Sound sleep is one of the most crucial components of a healthy existence. Sleep primes the brain to hone critical abilities like learning a new language, improving attention span, and developing impulse control. In essence, sleep plays a major role in building a baby’s brain. For an average six-month-old baby, sleeping for 12 to 14 hours at night is a must. Therefore, a mother must make it her priority for the child to get this amount of sleep for proper mental and physical growth.
Since every child is different, the sleep patterns of every child will differ like every other habit. However, certain practices can be adopted to ensure that your child receives the right amount of sleep. Here are a few tips and tricks to know more about how to maintain, manage and improve a 6-month-old sleep schedule.
How Much Sleep Does a 6-Month-Old Baby Need?
A 6-month-old child can easily stay up for 2.5 hours at a stretch. Your 6-month-old might struggle a bit with sleep in the beginning but will be comfortable with an elongated sleep schedule by the end of it. Ideally, a baby must sleep for 12-16 hours a day and for 9 hours at night. Waking up for brief intervals at night is normal because babies feel more hungry than adults as they are growing at an exponentially fast pace.
Nevertheless, a baby’s sleep largely depends on the infant’s circadian rhythm and how well and frequently they are able to nap during the day.
6-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
By the end of 6 months, a baby has two long naps and 2 short ones that have a duration of 30-40 minutes. However, certain infants do not sleep much, and they might just take 2 long naps and no naps during the day.
For Infants Who Are Sleepy Heads and Sleep Thrice a Day, the Mothers Can Abide by The Following Sleep Schedule
- Wake up the infant at 7:15 a.m.
- The first short nap at 9:00 a.m.
- Wake up the baby after an hour or so, i.e., at 11:00 a.m.
- Once the baby has been fed, he or she can take an afternoon nap from 12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. or so.
- You can allow the baby to play for some time and go back to sleep for the third time at 4:15 p.m. and wake the baby up around 4:45 p.m. This nap must not be a long one as it might have an effect on sleep at night.
- It is a must that the baby learns to calm down once he or she is 6 months old. For that routine to begin, make sure that you start the bedtime routine at 6:30 p.m. and let your baby fall asleep by 7:00 p.m.
For infants who are not fond of sleeping often and like to sleep only twice a day, the mothers must make sure that a baby takes two long naps that have a duration of two hours. Here is a 6-month-old sleep schedule for mothers with infants who prefer to sleep only twice a day:
- Wake the baby up at 7:00 p.m.
- The first nap can be taken at 9:30 a.m. and must get over by 11:30 a.m.
- The second nap must ideally begin at 2:00 p.m. so that the baby is up by 4:00 p.m.
- Once the child has taken two proper naps during the day, the bedtime routine can start at 6:30 p.m. so that the baby is fast asleep by 7:00 p.m.
Three Ways to Sleep Train an Infant Are
- Let the baby cry to sleep: One of the most effective ways to put your child back to sleep is to let the child be. The parents must not go to the room of the child to check, and neither try to calm the child if the baby starts crying. In just a matter of a few nights, the baby will start falling asleep on its own.
- Keep checking your infant at regular intervals: If you are not comfortable with the thought of letting your baby sleep alone, then you can follow another method which involves checking on your child at regular intervals. Once you start preparing the baby to sleep at 6:30 p.m., all you have to do is let the child be. Do not interfere by picking up the child or soothing the child. You can sit on a chair next to the baby’s crib and keep moving the crib away from the baby at regular intervals. The baby will learn to be fairly independent in a period of 10 days. Another method is the Ferber method, in which you will leave the baby in the crib at bedtime and check on him at regular intervals. Initially, you can keep checking on the baby after every 3-4 minutes and take it up to 10 minutes by the end of the week.
- Allow the baby to sleep in the same room as yours: Certain times, parents wish to be involved in the training journey of the baby. Therefore, they allow the baby to sleep in the same room as theirs. This method works best for those babies who get overstimulated upon seeing their parents and learn to fall asleep on their own.
Dos and Don’ts for Better Sleep of 6-Month-Old Baby
- Keep checking on your baby even if you are following the cry-it-out method. Once the baby has fallen asleep of its own accord, keep checking the baby periodically.
- Active involvement of both parents is a must. However, if you are a single parent, then seek help from family members so that a child does not get a rude shock if you are absent for a night. Moreover, training a baby can be exhausting for a parent and the baby as well. Giving rest to your own body is also equally crucial.
- Create a warm environment for the baby. Soft cotton blankets, a table lamp with muted light, and a moderately cold room temperature can work wonders and make your child slip into a deep slumber.
- Mothers must keep track of their child’s sleeping habits. Therefore, once you start the training process, identify patterns and choose the habits that work best for you. At certain times, the right pre-sleeping habits are more important than the main sleep regime.
- Stay flexible for the beginning of the 6-month-old sleep schedule. Babies are new to this world and are adopting a new habit of sleeping independently. Since they are experiencing growth spurts, their habits, and physical needs will differ from time to time. Therefore, you might not see favorable results right in the beginning.
- Stick to a routine so that the circadian rhythm of the baby is set at an early stage. A proper bedtime routine and consistent environment are a must for the baby to self-soothe and fall asleep instantly.
- Teach your baby to soothe herself to sleep if he or she is not able to sleep for more than 45 minutes.
- Your baby will sleep according to the feeding schedule. For instance, babies that consume formula will be able to sleep for 11 hours overnight. Therefore, remain consistent with your feeding routine.
- Never sleep train a baby before he or she is 3-4 months old. The reason is that the baby is waking up repeatedly at night because of hunger. Once the baby has been fed properly by the mother, the baby will go back to sleep instantly.
- A parent must never night wean a baby while you are training the baby to sleep on his or her own. Take one step at a time so that you know the reason behind the crying of the baby. If you start both processes together, it will be difficult for you to figure out if your baby is crying because of hunger or simply due to lack of sleep.
Developing the habits of an infant can be a frustrating task. However, the key to developing a consistent nighttime routine is to keep track of all the likes and dislikes of a baby and to stick to a routine. A parent and a child are going through a new phase in life which causes confusion. Both of them are trying to comprehend how life is changing. Thus, it is only normal for them to feel disoriented. Seeking help from family, friends, and professionals is always a good option and must be considered if you are feeling overwhelmed.
If you are going through a similar phase in life, share your experiences in the comments section below regarding your 6-month-oldsleep schedule.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do You Mean by 6-Month Sleep Regression?
At certain times, a baby who usually sleeps well suddenly stops sleeping and experiences a sudden change in sleeping patterns. Sleep regression includes waking up in the middle of the night, irritability, fighting sleep at bedtime, and so on. This usually happens when a child is going through a growth spurt or learning new skills.
What Is the Best Pre-Bedtime Routine in The Evening for a 6-Month-Old Sleep Schedule?
Give your baby a warm bath before tucking him into his bed. Read the baby a book, feed the baby, and let him burp so that the digestion process is complete. Make sure that the mattresses, sheets, night suits, and quilts are soft. Sticking to these habits consistently will allow your baby to gain familiarity with the pre-bedtime routine and fall asleep easily.
How Can a Child Be Taught to Self-Soothe?
The most important part of the process is to maintain a consistent routine and a calm environment that ensures comfort and safety. Keep the room dark, and quiet, and, in case your child is antsy, consider playing soothing music or rhymes. White light can be very helpful as it is not very harsh to the eyes.
Can a 6-Month-Old Baby Be Sleep Trained?
Yes. A 6-month-old can be trained to sleep as a baby starts soothing himself or herself by the time he or she is 4 months old. Therefore, a healthy baby can have proper control over his or her emotions by that time.