The first months of parenting offers some of the most rewarding experiences of your life. They also offer up some of the most exhausting ones too. Anyone who has had children will want to know the answer to the question: when do babies sleep through the night?
When can I expect my baby to begin sleeping through?
You know the ‘expectation vs. reality’ photos and videos you see rolling around on social media all the time? Baby sleep is an awful lot like that. There’s the medical answer (expectation) and then there’s what your baby is actually going to do (reality).
So the clean-cut medical answer is that babies are generally capable of sleeping through the night from around six months old. This is influenced by a number of factors such as your baby’s weight, temperament and feeding patterns. It also has a lot to do with the maturation of their sleep cycles and the development of a circadian rhythm.
The real answer is a bit more vague. Just because your baby is capable of sleeping through at a particular age, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will. Likewise, even if they’ve started sleeping through the night, it might not mean that they’ll magically continue to do.
Sleep regression, anyone? Sorry!
Is there anything I can do to help?
Yes and no. If your baby is under three months the best you can probably do is settle bub into a decent bedtime routine, make sure they’re well-fed, and then hope the stars align.
Still struggling and bub is over three months? It may be worthwhile looking into some sleep training, or at the very least working on helping your little one learn to self soothe.
If your baby is over six months old, and waking at similar intervals every night, Raising Children recommends you look into their sleep habits. A negative sleep association, whilst seemingly lifesaving in young babies, can make you, and your baby’s life really difficult as they get older.
Finally, if you’re really feeling as though you’re not making any headway, it may be worthwhile discussing your infant’s sleep with your doctor or paediatrician to rule out any underlying issues like reflux or sleep apnoea.
Always remember well-rested and happy babies equal well-rested and happy mums – so always trust your instinct and do what feels right for you and your baby.