Help Your Baby Sleep Through The Night

Author Name: Heidi Holvoet, PhD

In this section you'll find the 3 steps you need to help your baby sleep through the night, without any crying. If your little boy or girl is not sleeping appropriately long stretches at night, there's a lot we can do to help improve that, dramatically, at any age.

Here's how:

  • Step 1. Get the basics right (details below): a solid sleep schedule, bedtime routine, pacifier use, etc.
  • Step 2. Relieve physical & emotional discomforts (details below): due to teething, acid reflux, gas, separation anxiety, etc. Learn common causes of frequent waking.
  • Step 3. Use effective no-tears sleep techniques: weaning from nursing to sleep, self-soothing, staying asleep, overcome waking every hour, etc. For doable all-in-one action plans and support with this, parents find my program Overcome Frequent Waking most helpful.

Baby sleeping through the night

Step 1. Get the sleeping through the night basics right

Good sleep is always based on the same solid basics and optimal sleep hygiene.

  • A good sleep schedule helps your little one settle easily, sleep well and for longer stretches.

    A well-adjusted schedule helps newborn babies discover the difference between day and night, then from 1-4 months old gradually start taking regular naps and longer nights toward then sleeping through the night consistently.

  • Depending on your baby's age, night feeds may still be necessary. A newborn baby should not be without feeding longer than 3-4 hours.

    From anywhere between 4-6 months and 1 year old, night feeds will no longer be strictly necessary.

    But your baby may continue to wake for feeding out of habit, a grown-into hunger feeling, or for comfort and reassurance.

    Know that with the right techniques - in my approach these techniques are truly no-tears - you can help your baby sleep through for longer stretches up to all night, wean from being helped to sleep (feed, rock, hold, swing, etc.) and learn to self-soothe to sleep, and avoid early wakings.

    Not everyone agrees on what "sleeping through the night" means: some moms are thrilled when their baby sleeps for 5 hours non-stop, others need 12 hours in a row before talking about "sleeping through".

    Find out what's reasonable to expect in "Isn't Your Baby Sleeping Through The Night Yet?".
  • A bedtime routine is crucial to help your baby wind down before bedtime and you'll also find your baby sleeping deeper and for longer stretches.
  • Trivial as it may seem, it's amazing how powerful a relaxed and positive attitude towards your baby's sleep is in helping your little boy or girl relax and sleep well too.
  • If you have a bassinet for your newborn or between 1 and 6 months old baby, review my tips for What do do if your baby won't sleep in their bassinet.

Step 2. Relieve physical and emotional discomforts

Once you have all the above basics in place, your baby may still not be sleeping through the night. They may simply be too young to be able to, or one of the common sleep disruptors may be bothering them.

You can often avoid poor sleep due to a common cold , teething , a dirty diaper , separation anxiety , dreams , nightmares , night terrors , and more.

Step 3. Use effective, gentle no-tears sleep techniques

Your baby needs a couple of sleeping skills to be able to sleep through the night, and we practice each of these inside Overcome Frequent Waking:

  • The major one is being able to self-soothe to sleep, i.e. settle when first going to sleep for a nap or at bedtime OR go back to sleep when (half-) waking up during a stretch of sleep.
  • Being able to connect sleep cycles is closely linked with that self-soothing skill.
  • Your baby will also need to be able to sleep in your chosen position and place (bassinet, crib, bed, cosleeping space, etc.), and
  • Develop sufficient confidence and independence to be OK to sleep for longer stretches without your assistance.
  • And finally, your baby also needs to learn to not be too sensitive to mild sleep disruptors (this can be a wet diaper, a bit of light in the early morning, mild teething, etc.) to sleep a full night

Article Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD - Founder, senior sleep consultant

Heidi Holvoet, PhD

Heidi Holvoet, PhD, is the founder of the Baby Sleep Advice website and movement, an award-winning author, baby & toddler sleep consultant with 15+ years experience as well as a certified lactation counselor.

Over the years, Heidi has received several awards inluding a Mom's Choice Award (MCA) and National Parenting Awards (NAPPA) for her Baby Sleep Advice website, programs and books. Also, Baby Sleep Advice was awarded "Most Trusted Infant's Sleep Solutions Company 2023" in the Benelux Enterprise Awards 2023.

Heidi continually conducts personal research and participates in continued education and in that way stays up to date with current scientific and pyschosocial infant care.

Association of Professional Sleep Consultants

She is also a member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants of which she was one of the earliest contributors. She obtained her PhD degree in physics at the University of Ghent in Belgium.

Heidi is passionate about helping babies and their parents sleep more and better, with her trademark approach that has been proven and praised time and again by parents worldwide to be effective and truly no-tears. Respect for you as a parent and your baby, is at the heart of Heidi's warm and kind support. Her approach always keeps in mind a baby's needs and abilities at any given age, is based on pediatric science and the most up to date knowledge in infant care and sleep science.

As well as the award-winning baby sleep programs, Heidi offers popular 1:1 consults and easy-access 30-minute SOS Sleep sessions.