3 month old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule
While your baby’s outgrowing newborn diapers and clothes, they’re also outgrowing their newborn sleep patterns. Between 3 - 4 months, you may notice some big differences in your baby’s sleep, like increased night waking and shorter naps.
Thank the circadian rhythm (a.k.a. your internal clock) for this change; it’s undergoing a maturation process that results in additional sleep cycles for your baby, and that often translates to disrupted sleep. Don’t fret - following the right schedule can improve sleep!
IN THIS ARTICLE
How much should a 3 month old sleep?
At this age most babies need at least 15 hours of total sleep in a 24-hour period. Ideally we’ll see at least 10 hours of sleep at night, and 3 - 5 naps a day, though there’s still a lot of variation at this age. Getting enough sleep remains an important part of baby development.
[Note: for children who were born early, we go by their adjusted age for sleep development.]
Top sleep tip for 3 month olds
Go ahead and introduce a comfort object (or “lovey”) at this age. Even though we don’t recommend taking it into their sleep space with them yet (for safety reasons), you can use it during pre-sleep routines so your baby can start developing an attachment to it.
Sleep fact for 3 month old babies
Although many parents are ready for more predictability at this age, most babies still need naps based upon how long they’ve been awake for (otherwise known as wake windows), rather than set times “by the clock.”
Sample 3 month old sleep schedule
Note: Sleep needs vary by child and this chart should be viewed as an example.
Naptime schedule for 3 month old
How long should a 3 month old nap?
Ideally your 3 month old will get 4 - 5 hours of day sleep on average, broken up into 3 - 5 naps. Short naps are still developmentally appropriate at this age, so it’s common to see 30 - 45 minute naps, as well as longer 1 - 2 hour naps.
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How many naps for a 3 month old?
Most 3 month olds take 3 - 5 naps per day. If your baby regularly takes longer naps, their wake windows will likely be longer, meaning they may be comfortable with just 3 naps a day.
On the other hand, if your baby only has a bunch of short catnaps all day, they could need 5 naps in order to comfortably make it to bedtime. At this age we expect babies to need a nap after 60 - 120 minutes of awake time.
Check out this sample 4-nap schedule, keeping in mind that it's just that - a sample. Your baby’s day may look quite different, which is expected and okay!
|Morning rise||7:00 AM|
|1st nap||8:15 AM - 9:30 AM (1.25 hour nap) 1.25 hours of awake time before 1st nap|
|2nd nap||11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (1.5 hour nap) 1.5 hours of awake time before 2nd nap|
|3rd nap||2:15 PM - 3:45 (1.5 hour nap) 1.75 hours of awake time before 3rd nap|
|4th nap||5:30 PM - 6:00 (30 minute nap) 1.75 hours of awake time before 4th nap|
|Get ready for bed||7:30 PM|
|Asleep||8:00 PM 2 hours of awake time before bed|
Bedtime for a 3 month old
What time should a 3 month old go to bed?
At this age, we start to see bedtimes shift earlier. Plan for bedtime to be 12 - 14 hours after waking for the day, but no earlier than 6:00 PM. That means an optimal bedtime for a baby waking around 6:00 AM will be between 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM.
Bedtime will still depend on how many naps your baby takes, and how long they can comfortably stay awake. Most 3 month olds have a wake window range that’s between 1 - 2 hours long. Babies taking fewer naps (3 - 4 per day) will generally need an earlier bedtime than babies taking 5 naps a day.
3 month old baby sleep FAQ
Q: Can a 3 month old baby sleep through the night?
Most babies this age will continue to wake during the night for feedings. Consult with your pediatrician and/or lactation consultant if you have questions regarding the appropriate amount of feedings per night for your three month old.
Q: How often do 3 month old babies sleep?
Typically, most babies this age have a wake window of 60 - 120 minutes, meaning they may need to sleep after just an hour of awake time. Aim for at least 15 hours of sleep during a 24-hour period (between 3 - 5 naps a day).
Q: How much nighttime sleep for a 3 month old?
Target 10 - 12 hours of night sleep, including wakings for feedings.
Q: How much awake time for a 3 month old?
The majority of 3 month olds need sleep after an awake period of 60 - 120 minutes, depending on the time of day. The amount of awake time tends to be shorter in the morning, and lengthens throughout the day. The last wake window is usually the longest stretch of awake time during the day, which means your baby will probably sleep best with 90 - 120 minutes of awake time in between the last nap and bedtime.
Q: How much daytime sleep for a 3 month old?
Your infant’s sleep habits will still be a bit unpredictable at this age. Aim for 4 - 5 hours of day sleep over the course of 3 - 5 naps.
Q: My 3 month old’s sleep is all over the place. How do I get a more predictable schedule?
If you’d like to work on regulating your baby’s schedule, the best thing you can do is to aim for a consistent morning wake-up time. Ideally the morning wake time will be within the same 30 minute window each morning. If your baby sometimes wakes at 6:00 AM, and other times sleeps in until 8:00 AM, you might feel momentary tears of joy on those later mornings, however, the variation in the waking time can lead to a lot of unpredictability when it comes to planning naps and bedtime.
Q: My 3 month old’s sleep is suddenly different. Is this a regression?
Between 3 - 4 months, your baby’s circadian rhythm will mature, resulting in a change in the stages and cycles of sleep (they’ll no longer sleep like a newborn, and instead have patterns similar to an adult). This is often referred to as the “4 month sleep regression.” You can read more about pediatric sleep patterns and the 4 month sleep regression here.