When you have a newborn baby, it can sometimes feel like you’re never going to get a full night’s rest again. With baby waking up to be fed every two to three hours, it doesn’t seem like they’re really sleeping sixteen hours per day or more. There really isn’t much you can do to get more sleep other than join them for a couple of short naps during the day, at least not for now.
So, when will your little one finally start getting on to a regular sleep schedule? While there are a few things you can try to start molding your baby’s sleeping habits from the time she is about four months old, the real answer to this question is that your baby will sleep through the night when she’s good and ready to. Not before.
Every baby is different. If you talk to any group of parents about when their babies started sleeping through the night, you will get answers ranging from “almost since she was born” (they’re lying, don’t worry) to “not until she was almost two years old.”
Don’t go crazy yet, though, thinking that you’re in for two years of sleepless nights. Most babies will start making strides towards sleeping through the night when they’re about four months old. When you start feeding them solid foods (generally somewhere between four and six months), they will usually have a much easier time staying asleep for longer periods because they won’t become hungry as quickly.
While babies won’t start sleeping through the night until they’re ready to, there are a few things you can do to tilt the board in your favor. There’s no guarantee that any of these things will make your baby sleep through the night, but they will help encourage her to do so if she’s ready:
- Start a bed time routine. A favorite story book or song may be part of your routine, or spending a few minutes in the rocking chair with baby before laying her down to sleep. It doesn’t really matter what you do, but do it the same way every night.
- Give baby a good feeding shortly before bed time. It’s a good idea to give baby a helping of rice cereal or other solid food an hour or so before bedtime if you’ve started her on solids. Even if baby isn’t eating solid foods yet, you can give her a nice long feeding before laying her down.
- Bath time before bed. Some babies relax after taking a bath. Of course, others get overly excited, so whether or not you should give your baby a nice warm bath before bedtime really depends on your baby’s temperament.