Awake Times In a 6 Month Old

By Jenn Leckie

December 10, 2018

I am a Registered Nurse with over 10 years in maternal health and labour & delivery, Lactation Counselor, and Sleep Coach working with families in Langley, Surrey, and Abbotsford. I am a Mama to an amazing little boy and one fur baby.

Congratulations!  You made it to 6 months old and things are really starting to get fun.  At this stage babies are starting to stay awake a little longer and you are now able to get out of the house easier, go on baby play dates easier and even do some more things for yourself.  

Top 3 things you need to know about your 6 month old’s sleep

 

 1. The average 6 month old can stay awake for 2-3 hours.

This new awake time will start when you take baby out of their crib.  More important than awake time is watching your child for sleep cues. These might look like red around the eyes, rubbing eyes or eyelids drooping, fussiness, quieter or calmer and yawning. An under tired child will not have enough sleep pressure built and that will bring a lot of crying. Same with overtired- there is so much sleep pressure that their little bodies compensate and stay in lighter REM like sleep- which makes falling asleep and staying asleep a big struggle. You know you have the perfect awake time when it takes 5-10 minutes for your babe to fall asleep in the crib. Because of the new awake times your 6 month old will probably adapted to a 3 nap routine naturally. She is likely to do really well on two longer naps and then a third cat nap in the evening. With this new schedule your little one will be building up sleep pressure for a good bedtime sleep.

  2. Your 6 month old will need less night feeding.

During your babes longer awake time you will want to increase their food intake during the day so they can feed less in the night.  Using the M-A-M-A method works best during this new longer awake window. Give babe milk upon awake up and then an activity like the play mat, pots and pans, water and new textures and tummy time.  The second M in M-A-M-A will become food! This extra food will fill their tank so they have a full belly and happier and ready for a better sleep. Solids will be new to your little one so have some fun with it.  Make big smiles at them and be silly. They will start to eat more and more when it becomes part of their routine. The best solids to start with are cereal and purred veggies like yam. Most babies take to the solids better if they are mixed with expressed breast milk or the same formula they are currently drinking.  It will also encourage babe to meeting caloric demands during daytime versus overnight!

  3. Bedtime for your 6 month old is at 7pm.

Bedtime routine is the golden ticket!  Make sure that it is consistent and around 30 minutes long.  It might look something similar to bath, massage/pajamas, story, and down in the crib.  When your babe is dropping down to 3 naps a day this bedtime might have to move earlier and then can be adjusted back to 7 when they have adjusted better to this new awake times.  Your 6 month old needs 11-12 hours of sleep a night so if your babe is going to bed too late, waking up too early, or waking up multiple times per night will cut into their restorative sleep and it will lead to an overtired and cranky babe.  

If you have any questions, I am here to help!  Contact me here and I will get back to you to set up a free 15 minute consultation.  If you know any mamas who need this information please share this article with them.   Let’s get the whole family sleep better!

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