6 month old baby sleep schedules can be really tricky-- sometimes they’re taking 3 naps, sometimes they’re taking 2 naps… it can feel like it’s really hard to figure out what to do!
If you’ve survived the 4 month sleep regression, sleep may feel like it’s consolidating again with longer day time naps. It’s not uncommon for that to take a little while to happen as night sleep usually gets better before naps do.
So if you have a chronic cat napper, it may not be like that forever! There’s hope!
Disclaimer: you still don’t have to follow any schedule that is super rigid at this age; make sure you are following their feeding cues (responsively feeding) and their tired signs!
In this blog, we will go over:
- What nights look like
- 6 month old sleep schedule
- 6 month old feeding schedule
- 6 month old nap schedule
- Sample schedule for 6 month old
- Activities you can do during awake time
WHAT NIGHTS LOOK LIKE FOR A 6 MONTH OLD SLEEP SCHEDULE
When the 4 month regression happens (sometime between 3-6 months), it permanently changes their sleep cycles from newborns with 2 sleep cycles to adult like patterns with 4 sleep cycles.
That means there is more opportunity to wake up.
So just when night time sleep starts to come together (typically around 8-12 weeks), your solid night of sleep can be gone just as quickly as it started!
Their sleep needs do change as they get a little bit older, so typically they’re awake more time during the day and consolidating their night time sleep into longer stretches of sleep. An average 6 month old may sleep 10-12 hours at night with 1-2 feedings.
(Average means around 50%-- so there will be kids who sleep more than that and kids who sleep less than that. It’s all a spectrum!)
The long stretch of sleep develops from bedtime to their first night time feeding. This happens as bedtime naturally becomes earlier as their circadian rhythm develops. You can consider dreamfeeding at this age if you would like to give it a try!
Most physicians will allow you to let your baby sleep at night and not wake for feedings once your child has established a growth curve and maintains that so make sure to check in with them!
6 MONTH OLD SLEEP SCHEDULE
A sleep schedule for a 6 months old is still going to vary a little bit. However, since their circadian rhythm has developed at this point, you may find that they are waking up around the same time each morning and potentially going to bed around the same time in the evening.
I would expect morning wake up time to be between 6-8am and bedtime to fall between 6-8pm. This is what is considered normal for their circadian rhythm. I would also expect 10-12 hours of nighttime sleep (in their bed, not a continuous stretch).
If you find that their day to day sleep schedule is really erratic, don’t be afraid to wake them up in the morning around the same time (consider a 30 minute window, like 7-7:30am). This will help to stabilize their day, their naps, and their bedtime!
Pretty soon, they will wake themselves up during that time in the morning and you won’t have to.
A gentle way to wake your little one up would be to open their door, wait a minute or two then turn off their sound, wait again, then open up the blinds before gently rubbing their back and speaking softly to wake them up.
Most babies will sleep really well in a Kyte BABY sleep bag at this age for naps and night sleep!
6 MONTH OLD NAP SCHEDULE
A typical 6 month old nap schedule will include 2-3 naps and about 3-3.5 hours of day sleep. An average awake period for a 6 month old is 2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes, maybe a little bit more if you’ve got a fantastic sleeper on your hands and they’re on 2 naps a day. In that case, awake times would be around 3 hours between naps and bedtime.
It is still normal to have cat naps throughout the day so don’t be afraid to hold and snuggle for a longer nap sometime throughout the day in order to keep your baby well rested for good night time sleep.
You may already know, but overtiredness from too much awake time or too little day time sleep can negatively impact your nighttime sleep!
6 MONTH OLD FEEDING SCHEDULE
Regarding feeding schedules for 6 month olds, most babies are feeding every 3-4 hours during the day with a longer stretch at the beginning of the night.
Most 6 month old babies are consuming 24-36 oz a day of breastmilk or formula.
You may also have begun introducing solids at this age! Whether that’s purees or baby led weaning style, most 6 month olds aren’t consuming a ton of extra calories through solid foods and their main source of nutrition is still formula or breastmilk.
Most people offer solids 1-2 times a day when they’re also eating at meal times. Dinner was the easiest time for us to offer (and monitor) solids!
It’s very normal for them to take longer naps, shorter naps, and eat at varied times during the day. There is a lot that we can consider “normal” for young babies so try to not compare!
SAMPLE SCHEDULE FOR 6 MONTH OLD
A SAMPLE SCHEDULE FOR 6 MONTH OLDS MAY LOOK SOMETHING LIKE:
7:00am wake up, eat, play
9:15-10:30am nap, eat, play
1-2:15pm nap, eat, play
4:45-5:15pm nap, eat, play
If naps are short, it’s best to move their bedtime earlier instead of adding an extra nap. Extra naps take away from sleep by introducing even more awake time into their day. This makes them overtired!
You can also move their bedtime up to 6pm in order for them to make up sleep from their short naps during the day! If you have a chronic catnapper, check out this blog to see how to improve naps.
If your 6 month old baby is taking 2 naps, that may look something like:
7:00am wake up
8:30am offer solids, optional
9:30/9:45-11:00am nap, eat, play
2-3:30pm nap, eat, play
5:00pm offer solids, optional
Don’t let the 6 month old sleep schedule stress you out if your baby didn’t read the book and doesn’t follow the perfect day. Remember to try to start your morning around the same time each day and that will help everything else stabilize!
Important note: you do want to limit any single nap to 2 hours maximum and again no more than 4 hours of daytime sleep.
It is a great time to incorporate a bedtime routine for your baby if you have not!
And parents, infant sleep is a predictor in maternal mental health disorders postpartum so do not feel guilty for wanting to improve sleep for your little one since it affects you too!
ACTIVITIES YOU CAN DO DURING AWAKE TIME AT 6 MONTHS OLD
Now that your baby is staying awake for longer periods of time, you may be thinking, “what do we do for an entire awake time?!”
According to Mom Junction, babies at 6 months old are recognizing their name and their reflection in the mirror! That can lead to lots of fun play time.
Some fun activities you can do with your little one at this age includes:
- Sensory play sitting up in water (supervised, if you child can sit up without support)
- Playing peek a boo with a blanket for object permanence (this helps with separation anxiety)
- Singing nursery rhymes with hand motions
- Stacking blocks
- Rolling a ball back and forth
TAKEAWAYS ABOUT SAMPLE SCHEDULE FOR 6 MONTH OLD:
Remember to focus on responsive feeding, learning their cues (how they communicate is through behavior), changing up the activities during their awake time, and try not to stress if your child doesn’t fit the textbook version of sample schedules!
It is definitely okay to want to improve sleep, especially during the night when it is affecting you as well, but also tune into your child and as long as they’re happy, eating well, gaining weight well, and you’re getting in some great bonding times, then you’re raising a happy, healthy kid.
Ashley Olson is a certified pediatric sleep consultant, owner of Heaven Sent Sleep, and passionate about helping new parents, experienced parents, desperate and sleep deprived parents form healthy sleep habits for their children.
She has over 4 years of experience in working with families and has completed over 150 hours of coursework plus continuing education related to infant and toddler sleep. The focus of her work is on fostering a routine that grows your bond with your child while improving their sleep habits. She specializes in custom sleep plans and one on one support in changing sleep practices!