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 12–16 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 3–4 hours.
By 6 months, most babies are sleeping at night for 9 hours or longer, with brief
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.
While room-sharing is safe, putting your baby to sleep in bed with you
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 your baby cries, stay away for a few minutes. Your baby may settle
down and go to sleep.
If the crying continues, 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 (and not hungry, wet, soiled, or feeling unwell),
it's OK to give him or her time to settle down.
Why Does My Baby Wake at Night?
Even a baby who has been sleeping through the night will sometimes wake in the
wee hours, just as adults do. Some babies may call out or cry in the middle of the
night, then calm down when mom or dad enters the room. This is due to separation
anxiety, a normal stage of development that happens during this time.
Give your baby a few fussy minutes before you respond. After seeing that everything
is OK and reassuring your baby without taking your little one out of the crib, leave
your baby alone to fall back to sleep.
Remember: Cuddling, feeding, or talking when your baby wakes up may prompt your
little one to wake regularly for this attention.
When Should I 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.