It’s great to bring more consistency to your days by around 3-4 months, and by 5-6 months you want to be following a predictable daily routine that follows clock timings rather than shifting everything based on wake windows.
Why is it best to switch from wake windows to a routine by 5 to 6 months?
Between 3-4 months babies begin to develop a circadian rhythm (biological clock). This internal clock regulates our sleep and wake patterns, alertness, hunger, hormone production, temperature rhythms, and much more. ⚖️
We all have this internal clock. And as adults, because we often naturally have set routines - ie. we wake and eat at regular times, we work or have active time at similar times, and we generally fall asleep around the same time each night - our internal clock is able to sync with our regular activities and releases different hormones throughout the day to support our regular routine.
This is the reason why you experience hunger pangs at particular times each day, you’ll generally be tired at the same time every day, and if you set an alarm to wake every day you’ll often find yourself waking up just before the alarm.
And if our internal clock is thrown out of whack (say we cross into a new timezone) we experience feelings of jet lag. Our bodies are still on the old routine. Producing sleep hormones when we’re trying to stay awake. Or digestive and alert hormones in the middle of the night, in support of the previous routine.
This is our circadian rhythm at work. And by 6 months this internal clock is well established, and without a consistent daily rhythm our babies can experience feelings similar to jet lag - be fussier, unpredictable at meal times, and harder to settle to sleep.
By starting to follow a set nap and feeding routine, your baby's body clock can start to sync with these timings and you'll find they'll be able to fall asleep easier, have longer naps, more consolidated night sleep, better feeds, and happier more alert times during awake periods.
👉🏼 Want to get started on an appropriate routine? Check out our age-appropriate nap and feeding routines from 12 weeks to 3 years.
"After following this guide for just 1 week I started to see big improvements in my sons sleep, and mood. He now takes his naps during the day and sleeps much better at night. I would highly recommend to any mummy or dad out there that needs help with their baby's sleep!" Jo, Victoria
"Instantly, we managed to get her down to a routine and this took the worry out of me trying to figure out when to drop naps etc. I'm now pregnant with our second and honestly one of the things I know I won't have to worry about is trying to remember routines again because I'm just going to pull this out and write it on our wardrobe mirror. Thank you!" Rosy, Sydney