Sleep Hierarchy for Your 6-9 Month Old

Sleep goals to focus on while your baby is 6-9 months old. Learn what you should focus on to get your baby to be a great sleeper.

Baby sleeping

As you work to have a solid sleep schedule with your baby, it is helpful to have goals to focus on.

When it comes to helping your baby learn to sleep independently, you need to know where you must focus and what you can let go.

The 6-9 month age group is pretty simple so far as what your sleep goals are. Things are pretty straight forward for this age group with fewer exceptions and caveats than with the earlier ages. 

Sleep Goals for a 6-9 Month Old

Here are your three main goals for this age group:

  1. Baby is put in bed awake
  2. Baby sleeps in her own bed
  3. Baby sleeps at consistent times (regular naps and a set bedtime and morning waketime)

These are the things you want to be doing with this age group. 

This is the age to get serious about teaching baby to fall asleep independently if you haven’t already (and if that is a goal you have). See The Ultimate Cry It Out Bootcamp if you need help. 

You also want baby sleeping in her own bed if that is where you want her. It is also important and possible to have set bedtimes and regular naps each day.

These goals are all important. You will need to achieve goal one before you can really count on goals two and three being consistently achievable. For that reason, I have listed it first.

Baby Is Put Down for Naps and Night Awake

For babies whole life, this has been a goal you have been working toward. You want your baby to be able to fall asleep independently.

When she can do this, then she will be able to take longer naps and sleep through the night. If she can’t fall asleep without help, then she will need you to assist her any time she wakes fully during a nap or at night.

That can happen often since babies have sleep transitions every 45 minutes or so.

>>>Read: What is a Sleep Transition (and How Does It Impact Naps)

Baby Sleeps in Own Bed

You want your baby to sleep in her own bed. If she is in her own bed, she will be able to sleep more soundly without disruption. It will also be stationary sleep, which is more restorative to your baby than moving sleep.

This is not always as easy as it sounds. If you need tips, see this post:

9 Effective Tips to get Baby to Sleep in the Crib

Baby Sleeps At Consistent Times

During this age, you can move toward having naps at the same time each day no matter what.

That means if your baby takes a short morning nap, the afternoon nap still starts at the same time it usually does. Maybe 30 minutes earlier if it was really disrupted. But you aren’t having to move the nap 10 minutes earlier because baby woke up ten minutes early.

This also means bedtime becomes consistent and is the same time each day.

This is a very exciting time! Your life has been so disrupted for half of a year. While a schedule helps you have some predictability, moving to having set naps really makes things super consistent.

You want these things at the same time each day:

  • Morning wake up time. The time you start your day.
  • Nap 1
  • Nap 2
  • Nap 3 (if you have three naps)
  • Bedtime

Sub-Goals for Your Baby

There are also two subgoals you want to have for this age group:

  1. Baby takes two naps that are at least 1.5 hours long. Baby might also take a third nap, which can range from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  2. Baby sleeps through the night.

The first three main goals must be met before you can realistically hope for these two subgoals to be reached.

Yes, some babies will reach one or both of these even if none of the first three are met; however, most will not in this age group.

Some of you are going to have difficulty with sub-goal one. If so, be sure to look over How to Finally Stop the 45 Minute Intruder and The Complete Guide to Troubleshooting Short Baby Naps.

Take the advice in those to heart, including the advice to relax about it all. If you are having short nap troubles, be sure to read through those for advice and encouragement.

If you are having night issues, be sure to see How To Solve Your Baby’s Nighttime Sleep Issues.


If you have not gotten your baby on a solid and consistent schedule yet, these next three months are the months to do it! Focus in on these goals and you will be there very soon!

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6-9 month sleep hierarchy for baby

This post originally appeared on this blog January 2011