As new parents we all ask the question of when will my baby sleep through the night? People will tell us, just get through the first couple of months then your baby should sleep more. Then your baby is older and still not sleeping through the night. So people tell you they have to double their birth weight then they can sleep through the night. Hit that, past and still not sleeping through the night. The exhaustion is real from a baby who is over six months old and still not sleeping through the night.
What does sleeping through the night even mean for a baby? Sleeping through the night for an infant is 6-8 hours of straight sleep. Not all babies will start sleeping 8 hours all at once right off the bat, or even more in the 10-12 hours straight sleep. Don’t get too discouraged, only about 50% of all infants sleep through the night by 6 months of age.
What causes our baby to not sleep through the night? There are a few things.
Their days and nights are confused, they are hungry, or they aren’t good self soothers. So let’s look at each of these. Baby can become easily confused if it is day or night. They can’t tell time they don’t have a circadian rhythm yet to help them know when day and night is. To help them know that it is day time make sure you let in as much natural sunlight as much as you can. Get them outside to soak up some vitamin D if it is warm enough to. During the day make sure you change the diaper before feedings to make sure they are awake and see that it is still daytime, this promotes awake feedings.
If your baby is hungry you can try and move feedings to more during the day time. Encourage daytime feeds, increasing the amount your baby is getting during the day. Then you will need to rule out night time feeds, if they are necessary or if they are for comfort.
Take a few days collecting data, how much your baby eats during the day, and how much they are eating at night. If they wake up at night and drink for less than five minutes, and less than two ounces of food then they are comfort feeding. If they drink more than five minutes and more than two ounces then this is actual calories that they need and taking away that feeding would be like an adult skipping a meal, so not ideal.
Infants need to eat between 35-50 calories per pound they weigh. Comfort feeding can happen just like eating out of habit can happen as well. These are the feedings you would want to wean out first, after discussing with your pediatrician.
Letting your child learn to self soothe is a good strategy. When teaching them to self soothe don’t rush in at every little noise. See if they need to just readjust on their own before you go in there. Also it is sometimes helpful to have Dad go in and help get the baby back to sleep. This is good if Mom is breastfeeding, the baby may smell the milk and want to drink for comfort even if not hungry. It is sad to hear our baby cry it out but in the long run if it lets you get a decent chunk of sleep it may be needed.
There are some things that may hinder your baby from sleeping through the night.
This can be teething, which just because a tooth isn’t present doesn’t mean your child isn’t having symptoms. Symptoms of teething can start two to three months before a tooth even breaks through. Another thing to check is your baby’s environment. Is there room too hot or too cold? Are they dressed warm enough or too warm? The best temperature to keep the nursery is 68-72 degrees. Other reasons your baby may have trouble sleeping is sickness, from a common cold to an ear infection can all cause your baby discomfort. Growth spurts can also cause your baby to be uncomfortable.
Speak with your pediatrician if your baby is having trouble sleeping through the night. They will be able to discuss choices with you on how to help your baby get some good chunks. Sometimes looking at the average normal for your age of baby is not helpful if your baby is above average. If you birthed an eleven pound baby, how much he eats will be different than a baby born that weighs seven pounds. It can be helpful to look at what your baby should be doing per their size, not always age. Don’t get discouraged if your baby is older than six months and not sleeping through the night. The day will come when they make it a big stretch of time.
Discouraged your baby doesn't sleep through the night. Learn more here! #HealthStatus
Age can help you determine many things about your baby but when it comes to food needs the size of your baby needs to enter into the equation too.
..only about 50% of all infants sleep through the night by 6 months of age.
The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.
Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles.
Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.