Parents often ask me to lay out 4 Month Old Schedule for them. I’m not a fan of giving out sample schedules because at 4 months of age naps vary so much from baby to baby that giving you a sample schedule is just one snapshot on one day that could change the next day.
4 months is a time of great change for babies as they are often in the middle of the 4 Month Sleep Regression where they awaken to the world around them, tend to wake up more frequently at night and take shorter naps.
I often feel that these 4 month sample sleep schedules can set a parent up to feel badly or feel like they are failing because they aren’t achieving text book napping days. That’s because we cannot control how long a baby naps for, but a set schedule is based around the idea that you can.
What do you do if your baby poops herself awake mid nap? Do you put her down early for the next nap or keep her up to follow a fixed 4 month old schedule even though she’s clearly tired? That is just one example where a fixed schedule can set you up to fail.
In my personal consultations and online classes, I teach you a “flexible schedule.” The idea that every time she feeds you are projecting out to the approximate time she will be hungry again, and every time she wakes up you are projecting out to when her next nap time should be based on her age. This flexible schedule takes you through to the toddler years when your baby only takes 1 nap.
A baby’s schedule at this age includes both feeding patterns and napping patterns. Your child’s ability to sleep is tied to awake times and feeding times.
4 Month Old Sample Schedule
7:00 am – Wakes up for the Day and Feeds
8:30 am – 1st nap, anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Often the first nap to lengthen.
10:00 am – Awake from nap and Feeds
11:45 am – Nap 2 – Ideally 45 minutes but some babies are still stuck on 30 minute naps
12:45 pm – Awake
1:00 pm – Feed
2:30 pm – Nap 3 – 45 minutes
3:15 pm – Awake from 45 minute nap
4:00 pm – Feed
5:00 pm – Nap 4 – the hardest nap to get her down for and 30-40 minutes in length generally
5:30 pm – awake
6:40 pm – Feed
7 pm – Bedtime routine
7:15 pm – Asleep for the night
Total nap time = 3-4 hours
Overnight sleep between 11 and 12 hours
This 4 month old sample schedule is a snapshot of one day. The next day’s naps could be shorter or longer. The idea here is that the intervals between sleeps and feeds stays relatively consistent.
In this 4 month old sample schedule, bedtime is 7 pm, but it is still based on when baby woke up from the last nap. A common place that parents set themselves up to struggle is when they have an arbitrary bedtime based on when is good for the family or when Dad comes home, or the idea that they are trying to get an 8 pm to 7 am schedule because that sounds good to them. If you keep a 4 month old awake longer than 1 hour and 45 minutes it will be harder to get her to fall asleep and then stay asleep.
If you are working on getting your baby sleeping, work on getting more sleep and the “schedule” will naturally evolve with your baby waking between 6 and 7 am and sleeping 11 to 12 hours overnight. Note that most kids are 11 hour sleepers and the quest for 7 to 7 only happens for a few people. Aim for 11 hours and you’ll feel more successful.
I teach all of this and MORE in my online class and personal consultations.