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When will my baby sleep through the night?

When parents ask me this, I know they’re looking for a quick, concise time-based answer.

“A week from now,” or “six months old,” are the type of responses they’re hoping for, and the kind I wish I could give them. However, there are a lot of factors to consider and some things to understand before you can narrow down the timeline.


The first thing I feel parents need to understand is this...


Your baby will never sleep through the night.


That’s right! They won’t sleep through the night when they’re toddlers, or when they’re teenagers, or when they’re adults, because nobody ever does.

Us human beings sleep in cycles which vary from light sleep to deep sleep and back over again. When we are in a light stage of a cycle we may hear a noise, be in the middle of a crazy dream, the dog may jump on the bed, or we move a little, and that little thing, whatever it may be, is just enough to wake us up.


As adults, we have experienced this thousands of times, so we just roll over and go back to sleep. Most of the time, the wakings are so brief that we don’t even remember it the next day.


For babies who are used to being rocked, sung, bounced or nursed to sleep, waking up in the night requires external help to get back into a peaceful slumber. This is the actual reason why baby’s never going to sleep through the night. That’s not what parents are asking though.


What they really want to know is, “When will my baby be able to get back to sleep on their own?”


Now, that’s a much easier question to answer. Quite simply, this will happen when they learn how.


When you teach your little one to go to sleep on their own, they’ll be able to use that skill multiple times a night, every night, for the rest of their lives.

What they really want to know is, “When will my baby be able to get back to sleep on their own?”

So, there’s a bit more to it than just leaving your baby alone in their cot and letting them figure it out for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, that approach has worked for a lot of people, but it’s not one that everybody is comfortable doing, and it’s not the most gentle or effective way of teaching your baby great sleep skills.


The traditional Cry-It-Out approach is a lot like leaving your child in front of a piano with some sheets of music in front of them and saying ‘figure it out.’ Yes, you may just end up with an Elton John of sleeping on your hands, but assuming your child isn’t gifted in the ‘sleep’ department, they could probably do with some lessons.


With any skill that a child needs to learn, practice is essential, so let them give it a shot. There’s probably going to be a bit of crying, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go in and comfort, encourage and reassure them.


What you shouldn’t do, however, is sit down and play the piano for them. Obviously, this does not teach your child anything. So, whatever it is that you’ve done to get your child to go to sleep in the evening, or in the middle of the night, whether it’s giving them a dummy, rocking them back to sleep, nursing them, whatever, these “sleep props” are the equivalent of playing the piano for your child to teach them how.


Like learning a new skill, they may get frustrated and upset, but they’ll learn with a little time and practice.


So, although I can’t give you an exact age or date your baby will go through the night without crying and demanding help to get back to sleep, I can confidently tell you that it will be much, much sooner if you stop doing it for them.


As for teaching your little one to play piano, you’re on your own with that one!


Contact our sleep consultant today to book your free introductory consultation.

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