When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through the Night?
Nobody understands exhaustion more than new parents and it doesn’t take long for sleep to become the most important thing on their mind. One of the most common questions sleep consultants hear is, ‘when will my baby sleep through the night?’ It’s the broken sleep that parents struggle with the most, but with a bit of information and a whole lot of luck, a full night sleep might be closer than you think.
Does sleeping through the night mean the entire night?
Sleeping through the night usually means six – eight hours of sleep. Sounds good, right? Well, remember that a baby usually goes to sleep a lot earlier than you, which means if they go down at 7pm they’ll be up at 3am if they sleep a solid eight hours. And if you’ve only gone to bed at 10pm, that definitely won’t feel like enough sleep. Babies are also quite sporadic in their sleeping patterns. Actually, they might not have much of a pattern at all, and it’s not uncommon for them to sleep a lot one week and very little the next.
So, when will I get some sleep?
Babies under six months old usually sleep from three to eight hours at night, and usually take smaller bursts of sleep throughout the day. They sleep a lot, just not all in one long stretch. Babies between four and six months old are developmentally able to sleep through without being fed, but they might still want it for comfort.
After six months, if they’re waking up for food, they probably don’t really need it (although that doesn’t mean they won’t demand one – babies get very used to routine).
What can I do to help them sleep?
There are a few things you can put into practice early in order to encourage a full night’s sleep:
- Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can benefit children, as it provides them with a sense of structure and predictability. To ensure that they know what to expect, try to stick to the same schedule as much as possible, incorporating activities such as taking a bath, reading a story, snuggling, and feeding.
- If a nappy change is unavoidable, do it with the lights dimmed and make as little noise as possible. With a bit of luck, you might even be able to complete the task without waking them up entirely.
- Make sure they get enough calories in the day so they don’t get hungry at night. You can also offer a dream feed (in other words, feeding them just as you are going to go to sleep) which can very often help them get to the morning without the need to wake up and feed. Do this with dimmed lights and no noise.
- Is your baby comfortable? What they wear at night can have a huge impact on how they sleep. Consider a baby sleep bag for ease of mind.
At the end of the day, a well-rested parent means a happy parent. And it’s a lot easier to parent when you’re in a good mood! Sleep is crucial to a healthy and happy body and mind, for both the parent and the child, and definitely something to invest time in.
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