When Should My Baby Be Sleeping Through The Night?
If you are reading this article my guess would be that your baby is not sleeping through the night and you are holding out hope for when that time will come.
The reality is that there are no “shoulds” when it comes to baby sleep. How soon a baby sleeps through the night is up to you and how you choose to guide your baby to sleep (as well as their own personal temperament and needs).
Personally, I like to give a baby 3-4 months to be developmentally ready to learn to sleep through the night. Before this age, her need for milk will determine her sleeping and waking.
Some parents really do need their baby to sleep through before 4 months, and I can help with that, but the approach will be somewhat different than for the majority of new bubs (and parents).
Why do you want baby to sleep through the night?
Before you can help your baby sleep through the night, you’ll need to work out why it is you want her to sleep through and what you are prepared to try to get there. You’ll also need to have a think about whether your expectations are realistic. Sleeping through the night is defined as 6 hours straight sleep for a young baby, so expecting your 3 month old to sleep from 7pm to 7am every night may not realistic for all babies. Particularly breast fed babies.
If your goal is to have a longer stretch of sleep yourself, so you’re more rested and able to care for your family then the important thing is to make sure that those 6 or so hours are at a time that really counts!
If you want to co-sleep and feed on demand (which is totally fine!), you’ll need to adjust your expectations of when your baby is likely to sleep through. Most babies will need a consistent routine with a solid feeding and sleeping schedule to help them sleep through the night.
The importance of a baby sleep routine
Routine and consistency is absolutely essential for babies and toddlers. It is even more essential when you’re trying to help your baby sleep through the night.
It might seem like a good idea to have your baby sleep less during the day in the hope they will be exhausted and sleep longer at night, but the reality is that baby sleep doesn’t work like that. Sleep breeds sleep in babies. The more consistently they sleep during the day, the better they will sleep at night.
An overtired baby who has catnapped all day will not sleep well at night. Their bodies haven’t learnt to get into a deep sleep and resettle during the lighter phases of their sleep cycles so they will wake frequently during the night.
The same is true for a baby that hasn’t received all the food or milk they need during the day. A consistent routine for feeding is essential in ensuring your child has a full belly and is ready for a good nights sleep.
You can check out my Sleep Like An Angel eBooks for age specific guides and routines.
So… when do babies sleep through the night?
The reality is that babies sleep through the night at all different ages. Some babies will naturally begin sleeping through from a very young age, some even as young as a few weeks old! For most babies though, sleeping through the night won’t happen naturally until into the second year without some gentle guidance from mum and dad.
If you want your baby to sleep through the night as soon as possible, get them onto a consistent and achievable routine and make sure they get enough sleep and food during the day.
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