A 3 Month Old Sleep Schedule For Short Naps
My singleton, M, turned 7 months old yesterday. Over the last month his sleeping patterns have become much more dependable than his 3 month old sleep schedule.
There were two “problems” with M’s sleep schedule at 3-6 months. Number one, he was short naps and number two, he was going to bed late.
During this time I started thinking back to when the twins were the same age. And, I remembered that we also had these so called problems, with one of the twins at the same age.
I decided to write this post to help out other parents who might be dealing with short naps and an unpredictable sleep schedule at 3 months old.
I want you to know, this is a temporary moment in your life. It will get easier, and you will sleep again.
Baby Sleep Expectations For 3 Month Olds
If you google babies and sleep schedules you will get a whole lot of information.
Most of the baby sleep schedules I found for 3-6 months were not in line with what my babies were doing.
As a new mom, this led me to needlessly worry that my kids would never be good sleepers.
2 out of 3 of my children would take cat naps throughout the day until approximately 6 months old.
For M, in the last month he went from taking 4-5 naps per day to a dependable 3 naps per day. And, once he transitioned to this change, the cat naps ended.
Short Naps At 3-6 Months
When my kids were newborns they would take long naps, which means a nap that is at least 1 hour long.
But, around 2-3 months old, out of the blue they started taking short naps throughout the day.
This change alerted me and I started trying to find out if short naps were something to be concerned about.
What I found, was quite a bit of information indicating short naps are bad. And, yes, it was confirming my fear that there was something wrong with my baby’s sleep habits.
Well, both of my kids are great examples of short naps being fine at younger than 6 months old.
Even though my kids were taking short naps, they were sleeping a dependable 6-7 hrs at night.
Why was I worried about naps? My kids were happy babies and they were sleeping well at night.
A 6-7 hr stretch was a welcome break after dealing with the newborn phase.
My advice for parents of short nappers is to wait until your baby is at least 6 months old before trying to intervene with any sleep training techniques.
Secondly, be sure you start (or maybe continue) implementing strategies to get your baby to sleep through the night.
There are small, easy things you can do from the time your baby is a newborn to help teach him or her good sleeping habits.
Don’t be discouraged and stop doing these things. Stay the course.
Once your baby is down to 3 naps per day, you should see a big improvement with predicting your baby’s sleep patterns.
Baby Sleep Schedule At 6 Months
I want to briefly share M’s sleep schedule today at 7 months old. This will give you an idea of what to expect a few months down the road from now.
M now takes 3 naps per day. Some are short (30-45 min) and some are long (1-2 hr).
Some days his first nap is long and others it’s the second nap. The third nap is typically short because it’s the nap before bedtime.
Late Bedtime For Baby
Another thing that was stressing me out when my kids were 3-6 months old was a late bedtime.
As with short naps, some light reading on the internet leads you to believe you are a horrible parent if your child’s bedtime is later than 8pm.
Well, I am here to tell you do not waste your time worrying!
J, one of our twins, used to go to bed at 11pm-1am and I didn’t know what to do.
By the time she was 9 months old her bedtime was 8pm, and it has remained at that time for 2 plus years.
Slowly and naturally from 6-9 months her bedtime inched closer and closer to 8pm, without any intervention from us.
So far, M is on a similar path. At 3 months he would go to bed around midnight. Today, at 7 months old, his bedtime is currently 9:00-9:30pm.
If your baby is waking up at a time in the morning that is okay for you, then do not mess with their bedtime.
With these late bedtimes, the kids would sleep until 8-8:30am, which was the perfect time for our household.
Don’t get me wrong, they would wake up for a feeding and diaper change. But, generally, they would go back to sleep for a few more hours after this.
Example 3 Month Old Sleep Schedule
I thought it would be helpful to share a typical 3 month old sleep schedule, that includes short naps.
The list below gives a representative schedule for a 3 month old.
- 8am – wake up
- 9am – nap #1
- 10:30am – wake up from nap #1
- 12:30pm – nap #2
- 1pm – wake up from nap #2
- 2:30pm – nap #3
- 3:30pm – wake up from nap #3
- 5:15pm – nap #4
- 6pm – wake up from nap #4
- 8pm – nap #5
- 8:30pm – wake up from nap #5
- 11pm – bedtime
The most important thing to pay attention to is how long a baby should be awake between naps.
A 3 month old should be awake for approximately 1.5-2 hours after waking up from a nap.
As you can see from the schedule above, this generally holds true. But, keep in mind, there are times during the day where this could end up being a little bit longer.
Managing Sleep At 3 Months Old
The biggest take away from this post is not to stress over your child’s sleep too much in the first 6 months.
If your baby is happy and their awake times between naps line up with the above chart you are in good shape.
Babies seem to reach a milestone in the 6-7 month time frame where they take more consistent and longer naps.
If your baby is at least six months old and is not napping or sleeping great at night, you can consider using sleep training to teach him or her how to be a better sleeper.
On the other hand, if you ventured here, there is a good chance you have a baby that is younger than 6 months old.
My advice for this scenario is to continue or start teaching good sleeping habits to your baby.
But, there is no need for sleep training at this early age. Wait it out a few more months and your baby’s sleep might improve enough on its own.
If not, then you can try doing some sleep training. This is what we did with all three of our kids and all three are very good sleepers.
One of our children required no sleep training and the other two required 2-3 nights or this cry it out method.
I hope this post helped you understand a 3 month old’s sleep schedule and put your mind at ease about short naps and late bedtimes at this age.
Hang in there and before you know it, you will be getting a full night’s sleep again.
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