Navigating the first few months with a newborn can feel like a whirlwind. One of the most common challenges parents face is getting their baby to sleep through the night. If you’re wondering how to achieve this elusive milestone with your 3-month-old, you’re in the right place. While every baby is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, here are some tried-and-true tips that can help guide you and your little one towards better sleep.

Does My Baby Still Need Milk Overnight?

Always check with your baby’s pediatrician, but typically by the age of 3 to 4 months old, babies no longer require overnight feedings. Just because a baby wakes up and feeds does not mean that he is hungry. Babies, just like adults, can get into the habit of snacking during the night. Note that 6-8 hours is considered sleeping through the night for an infant.

7 Tips to Help your Baby Sleep Through the Night

1. Establish a Bedtime Routine

Creating a consistent bedtime routine is one of the most effective ways to signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Aim to start your routine at the same time every night, most babies will be ready for bed between 6:30 and 7:30pm. You can dim the lights while getting your baby in his pajamas and then read one book or sing a song. At a young age it can be helpful to read or sing the same book/song so your infant picks up on the trend near bedtime.

2. Create a Calming Sleep Environment and Ensure Baby’s Sleep Space is Conducive to Rest

A calm environment that encourages healthy sleeping habits helps baby sleep through the night successfully.

  • Darkness: Use blackout curtains to keep the room dark, helping your baby differentiate between day and night.
  • White Noise: Invest in a white noise machine to drown out background noises and mimic the sounds they were used to in the womb.
  • Comfortable Temperature: Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, around 68-72°F (20-22°C), to prevent your baby from being too hot or too cold.
  • Swaddling: If your baby finds comfort in being swaddled, this can help them feel secure and sleep better.  The “Halo” Sleep Swaddle is a popular choice.

3. Encourage Day/Night Differentiation

Help your baby understand the difference between day and night from an early age. During the day keep the house bright and engage in interactive play. Maintain normal noise levels, so your baby understands that daytime is for being awake and active. At night, make the environment quieter and darker. Use a soft voice and minimize interaction during nighttime feedings and diaper changes.

4. Manage Naps Wisely

Monitor your baby’s nap schedule to ensure they are getting enough daytime sleep. Aim for your 3-month-old to have roughly 4 to 5 naps per day, with each lasting between 1-2 hours. Avoid letting your baby nap too close to bedtime as this can make it harder for them to fall asleep at night.  Wake windows will be approximately 1.5 hours.

5. Feed Strategically

At 3 months old, some babies may still need to feed once during the night, but stretching out this interval will help them sleep for longer periods.

  • Cluster Feeding: In the evening, consider cluster feeding—offering your baby additional feeds closer together. This can help them feel fuller and more satisfied so they can sleep through the night.
  • Dream Feed:  A dream feed if your baby is under 4 weeks may be helpful but be careful with this because it can quickly backfire and cause the baby to begin waking unnecessarily.

6. Practice Safe Sleep Habits

Ensure all sleep practices are safe to create a secure environment for your baby.

  • Back to Sleep: Always put your baby to sleep on his back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Clear Crib: Keep the crib free of toys, pillows, and loose bedding that may pose a suffocation hazard.
  • Room Sharing: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents share a room with their baby, but not the same bed, for at least the first 6 months. This arrangement can help reduce the risk of SIDS and makes nighttime feedings more convenient.

7. Watch for Sleep Cues

Being attuned to your baby’s sleep cues can make a significant difference. Getting your baby to sleep through the night requires attentive parents. Look for signs of tiredness such as:

  • Yawning
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Becoming fussy or cranky
  • Decreased activity levels

Once you notice these signs, act swiftly to start the bedtime routine before they become overtired. An overtired baby can actually have more trouble falling and staying asleep.

Give It Time

Patience is key. Some babies naturally start sleeping through the night around 3 months, while others take longer. It’s important not to stress too much about hitting this milestone by a specific age. Instead, focus on creating a supportive and consistent sleep environment while understanding that developmental progress varies widely among infants.

Seek Support and Advice

If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to seek advice or support from the following resources.

  • Pediatricians: They can offer personalized advice tailored to your baby’s health and development.
  • Parenting Groups: Both online and offline communities can be a great source of support, providing tips and sharing experiences.
  • Sleep Consultants: A professional sleep consultant can offer customized guidance and strategies specific to your baby’s needs.

Sleeping Through the Night is Unique to Every Baby

Helping your 3-month-old baby sleep through the night is a gradual process that requires consistency, patience, and a bit of trial and error. By establishing a bedtime routine, creating a conducive sleep environment, and paying attention to your baby’s needs, you can pave the way for better sleep for both your baby and yourself. Remember, every baby is unique, so be flexible and adjust strategies to fit your child’s individual temperament and developmental stage. Sleep well, and sweet dreams to both you and your little one! Reach out to our certified sleep coaches and overnight newborn care experts if you need additional support.

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About The Author

Carole K. Arsenault is the founder and CEO of Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny. She has years of experience working with newborns as a lactation consultant, sleep coach, and of course an RN specializing in Obstetrics and Maternal Health. In addition, she is the award winning author of Newborn 101. She has three grown children and loves to share mindfulness tips to friends and parents.