At ten months, we probably expect our babies to be following some sort of regular schedule, both for feeding and sleeping. This may or may not be true, and the schedule they follow may not at all be the one you want either – for example, if your baby has the habit of waking up frequently for feeding, while all you want is for them to sleep through the night.
At this age, though, it is often quite possible to get into regular habits that will make life as a new parent more predictable and less exhaustive. Here, we go through what a 10-month-old baby sleep schedule can look like and why. Combining it with a feeding schedule for your 10-month-old comes pretty naturally.
Why Create a Sleep Schedule for Your 10-Month-Old Baby?
Creating a sleep schedule for a 10-month-old baby can help establish healthy sleep habits and promote better sleep for both you and your child. Since babies often do well with routines, a sleep schedule may help them feel safe as they know what to expect.
Just like for older children and adults, a consistent bedtime will also help their circadian rhythm so that they get sleepy at more or less the same time every night.
Why Ten Months And Not Eight, Eleven, Or Any Other Age?
You can certainly create a sleep schedule for your child any time. However, when babies are very young, I think a schedule may create more frustration than peace. Young babies grow fast, eat often and have immature sleep habits.
When a baby approaches eight to ten months, their sleep cycles are longer, they have often started with solid foods, and they don’t grow as fast. In addition, we parents are often at a point of exhaustion where we really need them to start sleeping in more predictable ways.
For these reasons, I think ten months (or maybe eight, nine, or eleven) is a perfect time for a baby sleep schedule that might actually work and have some benefits.
How Much Sleep Do Ten-Month-Old Babies Need?
At this age, babies still need quite a lot of sleep. You can count on a total sleep time, including naps, of around 12-14 hours per 24-hour period. Since most babies need at least two naps per day, they will probably sleep about 10-12 hours per night. This is not necessarily 10-12 hours of unbroken overnight sleep, though, to be clear! Compared to newborns, this “old” babies, however, have sleep patterns that include longer sleep cycles, and their need to eat due to hunger is also much less. Therefore, chances are your baby will sleep longer without waking up at night.
Some babies also need somewhat more or less than the recommended 10-12 hours of sleep, or they have longer or shorter naps, impacting how much they sleep at night. We are all different!
How To Create A 10-Month-Old Baby Sleep Schedule (And Make it Work!)
Work out the schedule
First, depending on your baby’s needs and habits and your own needs and habits, decide what schedule you are aiming for. Consider the needs of siblings, family time, work time, and partner time to figure out when would be the best time for your baby to go to sleep and wake up.
I often hear babies “should” go to bed around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. This time may be perfect for putting the baby to bed in your family, but if this is the exact time your toddler needs a bedtime story or your partner has barely made it home from work, pick some other time that works better for your family.
If you put your baby to bed very early, prepare for equally early mornings over time. If you put your baby to sleep at 7 or 8 p.m., you can expect them to wake up in the morning between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. unless they take too many and too long naps.
Next, decide on the number of naps (2 or 3) and when they should occur. It will help regulate your baby’s internal clock if you can keep the nap times relatively consistent day to day.
At ten months, many babies have a daytime wake window of around 3-4 hours before they need a nap. This means that a morning nap (before lunch) and an afternoon nap may be perfect. Some babies also need a third nap early in the evening, depending on their bedtime and how much sleep they need in general.
The wake-up time
You can’t decide when your baby is going to wake up, obviously, but you can create the baby’s sleep schedule with the preferred or usual wake-up time in mind:
- At ten months, your baby is unlikely to sleep much more (or less) than 9 hours a night. Very early or late evening will mean very early or late mornings over time.
- A bedtime routine and schedule can help regulate your baby’s internal clock and promote more predictable wake-up times.
- Some babies may naturally wake up earlier or later than others. It’s essential to pay attention to your baby’s cues and habits and adjust the schedule accordingly.
- The number and duration of daytime naps can influence when your baby wakes up in the morning. Ensure your baby’s daytime naps are timed appropriately and do not interfere with nighttime sleep.
- Be prepared for occasional variations in wake-up times due to factors like teething, illness, or growth spurts. Babies may have some nights when they wake up earlier or later than usual.
When you create the sleep schedule, bear in mind that drastic changes will be challenging to carry through if you try to push them through too quickly. So, if your baby is currently far from your “perfect” sleep schedule, consider a stepwise approach to getting where you want.
Create a Consistent Bedtime Routine
Establish a consistent bedtime routine to signal your baby that it’s time to wind down and sleep. This routine could include activities like a warm bath, reading a book, and dimming the lights. Stay calm here, though, if you also have siblings to tend to. Be realistic. Babies don’t need a perfect bedtime routine to learn to fall asleep at the same time every night. But, of course, winding down and spending time together where you give your closeness and full attention is wonderful for everyone. It will also reduce stress and set them up for peaceful sleep.
Watch for Sleep Cues
Pay attention to your baby’s cues for tiredness, such as rubbing their eyes, yawning, or being fussy. These signals can help you time naps and bedtime appropriately and adjust the sleep schedule as your baby grows, has periods of sleep regression, or if you notice that the schedule you created needs adjustment.
Also, babies may be routine lovers, but they are no robots. If your baby is sleepy early one day, don’t wait for the “right time” according to your schedule, but listen to your baby’s needs.
Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment
Ensure your baby’s sleep environment is safe, comfortable, and conducive to sleep. For most babies, this includes a crib with a firm mattress, a sleep-friendly temperature (typically between 68-72°F or 20-22°C), and minimal distractions. Some babies, however, do well with white noise.
My youngest baby actually slept in a baby sleep sack at this age despite being able to stand up and crawl. I would have thought that the sleep sac would frustrate him, but I guess it kept the temperature around him stable, and he felt safe in it.
For nap time, it is better for some babies if the room is not all dark and silent. If your baby is anything like my youngest, they can take way too long naps if undisturbed, making them wake up very early in the morning!
Gently Encourage Self-Soothing
If you are not too busy or too exhausted, you may want to try to teach your baby to self-soothe as part of establishing the sleep schedule. This means allowing them to fall asleep on their own without relying on you to rock or feed them to sleep. This can help them go back to sleep more easily when they wake up at night. You can find many tips on teaching your baby to fall asleep in the crib without crying here.
Make the Awake Time stimulating
If your baby gets heaps of stimulation, interaction, daylight, and fresh air during their awake time, they are much more likely to sleep well.
If you need to make changes to your baby’s sleep schedule, do so gradually. Adjust bedtime or nap times by 15-30 minutes at a time to allow your baby to adapt.
Remember that every baby is different, so it’s important to be flexible and adapt the schedule to your baby’s cues and needs. Again, despite being routine lovers, babies have different needs on different days, so stay flexible!
Be Patient and Flexible
Even after the sleep schedule has been established, it is important to realize that babies may have periods of disrupted sleep due to growth spurts, teething, or illness. Be patient during these times and try to maintain a consistent routine as much as possible.
I do hear parents panicking when a baby seems to slide off their schedule or starts waking up at night. Stay calm. This, too, shall pass.
A well-functioning sleep routine increases the chances of a good night’s sleep for everyone involved.
Will a Consistent Sleep Schedule Make My Baby Sleep Through The Night?
The million-dollar question, LOL!
Well, a well-functioning sleep routine increases the chances of a good night’s sleep for everyone involved.
A sleep routine will help regulate your baby’s sleep pattern. With predictability, it is also easier to plan for sleep training or for breaking the feeding-to-sleep association.
Breastfed babies of this age can often learn to sleep through the night quite easily if the option to breastfeed at night is taken away. I used the “half-gentle” method in the above article and went quickly from breastfeeding every hour to a baby that slept through the night without any cry-it-out or other more harsh sleep training methods. This can be implemented just as well for formula-fed babies.
Ten months is a perfect age to skip the night feedings (if you want). You want to make sure they eat enough during the daytime, though, both breastmilk/formula and solid foods. Check out these 10-month-old sample feeding schedules provided by many of our readers.
That said, it is certainly still common for 10-month-old babies to wake up at night for several reasons. Sleep regressions (i.e., suddenly waking up frequently while sleeping through previously) are also common:
Hunger: Some babies may still require one or two nighttime feedings, especially if they breastfeed. Babies at this age can go for longer stretches without feeding, but their feeding needs can vary.
Teething: Teething discomfort can cause your baby to wake up at night. Sore gums or other teething-related pain can disrupt sleep.
Developmental Milestones: Your baby may be working on new skills, such as crawling, standing, or walking, which can lead to increased night wakings as they practice these skills in their sleep.
Separation Anxiety: Around 9-10 months, some babies may start experiencing separation anxiety, making them more sensitive to being away from their caregivers, including during the night.
Nightmares or Night Terrors: As your baby’s imagination develops, they may occasionally have nightmares or night terrors that wake them up.
Discomfort: Other discomforts, such as a wet diaper, a room that is too hot or too cold, or an uncomfortable sleeping position, can wake a baby during the night.
General Sleep Regressions: Sleep regressions, temporary disruptions in sleep patterns) often occur around four months of age, nine months, and sometimes at other ages. A 10-month-old may experience a sleep regression that leads to more frequent nighttime awakenings. While some periods of disturbed sleep can easily be traced to, e.g., one of the above reasons, they are not always explainable. They just happen, and then they pass.
That was it! Putting together a sleep schedule for your baby is not rocket science. Just learn the amount of sleep babies at this age typically need and decide on approximate bedtime and nap times.
Staying with the schedule may be harder, depending on who you are and what else is happening in your family. But even if you don’t manage to be super strict (no need for that), a sleep schedule will likely help your baby sleep better, possibly waking up less in the middle of the night. It may also free up some time for you since you may eventually not spend as much time putting your baby to sleep.
Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing is based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians that you find here. They write or review all health-related articles.