Now that the honeymoon phase with your newborn is slowly weaning off, you are hankering for a predictable schedule for your little one’s sleep.
As your baby is slowly outgrowing their newborn clothes and diapers you might be struggling with finding the perfect routine for your newborn sleep.
News Flash! 3-6 months of age is the trickiest time regarding your baby’s sleep, and you might have a lot of trouble figuring out a sleep schedule for them. Generally, a 3-month-old baby needs 15 hours of total sleep per day, and most babies survive well without a sleep schedule. Most experts advise against imposing a sleeping schedule.
Whether you’re a new parent or an experienced one, you might be having questions about how much sleep your newborn needs or concerned about how many naps they should take during the day. Well, we have all you need to know to set your baby’s sleeping schedule straight!
3-Month Old Sleep Schedule
These 3-month-olds are super adorable, but they sure are unpredictable sleepers! As these babies sleep at unusual hours and are up at night, the “nap when they nap” idea is surely out the window!
If you are planning to set a sleep schedule for your child, we’ve got you covered, breaking it all down for you to understand and set the perfect schedule for your newborn’s sleep!
Most babies do well without following a rigid sleep schedule and sleep training, but this might not be optimal for parents or caregivers. Do not worry we’ve got you covered!
Tips To Get Your 3-Month-Old On A Sleep Schedule
Planning a 3-month-old baby’s sleep schedule depends on the amount of sleep they require throughout the day. This includes daytime sleep and night sleep. Morning nap time can vary depending on your baby’s sleep habits.
Contrary to expert advice, if you are planning to start a sleeping schedule for your baby, try to follow these tips and tricks to get them on board.
Stick To A Daytime Routine
Letting your little one utilize all their energy throughout the day might be the way to go if you want them to enjoy a healthy nighttime sleep. Play with them throughout the day. Playing during awake time might help your baby understands the difference between day and night.
Setting A Consistent Bedtime Routine
A consistent bedtime routine is a recipe for good sleeping through the night. Your child would get the sleep cues as soon as you start the routine and would know it’s bedtime. You might give your baby a warm bath, read them a story, or sing them a lullaby.
Newborns desire routine, and once you set a perfect time to wake them up or put them to sleep, their internal clock manages to tag along and adapt. This helps them fall asleep independently in the future!
Induce Healthy Sleep Habits And Sleep Environment
A good sleeping environment with dim lighting and cool temperature might help your little one fall asleep easily. You can use a white noise machine to help your newborn to sleep. Make sure to address their sleep needs before you leave the room.
Try to reduce assistance and let your baby fall asleep on their own once they are up. This will help your child learn good sleep habits.
Planning Wake Windows
Wake windows refer to the number of hours your child might stay awake between two consecutive naps. Wake windows that are shortest in the morning and longest just before nighttime are ideal.
But do not cut back on your 3-month-old baby’s daytime sleep, and make sure they nap frequently for at least 3 hours. Awake time of 1-2 hours during the 3-month benchmark is ideal.
Put Them To Bed When Drowsy
This tip might help them learn to fall asleep independently. Try to put them down as soon as you sense that they are tired and sleepy.
Prevent Weariness With Daytime Naps
An overtired baby is a fussy baby, so try to keep that nice balance between your sleep and awake times. For most babies, awake time shouldn’t be more than 1-2 hours at a time.
A total of 3-5 hours of daytime sleep is essential for your little one. But make sure your baby’s last nap is not too close to bedtime. A longer wake window closer to bedtime is a good way to do so.
It depends if your baby enjoys sleeping for 2 hours straight or likes taking multiple naps throughout the day.
Minimize Overnight Interactions
Your baby adapts to the way you react to their sleeping habits. When your baby’s sleep cycles are maturing to that of an adult, they also experience a light sleep stage at night, which might cause these little ones to toss and turn, even waking up temporarily.
Let them sleep on their own, as most babies go back to sleep soon thereafter, but if you wake them up, they might give you a tough time. Try to keep overnight interactions to a minimum when you find your little one up at night. A diaper change or night feedings can be given if there’s a need.
Set A Feeding Schedule
Feeding just before putting a newborn to sleep is quite common, but your little one might end up waking up a few hours later, in the middle of the night. To manage this, many parents tend to feed their little ones around the time they are about to sleep, not waiting for their newborn to wake up. This gives most children the chance to sleep for longer stretches at night.
Keep in mind that letting your baby sleep for more than 2 hours during the day might hinder their development, and they might have trouble during the day. Despite all this, your child might still have trouble falling asleep. This is normal for many children and might be due to the development or maturation of the sleep cycle.
What Sleep Schedule Is Best For a 3-Month-Old’s Sleep?
This depends on your newborn sleep pattern. Here’s a sample sleep schedule for your baby, but keep in mind that this is not set in stone. Your baby’s sleep schedule might differ and that’s completely fine!
It includes your little one getting up at 6 in the morning. This time can vary from 6 to 7 a.m., and you should feed them as soon as they wake up.
From that time till 8:45 a.m., feed them and let them play their heart out. Remember, daytime activities would let your 3-month-old baby achieve their milestones and practice their new skills.
At 8:45 a.m. or 1.5 hours after wake-up time, let your little one have their first nap. Longer naps could last for 1-3 hours but shorter ones might last for 45 minutes. Both are completely normal and depend on you and your baby.
Wake up your baby 1.5 hours after the last nap and feed them. The second and third naps could be taken 1.5 hours after the last nap, but make sure you feed them as soon as they wake up. Most babies take 4 naps throughout the day, but an optional fifth nap can be adjusted if the baby is overtired.
Make sure the last wake window is 2 hours before bedtime; your baby shouldn’t sleep past 6:30 p.m. Feed your baby and commence the bedtime routine around 7:30 p.m. and put them to bed by 8:30 p.m.
How Long Should I Let My 3-Month-Old Sleep?
Now that you know that the most important thing in your newborn’s sleep schedule is the total sleep hours, you might be wondering how long should your little one sleep.
Simply put, at this age, most babies thrive by sleeping 15 hours per day, but this is not set in stone. Total sleep time might vary and a spectrum lies under the umbrella of healthy sleeping in a 3-month-old. In ideal conditions, you might notice that your little one enjoys around 10 hours of night sleep.
You might be wondering how much daytime sleep is needed. Generally, 3-5 hours. Try to keep the awake time between each nap around 1-2 hours long and make sure your kid is fed well during this time.
Contrary to popular opinion, the number of naps does not matter for your little one, sleep requires regulation, and 13-16 hours of sleep are essential and could be divided into 4 daytime naps and a 10-hour long nighttime sleep block.
Bedtime for most 3-month-old babies lies anywhere between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Try to be consistent with the timings, but do not be rigid.
You can shift to an earlier bedtime if required but a later bedtime might result in early morning waking.
Why Do Babies Fight Sleep At 3 Months Old?
The 4-month sleep regression might knock up at your door earlier, and now you have on your hands a fussy baby fighting sleep. You might be wondering how did your baby’s schedule go all rogue?
There might be a couple of reasons why your 3-month-old might fight sleep.
Sleep regressions are common between 3 to 4 months of age and occur due to the underlying maturation of your baby’s sleep cycles. These temporary sleep disruptions occur for 2-4 weeks.
As your baby grows, they achieve developmental milestones that help them explore the world around them. With such leaps in motor skills and language on their way, sleeping appears less attractive for these babies. Staying up all night practicing these new skills, on the contrary, seems way more tempting!
Consult a doctor about your child’s weight gain and feeding queries if they have trouble feeding or you’ve noticed a decrease in appetite.
Long waking hours might result in an overtired baby. 4-5 naps throughout the day with 1-2 hours of awake time is ideal.
Thanks to the new skills your baby has gained, they might stay busy practicing them at night. Let them practice these skills throughout the day.
At this age, your baby is used to your warmth and might have trouble falling asleep on your own. Try to support them to make sure they know you are there for them
It might be the case that your little one is not fed well and is hungry. A hungry baby is an angry one, so try to feed them well to put them to sleep.
Does Baby Sleep Improve At 3 Months?
Just before the 4-month sleep regression hits, your child might get used to the sleep schedule you’ve set for them. Though most 3-month-olds crave consistency, at this point they are not old enough to stick to a schedule.
Sleep training should be done after your little one is 4 months, but at this age, sleeping habits can be induced and might go a long way! Keep in mind, by the time you’re done setting a sleep schedule, the 4-month sleep regression is on its way. These sleep regressions happen multiple times in some children, while for others they do not happen at all. But the good news is that these are temporary, and no progress is lost permanently.
How Many Times Should A 3-Month-Old Wake Up At Night?
Night sleep for most babies lasts for 10-11 hours, and they might get up in between for night feedings. Your baby might ask for night feeds 2-3 times each night.
In case your 3-month-old baby gets up more than 4 times each night, make sure you feed them well during the day for better sleep at night.
At What Age Does Baby Sleep Get Easier?
When your little one is 4 weeks old, they slowly start differentiating between day and night, which helps them stay awake in the morning and sleep at night.
After that time, your newborn’s sleep cycles slowly mature, resulting in shorter naps and longer stretches of sleep at night as they grow older. Developmental leaps till 18 months of age might bring along sleep regressions, but once you’re done with these, your baby’s sleep gets easier to handle.
What Does A 3-Month-Old Sleep Schedule Look Like: Final Thoughts
In conclusion, it’s completely normal for parents to struggle while setting up a sleep schedule for their 3-month-old. Sleep patterns at this age vary widely but ideally, most 3-month-old babies require 15 hours of sleep per day.
They might take 4-5 naps throughout the day and longer stretches of sleep occur during the night. Experts advise against sleep training, but there is no harm in instilling good sleep habits.
Be consistent with bedtime routines and avoid over-interacting with our baby at night. Other tips that might help include frequent naps during the day with longer wake hours closer to bedtime as well as scheduled feedings.