Are you wondering if you need to tweak your baby’s schedule at 9 months? Here’s your guide to 9-month-old wake windows and sleep!
You’ll hear parents say this a lot, but the 9-month-old phase was one of my most fond and memorable times during my daughter’s first year.
We had a good foundation for sleep, so everyone’s nights included long, glorious stretches of sleep. We really settled into the routine of those restful nights, and I felt like a new person!
On top of that, our daughter was mastering all sorts of cool physical skills and beginning to mimic words. It was an exciting time!
Our daughter was finding more and more things to capture her attention during her awake hours.
We found ourselves tweaking her schedule slightly, extending awake times to help her take longer naps. We also made sure she had enough time between her last nap and bedtime to really get her wiggles out.
Let’s talk about how 9-month-old wake windows can impact your baby’s sleep schedule. Maybe you need to make some tweaks like we did!
How Long Can My 9-Month-Old Be Awake?
At 9 months old, your baby’s wake windows will be between 3 to 3.5 hours.
Wake windows are essentially the optimal amount of time your baby can stay awake between sleeps. We want to try to hit a wake window sweet spot (not too long and not too short) to avoid negatively impacting sleep quality.
When your baby is 9 months old, the recommended wake window is between 3-3.5 hours. That means it’ll be anywhere from 3 to 3.5 hours between when you get them out of bed and when they’re ready to sleep again.
Most babies will do well with the following wake windows at 9 months old: 3–3.25 / 3.5 / 3–3.5. Babies should have about 13 to 14 hrs of total sleep, with about 11 to 12 hours at night and 2 to 3 hours in day sleep.
9-Month-Old Wake Windows are Flexible
Remember that wake windows are presented as a range for a reason!
Some babies will have the exact same length of wake window throughout the day. Others might have slightly shorter or longer wake windows at different points of the day depending on what they need.
The bottom line is: you know your baby best!
If you make an adjustment to your 9-month-old’s wake windows, take some time to observe. If they were going down easy for their first nap after 2.5 hours, you may need to add 15 to 30 minutes before that first wake window and see if that helps!
When Should I Increase Wake Windows?
You probably saw a big shift in your baby’s schedule somewhere between 6–8 months. One big change that happens during that time is transitioning from 3 naps to 2.
The good news is that when you’ve settled into that new nap schedule, things hold pretty steady for many months. Once you transition to 7-month-old wake windows, you can expect a good amount of predictability in your schedule moving forward.
You’ll probably only need to tweak wake windows by 15–30 minutes by the time your baby reaches 9 months old.
Signs That Your 9-Month-Old Wake Windows Need to Be Adjusted
There are a few different signs to look for when determining if your 9-month-old’s wake windows should increase.
The first sign is that they begin to fight bedtime and nap time, when they used to go down without much fuss.
Another sign that wake windows are too short is that your baby lays awake in their crib for more than 15 minutes before drifting off to sleep.
Lastly, if you notice that your baby’s naps are shorter all of a sudden, it’s another sign that they need more awake time during the day.
Once your baby isn’t fighting bedtime and is falling asleep easily again, you’ve got the right wake windows locked in!
Feel Confident Tackling your Baby’s Sleep Schedule
Want to feel confident understanding wake windows and your baby’s sleep needs at every age and stage?
Get printable schedules for babies ages Newborn through 4 years old with my Baby Schedule Cheat Sheets. You’ll get sample schedules, and a roadmap for your baby’s wake windows and nap transitions through their first 4 years. Check it out here!
A Word of Caution About the 9-Month Sleep Regression
At this age, developmental changes in your baby might cause a 9 month sleep regression. The important thing to keep in mind about sleep regressions is that they are temporary setbacks.
We did our best in those first 9 months to establish really great independent sleep habits, and the 9-month sleep regression completely skipped us over. But not everyone is so lucky!
It’s tempting when you’re in the midst of a regression to try to change your baby’s sleep schedule to “fix” it. Unfortunately, that can often cause more disruption than help.
Give your baby plenty of time to practice their new skills during the day and use a sleep training method if needed, so you don’t revert to habits that will be hard to break down the line!
Check out my post on common sleep regressions and how to make it through them. Try to resist the urge to completely overhaul your 9 month old’s sleep schedule, and have faith that this too shall pass!
How Many Naps Should a 9-Month Old Take?
By 9 months old, your baby is ready to be on a 2-nap schedule. In fact, they’ve probably already made that transition by dropping the third nap.
That means a 9-month-old sleep schedule includes two 1.25-1.5 hour-long naps, and three 3 to 3.5-hour long wake windows.
Some 9-month-olds can stay on this 2-nap schedule using a consistent 3-hour wake window between each sleep. But keep in mind that there’s flexibility in the wake windows, so they don’t have to all be the same length.
In fact, for many babies, the first wake window of the day is slightly shorter than the others. They’re ready for that first nap!
Should I Wake My 9-Month-Old From a Nap?
It can be hard to wake a peacefully sleeping baby, but I always had to wake up my daughter in order to preserve her night sleep.
At this age, wake your baby up if they’ve been napping for 2 hours. Don’t let naps go over 2 hours at this point.
Sometimes it’s worth waking your baby when they’re sleeping too late in the afternoon, so you don’t impact their bedtime and cut into their nighttime sleep hours.
9-Month Old Sleep Schedule
Here’s a sample sleep schedule based on the recommended wake windows for your 9-month old.
7:00 AM: Wake for the day
10:00–11:15 AM: Nap
2:45-4 PM: Nap
7:30 PM: Bedtime
If you need more help with wake windows and baby’s sleep schedules, grab my Baby Sleep Schedules here!