It may seem counter-intuitive to wake your baby up to try to get him to sleep better, but that’s exactly what many experts recommend that you do. Many babies will sleep through the night better if they are not allowed to sleep as long during the daytime.
In that sense, babies aren’t much different than adults. Our bodies all need a certain amount of sleep. If we are wakened before we’ve slept long enough, we are going to get tired sooner. Of course, as adults, we only need about eight hours of sleep per night, while babies need considerably more.
Most babies will sleep for about 14-16 hours per day, total. While they should be taking 2-3 naps per day, those naps don’t need to be more than a couple of hours each. Don’t be afraid to wake your baby up. Trust us on this one, if she’s taking long naps during the day, it only makes sense that she won’t sleep as long during the night.
Of course, newborn babies won’t sleep more than 2-4 hours at a time, night or day. You shouldn’t expect them to. The reason they wake up so often is because they need to eat. There’s no point in even trying to train your baby’s sleeping habits until she’s at least three or four months old.
As babies get older, though, their stomachs get bigger and they are able to eat enough to stay satisfied for longer periods of time. Once your baby is four months old, you should be able to start training her to sleep through the night.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that your baby will immediately start sleeping eight hours at a time overnight. She won’t, and even if she did, it wouldn’t be healthy for her. It does mean, though, that you should be able to mold her sleeping schedule somewhat. And the best way to do that is to keep her awake a little more during the daytime.
This won’t completely stop your baby from waking up at night hungry, but it should narrow it down to once or, at most, twice per night. Make sure to give your baby a good feeding before bedtime, as this will help her to sleep better, too.