When Do Babies Sleep Through The Night?
New parents often wonder when babies sleep through the night. Find out when babies should sleep all night, what to expect, and tips for how to get your baby to sleep through the night.
Getting to the stage when newborns start to sleep through the night is something many parents hope to reach quickly. There are times when infants sleep through the night sooner than others.
Surprisingly, age is not the only factor that impacts when babies sleep through the night. The weight of your baby also has an impact on how soon a baby will sleep all night. According to Stanford Children’s Health, “Most babies don't start sleeping through the night (6 to 8 hours) without waking until they are about 3 months old, or until they weigh 12 to 13 pounds. About two-thirds of babies are able to sleep through the night on a regular basis by age 6 months”.
Most newborns sleep roughly 9 hours during the day and 8 hours at night, but only 1 to 2 hours at a single time. After 6 months of sleep challenges for parents, it’s easy to see why we look forward to when baby will sleep through the night.
What is Sleeping Through The Night?
Sleep experts consider sleeping through the night to be 6 to 8 hours of sleep without interruption. This doesn’t mean a full 6 to 8 hours of sleep without waking. Babies may still wake during this time but are able to return to sleep on their own. This is why so many parents want to get to this stage of a newborn’s sleep patterns. If baby is sleeping all night then so are you, and more quality sleep is better for you both.
Reasons Why Babies Won’t Sleep Through The Night
There are multiple reasons why a baby may not be sleeping through the night yet. Every baby’s sleep cycle is somewhat unique, and we all develop at different paces. You shouldn’t be immediately concerned if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night right away. It takes time for babies to learn how to fall asleep and how to stay asleep. As for what could prevent a baby from sleeping all night, it could be any one of these reasons.
Baby’s Hungry: Babies get attached to their routines. They especially get attached to their feeding routine which usually includes some midnight snacks. When progressing closer to the sleeping all-night stage, infants may cry out for feeding out of habit. During this time, parents should keep feedings as short as possible to help encourage longer sleep periods.
Baby’s Anxious: Separation anxiety is common among babies. As newborns, we need protection and it’s natural to feel fear when your parents aren’t nearby. If your baby has a habit of crying out when left alone for bed it can be a sign of their anxiety. Parental experts recommend leaving your baby in the crib. Instead of taking them out, gently touch them on the back and speak in a soothing tone. This will reassure baby that you’re close and they’re safe, allowing them to gain more confidence in sleeping.
Baby’s Bed: Babies should learn to sleep in their own bed. Some parents like to share their bed with the baby for a while, but this can stop a baby from sleeping through the night. It is also dangerous. Research shows that bed-sharing with babies increases the risks of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They also recommend that babies don’t sleep with soft pillows, toys, heavy blankets, or anything else that could potentially block their airway.
Baby’s Sleeping Environment: Light plays an important role in our sleep cycle. Even artificial light can impact the quality of our sleep. The best sleeping environment for a baby is a very dark room. Parents should not turn on any lights when checking on thier baby at night. Consider using a dim nightlight, and turning it off when you don’t need it. Even the light from a highlight can impact the quality of your baby’s sleep.
What Are The Signs Your Baby is Ready For Sleep?
Knowing when your baby is ready for sleep can help teach them to fall asleep on their own. Learning how to fall asleep is one of the first steps a baby needs to learn to sleep throughout the entire night. These are a few signs your baby is getting sleepy and is probably ready for you to put to bed.
- Rubbing their eyes
- Being extra fussy
- Looking away from you
How Can Parents Help Babies Sleep Through The Night?
There are many things parents can do to help babies sleep through the night. Many of the same ways to improve sleep for adults are the same for infants and children. We combed through the information and collected some of the best tips for getting babies to sleep all night.
Tips for How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night
Create a Consistent Bedtime Routine: This is possibly the most important tip for getting babies to sleep through the night. Babies don’t initially know how to put themselves to sleep. It’s something have to learn. The same goes for how to go back to sleep if they wake up at night. Having a consistent bedtime routine will help teach them when to go to sleep and how long to stay asleep before it’s time to get up.
Allow Plenty of Nap Time: Letting your baby nap during the day to help them sleep at night may sound counterintuitive, but it works. As we’ve discussed, babies need a good amount of sleep. Taking age-appropriate naps during the day can help with your baby’s sleep cycle, and encourage better sleeping at night.
Reduce Activities Before Bedtime: As a part of keeping a consistent bedtime routine, you should reduce activities before bedtime. Let your baby, and yourself, wind down before bedtime by not playing with toys, screens, or other games. This will help let baby know it’s almost bedtime. Some calming things you can do during this time are giving your baby a bath, reading books, or just rocking in a chair.
Play Relaxing and Calm Music: When you see the signs of your baby getting sleepy, turn on some soft music. Something that is calm and relaxing. Music can help us calm down and prepare us for sleep, especially if we’re already sleepy.
Tuck Your Baby in Before They Fall Asleep: This is a major one for teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own. If they get used to falling asleep in your arms, they may cry when they wake up and are not in your arms. This is another reason why it’s important to recognize the signs of sleepiness in infants. Get in the habit of placing them into bed when they’re sleepy, but before they fall asleep.
Don’t Take Your Baby Out Of Bed: If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, don’t take them out of bed. This teaches them that there are times when they need to stay in bed, which helps them learn when to be sleeping. Instead of removing them from the bed when they cry, comfort them with touch and a soothing tone. This will help them feel reassured and safe, which will help them fall back asleep. This may happen more than once during the night. If it does, just repeat the same process.
Should I Be Worried if My Baby Won’t Sleep Through The Night?
As we’ve mentioned, some babies will start to sleep through the night at different times. Brief changes in your baby’s sleeping patterns are usually nothing to worry about. If your baby catches a cold or other illness it can stop them from sleeping all night. This is usually temporary and will return to normal after the illness subsides.
Other factors like traveling and changes in the sleeping environment can also impact whether or not your baby will sleep all night. These factors usually only affect sleep patterns temporarily as well and will go back to normal. If you’ve had some changes in your home life and your baby isn’t sleeping like they used to, it’s most likely the changes and not something serious.
If you’re keeping a consistent bedtime routine and your baby still won’t sleep all night, don’t worry right away. There is a chance your baby just hasn’t reached that stage of development yet. However, if you see sudden changes in your baby’s sleeping patterns that occur and don’t go away, consider taking them to your pediatrician. If you feel concerned about your baby’s sleep patterns for any reason, don’t hesitate to see a doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
FAQs Answered In This Blog
What Are An Infant’s Sleep Needs?
At What Age Do Babies Sleep Through The Night Without Feeding?
Can I Let My 2-Month Old Sleep Though The Night?
How Do I Get My Baby to Sleep Longer At Night?
What Counts as a Baby Sleeping Through The Night?