Congrats — you’ve reached an epic milestone of keeping your tiny human alive and well for half a year!
With every passing day, your six-month-old is learning new skills, and sleep skills are no different!
So what does a 6-month-old sleep schedule look like?
Well, when it comes to babies, there is always a huge range of “normal” behaviors and abilities, and it’s no different when it comes to 6-month sleep schedule ideas.
The important thing is to stay consistent, keep as much of a routine as you can, and know that sooner or later, you’ll come through the other side!
So let’s get into the nitty-gritty and take a look at some ideas for a 6-month-old baby sleep schedule.
In this article: 📝
- Sleep schedule for 6-month-old
- Awake time for 6-month-old babies
- How much sleep does a 6-month-old need?
- How often should my 6-month-old nap?
- What time should 6-month-old go to bed?
- How long can a 6-month-old sleep at night?
Sleep schedule for 6-month-old
Some easygoing babies might be happy to fall asleep independently at this age (nothing wrong with giving it a try!), but most will still want some help with this (and that’s okay!).
If you’re happy feeding to sleep or rocking your baby into a slumber, feel free to keep doing that.
No pressure here!
And whether you managed to skip through the 4-month sleep regression with barely a whimper, or it was a sleep-deprived hell for the whole family, baby sleep at 6 months can have its own hiccups.
At 6 months, some babies will go through another “sleep regression”, or, “developmental progression”, according to gentle baby sleep consultant, Alicia Dyshon.
These developmental progressions can play havoc with a 6-month-old sleep pattern, including teething, starting solids, separation anxiety, and fun developmental milestones like rolling over and sitting up.
Awake time for 6-month-old babies
The amount of time a 6-month-old will happily stay awake between naps will vary, but it’s usually somewhere between 2 to 3 hours.
Your baby may prefer a shorter awake time in the mornings and a longer period of play before bed, so it’s best to follow their cues.
How much sleep does a 6-month-old need?
A sleep schedule for 6-month-old babies will often be based around your little one needing around 13-15 hours of sleep per 24-hour period.
This is usually split between 10-12 hours of overnight sleep plus 2.5-3.5 hours of naps.
This sleep is super important, because it’s essential for baby’s brain development, especially cognitive functioning and relational memory.
How often should my 6-month-old nap?
A nap schedule for a 6-month-old usually includes 3 naps, and it’s generally considered too early to cut down to a 2-nap sleep schedule unless they are consolidating naps and able to extend wake windows.
Generally speaking, it’s ideal if the first two naps of the day are the longer of the three.
The third nap is often shorter, around 30 minutes, but will help your baby avoid becoming overtired before bedtime.
Baby might resist the third nap some days, so you might find that you need to rely on popping them into the stroller, car, or carrier to help get them to sleep, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.
What time should 6-month-old go to bed?
Most of the time, a sleep schedule for 6-month-old babies will include a bedtime between 6 and 8pm.
Generally speaking, babies of this age should be heading to bed 12-13 hours after they wake for the day.
For example, if your baby wakes at 6:30am, and they take three good naps throughout the day, their bedtime will probably fall somewhere between 6:30 and 7:30pm, depending on when naps happen and their unique wake windows.
However, if their naps don’t go as planned, you might need to bring bedtime up a little so their pre-bedtime awake window doesn’t get too long.
Although at this age things might become a bit more predictable sleep-wise ([consistency is key]9https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34392076/) here), it’s still normal for there to be some variation from day to day.
How long can a 6-month-old sleep at night?
There is a wide range of overnight sleep ability at 6 months old, so try not to get too bogged down by what your friends’ or neighbors’ babies could do at this age.
It’s good to aim for 10-12 hours of night sleep, which will likely still be broken up.
Some babies will sleep for a solid stretch of between 5 to 6 hours after they go to bed, with their sleep becoming more broken towards the morning.
How many times should 6-month-old wake up at night?
Some babies will sleep through the night, others will still wake to feed a few times a night.
Both are completely normal.
At this age, unless under the direct advice of your doctor, it’s not necessary to wake your baby specifically to feed them.
Why does my 6-month-old keep waking up at night?
Oof! A tough question!
There can be so many reasons for frequent night wakings at this age.
We’ve got possible teething pain, possible 6-month developmental progression (or “sleep regression”), and the likelihood that they just want to practice their cool new skills like rolling, sitting, and maybe even crawling!
So what can you do to prevent night wakings? Here are some tricks to try, if you want:
- When they wake, if they’re not hungry or needing a diaper change, try to resettle them in their crib. You can try stroking their head, patting their bottom, or rubbing their back to help soothe them. If all else fails, pick them up and support them back to sleep using a different sleep association.
- Ensure they’re not getting too much daytime sleep for their unique sleep needs. This can lead to difficulty resettling overnight and even longer night wake-ups due to undertiredness.
- Play during their daytime awake periods to tire them out, and give them plenty of time to practice their new skills so they don’t feel the need to do it in the middle of the night!
And if none of this works, remember that tomorrow is another day.
Nailing baby sleep is a tough job, and some babies will respond to routine better than others.
If your 6-month-old is fighting bedtime, or you’re buried under long days of short naps and a fussy baby, reach out for help if you need it.
Your fellow Peanut mamas might be able to offer tips and support.
You are not alone!
(While you’re here, why not prep for 7 months?)