Sleep Training Tips for Your 6 Month Old

cute 6 month old on his back sleep training

Six months old is a time of rapid developmental change. Your baby has probably started sitting up, coming to hands and knees, and trying to crawl just in the last few weeks! She’s probably smiling, laughing and babbling throughout the day. She may seem like a completely different baby than she was just a few months ago.

These might seem like natural phases, but all these developments and newfound abilities can be a lot for your little one to manage.

Developmental milestones, like sitting and crawling, involve a surge in brain development. We often see one aspect of development temporarily regress while your baby advances in another area. For example, your baby’s sleep may worsen when he’s learning to crawl.

Many parents reach out to me at 6 months old because their baby is struggling with sleep. This isn’t surprising, given how much development is happening. Sometimes it’s the 6 month sleep regression causing problems. Other times it might be a sleep schedule issue or that their 6 month old won’t sleep through the night anymore.

Consider this to be your 6 month old baby sleep guide. It’s going to walk you through what you can expect, example daily schedules and the best sleep training advice for your baby. Let’s dive in!

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What to Expect

  • 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

Bedtime for your 6 month old should naturally fall between 6:30-8 pm. This is the time that suits most babies body clocks.

  • Night Sleep

Your 6 month old should sleep 11-12 hours at night.

  • Night feedings

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.

 

Click below to download my 6 month old sleep guide!

6 month old sleep guide

6 Month Old Schedule

 

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.

Baby takes 2 naps

7:00 Wake, milk
7:45 Solids
8:15 Play
9:00 Morning nap
11:00 Wake, milk
12:00 Solids
12:45 Play
1:30 Afternoon nap
3-3:30 Wake, milk
5:00 Set the scene for relaxation
5:30 Dinner, bath
6:00 Bedtime routine, top-up feed
6:30-7:00 Asleep

 

Baby takes 3 naps

7:00 Wake, milk
7:45 Solids
8:15 Play
9:00 Morning nap
10:00 Wake, milk
11:00 Solids
11:45 Play
12:15 Afternoon nap
1:30 Wake, milk, solids
3:00 Play
4:00 Cat nap (30 mins)
5:45 Set the scene for relaxation
6:00 Dinner, bath
6:45 Bedtime routine, top-up feed
7:15-7:30 Asleep

 

 

 

Note: If your baby wakes at a different time in the morning, move your schedule accordingly.

Schedule tips:

  • Milk & solids can be combined or staggered depending on baby’s preference.
  • On-demand breastfeeders do not need to follow a feeding schedule like this one.
  • If baby isn’t yet into solids, offer more milk throughout the day

 

Download my Daily Schedules below!

6 month old Daily Schedules 3 nap

6 month old daily schedule 2 nap

 

Step 1: Create a Sleep Friendly Space

 

Once your baby starts to roll, it’s time to transition out of the DockATot, Rock n Play or bassinet and into a crib. She needs room to roll around and get herself into comfortable positions.

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.

 

RELATED: How to Create a Safe Sleep Space for Your Baby

 

Step 2: Sleep Training Begins at Bedtime

 

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.

RELATED: 7 Month Sleep Regression Advice & Sleep Training Tips that Work!

 

Step 3: Reduce Night Wakings

 

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 sleep training program, 21 Days to Peace & Quiet, walks you through the process of reducing your baby’s night wakings. Plus, it explains when your baby is ready to eliminate night feeds and HOW to do it. Find out more about it here!

 

Step 4: Work on Naps

 

Once your 6 month old is going to bed happy and sleeping great at night, it’s time to work on naps.

Your 6 month old should nap every 2-3 hours. Awake times longer than this can over-tire and over-stimulate your baby, making it harder to settle for sleep. Sometimes it just takes tweaking awake times for your baby to take longer naps!

You can start with awake times of 2.5 hours and see how your baby does. Or you can use a more structured approach like this one:

 

  • 1st awake time: 2 hours

  • 2nd awake time: 2 – 2.5 hours

  • 3rd awake time: 2.5 hours

  • 4th awake time: 2.5 – 3 hours

Now is the time to begin a 5-10 minute pre-nap calming routine. Take a few elements from your bedtime routine to relax baby so he can fall asleep.

Once you begin formal nap training, it’s best if baby naps in the crib at home (if possible.) Use familiar sleep props (like white noise and a sleep sack) so baby understands that it’s time to sleep.

 

RELATED: How To Extend Your Baby’s Short Naps

 

 

Step 5: Wake Your Baby at the Same Time Every Morning

 

This is one of the easiest and gentlest sleep training tips I have for you! And it’s a great way for your 6 month old to get into a consistent sleep schedule.

Waking at the same time each morning sets baby’s body clock and helps her sleep become more predictable. For example, if baby always wakes at 7am, then her morning nap will always happen at 9 am. Having this predictability helps you plan your day.

If you need help picking a wake time, write down the times your baby naturally wakes for one week. Then pick the time that falls right in the middle of this range. That’s your new wake up time!

 

 

Is the 6 Month Sleep Regression Real?

 

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.

 

Why is My 6 Month not Sleeping Through the Night?

 

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.

 

 

6 months old is a time of rapid development and change. All the changes that your baby is going through may cause his sleep to suffer. No matter if your baby is mastering a new skill or going through the 6 month sleep regression, there are always steps you can take to help her sleep well.

Babies can learn to settle themselves to sleep and sleep long stretches around 5-6 months old. All is takes is a consistent sleep routine and following the 5 sleep training steps above. As with anything parenting related, consistency is key.

Is your 6 month old having problems sleeping through the night? Let me know in the comments below.

Want to get your baby sleeping well, but not sure where to start? Join my free Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit where I walk you through the first steps of getting your baby sleeping well.  

Let’s stay connected!

22 Comments

  1. Sandra

    I liked the tip of the baby having a right place to sleep, and that it be the cradle. And especially for the time it starts rolling, it is safe and free of objects inside the crib.

    Reply
    • panagiota

      Thank you very much Sandra. Have a nice day. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  2. Valerie

    Hi! My daughter is 7 months and is not sleeping through the night yet. She refuses day naps and she goes a long stretch in the afternoon without napping maybe 5hrs before bedtime (7:30) she wakes up 2-3 hrs at night, she won’t be fuzzy or anything she’ll just eat and go back to sleep. The waking up so many times at this age would it be because of how long she stays awake before bedtime?

    Reply
    • panagiota

      Hi there Valerie. Sorry to hear you’re struggling. Please check out our 7 month old sleep guide here –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/7-month-sleep-regression

      This will help you understand what to expect from your LO’s sleep at this age, plus it’s got many tips on how to get her sleeping better at night.

      Also, if you haven’t already, you can sign up for our free Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit, a step by step guide that will help you create healthy sleep habits for your baby, create a bedtime routine, set the right bedtime and help your LO sleep better day & night, overall. Here’s the link –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/exhausted-moms-survival-kit

      Try implementing these tips for a few days and then let us know how things work out. Good luck. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  3. Rachel

    Exhausted twin mom! My twins are 6 months old. I have been trying to get them on schedule. During the day they nap fine (they nap in their rocking chairs) but at bedtime we struggle to get them down in their cribs. It can take us 2-3 hours for them to fall asleep. And usually I end up having to rock them. My older twin has been waking up every 2 hours crying. I just feel like we are getting no where and I don’t know what to do.

    Reply
    • panagiota

      Hi there Rachel! Congrats on your twins. Having two babies with the same needs can really be exhausting, I understand. First of all, I should tell you that for safety reasons you should ALWAYS supervise your babies’ naps while they sleep in their rocking chairs.

      Have you tried implementing the tips from this 6 month old sleep guide to your babies? If not, please try implementing them for a week. Also, you can join our free Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit here –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/exhausted-moms-survival-kit. It’s a step-by-step guide that will help you create a bedtime routine and help your babies sleep better day and night.

      Let us know how things work out after implementing these tips. Good luck. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  4. Divya

    My baby girl will turn 6 months next week. I noticed that she wanted to sleep every 2.5 hr naturally during the day and was waking up at 7 AM every morning. After reading your steps and the survival kit, I tried to follow a 6 month schedule and it was going fine till it wasn’t. There are several issues I identified:
    (A) She sometimes wakes up at 5AM, 5:30AM, 6:00AM. It’s no longer 7AM now. When she does, I have to feed her because she doesn’t go back to sleep then. Is this an early waking? This throws off the entire schedule.
    (B) We have started putting her to sleep at 7:30PM after following the bedtime routine but she wakes up before 6AM. Sometimes she wakes up at night but puts herself back to sleep after rolling over etc. She is not on solids yet and is breastfeeding exclusively so I am often afraid that she might be hungry when she wakes up at 5AM. Earlier we were putting her to sleep at 8-8:30PM and she would sleep then as well. So, I don’t know if her natural sleep time is 7:30PM, 8PM or 8:30PM. Do you have any suggestions on how to deduce that?
    (C) Feeding and going to sleep is her biggest sleep association, that’s why she needs me during the day naps and night nap to put her to sleep. Her daytime naps are very short ~ 30min and I spend 30 min trying to put her down. She wakes up as soon as I put her in her crib. Even if she sleeps, she wakes up in 30 min. It becomes difficult for me to follow any schedule in the afternoon for that reason.
    I am scared to start any sleep training method during the night because for some reason at night she puts herself back to sleep but during the day she can’t. What do you suggest, I can do?

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Thank you so much for your message! I remember how frustrating it can be when our little ones aren’t napping consistently and you can’t follow a schedule. We consider anything before 6:00AM to be treated as a night waking. For a 6 month old, it is normal for your little one to still need between 1-2 night feedings. Her bedtime seems ideal! As far, as naps, we encourage 2-4 naps for this age and an awake time between 2-3 hours. Babies can often compartmentalize naps vs. night sleep which is why she can sleep well during the night but not for naps. I would highly recommend our sleep training program. Jilly will be able to offer personalized advice to get your little one sleeping better for naps! We always recommend our babies sleep well at night before really tackling naps so I believe your daughter is off to a great start! I am attaching the link below. Please message me if you have ANY questions! 🙂 Alyssa, BSMS Support Team https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      Reply
  5. Amanda

    My daughter is almost 8 months old and wakes up AT LEAST every hour, but oftentimes more than that. She gets fruit with oatmeal about an hour before bed, nurses to sleep and is up and down all night. It’s better during the day. Sometimes she will nap for as long as 2 hours! I dont know what to do!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Amanda,

      Thanks for your message and I am sorry to hear your little one has been up every hour-exhausting! Many 8 month old babies go through an 8 month regression. Regressions are a completely normal part of development, but they are exhausting since they can last between 2-6 weeks. I am attaching a link for our 8 month old sleep guide. It has some helpful tips to get your little one sleeping better. Please let me know if you have any questions! Good luck Mama! /Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/how-to-beat-the-8-month-sleep-regression

      Reply
  6. maria

    Very helpful articles, thank you so much. My baby will be 6 months in a couple of days and has started getting restless during the night after being a very good sleeper before. My best guess is that at the moment it is because she just started to roll over and learning to sit and is talking a lot more. Oh….and teething.
    She does fall asleep with a pacifier though and often wakes up because she can’t find it anymore. What is the best way to get her to sleep without her pacifier?

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Maria,

      It is very normal for our babies to get a bit restless during the night when they are learning a new skill such as rolling over or learning to sit. Continue to remain as consistent with your routines as possible and allow ample time for your daughter to practice these skills during the day! The pacifier is a tricky one. We usually say pacifiers are fine to use unless you are having to go and replace it in the middle of the night! This can be exhausting for parents. If you don’t want to keep replacing the pacifier, I would suggest removing it for sleep! It can take a few days for your little one to adjust, but then she should be able to fall asleep on her own without any aids. Good luck Mama! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  7. Nandy

    Hi, your guide above for 2 naps a day has a total nap time of 3.5 hrs whereas you have mentioned the total nap time should be 2-3 hrs? Is this okay because my daughter is 6 months and 1 week , takes 3 naps it totals 3.75 hours in total on most days. If she takes 3 hours she is cranky throughout the day. Night has also become a max of 3 hour stretch from 4-5 hour stretch at 5 months. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Nandy,

      Thanks for your message! I would try to limit naps to 3.5 hours per day at this time. Since your little one is fussy right with only 3 hours, I would wait a few weeks and then slowly start to cut back naps to be a max of 3 hours per day. Your little one could be sleeping less at night because they are getting so much day sleep. When day sleep is cut back, you should see night sleep improve! Keep us posted! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
      • Nandy

        Thank you for your reply. Baby is now 7 months and is currently going through regression I suspect. Refusing to nap, short naps, multiple wake ups at night like every 30 or 60 minutes. Exhausting right now!

        Reply
        • Alyssa Taft

          Yes it’s fine for young babies to nap a bit more. If you notice that your baby does better napping 3.75 hours, that’s fine! I suspect in about 2 months she’ll need her naps trimmed down to the 3 hours max!

          Reply
  8. Destinee

    Hi there. My daughter is 6 months and seems to have developed a separation anxiety with me… she won’t let anyone hold her, and if I walk away she starts screaming. Around when that started happening she also started waking up MULTIPLE times at night and only will sleep if she’s on my chest or I’m touching her. I am at a loss for what I can do.

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Destinee! Sorry to hear about your struggle! This is certainly hard for both of you, but it is usually just a phase that can be fixed with consistently implementing the tips in the guide above, teaching your LO how to fall asleep independently and lots of cuddles during the day. Check out this video on babies needing to sleep on you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJeet1wp2_0

      If you’d like detailed assistance, I would also recommend our program, 21 Days to Peace & Quiet. We offer 4 different step-by-step methods for you to choose from (from super gentle & gradual to quick & efficient.) Each step of the way you get advice based on your baby’s developmental stage, energy levels, and temperament.

      You enroll on this page: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      The program costs $197 now, but you should know that in just a few weeks’ time Jilly’s updated program will be out and it will have a $97 DIY option.

      Jilly is currently on maternity leave. As of October 1st she will be answering questions in our private Facebook group 2 times per week. (In the DIY option you do it all yourself. There’s no messaging option or Facebook group. BUT you get all the same information and resources and can definitely get your baby sleeping great.)

      In general, when you are 100% consistent in following the steps of the program, your baby will be sleeping great at night within 1-3 weeks. It depends on the method you choose as well as your baby’s adaptability. But we cover all of this in the program!

      I hope this isn’t too confusing. Happy to answer any questions you have about the program.

      Have a great day! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  9. kate t

    we are going to try all these! Allie is 6 months 1 week and defintely has a hard time going to sleep, especially when I am not home. We co-sleep and are SLOWLY transiting her out. But 1st, transition her from falling asleep while nursing in bed at bedtime. thanks!

    Reply
    • Ashley

      Hello!
      These steps have been pretty helpful so far; we just started with our almost 6mo so Im hopeful to see good change! She puts herself to sleep at bedtime and either wakes after an hour OR makes it several hours. We have 1 more bedtime to try to tweak it to perfection. My struggle is confusion in how to “treat” during the night. If she cries do we swoop her up do we pat her to sleep, do we give her paci? We have a 2yo also so cio isnt an option. My fear is doing too much for her and shes not learning to resettle on her own even though she can and does put herself to sleep at bed and naps! Help please 🙂

      Reply
      • Alyssa Taft

        Ashley,

        Thank you for your message! I am glad you are finding the steps helpful. It is wonderful that she puts herself to sleep at bedtime. This is such an important skill! Because she can fall asleep on her own without assistance, I would continue to let her do so if she wakes up in the middle of the night. If you start to introduce any other associations (paci, patting, etc.) in the middle of the night, she will need it every time she wakes up in the middle of the night. I also understand that you have to think of your 2 year old! First, I recommend you play white noise in everyone’s bedrooms all night long. White noise is proven (over & over) to help babies, kids and adults sleep better. It masks background noises from waking us. Also, explain to older siblings that they may hear their sibling in the night. Tell them she is ok, she’s just learning to sleep well.
        If sleep training wakes your two year old, go to him/her first and reassure rather than rushing to the one being sleep trained. Your child will need the space and opportunity to “fuss it out” a bit. It may be a few nights of running around, but the goal is to get everyone in the family to sleep through the night! Good luck Mama! /Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

        Reply

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