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As parents, you may be wondering when will my baby start sleeping without waking up several times through the night. For new parents, it can become very tiring to manage both the child and their work life. Most infants have different sleeping habits which will start to materialize post 6 months.
What does Sleeping through the Night mean?
Sleeping through the night means getting complete rest for about six to eight hours without waking up. For babies, this usually happens after their night time feeding and it is continuous, without any interruption or discomfort. While some babies can sleep for six to eight hours at a stretch as young as at 3 months, others may take longer, almost up to a year.
Developmental Hurdles before your Baby Sleeps All Night
Before your baby can sleep through the night consistently, there are many physical, mental hurdles she needs to surpass.
Some of them are
- Increased feeding and weight gain
- Decreased startle or Moro reflex which causes baby’s legs to jerk in response to triggers such as loud noise, change in sleeping position or even a bad dream. It usually disappears after the 4th month
- Fewer feedings at night time
- Help your child increase abilities of self-soothing by sucking on her finger or pacifier, to help her go back to sleep if she wakes up in the middle of the night
When Do Most Babies Sleep All Night?
Infants do wake up in the middle a couple of times to yawn and stretch and settle themselves.
Once your infant is tired and sleepy she goes to sleep within 5-10 minutes of putting them to bed. This usually starts happening past the 6-month mark.
When your baby is a newborn, she is new to this world and hence does not have a set pattern of sleeping. Her naps will be on demand and can be for anywhere between 45 minutes to 120 minutes. The main goal at this age is to keep the baby well rested. Your baby must sleep for 12-16 hours in a day.
When your baby becomes 4 months of age her naps should be reduced from 4 to 3. She will also nap for 30-45 minutes in one cycle. By the time she turns 5-6 months, she can sleep for 2-2 ½ hours but with assistance. Around this time, you can start preparing a schedule for her. Prioritize your baby’s nap and start preparing a nice environment for her to sleep in. The total sleep time during the day should be 3-4 ½ hours and the rest at night.
During this age period, it is time to further down the number of naps from 3 to 2. During the day your baby needs to sleep a total of 3-4 hours only. Start solidifying her schedule i.e. ensure same time to bed and to wake up. Get your baby to sleep for 2-2 ½ hours during each nap cycle. Start creating a night time routine for her to start following.
Once your baby reaches close to a year, most of her day will be set into a routine. Feeding time and napping time will stabilize so it is important to maintain the nap schedule to only 2-2 ½ hours during the day. A total of 3-4 hours during the day is required for your baby to be well rested and happy. During the night time, you can start putting the baby to sleep for a longer time and teach her self-soothing techniques. The bedtime timings can be extended to a later time so that your baby goes to sleep as soon as she is put to bed.
When your baby is over a year, the nap time can be reduced to once a day and for a duration of 2+ hours. It may take a while for your baby to adjust to any new sleeping pattern so be patient and consistent. If you are frustrated and cannot get your baby to nap, take a small walk and come back and try again. With time, your baby will be able to adjust to a schedule that is convenient for you and your partner.
Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep All Night
As a parent who might have spent many sleepless nights, you may be wondering when do babies sleep through the night naturally
Here are some tips to make your child sleep well through the night
- Try to be consistent, even on weekends. If you set a time for bedtime, make sure you set your baby down at that time no matter the commitments
- Put your baby to bed when she is feeling drowsy and can go to bed immediately
- Your little one can have sleep cycles of even 40 minutes which means she stirs many times in the night. Don’t assume then that she is hungry an needs to be fed
- Prolong night feeding time as she can go to bed full
- Take it easy when it comes to giving solid foods, you don’t have to rush anything. Start with semi-solids and mashable food
- Pick up cues from your baby and sync yourself to their schedule. If you see your baby yawn and seem tired put her to bed
- Set up a sleeping schedule i.e. put her to bed at the same time every day
- Create a night time routine so that your infant can pick up on those cues and get used to going to bed as soon as the routine starts. Reading a bedtime story, a nice bath before bed can all be good bedtime rituals
Putting an infant to sleep can be an overwhelming task; so make sure you get adequate help and support to set a pattern. Work as a team and get help from your partner whenever you are too exhausted to continue. Most importantly, remember it will take time.