New parents long for the first time their baby will sleep through the night. After all, it is often a parent’s #1 sleep goal. Babies need 14 to 17 hours of sleep each day so you would think it would be easy. Unfortunately, it can often seem impossible! In this post, learn when babies sleep through the night naturally and how to help your baby sleep better based on my experience as a sleep consultant of over 15 years.
What Is Sleeping Through The Night?
Medically speaking, a baby is “sleeping through the night” when they sleep for 5 hours without waking. And, most babies can sleep through the night using this definition by 3 to 4 months old.
However, most parents don’t care as much about when their baby sleeps until midnight!
They care about when they can put the baby down at an age-appropriate bedtime, sleep all night themselves, and see their baby’s smiling face in the morning.
The age your baby can truly sleep through the night will depend on a variety of factors. These include age, whether they are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, medical issues such as reflux, and any developmental leaps. Let’s explore further.
When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night for 11-12 hours?
Keep in mind that there is a difference between your baby waking at night for age-appropriate feedings versus waking every 2 hours. We expect night feedings but not excessive waking at any age past 6 weeks old.
Babies are sometimes developmentally capable of sleeping through the night for 11-12 hours at night as young as 4 months old. But the average age is 6 months old. Breastfeeding babies often nurse once at night until 6 to 10 months old, sometimes longer. While Formula-fed babies tend to night-wean completely by 4 to 6 months old.
Can newborns sleep through the night?
No, newborns won’t sleep through the night nor should they because they have to eat frequently. Please review our Newborn Schedules by Week for more information.
Can 2-3 month olds sleep through the night?
Most 2-3 month olds can sleep in one long stretch of 3-5 hours and then wake every 3 hours, on average, after that. Some formula-fed babies will sleep in one 5-8-hour stretch. These babies are very good sleepers who take larger than average bottles for their age.
Can 4 month olds sleep through the night?
Some formula-fed 4 month olds are capable of sleeping 11-12 hours at night but most breastfeeding babies do not. Most breastfeeding 4 month olds will wake 2-3 times a night for a feeding.
Regardless of what type of milk a 4 month old gets, if your baby is going through the 4 month sleep regression, your baby is likely waking very frequently at night. Be sure to check out our 20 Crucial Tips to get through it.
Will 5-6 month olds sleep through the night?
Yes! Some 5-6 month olds will sleep through the night, especially formula-fed babies. This is a common age for many babies to begin sleeping a glorious 11-12 hours at night.
How to Help Your Baby Sleep Longer Naturally
Sign Up and download 5 No-Cry Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, a free e-Book by The Baby Sleep Site® today!
Of course, every baby is different! There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to a baby’s sleep. But, there are averages. The chart below is designed to give you an idea about your baby’s sleep so you can set appropriate expectations. You know your baby best and always consult your pediatrician to get the all-clear that your baby is ready to go all night without eating.
Average Baby Night Sleep Stretches By Age
|Age||Breastfeeding Baby’s Longest Stretch of Sleep||Formula-Fed Baby’s Longest Stretch of Sleep|
|0-2 months||2-3 Hours||2-3 Hours|
|3-4 months||5-6 Hours||5-8 Hours|
|5-6 months||5-8 Hours||8-12 Hours|
|7-9 months||8-10 Hours||10-12 Hours|
|10-12 months||10-12 Hours||11-12 Hours|
|Toddlers||11-12 Hours||11-12 Hours|
You may also want to review our Baby Night Feedings Chart so you can see at-a-glance how many night feedings to expect at various ages.
Here are more details by age as well as links to sample schedules:
- Newborns need to wake every 2-3 hours to eat, so you should expect newborn babies to wake every few hours at night. This is normal – newborns need to eat frequently in order to grow and develop properly.
- 4 month old babies who are breastfed will need to eat 2-3 times during the 12-hour night stretch, but most 4 month olds can make it for one 5-hour stretch without eating at night. Formula-fed 4 month olds may have fewer nighttime feeds.
- 5 month – 6 month old babies who are breastfed will need 1-2 feedings during the 12-hour night stretch. Most babies this age can make it for at least one 5-hour stretch without eating. Formula-fed 5-6 month olds may wake less often for night feedings, and some formula-fed babies will be ready to night-wean by 6 months old.
- 7 month old babies who breastfeed may need 1 (possibly 2) feedings during the 12-hour night stretch. Babies at this age can generally do one 6-7 hour stretch without feeding at night. Formula-fed 7-month-olds will likely wake once per night if at all.
- 8 month – 9 month old babies who are breastfed may need 1 feeding during the 12-hour night stretch. Babies at this age can generally go for at least 8 hours without feeding at night. Some may be able to sleep 9 or 10-hour stretches without waking to feed. If your baby is still waking to feed by 9 months, we usually recommend an attempt at night weaning. Formula-fed babies are generally night-weaned by this point.
- 10 month, 11 month, and 12 month old babies who are breastfed can generally sleep at least 10 hours at night without feedings. Many are able to make it 12 hours without waking to eat. However, remember that it is still very normal for a 10-12 month old baby to wake once at night to feed, so if your baby still needs one night feeding at this age, don’t worry about it. 🙂 Formula-fed 10-12 month old babies will likely be able to sleep closer to 12 straight hours at night.
When Will Your Baby Sleep Through The Night?
All of the averages listed above can be helpful in providing a snapshot of a baby’s sleep patterns, but it still doesn’t answer your most pressing question: “When will my baby sleep through the night as in 11-12 hours?” 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.
Formula-fed babies tend to sleep through the night without any night feedings by 6 months old while breastfeeding babies tend to sleep through the night sometime between 6 and 10 months old.
There are some things to keep in mind as you try to predict when your baby will sleep through the night:
- Premature babies may sleep through the night later than full-term babies. Babies born prematurely generally need a bit more time to catch up with developmental milestones.
- Babies with health issues (particularly health issues that involve weight gain problems) may take longer to sleep through the night.
- Babies with strong sleep associations may take longer to sleep through the night, simply because those sleep associations will take longer to overcome. You will likely want to teach your baby healthy sleep habits. Healthy sleep habits can help your baby get through her sleep cycles without sleep associations that involve you.
- Temperament has a big impact on night sleep, too. Stubborn, intense babies may be more likely to cling to their nighttime feedings and be reluctant to change their sleeping patterns.
- Families who bed-share intentionally can usually expect their babies to sleep through the night later than babies who sleep in their own sleep spaces.
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. It’s true that some babies will learn to sleep through the night on their own, without any help from mom and dad. But many babies need a helping hand to get there. 😉 You can help your baby or toddler sleep through the night by weaning them away from sleep associations and helping them learn to fall asleep without help from you. Then, you will be on your way to sleep-filled nights!
You May Also Be Interested In
- Sleep Regressions – Learn everything you need to know about sleep regressions
- Baby Night Feedings – Review our Baby Night Feedings Chart to determine how many night feedings you can expect. Includes info for breastfeeding or formula-feeding babies.
- Reasons for Night-Waking – Learn the Top 15 Reasons Your Baby Wakes at Night
11 thoughts on “When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night? & How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Longer!”
My son just turned 6 months today. We started sleep training two nights ago and he slept “all night” for us. So proud of him. The only problem is the timing. Somehow over the months our schedule has become off. He goes down for bedtime as late as 1am. Sometimes it’s closer to 12:30am. The earliest he’s ever done was 10:30pm/11. I know that the time is way too late, I just don’t know how to push it back and still feed him 4 times a day like he’s used to. He is formula fed. Any advice would be much appreciated. I don’t want to go about 6 months like this.
@Jessica – Thank you for reading and for sharing! Early waking and “too late” bedtimes are super common issues we help parents with, so you’re not alone t here. As he starts sleeping better with his sleep coaching, it should get easier for you to start working on shifting his bedtime earlier. Check out this e-book we have designed just for Shifting Your Child’s Schedule once they are sleeping independently – https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-waking-too-early/ It sounds like just what you need! Hang in there, Jessica!
My (breastfed) 6.5 month old son is now sleeping roughly 8pm – 3am, waking to feed (for 30-40 mins), then going back to sleep until around 7am. He has however started feeding more in the evening eg 2 quite long feeds, one before his solid dinner at 6.30pm (started baby led weaning 3 weeks ago) and one at around 7.30pm before he goes to sleep. It seems he is filling his tummy for the night!
So while he’s not sleeping the whole night, I am quite happy with this schedule as he’s now in a full size cot in his own room, so I am only getting up and out of bed once in the night.
Just one question about naps: baby always has a long nap over lunch; typically 2 hours 11.30am-1.30pm or 12-2pm either in his cot (if at home) or in his pushchair (seat laid back & sleepshade on) if we’re out. But it can often be difficult to get him to have another nap later. I usually try to get him to nap from 4.30/5pm for 45 mins – 1 hour.
If he won’t nap and it gets to 6pm, I give him his dinner & put him to bed earlier. Would it be better to be stricter re the 2nd nap and if so, any tips? For at home naps, he is in his cot in a sleeping bag with curtains drawn, white noise app on & he has a sleep toy to cuddle as he falls asleep. NB: absence of 2nd nap doesn’t seem to affect his night sleep if I put him to bed earlier.
@Rebecca – Thank you for reading and for sharing! Great news to hear that your little guy is sleeping so well overall! 🙂 It’s definitely common for a baby his age to take 2-4 naps for a TOTAL of 2-3 hours per day regardless of when they happen. Check out our 6-month old sample schedule here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/6-month-old-baby-schedule/ Hang in there, Rebecca!
My son is almost 12 months old. For the past 3+ weeks he’s been up 3 times at night. Before this he would sleep about an 8 hour stretch. Yes he’s teething and in a leap and getting over sickness. I have been trying to settle him without feeding him at least for the first waking. All in all I’m shattered. It’s been a year of little sleep for me (and for all other mommas too I’m sure).
Here’s my question – with that trifecta of teeth, leap and cold, do I sleep train or ride it out?
@ Heather – awesome question 🙂 Generally, we advise that people sleep train when conditions are “optimal” – that is, when your baby is feeling healthy, when you have a few weeks of schedule normalcy, etc. However, we also fully recognize that it can be rare to find two or three “normal”, healthy weeks in which to sleep train when your baby is this age! So, that said, if YOU feel ready, then there’s no reason you can’t start laying the groundwork now.
We suggest doing a few things before you start sleep training; you can read those recommendations here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/5-things-to-do-before-sleep-training/ You can start doing those thing snow.
Additionally, we usually recommend that you spend a few days, or up to a week, doing the following:
A great way to spend the next week would be to tackle the items above; by the time you’re done, your little guy may be feeling much better, and you will have laid the necessary groundwork for successful sleep coaching!
Best of luck to you and to your family, Heather 🙂
I am really having a struggle with my 8 month old. She is my 3rd child, and my other 2 seemed to do this better at an earlier age. Part of the “problem” is that I am still room sharing with her, eventually she will move in with big sister who is 3, but she herself has troubles staying asleep, though she soothes back pretty well now. So my little 8 month old gets up usually twice a night, and she isn’t eating much, so I don’t think she is “hungry” but she will not settle back until I nurse her. She will go down at 7 and then wake at 10, or 3 hours after she falls asleep. I put her in bed awake, so she knows how to go back on her own. If I do not feed her at this 3 hour mark, she screams for over an hour and then settles, but wakes every 45 minutes until I finally feed her. Then she will go usually 4 hours, eat again and settle, I have the same issues if I don’t just feed her. She won’t eat much, usually for about 5 to maybe 10 minutes. Then she will usually go 4 to 5 hours before she is up for the day. I am very anxious to get her transitioned into sister’s room, my husband is on the couch for now until we get this worked out. He is a loud snorer and would wake her even more often. I was trying to wait until she was theaned or trained before moving her so that it doesn’t cause major disruptions to 3 year old’s sleep. I am pretty tired by the end of the day and feel like I am no good to anyone this way. Help!!!
@ Desiree Sturdevant – Is your 8 month old normally a good sleeper? Are the problems you’re currently facing pretty out of the ordinary? If so, then you may be dealing with the sleep regression that happens around 8/9/10 months. You can read more about it here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-sleep-patterns/8-9-10-month-old-baby-sleep-regression/
However, if she’s never slept well and this is normal for her, then you’re right – the problem may be that she’s just deeply into the “groove” of waking up twice per night, and when you try to skip one of those feedings, she protests. This is very normal – but it’s definitely exhausting, I know!!
Have you downloaded our free guide yet? It offers 5 tips you can use to help gently teach your baby to sleep through then night. That may be a great next step for you. You can find the free guide here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-sleep-through-night-free-ebook/
Hope this helps, Desiree! Thanks 🙂
@ Cee – I LOVE this comment! Thanks so much for giving us this snapshot of what your baby’s sleep has been like for you. You’re so, so right; I think most parents get lulled into that false sense of security during the newborn stage, only to have that blown to bits when the 4 month regression kicks in!
Thanks again, Cee, for taking the time to comment and to encourage other moms. 🙂
@ Karen — good question! This is tricky to answer, honestly. I can say that the *average* 9 month old baby is able to make it 10-12 hours without eating at night, but that represents an average – may not represent your baby! There are babies who really do need to eat once during the night up to about 12 months of age. We generally encourage parents to attempt to night wean around 9 months, to see how it goes.
We have an article on signs it’s time to night wean which may be helpful to you: https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/baby-night-wean-3-signs/ Give that a read when you have time.
Thanks for commenting, Karen, and best of luck to you! 🙂
Thankyou to babysleepsite for the wealth of info you provide.
My son is 9 months next week and still doesn’t seem to be able to manage more then 7 hours before a feed. He was breastfed until 6 months but is
now formula fed. He falls asleep independently at both nighttime and naps and doesn’t have any sleep associations that I’m aware of.
How do I know if he is still waking out of habit or because he is hungry?
I’ve tried to not feed him at night but he just crys and crys until he has a bottle and will generally happily go back to sleep for 3-4 hours.
Am I expecting too much or is he just a really hungry baby ( he eats a lot of solids during the day)?
Do the hungry baby or nighttime milks help in this area?
My son is 12m3wk old, and most nights he technically sleeps through the night, but still wakes up once, sometimes twice. He started sleeping 5 hr stretches at 7 weeks, and I remember thinking, ‘this is great , by the time I go back to work (at 4 months) I might be having 6/7/8 hour stretches’ I was so wrong! At 4 months he regressed to waking up every hour/2hours and he kept this up till I started sleep training him basically. I wanted to do it earlier, but my husband would always say ‘just feed him’ when he cried at night, so I only managed to start at 9 months, after taking hubby with to the nurse so he could hear for himself that baby can go without feeding for 5 hours at least. So I began with sleep training, and it’s been tough, but at least now we’re down to one night feed, and I want to wean him completely, but as usual hubby is on the baby’s side. Thanks for this website, it helped me work up the nerve to just get started!
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