By Hannah Schenker
Most of us have already worked this out, but the majority of babies do not in fact sleep through the night, something that researchers have confirmed in a study published in the journal Pediatrics. So we can all rest easy (ha!) knowing that our baby is in fact completely normal.
Researchers interviewed 388 Canadian mums with babies under six months old. They then revisited them when their babies had reached 12 months.
When using a commonly accepted definition of “sleeping through” as being eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, 57% of of six-month-olds did not sleep that long (more than half), and 43.4% of 12-month-olds did not sleep through. When reduced to six hours of uninterrupted sleep, 37.6% of six-month-olds were unable to sleep that long, and 27.9% of 12-month-olds. That’s a fair few babies out there not managing to “sleep through”.
The study did find that breastfeeding led to babies waking more often than formula-fed babies, at both six and 12 months of age, for which there are plenty of possible reasons such as breastfeeding being protective against SIDS. They also found that boys were more likely to wake than girls, consistent with results from another large, longitudinal study.
They were interested in learning whether this lack of uninterrupted sleep would have an effect on mental or psychomotor development, and found it did not. While later in life this lack of uninterrupted sleep or frequent waking can have a larger effect, in the first year of life that is not the case. They found no difference in the healthy development of those who slept longer than those who did not.