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 months:
- He was taking short naps
- He had a very late bedtime
During this time I started thinking back to when the twins were the same age. And, I remembered that we also had these “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.
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3 Month Old Baby Sleep Expectations
If you google a 3 month old sleep schedule you will get a whole lot of information. Most of the baby sleep schedules I found for 3 months to 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 my singleton, at 6 months he went from taking 4 to 5 naps per day to a dependable 3 naps per day. And, once he transitioned to 3 naps per day, the cat naps ended.
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 1.5 hours to 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.
3 Month Old And Short Naps
When my kids were newborns they would take long naps, which means a nap that is at least 1 hour long. But, around 2 or 3 months old, out of the blue, they started taking short naps throughout the day.
This change was alarming 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 3 months old.
3 Month Old Night Sleep Length
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 hour stretch was a welcome break after dealing with the newborn phase.
Should You Try Sleep Training At 3 Months?
My advice for parents of babies taking short naps 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 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 7 Months
My 7 month old baby now takes 3 naps per day. Some are short, 30 to 45 minutes and some are long, 1 to 2 hours.
Some days the first nap is long and other days it’s the second nap. The third nap is typically short because it’s the nap before bedtime.
Now, if you are struggling to understand your baby’s sleep schedule and it’s just stressing you out, then I highly recommend you invest in these baby sleep schedule cheat sheets.
My baby’s sleep schedule was one of my personal biggest struggles. It would have been nice to have a reliable reference to know my baby was on the right track.
Plus I will say, if you decide to grab the baby sleep schedule cheat sheets, it will really take some of the stress and guess work away every time there is a schedule change during your baby’s first year and beyond.
3 Month Old Bedtime
Another thing that was stressing me out when my kids were 3 months old was a late bedtime. As with short naps, some light reading on the internet might lead you to believe you are a horrible parent if your baby’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 anywhere between 11pm and 1am. I didn’t know what to do. Well, 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. But, today, at 7 months old, his bedtime is currently 9pm.
If your baby is waking up at a time in the morning that is okay for you, then do not mess with their bedtime.
The late bedtimes at 3 months meant our babies would sleep until 8am. This was the perfect wake-up time for our household.
Don’t get me wrong, they would wake up for a feeding and diaper change. But, they would go back to sleep for a few more hours after this.
Managing Sleep At 3 Months Old
The biggest thing I am hoping you will take away from this post is to not to stress over your child’s sleep at 3 months. If your baby is happy, and their awake times between naps make sense, you are on the right track.
Just continue or start teaching good sleeping habits to help your baby learn to sleep without being held. Babies seem to reach a milestone around 6 months old, where they start taking 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. And, if you need extra guidance, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of the troubleshooting baby sleep eBook or signing up for this baby sleep course written by a certified baby sleep consultant.
You will learn all the tricks you need to know about getting your baby to sleep through the night starting from 4 months old.
I hope this post helped you understand a 3 month old 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 should be getting a goodnight’s sleep again.