When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night?

Posted on: May 4th, 2015 by Violet 19 Comments

when do babies sleep through the night, when do babies start sleeping through the night

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When a baby is waking up several times a night, every parent wants to know, when do babies sleep through the night? If you have researched and googled this topic already, then you have most likely noticed that every source gives you a different answer. So let’s clear this up. After all, I bet your dying to know when this exhaustion will end, and when your baby will start sleeping through the night.

Let’s Define Sleeping Through the Night.

The “medical” definition of sleeping through the night is 5 hours. Now I know some of you would be happy with a measly 5 hours, but most of you want to know when your baby will sleep ALL night, right? Say 10-12hrs?

When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through the Night?

Most experts such as Jodi Mindell, The National Sleep Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics, to name a few, say that a baby is capable of sleeping an 8-12 hour stretch between the ages of 3-6 months. As a baby sleep consultant with years of experience. I would have to agree.

Some babies take a bit longer than 6 months, but usually only wake and need one feeding. For example, if your 7 month old baby is sleeping for a 10 hour stretch, then wakes for a feeding and goes right back to sleep, then this may be normal for her age. Chances are, that is the longest she can make it without needing a feed. As she gets older the stretch of sleep will extend, until she no longer needs it. To make sure that this doesn’t become a habitual waking, always remember to put your baby down awake after a feeding.  It is very easy for a baby to start waking at a certain hour to be nursed back to sleep as a habit. Especially during the morning hours, when sleep is the lightest. So if your baby truly needs a feeding, always make sure she is put down awake when she’s done.

How Sleep Props Interfere.

Another point worth mentioning is that just because most babies are capable of sleeping through the night at this age, doesn’t mean they do sleep through the night. Many babies have bad sleep habits. They rely on sleep props or associations to fall asleep. They need mommy to put them to sleep and this prevents them from sleeping through the night. If these sleep troubles are not addressed, then your baby may continue waking several times a night. Parents like to think that their baby’s sleep troubles are just a phase and their baby will eventually outgrow this phase. A recent study shows that sleep troubles in infancy continue until 3 years of age. A similar study shows up to 5 years. Chances are your baby is not going to outgrow her sleep troubles anytime soon.

So somewhere between the age of 3-6 months, a baby is capable of sleeping through the night. Even if your baby is a little bit older and still waking for that one feeding, that is perfectly normal. But waking several times a night at that age definitely needs to be investigated further. Because by waiting and hoping that things will improve on their own, you will see that things usually only get worse.

when do babies sleep through the night,when do babies start sleeping through the night


Violet Giannone

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19 Responses

  1. I just googled when do babies sleep through the night! Can't believe I found this exact article. Thanks for the great info, I needed to know I was not alone.

  2. Hi Violet – I'm so grateful to have found your site! I've already recommended it to several friends! I have a couple questions…my son is 5 weeks old and weighs about 12 pounds. He is breastfed and formula fed, because I don't have a great supply. Up to five days ago he was going down for the night around 9 or so and then woke up about 3am for a feeding and then down again until 6am or so. At 6am we were feeding him again and then putting him back to sleep in his room (where he sleeps at night) for a couple more hours. The past five nights he has been awesome an slept from about 9 until 6am or so in the morning. We feel very, very blessed and I'm very thankful – the first couple weeks were rough! My question is – when he wakes around 6AM after the long sleep, should I still feed him and then have him down in his room again for a couple hours? Or should I feed him, but bring him down stairs to nap or to be up for the day? Thanks!

  3. Thank you for the kind words. I hope your friends find the help they need within my site:) To answer your question. It depends on how much sleep your baby is getting. If he is going down at 9pm and wakes at 6am, that is only 9hrs of nighttime sleep, meaning he will need more. So go ahead and feed and put him back down for another couple of hours. Ideally he should be getting about 11-12hrs of overnight sleep. Hope this helps, sounds like you are doing a great job:) Best of luck to you guys!

  4. Thank you! Should I try to be doing something different to have him sleep the 11-12 hours straight or is that no expected at his age? Thank you!

  5. It's very rare that a baby this age will sleep 11-12hrs straight. He still needs that feeding. Don't worry he'll let you know when he's ready to drop it. After you feed him, make sure you put him back down awake and you'll be golden! Good luck!

  6. Hello! I love your site! I have a couple questions for you.
    1. If my baby is 6 weeks and sleeping for 9-10 hour stretches at night, if this ok? I'm very blessed that she is, but in the article it says normally that doesn't happen until 3-6 months. Just making sure it's not abnormal.
    2. How much time should be between the last nap of the day and when she goes down to bed? Also, how much time should there be between the last feeding and when she goes down?
    3. I am breastfeeding and doing formula to supplement…is there a rule of thumb on how much she should be getting everyday? Thanks a ton!!!!

  7. Hi There! Great questions. It's not abnormal for a 6 week old to sleep that long, it's just rare. If your baby is eating enough, wetting enough diapers, and your Pediatrician who knows your baby best thinks that's ok, then you're one lucky momma! During the day your baby will most likely only be able to handle 45min-1hr of awake time. In regards to how much your baby should be eating, that's something your Pediatrician will be able to answer best depending on how well your baby is growing, and wetting diapers. But the general rule of thumb is 2-2.5oz for every pound of her weight, per day. Hope this helps. Congrats on your little one, enjoy her:)

  8. Great Site This Is The Best Advice I've seen. My 8 month old used to sleep 8 hours wake up hungry and then go back to bed for another few hours and wake up around 7am. This past month she wakes up after 5 or 6 hours hungry and goes right back to bed. She does go down awake for naps and 70% of the time she goes down awake at night. She always cries for a few minutes and then puts herself to sleep. I tried to give her a bigger bottle right before bed but she won't take more than 6 oz at night and 5 oz in the day just more frequently. I'm wondering if she's having a growthspurt? Will I ever see the day she will sleep 10 to 12hours?

  9. Hi Violet, Thanks for the great website! I have just started putting my 4 month old in the crib to sleep, he is used to sleeping in the swing. I put him down drowsy but awake and he will go to sleep, but wake up 30 min later. He is still tired but if I don't pick him up he cries and gets hysterical. Also at night he will sleep for 4 hrs, then wake up every 2 after that. What do I do to get him back to sleep when he wakes up?

  10. Hi Violet – We have been practicing to use the pacifier or breast feed him to sleep. He is three month old, sleeping on our bed. Is it bad to use the pacifiers to sleep. Can we stop using pacifiers and help him to fall asleep on his own? Have never done that before for my first one, am dreaded by the thought! 🙁

  11. That depends how reliant he is on it, how many times it falls out and you have to replace it, and of course if mind that you have to get up to do that. Some parents don't mind getting up a couple times, while for others this is something that lasts all night…

  12. I have an almost-5 month old that has been putting herself to sleep at bedtime and at naps for over a month now. She goes to bed at 6:30pm (last feeding at 6pm). The confusing part is that she wakes up around 9 or 9:30pm (then around 12:30-1:30 and 4-5pm). She never has been able to put herself back to sleep at 9pm, and if my husband goes in to pat her or give her a pacifier she gets really angry and starts screaming, so I have been feeding her at this time. At each of her 3 night wakings, she does eat a "full meal" for 10-15min and I can pop her back in the crib and she puts herself back to sleep in 5 min or so.

    From everything that I have read, she should be able to sleep at least 5-6 hours on that first stretch…but it is just not happening. In fact, she has never slept more than 4 hours at a time. Does she really need to eat this much? Should I not be feeding her at 9pm?

    Thanks for any input/advice!

  13. I have the exact same question as Val.
    My 4.5 m old wakes up about every 3.5 hrs and wants to eat a full meal (5-6 oz of pumped breast milk). Then will go back to sleep awake usually. I'm just wondering if this is normal……. The need to eat multiple times per nite. Actually when he was 2-3 months old he went 8 hours a couple times without a feed, so I know it's possible. But I can't ignore him and let him cry if hungry can I? I just feel he should be able to go longer without a bottle. But it's been about 5 weeks of this, very similar to schedule Val said

  14. It doesn't sound like hunger, it sounds more like a comfort feed. If at only 2-3 mos old your baby was already sleeping 8hrs, this is not something that gets reversed…so it's likely your baby is waking and eating that much is for comfort to get back to sleep

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