Should ALL babies follow a 7-7 schedule?
In a dream world, we would all wake our babies at 7am, they'd take their regular naps and be ready for bed by 7pm.
I want to start by saying, I am not against the idea of a 7-7 schedule, I have followed one with my daughter and, thankfully, it has worked for her as she has high sleep needs that tend to fit with the recommendations for her age.
However, now I have qualifications and experience with other babies and children, I have learnt one thing - THEY ARE NOT ROBOTS. Prescribing a 7-7 schedule for all babies is unrealistic and simply doesn't work for all.
Routine is important, I am a big believer in having a consistent wake time and bedtime. Our circadian rhythms are strong and working with our brain clock has many health benefits at any age.
However, now I have worked with more and more families, I have realised that a 7-7 schedule is far from ideal for everyone. Therefore here is what I recommend.
Choose a wake up time that works best for you - between 6-8am works well. Then take some time to monitor your baby's natural sleep (try keeping a diary for 3-5 days)
How much do they take across 24 hours (include naps and night sleep)
Now if you want them to try and achieve 11-12 hours at night, work out how much day sleep they still need FOR THEM (not based on their age necessarily) .
Now work out a schedule with those hours that works for you consistently. I do advise a shorter nap in the morning to avoid early wake ups and a longer one in the middle of the day, however, you can play around with your own schedule and assess how it goes.
Try to ensure a wake window between the last nap and bedtime is long enough for them to build up sleep pressure and stay asleep (we don't want false starts where they are waking after about an hour).
Then stay consistent, only adapt your naps when night sleep begins to suffer again, then look at whether day sleep needs gradually reducing.
This can seem like a long-winded way to work out a schedule, but it can really help you to ensure your baby is working with their sleep needs.
When I work with 1:1 clients, I usually ask them to keep a sleep diary and we try a range of routines to fit their little ones.
If you would like to work together to figure out a sleep routine that works for you and your family, get started by booking your FREE 15 minute consultation today by clicking the link below.
If this post has been helpful, please share with other parents who are trying to follow a 7-7 schedule with no joy!
Thanks for reading,