Why won’t your baby sleep through the night? He’s already past the six-month mark.
“This is extremely variable,” says Dr Natalie Epton, a specialist paediatrician and neonatologist. “My two sons slept through from 10pm to 7am from around eight to 10 weeks, and from 7pm to 7am from four months.”
Contrary to locally held belief, this has nothing to do with the milk you feed your child.
“My sons were exclusively breastfed for the first two years. A bottle of formula will be no more effective in helping a baby to sleep through the night,” she adds.
What does help is a consistent bedtime routine, with an appropriate bedtime (7pm for an infant).
Almost all babies will have periods of light sleep when they may wake easily. This does not necessarily mean they are hungry – but they certainly won’t turn down a feed if it’s offered.
Unfortunately, if they are already in the habit of expecting a feed when they wake up at night, it may be difficult to ease them out of it.
If you’re nursing, gradually reduce the amount of time on the breast by a few minutes each night, until the amount of feed your baby receives is minimal.
Then when you are reassured that he is not actually hungry, but waking up for a feed out of habit, you can ask your husband to comfort him without you nursing him.
If you’re not breastfeeding, replace the bottle of milk with water instead.
But if your baby has any medical problem, is a premature baby, or has poor weight gain, you should continue to offer the night feed until he no longer requires it, Dr Epton reminds.
Try not to respond to every movement and sound he makes. Allow him time to go into deeper sleep without depending on you to soothe him.