You love your new little one to pieces and cherish every milestone. From squeezing your finger to first smile, your baby has you reaching for the camera and proudly sharing these moments with friends and family.
One thing you might not be so eager to share is just how sleep deprived you feel. The good news is, babies tend to start sleeping through night around 6 months of age on average. So resist the temptation to go wild with the Instagram filters to correct those dark circles — and know that you’re not alone in waiting for babies to sleep through the night.
Now, let’s take a deeper dive into what to expect.
Table of contents
- ‘Sleeping through the night’ — what it is, and what it isn’t
- Tips and tricks for a better night’s sleep (for the whole family)
‘Sleeping through the night’ — what it is, and what it isn’t
Experts generally consider “sleeping through the night” as sleeping 6 to 9 hours at a time for children and adults. But for babies, sleeping through the night may mean your child still needs to breastfeed or take a bottle — remember, tiny tummies mean hunger calls often — but is able to fall back to sleep after.
Therefore, your 3-month-old “sleeping through the night” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting uninterrupted sleep. But it does mean your child is getting some quality shut-eye to help with their development and growth.
Approximately, two-thirds of babies truly sleep uninterrupted — for that blissful 6 to 9 hours — by the time they’re 6 months of age.
Tips and tricks for a better night’s sleep (for the whole family)
In the first week or two, newborns need to feed every few hours, so it may not be safe for them to sleep for long stretches of time, even at night.
1. Place your baby in the crib when they’re drowsy, but not asleep.
Learn to read your baby’s cues like a book. They may yawn or rub their eyes when they are sleepy, just like you do! Putting them down on their back in the crib when they are giving you these cues will help them fall asleep more easily. The last thing you want to is try to force a happy, playing baby to go to sleep, so have wind-down routines in your back pocket.
2. Develop a sleep schedule.
A bedtime routine is helpful for you — it makes sense that it’s helpful for your mini-me, too. That may mean giving your baby a bath, reading a book together, and then putting them in the crib when they’re giving you those sleepy signs. Setting up these habits early may mean you’ll have more success later on.
3. Practice safe sleep habits.
Always place your baby down on their back in their crib to go to sleep. Also remove all objects — hazards, really — from their crib or sleep environment.
4. Create an environment ideal for sleep.
No one wants to sleep when it’s too hot or too cold, so watch the temperature of your baby’s space. You may also want to invest in blackout curtains if it’s still light when you’re putting them to sleep. While they have not been reliably shown to help for all babies (and some seem to not like them), consider shopping for a white noise machine or relaxing baby sound machine to help your little one rest.
5. Stay consistent.
When everyone in your house is on different nighttime schedules, it can be difficult to stick to a routine. Try to stay consistent. This will set your baby up to be a good sleeper later on.
Remember, getting your baby to sleep through the night isn’t a measure of your parenting skills. Take time to understand your baby’s habits and ways of communicating so that you can help him or her become a better sleeper. If you have concerns, talk to your baby’s doctor.