By this age, your baby should be well on the way toward having a regular sleep pattern. Some infants, particularly those who are breastfed, may still wake at night. But most no longer need a middle-of-the-night feeding.
How Long Will My Baby Sleep?
Most babies this age should sleep 12–16 hours a day, which includes a longer stretch at night and at least two naps during the day, says the National Sleep Foundation. The average amount of daytime sleep is now about 3–4 hours.
By 6 months, most babies are sleeping at night for 9 hours or longer, with brief awakenings.
How Should Babies Sleep?
The American of Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room-sharing without bed-sharing until the first birthday or for at least 6 months, when the risk of SIDs (sudden infant death syndrome) is highest.
Room-sharing is when you place your baby's crib, portable crib, play yard, or bassinet in your own bedroom instead of in a separate nursery. This keeps your baby nearby and helps with feeding, comforting, and monitoring your baby at night.
While room-sharing is safe, putting your baby to sleep in bed with you is not. Bed-sharing increases the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths.
Follow these recommendations for a safe sleep environment for your little one:
- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, not on the stomach or side. The rate of SIDS has gone way down since the AAP introduced this recommendation in 1992. Once babies consistently roll over from front to back and back to front, it's fine for them to remain in the sleep position they choose.
- Use a firm sleep surface. Cover the mattress with a sheet that fits snugly. Make sure your crib, bassinet, or play yard meets current safety standards.
- Do not put anything else in the crib or bassinet. Keep plush toys, pillows, blankets, unfitted sheets, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and bumper pads out of your baby's sleep area.
- Avoid overheating. Dress your baby for the room temperature, and don't overbundle. Watch for signs of overheating, such as sweating or feeling hot to the touch.
- Keep your baby away from smokers. Secondhand smoke increases the risk of SIDS.
- Put your baby to sleep with a pacifier. But if your baby rejects the pacifier, don't force it. If the pacifier falls out during sleep you do not have to replace it.
- Watch out for other hazards. Avoid items with cords, ties, or ribbons that can wrap around a baby's neck and objects with any kind of sharp edge or corner. Look around for things that your baby can touch from a seated or standing position in the crib. Hanging mobiles, wall hangings, pictures, draperies, and window blind cords could be harmful if they are within a baby's reach.
Helping Your Baby Sleep
You may have started a bedtime routine that you're sticking to. If you haven't yet, now is a good time to start. Soothing activities that lead up to "night-night" time can help relax your baby. A warm bath followed by stories or singing will signal an end to the day, and these same activities can be used at bedtime for years to come.
You'll want your baby to fall asleep on his or her own. This may mean doing your nighttime routine and putting the baby into the crib while he or she is drowsy but still awake. If your baby cries, stay away for a few minutes. Your baby may settle down and go to sleep.
If the crying continues, soothe your baby for a moment without picking him or her up. This may go on a few times until your baby figures out that the crying is not getting results. This can be tough for parents, since it's upsetting to hear your baby cry. If you know your baby is safe (and not hungry, wet, soiled, or feeling unwell), it's OK to give him or her time to settle down.
Why Does My Baby Wake at Night?
Even a baby who has been sleeping through the night will sometimes wake in the wee hours, just as adults do. Some babies may call out or cry in the middle of the night, then calm down when mom or dad enters the room. This is due to separation anxiety, a normal stage of development that happens during this time.
Give your baby a few fussy minutes before you respond. After seeing that everything is OK and reassuring your baby without taking your little one out of the crib, leave your baby alone to fall back to sleep.
Remember: Cuddling, feeding, or talking when your baby wakes up may prompt your little one to wake regularly for this attention.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Most infants at this age will have a regular sleep routine and are able to sleep through the night. But there is a wide range of normal. If you have any questions about your baby's sleep, talk with your doctor.Back to Articles
How Can I Be Sure My Baby Stays on Her Back While She Sleeps?
Find out what the experts have to say.Read More
Household Safety: Preventing Injuries in the Crib
Your baby will spend a lot of time in the crib, and it's your job to make sure it's always a safe environment. Here's how to ensure the safety of your littlest sleeper.Read More
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants 1 month to 1 year old. Though SIDS remains unpredictable, you can help reduce your infant's risk.Read More
Communication and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old
Your baby's range of sounds and facial expressions continues to grow, and your baby is also imitating sounds, which are the first attempts at speaking.Read More
All About Sleep
Getting enough sleep can be a problem for children of any age. Read this article to learn tips on bedtime schedules and routines for your child.Read More
Sleep and Your 1- to 2-Year-Old
Nighttime feedings may be a thing of the past, but in this second year of life your tot might be rising for other reasons. Learn more.Read More
Is Bed-Sharing OK for My Baby?
Find out what the experts have to say.Read More
Feeding Your 4- to 7-Month-Old
Is your baby is ready for solid foods? Learn how and when to get started.Read More
Your Baby's Hearing, Vision, and Other Senses: 4 Months
Your baby is working on all five senses, understanding and anticipating more and more. How can you stimulate your baby's senses?Read More
Your Baby's Growth: 4 Months
Your baby is growing in many ways. Here's what to expect this month.Read More
Breastfeeding FAQs: Sleep - Yours and Your Baby's
Here are answers to some common questions about breastfed babies and sleep - from where they should snooze to when they'll finally start sleeping through the night.Read More
Choosing Safe Baby Products: Cribs
When you choose a crib, check it carefully to make sure that your baby's sleep space is safe. Here's how.Read More
Sleep and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old
Sleep problems are common in the second half of a baby's first year. It's best to respond to your baby's needs with the right balance of concern and consistency.Read More
Bed-sharing increases the risk of sleep-related deaths, including SIDS. Experts say room-sharing without bed-sharing is the safest sleep environment.Read More
Safe Sleep for Babies (Video)
Guard against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by learning how to safely put your baby to sleep.Read More
Helping Your Baby Sleep (Video)
All new parents want their babies to sleep well. Here's what to expect in that first year, and how to help your baby sleep.Read More