When will my baby start sleeping through the night?
The time a baby starts sleeping through the night is very individual. As parents, the best way for you to promote healthy sleeping habits is to respond to the specific needs of your child.
From approximately the 6th month, children no longer need food at night because at this age the hunger and fullness rhythm of a healthy child will entirely shift to daytime. Short episodes of waking, however, are normal. Ideally, your baby will quickly go back to sleep by him/herself.
Many reasons can cause a baby to wake up.
Please keep in mind that waking up or crying at night can have many reasons. Apart from hunger, thirst or full diapers there are other reasons – like teething, strong growth periods, infections or the effects of a busy day. These can all cause a child to exhibit unusual sleeping behaviour: waking up, babbling or demanding breastfeeding or the milk bottle again. Some babies cry and scream if they need affection, or simply to vent stress. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to wave to make a baby sleep through the night. It can also happen that a baby who has always slept through the night suddenly starts to wake up at night again. This will usually just be a short phase which will pass.
It is important to follow consistent daily routines
It is important to have consistent daily routines with regular meals, bedtime and other activities such as walks outdoors. Regular bedtime routines such as bathing, eating, goodnight stories or lullabies will always create a calm atmosphere.
It takes patience
Do not lose your patience if your child cannot develop regular sleeping habits immediately. There is no magic trick for it. You cannot control your child’s sleep. What you can do is to help your child find a fixed rhythm and develop healthy sleeping habits. Do not get discouraged if other parents tell you their babies already sleep through the night. The definition of sleeping through the night is relative, because it is also used for infants, even if they just sleep from midnight to 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning. Parents with small children must be prepared to accept that their own night’s sleep will usually be interrupted frequently during the first 3 – 4 years.