Sometime between four and nine months old, our babies reach that point where they are able to sleep for five to six hours at a time, giving us the opportunity for some much deserved rest of our own. But, for many moms, sleeping through the night just isn’t that easy after spending several months waking up two or three times every night.
Many mothers report waking up in a near panic when they realize their baby has been asleep for more than four hours. It’s perfectly natural to wonder if something is wrong, especially if your baby has been in the habit of waking up several times during the night before now. If it makes you feel better, sit beside the crib and watch baby sleep for a while. Then, take a deep breath and go back to bed. He’ll wake up soon enough.
If you find yourself worrying too much about baby when he starts sleeping through the night, it can actually be worse for your rest than when he was waking up regularly. Consider moving his crib so that you can watch him while he sleeps. That way, when you wake up, you won’t need to get out of bed to check on your baby.
Placing baby’s crib where you can see each other often helps baby soothe himself back to sleep, too. Babies and adults both go through light and deep sleep cycles, and actually wake up briefly many times during a typical sleep session. If baby is able to see you, he will be able to soothe himself to sleep more often, leading to a better night’s sleep for both of you.
Take advantage of the extra sleep while you’re able to get it. Even if you find yourself unable to actually go back to sleep, lie down and keep resting. In most cases, when baby starts sleeping through the night, you only have a short time until he starts teething. And once that starts, he will most likely be waking up in the middle of the night again, at least temporarily.
Most of all, don’t worry about baby sleeping for longer stretches of time. By the time he is four or five months old, his stomach and digestive system have developed enough that he is able to eat larger amounts at a setting (you’ve probably already noticed this), which means that he doesn’t get hungry as often. Since hunger and the need to feed is what wakes babies more than anything else, he is now old enough to sleep for longer periods of time because he doesn’t feel hungry as quickly.