When will my baby “sleep through the night"?

For infants, “sleeping through the night” means they sleep at least six uninterrupted hours. This can include a brief wake-up, but one where they typically self-settle and return to sleep.

There’s no “normal” for babies under four months. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Association of Sleep Medicine (AASM) have not made a recommendation for babies under four months because of the high variability in sleep needs and patterns, so a lot of your experience with your newborn will depend on the baby themselves! At this age, the circadian rhythm has not been regulated, meaning that a baby may struggle to understand the difference between day and night. Hormones like melatonin only begin to be produced around week 11, which will help regulate their sleep-wake patterns.

Above the six-month threshold, your child might be ready. One study revealed that about 62% of 6-month-olds were sleeping through the night, and that number increased to more than 72% by 12 months. If your baby does not “sleep through the night” by 12 months, this is still completely normal behavior and you should always discuss any concerns with your pediatrician.

But there are things you can do to support infants in sleeping through the night.

  • Habits: What happens during the daytime and in the hours before bedtime affects nighttime sleep for babies. Consider a bedtime routine that includes putting your baby to bed while sleepy but not deeply asleep. 
  • Feeding: Hungry babies have a harder time sleeping, so make sure your baby isn’t going to bed hungry.
  • Environment: Babies need to sleep in a quiet, dark room at night. 
  • Soothing: Comforting our children at night can help them learn that sleep and nighttime are safe and secure places. You can start by touching your baby’s head or rubbing their back or belly to try to calm them and let them know you are nearby. If they are still upset, picking up and rocking your child to return them to feeling calm and safe will put them back into a parasympathetic state, which is ideal for sleeping. 
  • Sleep training: There are a variety of methods to get your baby comfortable sleeping several hours through the night on their own or put themselves back to sleep if waking.

 

This article has been reviewed by our team of experts.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article does not constitute medical advice. If you have concerns about any health or medical condition, diagnosis, or treatment you should consult with your pediatrician or a licensed healthcare provider.

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