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Tricky 3-month olds!

Updated: May 25, 2023

Let's talk about that awkward phase of 3-month-olds.

They're not newborns, but not 'infants' either.

They're not as sleepy as they used to be, they are more alert and some shifts are happening in their schedules.

Here are some tips on how to help your 3-month-old transition from a squishy newborn, to in the coming weeks becoming a more alert and active infant (oh and the 4-month sleep changes...)

They are more alert and need more awake time!

Newborns typically need 45-70 minutes of awake and as they approach 3 months, it increases to 1-1.5 hours.

Their morning awake window may still only be an hour, but the time increases throughout the day and maybe short again before bedtime.

Check their bedtime time

Newborns tend to have a later bedtime, and as they get older, bedtime moves earlier.

How to help identify when bedtime should be for your 3-month-old, is to look at when they start their day.

If they're up for the day at 630 am, then bedtime is about 12 hours later, so 630 pm.

If they sleep until 8 am, then bedtime will be around 8 pm.

The trouble is, what I've found, is if your baby wakes at 630 am, and then is being put to bed by 9 pm, their night is getting cut short, and they are probably overtired.

By 6-9 weeks of age, we're hoping to see 4-6 hour stretches of nighttime sleep.

If your baby isn't doing 4-6 hour stretches at night consistently, then it's time to start addressing their schedule, how they get put to bed, and their nighttime sleep.

Start by moving the feed earlier in their bedtime routine

Here's an example:

Bath, fresh diaper, feed (keep them awake and actively feeding!), then put them in their pajamas, read some stories, then sleep sack and then to bed awake.

Work on independent sleep at bedtime to help improve the nighttime sleep

Next, pick a strategy: stay in the room or leave and check.

Usually for this age, parents stay in the room but it's up to you.

You're there to offer comfort and reassurance but not do the work for them.

If they need to be calmed down, then you can pick them up, but make sure they don't fall asleep in your arms, put them back in the crib awake.

Shushing, patting, voice and touch comfort are all great options.

If you choose to leave and check in, choose a time to set your timer for (3-10 minutes) and do check-ins in intervals.

Hold them to 4 hours between feeds at night to start.

If your baby is waking up every 2 hours, and you are feeding them every single time, this is your sign to make some changes:)

{But what do you do during the non-feed wake up??}

1) Same strategy as bedtime! ( stay in the room or leave and check)

2) Dr Harvey Karp's 5 S's (swaddling, side lying in arms, swinging, shushing, sucking) until they calm down or it's time for a feed.

So start with these tips and give it three nights (Commit to 3 nights! I believe in you!)

Then send me an email with an update, or share your success on Instagram and tag me @melodypattonsleepconsulting

Here for you,

Melody Patton

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