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Feeling like a zombie because of your baby’s short spans of sleep at night? Be patient, those full-night snoozes are on their way! Most parents are sleep deprived during the newborn months of their baby’s life as they need good “sleep nutrition” both the right quality and quantity of sleep. How and when your little munchkin will attain good sleep sustenance depends on factors like environment, temperament, weight, age, and your family’s routine.
With a lot of patience and little work, you can get the good news of your baby snoozing for hours at a stretch. Keep reading to know more about “when do babies sleep through the night”, what they need to achieve before they begin dozing for hours at a time, etc.
When Do Babies Sleep Through The Night: Developmental Milestones The Baby Has to Pass
Before your little one can sleep through the night, they have to pass a few con=gnitive and physical milestones such as,
- Decreases Moro reflex or startle reflex: The Moro reflex jerks your baby’s limbs in response to some triggers in their environment such as a bad dream, a sudden movement, a loud noise, or even a temperature change. If your child has a strong startle reflex, their arms might flail and wake them from their sleep. This reflex causes significantly by the age of 4 months and eventually disappears.
- Increase weight gain and feeding
- Little or no need for frequent feedings through the night
- Increase ability to self-soothe (by sucking on a pacifier, hands, or fingers), this is a skill they need to get back to sleep if they wake up during the night
Your baby might surprise you by picking up other milestones soon after they begin sleeping through the night. Babies have been seen to walk, crawl, roll, or reach other developmental stages as soon as their sleep improves. Insufficient sleep may affect the baby’s growth so when babies do sleep through the night, they may soon achieve the right developmental milestones.
When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through The Night?
When babies do sleep through the night, they snooze for longer stretches between the ages of 4 and 6 months. They begin sleeping through the night, i.e., for more than 8 hours after 6 months of age. They better achieve their milestones when you stop the nighttime feedings that typically happen around their 6th month. But when do breastfeeding babies sleep through the night? Their time frame may be delayed as they metabolize breastmilk more quickly than others and require more nighttime feedings.
When babies do sleep through the night uninterrupted, it doesn’t mean they will do so all night. Every baby is different which means they will do their thing in their timeline. Also, keep in mind that even when babies start sleeping through the night for months or even weeks, they may still have trouble dozing off at times. Disrupted sleep in babies can be associated with certain developmental milestones such as perfect sitting skills or crawling in their crib.
Make sure they get their developmental gains practiced during the day to reduce nighttime drills. Other issues such as changes in their home, travel, teething, and illness may also affect the way your baby sleeps. Get in touch with their pediatrician if anything worries you way too much.
How to Help Your Baby Sleep Through The Night?
You can help with several things once you know when babies start sleeping through the night. Assisting them to get their sleep will help them get a better quantity of sleep and that in turn helps them those crucial developmental milestones. Here’s what you can do:
- Start by putting them down at a strict time for their age, usually 7 or 7:30 PM for babies aged one. If you let your baby stay up late, it will tire them which will make them stay awake even more. If they are overtired, they might even wake up during the night and early in the morning.
- Create a perfect strict nighttime routine if your baby is over 4 months of age. When babies start sleeping through the night, they need to be consistent in doing so. A consistent bedtime routine will make them feel secure and safe so do not read a story to them one night and skip it the next.
- It might seem easy to transfer your baby to their crib once they are asleep but this might make their sleep time difficult. Once they are 4 months old, you need to put them down in their cribs when they are fully awake so that they learn to put themselves to sleep at bedtime. This way, they will try to go back to sleep if they wake up during the night.
- Finally, when babies do start to sleep through the night, remember that consistency is the key ingredient in the sleep training process. Depending on the method you choose, it may take several weeks to achieve the results. Some common methods of sleep training are
- The “no-cry” sleep training method
- The “cry it out” method
- The “fading” method
- The Ferber method
Most importantly, note that a quiet room does not mean your baby will sleep uninterrupted. It is normal for infants to stay awake at night for extended periods but if your baby is dependent on you for their sleep, they will also be dependent on you to put them back to sleep.
When Should You Check in With a Doctor?
When babies start sleeping through the night, do notice that it stays fairly consistent by 12 months of age. If not, get in touch with their pediatrician to find out the root accuse. Here are other reasons to get in touch with a doctor:
- If your baby is extremely fussy after feedings or at bedtime
- If they breathe hard while sleeping
- If they snore during the night
The Bottom Line: When Do Babies Sleep Through The Night?
When do babies start sleeping through the night is a common question that pops up in most newborn parents’ minds. The answer is no two babies are the same so there is no one answer to that question. We’d say it all depends on the nighttime or bedtime routine you curate for your baby. By the age of 4 months, typically you need to wean nighttime feedings so that their sleep gets consistent over time. By the age of 6 months, develop a nighttime routine and putting them in their carbs when they are fully awake to make them sleep through the night.
Consistency is the key. So make sure whatever you do at night to put your baby to sleep happens each night. It helps them feel safe and secure with the routine. So, to answer your question “when do babies sleep through the night naturally?” experts would say it is common for babies to wake up now and during the night even if you do everything noted above. Visit a doctor if you notice your baby snoring, breathing hard, or being extremely fussy during bedtime or nighttime feeds before bed.