By 3 to 4 months of age, babies begin to settle into a sleep and wake routine.
How much sleep your baby needs
Between 3 to 6 months, your baby needs between 12 to 14 hours sleep across the day and night. They will usually nap for around 3 to 4 hours. There should be 2 to 2.5 hours between naps.
Your baby may still go straight to sleep after a feed. They'll then 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
It is normal for your baby to wake briefly during the night. Avoid stimulating your baby if this happens. For example, by talking loudly or playing with them.
They may drift back to sleep or cry. Settle and soothe them if they are crying by talking softly and holding them. Feed them if hungry.
Difference between day and night
At this stage they are starting to identify the difference between day and night. A bedtime routine can help show your baby that sleep time is approaching.
You can build a sleep routine by:
- having your baby out in the daylight early in the day and being active in the evenings. This helps them to make the hormone melatonin that helps them to go sleep
- not exposing your baby to bright screens like a mobile phone, tablet or TV. This can make it harder for them to get to sleep.
- having ‘wind down’ or quiet time in the hour before bed – use dim lights and a low voice in the evening along with relaxing activities like a bath
- feeding your baby after a bath or after you change them into sleeping clothes – have 30 minutes between feeding and putting them to bed
- putting your baby to sleep in the same place when at home
- putting them into the cot while awake so that they fall asleep where they will be waking up.
- avoiding feeding or rocking to sleep – otherwise they’ll always need this to sleep and if they wake up during the night
During the night
- Use a yellow or red dim light when you feed your baby at night as a bright one may over-stimulate them - avoid blue lights and bright screens in the bedroom.
- Speak to your baby in a quiet calm voice when you are feeding them at night – talking loudly may encourage them to stay awake.
- Put your baby back into the cot drowsy but awake so that they wake up where they fall asleep.
- Don’t change your baby’s nappy during sleep time unless it is dirty.