Q&A: What's a good routine for a six-month-old?
What's a good baby routine at 6 months?
Feeding routines at this age tend to change as solid foods are added to the diet. That said, babies generally settle into a two- or three-meal-a-day pattern of eating solid foods within a month or two of starting solid foods, and also start to drink at more predictable times throughout the day. As a result, they also seem to poop on a more predictable schedule, usually right after eating.
By six months, babies can also realistically be expected to sleep 10 to 11 hours at night without waking up to eat. At the same time, they generally start settling into more of a three-nap-a-day schedule that includes a shorter morning nap, a longer midday nap, and a shorter late-afternoon snooze—all of which typically total around three hours of daytime sleep. Having said that, not all 6-month-olds have learned to be good sleepers yet. If a 6-month-old is still waking up several times at night demanding attention and/or to be fed, or is unable to take naps any longer than 45 minutes to an hour, this is as good a time as any to teach your baby how to be a good sleeper. Doing so usually just involves setting up a predictable bedtime routine—one that I recommend involves the last feeding of the day (breast or bottle) followed by a bath (not necessary, but often soothing and insures that babies don’t fall asleep drinking), a diaper and pajamas, and the reading of a few books before laying baby down to sleep in his or her own crib.
Speaking of books, this is a great time to make sure that reading books together is a part of your baby’s daily routine. Not only can 6-month-olds sit up and look at books with you, but they benefit greatly from the shared experience of sitting on your lap, hearing your voice, looking at colorful pictures, and exploring board books using their hands and—yes—even their mouths and newly appearing teeth!
And finally, while a “good baby routine” can mean many things, most important of all is the opportunity for your baby to get to routinely spend meaningful time with you—whether it’s laying on the floor with you for tummy time, taking a walk together, or simply listening to the sound of your voice as you talk, sing, and interact with your baby. It is, after all, the consistent care and love you show your baby that is the most important routine of all.