Inside: 3 month old baby sleep tips and strategies for a happy baby.
Are you coming out of the haze yet, mama?
I always found that from birth until baby was around 3 months… I lived in a haze. A newborn haze that felt difficult to survive at times.
Baby and I had to figure out feeding, resting, night wakings, and all the rest. Together. And we probably got into a great newborn sleep schedule groove and then…
Baby turns 3 months.
And this is a tricky age because baby is more alert and likely sleeping a bit less so some habits start to show that used to work that now, maybe, don’t work any longer.
In this 3 month old baby sleep schedule post...
3 Month Old Baby Sleep Tips & Strategies
Here are some basic things to keep in mind as your baby approaches the 3 month mark. This is often a really tricky time for one main reason, and that’s the first point.
1. Babies Start Waking Up Now
If you haven’t really worried about your baby sleep habits at all, but baby slept well the first few months.
That often goes bye bye during the third month. Why?
Because babies aren’t as sleepy.
They aren’t falling asleep as they nurse left and right, and the amount of time they sleep is directly related to whether or not they fight sleep. If they have healthy sleep habits and can get to sleep on their own, they’ll sleep.
If they have a lot of sleep props, they will start to fight sleep and become fussy and irritable.
- Did baby used to sleep on their own? Did they stop? Look for sleep props.
- Has baby started to wake more at night and take longer day naps? Could be a delayed type of day night confusion.
- Might be time to do some deliberate sleep training.
2. Babies Need Routine
The exact routine you do doesn’t matter nearly as much as simply having a routine.
Babies love routine.
Moms might not love it, but your baby totally will.
If your baby is waking up more and struggling to get to sleep, more irritable, and just not quite as calm or peaceful during the day, let’s get on a consistent sleep schedule.
Here’s a sample 3 month old baby sleep schedule
- 5:00 am | An early morning feed (don’t change diaper or unswaddle unless you have to) and just put right back down to bed
- 7:30 am | Wake up and feed, maybe bathe baby (I use this in the sink and it’s amazing)
- 8:30 to 9:45 am | Wind down routine and down for a nap
- 10:30 am | Feed baby, snuggle, special tummy time mat
- 11:30 to 11:45 am | Wind down and then go down for a nap
- 1:30 pm | Feed baby, go for walk, carry baby around house to do chores, read to baby or hold baby while you read
- 2:30 to 2:45 pm | Wind down routine then go down for a nap
- 4:30 pm | Feed baby, put in infant seat (this is ours) or on a blanket while you cook, let siblings play with baby
- 5:30 pm | Quick nap
- 6:15 pm | Feed baby if desired (a cluster feed), play with daddy, play with siblings, play on mat, bathe if you didn’t in the morning
- 7:30 pm | Feed baby and put to bed, you can rock gently to drowsy then in the crib, or I find that mine often feed to sleep and sleep the whole night through
- 10:30 pm | Dream feed (if they aren’t yet sleeping through the night)
You can change this however drastically to fit your own lifestyle, but find something that works and repeat it. A lot.
3. Babies Sleep Less, But Still A Lot More Than You Think
Here are some general rules of thumb for baby sleep times.
- Newborn to 2 months: 16-18 hours a day | 7 to 9 naps (one after each feed)
- 2-4 months: 15-17 hours a day | 4 to 5 naps (after each daytime feed)
- 4-6 months: 14-16 hours a day | 4 naps or so (probably dropping the last nap before bedtime)
- 6-9 months: 14-16 hours a day | 3 to 4 naps a day (eventually getting down to 2 naps a day)
- 9 – 12 months: 14-16 hours a day | 2 to 3 naps (eventually getting down to 2)
- 12-18 months: 14-15 hours a day | 2 naps a day (eventually getting down to 1 nap a day)
3 month old babies generally sleep around 15 to 17 hours a day, including nighttime hours. That equates to about 4 to 5 naps during the day then the nighttime.
That’s a lotta sleep.
If your baby currently sleeps less than that, but isn’t fussy… your 3 month old is fine. If your baby currently sleeps less than that and is pretty fussy and unsettled, add in more naps and perhaps an earlier bedtime.
If your little one has struggle sleeping altogether, take my free series on the 3 main reasons babies won’t sleep, and get solutions today.
4. Babies Can Feed Less At Night
3 month is a big mark in baby sleep. Many people say your baby can begin sleeping through the night without waking by 12 weeks.
I didn’t have this as a goal.
Two of my five did sleep through the night by 4 months, but the other 3 took a few more months. Maybe they only had the dream feed for a month or two, and then finally they slept fully through, 12 hours.
But either way, at the 3 month mark, your baby shouldn’t be waking every few hours all night if you play your cards right.
- Make sure you haven’t dropped the dream feed. It’s the feed that, if baby will take a full one, will get them through until a decent morning wake up time.
- Purposefully cluster feed in early evening before bedtime and this will help prevent accidental cluster feeding at night.
- Give full feeds at night feeds. If baby wakes up at 1 am, give a full feed! If light snacking is all baby is interested in, wean the snacking and watch the night wakings disappear.
5. Watch What’s Working And Keep Going
The truth is, if baby is happy and not super irritable all the time… then all is well.
➡️ If baby is fighting sleep, you can start some sleep training.
➡️ If baby is unpredictable with his moods and life feels like chaos, start a routine.
➡️ If baby is perfect and wonderful and smells good (#duh) then cuddle him all the time.
- The 3 to 6 Month Baby Routine That Makes For Happy Babies
- The Fastest Way Through the 4 Month Sleep Regression
- A Tried And True 1 Year Old Sleep Schedule
Need sample routines for babies 6 weeks to 5 years?
By now, you know how to handle the newborn days, but what after? The good news is this: you’ve set your baby up for a foundation of success.
Now all you need to do is continue to find routines that work for you and your baby as they grow up and begin getting bigger and bigger. Sob. After having had 5 babies with 5 different personalities, I know a thing or two about finding a good schedule.
This is why I’ve created a book of sample routines and schedules for babies ages 6 weeks up to 5 years.
The book includes information on how long to let baby stay awake, how much play time is good for each age, what to do with baby when baby is awake but not quite mobile, and even how to manage toddler and baby joint routines.
Chapters covered in Rhythms, Routines & Schedules include:
Section One: Sample Schedules
- 6 Weeks to 3 Months Old
- 3-6 Months Old
- 7-9 Months Old
- 9-12 Months Old
- 12-18 Months Old
- 2-3 Years Old
- 4-5 Years Old
Section Two: Tips and Tricks
- Tips for Managing the Day With Multiple Children
- Daily Rhythms for an Only Child Ages 1-4 Years Old
- Daily Rhythms for Multiple Small Children Ages 0-5
- Sample Bedtime, Mealtime, and Playtime Routines
- Tips for Keeping Kids Busy Throughout the Day
For more sample routines, mom tested and approved schedules for babies ages 6 weeks and up, check out Rhythms, Routines & Schedules right now.
I’ve created a free email series just for you! There are truly only a few reasons why babies and toddlers have struggles sleeping… really, I mean it. I am going to teach you the main 3 reasons and how to start making small changes to help your baby go from:
- fighting sleep to embracing it
- night wakings to sleeping through
- needing you to jump through hoops to going to sleep on their own
Click here to sign up for my free email series or simply click on the image below.
New to this community? Start here, friend.