When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through The Night?

When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through The Night? is one of the most sought out answers from desperately tired parents. The answer depends on your baby’s age and stage of development. Has your baby learned how to self-soothe yet?

What Defines Sleeping Through the Night

Normal sleeping patterns for children and adults through the night range from achieving six to eight straight hours of uninterrupted sleep. For babies, they require at least ten to twelve hours of overnight sleep. This does not include the naps they need during the day. While your baby is somewhere from three to six months old, odds are you won’t have a good overnight sleep just yet. Up until they’ve surpassed the four-month mark, they can sleep anywhere from three to eight hours overnight. Again, this depends on their age and the stage of development they’re in. Normally, after four months old babies are able to sleep through the night without feeding but this again depends on whether or not they’ve learned how to self-soothe yet.

Just like adults, babies have a thing for comfort food. Whatever calms them down or pleases them most, it’s something they’ll crave, even if they’re not really that hungry. The age expectancy of your baby’s ability to sleep through the night not only depends on their age and weight. It also depends on whether or not you’re breastfeeding. Another factor is what kind of nighttime eating habits you and the rest of your family have.

The Stages

As newborns, babies are unable to sleep through the night as there is a need for them to be fed at two to three-hour intervals. Don’t expect your baby to sleep beyond four hours at first. It can take at least two months before the need to feed them so often begins to slow down. This math applies to breastfeeding moms, as well as those who prefer to stick to formulas. It won’t be until your baby is at least two months old before they can start sleeping up to six hours through the night. Even at three months old, most babies still require feeding at least once or twice during the night. This is especially the case if they’re nursing.

Usually, once they’re about four months old, babies can start sleeping up to eight hours overnight. Normally, once babies are at least eleven pounds, they’ve reached the stage where they don’t need nighttime feeding. However, old habits die hard so they may still ask for one regardless. It probably won’t be until your baby is at least five months old before they’re able to sleep through the night without demanding the need to feed. Again, this entirely depends on your baby’s personal development. Just because they should be able to sleep through the night doesn’t mean they’re willing to do so. The key to convincing your baby at this stage to stop expecting middle-of-the-night feeding is to gradually cut back those extra late-evening feeding times. When doing this, please exercise patience. Not only has your baby likely grown fond of overnight feedings to consume food, but they’ve also grown accustomed to the cuddling that goes with it.

Setting Routines

The easiest method to help transition babies to adopt the habit of sleeping clean through the night is by establishing a routine that will help your baby understand certain signals that it’s time for bed. One ideal method is to give your baby a relaxing bath in warm water. While bathing your baby, tell them a story as the warmth of the water soothes their little body. Be sure to give lots of little cuddles while doing this. Also, soothing little lullabies are sweet music to your baby’s ears that will help them relax.

Another trick to help your baby sleep through the night is to avoid changing their diapers in the middle of the night. This should only be done when it’s clear they’ve become a mess. No matter how gentle you may be when changing your baby, there’s a good bet you’ll wake them up. Should there be a need to change that diaper overnight, keep the lights dimmed and keep your talking to an absolute minimum. As soon as your baby is at least six months old, they should either have their own room by now. If this isn’t possible, at least make the effort to distance your baby’s bassinet or crib as far from your bedside as possible. This distance should help minimize overnight wake-ups for both of you.

What also works well to help your baby transition to obtain a solid night’s sleep is to make sure they’re well-fed throughout the day. While breastfeeding, they need to eat anywhere from two to three hours throughout the course of the day. This means they average anywhere from eight to twelve feedings over a twenty-four-hour period, at least until they’ve reached the stage where they can eat solids. Normally, this would be at the six-month mark. Once this happens, the feeding requirements will taper down to about five or six throughout the day.

This will continue to dwindle as they get older. What you also need to do at this point is avoid the urge to rush to your baby’s side the moment they start to whimper or cry. They need to learn how to self-soothe themselves to go back to sleep. Should things get really serious and they need some help to calm down, try a melodic lullaby or a gentle pat instead of catering to the baby’s desire to be fed. This will help them get the message sooner and they will become less inclined to protest.

On average, formula-fed babies should receive about four ounces of nourishment every four hours by the time they’re a month old. This, however, depends on the baby’s stage of development. By the time they’re about four to six months old, the food amount should increase to about six to eight ounces per feeding time. For them, once solid foods become a part of their diet, they’ll need about four to five formula feedings per day. You may need to add an extra ounce or two of formula if your baby hasn’t been consuming enough solids during the day. According to medical science, babies require anywhere from twenty-four to thirty-six ounces of solid food per day once they’ve reached this stage in their development.

Additional Tricks

Another trick to wean your baby away from nighttime feedings is to provide what’s called a “dream feed.” Ideally, you want to wake the baby enough so they’re not still completely asleep. You also don’t want to feed them while they’re still lying down. Even when they’re still rather drowsy, a couple of sips may be just enough to score an extra hour or two of sleep. However, this trick doesn’t work for everyone. If you find this isn’t working, discontinue this attempt. Just make sure just before bed your baby has consumed enough food that will help induce a longer sleep stretch overnight.

As you monitor your baby’s development, make sure you’re not rushing them into something they may not be ready for. It’s recommended babies should wait until about six months old before they’re introduced to solids. Doing so prematurely has the potential to do your baby more harm than good. It won’t help them sleep at night and it will hinder their development as their bellies may not be able to properly digest solid foods just yet. When foods are too thick for their lungs to absorb, this could pose a lethal choking hazard. At the very least, may cause a gagging reflex that won’t do your baby any favors, either.

Before attempting any kind of trick to help your baby learn how to sleep through the night, check with your pediatrician first. Their profession puts them in a position to help you understand your baby’s overall development and needs. This includes deciding when the time is right to wean them off the middle of the night feeds. This will also include learning to cut back the amount of time you spend feeding your baby at night. When you cut back a few minutes at a time, your baby will eventually give up the demand for an overnight feed.

Overcoming Sleeping Issues

Bear in mind as your baby is growing, there are certain stages of development they’re going through that could cause some sleeping issues. Teething will likely be one of them. These are phases your baby will go through that may cause them to wake up in the middle of the night. When it comes to issues such as these, you’ll need to exercise some patience. When it comes to the teething process, it’s possible that the first tooth growing in may be a bit too painful for your baby to sleep at night. This may also be the case for the rest of their teeth.

While teething, their crankiness may last up to three months before their teeth begin to appear in their mouth. Keeping this in mind, plus the importance of an ideal sleeping environment for your baby is imperative. If the room temperature is causing your baby discomfort, this won’t help them sleep. Ideally, the baby’s room should be comfortable enough for them. Not only should the room sit between sixty-eight to seventy-two degrees but kept quiet and dark.

You’ll also need to resist rocking and feeding your baby until they fall asleep. Ideally, put them to bed once they show signs of drowsiness. Don’t wait until they’ve fallen asleep if you can help it. This will help your baby learn to fall asleep on their own. Most importantly, be consistent with this routine. This helps them learn how to self-soothe themselves, especially once they’ve reached the six-month-old stage. Again, this also depends on their personal development. However, once they’re old enough to undergo a consistent routine when it comes to nighttime sleeping patterns, the better off they’ll be.

Additional sleep issues that are likely to be triggered include the growth spurts your baby will experience. Along with those, they’ll also learn new abilities. They may be a bit too restless as they master how to crawl, roll around, and sit up. This, plus occasional sleep regressions, are all part of normal, albeit temporary, phases. Sleep regression exists among older children and adults too, so there is no cause for alarm when this happens. The key is to find a workable sleep pattern that works for everyone and stick with it.

Up until your baby reaches at least six months old, this will be a time they’ll be spending about twice as much time asleep than awake during a twenty-four-hour period. Use this to your advantage by trying to score a decent daytime nap if you can. This will help reduce your own sleeping issues until your baby’s age and development making it easier to be able for everyone in the house to sleep overnight. Among households that have more than one parent, split the responsibility if you can. Again, it’s all about establishing and sticking to routines. This definitely helps introduce your baby to start sleeping through the night with the least amount of issues possible.

Resources:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/baby-sleep/when-do-babies-sleep-through-night

https://www.healthline.com/health/when-do-babies-sleep-through-the-night

https://www.parents.com/baby/sleep/schedule/when-do-babies-sleep-through-the-night/

https://www.babycenter.ca/a25052102/when-do-babies-start-sleeping-through-the-night

When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through The Night? ( How You Can Help) article published on BabyCareGuru.com© 2023

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