Three months have passed and now your baby is entering the second trimester. At this point every parent want to know how much their baby should be sleeping as parents did not get enough sleep during the first 3 months of their baby life. Most parents want to know when they will get their sleeping pattern back to normal and want to know what to expect at this stage.
Baby sleeping pattern during their 3-6 months old varies from one to another. Although, babies at the age of 3-6 months are able to sleep longer at night, this doesn’t mean you should suddenly apply a rigid sleep program on your baby at 3-4 months old.
In fact, your baby may already have developed their own sleeping patterns. Some may just sleep 6 hours during the night and have about 3-5 hours nap in the afternoon, some may sleep 12 hours straight with some short naps during the day, and with breastfed babies, some may have regular sleep and wake time to get fed more. This may not sound so much relieving if you’re hoping for sudden eight or nine hours of sleep for yourself. But it’s an important milestone for you as well as your baby, and by 6 months or before, your baby will be likely to be ready for night long sleep.
Many parents might ask, what would be the normal sleeping for my baby (between 3-6 months old)? The answer is there is no “normal” sleeping pattern in your 3-6 month old baby. If you are happy with your baby’s sleep pattern, there is no need to change it. There are many ways to be ‘normal’. But if you’d like to develop longer sleeping and keep more regular hours on your baby, now might be a good time to try some type of sleep training. Always remember that every baby is unique one another in developmental schedule. See how your child reacts to the sleep training, and if he doesn’t seem ready, slow down and try again in a few weeks.
It sure takes time, but by 3-6 months most babies will “understand” that nighttime is for sleeping and are able to sleep for 6-12 hour stretches. This must be great news to parents who are usually very exhausted by this stage and looking for a break!
Oh no, my baby is waking up again!
Don’t panic! Although it can be frustrating but it is normal if your baby who has already slept for long period at night and then one day he starts to wake up again.
Well don’t be surprised. Your baby has his reasons. As your baby grows, he may have more social awareness that he may cry for your attention and companion. It can also because he has new skills such as rolling over that he might practice it during his sleep and wakes himself up. It’s part of life process.
Some tips to help your baby sleeps well at this age
Make sure your baby is stimulated during the day to make sleeping longer at night is more likely. Pay attention to your baby’s cues. It could be cues to play or cues to sleep. During their 3-6 months old, babies enjoy going for walks, tummy time, listening music, playing toys or just being cuddled with mom or dad.
Meeting your baby’s needs is very important and requires attention from parent side. By being active during the day, it teaches your baby the difference between daytime and nighttime.
So here are the tips to create desired sleeping pattern for your baby:
As in adult’s sleep, we have sleeping cycle, deep sleep and light sleep. Light sleep is when we awake for a short period of time. It can be a few seconds or few minutes. All of that, we do that without realizing it. After that short awake moment, we are able to get back sleep on our own automatically.
Baby is the same. They also have sleep cycle. Only they have shorter period between deep sleep and light sleep than us as adult. That is why the smaller the baby, the more awake moment he will have.
Therefore, the capability to get back to sleep is the basic when it comes to snoozing through the night. Some babies are able to do it naturally, but some are not and need to be trained. One of the methods is to put her down to sleep when she is drowsy but awake. Many parents have been mistakenly to put their baby down on cot after he completely sleeps on parents arm.
It needs time to train your baby to fall asleep by himself. So be patient.
Choose the bed time and nap time that suits your family’s schedule. Unlike in newborns where their bed times are when you start noticing one of these signs: eye rubbing, ear pulling, red eye, and so on no matter what the time is, now that your baby is a little older, it is time for you to generate regular bedtime and nap time to your baby in order to regulate his sleeping patterns.
You can start by setting a regular bed time and nap time every day. For example: bed time is 8 o’clock at night, and nap time is 9 o’clock in the morning, 12 noon and last is 3 o’clock in the afternoon. It does not to be precise though, as long as she is getting enough opportunity to sleep, either approach is fine.
Take your baby to sleep by some routine. It will be explained in the next point below.
Remember that being too tired can make it harder for your baby to settle down either during bedtime or nap time. And for sure, your household routine will influence your baby sleeping patterns too.
You can do the following routine before putting your baby to sleep:
You can do each of them for different sleeping time. For example, singing a lullaby for night bedtime but reading a story for nap time and so on.
By introducing the same routine, same order and same time everyday, your baby will acknowledge that it is time for him to sleep either night bedtime or nap time.
Now it may sound weird, but it is OK to wake your baby in certain time if he is sleeping more than his usual time.
By doing this, you will set his daily clock and your baby will follow the regular sleeping and waking patterns.
You can wake him up by calling his name slowly while rubbing his had, or kiss him slowly so he does not get surprised.
Just some quick short notes:
Never apply sleeping training to newborn. Your new baby needs to be fed every few hours, so it’s normal and healthy for him to sleep for just a few hours at a time. Respond promptly to his cries, feed and comfort him.
It is recommended that you sleep when your newborn sleeps to minimize your own sleep deprivation. Train only when he is ready and usually it starts after three months of age. Don’t force him.
Good luck and enjoy your parenting moment. See it as a fun way and you will get less stress.