“5 Surprising Facts About When Babies Begin Sleeping Through The Night”

The one question every new parent asks is when do babies start sleeping through the night? It is a common concern that can leave parents feeling tired, anxious and frustrated. There is no doubt that a solid night’s sleep is essential for the health and wellbeing of both baby and parent. However, the reality is that babies’ sleep patterns are very different from adults and do not follow a strict schedule. In fact, every baby is unique in their sleeping habits and abilities, making it nearly impossible to give a definitive answer to the question. However, there are some common patterns and milestones that can be used as a guide to help parents better understand what to expect and how to help their babies sleep through the night.

Babies may start having a few episodes of sleeping for 6 – 8 hours through the night by around 4 – 6 months. They may do it once, or a couple of nights in a row and on other nights they may need your help. This is the beginning of their journey towards sleeping through the night. It is important to understand that there is no switch you can flip to make this happen. Babies don’t just start sleeping through the night and then keep doing it forever; there is a lot of stopping and starting because there are so many factors that contribute to their sleep development, but there are a few theories that work; both on their own and in combination. Our role as parents is to help them learn and feel secure to achieve it. By the time they reach their first birthday, they become very good at it and not only do they need to sleep through the night, they want to.

Newborns have very different sleeping patterns to adults until they adjust to their new world and learn to sleep outside the womb. Babies must first reach some physical and cognitive milestones that will help them sleep through the night. Newborns have a startle reflex called the Moro reflex. Until they are around 4 months old they will respond to disturbances such as noise, sleep cycles and other stimuli by startling. Losing their Moro reflex will help them sleep through the night. Infants will gradually require less feeding through the night (night weaning). Breastfed babies tend to feed more frequently because breast milk is digested faster, however all newborns need to be fed every 2 – 4 hours. As they grow and when they start solids, they don’t need to feed as frequently during the night. When they are fuller, they sleep for longer and they learn to ignore their hunger during the night. Babies will learn to self soothe. Whether it is by using a pacifier, sucking their thumb, holding on to a favourite toy or blanket or listening to music or a noise machine, babies will start to get through their sleep cycles independently. When they wake up or go into a lighter sleep, they start to return to deep sleep by themselves, without needing assistance from their parents.

Establishing a good bedtime routine is a key factor in helping babies learn how to sleep through the night. A consistent routine helps babies learn when it is time for sleep and create a calming atmosphere that helps them relax. It is important to find a reliable way to comfort them if they call out to you. Some parents prefer to pick their babies up and rock them to sleep, while others prefer to let them cry for a few minutes to see if they can settle themselves back to sleep. There are several methods for helping babies sleep through the night, including the Ferber method, the “cry it out” method, the “fading” method, and the “no-cry” sleep training method. Finding the method that works best for both the parent and the baby is crucial.

Infants develop rapidly during their first year, and there are many factors that can interfere with their ability to sleep through the night. Common milestones, such as teething, illness, vaccinations, growth spurts, and learning to crawl or walk can all affect sleep patterns. Changes in the home environment, such as moving to a new home or having a new sibling can also impact sleep patterns. In these instances, it is important to have patience and provide comfort and support to help the baby adjust.

The first year of a baby’s life can be a challenging time for new parents, especially when it comes to sleep. While there is no magic formula that guarantees a solid night’s sleep every night, understanding the different factors that affect sleep patterns can help parents prepare for what to expect and how to help their baby sleep through the night. Every baby is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, with patience, consistency, and a little bit of trial and error, parents can help their baby develop healthy sleep habits that will serve them well throughout their life.