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The Sleeping Habits of 3-Month-Olds

by
author image Christa Miller
Christa Miller is a writing professional with expertise in massage therapy and health. Miller attended San Francisco State University to earn a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing with a minor in journalism and went on to earn an Arizona massage therapy license.
The Sleeping Habits of 3-Month-Olds
A 3-month-old baby sleeps more at night than during the day. Photo Credit master-garry/iStock/Getty Images

When your baby was a newborn, she likely slept a few hours at a time to get a total 14 to 18 hours of sleep per day. In her second month, she began to sleep for shorter periods in the daytime and longer periods in the night. By the age of 3 months, her sleeping patterns may more closely resemble yours, which often means a reprieve from those bleary-eyed 2 a.m. feeding duties.

Sleep Needs

According to KidsHealth online, most 3-month-old babies sleep between 12 and 15 hours per day. About two-thirds of this sleep occurs at night, with the rest being broken into two or three daytime sleep periods. However, each baby is on a different timetable, so your 3-month-old might not be able to sleep through the night.

Night Sleep

Between 3 and 6 months, most babies develop a more predictable sleep and wake pattern, and they are able to drop most of their night feedings. However, when your pediatrician says your 3-month-old can sleep "through the night," don't think that necessarily means for eight hours at a time. At 3 months, a baby might be able to sleep five to six hours at a time. If your baby has trouble going back to sleep when she wakes up during the night, you can try to train her to soothe herself to sleep by consistently putting her in her crib when she’s still awake but drowsy, rather than after she has fallen asleep.

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Sleep Changes

Your 3-month-old baby might settle into a sleep schedule, then struggle to fall or stay asleep at night. He might accidentally wake himself up as he tries to master new milestones, such grabbing at objects or rolling over, in his sleep. He also might have trouble sleeping if there are any changes in his environment or if he is ill.

Establishing a Routine

If your baby seems confused about the difference between day and night, you can encourage sleepiness at appropriate times. For example, you can spend daylight hours playing and interacting with the shades up to let in extra sunlight, then at night give your baby a bath and rock her in dim lighting. You also can try to manipulate your baby's sleeping and feeding schedule to suit your schedule. For example, if your baby generally wakes up for a feeding at 3 a.m. after her 8 p.m. feeding, try waking her for a feeding before you go to bed, perhaps around 11 p.m.

Sleep Safety

Your 3-month-old baby will be safer sleeping on his back, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has decreased by over 40 percent since 1992, when the AAP recommended back sleeping. The AAP believes back-sleeping is better because some babies aren’t able to rouse themselves to switch head positions, leading them to breathe in their own carbon dioxide or suffocate on soft bedding when they are on their stomachs.

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References

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