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It has been 3 days since his six week birthday, and our son has suddenly managed to sleep a 6, 6.5 and 7.5 (and counting, as I write this) hour block each respective night.

Update: I picked him up at the 8 hour mark. His eyes were open but he was very docile, he only cried from the cold when I opened his clothes to change his diaper. Based on the sounds from the baby monitor alone, I wouldn't have said he was awake. After feeding, he fell asleep almost immediately after he burped.

Before then, we could manage somewhere between a 3.5 to 4.5 hour stretch once a night.

Since about a week and a half ago, he did stop sleeping long hours during the day, often staying down for a nap less than an hour at a time, except when sleeping while being held.

From what I read, this kind of long night sleeping is attributed to a 6 month old, not a 6 week old.

So far, he has tracked reasonably well for growth and weight, he actually had quite the spurt at around 4 weeks, gaining 400g and 2cm in 9 days, which I am told is a lot by the pediatrician.

I'm just wondering if this is a blessing or a cause for concern. Should I be waking him up?

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  • Have you talked to your paediatrician about it?
    – nick012000
    Aug 23 at 3:49
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    Let sleeping dogs lie. And sleeping babies even more so.
    – Stephie
    Aug 23 at 13:39
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    Does he seem alert when he's awake during the day? If so then I wouldn't worry. Aug 23 at 14:07
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    If your baby is following the growth curves, let him sleep. This is probably your first, no? Babies don't follow rules. Don't worry if he's s bit behind in babbling, tracking, etc. This is what your doctor is for, and he should have an 8 week visit coming up soon. When he gives you his first belly-laugh, you'll forget everything you worried about. Enjoy! Aug 24 at 2:47
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    Humorous hint: If you hit the jackpot in the baby-sleeps-through-the-night lottery, please refrain from elaborating on this when talking to parents whose (older) babies are on the other side of the normal distribution curve. Their sleep-deprived brains will have difficulties handling that information in a positive and polite manner. Been there… not proud of my reactions.
    – Stephie
    Aug 27 at 22:03
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The age at which a child starts sleeping through the night varies significantly: some start doing it when they are only a few weeks old, whereas the parent "horror stories" tell us about the children who make it through the night for the first time when they were more than a year old!

There is a combination of physiological and psychological factors at play here:

  • physiological - a newborn's stomach is simply too small to keep enough food to keep them through the night. As the child (and their stomach) grows it can sleep longer. A rule of thumb is that a baby of more than 5 kilograms is capable of sleeping through the night (physiologically).
  • psychological - a newborn is unaware of the difference between the day and the night, and needs time to learn it. Some consider the unconsolable crying in the evenings, that takes place between 4-12 weeks of age, as the first manifestation of the insinctive peur of darkness. This is by no means a generally accepted explanation, but this is again well before 6 months, mentioned in the OP.

Let me also note that the transition from waking every 3 hours to sleeping throughout a night may be indeed a very sharp one.

Finally, note that "6 months" mentioned in the OP is a rather advanced stage - by then the baby acquires lots of other (arguably more complex skills): holding their head, sitting (with a support), turning over in bed, smiling, etc. 6 months is also a time when the diversification of food may have already started. Moreover, at 6 months the child may start again waking at night, e.g., because of teething pains.

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    He's actually 4.5kg right now, so somewhat under the rule of thumb, but the 8 hour sleep seems to be an odd one out, he slept 6 hours last night. Thank you for the information, it helps a lot to stop us worrying!
    – Flater
    Aug 24 at 8:27

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