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9 Month Old Sleep Schedule Ideas

Are you in search of 9 Month Old Sleep Schedule Ideas? If so, you have come to the perfect place. As a mom of two under two, a Registered Nurse, and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, one thing I am well aware of is the varying degree of infant sleep schedules. Just a few months ago I was adjusting my daughter’s sleep schedule a few weeks before the 9-month mark.

Our infants are drastically changing in their first year of life and even in the first 9 months of life, we see many schedule shifts that our babies require.

First, we will discuss total sleep needs so we have a proper understanding of how much sleep your 9-month-old requires to meet their developmental needs. We are looking for an average of 14 hours of total sleep within 24 hours. This would cover 11-12 hours of nighttime sleep with 2-3 hours of daytime sleep. This amount of sleep also falls within the recommended range of 12-15 hours according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Bottom Line: Your 9 month old should be receiving 11-12 hours of sleep over night and 2-3 hours of daytime sleep split over two naps, following an average of 2.75-3.5 hours of wake periods between sleep.

Wake Windows

Your 9-month-old baby now requires longer wake time between periods of sleep vs. their younger months. On average a 9-month-old requires 2.5-3.5 hours of wake time before they require their next nap or bedtime. The last wake window before bed is the longest of the day. For example, if your 9-month-old requires 2.75 hours of wake time before nap 1, and 3.25 hours before nap 2, we will likely see a wake window of 3.5-3.75 hours before bed.

Every baby is different and their ability to tolerate wake time will vary. The 2.5-3.5 hour wake window is a guideline, some babies require a full 4 hours of wake period before bed. These babies would be classified as needing above-average wake windows or also known as having a high tolerance for wake time.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have some 9-month-old babies on the low end of wake windows, this means they are unable to tolerate the higher range of wake windows and often require sleep between 2.5-3 hours of wake time. Sometimes these babies hold onto two naps plus a micro or cat nap to bridge to bed.

Daytime Naps

It is most common to have a 9-month-old baby on two naps a day vs. 3 naps. If your 9-month-old baby is still taking 3 naps a day but one or more of those naps are becoming difficult, meaning your baby is fighting the process of falling asleep for this nap or its as short as 15 minutes, this is an ideal time to transition to a two nap a day schedule.

9 Month Old Sleep Schedule Ideas

For those 9-month-olds on 3 naps a day, these are signs your baby is ready to transition to two naps.

  • Taking over 15 minutes to fall asleep for their nap
  • Most naps are 30 mins in length and the baby is waking up happy/content
  • The last nap of the day is interfering with bedtime
  • Skipping or missing a nap altogether

Those 9-month-olds who are in the process of phasing out the last nap, are ready to tolerate age-appropriate wake windows. If you have a 9-month-old notorious cat napper and they are falling asleep independently the likely cause of short naps comes down to them not being tired enough to need a full nap (1 hour or longer). Once we have a baby tired enough with age-appropriate wake windows, they can consolidate sleep and nap beyond the 30-45 minutes you may remember from the newborn stage.

Nap Lengths

If you are wondering how long each nap should be for your 9-month-old, it is important to remember we are aiming for at least 2 hours of daytime sleep, ideally not exceeding 3 hours. Oversleeping during the day can impact nighttime sleep causing an increase in night wakings or split nights.

Baby Sleeping

Split nights resemble a baby waking up in the middle of the night (often happy) and they are wide awake for about an hour, they are trying to burn off energy before falling back asleep. If you are experiencing split nights, it’s time to check on your wake window lengths and how much daytime sleep your baby is achieving, it may be time to decrease their naps.

Ideally, we will see one nap slightly above an hour in length. Each nap can be 1.25 hours in length to achieve 2.5 hours of daytime sleep. If your baby only takes a 45-60 minute nap, you can see a longer 1.25-1.5 hours second nap. If the first nap was only 30 minutes, we would ideally see a 1.5-1.75 (maximum 2-hour) second nap.

When we are on our way home before a nap, it is common for a baby to fall asleep in the vehicle. If this does happen, it can impact their sleep drive, making it difficult for the baby to fall asleep at their regular scheduled nap time. You likely will have to push back their nap by 15-20 minutes for your baby to be tired enough to fall asleep.

Below are examples of 9-month sample schedules:

9 Month Old Sample Schedule, Wake Windows 2.75/3/3.5

7:00 am – Up/Milk Feed
8:00 am – Solids
9:45-11:00 am – Nap 1 (1.25 hours)
11:00 am – Milk Feed
Noon – Solids
1:30 pm – Small Snack Solids
2:00-3:30 pm – Nap 2 (1.5 hours)
3:30 pm – Milk Feed
5:00 pm – Solids
6:30 pm – Milk Feed
7:00 – Bedtime

The above sample schedule provides 2.75 hours of naps with 12 hours of nighttime sleep. This would be ideal for a baby who has above-average sleep needs, achieving a total of 14.75 hours of sleep in 24 hours.

Baby Sleeping

9 Month Old Sample Schedule, Wake Windows 3/3/3.75

7:00 am – Up/Milk Feed
8:00 am – Solids
10:00-11:15 am – Nap 1 (1.25 hours)
11:15 am – Milk Feed
Noon – Solids
2:15-3:30 pm – Nap 2 (1.25 hours)
3:30 pm – Milk Feed
5:00 pm – Solids
6:45 pm – Bedtime Milk Feed
7:15 pm – Bedtime

The above sample schedule allows for 2.5 hours of naps which would achieve the proper amount of daytime sleep required with 11.75 hours of night sleep, for a total of 12.25 hours of sleep in 24 hours.

9 Month Old Sample Schedule, Wake Windows 3/3.5/3.75

7:00 am – Up/Milk Feed
8:00 am – Solids
10:00-11:00 am – Nap 1 (1 hour)
11:00 am – Milk Feed
Noon – Solids
2:00 – Snack Solids
2:30-3:45 pm – Nap 2 (1.25 hours)
3:45 pm – Milk Feed
5:00 pm – Solids
7:00 pm – Bedtime Milk Feed
7:30 pm – Bedtime

The above sample schedule allows for 2.25 hours of naps which would achieve the proper amount of daytime sleep required with 11.5 hours of night sleep, for a total of 13.75 hours of sleep in 24 hours.

Baby Sleeping

9 Month Old Sample Schedule, Wake Windows 3.25/3.5/4 (For the Baby Needing “Above Average” Wake Windows)

7:00 am – Up/Milk Feed
8:00 am – Solids
10:15-11:15 am – Nap 1 (1 hour)
11:15 am – Milk Feed
Noon – pm – Solids
2:15 pm – Milk Feed (Top Up)
2:45-4:00 pm – Nap 2 (1.25 hours)
4:15 pm – Milk Feed
5:30 pm – Solids
7:30 pm – Bedtime Milk Feed
8:00 pm – Bedtime

The above sample schedule allows for 2.25 hours of naps which would achieve the proper amount of daytime sleep required and 11 hours of night sleep, for a total of 13.25 hours of sleep in 24 hours.

9 Month Old Feeding Needs

9 Month Old Feeding Needs

Your 9-month-old can sleep through the night without requiring middle-of-the-night feeds, as long as the baby is receiving adequate nutrition during the day. Proper daytime caloric intake equals solid nighttime sleep. Due to the lengthening of wake windows, we often see longer periods from one milk feed to the next. Mothers breastfeeding may want to continue to feed every 3-3.5 hours if they have any concerns with their milk supply. For those bottle-feeding, it is normal to move to a 4-hour feed routine (plus solids) once the baby is older and tolerates longer wake windows.

Your 9-month-old is likely taking solids more reliably, we want to see solids occurring consistently at least 2 times a day upwards of 3 times daily. The quantity of solids ranges from 1/4-1/2 cup per feeding, the reason this information is valuable is that with a decrease in milk feeds the remaining caloric intake comes from the solids we are providing them.

Having a 9-month-old on your hands comes with a lot more movement, your baby is likely burning more calories now than ever before. Due to the increase in mobility, it is imperative to make sure they are receiving their milk feeds with proper offerings of solids. This will also help avoid your baby waking up early from a nap due to hunger. A happy and full belly is always the key to successful sleep. 

9-Month-Old Sleep Struggles

9-Month-Old Sleep Struggles

If you are experiencing disturbances in sleep due to your baby sitting or standing in their crib or even being mobile (crawling all over their sleep space), know this is a common occurrence for the 9-month mark. Letting your baby practice their skill set is better than trying to force them to fall asleep. Once your baby has mastered their newfound skill, they will return to sleep more soundly since they no longer feel they need to practice.

Expert Sleep Tip: helping your baby practice their skill set during the day within the wake window period can be an essential part of mastering their skills and decreases their need to practice during periods of sleep.

Some babies have a peak in separation anxiety around the 9-month mark, this period is known as the 8-month sleep regression. Focusing on object permanence, (hello peek-a-boo and find it games), can help your little one feel confident that when you walk away, you will be coming back.

Expert Sleep Tip: Spending positive experiences during the day in the room your baby sleeps in can improve their ability to feel secure within their sleep space. Get creative and make this an enjoyable experience. 

FAQs – 9 Month Old Sleep Schedule Ideas

Question: How many naps should a 9-month-old take?

Answer: We usually see two naps per day for a 9-month-old baby. When a baby has hit the 9-month mark they have longer wake windows vs. their younger days. Due to the extended wake window lengths, there is usually not enough time in the day to fit 3 full naps in. This is when we see two naps a day each being at least 1 hour in length.

Question: How long should a 9-month-old be awake between naps?

Answer: A 9-month-old baby can tolerate being awake anywhere from 2.5-3.5 hours, most often needing at least 2.75 hours of wake time before being offered the opportunity for sleep. We often see the longest wake window of the day is before bed, this wake window length ranges between 3.25-4 hours.

Question: What is a good sleep routine for a 9-month-old?

Answer: A proper sleep routine for a 9-month-old includes sleeping 11-12 hours overnight and achieving 2-3 hours of daytime sleep occurring over two naps per day. We would ideally see wake windows between 2.75-3.5 hours before naps and a 3.5-4 hour wake window before bedtime. We would also achieve nap lengths ranging from 1-2 hours, aiming to not exceed 3 hours of daytime sleep.

Question: What time should a 9-month-old go to bed?

Answer: A 9-month-old baby should be placed down for bed between 7-8 pm, the best time is determined by using an age-appropriate wake window of 3-4 hours. Ideally, the second nap is ending by 4:00 pm to allow for a bedtime between 7-8 pm, depending on a baby’s ability to tolerate wake windows this would allow either 3 or a maximum of 4 hours of wake time before falling asleep for bed.

Final Thoughts

Your baby is at an age where developmentally they can consolidate sleep, meaning we can see them sleep through the night without requiring a nighttime feed and we can see naps exceeding one sleep cycle. This is a great age to have more predictability in your routine. If you are 9 months in and still struggling with frequent night wakings or chronic cat naps, this is a perfect time to focus on improving sleep for your baby.

Knowing your 9-month-old can sleep through the night can be the motivation you need to focus on creating healthy sleep habits. If you feel your baby has always been a great sleeper, yet suddenly struggling with multiple night wakings or a shift in naps, know the developmental milestones of standing and crawling may cause a temporary impact on sleep, similar to separation anxiety. If you are consistent in your approach to night wakings, it allows your baby to predict a pattern and is the key to returning to a successful sleeper. 

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