So you're in the depths of the sleep deprivation haze and wondering when, if ever, it's going to end?
Take me back to my child-free days when I *thought* I knew what tired meant!
Although we wouldn’t change a thing, I get a lot of questions from clients around these nights!
We all want to know WHEN that light at the end of the tunnel will shine its sweet, sweet light on us!
So, we've put together some SUPER GENERAL GUIDELINES for what we could expect for the first year!
|How old?||Overnight Feeding||Stretches|
|6 Weeks||2 – 4 feeds||3 – 6 hours|
|12 Weeks||1 – 3 feeds||3 – 8 hours|
|4 – 5 Months||1 – 2 feeds||4 – 8 hours|
|6 Months||0 – 2 feeds||4 – 12 hours|
|7 Month||0 – 1 feed||5 – 12 hours|
|8 Months||0 – 1 feed||6 – 12 hours|
|9 – 12 Months||0 – 1 feed||11 – 12 hours|
|12+ Months||0 feed||11 – 12 hours|
Now if you're finding your little one is not falling into these guidelines - it's totally okay! There are babies that drop feeds early or keep feeds longer or pick up a random feed here or there due to a growth spurt... the list of possibilities is endless! We aren’t raising robots after all.
As always, anything is doable if it's not a problem for your family, right? So, do what works for YOU and YOURS!
If your little one is waking far more than what is listed above, there are many other areas that are likely contributing to those pesky overnight wakes:
- Solids and the introduction to solids can create some overnight waking, usually around 9.00pm – depending on dinner time! If you notice a consistent wake at this time, take note of what was offered for dinner and offer it at lunch for a few days before reintroducing it to dinner again!
- You’re rocking some strong sleep associations; like rocking, feeding or holding to sleep. With these types of dependent sleep associations we find babies wake more frequently overnight (in-between sleep cycles usually), needing those same conditions restored in order to be able to fall back to sleep. Of course, these things are not a problem, if they’re not a problem for you! But if you are looking to work on some independence around settling and resettling you can use a settling strategy to help support this!
- Check the sleep environment! Is the room dark enough? Is the white noise at the right volume (50 – 65 dB is goals!) and about 2 metres away from the cot? Is bedding on point –natural fabrics and layering according to the overnight low in the bedroom will help eliminate wakes from discomfort.
- Sleep regressions are the real deal! These occur around 4-months, 8-10 months, 12 months, 18 months and 2 years – yes, there’s a few! Usually staying consistent with your usual feeds overnight and resettling any other wakes will resolve this fairly quickly! Check out our NEW sleep regressions guide in our store!
- Growth spurts, new developments (like crawling or walking) or illnesses will also interrupt overnight sleep - and understandably so! Reach out to your medical professionals for support around this. Our little ones usually need extra love and care, but again if you stay fairly consistent with how you respond, it will be short-lived!
- Is baby overtired or under-tired? Too much day sleep or not enough or naps not balanced over the day will definitely impact overnight sleep. There is only so much sleep a body can achieve in 24 hours right! This will be individual to your baby, sometimes there’s a bit of trial and error around finding a nap schedule that works for baby and your lifestyle! But once you’ve got it, those overnight wakes should quickly resolve!
- Is reverse-cycling occurring? This is where baby is waking frequently in the night genuinely hungry because they are used to getting the majority of their calories at this time. Try to increase feeds and lengths of feeds through the day and slowly reduce the amounts overnight.
- As well as reverse-cycling, perhaps the feeds across the day are not quite balanced enough! Long full feeds help baby to sleep longer, if you are finding a bit of a snacking habit forming, you’ll find sleep a little harder to achieve through the day, therefore impacting those nights.
If you're finding your little one is waking multiple times overnight and it's something you are keen to change, book a call or grab one of our comprehensive sleep guides to help get you on your way!
All these sleepless nights will be a thing of the past eventually, but if you’re finding things need to change, grab one of our comprehensive sleep guides to help get you on your way or book a call!
I am all about providing you with individualised, holistic and flexible support, tackling change at your pace using responsive and evidence-based strategies that suit your family. By the end of our time together I want you to feel confident and empowered with your little ones sleep so you can navigate upcoming transitions successfully!