With all kinds of milestones and all kinds of cuteness, the six- to nine-month stage is a fun ride. Your baby is probably trying new foods now, but if they aren’t, gently encourage them because this is a good window for learning new tastes and textures. In addition to breastmilk or formula, you can introduce water or a small amount of pure fruit juice in an open cup (messy but necessary for learning good drinking skills). Some kiddos will also want to feed themselves with their hands or grab the spoon, and that’s OK, too.
As far as sleep goes, you may find success with a loose nap schedule or more serious sleep training that also happens to encourage long nighttime sleep. “Ideally, your shortest wake time during the day will be the first of the day, between morning wake-up and their first nap,” says Alexis Dubief, a child sleep consultant in northern Vermont. “Then it’s going to expand as the day goes on. You’ll see a longer wake time between the first and second nap. The longest stretch of the day spent awake is before bedtime.”
Your baby: 8 months oldAt six months, many babies have dropped from three naps to two—a schedule that may last until or past their first birthdays, which likely means adjusting naptimes (slightly later) and bedtime (slightly earlier). If you’re still trying to squeeze in a short catnap at the end of the day, it may prevent an overtired baby, but it just might not happen either. Hey, parenthood is one long balancing act! Remember that crankiness is pretty normal during a transition like this, and remember that it won’t last forever. Sending nighttime sleep cues, like having blackout blinds in the bedroom, can help with an earlier bedtime, too.
6 to 9 months sleep schedule
Wake time length: About 2 to 4 hours
Sleep time length: 2 to 3 daytime naps of 30 minutes to 3 hours, may sleep up to 12 hours overnight or wake once or twice
Total sleep time: 12 to 16 hours a day
6 to 9 months sample schedule (with 2 naps)
7 to 7:30 a.m. – Wake up (3 to 3.5 hours)
10:30 a.m. – 1st nap (1 hour)
11:30 a.m. – Wake time (2.5 hours)
2 p.m. – 2nd nap (2 hours)
4 p.m. – Wake time (3 to 3.5 hours)
7 to 7:30 p.m. – Sleep (12 hours, with or without nightly waking)
Total sleep time: 15 hours
6 to 9 months feeding schedule
Breastfeeding: On demand, before offering other foods
Pumping: 15 to 20 minutes per breast, every 3 hours or at least 7 times a day
Formula: 180 to 230 mL (6 to 8 oz) per feeding, about 4 to 5 times a day
Solids: Continue iron-fortified cereals and puréed vegetables, fruits or meat; start offering a mix of two puréed foods (tried individually first); at nine months, food can be less puréed and slightly chunkier in texture (fork-mashed, cut up or shredded); no honey until they’re at least 12 months old
Liquids: Continue breastmilk or formula; introduce water or 100 percent fruit juice in an open-top cup only (no more than 120 mL/4 oz)
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