Getting your baby to sleep through the night is something all new moms wish for. It’s always a huge topic of discussion on social media. Any time a mama would ask about baby sleep, I would see comment after comment talking about how their 6-week-old or 2-month-old has been sleeping through the night since they were born. Or how by “insert age here” babies should be sleeping all night. So I would sit there wondering, why isn’t my 6-month-old sleeping through the night?
What was I doing wrong?
Four babies later and I figured out that answer…and it was that I did nothing wrong. I’m here to tell you, mama, not all babies sleep through the night at a few months old. Some don’t even sleep all night until after their first birthday.
My daughter was sleep trained at 5 months old. Both my husband and I worked full time and since she was formula fed, we knew she could sleep all night. It was a pretty painless process for us and I felt accomplished.
Then I had my second and he was breastfed. Like any newborn, he woke up quite a bit at night for the first few months. That was normal, right? But then, social media made me doubt it. I was constantly seeing posts about two-month-olds sleeping 12 hours at night. Well, my son was almost 4 months old and still woke up at least twice.
Cue the anxiety.
As each month passed and he still wasn’t sleeping through the night. I grew more and more anxious about it. I wanted to be like the other moms and get a full night’s rest. I tried to feed him more during the day. He would spit up more or refused it altogether. Once he turned six months old we introduced a nighttime snack before bed. He still woke up at least once. Nothing was working. I felt like I was failing.
I’m grateful for our pediatrician.
At 9 months, he was still waking up at least once. I asked the pediatrician if that was normal. She reassured me he was perfectly healthy, and waking up at night was normal. In fact, it was more normal than a two-month-old sleeping through the night. She, of course, told us we could sleep train if we were comfortable with it. Eventually, I accepted he wasn’t ready to go without a night feeding. My anxiety lessened and I didn’t dread nighttime as much.
It took over a year.
Thirteen months to be exact. He finally, consistently, started sleeping through the night.
When my third was born it hit me hard. I had gotten used to a full night’s sleep and he was a horrible sleeper. He woke up multiple times a night until age 1. Now, at 3 years old, he still wakes up some nights.
My fourth is a better sleeper overall. He takes consistent naps during the day and has since he was born. It still took him close to 15 months to sleep through the night, and there are still nights he wakes up.
It’s always hard to see all the posts on social media about babies sleeping all night at such a young age. Just know you’re not alone if your baby doesn’t. Don’t feel like a failure. Don’t feel like you have to sleep train if you don’t want to.
Just know this season will pass.
They will learn to sleep. And if you’re like me, the sleepless nights will be erased from your memory quickly. Then you’ll welcome another baby and start all over again.