response
    Response: Church Staffing
    Writer, Editor, & Sleep Journalist - The Well Rested Family - Ask Malia: Sleep Schedule for a 9-month-old?

Reader Comments (1)

I appreciate this post! We are trying to get our 8 month old on a rough schedule. The problem is the variance in the nap length... I see you say the naps should be longer, but what about when they aren't (2 hours one day and 30 minutes the next). I try to help him fall back asleep but it rarely works. And if it becomes a 3 nap day instead of 2, he isn't ready for bedtime until 2 hours later than usual. If we keep him awake he is over tired and won't sleep at bedtime either... Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

November 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>