Sleep Schedule for a 3-Month-Old

You may have noticed the behavior and sleep pattern of your three-month-old baby have changed drastically from the first days arriving home after being born.

This is all due to the fact your baby is growing up and beginning to settle into a routine with both sleep and feeding. Settling into a 3 month old sleep schedule can take a little getting used to and you should remember every baby is different with their own behaviors.

What to expect by the third month

For the first month or two after you brought your baby home from the hospital you may have thought you would never sleep a full night again. However, by the time you are looking to settle into a 3-month-old sleep schedule you should be noticing your baby is settling into their own routine with regards to sleep and feeding. You may also discover your baby won’t sleep whatsoever.

By the time you reach the third month with your baby, you may find your baby is beginning to sleep for longer stretches through the night. In some cases, a 3-month-old sleep schedule includes a full night’s sleep for your baby, but this is not always the case. A baby fed with formula will often sleep longer at nights and wake for fewer feeds than a breastfed baby by the third month of life.

Sleep regression

You may be one of those parents who suddenly feel they have cracked the code for sleeping for long stretches of time at night. If you have, that is wonderful but be prepared for times of sleep regression. Sleep regression is a state many babies find themselves in as they move through the first year of life and is caused by the subtle changes their bodies are going through. A baby who has been sleeping through the majority of the night may find themselves waking every few hours during the night for a short period as they regress during their sleeping hours.

One of the major reasons why your baby could slip into sleep regression is the fact their stomach is growing and allowing them to drink more at night. Fewer nighttime feeds can mean your baby starts to struggle to remain asleep through the night as they have developed a routine of waking every three hours or so to feed.

Nighttime sleeping

After three months of disturbed sleep, you will begin to feel you are no longer in control of your own life and be looking forward to your baby sleeping for longer periods of time. Firstly, you should be able to get a longer sleep before your baby wakes you in the night. The majority of babies will be sleeping from between nine and eleven at night until around seven each morning as part of their 3-month-old sleep schedule.

As your baby grows, you will find they can drink more breast milk or formula in a single sitting and need to be fed less often. At this point, you will find they are also sleeping for longer periods at night and waking more during the day. A 3-month-old sleep schedule will usually see your baby in bed for around 10 to 12 hours each night with fewer naps in the day.

If your baby is not managing to sleep all night without waking for a feed, this is perfectly natural and should not be worried about. The majority of breastfed babies will wake once or twice in the night to feed in the third month but should start to reduce these sleep disturbances between the fourth and sixth month.

A breastfed baby will usually follow a similar pattern to:

  • Arounf nine at night is bedtime
  • A fill-up feed is given around 10.30 each night
  • Baby should sleep until around seven each morning

In contrast, formula-fed babies usually last longer between bedtime and their fillup feed each night:

  • Around nine each night your bedtime routine should be completed and your baby is placed in bed
  • Around 11 you should wake baby for a fillup feed
  • Your baby should wake each morning at seven

Napping

Although you should be happy to see your baby sleeping longer each night, you may see them awake for longer during each day. Because your baby is sleeping for around ten hours each night they will be alert and awake during the daytime and spend more time developing with your help. In total, your baby will need around four to six hours of sleep each day, but this is not a time set in stone each day.

One of the best options many parents believes in is waking for around 90 minutes and sleeping for the same time throughout the morning and afternoon. With around 14 to 16 hours as the total of sleep needed each day you should develop your 3 months old sleep schedule to include various naps and catnaps. Waking and feeding on time each day are good options for making sure your baby is getting the correct amount of milk each day. Your 3-month-old sleep schedule for the daytime should include regular wakeup and feed times to make sure your baby is waking with their body clock set at the same time each day.

Waking your baby

This is one of the areas of developing a 3 month old sleep schedule most parents struggle with. If you are hoping to develop and maintain a 3 month old sleep schedule you will have to set bedtimes and waking up times which should rarely be deviated from.

If your baby is used to waking at seven each morning and you decide to let them sleep until nine one morning you should not expect them to remain on their usual schedule over the course of the day. As the parent, you have the ability to wake your baby at the reset their body clock each morning to your own requirements.

When you are looking to set a 3 month old sleep schedule you must become strong-willed in your desire to retain the schedule you have created. In general, you will find your baby far easier to handle and work with when they are on a sleep schedule they are comfortable with.

Develop a bedtime routine

As part of the 3 month old sleep schedule, you should be looking to create a routine to follow each night before putting your baby down to sleep. This can include a few easy to complete tasks you can share with your baby that act as prompts for them to settle down to sleep.

Some of the simplest tasks you can include in your baby’s bedtime routine are a bath, a final feed, and a little time spent talking or singing songs to your infant.

Handling nighttime feeds

When you are developing a 3 month old sleep schedule you should remember that no two babies are exactly the same and guidelines are not to be followed rigidly. At the three months mark, many babies will still be waking at least once during the night and will need to feed when you may think they should be sleeping.

The best option is simply to take this in your stride and understand your baby has specific needs. Before introducing solid foods before the age of six months you should ask the advice of your doctor and not rush your child to eat in a bid to help them sleep through the night.