baby sleeping through the night yet?"
Sadly many visitors will comment on your cutie not sleeping
can tell them how cute she smiles. Society expects so much from new parents and their new baby, particularly when
comes to sleep in those first months. Don't let yourself be discouraged, they should know better than to focus on sleep only and to expect so much! Yours will sleep through some day too, when she's truly ready to sleep those longer stretches.
Let's have a look at what
sleeping through really means and what to expect at different ages.
Family and friends' questions are usually well-meant
of course: with baby sleeping through the night, you as a parent sleep
better too. Otherwise, you may be going through
some rough times.
do not feel
expect your little one to sleep
through, or if your friend's 3 week old baby sleeps for 8 hours in a
row (there's even a good chance that isn't even true!).
through the night is a very subtle baby milestone
is not a fixed age, you cannot force it and it may come and go in
What does "sleeping through the night" mean?
First of all, let's
. It is very much a subjective
matter: some parents are thrilled to report their baby sleeps through
doing 4 hours in a row, others won't be happy until baby sleeps a full
10 hours non-stop.
Also, from researched
, we know that babies and toddlers sleep in
very short cycles
This means they basically wake up every 1-1,5 hour.
Sleeping through means that they doze off again straight away without waking up completely, or waking
you up. Because of this,
to self soothe
is such an important sleeping skill. So that gives
us the following:
Sleeping Through Definition
several hours during the
baby is not waking up completely
and doesn't need her parents' assitance to sleep on
What is sleeping through at different ages?
Sleeping through at different ages depends on:
well is baby's sleep developed?
: how long can baby be without
reasonable to expect
from a baby at different ages:
a newborn baby alternates sleep and wake times continuously, day and
night. (Instill day/night difference in her
baby sleep schedule
needs to feed on average every 2-4 hours. So
is about the
maximum you can expect. Count your blessings if you have your newborn
sleeping through more, but do make sure she feeds enough, it is not
healthy for a newborn to be without milk for too long.
- 6 months
: Baby gradually learns the difference between
day and night (thanks to a well suited
). Night time sleep becomes longer than daytime
sleep. Baby still needs to feed 1-3 times during the night. Many babies
will start making longer stretches regularly towards 6 months, about
months - 1 year
: In this second half year most babies
gradually loose the need to feed at night. That is, they can go to
without food. However, many babies continue to wake out of hunger
during growth spurts, a need for reassurance, or out of habit.
: This is when we expect a baby or a toddler to
sleep through the night. Uninterrupted sleep will gradually go from 8
to 12 hours. However, it is still very common and normal to have your
child wake up at night once or twice for various reasons.
At every age
applying the right basics and using techniques that are adapted to your
child in a loving yet consistent approach will give you and your baby
the best sleep. See
Sleeping Through the Night
for my basic guide, and in particular my latest, specific for frequent wakings:
Overcome Frequent Waking
A couple of personal thoughts about sleeping through
I regularly meet parents who feel shame about their
baby's sleep: if you have to tell someone that your baby sleeps very
poorly at night, it may
feel like you've failed ...
Listen to me: YOU HAVE NOT FAILED!
Please don't let anyone who makes you feel bad or guilty or ashamed about your little loved one's sleep get to you. They're wrong.
you can help your baby sleep well with the best possible sleep
environment or guide her
. But no, that doesn't happen instantly nor easily for most. A baby is not a machine that you can switch off, but a tiny human being with needs and maturing abilities. With our loving care, she will learn the sleep skills she needs, when she's ready - phyiscally and mentally - and will come to sleep through
countless moms who have realized this, have reported that, the instant
they relaxed about
sleep and sleeping through, their baby suddenly slept much better!
Heidi Holvoet, PhD, is the founder of the Baby Sleep Advice website and movement, an award-winning author, baby & toddler sleep consultant with 14+ 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.
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.