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Baby's sleep needs at 3 to 6 months

At 3 to 4 months, babies begin to settle into a sleep and wake routine.

How much sleep your baby needs

At 3 to 6 months, your baby needs between 12 and 14 hours' sleep. This is across the day and night.

During the day they will usually nap for about 3 to 4 hours. Try to have about 2 hours between naps.

Your baby will sleep for longer at night. But it is normal for them to wake for a short time during the night. Breastfed babies often sleep for short periods between feeds.

Naps for babies and young children

Feeds and sleep

At this stage, your baby may still go straight to sleep after a feed. They'll wake for a while before the next feed is due. By about 6 months your baby will stay awake for longer and be more alert between feeds.

Waking during the night

If your baby wakes up during the night, speak to them with a calm, quiet voice. They may drift back to sleep or cry.

How to settle your baby back to sleep:


  • soothe them if they are crying by speaking softly and holding them

  • feed them if they are hungry

  • use a yellow or red dim light rather than a bright or blue light

  • place your baby back into the cot while they are drowsy but awake


  • do not talk loudly or play with them

  • do not turn on your mobile phone or any other screen, as the bright light might wake them more

  • do not change your baby’s nappy during sleep time unless it is dirty

Ways to build a good sleep routine

Your baby may start to notice the difference between day and night. A bedtime routine can help show your baby that it's getting near sleep time.

Go outdoors each morning

Bring your baby outdoors early in the day. This helps them make the hormone melatonin, which is good for sleep.

Have a 'wind down' every evening

Have a wind down for an hour before bed. Dim the lights and speak softly. Do some relaxing activities, such as bathing your baby.

Change them into night clothes

Feed your baby after you change them into night clothes. Wait for about half an hour before putting them to bed.

No screens before bedtime

During wind down, keep your baby away from bright screens such as your mobile phone or TV. These can make it harder for them to get to sleep.

Keep to the routine

Part of having a good sleep routine is sticking to it.

Try to:

  • put your baby to sleep in the same place when at home
  • put them into the cot while awake so they wake where they fell asleep
  • avoid feeding or rocking them to sleep
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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 8.

Page last reviewed: 26 May 2023
Next review due: 26 May 2026

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.