Help! When Will My Baby Sleep Through the Night?

Written byJennifer Schindele

October 18, 2022

tired mother cradling her sleeping baby

Hey there!  I’m back, and my post today is a response to questions I receive from exhausted parents and followers almost daily.  It’s also a question I obsessed over when my daughters were babies.  Millions of parents the world over consult Google and ask, “When will my baby sleep through the night?”  Read on for my expert advice.  

When Will My Breastfed Baby Sleep Through the Night?

The response to this question doesn’t have such a cut and dry response.  Why?  Every baby is different and so are their rate of growth and nutritional needs.  In my years of working with babies, I have found that some babies who are breastfed, begin to drop their feeds once they reach 11 – 12 lbs. while others drop feeds a little later leaning more toward 14 – 15 lbs.  We also must look at the feeding schedule and how nutrition is portioned out.  Some babies continue a newborn feeding schedule of every 2 – 3 hours around the clock well after they have graduated from the newborn phase and therefore their bodies have settled into a feeding pattern that is not conducive to longer durations of sleep.  Is there no hope for sleeping through the night at this point?  Well…no, but I’ll get to that in a little bit. So, in short, breastfed babies CAN sleep through the night relatively early on…but more definitively sometime between 3 – 6 months.  

What About a Formula Fed Baby?

Like a breastfed baby, the timing of an infant being able to sleep through the night is different for each baby and is also between 3 – 6 months and somewhere between 11 – 15lbs.  I know I’ve seen in online social media forums and groups the idea that formula fed babies gain weight quicker and sleep through the night quicker because they are bottle fed and that formula takes more time to digest.  Now, while it is true that formula does digest more slowly in the body, it’s not an indicator that a baby will sleep through the night or longer stretches even.  I was formula fed when I was a baby and my mom shared with me that I began sleeping through the night at two weeks old.  WHAT???  That can’t be.  But she swore that’s how it happened.  Maybe I was a mythical unicorn who pooped glitter?  Or maybe she was completely overwhelmed, chasing after 20-month-old twin boys in addition to her newborn baby girl.  Later fact finding showed, she was offering me a dream feed before she went to bed, and I would then sleep till about 5:00am.  That made a bit more sense to me. 

So, Can Newborns Sleep Through the Night?   

Possibly…But again, it usually is older newborns (10 weeks and up) who most likely were reaching the 11lbs mark.  But I will follow that up by saying I often see by this point or even sooner newborns who may only wake once to feed per night and then not again till morning.  So, my advice here is not to have the expectation of a newborn sleeping through the night but understand your baby is working hard to hopefully gain enough weight and possibly skills to sleep longer stretches sometime between 6 – 7 weeks.  Instead of focusing on your newborn sleeping through the night, concentrate on making sure you make the most from the overnight feeds by encouraging your baby to stay awake during the feed.  Newborn parents…I know you are beyond exhausted but hold on a little bit longer!!!

What Might Be Preventing Your Baby from Sleeping Through the Night?

Yeah, why! The short answer?  Lack of sleep skills.  The number one cause of frequent night wakings and short or nonexistent naps in babies is not having the ability to self soothe.  They are dependent on an outside source (parents or feeding among the most common) to fall asleep and get back to sleep.  These are things they cannot control themselves and therefore will wake and cry to get attention for help.  Over, and over, and over again.  It is frustrating and painfully exhausting for everyone.  And this is something I CAN help you with.  And in correcting this challenge, it often leads into feeding better and the ability to drop nighttime feeds.  This in turn leads to longer stretches of sleep for all. 

I Want To Help

 If you are struggling with frequent night wakings with your baby who is close to or over 4 months of age, I want to help you!  Let me guide and support you to better sleep utilizing the almost 10 years of sleep experience I have working with over 1,500 sleep deprived families.  I urge you to schedule a Complimentary Sleep Assessment with me so we can discuss how I can transform your lives for the better. 

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