By this age, your baby should be well on the way toward having a regular sleep
pattern. Some infants, particularly those who are breastfed, may still wake at night.
But most no longer need a middle-of-the-night feeding.
How Long Will My Baby Sleep?
Most babies this age should sleep 12 to 16 hours a day, which includes a longer
stretch at night and at least two naps during the day, says the National Sleep Foundation. The average amount of daytime sleep is now about 3 to 4
By 6 months, most babies are sleeping at night for
9 hours or longer, with brief awakenings.
How Should Babies Sleep?
The American of Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room-sharing
without bed-sharing until the first birthday or for at least 6 months, when the risk
of SIDs (sudden infant death
syndrome) is highest.
Room-sharing is when you place your baby's crib,
portable crib, play yard, or bassinet in your own bedroom instead of in a separate
nursery. This keeps your baby nearby and helps with feeding, comforting, and monitoring
your baby at night.
is safe, putting your baby to sleep in bed with you is not.Bed-sharing increases
the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths.
Follow these recommendations for a safe sleep environment for your little one:
Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, not on the stomach
or side. The rate of SIDS has gone way down since the AAP introduced this
recommendation in 1992. Once babies consistently roll over from front to back and
back to front, it's fine for them to remain in the sleep position they choose.
Use a firm sleep surface. Cover
the mattress with a sheet that fits snugly. Make sure your crib,
bassinet, or play yard meets current safety standards.
Do not put anything else in the crib or bassinet.
Keep plush toys, pillows, blankets, unfitted sheets, quilts, comforters, sheepskins,
and bumper pads out of your baby's sleep area.
Avoid overheating. Dress
your baby for the room temperature, and don't overbundle. Watch for signs of overheating,
such as sweating or feeling hot to the touch.
Put your baby to sleep with a pacifier. But
if your baby rejects the pacifier, don't force it. If the pacifier falls out during
sleep you do not have to replace it.
Watch out for other hazards. Avoid items
with cords, ties, or ribbons that can wrap around a baby's neck and objects with any
kind of sharp edge or corner. Look around for things that your baby can touch from
a seated or standing position in the crib. Hanging mobiles, wall hangings, pictures,
draperies, and window blind cords could be harmful if they are within a baby's reach.
Helping Your Baby Sleep
You may have started a bedtime routine that you're sticking to. If you haven't
yet, now is a good time to start. Soothing activities that lead up to "night-night"
time can help relax your baby. A warm bath followed by stories or singing will signal
an end to the day, and these same activities can be used at bedtime for years to come.
You'll want your baby to fall asleep on his or her own. This may mean doing your
nighttime routine and putting the baby into the crib while he or she is drowsy but
still awake. If the baby cries, stay away for a few minutes. Your baby may settle
down and go to sleep.
If the crying continues, go back in and soothe your baby for a moment without picking
him or her up. This may go on a few times until your baby figures out that the crying
is not getting results. This can be tough for parents, since it's upsetting to hear
your baby cry. If you know your baby is safe, it's OK to give him or her time to settle
Why Does My Baby Wake at Night?
Even a baby who has been sleeping through the night will sometimes wake in the
wee hours. Allow some time to let your baby get back to sleep on his or her own.
Give your baby a few fussy minutes before you respond. Then, after checking to see
that everything is OK, leave your baby alone to fall back to sleep. Remember: Any
cuddling, feeding, or talking you do may prompt your baby to wake each night for this
a normal stage of development, can cause some babies between 6 months and 1 year old
to call out or cry in the middle of the night. If this happens, as with other awakenings, give your baby some time to settle down. If needed,
give brief reassurance to your little one without taking your baby out of the crib.
When to Call the Doctor
Most infants at this age will have a regular sleep routine and are able to sleep
through the night. But there is a wide range of normal. If you have any questions
about your baby's sleep, talk with your doctor.