Consider your baby’s sleep as their ‘sleep nutrition’, an essential part of their mental, cognitive, physical and emotional development. As mothers, we all go through sleepless nights, where your baby just won’t let you sleep more than an hour or two at a stretch. And we all wonder as to when our baby will learn to sleep all night, without waking up for food or nappy change. Let us explain you this.
When Do Babies Sleep Through The Night?
For those who believe that bigger babies and babies that eat solids sleep better, we have some contradictory news. Your baby learns to sleep well and throughout the night as they grow. Their age is an indicator of good sleep, as opposed to their size and diet. Generally, your baby will learn to sleep well once they have crossed their first birthdays. Also, this is roughly the time when your baby will fall back to sleep on their own even when they wake up during the night without needing to be rocked or held.
Why Babies Wake Up At Night?
Since all babies are different, some babies are great sleepers and sleep through the night, while some babies are light sleepers and wake up often during the night. Some of the most common reasons as to why babies wake up at night are:
- Hunger: Well, this goes without saying. Although your baby might seem full and fall asleep almost immediately after feeding, they may or may not sleep through the night. This is because sleeping through the night means sleeping a good 12-13 hours, which is highly unlikely for a little baby to do. Once they have passed urine, their little stomachs become empty, and they wake up crying
- Sleep prop or sleep association: Your baby might need some props such as the corner of a scarf, pacifier, milk bottle, the mother’s nipple while breastfeeding to fall asleep. Some babies might need to be rocked, swaddled, bounced, walked, sung or taken for a ride in the car seat to fall asleep. Some babies with high needs require being rocked and bottle-fed to sleep. There are some who only need a reassuring touch of the parent to sleep tight. These associations might last a few months, but do not be surprised if your baby takes longer to get over the sleep prop phase
- Teething: Most babies wake up crying from much before their tiny teeth make an appearance. And this could go on for a good couple of months as babies experience pain and are generally uneasy and queasy during their teething phase. Babies who are great sleepers also wake up for about a week while they are teething
- Milestones: During their first year, babies grow so fast that their developmental milestones are quite apparent. However, there could be times when you would wonder if your child is growing. In reality, they are growing exponentially during this phase and are learning a lot more than they can comprehend. This is the time when they wake up, one or more times, during the night. In fact, sometimes they wake up crying and leave you exhausted before they fall asleep again.
Also, not all days are the same. While as adults we struggle to maintain our schedules and routines, it must certainly be difficult for babies to control things such as hunger and sleep which are much beyond their control. So, it is wise to expect your baby to sleep through the night on certain days and wake up multiple number of times on others
5 Useful Tips To Help Babies Sleep Through The Night
Here are some simple tricks to get your little angel to sleep through the night:
- Cut the prop out: Wean the baby off the sleep prop as early as you can. The reason behind this is simple – as your baby drops or loses the prop while they are asleep, they wake up often, given their dependence on the prop. The earlier you get your child to sleep without the prop, the earlier will they learn to sleep well, without any aid, and peacefully
- Fewer naps during daytime: Limit their naps during the day. When your baby sleeps well during the day, they refuse to sleep early or well during the night. Hence, engage with your child and play with them a little longer during the day
- White noise or music: Use white noise or a soft humming noise as an indicator of sleep time or bedtime. The earlier you prime your baby to this noise. You can replace white noise with some soft music playing on a loop
- A bedtime routine: You can help soothe your baby to sleep by following a consistent and set bedtime routine. A warm water bath, a good happy feed, some baby talk, a change of diapers and clothes, a warm cuddle, and so on are some simple ways to help your baby recognize bedtime
- Shorter soothing ritual: While you certainly like to hold, cuddle and soothe your baby for a long time before they fall asleep, consider restricting yourself to about a few minutes. Try to put your baby to bed while they are drowsy but still awake. This will soon cut their dependence on you to fall asleep
It will certainly take some trial and error, and some getting used to for both, the baby and you. But the earlier you start, the earlier will they learn. Some persistence, patience and time will help you and your baby sleep through the night!
How did you make your baby sleep through the night? When did your baby start sleeping through the night? Do share your tips in the comments section below.