How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?
09 Mar, 2020
Guest writer: Rosalee Lahaie Hera, CEO & Certified Sleep Consultant, Baby Sleep Love
If you’re a parent who is at their wits’ end trying to get your baby to sleep through the night, you’re not alone. And as a mom who has been there, I understand just how tiring and frustrating this can be.
So let’s discuss at what age baby should start sleeping through the night, the many factors that influence your little one’s overnight habits and what role having a well-fed baby plays with sleeping through the night.
At what age should your baby sleep through the night?
There’s a wide range in terms of when little ones are ready to sleep through the night with no feedings. It’s very normal for babies under a year old to wake up overnight, so consider the following as guidelines, rather than hard and fast rules.
Overnight waking is common in the first 3 months, and still quite common in the first 6-9 months. Those babies who have developed independent sleep skills are more likely to start sleeping entirely throughout the night without a feeding by the 9-12 month range (even earlier, in many cases). A baby who was born prematurely may continue to eat overnight for longer; always follow your Doctor’s advice, based on your baby’s unique weight gain and health status.
Research shows that little ones with healthy sleep habits, healthy sleep hygiene and solid independent skills will usually drop their overnight feedings more quickly. Children who have more inconsistency in their daytime nap schedules and don’t fall asleep on their own will keep overnight feedings for longer.
If you’ve worked on all of those things and baby is at least 9 months old, that’s when you can start experimenting with night weaning. There are a few factors you can experiment with as a parent before you call in the experts.
Factors that could affect your baby’s sleep:
There are many factors that can affect your child’s ability to sleep through the night. Below are a few things you can consider, adjust or change within your child’s routine:
- Getting enough milk feedings in a day
Sleeping through the night is affected by how frequently your child eats during the day, and how full those feedings are. It’s a myth that we need to stretch out milk feedings during the day to have babies stay asleep at night. In fact, the opposite is true–we want to get in as many full milk feedings during the day as we can.
- Providing nutritious solid foods
On the whole, solids don’t make a huge difference in how quickly an independent sleeper will start sleeping entirely throughout the night without a feeding, but do keep in mind that if a baby is hungry in the night, they will wake up more. Focus on nutrition during the day and make sure they are getting the right balance of macronutrients. If you are unsure if your baby is getting the nutrition they need check out the Little Warrior course: Feed Your Little Warrior.
- Learning to recognize hunger cues
Reading hunger cues can be tricky, so while you may think your little one is giving you all the signs they’re hungry, they may actually be telling you something else. Hunger looks like a little one taking a full feeding and then settling back to sleep quickly and easily on their own. A baby who is not hungry may nibble or take a small feeding and then struggle to get back to sleep without your help.
One final note about getting your baby to sleep through the night. As with any kind of change, consistency will be your key.
If you’ve worked on all the above and your baby is still not sleeping through the night, you can book a free, no-obligation phone call with me (Rosalee).
About Rosalee Lahaie Hera:
Baby Sleep Love helps families with small children get more sleep, using gentle, evidence-based methods. Rosalee Lahaie Hera is a Toronto-based Certified Sleep Consultant and Mom of two beautiful little humans. She's a researcher at heart with a passion for sleep science - and helping families with small children get the sleep they need and deserve. Reach out to Rosalee for a free 15-minute phone consultation at www.babysleeplove.com.