Your baby is waking up several times a night and there you go again Googling when do babies sleep through the night? Every article you read says something completely different. Some say your baby can sleep through the night as young as 3 months old, and some say to follow your baby’s lead, “he’ll sleep through the night when he’s ready”.
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!
Defining Sleeping Through the Night
Babies or humans for that matter, don’t really “sleep through the night”. Most babies actually wake anywhere from 2-6 times a night. Some babies know how to put themselves right back to sleep, so the wakings go unnoticed. And some babies signal for mommy or daddy’s help to get back to sleep. These babies have become dependent on “sleep props” such as rocking or feeding to sleep, so they keep mommy or daddy up all night.
Medical professionals define sleeping through the night as the ability to sleep 5 hours without a feeding. 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 pediatric sleep 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 many years of experience working with babies, I would have to agree. This is about the age that I see most babies drop their night feedings when we start implementing a foundation of good sleep habits.
Of course, it is wise to check with your pediatrician as they know your baby best based on how he/she is growing and gaining weight.
How “Sleep Props” Keep Your Baby Up All Night
Just because most babies are capable of sleeping through the night between 3-6 months of age, doesn’t mean they automatically do sleep through the night at this age. If a baby has poor sleep habits and has become reliant on sleep props to sleep, they will continue to wake until this is addressed. Take a look at my article about sleep props, for more information about how feeding, nursing and rocking to sleep contribute to frequent night wakings and sleep troubles.
If these sleep troubles are not addressed, then your baby may continue to wake several times a night. Parents often think that their baby’s sleep troubles are just a phase and their baby will eventually outgrow this phase. Trust me, coming from a momma who was endlessly waiting for this phase to end for almost a year, it wasn’t until I put together a sleep plan of action that my baby started sleeping through the night. And literally within a week’s time. My only regret, that I didn’t take care of this sooner, both me and my baby would have been much happier during her first year of life.
Studies show that sleep troubles in infancy continue until 3 years of age. A similar study shows sleep troubles may continue 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. So stop googling when do babies sleep through the night, and start helping your baby sleep well today!