Babies often struggle to sleep in the first few weeks of their life - that's pretty much common knowledge regardless of whether you're a parent! However, you might expect your 7 month old to be sleeping through the night for 8 hours without an issue - this isn't quite as realistic!
What you might not realise is that sleep isn't quite as linear as gradually sleeping for longer and longer until they're perfectly sleeping through every night.
You'll have many ups and downs before your baby starts to regularly sleep on a set routine, and that's perfectly fine!
In this article, we'll take a look at how you can go about creating a useful sleep schedule for your 7 month old baby, based on their sleep needs at that age according to medical researchers.
We'll give you some examples along the way, and take a look at common problems like the dreaded sleep regression too!
In this article:
7-month old baby sleep needs
If you want to find out how much sleep your seven month old needs throughout the night, it's best to turn to the experts.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) states that your baby is within a 'normal' range if they sleep for between 12 and 16 hours per day.
Additionally, Stanford Children's Health has found that around 14 hours, with 10 hours of night sleep and 4 total hours of napping, is best for your little one.
But we can't stress enough that there are many healthy 7 month old babies who sleep for a bit more or less than this average amount, and that's completely normal! Every baby is unique, and your little one doesn't have to line up perfectly with all the statistics.
How to establish a sleep schedule for a 7-month old
Understanding your baby's sleep patterns and typical behaviour throughout the day can really come in handy when you're planning out their schedule.
By planning their day around their own habits and rhythms, they'll be much more likely to follow a schedule that you set for them.
You can keep monitoring this even after you've made the initial schedule too to make sure that you're keeping up with their development as they grow up and start to alter their habits.
However, you should always bear in mind that the most important thing for your baby's sleep is consistency - try to keep all of the naps in the same location and at the same time of day.
You can begin by planning for their morning routine first so they don't get too tired and start fighting sleep. Then you can move onto stretching sleeping hours apart over time until it all comes together as you've planned and your baby - and you - are getting a good night's sleep!
7-month old sleep schedule
Here you can see a short example of what a sleep schedule for your 7 month old could be like - but yours will likely be different to suit your own baby and their needs!
7-month old sleep regressions
Sometimes, though, even with a well planned sleep schedule and a baby who's consistently falling asleep at the right times, you can run into issues like the 7 month sleep regression. This is characterised as a period where your baby struggles to fall asleep independently, doesn't want to nap, and wakes up frequently at night crying amongst other sleep problems.
Though this is also known as the 6 month sleep regression, many babies will experience it at 7 months instead (this is completely normal).
Sleep regressions are usually caused by things related to developmental milestones, such as learning to crawl or gaining object permanence and experiencing some separation anxiety.
But don't worry - they typically only last for a few weeks at most before your baby starts sleeping more consistently again!
If you'd like to know more about the 7 month sleep regression, you can check out our blog on sleep regressions around this age, some myths that surround them, and what you can do to help!
Tips for getting 7-month old on a sleep schedule
If you want to help your 7 month old get used to being on a new sleep schedule, there are lots of things you can do to help - here are 7 of our favourite tips!
Put baby to bed drowsy
Think about it like this: you struggle to fall asleep if you have to get into bed when you're still wide awake, and your baby is just the same. By putting them to bed when they're drowsy, you're giving them a better chance of falling asleep independently of you once they're in the crib.
You can achieve this by looking out for your baby's specific sleep cues - if you notice them yawning, blinking, or stretching a lot at a certain time of day, for instance, it might be good to plan a nap for then!
Like we mentioned earlier, the key to introducing your baby to any kind of new sleep schedule - or any new routine in general - is consistency. Keeping your routines the same day to day makes your child feed much more secure, and it can help to strengthen your bond as their caregiver who's always there for them.
It also helps you build positive sleep associations that aren't completely dependent on your presence - if your baby is put to bed at the same time each night, they're more likely to recognise that it's time for bed and fall asleep each night.
You should try to maintain this consistency as best you can even through changes in situation like the holiday period and the 7 month sleep regression. We promise that, once everything is back to normal, they'll remember the schedule and your time spent planning won't be for nothing!
Nested Bean Zen Sack
If your 7 month old is fighting sleep and struggling to settle down into their new schedule, you could try our Zen Sack!
This wearable blanket is gently weighted to mimic your soothing touch, keeping your little one feeling secure even when you aren't holding them in your arms and helping them learn to self soothe through the night during any wake ups.
Craft a calming bedtime routine
It's important to set the right mood when you're wanting your baby to fall asleep at night, and you can do this with the right bedtime routine.
This can include anything you want, from a soothing bath to a short bedtime story - just stay consistent with it like the schedule itself and you'll likely find that your baby falls into a deep sleep much easier than before!
Start sleep training
At seven months old, your baby is old enough for sleep training, and if you haven't started already, now is a great time to do so! There are lots of sleep training methods out there, from the Ferber method to Cry It Out, so just use the one that works best for you and your family.
Again, just remember to keep it consistent - once you've settled on a sleep training method, stick with it and don't switch around!
Follow the eat, wake, sleep cycle
If you haven't heard of the eat, wake, sleep cycle before, it pretty much works exactly as you'd expect! You feed your baby as soon as they wake up, making sure they're awake for the whole feed, then put them down for their next nap when they're ready.
This means that your baby is more likely to sleep through their next nap without waking up as they've had a bigger feed. It also reduces the chance that they'll associate feeding with falling asleep at night - this is a negative sleep association that you'll want to avoid, as it means your baby is dependent on you to fall asleep.
Create a soothing sleep space
Creating a comforting environment for your baby to fall asleep in is especially important if you live in a loud city or a busy apartment complex.
You can achieve this in a few different ways - for example, you can install blackout blinds to keep daylight out of the room during naptime, and invest in a baby safe white noise machine to block out any outside noise that's overstimulating them.
This, alongside a relaxing bedtime routine, can go a long way in setting your baby onto healthy sleep habits.
Printable 7-month old Sleep Schedule
Here is a printable version of what a sleep schedule for a 7 month old can look like. Just remember that every baby is unique, so your sleep schedule could look totally different and that's fine!