Learn how to set up a happy and healthy sleep schedule for a 6-month-old
At 6 months old, your baby is now an active infant. They’re probably standing, squatting, babbling, giggling, and just plain being adorable! They may be sleeping more consistently, or maybe not. As your baby grows and develops, their sleep habits may be changing again. Perhaps you’ve tried sleep training or are considering it. Either way, establishing a sleep schedule will help your baby get the sleep they need. Keep reading for some more FAQs on creating a 6 month old baby sleep schedule.
Why is a sleep schedule important for a 6-month-old?
A sleep schedule is important for your 6 month old for a variety of reasons. Routines help babies (and adults for that matter) feel safe in their environment. They also offer a sense of stability knowing that a happens, and then b, and then c. When it comes to your 6 month old sleep schedule, that which is consistent early on, ie: bath, books, bed, begets a more relaxed state, which ultimately helps with better sleep. Routine can also create a habit, which will help your baby understand what is daytime activity (play) and what is a nighttime activity (sleep.)
What is the average sleep schedule for a 6-month-old?
Every baby is different and so is their sleep schedule. By 6 months old, most babies are averaging around 14 hours of total sleep within a 24-hour period, with around 3 naps during the day. Below is considered a typical schedule given the average sleep cycle of a 6 month old:
- 7:00 a.m.- Awake
- 9:00 a.m.- Nap #1
- 10:45 a.m.- Awake
- 12:30 p.m.- Nap #2
- 2:00 p.m.- Awake
- 4:00 p.m.- Nap #3
- 4:30 p.m.- Awake
- 6:30 p.m.- Bedtime routine
- 7:00 p.m.- Bed
If your 6 month old is taking 2 naps a day, extend naps 1 and 2 above, and eliminate nap #3 per your baby’s schedule and temperament. Of course, this is just a guideline as each baby is unique and will develop at their own pace.
What is the best way to get a 6-month-old on a sleep schedule?
When it comes to teaching a baby to sleep through the night, it’s important to do your research! Like everything baby-related, there are a lot of options when it comes to sleep training. There’s the Ferber method, fading method, pick up/put down, and more! So no matter which method you try, choose one that works best with your baby’s temperament and your own lifestyle.
Start with a simple sleep time routine and use it for every single night. It could look something like this:
- Warm bath
- Darken the sleep space (close the curtains, soften the lights)
- Read a book
- Play soft music
- Put baby in their crib tired but awake
Do the same thing every night, at the same time every night and establish this as your sleep routine to encourage better sleep for longer stretches of time.
Adding in a sleep cue like the Dreamland Baby Weighted sleep sack can be important in signaling it’s time to catch some zzz’s. The gentle weight helps to increase melatonin and soothe your baby right off to dreamland. It’s available in a variety of colors from sage green to palm leaf to Shibori sky, makes a great gift and/or addition to any baby registry!
What time should a 6-month-old go to bed?
At six months old, your baby may be awake for a good 2-3 hours before it’s time for their nighttime sleep. So depending on the time of their last nap, it varies what time they should be put down for the night. On average, close to around 7pm is a great time to start the nighttime routine of dimming the lights, reading a book, and playing soft music before last feed and light’s out!
Also, at 6 months, your baby’s circadian rhythm has likely kicked into gear. That means that their internal clock can now help them distinguish between day and night. This is essential in creating healthy sleep habits and will help inform the right bedtime for your baby.
What is a good nap schedule for a 6-month-old?
See the above schedule to get a general sense of a sleep schedule for your 6 month old. By now, they are likely napping between 3-4 hours of sleep during the day divided between 2-3 naps.
What happens in the next stage of sleep?
In the months to come, some babies will learn to self-soothe and have longer stretches of sleep during the night with fewer middle of the night sleep interruptions. For others, sleep may start to become more difficult. That’s because every baby is different and with so many changes happening, it’s hard to predict how your baby will respond to their development.
Tips for 6-month-old sleep schedule:
- Play it out: your 6 month old has a lot of energy! Make sure they’re active during waking hours so when it comes time for bed, they’re tired!
- Consistency: routine, routine, routine will help establish important sleep cues, so your baby knows when it’s time for sleep
- Sleep Training: teaching your baby to self-soothe is an important step in getting quality sleep
- Get Help: parenting is hard! Sleep (or lack thereof) can be stressful. When needed, talk to your pediatrician, join a parent group, or ask for help.
Remember that your baby is unique and will hit certain milestones like sleeping through the night in their own time. If you have some concerns, or are worried that your baby’s sleep is simply off, by all means, discuss with your pediatrician or sleep specialist.