I have a 3-month-old child. My pediatrician told me that you shouldn't let a baby sleep through the night until she/he is at least 4 months old. Even if they are gaining weight.

But my little one from day one had a different opinion. I turn on my alarm clock to make sure I get up to feed him. But every once and a while I don't hear my alarm clock and I wake up feeling like the worst mother for letting him sleep 8 hours! He has been gaining weight perfectly, weighing about 13 lbs now. He takes just a few quick naps during the day and eats almost every hour-two during the day until his bedtime at 8-9pm. I feed him at 9pm and again at 1-2am and then at 5-6am. But last night I didn't wake at 2am but at 5:30, and this has happened a few times. I also have a 20-month-old who would sleep through the night from the first month.

Could it just be that my kids like to sleep during the night? And why can't we let them sleep that long? I grew up always hearing "Never wake a sleeping baby!" Did they just mean during their nap?

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    Lucky mama! As long as your baby is still gaining weight and being healthy, it doesn't seem to be a problem. Also, if he is sleeping so well, you shouldn't wake him up and disturb his sleeping pattern. "Never wake a sleeping baby" is great advice. Never wake a sleeping anyone for that matter :P – Bobo Aug 6 '14 at 15:43
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    I appreciate your concern for your child. I felt the need to VTC because your request is about medical advice and should be addressed by a medical professional. If you want a second opinion, the best would be another doctor/pediatrician rather than anecdotal evidence from internet peeps. – Sylas Seabrook Aug 7 '14 at 14:15
  • Then why should I listen to your advice about going to another doctor/pediatrician internet peep, Jeremy? I was just curious about what other moms have been told by their doctors. – Allie Aug 8 '14 at 4:14
  • My boy slept through the night at eight weeks of age. He gained a good amount of weight und jumped up 20 points on the height percentile in that time. Just keep his weight in check and let him sleep. My boy is an excellent sleeper ever since. – Korinna Feb 20 '19 at 9:35

If your pediatrician has explicitly told you to wake your baby up, I think you should do that. However, the pediatrician should give you the exact amount of time your baby should have between feedings if that is the case, in my opinion.

What I often hear is that you can't expect a baby to sleep through the night with no feedings before a certain age, and that you shouldn't try and make them give up feedings until a certain age. That is different that being asked to wake up a baby sleeping on its own.

From my own experience, my first was 4 weeks early, and on the small side. We were told specifically that we needed to wake him up every 3 hours to feed, and that we could not expect him to wake by himself as he may not be able to get his body to react appropriately on being hungry. I can't remember when, but I think it was the 1 month checkup, we were told we did not have to wake him anymore - at this point he also woke up by himself when hungry.

For our second baby, who was full term, we were not told anything like that, only to 'wait with sleep training if doing it' until 4 months of age. (Of course, he woke up by himself lots!).

If would personally feed your baby when he wants to, and not wake him up. Especially since he seems to be eating lots during the day. I would then check his weight yourself (height is a very unreliable indicator of baby growth - it comes in spurts and is hard to do exact measurements). I would feed him whenever he wakes naturally, and I would guess he might still do that some nights.

If your pediatrician has nurse line, you can also call them and ask if it is OK to let him sleep.

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My child was very premature so I spent every single day for 5 months in a NICU and never heard a single doctor say you should wake your child during the night for any reason. They did say if your child sleeps a long time you should slip a bottle in their mouth at around 4-5 hours and let them eat in their sleep. The NICU doctors all said that sleep cycles are extremely important for babies and since you have no way of knowing where they are in their cycle you should avoid waking them if at all possible.

I would find and print a good article from a reputable hospital about infants sleep patterns, ask your pediatrician for the explicit reasons for wanting to wake your child up in the night, and if what they say contradicts the article, present them with the article and ask why they disagree with it. I have used this technique several times and always get very good responses from the doctor.

Here is a document from OHSU(Oregon Health and Science University), one of the leading children hospitals in the United States. Sleep, Baby, Sleep

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  • Thanks for the comments. I've asked our pediatrician before and he said ALL babies need to eat during the night so I shouldn't let him go for more than 4 hours, even though my baby eats every hour-two during the day,which most babies eat every 3-4. Also I've tried to nurse him without waking him and he just will not eat! And if he ever does, it's never more than a few seconds and then his mouth is full of milk which he doesn't swallow and just lets it pour out of his mouth. (I told my doctor that and thats why he wants me to wake him up) – Allie Aug 7 '14 at 12:36

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