Your baby’s sleep patterns will go through some big changes from three to six months.
They will be sleeping less in the day, and hopefully moving towards waking up much less frequently at night.
At around three months your baby will need around 16 to 17 hours of sleep in total per day.
This will likely be split into three or four naps during the day of varying length from one to two hours.
Many babies at this age may still need a late afternoon nap of around 30 minutes just to keep them going until bedtime.
Night times will still be a bit of a challenge, with your baby waking at least once a night, but possibly even three to four times a night.
If you are struggling to figure out what to do with your baby during the day, you can read this post with a surprising tip for getting through those days when you feel trapped at home.
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The benefits of a schedule for your baby
Some mamas prefer to go with a baby-led schedule for their little one.
This is where they just roll with whatever the baby wants, responding to their needs based on the signals and cues they give mama.
However, even a mother going with a baby-led schedule may notice that the baby is fairly predictable day after day!
The benefits of knowing your baby’s schedule are:
- You can ensure they are getting plenty of calories in the day for optimal health and growth.
- Helping your baby know the difference between day and night.
- Encouraging your baby to sleep longer at night (letting you have more sleep!).
Baby naps and nighttime sleep at 3 to 6 months
As your baby emerges from the newborn weeks, many people may tell you that sleep gets a whole lot better between three and six months.
However this is not true of all babies. My second did not sleep more than two hours until she was one.
Some babies are just naturally better at sleep than others. This feels unfair of course when you’re utterly exhausted, but the important point is not to take the fact your baby is not sleeping so great still to heart. It’s not your fault!
At three months your baby may be in a rhythm of feeding and sleeping.
At this stage if your baby is relying on you to get to sleep, for example being rocked or fed to sleep, try not to worry too much. Getting the sleep right so that your baby is not overtired is important.
If you would like to help your baby learn to self-soothe, you can try the following things:
Time naps and sleep so that your baby does not become overtired. At this age your baby may be getting tired after one hour.
Have a good wind down time where you change your baby’s nappy, sing them a soothing song and put them down in the same place to sleep.
If you have space to bring it into your house, you could try putting your baby into their stroller (laying flat) and rock it backwards and forwards. There’s a really cool device that does this job for you!
By three months you may find it much easier to establish a bedtime routine. Read to your baby at this time, as it’s a great soothing activity and it’s never too early to encourage them to pick up on language.
If your baby is having very short naps at this stage and waking up grumpy from their sleep, then you may want to start trying to encourage your baby to fall asleep on their own.
This will mean that when they move to a lighter sleep cycle during a nap, they will be able to get themselves back to sleep.
Try putting your baby down drowsy but awake for their nap.
If you are really struggling to break your baby’s feeding to sleep habit, you could try offering them a dummy which can really help to soothe them. There are tons more sleep tips over on this post.
Many babies go through a sleep regression at four months. This can hit you quite hard, especially if you felt like you were just getting to grips with a routine.
Remind yourself that sleep regressions are temporary and nothing will last forever.
Baby feeding at 3 to 6 months
Whether you are breast or bottle feeding, by around three months you may have started to feel that you can now predict your little one’s feeding pattern.
Hopefully their hunger signs are a little clearer to you and you are starting to distinguish between their cries.
By three months your baby will need between 750ml (25oz) and 900ml (30oz) per day. This will divided up into six or seven feeds over the course of the day.
If your baby experiences a growth spurt in this time, however, they may suddenly start to feed more frequently.
Try not to worry, as this is very natural and will eventually return to normal.
At around three to four months a breastfed baby will become a lot more manageable. By this stage your latch is hopefully perfected and your supply will be established.
If you are having problems with breastfeeding, remember to contact your local breastfeeding support services. As your baby grows new challenges may arise.
Your baby may still cluster feed in the evenings when they are going through a growth spurt.
At four months, babies go through a sleep regression which may not only see your baby becoming much more fussy, but also wanting to feed more.
By around three months many mothers may have started to mix feed or stopped breastfeeding altogether. If you are thinking about quitting breastfeeding then do check out this post with lots of advice for mamas who are considering quitting nursing but aren’t really sure.
If you are bottle-feeding your baby, having your baby on a routine will help you know when to get bottles prepared!
By three months you may have noticed that your baby is taking larger feeds, as they tummy has now grown along with the rest of their body since birth!
You may also like:
Guide to combination feeding your baby
There are so many amazing things going on with your baby between the ages of three and six months.
Babies learn to sit up independently between around four to seven months.
They may also be rolling over at this age and learning how to perfect the movement of their arms and legs so they can manipulate objects around them.
Play with your baby at this age does not need to include loads of expensive toys.
Babies are happy just staring at your face while you pull silly expressions, reading books or shaking a rattle.
If you’re looking for simple play activities to try at home, there are 40 ideas over on this post.
There are also playtime ideas that can develop motor skills on this post.
A perfect schedule for your 3 to six-month-old
|7am||Wake-up and feed|
|9.30am||Wake-up and feed|
|10am||Outing or play at home|
|1pm||Wake-up and feed|
|1.30pm||Play or enjoy an outing|
|4pm||Wake-up and feed|
|5.30pm||Short cat nap|
|7pm||Feed and bedtime routine|
A baby between 3 and 6 months will still wake up to three times in the night but many are now capable of going on for four to five hours.
It’s important to remember if you are still struggling to get enough sleep for yourself at this stage that weaning is just around the corner.
Soon your baby will start solids and while it may take a couple of months to establish some proper meals in your baby’s routine, you will soon see them start to sleep for longer spells.
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Perfect routine for a one-year-old baby