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7-month-old baby sleep guide

By Cradlewise Staff

Dr. Anoop Rao
Medically Reviewed

If you have a 7-month-old baby, you may wonder if more sleep is on the horizon. The good news is that for many babies, the 7-month-old mark is when sleep can start to become more regular. However, every baby is different and things such as starting solids, growth spurts, and even illnesses could impact how well your little one is sleeping. 

Here’s more about what to expect from your 7-month-old in terms of sleep, how they are developing, and what you can do to help promote more restful nights. 

7-month-old baby milestones for sleep

baby looking at themselves in the mirror

Many 7-month-old babies will start to see some regulation in their sleep for a few different reasons:

  • They are getting older and developing more, so their sleep-wake cycles are becoming more consistent.
  • Many babies are starting solids, which can help them sleep longer overnight.
  • They have recently completed a big growth spurt around 6 months

However, while many of those factors can help sleep, for some babies, they can also disrupt zzzs. Just like adults, no baby responds in exactly the same way to changes in their lives. 

7-month milestones

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have specific milestones for a 7-month-old baby. However, by 7 months, most babies should be reaching milestones the CDC sets for 6 month-old-babies such as:

  • Recognizes familiar faces
  • Laughs at things they find funny
  • Imitates sounds and “talks” by squealing
  • Reaches for things 
  • Brings items to their mouth 
  • Rolls from stomach to back
  • Pushes themselves up on arms 
  • Leans on hands when sitting to prop themselves up 

All of these major milestones can impact sleep in two different ways: They can either lead to your baby being more tired at night from all of their increased activity, or they can interrupt sleep patterns. Some babies may want to experiment with their newfound abilities and stay up longer. Others might be tempted to conk out earlier. The best thing you can do is stay the course: Stick to consistent bedtime routines, and make sure your baby doesn’t become overtired. With babies, sleep begets sleep and that doesn’t change just because they seem more physically active. 

Again, it’s important to keep in mind that every baby is different and will develop on their own timeline. But if you have concerns about the 6-month milestones, check in with your baby’s pediatrician. 

Activities for 7-month-old

7-month-old babies can be a lot of fun, because they are young enough that they aren’t necessarily getting into everything yet (watch out, that stage is most likely coming soon!) yet are developed enough to “play.” 

Playing at this age is not only fun for you and your little one—but it’s how they learn and develop as well! Playing is your baby’s form of “work” and it’s incredibly beneficial for their brain. 

You should follow your instincts with your baby and “play” in a way that feels right for both of you, but if you need some ideas, here are some suggestions for CDC-approved activities for 7-month-olds:

  • Play music for your baby and sing together. 
  • Practice talking back and forth to each other—babies love to interact at this age. 
  • Read together at least every day and spend lots of time exploring pictures in the book together. If you can find books with textures to feel, even better. 
  • Place favorite toys just of out reach of your baby when they’re having supervised tummy time. Baby play gyms and activity mats are also great for this. 
  • Use a baby carrier to get outside together and explore—point to interesting things in your environment and explain them to your baby. 

Toys for 7-month-old

7-month-old babies don’t need any specific toys, but certain types of toys can be fun for them to use and benefit their development. Look for toys that can provide some stimulation, such as music, or help promote the cause-and-effect brain development that’s occurring right now. Some suggestions for toys for 7-month-old babies include:

  • Play gyms with toys that dangle so they can practice reaching for them
  • Musical toys that sing songs to them
  • Mirrors so they can check out their favorite sight: faces
  • Books with lots of texture to feel
  • Teething toys to chew on
  • Toys that you “hide” with them

What’s going on in your baby’s brain?

baby playing with toys

A lot of brain growth and development happens around 6 and 7 months for babies. They are starting to learn language, see in full color, and perform physical milestones like reaching for toys and sitting up. Your baby’s 7-month-old emotional development is also growing by leaps and bounds, as they learn about the concept of preferences—don’t be surprised if they start favoring certain people over others.

To encourage brain development in a 7-month-old baby, try to engage multiple senses simultaneously—read aloud, talk to them, or roll a ball back and forth. These small, simple activities will lead to big cognitive gains. 

Research has shown that certain foods may be beneficial for 7-month-old brain development, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends nutrients such as folate, vitamins A and D, protein, and several others. Be sure to start introducing plenty of healthy fats, such as smashed avocados, and protein, like small bites of yogurt, to support cognitive growth. (For more ideas, UCLA Health has a list of foods to help encourage brain development.)

How much should a 7-month-old sleep?

Baby sleep clock

Wondering how much a 7-month-old baby should sleep? Here’s a quick look:

  • Total hours of sleep: 12-16 hours of sleep every 24 hours; some babies will need 13-14
  • Wake windows: Between 2 and 2.5 hours
  • Number of naps: 2 2-hour naps, some babies will nap longer; note: some babies may also still be napping 3 times a day at this age

Sample 7-month-old sleep schedule

Every baby is different, but here is a sample sleep schedule for a 7-month-old baby:

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This schedule allows for around 12 hours of sleep at night, so keep in mind that it could be customized to your baby’s sleep needs.

7-month-old feeding tips

At 7 months old, your baby will still primarily be eating breast milk or formula for the bulk of their nutrition, but they are also most likely eating solids now. Here are some quick stats on feeding a 7-month-old baby:

  • How much should a 7-month-old eat: At seven months, your baby will drink breastmilk or formula 3-5 times a day for a total of 30-32 ounces per day. If you’re breastfeeding, continue to nurse on demand, because you can’t overfeed a breastfed baby.

  • How much should a 7-month-old weigh: The average 7-month-old baby boy weighs 19 pounds and the average 7-month-old baby girl weighs 17.4 pounds, according to data from the World Health Organization. Be sure to keep your baby’s well-child checks with your doctor, so they monitor your baby’s growth.

  • How often should a 7-month-old eat: Typically, a 7-month-old baby will want to eat every 3 to 4 hours. Along with a bottle or nursing, your baby can have around 1 to 2 tablespoons of food at mealtime and snack times. Don’t force food on your baby; this is a good time to help your baby learn their own cues for satiety and to stop feeding them when they show signs of being full, such as turning their head away or closing their lips.

How to help support your baby’s sleep during the seventh month 

mom reading to the baby in crib

During your baby’s 7 months of life, it can be helpful to keep the following sleep tips in mind:

Don’t let your baby get overtired.

One of the temptations at this age is to let your baby stay up and play—they are more active now, so you might fall prey to the common trap of thinking that your baby will sleep better if they stay up a little longer or tire themselves out. But overtired and overstimulated babies can actually resist sleep and it can throw off their whole sleep cycle. Instead, stick to their bedtimes and don’t let your baby get off schedule if possible.

Keep those daytime naps. 

Similarly, maintain a good naptime schedule during the day to ensure your baby is getting all the sleep they need. Your baby actually needs more sleep, not less, the more active they are.

Be sure to discontinue swaddling when your baby starts rolling over.

By 7 months, your baby is most likely rolling from front to back, so it’s important to discontinue using a baby swaddle at this time. Not only is it not really necessary anymore, but it can become dangerous to keep a baby swaddled if they are able to roll over.

Be consistent in your bedtime routine.

The biggest piece of sleep advice for your baby at any age is to stick to a consistent sleep and bedtime routine. If you haven’t established a bedtime routine yet, don’t worry—it’s never too late. No matter when you start it, the important thing is to stick to a bedtime routine because once those cues are in place, they will signal to your baby that it’s time for sleep. Some examples of what to include in your bedtime routine could be:

  • Give your baby a bath.
  • Read a bedtime story together. 
  • Perform an infant massage. 
  • Turn on white noise, like a baby sound machine or a fan. 
  • Sing a special nighttime song. 
  • Use a specific nightlight at night. 
  • Cuddle with a special stuffed animal or blanket before your baby goes into their crib. (Remember: nothing other than your baby in a crib for sleep safety reasons!)