A series of guides, sleep schedules, and average sleep needs that outline realistic sleep expectations for each age.
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Realistic Sleep Expectations
At 6 months, you should notice your child’s sleep consolidating slightly during the day. This will happen as the sleep centers in their brain develop and mature into a more predictable pattern. At this age, for the first time since birth, you can start to expect some consistency from day to day, as well as from one child to another.
The morning nap is typically where you’ll see your baby naturally start connecting sleep cycles, giving you a longer nap. Throughout the day, you can expect one longer nap (1hr+) and two shorter naps (30-45 minutes). These shorter naps are very normal and should not cause any concern. As long as daytime sleep totals add up to somewhere between 2.5-3.5 hrs, your child is likely achieving the sleep they need to keep their sleep tank filled, prevent them from becoming overtired, and help maintain restorative sleep overnight. It will still be a couple of months until your child consolidates their afternoon sleep to get two longer naps during the day (and transition to 2 naps), so hang tight!Reach out to Steph
Example sleep schedule for a 6 month old
Don’t forget, there could still be some variability from one day to the next at this age, so use this schedule as a starting point and follow your baby’s lead to tweak as appropriate.
Introduction of solids at this age should be very slow and for taste / texture mainly. Introducing solids too quickly, at amounts that your baby’s digestive system is not yet capable of handling, can negatively influence sleep by causing tummy troubles, constipation and even pain. Make sure to consult with your pediatrician, a registered dietitian or a pediatric nutritionist if you have any concerns about your child’s solid intake.
Gross Motor Skills
If your baby isn’t already rolling with ease, it won’t be long until they can. At this age, your little one is also likely starting to support themselves in a seated position, and might even be propping themselves up on all fours. It’s time to start thinking about lowering your crib mattress, especially as a lot of gross motor practice happens overnight!
The ability to move into a comfortable position while sleeping is a HUGE step towards self-regulation...but don’t be fooled, your baby’s only just begun that journey. Continue to place your babies on their backs for sleep, but don’t be surprised if your little one suddenly starts preferring to sleep on their tummy.
Introduction of solids at this age should be slow and primarily for taste/texture. Your baby’s digestive system is not yet developed and therefore introducing solids too quickly may cause tummy trouble or constipation which can negatively influence sleep.
With an increase in daytime physical activity— combined with a growth spurt around 6 months—means an often sudden increase in caloric needs. Although by now many parents are ready to start sleeping full nights again, weaning overnight feeds at this age may not be in line with your baby’s biological needs.
Support options for parents of 6 month olds
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The Sleep Parenting program is amazing in that it offers unparalleled support through teething, sickness, developmental leaps, travel, daylight savings, etc. The time allotted takes into account that your baby is going to change and what you're really developing are the skills to be able to respond and support your child through those challenges which lead to longer naps, better overnights and thankfully a rested and happy mama. I am so thankful.