Feeding and Sleeping Guide by Age

While it’s important to remember that every baby is different in his or her appetite, sleeping patterns and developmental milestones, here is a basic outline of what your baby’s feeding and sleeping needs are throughout the first year. Keep in mind that some babies simply need less sleep than others, so talk to your doctor if you’re concerned.

1-3 months needs:

  • Feeding:
    • Feed only breast milk or formula
    • A general guideline is 12 to 36 ounces of breast milk or formula in a 24-hour period
    • If formula feeding, you can also measure how much to feed your baby by multiplying your baby’s weight by 2.5 ounces of formula.
    • If breastfeeding, it’s easier to keep track of the hours, since your breasts aren’t equipped with measuring cups. You should still feed your baby on demand, but know that most newborns eat every one to three hours, possibly stretching it to four hours at night. Here’s more information on newborn sleep habits.
    • Keep in mind that your baby might need to eat more during growth spurts, thought to be around 3 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months.
  • Sleeping:
    • 15.5 hours of sleep: 8.5 hours at night; 7 hours in three naps.
    • Sleeping patterns vary in the newborn stage. Some babies are sleeping in one- or two-hour intervals around the clock, while others are sleeping in longer four-hour stretches at night.
    • Newborns usually can’t stay awake for longer than two hours in between naps.

Most experts agree that babies shouldn’t follow a strict schedule within the first three months, so just continue to feed and sleep on demand. If you’d like a more structured schedule, see one of our sources in the “parent-led” or “combination” schedules.

3-6 months needs:

  • Feeding:
    • Feed your baby only breast milk or formula until at least 4 months, at which time you can start adding a solid food, like rice cereal.
    • If formula feeding, your baby might drink 4 or 5 bottles filled with 6 or 7 ounces a day.
    • If breastfeeding, you might notice your baby is still nursing 7 or more times a day (probably less after 4 months), but for shorter periods of time.
    • Never put rice cereal in your baby’s bottle unless a doctor says to do so.
    • Continue feeding the same amount of breast milk or formula that you have been (usually every 2 to 4 hours).
    • When starting rice cereal, start with 1 tablespoon a day thinned with enough breast milk or formula to make it very smooth and thin.
    • When starting fruits and vegetables, start with 1 tablespoon once a day and work your way up to ½ cup two times a day.
  • Sleeping:
    • 14.5 hours of sleep: 11 hours at night; 3.5 hours in two naps.

Sample Schedule from The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5. (Note that schedules can vary widely from baby to baby. This is just a general idea of what one might look like.)

  • Bedtime: 7:00 p.m.
  • Waketime: 6:00 a.m.
  • First nap: 8:00 a.m.
  • Second nap: 11:30 a.m.
  • Third nap: 3:00 p.m.

6-9 months needs:

  • Feeding:
    • Your baby will still receive most of his or her nutrition from breast milk or formula.
    • If drinking formula, your baby will probably drink 3 or 4 bottles filled with 7 or 8 ounces.
    • If breastfeeding, your baby might nurse five or six times a day.
    • Solids have most likely been introduced at this point: Two to three servings of fruit, vegetable and/or protein, along with breast milk or formula.
    • Increase the variety of foods your baby is introduced to, along with finger foods and possibly a sippy cup.
    • Remember to only introduce one new food at a time (spaced at least 4 days apart) to determine any allergic reactions.
  • Sleeping:
    • 15 hours of sleep: 10 hours at night; 5 hours in two naps.

Sample Schedule from The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5. (Note that schedules can vary widely from baby to baby. This is just a general idea of what one might look like.)

  • Bedtime: 7:30 p.m.
  • Waketime: 6:30 a.m.
  • First nap: 9:00 a.m.
  • Second nap: 1:00 p.m.

During the transition to two naps, you might need to make your baby’s bedtime earlier.

9-12 months needs:

  • Feeding:
    • Continue feeding your baby 24 to 32 ounces of breast milk or formula in a 24-hour period.
    • Don’t introduce cow’s milk until your baby’s first birthday.
    • After the 12-month mark, you can give your baby whole cow’s milk – but no more than 16 to 24 ounces. You want your baby to start getting most of his or her nutrition from solid food.
    • Continue to introduce a variety of mashed foods three times a day, as well as finger food snacks, like hunks of steamed pears or Cheerios.
    • Start to encourage self-feeding and drinking from a sippy cup.
  • Sleeping:
    • 14 hours of sleep: 11 hours at night; 3 hours in two naps.

Sample Schedule from The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5. (Note that schedules can vary widely from baby to baby. This is just a general idea of what one might look like.)

  • Bedtime: 7:30 p.m.
  • Waketime: 6:30 a.m.
  • First nap: 9:30 a.m.
  • Second nap: 2:00 p.m.

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One thought on “Baby Schedule Guide: Feeding and sleeping routines for baby

  1. Ilana says:

    I wonder if there was a mistake made in how many naps newborns should take versus when they are 6 to 9 and 9 to 12 month.
    3 to 6 month guideline suggests:
    14.5 hours of sleep: 11 hours at night; 3.5 hours in two naps.
    6 to 9 month guideline suggests:
    15 hours of sleep: 10 hours at night; 5 hours in two naps.
    9 to 12 month guideline suggests:
    14 hours of sleep: 11 hours at night; 3 hours in two naps.
    I wonder why under 6 month infant would need to get less nap time total hours than 9 to 12 month old, and why 6 to 9 month old would get more in nap time than under 6 month AND 9 to 12 month old?

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