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An important part of planning the development of your child is to set up a schedule for them, which takes into account numerous things from the feeding to activity time, nap time, outdoor time and so on and forth. Keep in mind, however, that the schedule you set for your baby can have an impact on everything from their sleep patterns to their behaviour.
There is a constant need to develop and modify the schedule based on factors like:
- The baby’s needs
- The baby’s age
- The baby’s health
- The baby’s energy
Remember that to set a schedule for a child is to instill discipline from a young age, and this is a crucial part of their development. Keep in mind that while setting the routine, any parent should take cues from the baby’s expressions and actions. When setting a routine keep in mind that consistency is important for both you and your baby.
Needs of Five and Six-Months-Old Babies
Before planning a schedule for 5 or 6-month-old babies here are a few of their needs you may need to consider.
- A baby around the age of 4 or 6 months usually requires 14 hours of sleep a day. They need consistent naps during the day and a good night’s rest. Ideally, your baby needs to have two naps in the daytime, and an early bedtime for them to fully recuperate the energy their bodies spend in growing.
- A baby at this age drinks a lot of breastmilk in the span of 24 hours. They consume approximately one litre of milk on a daily basis. Your body may not be able to keep up with this demand and it is best to have multiple feeding sessions a day. Remember your six-month-old baby’s feeding schedule must also take your physical well-being into consideration.
- Giving your baby a massage is an important too. This will ensure you have the opportunity to examine their skin for rashes or other issues. This also helps their blood flow improve which can speed up the muscle development process. Massages also help strengthen muscles that can help the baby lift their neck, roll over, crawl and walk faster. Be careful, however, over-massaging a baby can cause muscle damage.
- Playing is an essential need for a baby at this age, this is how they get stronger, playing helps develop muscle strength, this also teaches them about interacting with different objects and people. Ensure you consider a consistent amount of play time for your infant so they can continue to expand their development.
Breastfeeding Mother of a 5 and 6-Month Baby
Whether it be a 5-month-old baby’s sleep schedule or a 6-month-old baby’s diet schedule, it is important to first know how your time is being used. Knowing your schedule and synching it to your baby’s schedule will make the time you spend with your young one even more special. Especially when it comes to breastfeeding.
Schedule 1: Attachment Parenting Mom
This is a schedule for breastfeeding attachment mothers, this schedule is largely led by the parent and not the baby. This is a sample of a 6-month-old baby.
- 6 am – 7 am: Wake up, snuggle in bed for a few minutes and play with the baby. Read to them and change them.
- 7 am – 9 am: Go to the living room, start practising infant potty training by letting them pee on the potty, play with an exersaucer. Have some tummy time.
- 9 am – 9:30 am: Begin nursing, check the diaper and change if needed, tickle their toes and fingers, give them a small massage.
- 9:30 am – 11 am: Nap time, remember to grab a quick power nap while the baby takes one as well.
- 11 am-Noon: Time for another feed and diaper change, play time as you prepare for an outing.
- Noon – 2 pm: Either in a pram or on a sling take a small walk or bus ride outside. Maybe to a park. Fresh air is good for the baby and can help you get some peace of mind and activity as well.
- 2 pm – 3 pm: Attempt another feeding session and then it’s nap time.
- 3 pm – 5 pm: Time for another attempt at potty training, read them a book.
- 5 pm – 8 pm: Playtime with the rest of the family, specifically dad. A strong maternal and paternal figure spending time with the child from a young age is extremely important. Ensure some paternal figure spends time with your child. This gives you a break, an opportunity to catch up on your needs and requirements and lets the baby know that they have both a maternal and paternal influence. If you are a single mom, have a friend or the baby’s grandfather be present.
- 9 pm: One final attempt at the potty, if unsuccessful then a diaper change, a feeding session and then finally bed.
Schedule 2: Stay at Home Mom
For stay at home mothers, it is largely recommended that they keep a schedule that is flexible. Flexible schedules are versatile, they allow the baby to lead the routine and usually promote healthier sleep. This type of schedule also allows the parent to place a strong emphasis on the development of independence.
Remember that a child begins to soak up information from an extremely young age. This also helps promote a full night’s sleep because it slowly phases your child into feeding in a spaced-out manner instead of one where the feeds are too close together. This will regularise your 6-month-old baby’s sleep schedule. Remember, though, a flexible schedule still needs some boundaries, try to set an ideal sleep time and nap time at the very least. Structure is as important as flexibility
Schedule 3: Work at Home Mom
Working at home with a baby can be a real challenge, especially because at 5 – 6 months of age, your baby requires attention. It can be difficult for both the mother and child if not carefully planned out.
Using a baby-led schedule may not be the best idea at this point. The following is a sample of a parent-led schedule that may help work at home moms.
- 6 am: Wake up, cuddle and play with your baby.
- 6:30 am: Have a small feeding session, change the diaper.
- 7 am – 8 am: Take some time to play with your child, give them a massage with some oil.
- 8 am – 9 am: Nap time for the baby, try getting some work done when the baby naps.
- 9 am – 10 am: Keep the baby within your field of vision, let them have some playtime on the floor while you wrap up a session of work.
- 10 am – 12 pm: Play with your child, try reading them a book.
- 12 pm: If you are trying to get your baby on to solid foods, breastfeed now. If not continue to spend some time with the baby
- 1 pm: If your baby is eating baby food, give them lunch, if not, change and nurse them.
- 1:30 pm: Nap time for the toddler, second session of work for you.
- 2:30 pm: Time for your baby to play either on a exersaucer or on the ground. As you wrap up your second session of work
- 3:30 pm: Time to try some potty training, give your baby some monitored tummy time as you prep for an outing. Another nursing session
- 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Go for a small outing, maybe to the closest playground.
- 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm: Playtime with dad, family. Get the last of your work done.
- 8:30 pm: Final nursing session of the day. Playtime and a massage
- 9:30 pm: Bed
Schedule 4: Breast Pumping Working Mom
Similar to the working mom’s schedule, a breastfeeding and bottle-feeding combination for working moms is largely parent led.
Although the schedule is largely similar, this routine involves altering cycles of bottle feeding and breastfeeding, out of four sessions in a day it is recommended that two are used for bottle feeding. Remember to use their nap-times to also pump out breast milk before starting work.
Formula Feeding Mother of 5 and 6-Month Baby
Formula feeding is an alternative to breastfeeding your toddlers, this gives the mother more versatility. This also ensures that if the mother is unable to nurse someone else like a nanny or a grandparent can nurse the baby instead. There is some speculation that formula feeding eases the transition to baby food, there is no medical evidence to back this up.
Schedule 5: Stay at Home Mom
A key difference for a formula feeding stay at home mother and a breastfeeding one is the ability to feed the child whenever they need. We recommend using the feed on demand schedule type for a stay at home mom who needs the time to clean, cook and manage a child.
This gives the mother a lot of time and flexibility with her toddler, they can be fed when they become hungry and the mother can relax after pumping out breast milk twice maybe three times a day at her convenience.
Schedule 6: Stay at Home Mom of Twins
Nursing twins can be an exhausting and tiring challenge, they can make your breasts overly sensitive as well. A formula feeding mother of twins needs to pump out twice as much milk. This is also primarily the reason that a stay at home mother with twins needs to eat healthy and sufficient amounts.
A baby-led, feed on demand schedule would be recommended in this situation as it can help to space out the feeding cycle for twins. Ensure that both children spend plenty of quality time with the family and get equal attention with massages, play and tummy time.
Schedule 7: Working Mom
A working mom possibly has the most to juggle in terms of responsibility, here is our recommended schedule for a working mother.
- 6 am: Wake up, change the baby’s diaper, play and cuddle with them in bed for a while, give them some toy time as you pump breastmilk
- 6:30 am: Potty time, try potty training your toddler, once done get them cleaned up and try your hand at feeding them small portions of baby food for breakfast
- 7:30 am – 9 am: Playtime with mom, feed them.
- 9 am – 5 pm: Daycare. The schedule at daycare is set based on the required activity for the day, keeping your child in daycare can help them develop social skills that are an absolutely essential. Mom goes to work. Ensure the daycare you choose is one that compliments your parenting style and beliefs.
- 5 pm – 6 pm: Quality time with mom and playtime, a feeding session
- 7 pm – 9 pm: Quality time with dad or a paternal figure, a diaper change (there’s nothing that teaches a child about equality and shared responsibility like a paternal figure changing diapers.)
- 9 pm: Bedtime.
Schedule 8: Evening Shift
Working the evening shift can be helpful to a mother who is formula feeding. Here is a sample of the schedule we recommend:
- 6 am – 7 am: Your partner wakes up the baby, feeds them, changes them and plays with them
- 7 am – 8 am: Daddy time with the baby
- 8 am – 9 am: Wake up, feed the baby a bottle, play with them for a while.
- 9 am – 10 am: Family time, tummy time and a diaper change.
- 11 am-noon: Feeding time, nap
- Noon – 1 pm: Quality time with mom, play with the baby, massage them and maybe take them out for a nice afternoon stroll.
- 1 pm – 2 pm: Nap time for both mom and the baby.
- 3 pm – 4 pm: Feed them, change them and spend some time reading to them or listening to music with them
- 5 pm: It’s time for that little bundle of joy to spend some time with dad as mom gets ready and heads off to work.
- 6 pm: It’s time to feed the little one, another attempt at potty training and maybe some toy time
- 7 pm: Some tummy time and an attempt at baby food for dinner. Time to change them into their night diapers and some more play time.
- 8 pm: A bedtime story and bed.
Tips while Deciding the Routine for 5 and 6-Month Baby
Here are a few tips to help you plan out your schedule for your baby.
- Consider both your partner’s and your schedule.
- Choose if you want the schedule to be baby-led or parent-led based on your ability to see the schedule through.
- Be consistent, don’t skip on any routines in the schedule.
- Change the schedule every few months.
- If possible meditate when you get some alone time.
- Plan some alone time every day with your partner.
- Coordinate with your partner so they can take the baby off your hands, spend some time with yourself.
Planning a schedule can be an important part of your baby’s and your day. It can also help you organise your daily affairs while imparting wisdom and discipline. Remember to consider your baby’s needs like their diet, sleep patterns and play time. Also, take into consideration if you are potty training them and if you’re working on switching them to baby food before planning the schedule. The process is full of trial and error but find a schedule that works for you and be flexible.
Also Read: 7 and 8 Months Baby Schedule