When do babies sleep through the night?
One thing that you really can't prepare enough for as a parent is for the true lack of sleep you'll feel with a newborn baby. They wake constantly throughout the day and night and some wake more than others.
A baby sleeping through the night is a milestone. It typically happens anywhere from 1- 6 months. Clinically, sleeping through the night is consistent sleep stretches of 6hrs or more.
My first son had reflux and colic, but I managed to get him to sleep 6-8hr stretches around 6 weeks old. He's been an incredible sleeper ever since. By three months old he slept 10hrs and after 6 months he did full 12hr stretches plus naps. I had my second and with the same strategy managed to get him sleeping the same as his brother. I remember the desperation of wanting and needing sleep. I remember how difficult it was to function off of hardly any.
With my first I needed the sleep more, because I exclusively pumped. I would wake to pump. If he woke I would feed him, pump and then clean my pump parts and the cycle would repeat. Some nights I would get as little as an hour of total sleep. It also takes me longer to wind back down to sleep once I've woken up.
Learning how to put baby to sleep is a skill set in and of itself. I feel like I have a handle on that after putting in a lot of time and research into understanding what helps babies sleep.
This method is a no-cry approach. It's the easiest way to get your baby onto a newborn sleep schedule that doesn't require a lot of fussing. It relies heavily on consistency. I can't speak enough about the importance of being consistent with anything you do with your child. It needs a consistent routine (not a schedule). With consistency comes results and that's echoed between both my two little ones. I hope this video helps in getting your littles to sleep through the night as well :)
Let's start with the basics. You can start this from the day your baby is born. It's easy. No, it really is. It's E-A-S-Y. That stands for Eat Awake Sleep You (time). Every time baby wakes, you feed them, followed by a period of awake time (a good time for tummy time!). Then followed by sleep (meaning no feeding to sleep). I exclusively breastfed my second and what I did was I would nurse as a top up 15 mins before I'd put him down to sleep. That way I could maintain my milk supply, but also have him sleep well when he'd go down for his naps.
With my first, because I was exclusively pumping, I could measure out how much he would need to eat to sleep well. For us the magic number was anywhere between 30-34oz of milk a day. On average breastfed babies drink anywhere from 19oz-40oz a day. I found that if you feed on the lower end baby doesn't sleep well and wakes often to recoup milk during the night.
The next most important thing is to ALWAYS put baby down drowsy, but awake. Easier said than done, but what I did, was every time my baby fussed I'd do something to calm them (including hold them) then continue to put them down over and over again. The first few days of doing this feels impossible. Like they'll never learn. Then something clicks and they just do. Consistency. I've mentioned it before and I'll say it again, remain consistent.
So how does baby self soothe to sleep then? The five S's. This is discussed in Dr. Harvey Karps book, The Happiest Baby. I go over that in the following video.
Once you get baby to sleep, try and get some sleep as well. I struggled with that with both my children. They'd be asleep and I'd be busy as a bee, working, cleaning, showering and basically everything in between that didn't get done while they were awake. Time management is definitely a tricky thing as a parent of a newborn baby.
You may now be wondering, "how much should a newborn sleep?". The general number us 15-18hrs. Some babies like to sleep more than others. Some babies may sleep only 14hrs in 24hrs. Things like teething can definitely affect how much a baby sleeps. I would aim for qualitative sleep over quantity. Getting that 6hr stretch at night is crucial for brain development. And then having a 1-2hr nap in the day at least once a day. Those should greatly improve baby's mood and offer up some time for you to catch some zz's as well.