Schedules bring order into the chaos that can be life with a young baby.
Most parents' baby schedules revolve around feeding and sleeping. Once the essentials are scheduled you have the rest of the day to fill as you choose.
So what is the ideal 9-month-old schedule and how do you introduce a sleep schedule into your baby's daily life? Find out here!
Why Are Schedules Important?
Many people balk at the idea of scheduling but having a schedule doesn't have to be restrictive at all. Schedules can actually bring more freedom into your day. Life with a 9-month-old baby can be chaotic and overwhelming at times, and bringing stability into the mix can make everyone feel calmer and more in control.
By setting a fixed bedtime and knowing exactly when your baby is going to take their naps, you can plan your day around these essential interludes. At 9 months your baby is ready for a feeding schedule as they no longer need to be fed on demand and can feel more settled if they know more or less when they can expect to eat. So how do you get your baby onto a schedule? Here are our top tips:
Pay attention to when your baby normally gets sleepy and fit your sleeping schedule around these times. This way it will be easier for them to fall asleep. There is no point in scheduling nap time for a time in the day when your baby usually just wants to play.
When does your baby usually start to get hungry? Schedule lunchtime and snack time for those points in the day.
Get your baby ready for your scheduled bedtime by developing a predictable and comforting bedtime routine.
Babies have the capacity to self-soothe by 9 months, so try letting your baby get back to sleep by themselves if they wake up in the night and aren't too distressed.
Don't stress too much! At this age, a baby's schedule is likely to still be very varied in terms of the clock time but you can still establish a rhythm, and they might be nearing the age where they can be on a clock schedule soon.
Sleeping & Naps
Babies can sleep for between 12 hours and 16 hours a day at this age, with up to 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night (if we are lucky!). About three-quarters of 9-month-old babies sleep through the night at this age and most babies take at least two naps a day.
A typical 9-month-old will wake early in the morning and have a one or two-hour long morning nap. After lunch, they will have an afternoon nap also lasting up to two hours. They should be awake for between two and three hours between naps at this age. A typical bedtime for a 9-month-old would be around 7.30 p.m., allowing for at least 12 hours of sleep through the night.
A sleep schedule goes hand in hand with sleep training. Sleep training involves putting your baby to bed at the same time every day and avoiding going in to pick them up if they wake up, instead allowing them to self-soothe. Sleep training parents will show their face at the door when their baby cries during the night, or give a quick kiss and a few comforting words before letting the baby fall asleep on their own again. Many parents find that the initial heartache at leaving their baby to cry on their own soon resolves itself when their baby can fall asleep and stay asleep with minimal fuss after a few weeks of training.
Your baby needs three meals a day consisting of solid food. You should still supplement this with breast milk or formula, as they need between 24 and 32 ounces of milk a day, in general, and still derive a lot of nutrition from their milk feeds.
Babies need the same nutrients as we do, so make sure to incorporate as much fruit and vegetables into their diet as possible. They need five portions a day just as we do, though bear in mind that their portion sizes will be much smaller. A little over a tablespoon counts as a serving for a 9-month-old. You can get more fruit into their diet by mixing it into food they already like. If they love porridge, try mashing some banana into it. If they love yoghurt, try adding chopped strawberries to it.
Babies need protein and love carbs. Most babies love eating bread, noodles and rice so incorporate these into their diet. You shouldn't give your baby cow's milk to drink before they turn one year old, but you can serve food made with cow's milk.
Make sure never to force-feed your child, because babies know when they're hungry. Forcing a child to eat when they feel full could cause them trauma and get them to doubt their body's own signals down the line. Babies can feel full after just a couple of spoonfuls as their stomachs are so tiny.
A typical 9-month-old will be eating a wide variety of foods and will be self-feeding and making a lot of mess in the process! A typical 9-month-old feeding schedule would involve breast milk or a 6 oz bottle on waking followed by breakfast. You might nurse or give your child another 6 oz bottle after their nap, followed by lunch. After their afternoon nap they might nurse again or have another 6 oz bottle, and then have their dinner. Before brushing their teeth for the night they will have their last 6 oz bottle or nurse again. They will then hopefully sleep through on a full stomach!
Your baby will be loving playtime at 9 months old. At this age, you can play lots of games with your baby that will help them develop their language and motor skills and prepare them for standing.
If you roll a ball to your baby they may be able to catch it and even try rolling it back to you now. Your baby will love stacking blocks into towers at this stage, and enjoy knocking the towers down even more! Stacking bricks helps them develop their fine motor skills, and shape-sorting toys are also a great choice for 9-month-old babies. This kind of toy requires a baby to fit shaped blocks into the right holes and is great for developing their fine motor skills as well as logical thinking.
At this age, babies love simple activities such as filling containers and emptying them again. Just make sure that whatever they are putting in the containers is not a choking hazard.
A fun game you can play with your child is hiding a squeaky toy under a blanket and seeing if they can find it. Place the toy under the cover and squeak it a few times. Your child will be confused at first and then hopefully try to find the toy. This helps develop their understanding of object permanence: the realization that just because you can't see something, it doesn't mean it's not there.
Babies also love banging on drums and xylophones at this age, so put some simple instruments out and encourage your child to have a go making some sounds on them.
Your baby now has a unique and distinctive personality. They can show a range of emotions and can now tell when you are happy or upset by a particular behavior. They can repeat actions or sounds that bring out a positive response in you and will bring these tricks out of the bag when they want to make you laugh.
Your child will always want to be within sight of their primary caregiver and may get distressed if they can't hear or see you. They cry and look for comfort when they're unhappy and they can display signs of affection through touch, kissing, and smiles.
You can help your child with their emotional development by creating as many opportunities as possible for your child to play with other babies of their age. The more chance they have to be around other children and adults, the better. Make everyday activities into fun, playful opportunities, and talk your child through what you're doing as they love hearing your voice.
Give your little one as many cuddles and kisses as possible, particularly when they are hurt or distressed. Talk them through their emotions, particularly difficult ones, so that they can learn to identify what they are feeling. Always respond to their cries for help right away, as this will build trust and lead to them feeling secure about their place in the world and others' ability to step in and help them when needed.
All babies are different and have different temperaments and unique personalities. It is important to remember not to compare your baby to others.
So what is a typical 9-month-old schedule? Well, you can choose a sample 9-month-old schedule from our schedules below, and adapt them to suit your individual circumstances. Please remember that these are just examples, there is no perfect schedule to suit every 9-month-old, as all babies are different.
Breastfeeding 9-Month-Old Schedule
With breastfeeding, many infants will want to nurse outside of their schedule, just for comfort. You can't overfeed with breast milk so you can continue to nurse for comfort if you want to.
7.30 a.m. Wake up and nurse.
8.30 a.m. Breakfast. Yogurt or baby porridge and some strawberries, for example.
10 - 10.30 a.m. Nurse and put down for a morning nap.
12 p.m. Lunch. Perhaps a jar of baby food and some bits from your plate. Some soft fruit for dessert or yogurt.
1 - 1.30 p.m. Nurse and nap.
4 p.m. Nurse again after a few hours' play.
6 p.m. Dinner time. Offer some of your dinner, blended, or some baby food.
7 - 7.30 p.m. Bedtime routine. Nurse until they fall asleep.
Typical 9-Month-Old Sleep Schedule For A Bottle Fed Baby
7 a.m. Wake up and give 6 oz of formula milk.
8.30 a.m. Breakfast. Mashed banana and baby cereal. Water in a sippy cup.
9 - 9.30 a.m. Playtime at home.
9.30 - 10.30 a.m. Morning nap.
10.30 a.m. 6 oz formula milk in their bottle.
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Stroll outside.
12 - 12.30 pm Lunchtime. Perhaps some pieces of chicken and some mashed potatoes. Water in a sippy cup.
1 - 2 p.m. Afternoon nap.
2 p.m. 6 oz formula milk in their bottle.
2.30 - 4 p.m. Play outside of the house.
4 p.m. 6oz bottle.
4.20 - 6 p.m. Play at home.
6 - 7 p.m. Dinner. Soup and some bread. Water.
7.30 - 8 p.m. Bedtime routine. Book, bath, bed. 6 oz bottle then brush teeth. Lights out.
Working Mother's 9-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
6.30 a.m. Wake up and give baby their bottle or nurse.
7.15 - 7.40 a.m. Breakfast. Maybe toast fingers and runny egg. Water.
8 a.m. Drop off at nursery.
10 a.m. Nap at nursery followed by a bottle.
12.15 p.m. Lunch at nursery.
2 - 3 p.m. Nap followed by a bottle.
5 p.m. Pick up from nursery followed by a bottle.
6.45 p.m. -Dinner. Baked beans and some jacket potato. Water.
7.30 - 8.15 p.m. Bedtime routine, formula milk and bed.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.
We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.
Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.
We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.