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Three months after giving birth, the “newborn honeymoon phase” starts to wear off and parents become eager to settle into a predictable routine with their baby. Whether your baby is an “easy sleeper” or not, most moms and dads start craving a predictable sleep schedule for their 3 month old baby.
The majority of babies this age still need to eat at night. But, small changes to your 3 month old’s sleep schedule can help you start getting longer stretches of night sleep. And following my nap tips should help your little one start settling easier and napping better!
This article answers common parent questions about 3 month old nap schedules, wake time, and bedtime routines. And it gives you example 3 month old sleep schedules to follow. Here’s to a better night’s sleep for your family!
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How many hours should my 3 month-old sleep everyday?
Naps & Awake Times
Awake times of 1–2 hours work best at this age.
This means your 3 month old baby should be awake for only 1-2 hours at a time during the day. Young babies need to sleep often. So avoid the temptation to keep your baby up all day, hoping he’ll sleep better at night. This often backfires! Instead, allow your baby to nap often throughout the day.
# of naps isn’t important at 3 months old
Some 3 month olds will take three naps each day, and others might take five naps. The number of naps your baby takes is not important. What is important is making sure your baby naps frequently and for 3-5 total hours each day.
Your baby should nap 3-5 hours everyday
Your baby may prefer one 2-hour nap in the morning and several 30-45 minute naps in the afternoon. This is perfectly fine as long as your baby is happy between sleeps, naps for 3-5 total hours each day and you’re keeping awake times around 1-2 hours.
Most babies this age naturally fall into bedtime between 7:30-9:30 pm.
If your 3 month old’s bedtime is much later than this, see my guide on moving bedtime earlier.
It’s important to know that your baby’s bedtime should not vary by 2 hours every night! Instead, try to keep your baby’s bedtime within a 30 minute range each night. Tight bedtimes lead to the best night sleep. For example, your baby always falls asleep between 8-8:30 pm every night.
Most 3 month old babies need 9-11 hours sleep at night.
This is the total hours of night sleep. Your baby will probably need to feed 2-3 times overnight. It’s rare for a 3 month-old to sleep through the night without needing to feed. Night weaning typically happens between 6-9 months.
Most 3 month olds need to eat 2-3 times at night, whether breastfed or bottle fed.
If your baby wakes 4+ times at night to feed, try feeding more often during the day. This can help your baby get the majority of her calories during the day so she can sleep longer at night.
Total sleep in 24 hours
Three month old babies sleep a lot! In fact, your little one will probably sleep around 13-16 hours everyday. Track your baby’s naps and nighttime sleep on an app like Huckleberry to make sure they’re getting enough total sleep each day. You’ll be surprised by how much your baby’s sleep and mood can improve when getting enough sleep everyday.
Can I get my 3 month old sleeping 10 hours at night?
Definitely! Most three month old babies need around 10 hours of sleep at night. But… this sleep will be broken because your baby needs to wake at night to feed.
Most babies this age can go 4-6 hours between feeds at night. Ask your baby’s doctor how many night feeds they need.
If your 3 month old is sleeping less than nine total hours at night, make sure they’re not napping too much. Limiting your baby’s total nap hours to 4 hours can help them add more hours to night sleep. A great way to do this is to wake your baby after 1.5-2 hours for each individual nap.
Should my 3 month old have a bedtime routine?
Absolutely! The best way to set your baby up for sleeping long stretches at night is to begin a bedtime routine.
The purpose of a bedtime routine is to calm your baby in the evening, so that their body can relax and welcome sleep. Certain activities have been proven to relax babies, and when done in the right order, it sets your baby up for sleeping longer at night.
2-3 months is a great age to introduce a bedtime routine, because this is when your baby’s circadian rhythm is developing, allowing your little one to distinguish night versus day.
My Exhausted Mom’s Starter Kit walks you through the steps of setting up a peaceful bedtime routine for your baby. Click here to get it!
3 month old nap schedule
One of the best ways to help your 3 month old nap well is to wake your baby at a set time each morning. This helps naps fall into a more predictable pattern.
Please do NOT stress about naps at this age! Your 3 month baby won’t nap the same way everyday. They’re not yet ready for a by-the-clock nap schedule. Instead, the best way to help them nap is to watch awake times and make sure your baby naps often enough.
Some naps will be long, others will be short. This is completely normal. I recommend having a few “by-the-clock events” like morning wake up time, nap #1 and bedtime. The rest of your day should be flexible and based on baby’s nap lengths.
Here’s an example of how I approached naps with my 3 month old baby:
Wake baby at 7 am
Nap #1- 8:30 am
Nap #2- 1-2 hours after waking
Nap #3- 1-2 hours after waking
Nap #4- 1-2 hours after waking
I would offer a 30 minute cat nap in the late afternoon to help my baby make it to bedtime.
If bedtime is 8:30 pm, I would always wake baby by 6:30-7 pm to keep a consistent bedtime.
3 month old sleep schedule
Here are some example 3 month old sleep schedules. At this age you should expect some inconsistency to your baby’s nap schedule. Notice if your baby prefers long naps, short naps or a combination, and try to follow the appropriate schedule below.
What you can expect from your 3 month old’s sleep is:
- A set morning wake up time (yes, set your alarm!)
- 1-2 hours awake time during the day
- Set time to wake baby from their last nap
- Consistent bedtime
Loosely sticking to a schedule below should improve your baby’s sleep within a few days!
Example schedule for a baby that naps 1-2 hours.
6:00 Wake *
7:30 Feed & bedtime routine*
2-3 feeds overnight
Example schedule for a baby that naps 30-60 minutes at a time. Notice how awake times are kept shorter during the day due to short naps.
7:00 Feed & bedtime routine*
2-3 feeds overnight
Mix of long & short naps
Example schedule for a baby that takes a long morning nap & short afternoon naps.
10:30 Wake & feed
5:30 Wake & feed*
7:00 Feed & bedtime routine*
2-3 feeds overnight
* (Asterisk) are by-the-clock events, so try to keep them on a fixed schedule. This sets your baby’s body clock, making sleep come easier over time.
I don’t like by-the-clock feedings, instead I prefer on-demand. But these schedules give you an idea of how to fit in feeds with sleep times.
Get these 3 Month Old Sleep & Nap Schedules as PDF
Tracking your baby’s sleep for one week will help you decipher the awake times and nap lengths your 3 month old prefers. Remember, it’s still early for a by-the-clock daily routine for your little one. Instead, having a few “set points” in the day like morning wake up time and bedtime will help your baby settle into a more predictable routine. Making sure your baby sleeps often (and enough) will help them start sleeping better right away.