Sleep and your child: zero to six years

Sleep at three to six months

At three to six months your baby might have two or three longish sleeps in the day, or shorter naps more often.

They may have learnt to sleep more at night than during the day. They might sleep for up to eight hours, or wake often for feeds. 

By six months of age about fifty percent of babies are sleeping through the night - about five hours or more.

During the day, your baby will be awake more and have some longer play times.

This helps them to learn that day is for playing and night is for sleeping.

Settling your three to six-month-old 

The following ideas can help you to prepare and settle your baby for sleep:

  • continue any bedtime pattern you have started from birth - but be flexible to meet the changing needs of your baby
  • try some of the settling suggestions for babies zero to three months
  • use the same settling pattern each time you put your baby to sleep, day or night - it helps them to learn about sleep more quickly
  • talk calmly to your baby as you put them to bed - tell them what is happening
  • read a book with a soothing voice
  • darken the room to make a difference between wake time and sleep time
  • make a recording of household sounds and play it in your baby’s room.

If your baby wakes at night

Many babies still wake at night for feeds.

Some sleep through, but can wake again for a few nights when their appetite increases.

They usually settle again when their feeds increase during the day.

To help reduce night feeds at this age:

  • try giving your baby a ‘sleepy feed’ before you go to bed and before your baby wakes for their next feed
  • try not to disturb them too much for feeds - lift them without fully waking them and breastfeed
  • if bottle feeding, you could give a feed without picking them up - but still hold the bottle and watch the feed to keep them safe
  • try to resettle them without a feed
  • if resettling doesn't work, in about fifteen minutes offer another feed so that you can get some sleep, and try again the next night - over time your baby should gradually get the idea
  • keep night-time feeds boring and don’t have play time - just settle your baby straight back to sleep.

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Last updated: 11 March 2016

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