Many new parents wonder when their child will sleep through the night without waking up to eat. Unfortunately, there is no set answer for this; like many other milestones your child will reach, every baby reaches this one at different points in their life. One thing many people don’t know is that a baby sleeping for five to seven hour stretches is considered sleeping through the night.
Unfortunately, a baby’s sleep cycle is a lot different than ours. It is more difficult for them to stay asleep in between cycles. A baby’s stomach is a lot smaller than ours, so they need to wake up and eat more often than we do. Most babies also wake up in the middle of the night as a way to fight off SIDS. If it seems like your baby will never sleep through the night, don’t worry, they eventually will.
Factors to Consider
Many babies that were born healthy and full term can sleep through the night by around six months. If your baby is back to birth weight by the age of two weeks, many doctors will suggest that you allow your baby to sleep as long as they would like. If your baby is having issues with weight gain, many doctors will ask you to wake your baby every two hours to feed them. Also, some babies that were born with some health issues may be on a very specific feeding schedule.
Formula feeding and breastfeeding can also play a role on when your baby will reach this milestone. I am not saying that either one of these will make your baby’s stomach fuller at night. If you breastfeed your baby, many mothers notice that their child will wake more frequently at night. Part of this can be that they like the comfort to fall back asleep. One of the great things about breastfeeding is that you can feed your baby while they are still somewhat asleep; this is referred to as dream feeding.
Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night
Many people will give you advice on how to help your little one sleep through the night. Unfortunately, every baby is different, so what works for your neighbor’s baby, might not work for yours. There are many different things you can try, such as: baby products to help your baby sleep, self soothing , bed sharing and establishing a strong bedtime routine.
Products that help babies sleep well at night
There are so many different products you can try for your baby to sleep through the night. There are many different sound machines. You can choose from classic lullabies, white noise, calming melodies, and sounds of nature. One sound machine that I like is the Fisher-Price Soothe and Glow Giraffe. I might be biased towards this product because we buy my daughter almost everything that we see is a giraffe, but this product is amazing in my opinion.
The Soothe and Glow Giraffe has controls for power and volume; this will help to maintain battery life and make sure it isn’t too loud for your baby’s sensitive ears. It also emits a soft glow to calm and soothe your baby. It will also play music for up to fifteen minutes, from eight different lullabies. It can also easily be activated again with a small squeeze from your baby, which will help them develop motor skills and understanding of how things work.
Other products that can help your baby sleep through the night include swaddle blankets, mobiles, and special pillows. You can swaddle your baby in just about any blanket, but they also sell blankets that are meant to be used as swaddles. These special blankets have velcro enclosures to keep your baby nice and snug throughout the night. Babies typically love to be swaddled because it reminds them of when they were in the womb. It isn’t recommended to swaddle your baby after they can roll though because they won’t be able to move properly.
Many babies enjoy mobiles because of the soft melodies they play and the movement of them. There are many differnet mobiles that you can choose from. Some have animals that move around, others have characters from shows and movies, while some can even project images onto the ceiling for your baby to look at. Some companies even make special pillows that can help your baby stay comfortable throughout the night. It also isn’t recommended for babies to sleep with pillows or blankets until they are at least one.
While there are countless products out there that will claim to help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep longer, it isn’t a guarantee that it will work. Every baby is different, and every single baby has a different sleep pattern. If you give it enough time, you will learn how your baby likes to sleep and every other little quirk your baby has that can help you get them to sleep.
While I disagree with this method, a lot of parents believe in allowing their child to self soothe in order to sleep. There are different ways you can get your child to soothe their self to sleep. Some parents choose to allow their child to cry in order to self soothe. There are two different ways parents can achieve this, you can either allow them to cry until they fall asleep, or go in to help them soothe every so often. There is a method that suggests you go into your child’s room after five minutes to soothe them, then ten minutes later, and then fifteen minutes later, and so on. Once again, you should only try a method that you and your partner feel comfortable with.
While many people in the United States think bed sharing is strange and taboo, many other countries around the world still practice it. It is okay to bed share as long as you follow the Safe Sleep Seven and are comfortable with it. You and your partner need to agree on this decision, or it can cause some relationship issues in some cases. I have bed shared with my daughter since day one, and I don’t regret it at all. At first, it was an accident, we would fall asleep while my daughter was nursing. And then I realized just how much sleep all of us were actually getting.
As long as you are comfortable with it and you follow all of the safety guidelines, there is no reason why you should think bed sharing is strange at all. It is actually very common with mothers who nurse their babies. Babies can do what is called “dream feeding”, this is when they can latch onto their mother in their sleep and eat. I honestly think this is one of the coolest things I have ever learned a baby can do. This way, mom and baby get some much needed rest.
When you bed share, your sleep cycle and your baby’s sleep cycle will match up. This way, if their breathing becomes different at any point in the night, your body will respond to it and you will wake up by instinct. You two will also start to fall asleep and wake up at the same time together as well. Another great thing about bed sharing is how calming and reassuring it is to have your newborn baby right there. It really does save you a lot of energy, no one likes to get up twenty times a night to make sure their new baby is still breathing, although we all still do it. Best part about bed sharing is all the baby cuddles you can get!
Establishing a Strong Bedtime Routine
Many doctors will advise you to get your baby into a good routine. When most babies are born, they confuse their nights and days for a while; especially babies that were born at night time. There are many different ways that you can try to get your baby to understand the difference between night and day. A lot of parents will try to keep their baby on a specific nap and sleep routine, which can work for many babies. You can’t always expect immediate results either, developing strong routines takes time, dedication, and consistency.
One of best ways to get your baby to understand the difference between night and day is to choose the best acitivities for each time. During the day, you can use toys that light up and make noise, have them do “tummy time” for a while, or play music. During the night, you can do more calming activities, such as a nice warm bath, play soft lullabies, or other activities that aren’t over stimulating, or too loud. You can also try to limit noise and light exposure at night, although many parents prefer to make it noisy so that they don’t have to tiptoe around their home while the baby is asleep. My daughter would sleep through the apocalypse, but she wakes up for the smallest cough.
When choosing a bed time routine for your baby, it doesn’t have to be an elaborate one. Your baby won’t even really understand at first what is going on. The key to a good routine is to be consistent. Once you begin doing a bedtime routine with your baby, you will want to continue to do it every night. After a while, your baby will understand that these things lead to bedtime. Most parents will use bath time, reading a story, and things like rocking their baby for their bedtime routine. You can choose whatever you would like, just make sure you stick to it.
Average Sleep Patterns
Many doctors and studies will say that a baby should be sleeping in eleven hour stretches at night by the age of three months. Honestly, this is an unrealistic expectation. Every baby is so different that it is almost impossible for your baby to hit all of their milestones at the right time. Your child may hit some milestones early, and they might be a little behind in others, and that is okay. There are also sleep regressions that your baby might go through which can affect their sleep schedule greatly. Growth and developmental spurts can also affect the way your baby sleeps as well. I know that my daughter wakes up every two hours like clock work when she is in a growth spurt.
Many studies will also show that most children should remain sleeping eleven hours a night consistently while their nap patterns should change. They believe that as your child gets older, their naps should become smaller and less frequent. I believe that you know what is best for your child and you should make your own decisions. If you want to let your child sleep whenever they want and not have them on an actual routine, that is up to you.
My final conclusion on this matter is that there is no definite age when you should expect your baby to sleep through the night. There are many babies that can sleep through the night from birth, while there are children that are five and still get up a few times a night. I know that I am an adult and I still wake up in the middle of the night because of thirst or having to go to the bathroom. So why should your baby be any different?
The main thing to remember is that you are doing your best. You shouldn’t feel like a bad parent or wonder why your baby isn’t hitting milestones like your neighbor or friend’s baby. It happens to all of us. Just know that your baby will eventually hit all the milestones that they need to. Just hug and hold your baby because they won’t always be this small.