Baby’s sleep at 6 months

Baby’s sleep at 6 months old is as important for his health and development as it has been since he was born. This is because it gives him the energy to get through these days that are full of growing and developing and trying new things. It’s also important because how he learns to sleep now could affect his sleep patterns as he grows up.

He needs somewhere between 12 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period, and most of those hours (10 to 12 of them) should be happening at night, as Baby is at the age when his circadian rhythms are establishing themselves. The rest of those hours come in the form of two to three naps spread throughout the day.

If that ideal isn’t happening for you and Baby naturally, there are a few ways to start to nudge his sleep patterns in that direction. First, Baby should start to figure out how to put themselves to sleep, and if he is falling asleep while being held, say, he may not be able to fall back asleep on his own. One common way of keeping babies from relying on their parents to be able to fall asleep is for parents to make sure to put their babies down to bed when they’re sleepy but still awake, so that they’re more used to falling asleep without the comfort of their parents’ arms.

Another way to encourage sleeping through the night is to keep the room quiet and dark during night time feedings or diaper changes. If Baby wakes up in the middle of the night but isn’t hungry and doesn’t need a diaper change, soothing him back to sleep in his crib quietly in the dark will reinforce the idea of the difference between night and day. At the same time, letting him nap somewhere that he can see the sun, instead of in the dark will help to reinforce his circadian rhythms, and can help with night-time sleep.

If Baby is getting too much sleep during the day, shifting his afternoon nap gradually earlier in the day may help. Cutting down on naps may feel like a good way to encourage a full night’s sleep, but may actually have the opposite effect–an over-tired Baby could actually have more trouble falling asleep.

This is an active time for Baby, and separation anxiety, teething, or even just a little cold can be enough to throw his sleep schedule off-kilter, but he is working his way through to a regular sleep schedule. The time you put in establishing that will only help you in the future.

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