Sleeping through the night can feel like such an elusive goal. When will your baby sleep through the night? How can you work towards sleeping through the night in a gentle, healthy way that works for your child?
Well, we’ve built an entire website around answering those questions, complete with a ton of free content, a huge Members Area, e-books, and personalized consulting packages. So we can’t exactly offer you a quick and easy answer in this post as to when your child will sleep through the night. What we can share, however, are some basic averages that will help you get a better sense of when your child may start to sleep through the night.
What Is Sleeping Through The Night?
It’s important to start by defining our terms. See, ‘sleeping through the night’ is actually a bit misleading. Why? Because sleeping through the night means different things to different people. For instance, many people consider ‘sleeping through the night’ to mean 8 consecutive hours of sleep, without any wakings. That’s probably because we adults consider 8 hours of sleep a full night’s sleep. Other parents consider sleeping through the night to be 11 or 12 straight hours of sleep without interruption (the number of hours most babies need).
Here’s the thing to remember, though: there is actually a medical definition of sleeping through the night. And it looks very, very different than most parents’ definitions! Medically speaking, a baby is sleeping through the night when she can sleep for 5 straight hours without waking.
For our purposes, we’ll use 8 straight hours of sleep as our definition of sleeping through the night.
When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through The Night?
Several years ago, The University of Canterbury in New Zealand performed a study on this very topic. Their research yielded the following averages:
- Between birth and 3 months of age, most babies make measurable progress in consolidating their sleep, so that they achieve one long stretch of sleep per day.
- By the 3 month mark, over 50% of babies were sleeping 5 hours straight at night.
- By the 5 month mark, over 60% of babies were sleeping 8 hour stretches at night.
- By 12 months, about 70% of babies were sleeping 8 hour stretches at night.
When Will YOUR Baby Sleep Through The Night?
The averages above can be helpful in providing a snapshot of sleeping through the night patterns, but it still doesn’t answer your most pressing question: “When will my baby sleep through the night?” Obviously, I can’t answer that in a blog article – your baby is unique, and when he or she sleeps through the night is dependent on many different factors. However, I can provide some general pointers and ideas:
- Babies with health issues (particularly health issues that involve weight gain problems) may take longer to sleep through the night.
- Premature babies may sleep through the night later than full-term babies, since babies born prematurely generally need a bit more time to catch up with developmental milestones.
- Temperament has a big impact on sleeping through the night. Stubborn, intense babies may be more likely to cling to their nighttime feedings and be reluctant to change their sleeping patterns.
- Babies with strong sleep associations may take longer to sleep through the night, simply because those sleep associations will take longer to overcome.
- Families who bed-share intentionally can usually expect their babies to sleep through the night later than babies who sleep in their own cribs or sidecar bassinets.
How To Help Your Baby Sleep Through The Night
If you know your baby is ready to sleep through the night – if she’s old enough, if she’s healthy, if you are confident that she is waking out of habit and not out of a need for nourishment – but she is still waking several times per night, then it might be time to consider sleep training. While it’s true that some babies will learn to sleep through the night on their own, without any help from mom and dad, many babies need a helping hand to get there. 😉 You can help your baby or toddler sleep through the night by weaning him away from his sleep associations and helping him learn to fall asleep without help from you. Then, you will be on your way to sleep-filled nights!
The thing is, this process (of un-learning sleep associations, and learning to fall asleep without help) is tough for some babies – and so, by extension, it’s tough for their moms and dads, too! If you have tried sleep coaching on your own, but with no luck, why not try a personalized consultation from The Baby Sleep Site®? Your consultation will allow you to work one-on-one with an expert sleep consultant. Your consultant will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your family, walk you through each step of implementing the plan at home, and then will support you throughout the process.
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to log in and get started right away – no waiting!
Have any ‘sleep through the night’ tips or insights to share? Questions about how and when your baby will sleep through the night? Share them below, and join the conversation!
Our Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
If you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
For those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.