When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through the Night?

June 21, 2023

Little is more baffling and yet more frequently discussed during your baby’s first few months than the newborn sleep schedule. It can seem like the more you try to understand and nurture your little one’s sleep, the less anyone in the house is sleeping.

It may not add any pep to your step, but rest assured, new parents, you are not alone in asking, “When will my baby sleep through the night?” Or, perhaps an even better question – when can they? As a gentle sleep coach, I’ve had this conversation many times.

First and foremost, remember that you know your baby better than any book, well-meaning friend or website. Your baby is unique, with a sleep personality that will more or less dictate how easily they will eventually sleep through the night. Read on for more information on how to determine your baby's sleep personality and what each personality type means when it comes to their sleep.

There No “Correct” Newborn Sleep Schedule

Father playing with wide away babyFather playing with wide away baby

Sleeping through the night can be subjective, and many factors contribute to whether or not your baby will sleep longer than three hours tonight. I am often asked, with good reason, when babies typically start to sleep through the night. Lack of sleep can impact parents’ physical and mental health, and I really do empathize. However, there is no one, universally true answer. 

Basically, what I want to explain before we get started is that there is no “one rule for all” when it comes to newborn sleep schedules and sleeping through the night. Don't compare your child to anyone else's, and don't fret about whether or not your baby is “doing it right.” They are!

When CAN Babies Sleep Through the Night?

When a baby can sleep through the night and when they do are two completely different things in most cases. From around three months, babies can technically sleep for longer and longer stretches and, depending on your definition of “through the night,” some parents feel they can tick that elusive box. 

But just because some babies can sleep through at three months doesn't mean they will! For the purpose of this discussion, sleeping through the night is classed as sleeping for a 6-hour stretch (or longer) after midnight. And here’s the reality: only 17% of 3-month-olds sleep through the night. Some can, but most do not. As babies get older, more and more will sleep through the night, but it isn't until babies are over 12 months that the majority are sleeping through the night.

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When Will YOUR Baby Sleep Through the Night?

This is what you really want to know, right? We want to consider many things when looking at when we can expect your child to sleep through the night. These include

  • Age
  • Sleep personality
  • Daily calorie intake
  • Time spent with parents each day
  • When they fall asleep initially for the night

And so much more! Hopefully, it’s starting to make sense for why your baby’s sleep schedule can be so erratic. 

Let’s Talk Sleep Personality

Father holding a sleeping newbornFather holding a sleeping newborn

A couple of times, I have mentioned “sleep personality.” If you’re not already familiar with this term, it’s one you’ll want to investigate. Sleep personality plays a huge part in how your baby sleeps and when we can expect them to sleep through the night. There are three different basic sleep personalities:

  • Laidback children will often have an easier time with sleep, their daily schedules are predictable and they are very good at showing you tired signs.
  • Shy children are not always shy in themselves but shy when it comes to sleep. They have a harder time with change and may get upset if you rush them or try to help them to sleep if they're overtired.
  • Intense children have the hardest time with sleep. They are very alert, even as newborns. They struggle to relax and unwind, don't show tired signs until they have gotten overtired and are more likely to have quick, urgent wake-ups.

When you understand your child's sleep personality, which can't be changed, you may know when your baby will sleep through the night. Laidback children have the easiest time and are sleeping through before shy or intense children.

Shy children take a little longer and need things to be a little more predictable. And, intense children take even longer (sorry) and need things to be predictable. With these kiddos, you want to try to avoid overtiredness and overstimulation.

When it comes to sleeping through the night, some things are certain. Your child will eventually sleep through the night, and they will do it when they're ready. If you do sense that your baby is fighting sleep, I have some sleep tips for you to try here.

Better sleep starts with healthier sleep! Check out our Guide to Healthier Sleep for Healthier Babies

Rebecca Michi, Gentle Sleep CoachRebecca Michi, Gentle Sleep Coach

Rebecca Michi has been a children's sleep consultant for over a decade and has worked with hundreds of families all over the world. She loves supporting families as they work with their children to gently encourage easier sleep. Born and raised in England, she now lives in the USA with her husband, two teenagers and German Shepherd. Rebecca loves a good nap, fresh flowers and cups of tea. Learn more about The Michi Method for sleep at childrenssleepconsultant.com.