6 months – the magical age! This tends to be the point at which parents decide that they are more than ready to sleep again, and that it is high time they helped their babies get on a decent sleep schedule (and maybe even start sleeping through the night!).
As always, The Baby Sleep Site® is here to help! This article tackles common 6 month old sleeping challenges. We’ll also share 3 easy steps you can use to help your 6 month old baby establish a predictable, healthy sleep and feeding schedule.
6 Month Old Baby Sleep Challenges
If your baby is still struggling with sleep at 6 months old, that’s okay (and understandable). However, take comfort in the fact that by this age, babies truly can start to follow a more predictable, by-the-clock schedule.
That said, if you are still struggling with your 6 month old baby’s sleep, the following factors may be making things even more challenging:
- Your 6 month old baby may have started eating solid food. By 6 months old, many babies have started solid food. (In addition to taking in plenty of breastmilk or formula. That’s still the main source of nutrition for the first year!) While some babies transition to solids with no issues whatsoever, other babies react to starting solids. They show signs of food allergies, they develop tummy issues, etc. All of those can interfere in a big way with sleep!
- Your 6 month old baby’s sleep associations are getting even stronger. By now, your baby has had 6 full months to develop strong habits associated with sleep. That means that if he has become used to being rocked to sleep, or fed to sleep, or held until he falls asleep, that is now a fixed habit. Same with using a pacifier to fall asleep, or being swaddled in sleep. That’s not to say that these sleep associations can’t be overcome – they certainly can! But a 6 month old baby will no doubt show a little more resistance to learning a new way to sleep than a 5 month old baby will.
6 Month Old Baby Sleep Developments
What’s happening with your 6 month old baby’s sleep? Several new developments, actually:
- Your 6 month old baby’s naps should begin to consolidate. Note the ‘should’ – not all 6 month old babies will show signs of naturally establishing a nap schedule, and some will continue to take many short naps during the day. But most will. You will probably notice that the unpredictable naps you’ve been working with over the past 6 months slowly begin to merge into three semi-predictable naps. This is the time we start to sleep a sleep schedule begin.
- Your 6 month old baby will likely be able to drop down to 1 night feeding. It’s still normal for a 6 month old baby to need 1-2 night feedings, but most 6 month old babies are able to get by with just 1 feeding at night. (Most – not all! Don’t feel bad if your 6 month old still needs to feed twice during the night). If your baby is nursing more than once or twice per night, however, work to gradually decrease those night feeds.
3 Steps To A Better Schedule
If you haven’t yet adjusted your baby to a somewhat clock-based schedule, it can be a daunting process to start. We understand that! That’s why we are outlining 3 steps to help you establish a healthy 6 month old baby schedule:
- 6 month old baby bedtime – To begin, establish a consistent bedtime for your 6 month old baby. Develop a bedtime routine, too – that’s key for signaling to your baby that it’s time for sleep! This doesn’t have to be exactly the same time each night – aim for having your baby down for bed within the same half-hour window each night.
- 6 month old baby wake-up time – Next, try to establish a consistent wake-up time for your 6 month old baby. This will be a bit tougher than the bedtime, because your baby may wake too early or too late, and what do you do in those circumstances? Well, if your baby wakes too early, treat it as a night waking – interact with your baby (whether you are feeding or simply offering comfort) and then put your baby back to bed until it’s wake-up time. If your baby sleeps past wake-up time, try to wake your baby within about a half hour of the established wake-up time.
- 6 month old baby first nap time – Once you have a pretty firm bedtime and wake-up time established, work to make sure that the first nap of the day happens at about the same time each morning. Again, this doesn’t have to be exact, but aim for putting your baby down for the morning nap within the same half-hour window each morning.
6 Month Old Baby Schedule: Suggested Feeding Amounts and Nap Times
Need help in knowing when (and how much) to feed your 6 month old baby? Want to see several sample 6 month old baby schedules that will help you create the best possible schedule for your 6 month old baby?