When I say: “My baby is sleeping through the night”, it doesn’t mean that your baby is never going to wake up. All human beings wake up a few times during the night, but because we have sleep skills, we just “sooth” ourselves back to sleep and we don’t remember waking up in the first place. A baby also wakes a few times at night (Sleep cycle) but when they have the ability to resettle themselves back to sleep independently, then they sleep through the night.
There can be a few reasons why a baby doesn’t sleep through the night. When a baby is between
0 – 6 months, we don’t push for them to sleep through the night. Some babies can sleep through without any feeding overnight but some babies still need the feeds until they are 6 months. From
6 months we can say with confidence that they don’t need overnight feeds, they need sleep. When a baby is between 0 – 6 months you can teach them healthy sleep habits and teach them how to resettle independently. When a baby has learned that skill, he will or start sleeping through the night by himself or he will feed once, but will go back to sleep independently with no fuss.
Once they’ve reached the 6 month mark, you can pull the feed overnight. They don’t need it anymore. When a baby is 6 months and older and not sleeping through the night, there can be a few reasons why:
- Your baby’s room is not dark enough. The darker your baby’s room, the better he sleeps (day and night)
- Your baby’s room is too noisy: Get white noise if your baby’s room is too noisy. Trucks, dogs and birds can be very annoying 5 am and can easily wake your baby.
- Your baby relies on sleep props to fall asleep and stay asleep: Your baby can’t be put down in his cot and settle himself to sleep independently. He needs a dummy/rocking/feeding in order to fall asleep and the same when he wakes in the middle of the night.
- You attend to your baby to quickly: When your baby wakes from a sleep, he needs to learn how to resettle himself back to sleep. If you attend to him too quickly and help him to go back to sleep he will never learn how to do it on his own.
- You’re not consistent: If you decide on something, stick to it. Don’t change your method every second day. You’re confusing your baby and how is he supposed to learn something you’re not even sure about?
- Your baby is already asleep or halfway asleep when you put him in his cot: Your baby needs to be wide awake when you put him in his cot for a sleep. He needs to fall asleep in his cot.