By the time your baby is 10 months old, you may already be in a well-established routine, but if not and you'd like to be, we have some top tips.
Routines aren't for everyone, and we will cover some pros and cons too. When it comes to sleeping and feeding, a schedule can be a helpful guide, but it's also nice to have some flexibility and freedom in these early days with your baby.
10 months is a super fun age, hopefully, if you experienced a 9 month sleep regression that has now settled, and perhaps your baby is even sleeping more at night. Now your baby's personality is really starting to show, so the most important thing to consider when creating more of a set schedule is what will work best for your baby. Check out our tips below to learn how to create a great 10-month-old nap schedule that will work for you and your family.
As your baby gets older you may also like to take a look at our articles about the (potential!) [12 month sleep regression] and [14-month-old milestones].
Why Are Schedules Important?
Schedules can help to bring some order and routine to the wild ride that is raising a small human. If you know when certain important things need to happen like a morning nap or snack time, then you can plan the more flexible parts of your day around them. Your 10-month-old will be starting to communicate their needs more now, so this could be a good time to move to a more clock-based schedule if you think it is something that would work for you.
Depending on your lifestyle, and family setup, you might find that a set schedule is going to really help you feel more organized, and provide some consistency for your little one. The idea of a routine is to make life easier, so if this is something that is going to stress you out, your baby will pick up on your stress much more than knowing they are late for their morning nap. For some, a schedule helps with feeling organized and in control, and for others, it can feel too restricting, so you need to go with whatever works for you best!
Here are some things to consider when coming up with a sleep schedule for 10-month-old babies.
The actual time your baby goes to bed may vary depending on what your day has looked like (accidental car naps can sneak in!), but you can help your baby recognize when it's time for bed by following the same sequence of events every day. This is a good way to get a 10-month-old baby on a sleep schedule who doesn't normally sleep well.
Follow Baby's Cues
A routine based around baby's cues (if this is possible for you) can help your baby feel calm and reassured that you are anticipating their needs.
Be Prepared For Changes
Moving from a 9-month-old baby to a 10-month-old can seem like only a small difference but a lot can change in those four weeks. The great thing about making your own sleep schedule is you can make it fit your needs as things change, so if baby is less sleepy and wants another hour to play it's an easy fix.
Perfection Is Not The Goal
Your routine doesn't have to be perfect, sometimes it's more keeping the flow of events the same not the exact time, so mealtimes happen like this... bedtime happens like this, and so on. With trips, holidays, and other family members' timetables, lots of things can impact your days and require a change of plan.
It has been shown that babies love consistency, so if you have found that your baby is a little out of sorts on days where everything has been a bit rushed, then there is a good chance your 10-month-old would benefit from some kind of schedule.
Sleeping & Naps
A baby sleep schedule can help when it comes to winding down at night. The same goes for naps, if your baby knows that a feed or bottle and a story always happens right before nap time, they will associate all of this with getting ready to fall asleep.
If you notice your baby is getting sleepy around the same time every day, then it's useful to have a routine to stick to in order to avoid grouchiness and an overtired baby. Naps can work really well with planning your own day too, and helping your baby to be in the best mood possible for all of their awake activities.
Within a 24 hour period, many 10-month-olds will be sleeping between 12-16 hours, around three hours of this will be naps. Remember that all babies are different and many don't sleep through the night in one long stretch for a while yet.
Creating a 10-month-old feeding schedule is great for mealtimes and snacks, especially as by 10 months your baby is probably really into exploring food. Although a lot of your baby's nutrition will still be from milk, solids do become more important at this stage.
When it comes to breastfeeding or giving a bottle of milk, babies are amazing at letting you know what they need, and stopping when they've had enough. Feeding on demand allows you and your baby to learn their hunger cues, and also teaches them to recognize when they are full, so in the future, they will be much better at regulating how much or little they need to eat to feel satisfied.
With a 10-month-old baby food schedule, you may find you need to allow for a little extra time. Food is such a fun and sensory activity, so by adding an extra half an hour you can ensure that baby gets to fill up, and explore all those new tastes and textures.
You may find that playing doesn't really need its own spot on the schedule, you will probably find that it will fill all the gaps and be a big part of the other activities too!
If your baby is enjoying an activity but you realize the clock is ticking and it's close to bedtime, this is when some degree of flexibility within the routine is key. Babies learn so much through play and will reach many of their 10 month milestones this way. They can become really fixated on their own little tasks, interrupting them can sometimes cause deep upset, so it's great if you can let your baby have their moment to finish what they are doing. The routine will be much easier to continue with a content and relaxed baby.
Here we have three examples of what your 10-month-old's schedule could look like. There is no best nap schedule, these are just to give you an idea. All babies have different needs and no schedule is one size fits all, and don't forget if you choose to follow a routine it needs to work for you as well!
Schedule for a 10-month-old, breastfed baby, who nurses on demand throughout the day, too many times to add to a breastfeeding schedule!
7 a.m. Wakes up and has a feed.
7.30 a.m. Time for a play on the mat and breakfast.
9-10 a.m. Get dressed for the day and have a little snack.
10.30 a.m. Depending on sleepiness, nap and nurse to sleep.
12 p.m. Up and keen to play! Sometimes nurses and then lunch.
2 p.m. Afternoon nap (if sleepy enough).
3:30 p.m. Nurse, play, afternoon errands and sometimes a walk.
5:30 p.m. Dinner, time for a little play.
6:45 p.m. Bedtime routine with Dad, bath (every other night), story, and a big cuddle.
7:30 p.m. Nurse to sleep.
11:00 p.m. Wakes for a feed then back to sleep.
4-5 a.m. Sometimes wakes up for a night feed, often stays asleep until 6-7 a.m.
Schedule for a 10-month-old baby, formula-fed with siblings and a busy household. This baby loves food and is always excited at mealtimes.
6:30 a.m. Awake, tries to stand in the crib! Bottle and a cuddle, dressed for the day.
7:30 a.m. Leave to take big brothers to school, sometimes falls asleep in the car.
8:15 a.m. Home for milk and breakfast (perhaps baby cereal, mushy fruit, and an oat cookie) then playtime!
10 a.m. Out for a walk and will usually nap in the buggy.
12 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Lunch and a bottle of formula.
2 p.m. Mom and baby class online with friends, lots of giggles.
2:45 p.m Sometimes a short afternoon nap, bottle of formula.
3.30 p.m. Quick snack and then school run.
4 p.m. Brothers have swimming lesson, fun in soft play with Mom.
5.30 p.m. Home for dinner, bath, and bedtime!
6.30-8 p.m. (depending on the day/naps) Bedtime, bottle of formula, a story, also a nightlight which creates stars in the room! Falls asleep with quiet music playing.
11:00 p.m Awake for a bottle.
Wakes up a couple of times most nights for a cuddle and/or a bottle, occasionally stays asleep all night.
Schedule for a 10-month-old baby, mixed formula and breastfeeding.
6-6:30 a.m. Wakes up and rolls around in the crib giggling, nurses.
7-1o a.m. Breakfast (perhaps of porridge and fruit), lots of playing.
10 a.m. Nurses and naps.
11 a.m- 1 p.m. Snack and a bottle. Some days a baby class.
1 p.m. Home for lunch, baby-led weaning so mostly playing with the food!
2 p.m. Play, nurse, watch TV, listen to music, go for walk (all interchangeable).
3 p.m. Nap.
4 p.m. Play, read stories, sometimes an early bath with lots of splashing.
5 p.m. Dinner.
6-7.30 p.m Bedtime, wind down with a bath, baby massage, music and stories, nursing or a bottle, and lots of cuddles.
Occasionally wakes up in the night, will nurse back to sleep usually.
If you found this article about toddler sleep schedules and eating schedules helpful, then take a look at our articles on [baby ear protection] or dealing with [baby sunburn] as your baby starts heading further out into the world.
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