Why Won't My 3-Month-Old Baby Sleep Through the Night?
While it might seem like your newborn wakes more often than not, by the time that she reaches 3 months of age, she should sleep for a total of 15 hours each day, according to the BabyCenter website. Before you start dreaming of a restful night of your own, keep in mind that those 15 hours are spread out over a 24-hour period. This means that your 3-month-old will still wake in the night. There are things you can do to encourage your infant to sleep more at night and less in the daytime, but no matter what you do, be sure to always put her to bed on her back until she is rolling over by herself.
As much as you need your sleep, you can't expect your 3-month-old to sit up on her own, crawl or pick up a crayon and draw anymore than you can realistically expect her to sleep through the entire night without waking. Relief, though, is coming soon. Infants typically start sleeping through the night somewhere between 4 and 6 months of age, according to BabyCenter. Although sleep for an eight hour stretch -- or possibly more -- is right around the corner, you will need to catch cat naps when you can to help you keep up with your little one.
Even though your 3-month-old isn't ready to sleep for the entire evening, if she's waking up more than you would like it's possible that she's getting too much daytime rest. Balance out your baby's days and nights by gently encouraging her to stay awake for longer periods during the day, suggests the article "Sleep and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old" at KidsHealth.org. Or you may want to try waking her to nurse just before you go to bed, such as about 11 p.m. Keep the lights low and your voice quiet, and hopefully she will return to sleep and sleep longer before hunger strikes. Most infants this age sleep 15 hours out of each 24-hour period, and they spend about 10 of those hours sleeping at night, according to KidsHealth.org.
At 3-months your baby isn't quite ready to forgo night-time feedings, notes BabyCenter. Although each infant has her own schedule for sleeping through the night, most babies will still wake for the breast or a bottle until somewhere between 4 and 6 months of age. If your 3-month-old is waking during the night to eat, her hungry behavior is completely normal for her young age. Instead of pushing her to sleep through the night, wait at least a month before gradually weaning her from her night-time meals.
Questions of Concern
Although there are plenty of normal reasons for your baby to wake at night -- such as hunger or a wet diaper -- there are also some signs for concern. The American Academy of Pediatrics -- on its HealthyChildren.org website -- cautions parents to seek expert advice if the young infant wakes during the night and isn't growing or gaining weight, won't feed at least 8 to 12 times per day, has less than three bowel movements a day or has less than four wet diapers per day. Any one of these concerns is reason to call your pediatrician immediately. And if you have other concerns that your 3-month-old's night-time waking isn't normal, don't hesitate to contact your pediatrician.