When Can My Baby Sleep Through The Night Without a Feeding?

When Can My Baby Sleep Through The Night Without a Feeding?

Let’s face it, we’d all love a little bit more sleep. In order for you to get the best sleep, your baby has to sleep too. As elusive as a good night’s sleep seems at times, understanding your baby’s needs, sleep patterns, and sleep cues can help you both get the sleep you need. A key factor in figuring out that sleep puzzle is your baby’s eating schedule. Read on to learn how you can help promote better sleep for your baby (and you!) Keep in mind that during the early months, any advice may not be helpful as newborns may want to eat as frequently as every two hours (1) - especially if they are cluster feeding. You got this though mama, sleep is on the horizon. 

What Factors Influence a Baby's Ability to Sleep Through the Night?

Before we dive into how to help your baby sleep better through the night without a feeding, let’s talk about other factors that may keep your little one awake at night. (2)

  • Circadian rhythm: Babies are not born with an internal alarm clock. Circadian rhythm develops over time, usually by 11 weeks old. (3) Until then, try to enjoy those midnight newborn snuggles. Keeping curtains open during the day to let in sunlight and eliminating bright stimuli during night hours may help this development. 

  • Pain or illness: These things would keep anyone awake, but babies may be more prone to lying awake because of pain or illness. Before babies can talk, we (as their caregivers) are left to a cycle of trial and error to figure out how we can help them feel better. Until we get it right, babies lay uncomfortable - and awake. 

  • Developmental milestones: As exciting as new milestones are, such as crawling, standing, and walking - these celebrations can often be accompanied by sleepless nights. 

  • Routine: Appropriate routines for babies will vary by age, but can include things such as wake windows, play time, feeding, and bedtime. A predictable routine can certainly help your baby sleep better at night. 

How Do I Know If My Baby Is Ready to Sleep Through the Night?

If you’re in that sweet (sleepless) newborn phase and itching to know when your baby might be ready to sleep through the night, this one’s for you. Look out for these signs of readiness: (4) 

  • Age: Surprise, surprise. Age plays a role in sleeping through the night. (Remember that circadian rhythm we talked about?) Most parents can expect their baby to show signs of sleeping longer stretches around 3 months old. 

  • Reduced moro reflexes: Those quick jolts or stretches that babies do that often wake them up right out of their sleep begin to taper off between 3 and 6 months. Until then, Dreamland Baby Swaddles can help keep those reflexes calm while your baby sleeps. 

  • Weight:  Many experts agree that once a baby reaches around 13 lbs, they may be ready for longer stretches of sleep. 

How Can I Encourage My Baby to Sleep Through the Night?

First off, grab some of Dreamland Baby’s sleep essentials. Our patented CoverCalm® Technology disperses gentle weight from shoulders to toes, promoting deep touch stimulation. This helps babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Now that those golden tickets to sleep are in your arsenal, lets go over a few more things that may help:

  • Bedtime routine: A good bedtime routine will not only be calming and comforting for your baby, but will also include sleep cues that let your baby know it’s time to go to sleep. Keeping this routine predictable is key. Avoid playing, keep your voice calm, and complete tasks such as brushing teeth, wrapping in a swaddle or sleep sack, and turning down the lights. 

  • Watch for the signs: Those adorable eye rubs and long yawns are your cue to begin that bedtime routine. Waiting much longer could result in an overtired and cranky baby. 

  • Pacifier: Many babies like to fall asleep with a pacifier. Not only can they help babies calm down enough to sleep, falling asleep with a pacifier may also reduce the risk of SIDS. (5)

What Should I Do If My Baby Wakes Up During the Night?

The most important thing is to listen to those parental instincts - yes, we have them and yes, they’re amazing. Most parents can tell the difference between a quick fuss that says “I can put myself back to sleep, just give me a minute” and a cry that says “I need something”. As parents, we run through a mental checklist of what the problem may be so that we can offer the solution that results in everybody going back to sleep. This list often consists of making sure they’re not in pain, checking their diaper, ensuring light and noise is minimal, and feeding if they may be hungry. Don’t jump to offering a breast or bottle if they are developmentally old enough to not require frequent feeds and they have eaten sufficiently throughout the day. Sometimes, just a gentle pat can help then drift back off to Dreamland. 

Are There Any Specific Sleep Training Methods to Help My Baby Sleep Through the Night?

There are several approaches to sleep training. Different methods may work for different babies and it’s important to only do what feels right for you and your family. That way, nobody is traumatized by sleep training. Here are a few of the most popular sleep training methods to help your baby sleep through the night: 

  • Cry it Out: This sleep training method is essentially what it sounds like - allowing your baby to cry themselves to sleep after they have been put down for bed. Some parents choose to respond to cries after a certain amount of time. 

  • Ferber Method: This is similar to cry it out, but uses predetermined intervals that gradually get longer each night. For example, on the first night, parents may respond to their baby’s cries after 2 minutes. On the second night, that may stretch to 3 minutes. Ideally, babies learn to soothe themselves as those intervals of no parental interaction get longer. 

  • Pick up, Put down: This very-responsive, no cry solution for sleep training is self explanatory. Baby cries - you pick them up. Once soothed, you put them down. The key to this method is “drowsy, but awake”. You want to lay your baby down before they are fully asleep to get them used to falling asleep independently. (6)

How Can I Adjust My Baby's Daytime Feedings to Promote Better Nighttime Sleep?

Babies’ eating needs will change as they grow and for the most developmentally appropriate feeding schedule recommendations, speak with your pediatrician. The key to ensuring that they sleep longer stretches though, is ensuring that your baby goes to sleep with a full belly - but not so full that it hurts to digest. 

Conclusion

Keep in mind that regardless of external factors, babies, much like adults, all have their own sleep patterns and preferences. What works for one baby, may not work for another. If you have multiple children, you have probably already discovered that babies like to keep us on our toes. We think we have it figured out - then poof. The next baby is totally different. Even so, one thing that you can always count on is Dreamland Baby

Sources:

  1. https://www.babysleepsite.com/night-weaning-2/night-feedings-by-age-when-do-you-night-wean/ 

  2. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/seven-factors-which-affect-your-babys-sleep-most-tracy-newberry 

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6175794/#:~:text=The%20newborn%20infant%20develops%20the%20components%20of%20circadian%20rhythm%20postnatally.&text=A%20rhythm%20of%20cortisol%20develops,genes%20develop%20at%2011%20weeks. 

  4. https://blog.getcubo.com/signs-baby-ready-to-sleep-through-the-night/ 

  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/baby-sleep/art-20045014 

  6. https://www.parents.com/baby/sleep/issues/teach-your-baby-to-sleep-in-just-7-days/#:~:text=Cry%20It%20Out%20Method%3A%20With,a%20certain%20duration%20of%20crying.

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