Sleeping Through The Night - When Will It Start?


Before we can talk about when a child will sleep through the night, we need to know what I mean when I say sleeping through the night.


How long is sleeping through the night?
If you search around you'll find anywhere from 5 -12 hours considered sleeping through the night for a baby. I have no idea where the 5 hour definition came from but it seems to be the more scientific definition. I think it is insane. What baby only needs 5 hours sleep? They need closer to 12 hours (well, 10-13, depending on the child). The only reason I can think people use this definition is to make people feel better sooner about their baby sleeping through the night.

Then there's the common 8 hour definition you'll find. I think this has come about because this is how much sleep most adults need. Babies are not miniature adults--they need more than 8 hours. Yes, it is great if they are sleeping at the same time as you and as long as you, but it is not how much sleep they need.

So how do I define a baby sleeping through the night for the purpose of this blog? 10-13 hours, or 12 hours for children over a few months of age, 11-12 hours before that. AND this is consolidated sleep without any feeds. That means no wakings outside of the normal short arousals that all people have during which baby can put himself back to sleep. And maybe some wakings that pop up now and again during developmental and environmental changes.

When will my child start sleeping through the night?
This is such a hard question to answer because so much of it depends on how you do things (yes, I do think you can do something about it. I don't think the only thing you can do is sit back and wait for it to happen, whether it takes 2 months or 6 years.) as well as your child's own personal characteristics. Some children, despite what you do will sleep through the night almost as soon as they are home from the hospital. Other children will take much longer, even if you do "everything right". They are their own little people. The sooner you decide to be OK with this the sooner things will be easier, I promise.

Even though every child varies in how they do things, it is still nice for many people to have some sort of average to look at. It is nice to know when to expect sleep to lengthen and it is nice to know if your child is possibly waking more than he really needs at a certain age.

Depending on where you look and what parenting method you look at you'll get all kinds of different averages. Some will tell you that 12 hours by 12 weeks is very possibly and healthy while other people will tell you it is normal for your child to wake multiple times at night for years. I am more for having children (particularly mine ;) sleep through the night at an early age. I need my sleep to function like a half decent human being and I know many other people are the same. I feel that a child can sleep through the night at a relatively early age and be healthy and happy so I encourage them to do so.

When does the average child sleep through the night?
From my experience, people who do not actively encourage longer periods of sleep in babies are more likely to have a child sleeping through the night at a later age. So, I believe the average age for all children sleeping through the night is somewhat above what it is for those babies whose parents are encouraging longer sleep periods at night.

Here are some statistics from a study at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand:
*Most babies start to consolidate sleep around 3 months
*Over 50% sleep 5 hours at 3 months 
*Over 50% sleep 8 hours at 5 months 
*1/3 aren't sleeping 8 hours by 12 months

What do I aim for?
I work to have a child sleep as long as he is capable (assuming he is healthy and sleeping a reasonable amount). I like to see at least 8 hours (or one night feed) by 12 weeks (it often comes sooner though) and progress from there. There may be one feed at night until 7/8 months, but usually this is dropped sooner.


How many Night Wakings/Feeds and for  how long?           
Age
How many hours straight at night (longest stretch—others may be shorter)?
How many night feeds? (from 7pm-7am, not including the 7 am/7pm feeds)
Birth - 6 weeks
Baby eats every 2-5 hours
Lots! Baby eats every 2-5 hours
2 months
5 + (fingers crossed!)
1-3 feeds
3 months
5-10 hours (some babies will sleep more)
1-2 feeds
4 months
8-12 hours
0-1 feeds
5 months
8-12 hours
0-1 feeds
6 months
8-12 hours
0-1 feeds
7 months
8-12 hours
0-1 feeds
8 months
8-12 hours
0-1 feeds
9 months
11-12 hours
0 feeds
10 months
11-12 hours
0 feeds
11 months
11-12 hours
0 feeds
12 months
11-12 hours
0 feeds
12-18 months
It’s time to stop feeding at night J
0 feeds
18-24 months
It’s REALLY time to stop feeding at night J
0 feeds
How many and how long to do night feeds is VERY debatable. Some people suggest stopping all night feeds by 12 weeks and others suggest keeping multiple night feeds for years. I’ve come up with this list after working with hundreds of parents (possibly thousands at this point) over the years and after talking to some pediatricians.  I haven’t met a healthy, well growing baby yet that can’t happily have all night feeds dropped by 9 months (often before) so I feel confident drawing the line here. 


Average time children sleep through the night from various "experts" while using their methods (when applicable)
  • Ferber states by 3-4 months most six month old babies should be able to sleep through the night. He doesn't say how long sleeping through the night is (at least I couldn't find it) but my guess is that he's going by 5 hours.
  • Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. A newborn's longest period of sleep (which is hopefully at night) is usually around 4-5 hours. "After three or four months of age, all children can begin to learn to sleep well" (p 11). Sleep extends to 9 hours around 4 months (research shows this does not have to do with introduction of solids). There is usually a disappearance of night wakings for a feeding around 9 months of age (p 14). Long sleep periods (reasonable of course and with a healthy baby) do not deprive baby of adequate breast milk but you should always be keeping tabs with your doctor on baby's health (p 17).
  • The Baby Whisperer says that most babies will wake twice a night for a feed for the first six weeks (or three times if you include the dreamfeed). By 4-6 months most babies can make it from dreamfeed (10-11 pm) to morning. Babies usually start sleeping aproximately 12 hours when you drop the dreamfeed around 7-8 months.
  • Gina Ford says most babies still need 5th feeding until weaned at 6 months, some until around 7 months (p 43). After the 5th feeding is dropped, they will have 4 during the day and none at night.
  • Babywise states that on average babies sleep 7-8 hours at night by 7-9 weeks and 9-12 hours by 3-5 months. It encourages you to not let our child go longer than 5 hours at night without a feeding before 4 weeks and your baby under 9 weeks go no longer than 9-10 hours at night without a feeding if you are breastfeeding, or 11 hours at night if he is bottle-fed.
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Pantley considers sleeping through the night to be 5 hours. She is more for the attachment parenting approach which generally is fine with, even encourages, babies to continue to wake at night for feeds or comfort for several months to years. Pantley says that waking up once or twice at night for the first two years of life is totally normal and that a child up to nine months of age may need these feedings (rather than just want them for food) and that some children up to a year will still feed hungry every 4 hours and want a feed (p 49).  She also states that "most babies awaken two to three times a night up to six months, and once or twice a night up to one year; some awaken once a night from one to two years old" (p 50).
  • Sleeping Through the Night - "The rule of thumb is that by six months all babies are physically capable of sleeping through the night, with most being able to do so at a younger age" (p 22). She says that babies usually start to sleep through the night around 8 weeks old but she doesn't say how long sleeping through the night is (although I'm guessing she means 5 hours).
  • The Baby Sleep Solutions - She considers sleeping through the night in healthy children as twelve hours by twelve weeks (using her methods, of course).

  If your baby isn't sleeping through the night by the "expected" times, you can consider doing the following:
  • Make sure your baby is not sleeping too much during the day. 
  • Wait a few weeks. The above "expected times" are averages, that's all. Every baby is different. Some simply take longer to sleep through the night.
  • Help your baby distinguish night from day
  • Have a good sleep environment (see index for multiple posts on this)
  • Consider doing the eat/wake/sleep cycle.
  • Help your baby drop a night time feed. Check with your pediatrician before trying this to make sure your baby is old enough and healthy enough to do this. First off, keep track of your child's awakenings. Often if he is waking up at the same time each night he is waking up habitually and doesn't really need the feed. If he is waking up at various times, there could be multiple reasons, needing or wanting to eat being one of them. See the night waking post for more.
  • Teach your child to fall asleep and put himself back to sleep following awakenings all by himself. See top sleep tips and various sleep training tips in the index for more on this.

Some Extra Stuff
  • Breastfeeding moms need to be mindful of their milk supply. Some moms are able to go longer at night than others without compromising their milk supply.
  • Always be mindful of your baby's healthy status by monitoring his weight, input and out put and by following the directions of your Pediatrician.
  • Once again, although I believe you can help encourage a child to sleep through the night, they are their own little selves and will still vary when they are capable of doing this.
  • Some children take some time to sleep through the night consistently. It isn't uncommon for a child's sleep to go back and forth for a while before it settles on the longer sleeping period.
  • Please don't connect being a good parent with having a child sleep through the night at an early age. They are not one in the same.

What about my kids?
Knowing what my kids have done is only so helpful because they are such a small sample group but I will mention it anyway since a lot of people ask. I used the Eat/Wake/Sleep routine and 4 S Routine along with some gentle ST methods (offered a pacifier if baby had recently eaten or if baby didn't seem very hungry, waited before rushing in to see if baby would fully wake for a feed or go back to sleep in a minute) to encourage longer sleep at night with my kids. One thing to note is that my babies are big babies and that I have exclusively breastfed each of them past a year with no supply issues--see breastfeeding and routine for more on this. I got all the dates from the journal I keep for my kids that I mentioned here. There is no way I'd be able to remember this!

My oldest, Joshua, slept 8 hours for the first time at 7 weeks old. By 10 weeks he consistently slept 8 hours. Within a week he had moved to consistently sleeping 10-11 hours at night. He slept 12 hours right before turning 4 months old but not consistently until 5 months old when I dropped the dreamfeed for good (I was too nervous to completely drop it before this time ;)

I didn't do a dreamfeed with Jacob. He slept 8 hours for the first time at 5 weeks old. But this didn't get consistent for several weeks. He slept 12 hours for the first time at 3.5 months. At 4.5 months he slept 11-12 hours most of the time but he wasn't totally consistent with 12 hours until around 8 months of age.

31 comments :

  1. I have a question about my baby who is almost 6 months next Thursday (26weeks now). Lately we've seemed to figure out morning nap. She has 2.15 of waketime and sleeps 1.45-2 hr nap. Then I do the same wake time for her second nap and she starts crying after 45 minutes, and doesn't fall back asleep. Then later in the day she's super crabby and ends up falling asleep later in a carseat or stroller if we're out. Makes me think nap is short as she's crabby and falls asleep later.(Shes been on a 4 hr schedule and 2 naps for awhile now). She's still waking at night once usually around 4/5am and then again at 745-8 for when we start the day. My first baby slept through the night at 4 months 8-8 so it's been a hard adjustment. Any advice is much welcomed and needed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Garrett and Denise,
      See if extending the waketime before the afternoon nap helps. If not, then see if shortening the first nap a tad helps. Some kids need a short little nap in the evening at this age but if you've been off of one for a while, an early bedtime would likely help out if she's crabby in the evening. Don't be afraid to do an hour early plus if needed.

      Delete
  2. Help! My 13 week old daughter is all over the place with her sleep habits. Up until about 10 weeks, she was waking every 3-4 hours at night to nurse (she's EBF). Around the 10 week mark, she went through a bad spell and was waking up every 1-2 hours (sometimes to eat, sometimes just waking, etc.) . We went out of town that weekend where her overall schedule got completely thrown off and when we came home on Sunday night, she did FABULOUS! Slept from 8pm to 4am and then until 7:30. She did this for about a week, which was amazing! After that week of "wonderful" sleep for everyone, she started regressing. For the last two weeks she's had only 1 or 2 "good" nights with the 8-4-7:30 schedule. The rest of the nights are going down around 8:30 and then up somewhere between 12:30 - 2:30, then back up again around 4, then stirring (and sometimes waking and needing to get up) between 5:30 - 6:30. We are really struggling!


    At the 12:30 - 2:30 wakings, she refuses to go back to sleep without nursing (she will rarely settle back down with just a pacifier), though she only nurses for a few minutes and then drifts back off to sleep fairly quickly (definitely NOT a full feeding!). I always feed her at the 4ish waking to encourage her to wake then (we really like the 8-4-7 schedule). At both feedings though, she's only nursing for a few minutes then drifting back off to sleep - never a full feeding at either (if she's up both times). If she's only up at 4, she takes a full feeding, goes back down easily and sleeps great until 7.

    We have a strict bedtime routine - upstairs at 7:30, bath time, nurse, stories, prayers, snuggles, and then we put her down. My husband and MIL (who helps care for her during the week) were always give her a paci to fall asleep, then taking it from her once she was down. We've stopped doing this to discourage a sleep association. We've repeatedly tried not nursing during the 12:30-2:30 wake ups, but have had no luck with that as she just screams until she nurses (or at a minimum, gets her paci).

    We are at a loss for what to do to try and help her sleep better. The frustrating part is that we KNOW she's capable of going an 8 hour stretch (and even with that, she doesn't wake up mad or starving - she patiently lets me change her before nursing when she sleeps until 4). But with the 12:30 - 2:30 wakings, she's inconsolable for the most part until she gets to nurse.

    Thank you in advance for any help/advice you can offer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shannon and Jimmy,
      You can try to slowly reduce how much you give at that feed, hold it off for several more minutes each night, try 'wake to sleep'
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/02/wake-to-sleep.html
      or if you feel confident she isn't really hungry (generally if she's nursing only a couple minutes, she isn't), then you can take an approach of not feeding her until the next feeding--no matter what. You have to be consistent with this (although moving the next feeding a bit closer at first is fine) and you will see changes relatively quickly. If you are offering a pacifier to skip the feeding, this will sometimes backfire and she'll keep waking for that, so if/when you get there, you can deal with weaning the pacifier then.

      Delete
  3. Chantal @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    My daughter was sleeping 8-9 hours a night from 6-12 weeks, and then suddenly was getting up 1-3 times a night! Now she is 6.5 months old and most nights only waking once for a feeding. I'm ok with this, because it's really only 15 minutes and she's back to sleep until morning, making it a total of 12 hours. I imagine she will stop doing this after awhile.

    Her naps are still 45 minutes long, and nothing has worked to extend them. So she's taking 3-4 naps a day at that length.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      Chantal,
      I imagine she will stop doing this after awhile. ---probably if you encourage good sleeping habits.

      Sorry about the short naps. I have a post on that but often they will still continue for a while despite what you do.

      Delete
  4. Sharon @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    This is nice to see someone clarify that sleeping through the night is not 5 or 8 hours for a baby or child. 10-13!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      haha. yes.

      Delete
  5. Michelle @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    hi,
    my little girl wakes at 4am every morning but she isnt hungry, hot/cold etc she just wakes up and then needs resettling as she cant do it by herself, Is there anything i can do she is 9 weeks old.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      Michelle,
      Time (age) will make a difference. At her age I'd continue to monitor her hunger then if she has gone a long time without a feed.
      You can look over the habitual waking post for tips and consider trying something like wake to sleep.
      Also look over the early morning waking post (not as useful at this age but can still be helpful)

      Good luck!
      Rachel

      Delete
  6. Rebeca @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    Hello Rachel
    My baby is 17months. He started sleeping through since he was two and a half months. We though we mastered! But by the time teething started (6months) he started to wake up and and since then he still hasn't slept one night though. We have tried the light, the dummy, let him cry out, but nothing seems to be working. My second baby is 6 weeks old and my husband and I are exhausted. Please, do you have any advice?thanks. Rebeca

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      Rebeca,
      I would pick a method that you feel comfortable doing and stick with it. I can almost guarantee that with enough perseverance, sleep will improve. It may take some time (and plenty of protesting at this age), but consider it a true possibility. Look over the sleep training posts for more.

      Rachel

      Delete
  7. Gray mommy @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    My DS is 5 weeks old. He will go down in his cot with just few minutes of fussing on his own.. But then only naps for 10 - 16 mins and wakes! Less than sleep cycle....The problem is he is still tired......and as day goes by, gets cranky. He will sleep longer if held. What is happening? How do you fix this? I also have a toddler to take care of. Thx!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      Gray mommy,
      Try swaddling and making sure his waketime isn't too long. Check out the posts on that. Actually, check out the post top sleep tips which has links to these posts in it as well as other useful info.

      Delete
  8. SMM @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    I find these averages very frustrating - my DD is 4.5 months old and still wakes 3-4 times at night - bed time is about 6-6:30pm she wakes at 9-9:30pm then I DF at 10-10:30pm and she usually then wakes around 1:30am, 4am and then 5am or 5:30am if I am lucky and will not go back to sleep. She takes a feed every time she wake.
    I can handle 2 feeds a night but the short intervals are really wearing me down - she sleeps in the same room as us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. mybabysleepguide @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      It's true SMM, These averages can be frustrating. But there are always outliers with different babies and different parenting methods. There are some steps you can take to try to lengthen sleep in the top sleep post and sleep training posts but that is up to you if you'd like to try them. Best of luck. Rachel

      Delete
  9. Amber @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    My baby was sleeping through the night until about 2 weeks ago. She is 14 weeks old. She started sleeping 8+ hours around 2 months and was sleeping 11+ hours consistently for about 2 weeks prior to this regression. She did catch a mild cold but now that is resolved and she is still waking up. She was great at falling asleep, now wakes up after 30 min or so and has to be put back to sleep, usually 2-3 times. No feeding at this time, just bouncing back to sleep. Then she is up after about 4 hours and won't go back to sleep without nursing. I did bounce her back to sleep one night but then she woke up 1 hour later and ate. Then she wakes up 2.5 hours later to eat, then once in the early morning again about 4 hours later. I am frustrated because I know she is developing poor night habits and I want to break them before they get really bad. Her naps are not great and we are really out of a rhythm right now. She was napping after being awake for 60-90 min and would sleep 20-40 min at a time throughout the day. Now her naps are all over the place. She has taken some long naps, most likely to make up for her poor night sleep, but today she had one hour long nap, one 45 min nap, one 25 min and one basically nothing nap (she kept startling herself and when I tried to soothe her she just woke up). I am going to try a dream feed tonight as I haven't been doing that and will start wake to sleep if we aren't getting anywhere. Any other suggestions?
    Sorry for the long post, I just want to be thorough. Any suggestions are appreciated!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide -Says...

      Amber,
      It sounds like she has a sleep prop problem, not a habitual waking problem which wake to sleep is used for. So I would work on trying to teach her to put herself to sleep without your help when she initially goes to sleep, �and upon wakings. The sleep training section has some things in it that may help you. You will probably have the most success weaning from feedings or moving them later and later then working on decreasing the waking (if it doesn't stop on it's own). Naps are pretty short. I'd look over the short nap post, extending nap post and waketime length post to see if there is any info there that may help you out.�

      Rachel

      Delete
  10. Amy @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    Hi there,

    I posted a question for you as well under daytime napping (I am currently having trouble getting my lil 12 week old to nap- at all!).. However, from the start she has been a 'good' nighttime sleeper.

    My question is pertaining to extending her nightime sleep?

    Here is our current routine...

    Before this week, I was starting her bedtime routine at 8pm (bath, feed, fall asleep in my arms) in bed at 9pm. This week I am trying to move her bedtime up earlier (so she gets closer to that 10-12hrs of nighttime sleep) - gradually starting her routine at 7pm (and then maybe even 6pm??) to have her in bed by 8pm (or 7pm??). Should I be getting her to bed at 7pm or is 8pm fine?

    Actually, if she is up at 7am and in bed at 7pm or 8pm what would the daytime nap routine look like for a 3 - 4 month old? Thanks!

    So currently, she was falling asleep no problem (in my arms) and waking at 4am for what I think is a dreamfeed.. then she is good til about 7am.

    Now that I have changed her schedule this week, she has been getting up at 2:30am for a feed, 4am (I think this might be habit) and then up for the day at 6:30am. Yikes!

    So, what do I do!? Haha...

    She is EBF and is growing at a very healthy weight. I am sure she is also using me as a pacifier (she can't figure out how to keep a soother in her mouth and other than shoving her entire fist into her mouth, she has been using me to sooth).

    Thanks for helping me correct my mistakes so far!
    Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      Amy,
      If she'll sleep fine 8-8, then that is OK. If she start trying to wake earlier, you might need to accept this and if she starts having sleep issues at night, you might need to consider moving bedtime earlier.

      Naps around 4 months are going to happen after about 1.5 hours waketime. So 7 wake, 8/8:30 nap (first waketime is usually shorter) for 1.5-2 hours. Then repeat. You may not have a nap right before bed and the waketime might be longer. I hope that made sense. You'll get more or less in depending on how long the naps are, but often your around 3 (maybe 4 going on 3).

      I'd work on weaning from that extra feed at night (decrease how long you nurse then quickly plop in the pacifier). Once you wean from that feed, she may stop waking. If you haven't been doing the feed too long, wake to sleep might work. it still might work if she's used to the feed too. Work on helping her learn to fall asleep on her own too, especially when she's going to bed�initially�since you feel she has a sleep prop issue. Also take a look at this post:
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2013/01/how-to-set-stage-for-good-sleep-tear.html

      Hope that helped!
      Rachel

      Delete
  11. barb @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    My boy was sleeping nine plus hours with one feed at three months.....than he got a cold. For the next month sleep was erratic. Some nights he slept seven hours some night three. How do I get him back to sleeping nine or more? He goes to bed at seven pm. My husband rocks and sings until his eyes start to close and immediately puts him down. He is mostly on eat play sleep routine. His naps are short too between thirty to forty five minutes unless we are out and about and than he will do an hour or more. Help......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      Barb,
      Look over this post first for tips on settling the stage for good sleep.
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2013/01/how-to-set-stage-for-good-sleep-tear.html

      Sounds like your main issue is that he's gotten out of the habit of sleeping through on his own and wants your company at night to help him go back to sleep. putting him to bed a bit more awake may help with the issue, but with some kids, they'll still wake up at night with this and they just need work learning to sleep through on their own at this time.

      Rachel

      Delete
    2. barb @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      I have a good bedtime routine and try to set him down drowsy but awake. The last three nights he has given me a five hour stretch he gets up to eat and than has been back down for another four or so. Any thoughts on getting him yo go longer? We tried xreamfed did not make a difference.

      Delete
    3. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      Barb,
      It's an issue of him being in the habit of eating more frequently or being in the habit of waking and needing help to go back to sleep (and he gets a feed for this). So you'll need to help him drop those feeds or extend them out and then if he still doesn't drop the waking after several days, you'll need to help him drop those. You've got a case of habitual waking and eating, and you are not alone with that. It's one of the topic reasons for night wakings.

      Delete
  12. I would really like some help with my baby boy. He is EBF and has never slept well. Even the first night we brought him home from the hospital, and they said don't go longer than 4 hours to feed a newborn, he woke up every 1-2 hours.

    He is now 4.5 months. He is only like 17th percentile, which is why I usually feed him whenever he wants. He isn't spacing out his feedings during the day, still 2-3 hours. He will generally nap for 2 hours, twice per day. Some days it's only 45 minutes three times, he still bounces around a little.

    At night he gets tired around 7-7:30. I turn on his white noise machine, turn out the lights, feed him, and put him in bed. He still wakes every 2-3 hours overnight. Once in awhile he'll throw in a 4 hour, he's done 5 hours maybe three times, and last night was a record at 6 hours! But last night we were out and had to extend his bedtime until 8, and then he couldn't really get to sleep until 9, but I just left him in his crib to sort it out himself. He goes to sleep well, generally only fusses a few minutes before going to sleep. But once he wakes up, he can't go back to sleep.

    I've tried letting him cry it out. He'll cry 3-5 minutes, fall asleep for 1 minute, then cry again for 3-5 minutes. He can do this for a long time! Usually after about 15 minutes I get him but he's done it for an hour before. Sometimes he doesn't even fall asleep, just gets more and more worked up and screams and screams. As soon as I start to nurse him, he calms down. He will eat 10-15 minutes, sometimes up to 45 overnight. I usually fall asleep so I'm not always sure how long he eats. He has never taken a pacifier. I've tried a dream feed and it wakes him up - he won't do the artificial nipple of the bottle. What am I doing wrong? This is so frustrating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, being in the 17th percentile doesn't make any difference in my mind as long as your child is growing well. I wouldn't worry more about him than my kids in the 97%, they are simply different sized little people. But obviously make sure your pediatrician has said he's healthy and growing well before cutting out feeds.

      It's great he's giving you good naps most the time. That makes things a lot easier!

      My guess is that he needs an earlier bedtime. That will probably help with night sleep. And at this age when they look tired, it often means they are overtired, or you should at least have the bedtime routine all done and be putting them in bed as they start to look tired.

      If he is used to eating all night, he'll probably have a better transition out of all these feeds by slowly dropping them. As he drops the night feeds, he'll move the food to the day. At this age, I personally don't think babies need more than one feed so I'd work towards that goal.A common way to go about this is to drop one feed at a time. This works better if he usually eats at the same time, if he doesn't you can just decide not to feed until a certain time. You'd feed for less every few days until it is mostly gone then no longer offer the feed. Even if he gets upset, you DO NOT feed more. You can help him settle to sleep in other ways besides a feed if needed for now. Another way to do this to move that feed out about 15-20 minutes every few days--DO NOT feed before. If he wakes on his own later, this is your new feed time and you'll be moving out from this time. Once you get rid of one feed, work on the rest. Often once the feeds are dropped kids will start to sleep better on their own with in 1-2 weeks, but some will need more sleep training. With the ST, you need to have a plan and stick to do. If you cave in, you are causing confusion and reinforcing the waking--which means it'll be even harder to break. So try to stay consistent as much as you can. There will be less sleep short term, but more sleep longer term. Good luck!

      Rachel

      Delete
  13. Hi can you please give me advise to help my 18 week daughter. She used to sleep from 10pm until 4 for a feed then wake at 7 until a few weeks ago. She has a 7.30 bedtime now and has started waking several times through the night and will only go back to sleep if i give her some milk. I think she may be teething as she has a loss of appetite through the day and will only take abiut 3 ounces at a time. Last night she woke on average every hour from 11pm. How can i help her to get back to just one nightfeed or none at all so she can sleep right through? My partner and I are exhausted. Also do you have any advise on transitioning from moses basket to a cot? She has started rolling over and gets herself stuck in her cot and screams but shes getting too big for the basket.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Is there a post in the works about dropping the night feedings? I see the advice about diluting, or spreading out feeds, but I feel like there are more details there. ie a lot of times when I dilute, he just ends up crying again about 5 minutes after I put him down, and I end up feeding him more anyway. And he doesn't wake at the same time every night, so I'm not sure exactly how I would extend the feedings. Is there more info here or should I just keep trying to wing it? :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. my daughter is 6 months old and in her life has slept a four hour stretch 3 or 4 times. She wakes up 4-6 times 7pm-7am every single night and screams until I feed her. When she wakes up 4 times this is a good night. She is unable to be consoled otherwise. The doctor quickly said she has reflux but despite months of medication she is not getting better. and we never thought she had reflux in the first place. I started 'good sleep habit' setting the moment she was born. She goes down to sleep for naps and for bedtime mostly okay, but her frequent night wakings since day one are making me coocoo.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Rachel,

    I know the "when to sleep train and when not to" post is based on gestational age/due date. I'm wondering if you are also basing your thoughts (and if the averages here) on sleeping through the night on gestational age/due date. I have twin girls who were 6 weeks early and are now 13 weeks old. I'm wondering what I can generally "expect" from them at this point....

    Thanks in advance,
    Allison J.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Allison,
      With a premie, it would be by due date. At around 6 weeks, I would expect a longer chuck of sleep, maybe 5-6 hours.

      Delete