So, when do babies sleep through the night? When it comes to talking about babies, the subject of sleepless nights always comes up – and it’s really no joke. Whether it’s a 3am feed or a 5am nappy change, your baby will control how many hours of sleep you get a night. As it happens night after night, you’ll probably be asking yourself “when will this end?” and “will my baby ever sleep through the night?”.
This blog will go through the facts to help give you an idea of when your baby will finally sleep throughout the entire night. It’s important to remember that all babies are different when it comes to sleeping. Whilst some try and do as little of it through the night as possible, some parents have no trouble with getting their baby to sleep the entire night.
You’re not alone though, this is a common problem that the majority of parent’s face. Before your baby, a full night’s sleep would have been 8+ hours. But now, you’re grateful if you get 5 hours without a disturbance! However, no matter how long your baby keeps you up throughout the night, you love them just the same. They’re not doing it on purpose, it’s just part of their development phase that all babies go through.
Keep remembering that at some point, your baby will sleep through the whole night and this won’t last forever. We hope this blog will help make this time a little easier. Check out out how to get a baby to sleep blog too. The more help the better!
It’s not just about when your baby will sleep through the night, it comes down to when they will be able to sleep through the night. When your baby is born, there is still plenty of developing to take place. This also applies to sleeping patterns.
Whether it’s your first baby or you’ve done it all before, you’ll notice that new-borns sleep a lot! You may think – if they’re that tired, why don’t they sleep during the night? Doctors have often referred to the first few months of your baby’s life as the fourth trimester. This is a stage where your baby won’t have much of a sleeping pattern and they will be quite restless. This behaviour is very normal. It’s important not to focus all of your time on trying to get your baby into a normal sleeping pattern, as it’s unlikely to happen until they’re over 3 months old. Instead, get your baby used to the new world they’re in and create a strong bond with them.
You’ll notice when the fourth trimester has finished as your baby will probably settle easier and start sleeping for longer periods without the need for feeding or changing. Remember, this is still a process that does not happen quickly and you should not expect them to sleep straight through right away. It’s important to keep track of the different milestones that your baby reaches. This way, you can follow their progress and get a better idea of how your baby is doing. Milestones can include:
All babies are born with a moro reflex as it helps develop their nervous system. Whilst this is present in your baby, they’re more likely to wake up during the night. You’ll notice when this reflex is overcome as your baby will start to sleep for longer periods. Once the moro reflex has decreased or even stopped, you can mark this down as a fantastic goal your baby has reached.
Although it’s annoying to be woken up at 3am for your baby’s feed, it’s actually for a very important reason. Your baby needs to fed so often because of their development and growth. Night feedings are really important for your baby to help gain weight and stay healthy. When they have reached the normal pattern of weight gain, your paediatrician will help you on when is the best times to feed your baby in order to maintain their weight and keep them well.
The reason your baby needs to be fed so many times a day and night is because their stomachs are very small. They can only take in a certain amount of food at a time but need a lot of it throughout the day. This is why babies wake up to be fed during the night. Although you may have fed them a lot throughout the daytime, the quantities are very small and therefore need to be done multiple times. When your baby reaches a healthy weight, you’ll find that they need to be fed less during the night time. This is because your baby will be able to consume more at one time and therefore will feel fuller. However, this does not mean that your baby will stop waking up for feeds altogether. With a lot of parents, when their baby wakes up during the night, they use feeding as a way to soothe their baby and get them back to sleep. It’s important to try other things to get your baby to sleep so that they don’t wake up every night expecting to be fed.
Learning to self-soothe is a massive milestone for your baby. It’s really normal to wake in the middle of the night, even for adults who are fully developed. However, adults normally can just go straight back to sleep without any hassle. When your baby is young, they will cry when they wake up, this is because they haven’t worked out how to self-soothe yet.
As your baby starts to get older, it’s important to encourage them to start learning how to self-soothe. For example, if they wake during the night, they will be able to get themselves back to sleep without needing a parent there. You can help your baby do this by being less responsive. This doesn’t mean leaving your baby for the whole night to cry. But it means limiting the amount of times you get up to help your baby.
Although it feels horrible, it’s essential that you help your baby learn how to do things for themselves at a young age. If your baby starts crying in the middle of the night, don’t go straight away. Instead, leave them for as long as you feel comfortable to help them learn to self soothe. Eventually, your baby will understand that they don’t always need you to get back to sleep.
Don’t expect your baby to sleep 6 hour stretches straight away. Be realistic with your baby and help them to get into a normal sleeping pattern gradually. This is not to say your baby wont sleep for long stretches straight away, all babies are different. Some babies take longer to reach the milestones above whereas some get them very quickly. Being patient is key and your baby will get there at some point.
Research has shown that 70-80% of babies start sleeping through the night at 9 months old. However, everyone brings up their children differently and what you do may allow this to happen faster or take a little bit longer. No matter what happens, it’s completely normal and you should not feel worried if your baby still doesn’t sleep through at 9 months.
This process starts to happen when your baby starts to sleep less throughout the day. When you have a new-born, they will sleep lots throughout the day time and not so much during the night. However, as your baby develops, this should start to switch. Your baby will no longer need daytime naps as they have the energy to stay awake throughout the day.
We hope that the information we’ve given you so far has made you feel a bit more confident and hopeful about getting a full night’s sleep sometime soon! Being a new parent can be extremely daunting and you can sometimes feel like you’re doing it all wrong. We can assure you that whatever you’re doing will be a great job and there’s always help from others if you need it.
After your baby has established a good sleeping pattern through the night, it doesn’t mean they will never wake up during the night again. Waking up is completely normal but sometimes there can be factors that prevent your baby from sleeping through, even after they’ve got into a healthy sleeping pattern. This can worry parents as it could mean there is something minor wrong with your child. However, it’s important not to panic as problems can be resolved and you can seek professional advice if required.
If your baby is over 6 months old and still wakes up multiple times throughout the night, it may be best to contact your paediatrician for some advice. It could be anything from teething to gas. These are issues that you don’t need to worry about as they are completely normal for your baby. We’ve also listed some other reasons that could casue your baby to wake up:
These can come out of nowhere and can really confuse parents after they’ve gotten their little one into a sleeping pattern. It can make you feel like you’ve taken multiple steps back. However, we can assure you that this is completely normal for children to experience this and you can contact your paediatrician for advice on how to get through them.
Both of these factors can wake your baby up during the night. Growing can sometimes cause aches for your baby and may keep them up during the night. Whereas illness can make your baby feel restless and therefore, make it hard to sleep. As adults, we also know it’s hard to sleep whilst having a cold. Put yourself into your baby’s position to understand how they feel.
Going back to our point earlier, it’s really important to encourage your baby to self-soothe from a young age to avoid problems as they get older. However, just because your baby is waking up during the night, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong; it just means your baby might have a hard time doing it themselves. This is where to need to teach or reteach your baby to self soothe.
You might need to consider changing your baby’s schedule as this could be causing them to wake up during the night. For example, if you’re feeding your baby before putting them to bed, this might be causing the issue. Instead, try feeding them earlier and see how that effects their sleeping pattern.
Make sure your baby’s environment is comfortable for them to sleep in. Check things like the temperature of the room, how much light is getting into the room and any noises that could be disturbing your baby. If it would stop you from sleeping, it’s definitely going to stop your baby from getting to sleep!
Your baby's sleep routine can also be affected by what they're dressed in. Find out what to dress a baby in for sleep to make things a little easier.
Overall, helping your baby to reach milestones in their development is one of the most important steps in getting your baby to sleep through the night. However, monitor your baby to make sure they’re well and comfortable as these factors will play a huge part in your little one’s sleeping pattern. We hope that this bog has helped you gain insight into why your baby might be struggling to sleep. Remember, put yourself in your baby’s position and find any ways that could be preventing them from sleeping!