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Can Your Newborn Sleep Through The Night?

newborn sleep through the night

When you think of a baby sleeping through the night, you may be envisioning a two-month baby, or perhaps older than that. But recently I’ve been getting an intriguing question from my blog readers. Can your newborn sleep through the night?

Good question! Today we’ll talk about what you can realistically expect, plus how to get started on teaching your baby to self-soothe so peaceful nights start sooner.

In This Article

  • Sleeping Through The Night: What’s The Holdup?
  • When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through The Night?
  • Can a Newborn Sleep Through The Night?
  • My BEST Tip For Teaching Baby To Sleep
  • Put Baby Down Drowsy, But Awake

Sleeping Through The Night: What’s The Holdup?

Newborn babies sleep a lot. And when I say a lot…I’m not kidding!

The average newborn infant sleeps up to 16 hours a day — the opposite of an adult, who is awake an average of 16 hours a day.

You would think that would mean newborn babies could get a full night’s sleep, just like you. But as even young children know, new babies don’t do that. (If only!)

Why not?

In a healthy baby, there are several key reasons:

  • Newborn babies can only hold small amounts of breastmilk or formula in their stomach at a time, so they wake up around the clock to nurse or drink formula.
  • Newborns have an instinct to frequently seek out physical touch. In fact, in studies, premature infants who had more skin-to-skin contact, or “kangaroo care,” had healthier outcomes than those who were touched less frequently. Your newborn baby may simply be crying out to be held by you.
  • Newborn infants have more trouble regulating their body temperature and may awaken more frequently because they are too hot or too cold.
  • Your baby was a fetus just a short time ago. A fetus’s sleep/wake cycle is drastically different from that of a baby of 3, 6 or 9 months. She needs time to adjust to life outside the womb.

When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through The Night?

I don’t want the following information to scare you. (And hang in there, because I have some better news for you in a moment.)

The Sleep Foundation, Washington, DC reports that the average age for babies to sleep through the night is six months.

Keep in mind that this does mean many babies sleep through the night earlier than that. And keep reading, because helping parents teach their babies to sleep through the night as early as 6-8 weeks is what Sleep, Baby, Sleep is all about. (I’m here for you, Mama!)

Which brings us to…

Can a Newborn Sleep Through The Night?

The typical definition of a newborn is the period of just having been born until the age of 4 weeks. It’s rare that babies will sleep a full 6-hour period at nighttime without waking for a feeding as early as this.

However, many babies begin sleeping through the night at 6-8 weeks. I have had hundreds of clients whose babies of all ages…2 months, 3 months, and at the other end of the spectrum, “trouble sleepers” whose parents have come to me with toddlers, learned to sleep in as little as one week.

Yes, really. All they needed was the right set of tips, applied the right way, and custom-tailored to their own needs.

Plus, they needed one really, really great tip:

My BEST Tip For Teaching Baby To Sleep

Here it is, and it’s so simple:

Your baby needs to learn to soothe herself to sleep — without you holding her. And no, I’m not talking about letting her cry it out. Let me explain.

I know it’s tempting to rock or nurse your baby until she’s asleep, then put her down in her crib. Then you’re likely to tiptoe away and then lie there staring at the ceiling, praying she gives you at least a few hours of your own quiet time.

Out of the blue, she wakes up screaming. You haven’t gotten a wink, because you’ve been lying there just waiting for her to wake back up again. In the morning, you’re a wreck and she is, too.

Obviously, this approach just isn’t working for either of you. What happened?

Think of it this way. Imagine you’re on your couch with a nice, hot cup of tea. You sip lazily at it as the sun goes down. You drift off, a soft breeze running from an open window to ruffle your hair, soft music playing from somewhere in the background.

Suddenly, you’re somewhere else…alone…in the pitch-darkness.

Wouldn’t you scream, too?

Well, that’s what’s happening to your baby. She falls asleep in your arms and jolts awake all alone in her crib. So she cries for you.

Put Baby Down Drowsy, But Awake

Instead, put your little one down in her crib while drowsy but still slightly awake. She will fall asleep in one place, awaken just slightly several times a night (this is normal), and not receive any shock because she’s still in the same place.

You’ll be surprised how quickly she’ll stop crying out for you in the night, because she’s no longer frightened when she wakens.

Yes, it’s possible for a newborn to sleep through the night. What’s more likely is for a baby just past the newborn stage, or slightly older, to learn to self-soothe, so the entire family is well-rested, and happier than ever before. Sweet dreams!

Want More Great Baby Sleep Tips?

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