Looking for the optimal schedule for your growing baby? Use these 7 month old wake window guidelines to optimize your baby’s sleep.
As a baby and toddler sleep consultant, working with babies who are around 7 months of age is my sweet spot!
This is the most popular age that I work with when I help families one-on-one to help their baby’s sleep.
Developmentally, it’s an exciting time! Most families are introducing solids using either baby-led weaning, or purees, and babies tend to show lots of interest in mobility without being able to get too far.
Watching your baby develop is such a gratifying experience. Combine that with everyone getting more sleep, and it makes parenting so much more enjoyable!
As you begin to settle in to the second half of your baby’s first year, you might be wondering what your 7-month-old’s sleep schedule should look like.
Up until now, your baby’s wake windows changed frequently and it probably felt like you were always trying to find their sweet spot.
The good news is, once you hit this age, and transition to two naps, your baby’s wake windows and schedule won’t have to change much for several months!
Let’s talk about your 7-month-old’s wake window and sleep schedule!
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What Should a 7-Month-Old’s Routine Be?
Your baby’s routine is much more active than it used to be back in those sleepy newborn days!
There’s a lot more to fit into the day: meals with solid food, more active playing with toys, rolling over, and maybe even the first signs of crawling.
I’m an advocate for the eat-play-sleep routine in those early days, since it helps avoid creating a sleep association for your baby where they need to be nursed to sleep.
But at this age, if you haven’t made feeding as a sleep association, then it isn’t as important to stick so closely to eat/wake/sleep.
Just keep your feedings 30 minutes away from nap time so your baby isn’t feeding to sleep.
Moving into a time of activity and movement after feeding your baby is much easier to do when they’re no longer in the newborn phase. As a bonus, you now have solid food meals to keep your 7-month-old entertained, too!
The more physically active you can keep your baby before putting them down to sleep, the longer they’ll rest. So after you’re done feeding them, set up that playpen or blanket on the floor and let them explore!
Your 7-Month-Old’s Wake Windows
Chances are pretty good that if you haven’t already started to see some big changes in your baby’s schedule over the past month, you’re about to!
One thing that changes as your baby ages and develops is their ability to stay awake for longer stretches of time. We refer to this as your baby’s wake windows.
A 5-month-old wake window is 2 to 2.5 hours at a time, giving your baby three solid naps.
By the time your baby is 7 months old, their wake window stretches to 2.5 to 3.5 hours of awake activity between sleeps.
That means that the 7-month-old wake window can be as short as 2.5 hours, but the max wake window for a 7-month-old is 3.5 hours. Keep in mind that if you push it longer than that, you might have an overtired baby on your hands.
Babies typically have their shortest wake window at the beginning of the day.
How Many Naps Should a 7-Month-Old Take?
7 Months is a very common age for your baby to drop the third nap and transition to two naps per day. It’s not uncommon for a baby to have some days with three short naps and other days with two solid naps as they make the nap transition.
If you need to fit in a cat nap as the last nap here on some days, don’t sweat it! You can also do an early bedtime, putting your baby down up to 60 minutes earlier to help them from getting overtired during the transition.
Get all my tips to help you make the 3 to 2 nap transition as smooth as possible!
As your baby grows and turns 8 months old, they’ll get used to the new schedule and be able to extend their nap lengths.
How Do I Know if My Baby is Ready to Transition to 2 Naps?
Not all babies show sleepy cues once they are out of the newborn phase, so you have to pay attention to the other signs your baby gives you that he may be ready to make a nap change.
Your baby will likely show you signs that they are ready to extend their wake windows and transition to two naps. These signs may include:
- Your baby starts refusing a nap or taking a longer amount of time to fall asleep. Babies often fight the catnap first when they are ready to drop it.
- Your baby’s starts taking short naps. He may have been sleeping 1.5 hours and is suddenly waking up early or taking shorter naps altogether.
- The catnap starts interfering with bedtime. Your baby might not be falling asleep for the catnap until 30 minutes after you put him down, pushing the time he wakes up from the nap back and pushing bedtime back as well.
- Bedtime becomes a battle. If your child used to go to bed easily at bedtime and is now fighting bedtime sleep and not falling asleep until long after you put him to bed, he may be ready to drop a nap.
- Your baby’s naps seem all over the place. You may have gone from having a predictable, set nap schedule to a suddenly chaotic nap schedule. Naps can start to interfere with bedtime, pushing everything back.
- Your baby starts having night wakings. He may wake up in the middle of the night when he was previously sleeping through. This could mean he’s been getting too much daytime sleep and needs to drop a nap.
- Your baby starts waking up early in the morning. If your baby was typically sleeping until 7 am and suddenly starts having early wakings, it may be a sign he is ready to drop the third nap. Not enough awake time can lead to early morning wake ups.
If your baby has experienced any of these for several days in a row, it might be time to make the transition to two naps.
Once your baby moves to a two nap schedule, you’ll be able to rely on a more regular routine for at least the next six months with minimal changes!
7-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
The sleep schedule below includes 7-month-old awake windows that are each 3 hours long. I like this schedule because it’s easy to remember—all of the wake windows are the same length!
However, you have some flexibility with your 7-month-old’s schedule depending on their needs and your family routine.
For example, if your baby seems fussy and ready to go down for their first nap earlier, you can shorten their first wake window to 2.5 hours and extend the last window of the day to 3.5 hours.
Once you find your baby’s sweet spot with the right wake windows, you can stick to a set schedule, offering naps at the same time each day. No more worrying about wake windows and changing your baby’s nap times each day!
Here is a sample schedule using 3-hour wake windows:
7:00 am: Wake up + nurse or bottle
8:30 am: Solids/Breakfast
10:00 to 11:30 am: Nap
11:30 am: Nurse or bottle
12:30 pm: Solids/Lunch
2:00 pm: Small nurse or bottle (if needed)
2:30 to 4:00 pm: Nap
4:00 pm: Nurse or bottle
5:30 pm: Solids/Dinner
6:30 pm: Start baby’s bedtime routine + nurse or bottle
7:00 pm: Bedtime
If you want more sample schedules for your 7-month old, grab the Baby Sleep Schedules!