Your baby just keeps growing and changing, and now you’re wondering what your three-month-old baby’s sleep schedule should look like. Chances are your baby stays awake longer than before, and you might notice his schedule is more predictable than before.
A lot of these changes are because your baby is now past the newborn stage. Not only is that a milestone, but it’s also bittersweet. Our baby’s growing up is adorable, but it also leaves you remembering those sleep newborn cuddles right after birth.
In the past 12 weeks, your baby has done quite a bit of learning, growing, and developing. No doubt, he behaves differently than he did when you first brought him home from the hospital.
Seriously, those baby smiles are the cutest thing ever, right?
So, let’s take a look at what you should expect when it comes to sleep throughout this month.
How Much Should My Three-Month-Old Sleep?
At this stage, your baby’s sleep may have started to regulate itself slightly. For example, your baby might begin to sleep longer stretches at night and have more awake time throughout the day. Naps start to consolidate, so you might notice a pattern when your baby is ready for a nap.
If your baby isn’t doing these things yet, don’t stress. Your baby isn’t broken, and it’s not standard for all babies to sleep well at three months old. Remember, your baby is still quite new, so it’s not a big deal if you don’t see longer stretches at night, especially for breastfed babies.
An average three-month-old will sleep 11 to 12 hours at night (not consecutively but rather cumulative) and three to four hours throughout the day. Typically, you’ll notice that your baby takes one long nap and a few short catnaps during the rest of the day. It’s not usual for babies to take multiple long naps at this age.
However, don’t be scared if your three month old is smiling while sleeping, here is why.
How Often Will My Baby Eat?
Some babies start to consolidate their feedings around 3 months old, but once again, there is no reason to stress if your baby doesn’t do so. A 3-month-old can go longer between feedings, but you also might find that your baby decides to eat more frequently throughout the day while reducing night feedings.
Once again, if your baby is still eating just as much throughout the night, that’s normal as well. Remember that if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need to feed every few hours to maintain your milk supply, and chances are your baby will continue to need night feedings until closer to one year old.
Just like our warning for two-month-old sleep, please don’t introduce solid foods at this age to try to increase your baby’s sleep. Most three-month-olds don’t meet the needed milestones to introduce solid foods, and there is no evidence showing that solid foods lead to better sleep. It’s just a myth.
Things That Might Disrupt His Sleep
So far, things seem pretty good on the sleep front, but don’t get too excited. While your three-month-old does become a bit more predictable, some things could disrupt his sleep and make you feel like a zombie again.
Here are some things to keep an eye out for during this month.
The 12-Week Growth Spurt
During this time, your baby will likely hit a growth spurt. Growth spurts can either cause your baby to sleep like a log; you’ll hope this lasts forever, but it doesn’t. There is a lot of changes that are happening during this time that is essential for growth.
On the opposite hand, your baby might not at all. She might be up crying all of the time, and you’ll wonder where your sweet baby went. Don’t worry; the sweetie will be back as soon as this growth spurt is over.
During growth spurts, your baby is often hungrier than usual. Some babies prefer food over snoozing, so don’t be surprised if your baby wants to eat around the clock again. Your baby might be inconsolable unless she is nursing, or your baby might need an extra ounce or two in her bottle to settle down and relax. ?
This is normal and part of the three-month growth spurt. It ends as soon as it began!
Do you notice your baby drooling, biting his hands, or feeling irritated throughout the day?
Some babies start to teeth when they’re three months old, and that can throw off all of your sleep plans and goals. Teething hurts, and some babies can have their first teeth appear as early as 2 or 3 months old.
Possible Sleep Regression
Most parents have heard of the four-month sleep regression, but sudden wakefulness at three months is just as frequent. It can be frustrating, but it is a sign that your baby’s sleep cycles are maturing and heading towards a cycle that looks more like yours.
What you need to do is continue your routine. Stick to your schedule; make sure your baby is getting naps and isn’t overtired. Overtired babies have a harder time settling down at night.
This, too, will pass, so just be consistent, and it will end soon enough. 🙂
A Three-Month-Old Baby Sleep Schedule
Sample of a Formula-Fed Baby Schedule
|Wake Up Time
|Wake Up and Feed
|Wake and Feed
|Feed and Bedtime
Sample of a Breastfed Baby Schedule
|Wake Up Time
|Wake Up and Feed
|Feed and Nap
|Wake and Feed
|Wake and Feed
|Feed and Nap
|Feed and Bedtime
|+1 to 3 Nighttime Feedings
Consider Adding a Fill-Up Feed at Nighttime
At three months old, something that you might want to try is adding a fill-up feed before bedtime. When looking at this above schedule, I would add a feed between 11:00 or 11:30 PM, depending on when I would go to sleep.
The purpose of a fill-up feed is to give you a longer stretch of sleep when you go to sleep. You know your baby is full, and you can go to sleep with hopefully a few hours ahead of you before your baby needs to wake up and feed again.
This is often called a nightcap or dream feeding. No matter what you want to call it, a dream feed is essentially when you gently wake up your baby and give the breast or a bottle. Babies will eat when they’re half asleep, so it’s no big deal to them, and it works well to give you some more sleep.
Frequent Problems that Parents Face with Three-Month-Old Babies
Here are a few issues that parents might face with their babies.
Why Are My Baby’s Naps All Over The Place?
One frequent problem that moms of babies around three months old might experience is that their naps aren’t consolidating. They’re all over the place, and while that was okay for the first few weeks, you want to have some sort of schedule. That’s even more important when you have other kids or have to work from home.
Here are some things to help your baby establish a better napping schedule.
- Babies can only be awake up to a maximum of 2 hours at three months old, but you should try to limit it to an hour and a half. A refusal to nap might be because your baby is overtired or overstimulated, and she is struggling to relax enough to fall asleep.
- Try a shortened routine before naptime that helps your baby wind down a few minutes before your baby goes to sleep. That might be a diaper change and a lullaby.
- Try to create the best sleep environment for both naptime and bedtimes. That might include white noise, swaddling, sleep sacks, or a semi-quiet household.
- Make it a goal to have at least one nap per day in the same place your baby sleeps at night. That might be in the crib, co-sleeper, or wherever.
- You can absolutely like your baby sleep in the stroller, car, or baby carrier while you’re on the go. These naps while on the go are a necessity for busy families, and your baby can get a good nap. However, do make sure these naps are certified.
My Baby is Waking for the Day at 5 AM – That’s Too Early!
Is your baby waking up way too early in the morning? 5 AM is too early to start the day, and unless your baby has to go to daycare, 6 AM would be too early as well.
Remember that at three months old, your baby should only sleep 9-11 hours at night. Putting your baby to bed for the night at 7 PM is way too early at this stage. Try moving his bedtime later, such as around 10 PM. That’s more realistic.
You might need to try a few different bedtimes and understand it might take a few days to get the right time. For most babies around this age, you want to put your baby to bed around 8:30 to 10 PM.
On the other hand, if your baby’s bedtime is too late, it could cause early rising. It seems counterintuitive because if you go to bed later than you typically do, chances are you want to sleep in a bit earlier.
Babies aren’t like that. If you put your baby to bed too late, it’s sort of like if you have jet lag. Instead of sleeping like you need to be, you end up wide awake in the middle of the night, overstimulated, and trying to sleep, but you just can’t.
My Baby Is Going to Bed Way Too Late
Is it midnight, and your baby still wants to party? While babies this age don’t typically have an early bedtime, they shouldn’t have a super late one either. So, what gives?
One problem could be a late nap. ?
If you want your baby to go to sleep between 8 to 10 PM, you need to make sure that your baby is awake for two hours before that time. So, your baby should nap for the last time around 5:30-6 PM. That gives a two-hour window before 8 PM.
Keep Working on It
Sleep is a skill. That’s weird to think of, but your baby has to work and reach the right developmental level to sleep as long as you hope. When you work on being consistent, you can gradually teach your child to sleep better, and all of the pieces will fall together when your child is ready.
Get ready! Four-month-old sleep might throw you through a loop. ?
Hey, this is Linda. My biggest accomplishment in life is being a mother of four children. Their current ages range from almost ten years old down to 20 months old.
I’m passionate about writing parenting articles because I understand so well all of the problems and trials you face as a parent. From breastfeeding woes to budgeting problems and behavior problems, along with everything in between, chances are I’ve faced it over the last ten years. Read more about Linda here.