Establishing a sleeping routine for a 3-6 months old baby can be tricky so we have some advice to get you back on track.
3 to 6 months
Babies gradually adjust to their Circadian Rhythm and start to sleep through the night.
Typical sleep at this age
- By three months old, babies are sleeping less but still need about 15 hours in 24.
- Overnight sleep is about 10 hours and the other five hours are taken during the day in about 3 naps.
- From about four months babies gradually start to wake less often during the night.
- By about six months their body clock will have developed and most babies will start to sleep through the night.
How to establish good sleep habits
- Set regular bedtimes – a good way to establish good sleep habits is to introduce a set time for bed (and daytime naps) and stick to it, even at the weekends.
- Start a bedtime routine – many parents have already started to develop a baby bedtime routine without consciously thinking about it. Now is a great time to make the routine a regular part of settling your baby for the night. It can consist of anything such as giving him a bath, reading a story, singing lullabies, or talking. Whatever you choose to do as part of your baby’s routine, keep it consistent.
- Treat daytime naps like bedtime – babies thrive on consistency so try to stick to the same routine even for daytime naps, that way your baby can learn the difference between time to sleep and time to play.
Tackling sleep problems
During these months your baby needs to know that someone is there to fulfill his every need but he also needs to learn that mummy and daddy also have their own needs. At this age, waking in the night can also be accompanied by fighting off sleep.
Not settling - settling your baby at night needs to be peaceful, but if you’re worrying or stressed then your baby will feel something is wrong. Debbie says, “Your baby has taken up much of your time in the past few weeks and you are now finding that you can no longer give him all of the attention he demands. Some babies accept this readily while others may feel insecure, but they need to know that although you love them you cannot give your every waking moment to caring for them.”
- Keep bedtimes peaceful and stick to your baby’s routine.
- Don’t let your baby get too tired (this often makes him more awake)
- Don’t rush straight back to him if he starts crying. Debbie says, ”The majority of babies at three months cry for around four hours a day, and crying will not hurt him.”
Night waking - If your baby is dependent on something else to help him settle back to sleep when he wakes in the night, such as a dummy, a cuddle, or rocking, then now is the ideal time to help him settle himself.
Following his normal bedtime routine will help this learning as he will quickly associate it with sleeping.
Once you’ve done his routine, lie him in his cot and leave him. You can check in on him as often as you want, but most babies, once they’ve made the association with bed and sleep, will drift off quite quickly. Once your baby has learnt to settle himself, you will find night disturbances are much less.