When Baby Doesn't Sleep Through The Night

The topic of baby sleeping through the night is something that, starting around 6 weeks of age, begins being brought up as a regular topic of conversation among family, friends and even your spouse or partner.  When will baby sleep through the night, is baby sleeping through the night, here’s how you can get your baby to sleep through the night???  Here in the States, getting baby to sleep through the night is something we tend to get pretty wrapped up in, and if baby isn’t sleeping 8-10 hour stretches by 9 weeks old, it’s something we may even get a little self-conscious about.  My friend’s baby is sleeping through the night, why isn’t mine, and what am I doing wrong?  Here are some things I try to remember when I start to get too wrapped up in this topic. My third child is now 15 weeks old today and he is not sleeping through the night.  And in fact I don’t think he’s anywhere close to doing so.  He has had nights where he has gone as long as 8 hours without a feeding, but those nights are few and far between and he more consistently only goes about 5, maybe 6 hours between feedings.  Many nights he still feeds after just 4 hours.  Right now his night feeding schedule looks something like this:

Last feeding at 7 pm.

“Dream feed” at 10:30 pm (my husband goes in and tops him off with a 4 ounce bottle of pumped breast milk.  He doesn’t wake him or give him a diaper change so he essentially is feeding him in his sleep, hence the dream feed term).

Wakes to nurse at approximately 3 am, but sometimes it’s as early as 2 am or after 4 am.

Wakes to nurse and up for the day between 6:15-7 am.

We give him the dream feed before we go to bed so that he only wakes to eat once in the middle of the night.  Before we introduced the dream feed at 11 weeks of age, he was waking at midnight and 4 am, causing us to wake up twice in the “middle of the night”.  We did this with both of my other babies and it worked out well.  My daughter by this age was able to sleep through to the morning and my other son was very similar to this baby.  Therefore I know I’m on the right track and this baby isn’t doing anything “abnormal” in terms of sleeping patterns.

When I’m my most tired and feeling defeated that Hayden isn’t sleeping through the night yet, I remind myself of a few things. Perhaps they’ll help you too.

  • According to most pediatricians, sleeping through the night for this age is technically just a 5-6 hour stretch of sleep, not 8-12 hours as we would hope.  That long stretch of sleep will most likely not come until baby is on solids and a bit older.  For now, he still needs those extra calories at night.
  • It’s not a competition.  Comparing your baby to your nephew or your friend never leads to good things.  Remember that all babies are different, and just because your baby is slower to sleep through the night than other babies, it doesn’t make you a bad parent.
  • All children end up sleeping through the night eventually.  As long as you instill good sleeping habits at some point in baby’s first year, your baby will eventually sleep all beautiful night long.  You rarely here about the 5 year old that still needs that 2 am feeding!
  • I’m doing all I can.  I really am, and eventually it will all click and the sleep will come.  I am teaching him slowly how to fall asleep on his own so that he can learn to get himself back to sleep at night when the time comes.  I’m making sure he nurses and gets enough calories throughout the day so he needs to eat less at night.  I’m creating a good routine and sleep environment for him.  Beyond that there’s not a whole lot more I can do but wait, and be patient.

In the meantime while I wait, I try to get as much rest as I can during the day when he naps.  I limit my activities, like date-nights and coffee with friends at night to just once, maybe twice a week.  I ask for help, and hire help when need be.  And I enjoy this while I can.  Easier said than done, but as a third time momma, I can assure you that this baby phase does really fly by and I’m trying to treasure this time with him as a baby as much as possible.  Oh and coffee.  There’s always lots of coffee.

So when did your baby sleep through the night, and how did you handle the questions from friends and family, and the sleep deprivation, if your baby wasn’t sleeping through the night early on?

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Tags: Dad Tips , Mom Tips

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