For doctors

Why should babies sleep alone?

All new parents want a “good sleeper” right? Of course! A good sleeper means more rested parents, which means you’re less exhausted and more productive with all your regular and new responsibilities with your baby.

Babies don't typically have a "normal" sleep cycle until age six months, so it's normal for them to wake up periodically throughout the night. A "good sleeper" means they're able to put themselves back to sleep.

Newborns can sleep up to 20 hours a day, but it's typically broken up into 1-2-hour segments. Those segments will stretch as they grow older, and they will sleep greater lengths of time. We just need to help them learn how to go back to sleep in the night hours when that is what is keeping you awake.

When you hear your baby wake, pause and see if they can put themselves back to sleep. Remember: this is a gift you give your child that will serve him or her well throughout life. People of every age wake up periodically throughout the night for various reasons. So give them a minute, let them work it out, and it will serve you and them well.

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  1. I LOVE this advice. I hear from other parents who either rush into their infants’ rooms at the first noise, or co-sleep with their infants and find themselves woken up all night to re-settle their kids. I understand the desire to snuggle with their babies while they are young, but I think it’s important to give your child the gift of good sleep!!

    1. On the flip side, room sharing for my son and I was a lifesaver as I worked such long hours during the day, so I did most of interacting with him at night. I don’t think breastfeeding would have worked had we not room shared too! I didn’t nurse him or wake fully every time he rustled around so I think that might be a misconception about room sharers/cosleepers – honestly I think there were LESS wakings b/c he could see me and be like “Oh cool, mom’s still here. Life is good. Back to sleep.” 🙂 We did this ’till 6 mths and the transition to his room was seamless, and he’s always been/still is a rockstar sleeper! I think the best sleep advice is do what works best for you, and don’t assume there is a right/wrong way.

      1. I too had both of my girls sleep in my room. With my first daughter I found it a little more difficult to let go so she started sleeping in her crib around 8 months but my youngest was moved over at 6 months. They NEVER slept in bed with us though, just beside me. I found this so much easier since I was breastfeeding and could just roll over the get them and feed. I never did pick them up right away though as they both made a lot of noise at night and would put themselves back to sleep often.


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