Q: when should my baby be sleeping through the night?
A: first, remove the word “should” as there are no fixed dates, only guidelines and there are huge individual differences. in the first month after birth, a newborn’s sleeping patterns can be very erratic, with several periods of 1 to 3 hours’ sleep duration over the 24 hour period. newborn babies will be waking and feeding according to their own schedule, and as a parent it’s best to initially respond to this, rather than try to control it. this may mean resting when your baby is sleeping.
within the first few months, you start to see a resemblance of a day/ night cycle but this is just a beginning and the circadian rhythm will continue to develop over the first two years. however, by roughly 3-4 months, many babies go for longer stretches of sleep at night, with 4-6 hour periods. the notion that babies can “sleep through the night” by 3 months is based on this sustained, nocturnal sleep period, not a full 8-10 hours. however, some will not sleep for this long at this age as their circadian rhythm may just be a bit slower to develop. by 6 months, 50% of babies are sleeping through the night, with 90% reaching this by 12 months.