Looking for a good 6 month old sleep schedule for your baby? See this sample sleep schedule and tips to help your family sleep well.
Happy half birthday to your little babe!
There’s a lot going on in your 6-month-old’s life these days. Playtime is more active. Smiles and giggles more abundant, and there are plenty of milestones to celebrate.
Your baby may even be sleeping through the night or sleeping a big long stretch at night. Now that’s something to celebrate!
But regardless of whether you’ve gone through a sleep training method yet, 6 months can be a pretty tricky age for sleep.
There’s also a very good chance that your 6-month-old will go through a sleep regression—it’s super common!
If you’re hoping to settle into a new routine with all of these changes, here are some things to consider as you transition to a 6-month-old sleep schedule.
How Long Can a 6-Month-Old Stay Awake?
Understanding how long your baby is capable of staying awake based on their development and age is the key to better sleep. Knowing your baby’s wake windows can be a game-changer when it comes to bedtime battles and everyone getting the sleep they need.
If your baby stays awake for too long in between sleeps, they will get overtired. That majorly impacts their quality and length of sleep at night.
The secret to getting your baby down to sleep successfully and them staying asleep is hitting that sweet spot in their wake window when they’re just tired enough without being overtired.
A 6-month-old wake window will range between 2.25 and 2.75 hours. The shortest wake time of the day is typically in the morning.
For example, your baby’s wake times throughout the day may look like 2.25 hours in the morning, 2.5 hours of awake time after the first nap, and 2.75 hours right before bedtime.
Keep reading to see a sample sleep schedule using those wake windows.
Signs That It’s Time to Extend Wake Times
If your baby is struggling with sleep, and you’re looking for signs that they need to increase their wake windows, here are some signs to look for:
- Bedtime has become a huge battle.
- All of a sudden, your baby is waking up early in the morning, perhaps much earlier than they used to.
- It’s taking longer than usual (more than 15 minutes) for your baby to fall asleep at nap time or bedtime.
- Your baby only naps 30 or 45 minutes at a time and consistently wakes up early from their nap.
Consistently seeing any of these signs means it’s time to start increasing those wake windows for your 6-month-old.
Eliminate Short Naps with a Predictable Sleep Routine
Take away the stress of figuring out your baby’s sleep needs. With the Baby Sleep Schedule Binder, you’ll get sleeping and feeding schedules that you can implement for every age, even if you currently have no routine in place. Check out the Baby Sleep Schedule Binder here.
6-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
There are a handful of things that impact changes in the 6-month-old schedule compared to the 5-month-old sleep schedule.
First of all, there’s a big change in physical developments around this time. All that tummy time is paying off, and your baby is rolling around and working on sitting up unsupported.
Don’t fret if your baby is rolling over in their sleep or sleeping on their stomach. If your baby is strong enough to roll over, it’s usually okay to let them be. Double check with your pediatrician for your situation.
Some over-achievers may even be on the verge of crawling!
Another major impact on the daily routine around this time is the addition of meal times with solid food.
It’s important to speak with your pediatrician to discuss readiness before starting solids. But when you get the go-ahead, the buffet is open for business.
In other words, your baby’s awake time in now way more interesting. Get ready for your baby to spend a good amount of their wake window in a high chair or practicing getting mobile.
With all of these new physical changes, you can probably expect some sleep disruption. You could even be in for the common 6 month sleep regression!
But in general, it’s pretty typical for the 6 month sleep schedule to include 2-4 hours of daytime sleep spread between two or three naps.
If your baby hasn’t made the transition from 3 naps to 2, they might still need a catnap at the end the day to get through those last hours of the day.
How Many Naps Should a 6-Month-Old Take?
As I mentioned, by 6 months old, some babies will be ready to make the 3 to 2 nap transition.
But right when your baby hits 6 months, they’ll probably still be taking 3 naps (with the one at the end of the day being shorter). I call this short late afternoon nap a catnap, and it’s usually around 30 minutes.
I know you hear this a lot, but it’s because it’s true: every baby’s development is different! If your baby is still happy with 3 naps each day and it’s not negatively impacting their nighttime sleep, you can hold off on the transition until they seem more ready.
If, however, bedtime has become a major battle and your baby is waking frequently at night, consider dropping that third nap and take a good look at baby’s wake windows.
How Many Times Should a 6-Month-Old Wake at Night?
Just because your 6-month-old is capable of sleeping through the night, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will.
It is not uncommon for your 6-month-old to wake up in the middle of the night, especially if you haven’t gone through a sleep training method yet.
But developmentally speaking, those nighttime feedings are no longer about sustenance. Your baby is capable of filling their tummy to fullness before bed and that should last them through the night.
If your 6 month old is waking at night, it’s not necessarily because they need something. They are just looking for comfort.
That’s why developing independent sleep habits at this age is so helpful. Once your 6-month-old is able to self-soothe, they don’t really need you in the middle of the night.
That means better rest for everyone!
Sample 6-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
One thing I love to do as a Pediatric Sleep Consultant is use my expertise to help families come up with a reliable daily routine. While the schedule can look different from baby to baby, wake windows help provide a predictable guide to the flow of the day.
Here’s an example of a 6-month-old sleep schedule. This schedule uses wake windows that get progressively longer throughout the day (2.25 hours / 2.5 hours / 2 hours / 2.75 hours).
The time before the catnap is shorter because we just need a quick nap here to take the edge off until bedtime, so the sleep pressure doesn’t need to be as strong.
7:00 am Wake up + nurse or bottle
9:15–10:45 am: Nap
10:45 am: Feeding
1:15–2:45 pm: Nap
2:45 pm: Feeding
4:45–5:15 pm: Catnap
5:15 pm: Feeding
7:30 pm: Start bedtime routine / Feeding
7:45/8:00 pm: Bedtime
Some babies may do better with a slightly longer wake window before bedtime, while other babies may need this shorter. Watch your baby and track to see which works better for them.
Sample 6-Month-Old Sleep Schedule With 2 Naps
If your baby is sleeping 11 to 12 hours at night, they may be ready to make the 3 to 2 nap transition sooner rather than later.
Here’s an example of a 6-month-old sleep schedule for a baby who has transitioned to two naps. This schedule uses wake windows that get progressively longer throughout the day (2.5 hrs / 3 hrs / 3 hrs).
7:00 am Wake up + nurse or bottle
8:30 am Solids/breakfast
9:30-11:00 am Nap
11:00 am Nurse or bottle
12:00 pm Solids/Lunch
1:30 pm Small nurse or bottle (if needed)
2:00-3:30 pm Nap
3:30 pm Nurse or bottle
5:30 pm Solids/dinner
6:00/6:30 pm Start bedtime routine + nurse or bottle
6:30/7:00 pm Bedtime
Night feeds as needed (but not necessary).
If you want more sample schedules for ages Newborn–4 years old, check out my Baby Sleep Schedule Binder.