The big question that all of us exhausted parents are wondering, when will my baby let me have a solid night sleep?
Myself, like many others, have desperately researched the answer to this question many times.
During the first few months of a newborn’s life, they will often wake up every three hours or so to feed. This can vary considerably, depending on what the baby is eating, and simply their own personality. Stanford Children’s Health tell us, “Newborns and young infants have a small stomach and must wake every few hours to eat. In most cases, your baby will awaken and be ready to eat about every 3 hours.” Therefore, the chances of sleeping through the night, before your child is 3 months old, is extremely unlikely. However, it is not unheard of for some infants to sleep much longer stretches. In this case, it would be important to speak to your health care professional about whether or not to wake your baby for feedings.
As your child reaches the 4 – 6 month old stage, it is possible to have a child sleep through the night. I have a friend whose baby is a sleeper, and began sleeping 8+ hours per night at 5 months old. This is not the case for everybody, much less the majority of people, as most children are still eating a couple of times per night by 6 months of age. As your baby reaches the 1 year old mark, it is not uncommon to have a child that is sleeping 8+ hours at a time. Although, this is not everyone’s experience, and it is normal to still have a child that may wake up during the night through toddler hood.
RELATED | POSTPARTUM DRUGS AND BREASTFEEDING
Besides waking up for a meal, there are other reasons your baby may be restless, or need extra comforting, and a few reasons could be;
- Sleep Cycle- we all go through REM sleep, where we are sleeping deeper, or lighter during certain times of the night. It is not uncommon for children to waken as they transition into the lighter stage of their REM sleep, and haven’t quite figured out how to soothe themselves back to sleep yet.
- Teething- something that cannot be avoided, and sadly can be very uncomfortable for our little ones. There is no set age when teething starts, and is so drastically different for everyone. Some start as young as 3 months, and some don’t get their first tooth until 13 months. If your child is in pain, check with your health care professional about the safe options for helping your baby, as it will vary according to your child’s age.
- Milestones- by about 6 months old, children may wake up babbling to themselves, or to practice their crawling! Will each passing month, they are becoming increasingly self aware, and may wake up during the night to practice their new skills. As they become older, babies tend to become lighter sleepers as well, and might be woken more easily by sound.
Unfortunately, there is no countdown on the wall that tells us when we’ll be able to sleep through the night. There is no set age that anyone can guarantee your family will get a solid night of rest, because there are so many variables. If you are unsure as to why your child may be waking, consider what new skills they may be in the middle of developing, or what pearly whites may be working their way through. If you have a partner, it is important to lean on each other, and ask for help! It can also be beneficial to speak to other parents, who have been through this stage, and find out what helped them. Show each other grace, and love, as you never know how many hours (or minutes) of sleep someone got. It’s helpful to have a supportive community surrounding us, that understands we may be sleep walking our way through the days!