Your Guide to the 3-Month-Old Sleep Schedule: Naps & Wake Windows

Your Guide to the 3-Month-Old Sleep Schedule: Naps & Wake Windows

Wow, those three months have flown by!

Or maybe they’ve dragged on endlessly.

Either way, your baby is officially out of “newborn” territory, and things are changing.

Getting a handle on a 3-month-old schedule might be top of your to-do list now, but that can be easier said than done.

Let’s remember, every baby is different, and at this age, phases don’t tend to last too long.

So whether you’re feeling easy breezy, or more like a caffeine-fuelled zombie, we’re here for you.

Let’s talk sleep schedules for 3-month-old babies and what you can expect from this weird and wonderful chapter of mama life.

In this article: 📝

  • How to get a 3-month-old on a new sleep schedule
  • Wake times for 3-month-old babies
  • How much sleep does a 3-month-old need?
  • 3-month-old nap schedule
  • How long should a 3-month-old sleep at night?

How to get a 3-month-old on a new sleep schedule

Most experts agree that a 3-month-old baby is still too young to establish a schedule and it’s really better to just go with the flow for now until their brain development is a bit further along.

Maybe not what you were dying to hear, but trust us, it can be much more stressful trying to force a schedule on a baby who’s not ready.

What you can do now is set up some healthy sleep habits and establish a wind-down routine.

By having the same things happen every day, even if the timing is completely different from the day before, your baby can start recognizing that sleep is coming.

Making sure their sleep environment is quiet, dark, and cool, and that your baby is dressed appropriately, will encourage them to sleep for as long as possible.

A bedtime routine of [bath]9, feed, story or song, and a cuddle introduces a certain amount of predictability that both you and your baby might love.

A shortened version can be used for nap times (which, interestingly enough, have been linked to memory development in babies).

At this age, you might be in the throes of cluster feeding, which can commonly happen in those witching hours of the late afternoon and evening.

It can be a real struggle, and the idea of a calm bedtime routine couldn’t be further from your reality.

But know that this, too, shall pass.

Your baby is doing what they need to do, and for now, following their lead is your best course of action.

On the other hand, you might find your baby is naturally falling into a kind of sleep rhythm without too much effort, and if that’s you, high five!

And yes, all your mama friends are probably jealous.

Wake times for 3-month-old babies

Wake times, or wake windows, will be between one to two hours for a 3-month-old — though this can change on the daily, or even throughout the day.

Your little one may only be able to face 60 minutes of activities and awake time in the mornings but happily keep their peepers open for closer to two hours come the afternoon.

As always, look out for their tired cues, which signal it’s time to start prepping for their next sleep.

At this age, crying or fussing can indicate they’re already overtired, so instead, watch for them rubbing their face or ears and having a blank expression or staring away from you.

How much sleep does a 3-month-old need?

Across 24 hours, a sleeping schedule for 3-month-old babies will probably include a total of 14-17 hours of sleep, with about 15 hours being “the norm” (if anything when it comes to babies can be called “normal”).

This will often be broken down into around 10-12 hours of overnight sleep, and four to five hours of day sleep.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that, at three months, you might start seeing the warning signs of fussiness and broken sleep, signaling their first “sleep regression”, or, as gentle sleep consultant Alicia Dyshon prefers to call it, their first “developmental progression”.

Often called the “four-month sleep regression”, it can make its presence known as early as 12 weeks — especially if your baby likes to be ahead of the game!

If it’s not the “regression”, teething pain can cause some ups and downs in your 3-month-old schedule, or you might have a period of plain sailing.

3-month-old nap schedule

So how do we pack 4 to 5 hours of day sleep into naps for a 3-month-old sleep schedule?

This will probably vary day to day, but typically, 3-month-olds will take 3 to 5 naps, which may vary in length between 30 minutes and two hours each.

If your baby naturally seems to take longer naps, you might find their wake windows can be slightly longer between naps than babies who take more frequent but shorter naps.

In other words, if your baby regularly wakes after 45 minutes to an hour, their wake window may only stretch to one to 1.25 hours.

But if your baby wakes from a two-hour nap, they may be able to stay awake for two hours before their next sleep.

Simple! (said no mama ever.)


How long should a 3-month-old sleep at night?

Overnight sleep is a big focus of any sleep schedule.

Typically, a 3-month-old baby will probably sleep between 10 and 12 hours overnight, but unfortunately, we’re not talking about one long stretch of sleep at this point.

What time should a 3-month-old go to bed?

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to bedtime, but between 6pm and 8pm is common.

Keep in mind their pre-bedtime awake window, and start a wind-down bedtime routine about 30 minutes before you’d like them to be asleep.

How long should a 3-month-old sleep at night without eating?

You might be getting a longer stretch of overnight sleep at the start of the night of about 5 to 7 hours, but do you need to wake them to feed?

Not unless your doctor has advised you to.

Enjoy those zzz’s mama!

If baby is still waking to feed every 2-3 hours overnight, know that this is normal too.

Prioritizing full feeds throughout the day might help them stay fuller for longer overnight.

Is 7pm bedtime too early for 3-month-old?

Nope, absolutely not!

7 pm is an average bedtime for a 3-month-old, but don’t get too bogged down with exact timings right now.

It’s still super normal, and super common, for the “routine” to change with every passing day based on nap length and wake windows.

We hope this might help you get through these foggy days of life with a 3-month-old.

But remember that it’s OK if the idea of a sleep schedule seems out of reach.

There’s no doubt that baby sleep can be one of the most difficult things to navigate as a new mom.

If you’re struggling, why not reach out and chat with some other local Peanut mamas.

You might find some tips to help you along the way.

Next up: 4 months old!


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