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How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?

The million dollar question!

Just because your first born slept through from 6 weeks, sadly this doesn't mean your next baby will. Why? Because your first baby was a unicorn! All jokes aside, there are a very small percentage of unicorn babies who sleep long periods from day dot. For other babies, it can seem like a intricate process of balancing nap timings, feed timings, settling methods and a sprinkle of good luck.

Your baby is born with a temperament and the great news is- no matter how alert, stubborn of sleep-averse your little one is, I believe all babies can learn to sleep 11-12 hours overnight by 9 months of age.

First things first, your baby needs to be feeding (relatively) well and gaining weight. A hungry baby is a baby that will not sleep long periods overnight because their clever little bodies know they need to wake to reach their calorie quota. Weight gain plateaus from 1 year of age, so it is best to use the World Health Organisation Percentile Calculator to see how your little one is tracking.

Now we know your baby is doing well for weight, the next step is assessing how much your baby is currently drinking overnight. Are they feeding 2-4 hourly? This is very normal for newborns! If your 6 month old or 12 month old are feeding this regularly, they are not hungry this often but this is their learnt way of linking sleep cycles overnight. This would be something we could work on together, changing the way your baby links sleep cycles!

In some cases babies begin to reverse-cycle. This means they are taking the majority of calories in during the day and fuss on the boob/bottle throughout the day. Does this sound like your baby? These babies are often described by their mothers as 'distracted' eaters during the day.

Another important question I ask all my clients is, how does your baby get to sleep at the beginning of the night? If your baby falls asleep on the breast or in arms, chances are they aren't going to sleep happily through until morning. They will wake to communicate they would like their sleep associations back...PRONTO!

Depending on the volume your baby is drinking overnight, the amount of solids your baby consumes during the day (if any) and the age of your child, will greatly influence the plan of attack. In some cases the realistic goal is feeding once overnight. For babies 6 months + who are eating 2 solid meals per day it is often achievable to gradually shift the night calories into the daytime. We aren't starving your baby, we are teaching your baby to eat well during the day and to repair, grow and recover by night.

If you would like help getting your baby or toddler to sleep 11-12 hours overnight without a feed, get in touch today to organise a free 15 minute chat to discuss what is reasonable and achievable for your little one.

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