At six months, your baby is staying awake longer, playing more, and may even be sitting up independently. Let’s talk about the most frequent questions I get about six month old sleep schedules, naps, sleep regressions, toys, and more!
What are wake windows for a 6 month old? How long can a 6 month old stay awake?
A six month old’s wake windows range between 2 and 3 hours. We see shorter wake windows in the morning, and these generally increase as the day goes on and babies get older. As your baby approaches seven months, his wake windows may be closer to 3 hours.
Some babies may be ready to transition from 3 naps to 2 as they approach 6.5-7 months old. When your six month old moves to 2 naps, this is when we will need to focus on stretching those wake windows closer to 3 hours throughout the day.
Here's a general routine for wake windows at this age if your baby is still taking 3 naps:
About 2-2.5 hours after wake time = Nap 1
About 2.5 hours after the end of Nap 1 = Nap 2
About 2.5 hours after the end of Nap 2 = Nap 3
About 2.5-3 hours after the end of Nap 3 = Bedtime
And here's the routine for wake windows at this age once your baby transitions to 2 naps:
About 2.5-3 hours after wake time = Nap 1
About 3 hours after the end of Nap 1 = Nap 2
About 3-3.5 hours after the end of Nap 2 = Bedtime
**Bedtime may need to be pushed as early as 6:00 to 6:30 pm depending on the last nap of the day.
What is a sample schedule for a 6 month old?
I have 2 six month old sleep schedules for you to use. When looking at schedules for our babies, it’s important to remember these are simply samples of how a day might play out depending on how long a baby naps. Stay flexible and meet your baby’s needs where she’s at developmentally and adjust based on how long your baby's naps last.
|6:40 am||Feeding (breast/bottle)|
|8:45-10:00 am||Nap 1|
|10:05 am||Feeding (breast/bottle)|
|12:30-1:30 pm||Nap 2|
|1:35 pm||Feeding (breast/bottle)|
|4:00- 4:45 pm||Nap 3|
|4:45 pm||Feeding (breast/bottle)|
|7:15 pm||Feeding (breast/bottle)|
|7:00 am||Feeding (breast/bottle)|
|9:30 am||Feeding (breast/bottle)|
|9:45-11:30 am||Nap 1|
|12:30 pm||Feeding (breast/bottle)|
|2:30-4:00 pm||Nap 2|
|4:00 pm||Feeding (breast/bottle)|
|6:30 pm||Feeding (breast/bottle)|
*Solids are often introduced around 6 months of age. Please speak with your pediatrician about the right time for your baby to start solids.
How many naps should a 6 month old take?
We typically want to try for 3 naps per day at six months old. If your six month old is taking more than 3 naps a day because naps are short, this is a great time to double check those wake windows to make sure they're appropriate for your baby's age.
As your baby gets older, the third nap of the day can become difficult. Although 6.5-7.5 months is the average age we see a transition from 3 to 2 naps, some six month olds may be ready to drop a nap a little earlier. If you think your baby may be ready to move to 2 naps, read 5 Signs It’s Time to Drop a Nap.
When making a nap transition, please know it takes time and consistency. It’s normal for it to take 2 to 4 weeks before your baby is fully transitioned. Stay flexible with bedtime during a nap transition! You may need to move bedtime as early as 6:00-6:30 pm while your little one adjusts to fewer naps and longer wake windows. If you need more help with nap transitions, check out my Conquering Naps class.
If your baby goes to daycare and is on a different nap schedule at daycare than at home, that’s okay! We don’t have control over the daycare nap schedule, but we have control over our sleep schedule at home. You can have a great sleeper even if your days are very different at home versus daycare.
How long should a 6 month old nap?
At six months old, our goal for daytime sleep is 3 to 4 hours total, typically divided over 3 naps.
This can look like 2 hours for the first nap, 45 minutes for the second, and 35 minutes for the third nap. The next day may be 1 hour for the first nap, 1 hour for the second, and 1 hour for the third nap. The length of each nap may change each day, and that’s okay. What matters is that your baby is getting a total of 3 to 4 hours of daytime sleep separated by age-appropriate wake windows.
If you’re struggling to get to 3 hours of napping a day, I can help you with that! Start by reading about why your baby may be taking short naps, and then check out my class, Conquering Naps. I’ll give you everything you need for great days with your six month old.
Also, keep in mind that the third nap may be the shortest of the day, lasting 30-45 minutes. This can be so normal, so don't let it worry you!
As we look at your 6 month old’s nap lengths during the day, I have 2 main recommendations.
We want to keep total daytime sleep under 4 hours.
We want to cap any single nap at 2 hours.
Doing these two things helps in several ways:
We can make sure your baby is getting enough active awake time during the day.
It also helps us to keep feedings every 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
This will also help maintain a bedtime between 7-8 p.m.
It helps your baby get more consolidated night sleep.
As your six month old’s wake windows increase, it will be important to consider if your baby needs a feeding before a nap. If you’ve still been using an EASY routine (eat, awake, sleep, you), you’ll likely find it’s time to move away from that now, especially as you’re moving towards 2 naps. You may need to offer a feeding before a nap to prevent a short nap because your baby is waking from hunger. Or your baby may be just fine waiting until after her nap for a feeding. Bottom line: watch your baby and always be responsive to your baby's hunger cues. But please do not go more than 4 hours between feedings, even if it means having to wake your baby from a nap!
What are some activities for a 6 month old?
There are many engaging, but simple things you can do with your six month old. When thinking about activities for your baby, here are a few suggestions:
Give your baby a container with objects (toys, cups, blocks) so they can practice putting them in and taking them out.
Play a game having your baby transfer objects between hands.
Have your baby sit up (with assistance if needed) in front of a mirror to look at themselves and you.
Any toys with lights and sounds can be very entertaining at six months old.
If your baby is teething, give her teething toys with lots of textures she can explore with her mouth.
I have some great developmental toys in my Amazon store. Here are some I love specifically for six month olds:
What time do 6 month olds go to bed?
Between 7:00 and 8:00 pm is the ideal bedtime for a six month old. Often, babies who go to bed too late fight sleep, experience more false start bedtimes, and may have more early morning wakings or night wakings.
When you're determining your baby's bedtime, don't forget about our daytime guidelines for wake windows. We want that last wake window (the one between the last nap of the day and bedtime) to be about 2.5-3 hours.
Expert Tip: Around the 3 to 2 nap transition, you may need to be more flexible with bedtime. Right before the transition, bedtime may land slightly after 8:00 pm. And just after the transition, bedtime may need to be as early as 6:00 pm as your six month old adjusts to their new sleep schedule.
Does a 6 month old baby need to eat during the night?
Most babies can sleep 10 to 12 hours overnight without feedings at six months old. However, some do best maintaining a night feeding. It’s always best to discuss your baby's feeding needs with your pediatrician.
If you are wondering how to wean night feedings for your six month old (or establish great sleep while still maintaining a night feeding), I can help you with a gentle and gradual approach in The 5-24 Month Collection.
Why does my 6 month old keep waking up at night?
There are many reasons why your baby may not be sleeping through the night at six months old.
No matter the reason for your night struggles, The ABCs of Sleep can help you with a fully customizable, holistic plan for independent night sleep.
Is there a 6 month sleep regression?
Babies have sleep setbacks for many reasons. If you're experiencing a sleep "regression” at six months, consider these possible causes:
So much growth occurs at six months old, from physical to cognitive to emotional development. Any time we see new skills, it can affect sleep.
It's also normal to see an increase in distracted feedings at six months old. This can impact the calories your baby consumes during the day and cause night wakings due to hunger.
Separation anxiety can also cause problems with sleep. I usually see a major peak in separation anxiety around 8 to 10 months old, but it can begin developing around six months – or even earlier – for some babies.
Sleep issues at six months old can also be a sign your baby is ready to transition from 3 to 2 naps.
If you’ve recently introduced solids and are experiencing sleep struggles, you may also want to consider whether starting solids is causing some of your sleep problems.
Is 6 months a good time to sleep train?
Babies can be developmentally ready to sleep train starting at about 5 months. BUT, the best time to sleep train is when you decide it’s right for your family. If you’re considering sleep training, check out Let’s Talk About Sleep Training to learn more about the benefits of consolidated sleep and read about how I decided it was the right time for my family.
Is sleep still a struggle for your 6 month old?
I can help! The 5-24 Month Collection will teach you a holistic, customizable, and emotionally-connected plan. I’ll give you the tools you need to achieve 10-12 hour consolidated nights, solid naps, and conquer all the bumps along the way. It’s the perfect time for you to have a great little sleeper!