Easy Sleep Schedule for Your 3 Month Old

 

3 month old baby and mom

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!

This post may contain affiliate links.

 

 

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.

 

Bedtime

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. 

 

Night Sleep

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. 

 

Night Feedings

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.

 

Click below to download my 3 month old sleep guide!

 

RELATED: Common 3 Month-Old Sleep Problems
(& Solutions!)

 

 

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.

This guide walks you through the steps of setting up a peaceful bedtime routine for your baby.

 

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!

 

 

Long napper 

Example schedule for a baby that naps 1-2 hours.

7:00 Wake*

7:30 Feed

8:30 Nap*

9:30 Wake 

10:00 Feed

11:00 Nap

12:00 Wake 

12:30 Feed

1:30 Nap

3:00 Wake 

3:30 Feed

5:00 Nap

6:00 Wake *

6:15 Feed

7:30 Feed & bedtime routine*

8:00 Bedtime*

2-3 feeds overnight

Short napper

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 Wake*

7:30 Feed

8:00 Nap*

8:45 Wake

9:30 Feed

10:15 Nap

11:00 Wake

11:30 Feed

12:30 Nap

1:00 Wake

1:30 Feed

2:00 Nap

3:00 Wake

4:00 Feed

5:00 Nap

5:30 Wake*

7:00 Feed & bedtime routine*

7:30 Bedtime*

2-3 feeds overnight

Mix of long & short naps

Example schedule for a baby that takes a long morning nap & short afternoon naps.

7:00 Wake*

7:30 Feed

8:30 Nap*

10:30 Wake & feed

12:00 Nap

12:45 Wake

1:00 Feed

2:30 Nap

3:15 Wake

3:30 Feed

4:45 Nap

5:30 Wake & feed*

7:00 Feed & bedtime routine*

7:30 Bedtime*

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.

 

Let’s stay connected!

6 Comments

  1. Jennifer Mejia

    Hi Jilly I really need you help.

    My son is 3 months old his bedtime is between 8 and 830 and we both get up for the day at 8.
    He nurses at 2am for the first feed and after that all hell breaks loose. He wakes every hour to be re settled to sleep. Sometimes I rock the bassinet, pick him up and pay his back, or simply reinsert the pacifier and worry that he goes to sleep. He often wakes at 330, I gave him his pacifier and try to push the second feeding until 4 to nurse again, then he wakes again at 5 to 530. He wakes up crying with his eyes closed just wanting to go back to sleep and seems like he can’t . Then again at 630 (at this point I feed him again. But then he wakes again and again at 730. Today was the first time that at 5:30 he was just wide awake. He wasn’t crying this time so I let him lay there to see if he would fall back asleep but instead he was just putting his swaddle in his mouth. He started escaping from his Velcro swaddle and I am afraid to illuminate it cold turkey because his hands really do distract him from sleeping. He laid there for about 25 minutes until eventually I nursed him at 6 AM. He immediately fell back asleep and woke up at 7:30. But of course crying and no seeming to wake up for the day.
    During the day he will really only nap on average 35 minutes at a time . I’m lucky if it’s over 40 minutes.
    I’m very careful about not keeping him awake too long he really cannot be awake more than an hour and 10 minutes without being overtired. I woke upstairs to his bedroom before every nap after being up for 50 minutes. Last two nights he is really fighting me on his very last nap which is usually around 630 and last until seven. The snap is usually essential because his bedtime is 8 to 830 and he really can’t stay awake from 530 until eight without being hysterical. But last night he fought me for over 45 minutes straight from 635 till 720 until I finally gave up and sobbed. He did not end up taking this last nap. Instead my husband picked him up and started to get his bath ready for the bedtime routine. And instead of waking up at 2 AM for his first feed he woke up at 12 I resettled him back to sleep but he woke up again at 12:30 and once again I resettled him back to sleep until two.
    I’m so desperate Jilly, i’m depressed and incredibly exhausted. His nap space in his room is dark but not pitch black, he has a sound machine and I swaddle him with the halo sleep sack (arms down but he all most always escapes from it)
    What do I do and how do I get him to stop waking up every hour after 4 AM. I’m snapping at my oldest son, it’s effecting my marriage, I cry every single day and I have no family living nearby. I’m trying to teach him to fall asleep on his own by letting him in his crib drowsy but it does not always work. Is the pacifier the problem? Is it me? Is it the naps?

    Reply
    • panagiota

      Hi there Jeniffer.

      First of all, know that you’re a great mom and you’re definitely not the problem. Try to stay calm, though I know it’s very hard sometimes, especially if you’re struggling, you’re exhausted and have little help. I know, cause I’ve been there and it was really hard. But things WILL get better, I promise.

      I believe you’ve already read our 3 month old sleep guides, so you know that sleep can be very unpredictable at this age. If you don’t know where to start with helping your LO sleep better I would suggest you join our free Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit that’s filled with tips on how to get your baby sleep longer stretches. Here’s the link –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/exhausted-moms-survival-kit

      Please try implementing these tips for a few days and let us know how things work out. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  2. Pam M

    Hi Jilly, my baby is 13 weeks old and used to sleep well at night, waking every 2-2.5 hours for feeds at night. For the last 2 weeks or so, he sleeps for 2-3 hourd for the first stretch and then is waking every hour in the night crying and often sicking up, and then needs a feed to go back to sleep. We have tried to settle him without nursing him but he will scream until he has milk. He sleeps 8:30-9:00pm and wakes around 6:30am

    It seems like he is trying to turn over. Is close to it in the day when on his play gym and also at night, and at least once in the night turns himself so he is lying completely horizontally! He was in a co-sleeper crib and two nights ago we swapped it for a cot next to us so he had more room. We follow your bedtime routine and we watch his awake times which are between 1-2 hours. He doesn’t nap in his bedroom his morning naps is his longest and he sleeps on my husband in the living room so I can catch up on sleep. His other naps are a combination of sleeping on us or in the bassinet. They are about 30 mins. He falls asleep when we bounce/pat him to sleep (without feeding he feeds when he wakes up). He will not sleep if we put him down drowsy.

    The frequent night feedings are getting too much.
    If this is the 4-month regression early do we just ride it through and work on issues afterwards?
    I know we should try to put him down drowsy but he is very refluxy so we have to keep him upright for 30 mins after his night feeds increasing the time I’m awake at night and he is obviously asleep after that. What do we do? Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • panagiota

      Hi there Pam. I’m sorry you’re struggling with your baby’s sleep. I’ve been through the exact same situation when my boy was the same age and I know it can be really exhausting. Naps can be pretty unpredictable at this age, that’s true, and it’s great that you keep awake times. The key is being consistent.

      The tips from this guide will definitely help you. In there you’ll find the answers to all the things you’re asking above –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/3-month-old-sleep-problems

      And also this video has lots of tips on what to do when your baby will only sleep on YOU –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJeet1wp2_0

      Please try implementing these tips and let us know how things work out. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  3. Rebekah

    Hi Jilly! I’ve started your Exhausted Moms course, but am looking around at your other content as well. My baby is 10 weeks old. He only sleeps for 45 minutes at a time, no matter what I do, it seems like, so I’m having trouble with scheduling. His wake times are pretty consistent at 1 1/2 hours before he’s ready for a nap, though I feel like it’s still often a chore to get him down, and he has been eating about every 3 hours. I see in your sample schedule for 3 month olds with short ballers you recommend feeding about every 2 hours? Won’t this get him in the ha it of snacking instead of taking full meals, making him need to wake more at night?

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Thanks so much for your message! Babies at this age are still very unpredictable with sleep and are known to have shorter sleep cycles. The goal is to feed every 2 hours during the day and keep your little one nice and full so that he can try to eventually sleep longer stretches at night. Babies bellies are so small in the beginning that they just naturally feed more often so while it seems like snacking, they are actually taking in a good size meal. Let me know if you have any additional questions! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply

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