Your 7- to 11-month-old baby’s sleep routine


By Jolandi Becker – MD of Good Night

The baby’s growth slows down a bit at this age, but their mental and physical development happens at an extraordinary fast rate. This makes sleep even more important to ensure that they have time to learn and process these new-found skills. Sleep also helps them to be more patient during the day while learning from the new challenges, and to better deal with separation anxiety issues.

How much sleep do they need?

At this age, babies require approximately 14 hours’ sleep in total. This is divided into 2 naps during the day and a total of 11–12 hours’ sleep at night. Yes, this amount of night-time sleep is needed up until the age of 5 years old.

What is normal sleep?

Even though the total amount of night-time sleep is the same as when your baby was younger, at this age, it is often uninterrupted. However, an early morning feed between 02h00 and 06h00 is quite common up until 9 months old. After the age of 9 months, any milk feeds at night are not necessary for a healthy, growing baby.

Nap times become more predictable at this age and, more often than not, your little one would have 2 naps of 45 minutes or longer. It is quite common to have one longer nap, often in the morning, and one shorter one. The shorter nap would become shorter and shorter over time as your baby’s day-time sleep needs decrease.

Top tips for setting up a schedule for your 7- to 11-month-old baby

It is possible to set up a stricter time bound schedule at this age, but it is not a necessity. We advise that you keep the following three things in mind while setting up a daily schedule. This should assist with your baby’s sleeping routine becoming more predictable:

  1. Split the day into 12 day-time hours and 12 night-time hours but include some flexibility.
    Let your day start between 06h00 and 07h00, and end between 18h00 and 19h00. You may adjust these times but be aware that 06h00 is already pushing it because in South Africa the sun rises around 05h00 in the summer. If your little one regularly wakes up earlier in the morning, it might be a sign that you need to adjust your bedtime to an earlier time.
  2. Keep an eye on the length of your baby’s awake time:
    7 months: 2h45
    8 months: 3h00

9 months: 3h15

10–13 months: 3h30

3. Follow what we call a SLEEP, FEED and PLAY routine during the day. This means feeding your baby when they wake up from a nap and not before they take the nap. The SLEEP, FEED and PLAY routine is the best way to teach your baby to fall asleep without sleep associated behaviour like feeding, rocking or holding. This type of routine also helps your baby to digest the food while upright, helping them with cramps, pooping and even reflux!

This is a good age to start having a more predictable day but babies change all the time. They are babies not robots and you need to always factor in some flexibility. Accept that they change constantly and that it will have an impact on many things, their sleep included.