Understand Your Baby's Sleep Needs at 4-6 Months
When a baby is born they have an uncontrollable internal clock. They can’t differentiate between day and night.
A healthy sleep pattern can be established in the first few months of life with your help. At four months of age, babies sleep an average of 14 hours per day.
A four-month-old baby can sleep eight hours in a row without waking up to eat. At five months they can sleep between ten and eleven hours.
When they are six months old, they will need an average of 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep per day. Six-month-olds need three to five hours of naps spread among two or three naps per day.
Every baby is different. If your child sleeps more or less than the averages listed above, don’t worry.
Each individual may need more or less sleep depending on how tired or energetic they are. If your four-month-old baby sleeps eight hours a night without waking for food, this doesn’t mean that every baby is that way.
Each baby is unique and you should respect your child’s biological clock.
Is it time for their own room?
When babies reach four to six months of age, some parents prefer to move them to their own room. This allows them to have a private space to sleep and they can create good sleep habits.
This is of course relative because some parents prefer to wait longer. It is a very personal decision and you should weigh your options.
Factors like household space, the parents’ personal needs, and the baby’s needs can play into when your child should get their own room.
Sometimes parents decide to move their child to their own room due to exhaustion. One parent can sleep with the baby longer if necessary.
However, sometimes exhaustion can make it very difficult to get up in the morning. Prolonged exhaustion can also be a risk factor for depression.
Create consistent routines
So that the baby’s internal clock is normalized, it is important to follow a set routine every day. Babies need to feel confident and know what to expect. This allows them to know when it is time to sleep.
That’s why it’s important to have a set sleeping schedule for your baby. Routines should be established during infancy.
Once their internal clock begins to normalize, you will notice how your baby begins to know when it is almost bedtime. They will even be able to ask you for bedtime with certain signals (rubbing their eyes, yawning).
Take naps into account
During nap time babies can’t sleep in total darkness. That confuses their internal clock. It’s also not necessary that the house be totally silent when the baby sleeps.
That way, they will realize it is daytime, and that bedtime (long amounts of uninterrupted sleep) has not arrived yet.
It is important to respect your baby’s nap time because they will sleep as much or little as they need. Never wake them up to nurse.
Let them sleep as long as they need. They will take naps when needed in the first few months of life. They will also learn to regulate when they are hungry and when they are done eating.
Recognize signs of sleepiness
For babies between four and six months, it is important to recognize the signs that they are ready to sleep. This will allow you to create healthy sleep habits and your baby will be happier.
Here are some signs your child may use to indicate sleepiness:
- They have a lost look or are staring at a certain point
- Rubbing their eyes
- Losing interest in interacting with people or toys
- Being irritable
All of these signs indicate that your child is sleepy and wants to rest as soon as possible. It is important to keep these signs in mind throughout the day.
Once you understand their signs of sleepiness, you can help regulate their sleep with routines.
You’ll also be able to understand when they are tired and want to sleep; and when they are awake.
Thus, you’ll be able to predict when they are ready for bed.