It’s the question, that anyone who’s still waking up at 3am with their baby dreads… “Are they sleeping through the night yet?” Well, if you’ve ever felt bad admitting that no, you’re still waking up in the night – then stop right now – because new research says this is completely normal.
“The big message is it’s normal for your baby to wake up, don’t worry about it!” said Dr Amy Brown from Swansea University. The study challenges the common belief that babies should sleep through the night from 6 weeks – and disproves the myth that stopping breastfeeding or giving more solid food will stop them from waking.
The study of more than 700 mums with a baby aged 6-12 months found that 78% of babies aged 6-12 months woke up during the night at least once, and 61% of these also woke up for at least one milk feed during the night. The researchers found that whether the babies were bottle-fed or breastfed or eating solids or how many feeds they had during the day, made no difference in the number of times they woke up.
“We know that breastfeeding and introducing solids slowly continue to be important for the health of both babies and mothers, but many mothers tell us that they face pressure to give their baby formula or lots of food, particularly if their baby isn’t sleeping through the night,” Victoria Harries, an MSc Child Public Health student who worked on the study said. “Our findings show that it is normal for babies to wake and instead those supporting the mother should find other ways of helping her rather than trying to affect how she feeds her baby.”
So next time you’re doing a bleary-eyed 2am feed don’t worry that you’re a bad mum. It’s completely normal!