Helping your baby sleeping through the night can seem like an impossible feat. But it can be achieved much sooner than you think!
You may just have to fully understand what “sleeping through the night” means for babies first.
What is Considered Sleeping Through the Night?
At Tweet Dreamzz, sleeping through the night for a baby means the following:
6-8 hour stretches of sleep with minimal to no wakeups.
The baby is in their crib for 10-12 hours a night.
The baby can put themselves back to sleep independently after a nighttime waking.
How does night weaning affect sleeping though the night?
If you don’t wish to night wean just yet, then sleeping through the night has a slightly different definition.
You CAN sleep train without night weaning!
In this case, we define “sleeping through the night” as:
The baby wakes up in middle of the night for ONE nondisruptive feeding, but promptly returns to sleep afterwards.
You may have been surprised to learn that none of the above definitions state that your baby is physically sleeping from bedtime to morning without waking at all.
Not making any noise whatsoever throughout the night is an unrealistic goal for most children.
Night wakings are a biological norm for humans of all ages and should not be considered the enemy of a good night’s sleep!
Instead, our focus should be making night wakings less disruptive by working through the problems that may be standing in the way of having our children falling back to sleep.
How to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night
Optimal Sleep Environment for Baby
Your baby’s room should be cool and dark and have continuous white noise playing. A temperature of 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 20 Celsius) will ensure that your baby is not too hot or too cold.
Make sure baby’s room is SO dark that you cannot see your hand when it’s in front of you (even in the daytime!). This will ensure that light will not be the culprit of your child’s waking.
Lastly, playing continuous white noise will drown out any external sounds that could wake your baby such as pets, siblings or vehicles outside.
Following an Age-Appropriate Day Time Schedule can Help Your Baby Sleep Through
Check out this post for examples of baby nap schedules throughout the first year and beyond.
A lot of the time, what happens during the day can directly impact what happens at night.
A baby who is overtired may wakeup frequently, and a baby who’s had too much daytime sleep may have split nights.
Here are our recommended wake windows per age:
less than 1 hour
1 hour - 1hr 15 min
1hr 15 min- 1hr 45 min
1 hr 45 min - 2 hours
2hr 15 min - 2hr 30 min
2hr 30 min-3hr 30 min
Bedtime Routine to Help Baby Sleep Through the Night
Create a bedtime routine that involves repeating the same set of activities starting around 30-45 minutes prior to bedtime (lights out).
The bedtime routine is a sequence of events your baby learns to recognize that signals sleep is coming.
For Example, A Baby’s Bedtime Routine May Look Like this;
Pajamas & sleep sack,
Reading a story or singing a song plus a few keywords or phrases.
Once done repeatedly, these activities will cue your baby’s brain into knowing that sleep is on the way.
All children need a bedtime routine no matter how old they are, so starting early with your baby will help them have healthy sleep habits to last a lifetime!
Full Feeding before Bed will Help Baby Sleep Through the Night
Following an age-appropriate feeding schedule during the day will allow baby to take a full feeding before bed. Ideally the feeding should be closer to the beginning of the bedtime routine to break any “feed to sleep” association.
This will ensure that if they wake during the night, it is not due to “true hunger” or bottle/breast dependency.
Sleep Training Helps Baby Sleep Through the Night
Some parents choose to sleep train to help their baby sleep through the night, and that is a perfectly acceptable option for a lot of families. Most babies do NOT naturally sleep through the night, or even have long stretches of sleep.
A parent-led sleep routine, like sleep training, can help you and your baby get the sleep that you need.
Keep in mind, that we cannot train away all night waking for our kids or make them stay quiet during middle of the night wakings, but we can teach them the tools and give them the opportunity to fall back to sleep without our intervention, and that is exactly what sleep training looks like.
When sleep training, it is important to remember that the goal isn’t always for your baby to “sleep through the night”, but instead to allow your baby to have the necessary self-soothing skills, so that when they have a normal biological waking, they are able to put themselves back to sleep on their own without your help!
At what Age do Babies Sleep Through the Night?
It’s important to note that, what is considered sleeping through the night can look different depending on the age of your child. Let’s breakdown what sleeping through the night looks like for various ages.
A newborn is not capable of sleeping through the night.
Babies at this age need to eat every 2-4 hours, including during the night. This is completely normal and nutritionally necessary for a baby to be taking in calories all throughout the day and often throughout the night.
At this age, you can work on getting in all the baby snuggles while also loosely starting a routine and practicing some naps in the crib so that your baby becomes familiar with that environment.
At this age your baby may be able to sleep longer stretches. Anywhere from 5-8 hours is common and should be considered an accomplishment!
It is common to still have at least one night feeding at 3 months old.
At Tweet Dreamzz, we accept our earliest clients at 4 months old.
At this age, baby’s sleep pattern will permanently change from newborn sleep cycles to adult sleep cycles, thus allowing us the opportunity to be successful with sleep training!
With a pediatrician’s approval we can begin the night weaning process at 16 weeks.
However, we understand and fully support if you’d still like a night feeding to be part of your routine.
At this age, baby is capable of 0-1 nighttime feedings (pending there are no growth or medical concerns).
If baby is taking a feeding at night, ideally it should be one quick feeding and then easily resettling until morning.
This is a very common age for parents to reach out to us as sometimes it is difficult to get babies to settle quickly at nighttime without the proper skillset.
It’s a great age to begin to teach good habits that will carry your baby through childhood if consistent.
If baby is taking a night feeding it is likely due to habit and this point and not true hunger. With the appropriate daytime nap and feeding schedule baby can sleep a consolidated 10-12 hours at night.
Unless advised against by your child’s medical provider, completely dropping nighttime feeds can be achieved.
12 Months & Beyond
At 1+ years old baby is totally capable of sleeping through the night without any feeding, but don’t beat yourself up if you’re not there yet.
This is still a great age to begin sleep training.
As much as we love to help our clients teach healthy sleep habits as early as possible, we understand how difficult it can be in those early months & years.
Sleep training after 1 years old can be very successful.
The added element of having a child who understands more, gives us some different options and techniques that we can use in the training process.
Most babies will be able to sleep through the night with 0–1 night feeds by the time they are 4 months old. However, every baby is different, and it’s important to look at all the factors in order to set your baby up for success. Creating a bedtime routine and age appropriate feeding schedule can aid in the process, as well as setting your expectations based on your babies age.
All humans briefly wake while sleeping.
The difference between an adult and a baby, is that if a baby has not yet learned the essential self-soothing skills needed to fall back to sleep independently, then they will naturally wake up and call out for their caretaker (usually in the form of crying).
Sleep training can help your baby become comfortable and confident with how they fall asleep, so that when they wake up in the middle of the night, they are able to check-in with their surroundings and then quickly fall back to sleep, which is exactly what “sleeping through the night” means!
Stellina Ferri is the author of this article.
Stellina is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and mom to three.
She finds joy each day spreading her wealth of knowledge to tired families.
Book your free evaluation call today!