Your three to six month old baby may have developed their own routine and pattern of waking, or they may have an unpredictable schedule that wakes you throughout the night. Each baby is a unique individual, who follows the sleeping routine that is right for their personal needs. There are some common ways to help your baby sleep, however, as well as some issues that are common among babies this age that affect their sleeping patterns. Here is the inside scoop on the sleep routines of babies from three to six months of age.
Sleep at Three Months
A three month old baby is still considered a newborn. At this age, your baby will probably wake every one to three hours for the breast or bottle, and need to be changed and burped afterward. It is totally normal for babies to have a long period of alertness at some point during the night, and for babies to wake often. Three month old babies are still adjusting to life outside the womb, and their immature digestive systems mean that frequent feeding are needed to help the baby develop.
Most babies have pretty much synced their sleeping styles to fit the lifestyle of your family, but it not don’t be worried. By the age of six months your baby will be able to sleep for four to eight hours on their own, without the need for breast or bottle. If your baby is still waking at six months, that just means that he or she doesn’t have the ability to wait any longer for food.
Sleeping at Six Months
By six months of age, your baby may not need to nurse every two hours, but instead may demand the breast or bottle every four to five hours. By six months old, you should have developed a good bedtime routine. It is important to try and put your baby down for the night at about the same time each day to prepare them for great nights both now and in the future. Babies tend to need less and less sleep as they grow. At three months old, most babies sleep an average of fourteen hours a day. At six months, babies can sleep anywhere from eleven to fifteen hours a day depending on their personal need for sleep.
You should expect your baby to wake frequently during these months. A baby who snoozes for a couple of hours, then wakes for a few moments is completely normal. Your baby will begin to eat more during the fourth and fifth months, which has the effect of allowing baby to sleep for longer periods of time. Don’t expect that your son or daughter will be the same as other babies, however, or you may worry about their sleep habits unnecessarily.
Getting More Sleep
Getting sleep with a three to six month old baby is more difficult than you may think. You will be awake for a couple of hours at night for feedings, and may not have a baby who sleeps for more than a few hours at a time. If you are the primary caregiver, you will want to rest anytime your infant is napping. Try to have the same nap times, bath times, and evening bed times for your child if you want to establish a routine that will allow your baby to feel comfortable enough to sleep. A routine also teaches your child what you expect each day, so they may be able to sleep with less trouble at the appropriate times.
If your child has another primary caregiver, don’t forget to offer to take over a few nighttime feedings during the three to six month period. Your partner will appreciate the help, and you will have some extra time to bond with your baby. Night feedings are often the most challenging aspect of caring for a small infant, but that doesn’t mean that these feedings can’t also be rewarding for you and your child.