Looking for a sample schedule for your 6 month old? See the optimal 6 month old wake window and how often your 6 month old baby needs sleep.
Can you believe your little one is nearing their half birthday?
You’ve survived the sleep-deprived newborn days and are hopefully settling into a routine.
At 6 months old your baby is growing so much and working on so many fun milestones.
They may be crawling, rolling over both ways, sitting up independently, and you may even be getting ready to start solid foods.
They’re also likely ready for a little more awake time in between naps.
Your baby’s wake windows have been increasing slightly each month and it’s probably time to extend them a bit more.
Let’s talk about your 6 month old wake window and an optimal sleep schedule for your growing baby.
How Long Should a 6-Month-Old Wake Window Be?
Every baby develops at their own pace, but generally speaking there are some guidelines for how long a baby can comfortably stay awake during the day without becoming overtired.
If you hit this awake time sweet spot just right, it makes bedtime battles less likely. It also makes it more likely that your baby will take a long nap.
The length of your baby’s wake windows will vary throughout the day, but will stay within a certain range. Your baby’s shortest wake window is typically in the morning before their first nap of the day.
Your baby’s 5-month-old wake windows were between 2 and 2.5 hours, and as they reach 6 months, you’ll start working on stretching those wake windows even longer.
Around 6 months old, your baby may be able to handle between 2.25 and 2.75 hours of awake time.
Thankfully, as you expand your 6-month-old’s wake windows, there’s plenty to do to fill in the extra awake time.
Your 6-month-old’s daily routine has expanded to include some pretty exciting new things!
Play time is more engaging, as your baby explores their surroundings more thoroughly and actively. They’ll also be working overtime to get their arms and legs in gear, preparing to start crawling!
Another fun thing your 6-month-old can spend their wake windows doing is exploring new foods! Whether you choose to do baby-led weaning or start with simple purees, your baby’s awake time is suddenly a lot more flavorful (and messy!) than it used to be.
How Long Should Naps Be at 6 Months Old?
A 6 month old sleep schedule still contains multiple naps throughout the day. As you’ll see with the example schedule below, naps are not all going to be the same length.
Around the 6-month mark, most babies are taking two longer naps and a short catnap in the evening.
That catnap can be tricky to get in, so I always recommend parents get the catnap in however you can. Wear your baby, go for a walk in the stroller, run a quick errand while baby snoozes safely in the carseat, or simply snuggle your baby in your arms as they doze off and you soak up those cuddles.
There aren’t any hard and fast rules for the catnap! The goal is just to get it in so your baby can bridge the gap to bedtime.
As your baby gets closer to the 7-month-mark, they may be ready to make the 3-to-2 nap transition.
Ultimately, your 6-month-old needs between 3 to 3.5 hours of daytime sleep, which is typically spread spread between 3 naps.
This may look like two 90-minute naps and a 30-minute catnap.
Example 6-Month-Old Schedule
This example sleep schedule includes wake windows ranging from 2.25 to 2.75 hours.
Your shorter wake window is at the beginning of the day and your wake window before the catnap is also fairly short. Again, we just need baby to sleep in the late afternoon so they aren’t going to bed overtired.
Here is an example of a sleep schedule with 2.25 to 2.75 wake windows between sleeps. Adjust solids or milk feeds as neeeded.
7:00 am — Wake up + nurse or bottle
8:00 am — Solids
9:15-10:30 am — Nap
10:30 am — Nurse or bottle
12:00 pm — Solids
1:00-2:30 pm — Nap
2:30 pm — Nurse or bottle
4:30–5:00 pm — Catnap
5:00 pm — Nurse or bottle
6:00 pm — Solids
7:00 pm — Nurse or bottle
7:30/7:45 pm — Bedtime
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The 6-Month Sleep Regression
If your baby’s sleep has been off track and their wake windows are on track, you may be dealing with the 6-month sleep regression.
Sleep regressions are a natural part of your baby’s development. The 6 month sleep regression happens because of your baby’s natural cognitive and physical growth.
Some causes of the 6 month sleep regression include:
- Newly developed separation anxiety
- More mobility (like scooting, or even crawling!)
- Rolling (particularly rolling in their sleep)
- Learning to put sounds together and vocalize more
- Learning to sit up independently
- Introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet
If you’re experiencing a sleep setback, try to stay consistent with the habits you’ve established and know that the regression will disappear as quickly as it came on.
If your baby isn’t able to fall asleep without parental assistance, consider sleep training. Six months is a great age to start teaching your baby how to fall asleep without help from you and can help everyone in your family get more rest.