Bedtime for a 7 month old can be one of the most wonderful times of the day. It is an amazing bonding experience snuggling in the bedtime routine. And there’s nothing more beautiful than watching your baby put themselves to sleep.
Bedtime for a 7 Month Old
But bedtime isn’t going so smoothly in your home, there may be a missing piece to the puzzle. You can absolutely make bedtime for a 7 month old a pleasant experience for everyone. As a baby sleep coach, I’ve got 3 secrets to share with you. To get your baby to fall asleep faster at bedtime and sleep longer at night, there are 3 things that you need to do:
- Have an early bedtime
- Create a consistent bedtime routine
- Allow them to fall asleep independently
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Ideal Bedtime for 7 Month Old
The first secret to a success bedtime for a 7 month old is to get the timing right. So many parents are under the false impression that they need to wear their baby out. And maybe if they keep them up to the point of exhaustion, they’ll fall asleep faster.
But that could not be further from the truth. The reality is that if a 7 month old baby stays up too long or too late, they’re actually going to be fighting bedtime.
The ideal bedtime for a 7 month old is between 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Why? Because that’s when a 7-month old’s circadian rhythm is going to naturally have their body ready for sleep at night.
A baby’s body clock is naturally programmed to wake them up around 6:00 – 7:30 a.m. And a 7 month old typically needs between 11 – 12 hours of sleep at night. Every baby is different in exactly how much they need. On average I do find it’s about 11 ½ at 7 months old.
But guess what? You’re baby is going to wake up around the same time every single morning, regardless of what time they fell asleep at bedtime.
So this means that if your baby goes to bed too late, they’re still going to be waking up between 6:00 – 7:30, but will not getting the proper amount of sleep that they need for their age. And the importance of sleep cannot be overstated for babies at this age for their health, learning and development.
Calcuating the Best Bedtime for 7 Month Old
Now the exact bedtime for a 7 month old is going to vary across families. Because an hour an a half is quite a bit range. How are you going to determine the best bedtime for YOUR baby?
It’s quite easy actually! And you can schedule their bedtime around what works best for YOUR family’s schedule. Here’s how you can determine your 7month old’s ideal bedtime in just two steps:
Step 1: Identify the time that you want your baby to start the day. Let’s use 7 a.m. in our example.
Step 2: Count backwards by how much sleep your baby needs at night. Let’s say they’re about average at the 11 ½ hours. That would put us 7:30 p.m.
That wasn’t too hard, was it?
Now you’ll know the best bedtime for a 7 month old, let’s talk about how to prepare them for sleep with an excellent bedtime routine.
7 Month Old Bedtime Routine
Babies thrive on routines. When their young mind knows what to expect, they’re going to feel calm and reassured. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven that a consistent bedtime routine every night, will help a baby fall asleep quickly and easily.
Think about how you fall asleep each night. Do you go straight from washing bottles to passing out in bed? Well… maybe if you’re super sleep deprived!
But more often then not, you’re going to need some time to wind down. And you get ready for bed every night by doing the same steps in the same order. Maybe you have a shower.
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Then you floss and brush your teeth. After that you dry your hair. Then you pull out a book or magazine and read a little before you turn off the lights.
Whatever your bedtime routine is, you’ll find that you do it every single night in the same order. And that’s what we need to create for your baby.
A 7 month old bedtime routine should be done in the same order each and every night. When you consistently do your baby’s bedtime routine, they’re going to know that sleep is going to be the conclusion of that routine. And they’re going to welcome sleep much more when they know it’s coming.
So what is the best bedtime routine for a 7 month old? An ideal 7 month old bedtime routine would include a bath, getting dressed, a bedtime feed, books and saying good-night with hugs and kisses.
Best Bedtime Routine for 7 Month Old
I always like to start a 7 month old bedtime routine with a bath, because it’s just such a different activity then what goes on in the rest of their day. During the day, they’re eating, playing, interacting with you, and of course napping.
And having a bath in the bedtime routine really helps to differentiate bedtime from naptime. Your baby is going to know that this is the time that they’re going down for that long, extended sleep, and not just going to sleep for a nap.
After the bath, you can go back into your baby’s room (or your room if you’re room sharing) and get them dressed into their pajamas and their sleep sack. If your baby isn’t sleeping in a sleep sack, check out my blog about why your baby should be sleeping in a sleep sack.
Then you’ll want to give your baby one last feed for the night to top off their tummy and make sure they’re nice and full to sleep that longest stretch at night. Keep the lights on in the room as you’re feeding them, to make sure your baby is staying alert.
Once your baby is nice and full, the next step in a 7 month old bedtime routine is going to be reading your baby a book or two. Reading is such a great activity to have as a part of the bedtime routine. And it’s never too early to start a love for literacy.
A 7 month old bedtime routine will end with saying good night to your little one. Give them some hugs and kisses. Then lay them down into their crib and turn off the light.
Ok, so you’re got your baby’s bedtime at the right time. Check! And you’ve created a consistent bedtime routine that you’re following every night. Check! Then there’s only one more thing to do to make bedtime for a 7 month old easy and flawless. And that is to allow your baby to fall asleep independently.
What do I mean by “independent sleep?” Falling asleep independently simply means that a baby is able to fall asleep without an external assistance. And a lot of babies learn how to fall asleep independently all on their own. They have mastered it at an early age.
But other babies struggle to fall asleep without needing some form of help from their parent. And when a baby doesn’t know how to fall asleep independently, it can have a ripple effect. Not having mastered independent sleep skills can lead to:
- Taking a long time to fall asleep at bedtime
- Not being able to connect sleep cycles. And as a result, they wake up multiple times throughout the night
- Becoming overtired and having short naps during the day
7 Month Old Fighting Sleep
So if follow these 3 tips, you will not see your 7 month old fighting bedtime. In fact, they will happily welcome bedtime when it arrives and know exactly how to fall asleep quickly. Bedtime for a 7 month old will go smoothly most nights if they’re going to bed early, have a consistent bedtime routine and have the skills to fall asleep independently.
The first two are easy to do. But teaching your baby to fall asleep independently isn’t always the easiest task. That’s generally where sleep training comes into play. And sleep training just means that you’re helping your baby break their old habits of needing external sleep props, to now learning how to fall asleep all on their own without any assistance.
At Live Love Sleep, we work with parents one on one to create a gentle sleep training plan for their baby. And 7 months old is actually an ideal time to get started with sleep training. At this age, your baby is old enough to learn the skills needed to self soothe! And they’re likely big enough to sleep all the way through the night as well.
So if you need some help getting your 7 month old to sleep, click here to schedule a free Sleep Evaluation with me. On this call we’ll talk strategy. I will ask a few questions to learn more about where your baby’s sleep struggles are. And you will leave the call with an action plan of your next steps to get your baby sleeping well. If you are being called to have more support, we can discuss what it’s like to work together, but only if you’re feeling that’s your next step.
Until then, sleep well!