Sleeping through the Night

Every new parent goes through sleepless nights. One of the most common questions parents of newborns ask is, “How long will it be until she sleeps through the night?”

The good news is that she will eventually learn to sleep through the night. The bad news is that it’s not going to be for a while.

If you’re struggling through sleepless nights with your baby waking up every two or three hours, be encouraged: not only is this normal for babies, it’s healthy. In fact, if your newborn doesn’t wake up at least every four hours (on average), it’s cause for concern.

Why You Don’t Want Your Newborn Baby to Sleep Through the Night Yet

It’s not uncommon to hear new, young parents say something like, “She’s such a good baby, she sleeps right through the night.”

If the baby is much younger than four months, that’s not a good thing. Newborn babies need to eat every two to four hours until they’re at least four months old. If they’re not eating that frequently, they’re not getting adequate nutrition. Breastfed babies should be waking up every two to three hours, and formula fed babies should be waking up every two to four hours.

Training Your Baby to Sleep through the Night when She’s Ready

It may not seem like it now, but four months will go by quickly. You should notice towards the end of that time that your baby is able to sleep for increasingly longer periods. With the right training, most babies are able to sleep through the night (eight hours or more of continuous sleep) by the time they are six to seven months old.

Training your baby to sleep through the night is a matter of establishing routines. The more you can do to establish a bedtime routine, the better off you’ll be. Your pre-bedtime routine could include:

  • A warm bath
  • Singing a favorite bedtime song
  • Reading a book
  • Diaper change
  • Feeding
  • Talking/Chatting with baby
  • Rocking
  • Bedtime prayers

These are just a few ideas that you could include before bedtime. Ideally, you should do them in the same general order every night. The more familiar the routine becomes to your baby, the more she will recognize that it’s time to go to sleep. Routines help babies relax, helping them to start sleeping through the night.