New­born Q&A

Will he ever sleep through?

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents - MEG FAURE

Q:My four-week-old baby has not slept through the night once, and I am just ex­hausted! At what age can I ex­pect him to sleep through the night, and how can I get him to do this?

A:Be­ing a new mom is ut­terly ex­haust­ing, and no-one tells you just how you will feel when in this state! Some­how the moms whose ba­bies do sleep through the night early are the only ones we hear from (or the only ones who speak up). The re­al­ity is, though, that very few ba­bies sleep through as early as four weeks. Most ba­bies take un­til six months to sleep through the night.

To prop­erly an­swer your ques­tion and ad­dress your ex­pec­ta­tions, we need to de­fine “sleep­ing through the night”. “Sleep­ing through” means sleep­ing more than eight hours at a stretch at night. In other words, if your lit­tle one has a feed at 6:30pm and wakes at 2:30am, he could in the­ory be said to be sleep­ing through.

In terms of age-ap­pro­pri­ate wak­ings, a six-month-old can be ex­pected to sleep 10 hours at night with­out wak­ing for a feed, and a tod­dler should sleep 12 hours at night.

Ba­bies younger than this are very vari­able, and it largely de­pends on their per­son­al­i­ties, health, and feeds and weight. A four-week-old can be ex­pected to start to sleep for one longer stretch at night. In other words, if you give your four-week-old the last feed of the day at 7pm, he should stretch to four or even five hours be­fore need­ing the next feed. Some set­tled ba­bies do sleep longer than this, and if your baby does, be happy.

By 12 weeks you can ex­pect your lit­tle one to only be wak­ing once at night (at around 2 or 3am).

To im­prove your lit­tle one’s sleep, feed in the dark and don’t change his nappy un­less it is soiled. Don’t burp him for too long and try to re­set­tle him im­me­di­ately after the feed. Night feeds need to be kept as calm and quiet as pos­si­ble to dis­cour­age in­ter­ac­tions. If your baby con­tin­ues to wake at three-hourly or even shorter in­ter­vals at night, you need to rule out two prob­lems: 1. He may be re­vers­ing his day/night sleeps. In this case, be sure to feed at least ev­ery three hours and in­ter­act more dur­ing the day and keep night feeds very quiet. 2. He may be suf­fer­ing from re­flux, which will need to be ruled out and treated by a med­i­cal doc­tor.

Al­though this an­swer may not be the one you are look­ing for, you will find that nights are more man­age­able if your ex­pec­ta­tions are match­ing your baby’s ca­pac­ity to sleep at night. YB

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.