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Debunking the Myth: Babies Expected to Wake Up Overnight Until 12 Months

Are you eagerly awaiting the day your baby sleeps through the night? You're not alone! Let's debunk a common myth surrounding infant sleep: the belief that babies are expected to wake up overnight until they reach 12 months of age.

 Biologically speaking, babies are capable of sleeping 10-12 hours at night by 10-13 weeks of age. While some babies may require night feeds for a more extended period, potentially up to 6+ months, many infants can grasp the concept of sleeping through the night much earlier.

 Nighttime wake-ups in babies can occur due to various reasons, including the natural transition between sleep cycles. When a sleep cycle ends and another begins, a baby may signal for hunger, discomfort, teething, or seek comfort and reassurance from caregivers. If a baby relies on a prop such as feeding, rocking, or a pacifier to fall asleep initially, they may struggle to naturally connect into the next sleep cycle without that prop. It's essential to respond to your baby's needs with love and understanding while also encouraging healthy sleep habits.

Expert Tip: When your baby wakes up during the night, consider giving them a few minutes to see if they can settle back to sleep independently. Babies often have brief awakenings between sleep cycles, and they may be able to soothe themselves back to sleep without intervention. By allowing your baby this opportunity to self-soothe, you encourage the development of independent sleep skills and promote longer stretches of restful sleep for both you and your little one. If your baby continues to fuss or shows signs of distress after a few minutes, then provide gentle reassurance and support as needed.

Contrary to the myth, the idea that night wakings are expected until 12 months is not supported by the data or our personal and professional experience. Many babies can achieve longer stretches of sleep much earlier than commonly believed.

Take Paige & Lindsey's children, for example. All three were sleeping 12 hours by 12 weeks, and the most incredible fact is that they were all fed differently. One was combo-fed, one was formula-fed, and one was breastfed! This highlights the diversity of successful sleep experiences across various feeding methods.

The expectation that all babies will naturally wake up overnight until 12 months is a myth. Every child is unique, and sleep patterns can vary. Understanding your baby's cues and fostering healthy sleep habits early can contribute to a more restful night for both baby and parents.

Ready to explore personalized solutions for your baby's sleep? Book a sleep evaluation call with our team for 1:1 sleep support. Let's help your little one (and you!) get the rest you deserve.

Remember, debunking myths and embracing facts can lead to better sleep for the whole family. Sweet dreams!


Meet the Author: Hi I’m Natalie Zaun - Mama of two, soon to be three, little girls and a certified pediatric sleep specialist! I have my Masters in Special Education and Elementary Education and love that I get to combine my passion and education into helping families. My goal is to not only equip all families with the resources and support to obtain great sleep, following the comfort of their child, but also empower families to enjoy this season of parenthood! 


Disclaimer: Always tailor parenting approaches to your baby's unique needs, seeking guidance from pediatric professionals when needed.

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