How to Build the Perfect Nap Schedule with Samples & Examples

Once your baby is ready for it, figuring out the perfect nap schedule can be tricky…especially since all babies are different! 


In this blog post, I’ll go over:


Why does having a nap schedule matter?


How do I build the perfect nap schedule for my baby?


What can I do to optimize my baby’s naps?


And we’ll even show some nap schedule samples and examples. Let’s dive in!



Why does having a nap schedule matter?


Naps are absolutely crucial for our babies’ development. I mean, think about it. Little babies and toddlers are new to this world and always on the go. Think about all that new brain power they’re using every single day!


Ever noticed a time when your little one woke up in the morning or from a nap and suddenly had a brand new skill? This is all thanks to getting good, restorative sleep! Sleep is what makes all of this growth and development possible.


When our babies have a solid nap schedule, getting this (much-needed) restorative sleep is SO much easier and more predictable. Having predictable and restoring daytime sleep can also help our babies with…


Restoring Their Minds and Bodies


Our bodies use sleep as a time to relax and restore. For example, it helps us digest and absorb nutrients as well as support our immune system. 


Irritability and Mood Swings


This one is pretty self-explanatory. We’ve all been there…maybe you’re feeling more emotional than normal or even snapping at someone you care about, all because you’re exhausted. The same goes for a toddler meltdown. Meltdowns are bound to happen, but being tired definitely does NOT help them self-regulate.


Having a nap schedule is ultimately going to help with what I like to call the cornerstone of getting good sleep – preventing overtiredness.


Having a nap schedule that combines following age-appropriate wake windows, watching for your baby’s sleepy cues, and your baby’s overall individual sleep needs is going to help with this goal of preventing overtiredness.


newborn baby taking a nap on schedule | The Peaceful Sleeper


How do I build the perfect nap schedule for my baby? Sample schedule ideas


Here’s the tricky part about finding a nap schedule that works for your baby…ALL babies are different. With this in mind, know that your baby’s sleep needs are going to be different than that of other babies. Some babies have higher sleep needs while others have lower sleep needs.


This is where tuning in to YOUR baby is so important. You may need to play around and experiment with their schedule to figure out how long/what time your baby’s naps should be to prevent overtiredness and get them that restorative daytime sleep.


Let’s take a look at the averages…here’s a reference chart with different average sleep needs and possible schedule samples based on your baby’s age:


Age Number of Naps Per Day Ideal Length of Naps Awake Time Between Naps Awake Time Before Bed Average Amount of Daytime Sleep Average Amount of Nighttime Sleep Average Amount of TOTAL Sleep
0-3 months 4-7 45-60 min 60-90 min 1-2 hours 5-8 hours 9-10 hours* 16-18 hours
4 months 4 60+ min 90 min 2 hours 3.5-5 hours 10-11 hours* 15-16 hours
5 months 3 60+ min 2 hours 2.5 hours 3.5-4.5 hours 11-12 hours* 14-16 hours
7 months 2 60-90 min 2-3 hours 4 hours 3-4 hours 11-12 hours 14-15 hours
14 months 1 2 hours 5 hours 5 hours 2-3 hours 11-12 hours 13-14 hours

*broken for nighttime feedings


If you find that your little one’s averages are significantly different from what you see here, grab a consultation, and let’s make some tweaks to your baby’s sleep habits together!


Now, let’s dive a little deeper into your baby’s nap needs by age and how that plays into building a schedule that works for them. Once again, remember that these numbers/sample times are averages to give you a head start. Use them to find what works best for YOUR baby and make the tweaks necessary.


If you haven’t already, download my FREE Ultimate Naps Guide. It’ll give you all the knowledge you need to help your baby (or toddler) take great naps! Download for free here 💤


0-3 Months Schedule


In the newborn stage, a general wake-up time would be somewhere between 6:00 and 8:00 am and bedtime would fall between 10:00 – 11:00 pm. Naptime in the newborn stage is a little different…for these first few months, naps are (for the most part) inconsistent and unpredictable.


Don’t panic! Instead of trying to build the perfect nap schedule, try aiming for predictable cycles instead. This means focusing on following wake windows and watching for their sleepy cues.


Nap Schedule and Baby Sleepy Cues | The Peaceful Sleeper

Click here for more information on newborn sleepy cues on Instagram.


Or, read my blog post all about newborn sleepy cues and how to use them effectively! 


If you feel like having a sample schedule outline would still be helpful for you and your newborn, check out a rough outline of what a 6 week old sleep schedule could look like!


4-7 Months Schedule


A general sleep/nap schedule here might look like an (around) 7:00 am wake up and a 7:00 pm bedtime with 3 naps throughout the day (depending on their sleep needs). Note that they should take their first nap 1.5-2 hours after waking up for the day.


I have blog posts with different sample schedules for each of the following ages that you can check out and use as guides! These samples include high sleep needs schedules, low sleep needs schedules, how to factor in a cat nap, etc.


4 Month Old Sleep Schedule Blog & Sample Nap Schedules


5 Month Old Sleep Schedule Blog & Sample Nap Schedules


6 Month Old Sleep Schedule Blog & Sample Nap Schedules 


mom kissing baby before a nap | The Peaceful Sleeper


7-14 Months Schedule


During this time, wake-up time and bedtime can stay consistent. However, you’ll eventually see a shift from 3 naps to 2! This is when you say goodbye to your baby’s afternoon nap and have their midday nap pushed slightly later. Head to my blog for everything you need to know when it comes to dropping naps!


Here are some more of those sample schedule blogs!:


7 Month Old Sleep Schedules Blog & Sample Nap Schedules 


8 Month Old Sleep Schedules Blog & Sample Nap Schedules


9 Month Old Sleep Schedules Blog & Sample Nap Schedules


10 Month Old Sleep Schedules Blog & Sample Nap Schedules 


14-24 Months Schedule


At some point during this range, your baby will drop from 2 to 1 nap per day (they’ll drop that morning nap). Because of this, you may need to shift that midday naptime!


3+ Years Schedule


Once your toddler is experiencing ALLLLL that FOMO and naptime feels like more work and trouble than it should be, you might think it’s time to drop that last nap. The reality is, your toddler still needs the rest! 


Believe me, it is WORTH IT to hold on to that last nap until your little one is at least 3 years old! Check out my other article for more toddler nap tips!


napping toddler in moms arms | The Peaceful Sleeper


What can I do to optimize my baby’s naps?


Besides getting the timing right and building a nap schedule that works for your baby, another way you can optimize their naps is to optimize their nap environment.


Just like us, our little ones thrive when there’s routine and consistency. Here are a few things you can try to optimize their nap environment:


  • Give them a nightlight to help older babies have a sense of security
  • Use a sound machine to both soothe them AND help drown out other noises around the house
  • Cool the room temperature (ideally, somewhere between 66º F and 70º F can help our bodies go into sleep mode!)


I go over more tips in my FREE Ultimate Naps Guide! The guide also goes into more detail on lengthening naps, dropping naps, nap sleep regressions, and getting solid newborn naps.


mom following a Nap Schedule for her baby | The Peaceful Sleeper


Recap on Building the Perfect Nap Schedule


Know that while building a perfect nap schedule for your baby might feel daunting at first, it is TOTALLY possible! It’ll take some tuning in and maybe some experimenting with different nap times and lengths, but I promise you can find one that works! 


If you haven’t already, download my FREE Ultimate Naps Guide. It’ll give you all the knowledge you need to help your baby (or toddler) take great naps! Download for free here 💤


Naps are SO important for our little ones. If we can build a solid nap schedule around their sleep needs, we can help prevent overtiredness and get them the restorative daytime rest that their little bodies need.


If you want any support/help troubleshooting and creating the perfect nap schedule for your baby, grab a consultation! Having a collaborative expert in your corner can help empower you and give you confidence in your baby’s nap journey. We’re here for you!

Christine Lawler

Christine Lawler

MS, LMFT, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant

Hi! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing for over 13 years. I’ve set out to do ALL of the research and I created a method to optimize baby sleep that is tuned in, empowering and WORKS. There absolutely should be joy in motherhood, and I have learned that every baby CAN get better sleep!

Read more about my team here.

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