How To Find The Best 3 Month Old Schedule For Your Baby

Jo Kingsley
Feb 29, 2024 By Jo Kingsley
Originally Published on Mar 03, 2021
3-month-old babies learn about the world around them by putting anything and everything into their mouths!
Age: 0-99
Read time: 9.5 Min

Here at Kidadl, we know that figuring out a family routine in your baby's first few months can be tricky. There's so much advice out there, and it's something everyone seems to have an opinion on!

From their nighttime sleep to how often they should nap, from managing crying to how often they feed, there are so many variables when it comes to your baby. And that's because every baby is different. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to hours of sleep or nap time - there's only what's right for you and your baby.

And Kidadl are here to support you, whatever your family picture looks like. Whether you need advice on your [15-week-old baby] or on a [5-month-old sleep schedule], we have a range of resources and helpful articles to keep you informed and at ease.

If you're looking for a 3-month-old sleep schedule or a sample schedule for your little one for the whole day, this article is for you.

Why Are Schedules Important?

From the moment baby wakes, their day is packed full of stimulation, physical and emotional development, growth, and new things to discover. If you really take a moment to think about that, it's pretty overwhelming! So some routine predictability is really important in otherwise rather busy and exciting days. Just like adults, children need relief from stress, downtime, comfort, and good sleep at night, especially when every day brings something new.

And when babies are in the womb, they have no concept of night and day, everything is dark all of the time! As they reach their due date, they do start to settle into longer periods of waking and rest time, but those periods don't necessarily match up with ours. So when they're born, it means they do need some help telling the difference between morning and night and establishing a circadian rhythm, the internal body clock that we all have. That's where schedules can really come in handy.

But it's important to remember that when we say schedule, we don't mean it in the strictest sense of the word, as we would apply a schedule for our own day. At this age, babies aren't physically developed enough to adhere to a strict schedule. They will likely still be feeding on demand to a certain extent, and sleeping often, and we shouldn't try to alter that natural instinct.

When it comes to babies, when we say schedule, we're referring more to rituals or, if you like, finding a rhythm. We've come up with some ideas to help your baby find a daily rhythm, that will eventually transform into a comfortable family schedule. These are our top five tips for parents looking to establish a schedule for their baby.

Wake Up Time: In the mornings, make sure to open the curtains or blinds and let baby see the sunlight. They might still be tired, and might even go back to sleep after breakfast, but seeing the morning light when they wake helps them to understand the idea of morning.

Breakfast: Giving the first feed of the day at a similar time each day helps to set the pace for the whole day. Baby will associate the sunlight with a meal, and then be ready to take on the day!

Playtime: Having play ordered the same way every day, for example, tummy time after breakfast and songs and stories after lunch, can help to establish a routine and help baby anticipate the day.

Bathtime: Giving baby a bath at a similar time in the evening each day will help them to wind down and establish a great bedtime routine. You can even follow bathtime with a little massage on the bed afterward to add some extra calming time. Just like for adults, this helps to separate the day, with all of its play, activity, and excitement, from the evening when it's time to relax and sleep.  

Bedtime: Baby likely won't be sleeping 10 hours through the night yet, but aiming for a similar bedtime each night (a typical 3-month-old bedtime is anytime between 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.) will help them understand what happens in the evening, encourage them to sleep for longer stretches, and establish good habits.

Sleeping & Naps

Babies sleep anywhere between 14 and 17 hours per day at 3 months old.

Every baby is different. But at 3 months old, your baby will need anywhere between 14 and 17 hours of total sleep in a 24 hour period. Some babies will enjoy fewer but longer naps, whereas some may take four or five shorter power naps throughout the day. Some babies might sleep for longer stretches at night, whereas others may still wake every two hours for night feedings. Some even enjoy 10 hours of sleep, but to sleep through the night isn't necessarily the norm of nighttime sleep at 3 months old.

At three months, you've probably worked out what kind of sleeper your little one is, how many hours at night they sleep, and what kind of nap they like to take. Whichever combination they display, it's totally normal. As long as they're getting enough sleep per day, there's no need to worry or feel pressured into trying to change baby's sleep pattern.

What's most important is that you're establishing rhythms or a bedtime routine, so that the groundwork is set for a healthy sleep schedule and to help them sleep longer in the future.

For example, if your baby hasn't taken a nap in a couple of hours, change their diaper, turn off the light, and lay them in bed anyway. They might not fall asleep (some babies can be stubborn!) but you're persisting with a rough sleep schedule anyway. And if baby falls asleep, you can enjoy nap time too!

If you're away from home, on holiday, for example, try to keep as close to your usual timings as possible, even if that's encouraging baby to fall asleep for a nap in the buggy by pulling a hood over and rocking it back and forth, instead of physically putting them to bed. They will still recognize the rhythm of the sleep schedule and appreciate it. And so will you!

Feeding

At 3 months old, feeding may well have evened out and you might find that your baby is eating less frequently than at that demanding newborn stage. Instead of cluster feeding, they'll likely have a more regular feeding pattern, enjoying around six to eight feedings, spaced more evenly throughout the day. Babies can go for about four hours between feeds, but try to take your cue from them.

Their tummies are also bigger, so they can now take around five to six ounces per feed.

Continue to use your baby's diapers as an indicator of how much they're eating. Approximately six wet diapers a day, with around one bowel movement per day, is a good rule of thumb. Always contact your pediatrician if your baby suffers from constipation, a swollen belly, excess gassiness, excess vomiting, or frequent diarrhea.

Playing

Although your 3-month-old baby might not be able to sit up yet, that won't hamper their playtime! It's really important to include regular periods of playtime into your daily schedule to help boost baby's physical and mental development.

They will already be starting to reach out to grab things, so rattles, rings, sleigh bells, or ribbon wands are great toys to have around for little hands to grasp and shake. Around this time, you might also want to stop wearing dangly or hooped earrings!

3-month-old babies also learn about the world around them by putting anything and everything they can get their hands on into their mouths. So it's a good idea to have a selection of toys that are safely suckable or chewable, and keep everything else out of reach.

Tummy time is a great way to play and encourage your baby's strength at the same time. Interactive playmats or tummy time cushions, that often feature elements that make a sound, are shiny, or can be pulled, pushed or chewed, are a brilliant way to stimulate baby's senses and get them enjoying some more independent (but obviously supervised) play.

Your 3-month-old baby will also start to push up on their hands and roll over from tummy to back, although they don't quite have the muscle strength to get back onto their tummy again.

Ordering your play in a similar way each day will help baby get used to their daily schedule.

Emotional Development

Your 3-month-old will now start to associate the expression on your face with what you say.

Your 3-month-old baby is going through a lot of changes, and this is a period of real emotional development. Your little one will start to associate the expression on your face with what you say. You can help to encourage that development by exaggerating your facial expressions and making sure you talk directly to your baby so they can always see your face.

Your baby may also start to show an interest in other people's faces too, as they begin to explore features and situations outside of just Mummy or Daddy.  

Your 3-month-old will also start to demonstrate their own emotions, much more distinctly than the standardized crying of a newborn. They will start to smile and laugh at things they enjoy, like a game of peekaboo or their favorite cuddly toy, and even start trying to talk. This will only be babbling, little "coos" and "ahs", but it's their first sweet attempt at communicating with you.

If your baby has previously been fussy or prone to crying, this usually starts to settle from around three months as their emotional development starts to kick in.

Sample Schedules

We've put together a few different examples of a 3-month-old schedule, from when baby wakes right through to that last nap, to give you an idea of how your daily routine could look. But remember that every baby and family is different - use our sample 3-month-old schedule example ideas as a starting point to create a 3-month-old napping schedule and feeding schedule that works for you.

Example Sleeping Schedule For 3-Month-Old Babies

7.00 a.m. Wake up.

7.10 a.m. Feed.

7.40 a.m. Tummy time.

8.30 a.m. Nap.

9.00 a.m. Wake.

9.05 a.m. Feed.

9.30 a.m. Play.

11.00 a.m. Feed.

11.30 a.m. Nap.

1.00 p.m. Wake.

1.10 p.m. Feed.

1.30 p.m. Story.

2.00 p.m. Nap.

2.30 p.m. Wake.

2.40 p.m. Feed.

3.15 p.m. Play.

4.30 p.m. Feed.

4.50 p.m. Nap.

6.25 p.m. Wake.

6.30 p.m. Feed.

7.00 p.m. Last nap.

7.45 p.m. Bathtime and story.

9.00 p.m. Bedtime.

Second 3-Month-Old Schedule (Breastfeeding Baby Or Formula Fed)

6.00 a.m. Wake up.

6.05 a.m. Feed.

6.30 a.m. Cuddles and story.

7.15 a.m. Nap.

9.15 a.m. Wake.

9.55 a.m. Feed.

10.00 a.m. Play.

11.15 a.m. Feed.

11.45 a.m. Nap.

1.30 p.m. Wake.

1.40 p.m. Feed.

2.00 p.m. Tummy time.

3.00 p.m. Nap.

3.45 p.m. Wake.

3.50 p.m. Feed.

4.15 p.m. Play.

5.15 p.m. Feed.

5.40 p.m. Bathtime and story.

6.20 p.m. Feed.

6.50 p.m. Bedtime.

3-Month-Old Schedule With Wake Up At 8 A.M.

8.00 a.m. Wake up.

8.05 a.m. Feed.

8.40 a.m. Play.

9.50 a.m. Nap.

11.00 a.m. Wake.

11.10 a.m. Feed.

11.30 a.m. Tummy time.

12.45 a.m. Feed.

 

1.00 p.m. Nap.

2.15 p.m. Songs and stories.

3.30 p.m. Feed.

3.50 p.m. Nap.

4.30 p.m. Wake.

4.35 p.m. Feed.

4.50 p.m. Play.

6.00 p.m. Bathtime and story.

7.00 p.m. Feed.

7.45 p.m. Bedtime.

If you found this article all about 3-month-old sleep and feeding schedules helpful, then why not take a look at our sample [6-month-old schedules] or how to handle a 6 month sleep regression?

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Jo Kingsley

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Film and English

Jo Kingsley picture

Jo KingsleyBachelor of Arts specializing in Film and English

Jo is a versatile writer with a Bachelor's degree in Film and English from the University of Southhampton who is passionate about mental health and well-being, history, art, food and drink, and photography. As a work-from-home mom to two adventurous boys, she loves exploring local castles, museums, and galleries with them, and sharing her knowledge and interests through her blog.

Read full bio >