You know when you become a parent; sleep is a thing of the past. People will tell you all the time, sleep when the baby sleeps.
But as an experienced parent, let me tell you that doesn’t always happen because either you have other children that need to be taken care of or you have to actually take care of a home, get laundry done (which even with an infant seems insurmountable), cooking dinner, etc.
There are other things to get done, but apparently, sleep is not one of them. Even at night, when you wish to close your eyes and get some rest, babies don’t understand that.
As a nursing parent, even formula fed (although they do seem to sleep longer), getting up every 2 hours is a regular thing. And not two hours from when you put them back down, two hours from when you first woke up.
It’s tiring and soon you begin to feel like supermom, you get things done on little sleep. But believe me, it catches up with you one day. One day you are so exhausted that you put your keys in the fridge and you can’t find the glasses that you are indeed wearing.
But there is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel when they start to sleep through the night. When? Because that’s the question you really want the answer too.
When do you actually get some sleep and sleep when the baby sleeps peacefully dreaming through the entire night, 6-7 whole hours. Let’s take a look.
It Doesn’t Happen all at Once
Your little one needs to sleep average 10-18 hours per day, which includes nap times and bedtime.
You’ll notice once they start needing the extra nutrients in the middle of the night they will be able to go longer, maybe 3 hours instead of two, then five, etc.
It’s not all at once. But as a parent you know you will wake up in the middle of the night to check on them anyway.
Habits to Get them More Prepared for that Schedule
Babies are smart, and if you start a “schedule” (loose term at this stage in life) they start to know what daytime life is like and what night time life is like.
One thing you can do is entertain them more with active play during the day. Keep them busy, do things with them, and then at night have a less energetic approach.
Even if they wake up in the middle of the night, we don’t want them to be running around at that time, keep it calm, read a book, sing to them, don’t let them get too worked up.
You can start sleep training anywhere between 4 to 6 months of age with either the no tears method or the cry it out method. Some children will be able to learn quickly while others will need more work.
If you do use cry it out understand that as long as they are fed, dry, and nothing is inherently wrong with them, crying is natural because it’s something new. You’ll want them to understand that they are okay, but they are learning to figure things out.
Establishing a bedtime routine can help them get to sleep much easier. About 20 to 30 minutes before bed you can start with maybe a bath, then food, then a book and a song. Keep it the same every night.
Once they get the idea that you are going to be doing this every night and going to bed right after that, they mentally become prepared for it.
Don’t have naps less than three hours before bed, even though you’ve always heard let a sleeping baby lie. While that’s true, a nap too late in the day could inhibit their ability to fall back asleep at night.
General Sleep Schedule at Night
There are guidelines however that you can consider if they are sleeping normally because they will ask you at the pediatrician’s office. But know, that these are again guidelines, not every child is going to be the same.
Parents magazine provided the guidelines that we’ll share with you here. At one week, they get about 16-18 hours of sleep per day, half of that should be at night.
At 6 weeks, you’re looking at 8.5 hours per night. 3 months: 9 hours at night and you might be seeing a schedule forming at this time. 6 months: 10 hours. 9 months, 11 hours is starting to sound really amazing.
At 12 months they should be getting about 12 hours of sleep at night. Now, remember you are considering their naps during the day as well.
So take that into consideration and don’t let them sleep too late in the afternoon if you expect them to sleep again at night at a reasonable hour. Midnight parties get old after a while.
But When? Give me an Age?
Alas, there is no magic number, there is no day where we can concretely say that babies will sleep through the night. Each child is different.
Generally, it ranges but around 4 months you start to see a change in them, they can self-soothe when they wake up in the middle of the night by using a comforting method and falling back asleep.
Around 9 months you’ll find that 70-80 percent of infants are sleeping through the night for anywhere from 10-12 hours.
It started for me at 6 months when I started formula for my little one, but that’s not a necessity I just didn’t provide enough sustenance, and then we did sleep training one night and after that my life was significantly improved because I was a mom who had sleep.
So if you are getting up every few hours, know that this too shall pass. Have someone else get up for nighttime feedings once in a while if you can, or have someone handle the day shift, as we’ll call it, to allow you to get some much-needed rest.
Take the help, trust me, it will benefit you in ways that you can’t even imagine. But if you are concerned, make a call to the doctor and discuss it with them.
Otherwise, take some of these tips and try them out, and enjoy a good nights rest, you deserve it.
- Julie D. Andrews via The Bump. When do Babies Sleep Through the Night? [link]
- See above #1
- Melody Warnick for Parents Magazine. 5 Sleep Through the Night Strategies. [link]
- See above #3
- See above #3