Naps & Awake times
Keep awake times 2-3 hour max. Your 6 month old should have a total of 2-3 hours everyday. This is usually divided between 2-4 naps.
Bedtime for your 6 month old should naturally fall between 6:30-8 pm. This is the time that suits most babies body clocks.
Your 6 month old should sleep 11-12 hours at night.
Most 6 month olds need 1-2 night feeds. Your baby’s growth and weight gain will determine how many night feeds he needs. Some 6 month olds are ready to sleep through the night. It’s best to ask your baby’s doctor how many night feeds he needs.
Total sleep in 24 hours
14-16 hours. Make sure your 6 month old is sleeping at least 14 hours total each day.
The first step to getting your 6 month old sleeping well is to get on a consistent daily schedule. Babies thrive on routine.
It doesn’t need to be strict. When my daughter was a baby I could stick to consistent sleep times, but that was about it. I didn’t plan feeding and play times, they just happened. Other moms really enjoy knowing exactly how to plan their day.
Here are 2 example daily schedules for your 6 month old.
Note: If your baby wakes at a different time in the morning, move your schedule accordingly.
Even though you’re out of the “danger zone” of SIDS it’s still critical that your baby has a safe sleep space. Now is not the time to add bumpers, pillows, or stuffed animals to your baby’s crib. Your baby’s crib is safest with a fitted sheet and nothing else. Also, lower the crib mattress to the lowest level even if your baby isn’t standing yet.
When sleep training, we always focus on one aspect of sleep at a time. Trying to fix your baby’s night sleep and naps at the same time is a recipe for disaster. You’ll end up with an over-tired and cranky baby that won’t sleep!
We begin at bedtime because it’s the time of the day that your baby is the most tired and most likely to comply with changes to his sleep routine.
The purpose of a bedtime routine is to calm your baby in the evening, so that his 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 to sleep longer at night.
Your baby’s bedtime routine should include a bath, massage, feeding, books and lullabies (or anything else that relaxes your little one.)
My Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit guides you through the essential steps of creating a peaceful bedtime routine. Doing these elements in the right order is critical for your baby sleep longer at night.
Once you have your bedtime routine going, it’s time to start reducing night wakings. Remember, most 6 month olds only need 1-2 night feeds. This means your baby can sleep 4-8 hour stretches at night!
Night weaning and sleep training go hand-in-hand. My Weaning Night Feedings Guide tells you if your baby is ready to reduce or eliminate night feeds and HOW to do it.
Yep. But not every baby experiences outward signs of this regression.
Sleep regressions are disruptions in sleep for a baby who was previously sleeping well. It’s when your baby starts waking more at night, fighting sleep or his naps worsen out of the blue.
These disruptions come at predictable times because they are associated with developmental milestones. When your baby advances in one area (like verbal development) he may temporarily regress in another area (like sleep.)
If your baby’s sleep has suddenly become a nightmare for no apparent reason, the 6 month sleep regression is probably to blame. This article explains this sleep regression and tells you how to help your little one get through it.
Following the 5 sleep training steps above will help your 6 month old start sleeping well. Sleep training takes time, though. You’ll need 1-2 weeks of consistency before you may begin seeing real improvements.
If you’re doing all the above steps and your baby is still waking often in the night, it may be because of the reasons below.
Reason #1: Your baby is too drowsy at bedtime
If your baby is half-asleep when she goes into her crib at bedtime, she’s not learning to fully settle herself to sleep. This means when she wakes in the night, she’ll still need your help to settle. This could happen 4-5 times a night!
Practice putting your baby down in the crib more awake
Make sure your baby’s eyes are still open when she goes into the crib. That will tell you she isn’t too drowsy.
You want baby to be aware that she’s going into her bed and falling asleep on her own. That way, when she stirs in the night she knows exactly how to resettle herself just like she did at bedtime.
Reason # 2: Awake times and overtiredness
Baby sleep is completely counterintuitive. Most parents would think that an overtired baby would crash hard at bedtime and sleep through the night. Unfortunately, just the opposite happens.
Babies need to be well-rested during the day to sleep well at night, and vice versa. If your baby was up for a long stretch of time during the day, he may be too overstimulated and wired to sleep well at night.
Make sure to follow the recommended awake times from Step 4 above. This will help your baby stay well-rested during the day so he can sleep great at night.