When Will My Baby Sleep Through the Night?

Posted by in No-Cry Newborn Sleep


How many times have you wondered this?  To find the answer you first need to fully understand the question. The medical definition of “sleeping through the night” for a young baby is a five-hour stretch. That’s FIVE hours—not the eight, ten, or twelve hours that you may wish for! Most babies still awaken two to three times a night up to six months of age, and once or twice a night up to one year old. A baby is considered to be “sleeping through the night” when he sleeps those five consecutive hours without waking up to feed. While this may not be your definition of sleeping through the night, it is the reasonable yardstick by which we measure a young baby’s sleep. Yes—some babies achieve this stretch much sooner than others, but they do all get there eventually.

Eleanor Rose

My friend’s baby sleeps better than mine!

All you have to do is bring up the topic of sleep around parents, and you can see the sleep-deprived confusion on their faces. Our society is inundated with dictates that tell us our baby should be sleeping all night, and if he’s not it is our fault. There is so much pressure to prove that we are good parents and doing the right thing by having a sleeping baby that many parents hide their real truth from their friends and family members – or even their doctors. The parenting website Netmums questioned almost 11,000 parents about sleep issues. The findings showed that the pressure to be a perfect parent is so great that around one-third admitted to lying about their child’s sleeping habits. (And how many more lied but didn’t admit it?)

Understanding the Science of Sleep

If you know what to expect in the sleep department, you can relax and enjoy your baby fully. Having realistic expectations right up front can take a lot of pressure off you and your baby, and help you combat any bad advice thrown your way. So, erase all the opinions and theories that you’ve heard about how  babies sleep, and learn a few important facts, beginning with the five-hours-is-sleeping-through-the-night rule. The more facts you know about baby sleep, the more realistic your expectations can be.