Inside: Wondering “what should I do with my 6 month old every day?” Today I’m going to walk you step by step through my 6 month old’s daily routine. From sleep to solids and everything in between!
I know what you’re thinking…
A baby…with a routine?
Sounds crazy, but I promise, it’s not 🙂
When we hear the word routine, we often think of a strict schedule, when in fact routines and schedules are two totally different things!
I wouldn’t recommend trying to put a baby on a strict schedule as that would just end up making you (and your baby) frustrated.
However, a baby’s sleep schedule does firm up around 6 months old, and depending on your daily schedule and factoring in siblings if applicable, each day may be a little different for your baby – and that’s okay.
The purpose of establishing a routine is to have a predictable set of events that happen every day. This is very beneficial as a stay at home mom. Instead of waking up and thinking “how am I going to make it until naptime?” you’re starting your day with a plan.
How do I get my 6 month old into a routine?
First, let’s start with wake windows! This is the suggested amount of time your baby should be awake in between naps.
Instead of trying to put a very-awake baby down for a nap, or worse, trying to put an overtired baby down, by following wake windows, you’ll have a much better idea of when to give them a nap.
6 Month Old Wake Windows
The suggested wake window for a 6 month old is 2-3 hours.
So let’s say your baby wakes up at 7 AM. They’ll likely need a nap around 9 AM (as the first wake window is typically the shortest).
Let’s take a look at a sample sleep schedule for a 6 month old with two naps:
7 AM – wake up
9 AM – first nap
10:30 AM – wake up from nap
1:30 PM – second nap
3:00/3:30 PM – wake up from nap
6:30/7 PM – bedtime
Remember, your baby may sleep for more or less time (all babies are different!) – this is just to provide you with a sleep schedule template for two naps at this age.
If your baby takes a very short nap, you may be tempted to try and shorten the window between naps. While this can work, it usually leads to frustration, because even a short nap is enough to take off the “edge” of tiredness. If they only nap for a short time, look for signs of sleepiness before attempting another nap.
Consider what time your baby usually wakes up and needs a nap, then you can plan out the rest of your 6 month old’s routine from there.
Components of a Daily Routine
This is where a routine really differs from a schedule. While your 6 month old may have a predictable sleep schedule, you’ll want to have a plan for how you’ll spend the time they are awake (aka, your routine).
You may find it helpful to think of your routine in terms of components:
- Solids / feeding
- Tummy time / floor play
- Outdoor time / stroller walk
- Outing / playdate
- Reading / songs
How and when (what time) you incorporate these components is up to you. There’s no right or wrong way to do this as every baby and family is different!
Related: Dealing with a 6 month old sleep regression? Here’s how I made it through.
Now, let’s take a look at a sample 6 month old routine including solids (weaning) and two naps.
Tips & Ideas for your 6 Month Old’s Daily Routine
Note: Times given are approximate. Your baby’s wake windows may be different. The times provided are for reference in how to structure your day with a baby.
7 AM – wake up, open blinds for natural light (helps cue baby it’s morning), diaper change & feeding
7:30 AM – Breakfast (solid food), clean up, get dressed, read & floor play
Related: 6 Month Old Meal Ideas & Feeding Schedule
9:00 AM – 1st nap, stroller walk / exercise
10/10:30 AM – wake up, diaper change & feeding
10:30 AM-12:30 PM – outing / errands, feed & change as needed
12:30 – 1:30 PM – mom’s lunch (usually baby only does one solid meal at 6 months, but do what works for you!), clean up, laundry, to-do list stuff
Note: When I need to make myself something to eat or get things done I use my ErgoBaby wearer or put the baby in a bouncer I keep in the kitchen.
1:30 – 3:30 PM – 2nd nap, wake up, change & feed
3:30-4:30 PM – Outdoor time (stroller walk, play on blanket in grass, etc.)
4:30 – 6:00 PM – Change & feed, Play indoors (in pack-n-play, read books, put baby in bouncer, etc.), make dinner, clean up
6:00 – 7:00 PM – Bedtime routine (bath, PJs, sleep sack, nurse/feeding)
This sample 6 month old’s daily routine above is great for stay at home moms or caregivers with just one baby.
Now let’s take a look at my actual daily routine with my two other girls! In addition to my 6 month old baby (the youngest), I also have a 4.5 year old in half-day Pre-K, and a 6.5 year old in 1st grade.
6 Month Old Daily Routine (with older siblings)
Note: My 6 month old is breastfed, so I feed her on demand. I didn’t note feedings here since she nurses what feels like all the time :). Some babies are on more of a schedule with milk feedings, but this babe just nurses whenever.
6:30 AM – I wake up and get myself ready for the day. If the baby is also awake I feed/change her and put her in the bouncer or pack-n-play while I get my 1st grader ready for school.
During this time I get my oldest breakfast, pack up her lunch and then my husband drops her at school on his way to work.
7:30 AM – Breakfast for me, baby, and 4.5 year old, clean up / load up dishwasher, get everyone dressed, and walk the dogs.
8:30 AM – Drop off 4 year old at Pre-K / Baby’s 1st nap in car
While baby naps I usually stop for Starbucks, grocery pick-up, or I’ll wait until she’s up then run some errands.
10:00 AM – Get home, put away laundry, floor time / tummy time, random tasks / to-do list stuff, do quick workout or run with the stroller
12:00 – 1:00 PM – Pick up from Pre-K / Get home & lunch
1:00 – 2:00 PM – After lunch my 4 year old likes to play outside in the backyard, so I usually bring the baby out with some toys and let her play on a blanket. During this time I also feed/change her.
2:00 – 3:00 PM – 1st grader pick up / Baby’s 2nd nap in car #3rdchildlife is pretty much always napping in the car. I leave a little bit earlier for pick-up so she can get a longer car nap.
3:00 – 5:00 PM – Arrive home, big girls play outside together & then watch TV. I usually wear the baby during this time so I can prep dinner and clean up all the after school stuff.
5:00 PM – Family dinner time! (husband gets home)
5:30 – 7:00 PM –During this time everyone gets a bath, PJs, big girls do their bedtime routine with brushing their teeth & stories, I feed the baby and get her to sleep while my husband puts the big girls to bed.
What is a good time for a 6 month old to go to bed?
A “good” time is one that works for you, ideally when your baby isn’t overtired.
I like to aim for a bedtime that’s 3-4 hours after the 2nd nap. So if naptime is over at 3, I’ll put the baby to bed between 6-6:30 PM.
Alright, there you have it! My 6 Month Old’s Daily Routine. Here are some more helpful resources for life with a 6 month old baby:
- 6 Month Old Feeding Schedule
- Best Sensory Toys for 6 Month Olds
- What I Did When My 6 Month Old Refused to Nap