Sleeping through the night
I remember being pregnant with my first baby, I bought a cute little coffee machine from star bucks and thought I would be fine coping with no sleep at night as long as I could have a coffee in the morning. I had no idea how long it would take for my baby to start sleeping at night, but assumed I would be fine….
I only knew one other person with children and her children didn’t sleep through the night until they were toddlers. So that was my point of reference.
Fast forward a few months into motherhood and I was tired to the bone. I was getting up at least 3-4 times a night, I was recovering from surgery for a breast abscess, (yeah breastfeeding was going swimmingly!) and coffee wasn’t even touching the sides of how tired I was. Not to mention the stark realisation I could only really have one coffee a day if I continued breastfeeding!
I had no idea when my baby would sleep through, or how she would, or if this magical thing called night sleep was even possible for a baby. To say I was ill prepared was an understatement!!
I still remember those feelings of exhaustion and its one of the reasons I love going on your sleep journey with you.
Your elation the first night you get to go to bed at 10pm and wake up well rested 8 hours later, I remember that feeling only too well! The holy grail of more night sleep!
Important facts about sleeping through the night.
- People have different definitions of sleeping through the night. Some people say 6 hours some say 8 hours some say 12. So asking someone when there baby slept through might not be the answer you are looking for.
- Sleeping 12 hours a night isn’t usually possible until most children are well established on solids, eating 2 meals a day, having 3-4 good breast or bottle feeds a day, and eating a decent portion of protein. These things all take time, so you might not hit these milestones until 8/9/10 months. Don't rush to meet these milestones, every baby is different.
- Babies who sleep 12 hours a night from an early age often regress and start waking for a feed when they hit a growth spurt or their metabolic rate changes and they are genuinely hungry. Sticking to the core night method with a baby under 6 months and assuming because they slept through once they can continue to sleep through is misguided. If your baby is under 6 months and suddenly wakes once a night, chances are they are hungry.
- Establishing a good evening routine is something which you can put in place from a very young age and will begin to set you up for successful night sleep. A bath and a good breast or bottle feed in a quiet dark room are perfect pre bed activities. Have a dimly lit space to feed baby before bed, this will encourage those yummy sleepy hormones to kick in. Relax, don't rush the last feed of the night, and allow your baby or toddler to feel how emotionally available you are, this actually has an impact!
- Gently ensuring that your baby can fall asleep without you once age appropriate will help your baby consolidate their night sleep when they are ready. Otherwise they will be looking for you as a sleep association to help them get back to sleep after each partial or complete sleep cycle over night. These partial sleep cycles occur every 2 hours and often we believe this is a growth spurt so we feed feed feed, and 3 months later, we are still feeding!!! Teach baby to go back to sleep independently when not hungry.
- Once your baby is 4 months + wake ups before 10pm are usually related to being over tired. Wake ups around 1am can be related to your dream feed not working, and wake ups around 3 or 4am, can sometimes mean you are doing too much late afternoon sleep. Early wake ups between 5am-7am are linked to your morning nap being too long and too early, or your baby is cold.
Learn all my hints tips trick and get my actual sleeping through the night plans from my online sleep guides which come as part of our digital sleep program, by the guide, get free email support and start working on sleeping through the night, TONIGHT!
Emma is the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Consultant, she is a certified infant and child sleep consultant, Happiest Baby on the block educator, has a Bachelor of Science, and Diploma in Education. Emma is a mother to 3 children, and loves writing when she isn't working with tired clients and cheering on her team helping thousands of mums just like you.
Our Baby Sleep Program helps tired parents TO DEVELOP HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS BY FOCUSING ON NAPS, SETTLING AND NIGHT SLEEP.
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- Simple effective settling: Gentle, proven self settling, evidence based techniques.
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"Sophie has changed my life! After the very first phone call I knew it was money well spent! Our baby was 7 and a half months old when I approached the baby sleep consultant company.
We decided it was a good time to get rid of the dummy whilst sleep training as well.
Our main problem was she was waking up to ten times at night and her sleep routine was all over the place. After the first day of sleep training using the advice Sophie had given us bubs was sleeping through the night and without a dummy!
The support from Sophie has been incredible she was truly amazing and I’m so glad I did it! I highly recommend anyone having sleep issues with their babies to get in touch with a baby sleep consultant!"~Amy Faulkner