- Under 6 months of age babies have nutritional needs at night that systematically decrease as the baby gets older. Having said this, some babies sleep do through the night as early as 3 months of age but many of these will experience disruption once again between 4 and 6 months. Most babies should be expected to sleep through the night by seven months old.
- Like other developmental milestones, sleep has certain norms that obviously are flexible as with any other milestone. The following are the norms for sleep at night:
- 2 – 6 weeks – one 4 – 5 hour stretch between night feeds and 3 hourly thereafter
- 6 - 12 weeks - one 6 – 7 hour stretch between night feeds then 3 hourly through the night
- 3 – 6 months - 10 – 12 hours at night
- 6 – 12 months - 10 – 12 hours at night
- 3 – 5 years old 11 hours per night as day sleep is dropped
- If your baby is ill he will not sleep through and will wake for comfort.
- If you have a low birth weight, premature or a baby with failure to thrive, he will not sleep through until later than other babies.
The golden question: “When should my baby sleep through?” is one that needs answering as it determines what is reasonable to expect from your baby. Sleeping through is not just a luxury, it’s a developmental necessity. Both for you and your baby, a good night’s sleep is important. Firstly, it needs to be pointed out that sleeping through constitutes sleeping 10 or more hours at a stretch. This would mean that if your baby’s bedtime is between 6 pm and 7pm (as it should be) that could mean a waking at 4 am to 5 am. Many babies will go back to sleep after this time with a feed or a cuddle. If your toddler wakes for the day at this time, keep interactions muted and take him quietly into your bed with you and see if he will fall back to sleep.