What Is an Infant Schedule?

An infant schedule is a planned program or timetable that outlines and dictates the daily or weekly activities of a newborn baby. The schedule is typically prepared by the infant’s primary caregiver.  

According to an article by Kids Health, the National Sleep Foundation says that newborns need to have at least 14-17 hours of sleep in a 24-hour window. Some babies may even have a total of 19 hours of sleep a day. 

Fundamental Infant Activities

A newborn baby does not do much compared to a toddler or a school-age child. But it is an infant’s first few months and years of life that are the most crucial. The following are the most basic and fundamental activities that should be incorporated into any infant schedule.

Eating. Food is a basic human need and necessity. Babies are essentially helpless and especially at birth, they are completely dependent on others. A mother’s breast milk is usually the primary source of nutrients for a newborn baby. But if the child’s mother is unable to produce milk for whatever reason, formula is another alternative. Solid food may come when the infant is a few months old. But it is still best to consult with your pediatrician or doctor with regard to solids. Usually, soft and easy to digest food are recommended. There is a wide variety of baby food sold at most markets and supermarkets. For babies, a feeding schedule is a must. Having a schedule not only ensures that the infant is fed at the proper times, but it is a helpful guide and reminder for parents, nannies, babysitters, and caregivers. Sleeping. It is not an exaggeration to say that newborn babies spend most of their time sleeping, as they should. The eat and sleep cycle is fundamental to infant care. The first few months and years of a child are when development and growth are especially important. Sleep not only restores the body, it supports healthy bodily functions and systems for newborns whose bodies are still not fully developed. This notion does not only apply to children, but to adults as well. Good sleep habits and sleep hygiene are critical to overall health and well-being. Fully developed adults need enough sleep just as much as babies do. Sticking to a predictable sleep schedule also helps ensure quality rest and sleep. Further, babies require regular and frequent naps. Morning and afternoon naps can also be incorporated in the infant’s daily schedule. Outdoor Time. A newborn baby may have limited movements and a lot of restricted activity but that does not mean they should be confined indoors at all times. Many pediatricians and child experts recommend babies get a dose of sunshine. Sunlight is a natural source of Vitamin D and helps support healthy bone formation among other benefits. Exposure to the sun and nature can be a positive thing for an infant. Just be careful not to overdo it; it is advisable to avoid going outdoors during the peak hours of the day when the sun is harshest. Not only are there health benefits to being outdoors and being around nature, but spending time outside the house can be a great opportunity to bond and socialize with the baby. A newborn baby can exercise his or her sensory functions and could even develop early fine motor skills just by being exposed outdoors. The sight of trees, the sound of birds and other people may seem ordinary and small but these can be potent and powerful early development experiences for a baby. Bath Time. Aside from feeding and sleeping, cleanliness is also a basic necessity. Babies not only need their diapers regularly changed, but they ought to have regular bath time as well. Frequent diaper changing and regular baths help promote cleanliness and can lower the risk of infection. An infant’s bath schedule may look different from baby to baby. Depending on doctor’s orders and instructions, babies can be bathed once or twice a day. A morning or evening bath before sleeping is typically the norm. In addition, using the right bath equipment is important as well. A bathtub specifically designed for newborns and infants can help make bath time less challenging. Also, using only mild soap or a body wash that’s made for babies is highly recommended for an infant’s delicate and sensitive skin.

Tips for Caring for an Infant

Parents and child caregivers have the important job of looking after the needs of a newborn baby. Especially for new and first-time parents, it can seem overwhelming at first. But with the right support and habits in place, caring for an infant can be a positive, fulfilling, and life-changing experience.

Take breaks. Looking after a baby is by, no means, easy. As the popular saying goes, being a parent is a full-time job after all. Children are a hand-full because they are completely dependent on others for their needs to be met and regulated. Still, parents are not superhuman and they need a good break once in a while. Child rearing is challenging and if you are a parent or a child’s primary caregiver or legal guardian, you need to be in the right position and headspace to do so. Thus, it is important to preserve your energy and manage your time properly. Most adults have other responsibilities outside the home, so taking a break to regroup and refocus is vital. When people are overwhelmed, sometimes it can negatively affect their duties and capacities. Establish a routine. Raising a child is far from easy and simple. But like most things, it can get better with time and practice. And an important part of practice is establishing the right habits. Having a routine can help build and develop habits. When it comes to caring for a newborn baby, establishing a routine can be vital especially in the adjustment period. Slowly but surely, falling into a routine or having one will eventually feel easy and second nature. Whether it is setting up the same feeding time or scheduling bath time at the same hour every day, having a predictable and reliable routine can benefit both the infant and the primary caregiver. This is where schedules come into play. An infant schedule can serve as a useful guide for implementing a baby routine. The schedule can either be printed or digital too, depending on your preferences and needs. Emphasize Reading and Playtime. There are all kinds of means and methods out there that claim to promote a newborn’s development and formation. From listening to Mozart and classical music to using specific toys, it is basically up to the parents of the child to decide whether they want to try it out or not. But the tried-and-tested methods of reading books to a baby or engaging in playtime is highly recommended. Language and communication skills begin to form even in the earliest stages of a baby’s life. Thus, do not underestimate the power of reading and conversing with your newborn, even when it seems they don’t respond. In the same way, an infant learns to crawl and walk even before the time they reach a year old. Engaging in play and allowing the child to explore can be important to the development of their fine motor skills and sensory functions.

How to Create an Infant Schedule

Every infant schedule should be tailored to the individual needs of a newborn. So before you craft your schedule, make sure to assess the needs of your baby first or better yet, consult the child’s pediatrician if you are unsure. Once you’ve done this, follow the step-by-step instruction guide below.   

Step 1: Choose a Template

To make your task easier, use a time-saving and ready-made template. This way, you do not have to start from scratch and you can create an infant schedule within minutes! There are dozens of available templates online; the infant schedule templates above are just some examples. You can choose a design that suits your tastes and preferences. The great thing about templates is that you get to customize it your way without having to start from the beginning. Of course, you also have the option to create your own personalized schedule if you want to design it yourself. Either way, it helps to decide on a format first before you craft a schedule.   

Step 2: Identify the Infant’s Needs

Since it is an infant schedule, you need to have a good grasp of your baby’s basic needs and necessities. Every baby is different, but their basic needs are essentially the same. They need to be fed, bathed, clothed, and put to sleep preferably in a routine manner. Your infant schedule basically revolves around their needs. A baby is completely defenseless and helpless in its first few months of life; it is the duty of the parents as the primary caregivers to provide for their needs. From changing diapers to washing baby bottles to nap time, these must all be taken into account when crafting an infant schedule.   

Step 3: Create a Timetable

After identifying the baby’s needs, the next step is to establish a timetable. Arrange and order the infant schedule based on the child’s meal time, sleep time, bath time, etc. It is possible to have a rotation schedule on select days, but as argued in the previous section, it might be best to stick to a routine in this case. And if you’ve chosen a template, you can simply edit the time slots. From the time the newborn baby wakes up all the way to the evening preparations for sleep, make sure to specify the time in your schedule. You also have the option to create either a daily or weekly schedule. But for infants, it is recommended to have a daily schedule to serve as a guide for parents, nannies, baby sitters, etc. 

Step 4: Include Other Important Reminders

The last step is optional but it doesn’t hurt to list down important reminders. Whether it is milk formula measurements, emergency contact numbers, or even links to helpful baby websites, you can add it to your infant schedule. You can dedicate a special section under your timetable labeled Notes or Important Reminders. List important reminders in bullet points or numbers to make it more organized. Lastly, your schedule does not need to be plain or dull. You can design and decorate your infant schedule with images, graphics, and borders as well.


When should you start a schedule for a newborn?

You can start as early as two months old as you gradually adjust to your newborn baby’s sleep schedule.

What should my baby’s schedule be?

A pattern for nighttime sleep usually emerges when the baby is, on average, six months old; and sleep, bath, and meal time are important components of a baby’s schedule.

How much do newborn babies sleep?

Newborn babies can have anywhere between 12-15 hours of sleep on average, while some can even reach a total of 18 hours of sleep.

Create an infant schedule that’s tailor fit to your baby’s needs. Browse the wide selection of free and printable templates above, edit it accordingly, and customize your own infant schedule today!