It’s the most asked question I get from parents. Because as soon as your baby sleeps through the night, you can too! Wanting that process to “hurry up already” is totally normal. I’ve been there myself! Babies waking up during the night fussing, needing to be fed, changed, and then soothed back to sleep can exhaust the entire family.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic wand for this particular problem, because every baby is different. What I can help you with, though is narrowing down the causes and helping you to find a solution. I can also tell you that about 90% of the time, it all comes down to one single cause. But let’s make sure we’re ruling out the others first.
Before the age of six months, most babies still need to be fed during the night to get them through. Those little bodies are growing fast, and they need fuel to make it through the night. This doesn’t mean that at exactly 180 days of age your little one will suddenly give up nighttime feedings, but it is a general guideline to when a baby is able to sleep 11 or 12 hours without waking up hungry.
Just like you, babies can be uncomfortable. They may have reflux or indigestion, or just a gas bubble that needs to come out. They may be too hot, too cold, or just stuck in a position that isn’t comfortable for them. Sometimes it’s as simple as a clothing tag bothering them. If you think your baby is uncomfortable, that’s a situation that you’ll want to remedy before you try to get them to sleep through the night.
Now that we’ve gotten past the usual suspects, I’m going to give it to you straight.
Your baby probably isn’t sleeping through the night because they don’t know how to sleep through the night.
It’s really that simple. And despite the “baby will sleep when she’s ready” advice that everyone passes around, that’s not necessarily the truth. And I’m sure that’s not what you want to hear anyway. Who wants to wait it out when they’ve already been awakened in the wee hours of the morning for 6 months? Not me, and I’m guessing that since you’re reading this, it’s not you either.
Here’s the best news you’ll hear all day. It’s completely fixable!
Here’s why: Everyone sleeps in cycles. And when you get to the end of the cycle, you’re in a much lighter stage of sleep. I’m sure you’ve been just on the edge of sleep and all of a sudden you hear a sound or someone turns the light on (especially true if you have older kids) and you wake right up. The difference is that you likely have decades of experience sleeping through the night. So if that happens, you simply roll over, close your eyes, maybe count a few sheep, and go right back to sleep.
Your baby doesn’t know how to do that yet. For their entire lives, they’ve been soothed to sleep by someone else’s efforts. Bouncers, feedings, swings, cuddles, and many parents’ secret weapon – a car ride around the block, do it for them.
Which brings mom, dad, and baby into a different type of cycle; repeating what has worked thus far so that everyone goes back to sleep. The problem with that is that the baby still isn’t learning how to fall back asleep on their own. So that frustrating cycle continues.
Addressing the one sleep issue that affects 90% of babies can be tricky, because every family situation is different. That’s where I come in. I’ll work with you to teach your baby how to sleep peacefully through the night, and before you know it, you’ll be breaking up with those late-night infomercials you watch while soothing your baby back to sleep. Let’s get a conversation going so you can have some restful nights already!
Contact Tender Transitions
If you have any questions about these guidelines and why they are important for your family, please reach out.
Or if you’re struggling with getting a full night’s sleep and are worried about moving your child into their own room, we can help. We’ve worked with hundreds of families to create a smooth transition. A transition to a new room or the restorative transition of teaching your child to become independent sleepers. Book your free call today!