real life

All babies can sleep through the night from 12 weeks. Here's how.

All babies can sleep through the night from 12 weeks.

I repeat all babies.

Didn’t yours get the memo?

Mine were obviously busy checking Facebook, or having kip when it came out because they certainly didn’t obey.

In fact, my turning-eight next month eldest son could be about to hit a world record in the fact that he has never slept through the night. Never.

Not once.

Every single night since the day he was born he has woken up continuously. A merry-go-round of needing breastmilk, to bottles, to sippy cups of water. An endless torment of climbing from his cot, then out of his bed and inevitably, no matter how many times, now matter where we are, after placing him back in his bed, ending up in my bed.

Babies can sleep through the night from 12 weeks.


His two siblings have repeated the pattern, though they have been known to occasionally sleep a little better.

So I consider myself something of a reluctant expert when it comes to sleep deprivation.

I’ve read all the books (and I mean all of them) I’ve tried all the methods. I’ve been to clinics and had sleep gurus in. Been there done that. Failed.

So it’s with trepidation that I read yet another baby expert claim that in fact "all babies are capable of sleeping through the night from the age of 12 weeks."

(Can't you just hear the whistling of Mary Poppins as you digest that little fact?)

The expert with this handy little piece of advice is baby sleep 'guru' Alison Scott-Wright.

She is the author of a new book, The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan that kindly informs us sleep deprived veterans that in fact, contrary to our own torturous experiences, all babies can sleep 12 hours through the night - 7pm to 7am - from the age of 12 weeks.


(Lickedy split!)

She says:

"It's become the accepted norm that babies don't sleep, and you get these studies saying it's natural for babies to wake up once or twice a night. But I really don't know on what basis they can state that, because babies are designed to sleep"  she told The Independent. 

"Babies pretty much should be sleeping 12 hours through the night by three months - not by leaving them to scream or putting them at the end of the garden, but by understanding their natural patterns."

Now far be it for me – a mere journalist, not medically trained in any way, shape, or form, to knock the words of an expert. So before I do – lets go through what she suggests.

To save you buying the book.


Alison Scott-Wright is from the school of the-reason-the-baby-doesn’t-sleep-is--because-you-are-doing-parenting-wrong.

I will break down her “method” into points:

What you are doing wrong:

  • Parents try too many methods to get their baby to sleep – dummies, rocking, car trips and it is giving three-month old babies a crutch.  They need to be taught to sleep independently without the evils of a bottle or a dummy.
  • Babies should be feeding more during the day and less at night, so if babies are crying for feeds at night after about four months of age, parents need to look for the reason. "There are very few babies of four months and older that genuinely need food through the night. They might look for it, but you have to ask why." She recently told The Independent.  "If they're having five or six daytime feeds, the digestive system is in overdrive so it will keep the baby awake at night.  "It's comfort eating.“
  • Her other reason is that your baby isn’t sleeping enough during the day.
  • The dummy: after three months you should ditch the dummy – not slow weaning just throw it out, otherwise she says it is ‘confusing.’

Her method:

  • When your baby wakes up go to her – she must sleep in her own room – walk in, say "that's enough" and" it's sleepy time" and leave.
  • "You keep going in and out - there's no time between these visits, and when you go in you say exactly the same thing in the same monotone voice to give her the reassurance that you're there. You don't get angry or frustrated, but you're not going to give in.
  • "It might take an hour and you might go in the room 20 times, but it's not about staying in the room until they calm down and go to sleep. It's short visits.
  • "Eventually they'll fall asleep.”
  • She says the technique usually works within two or three nights, and can often work on the first night.

"Sleep problems" Alison Scott-Wright told The Independent “can be solved whatever the age of the child.”

Just like magic huh? If only I had known that eight, six and four years ago. If only.

These babies sleep, and they do it beautifully. Watch this adorable compilation of babies trying to stay awake. Post continues after video.

If only I had read this back before the sleep deprivation my whole life might be different, my wrinkles might be less, my temper tempered, the bags under my eyes gone. If only I had known that five simple words were the answer to my problems.


"That's enough" and" it's sleepy time."

If I sound bitter it’s because I am.

If I sound fed up with reading the latest research or advice or program or method its because I am.

If I sound cranky that new mothers spend hours they could be gazing at their delicious babies instead furiously attempting to divulge the latest sleeping method I am.

Shauna and her son, Jasper - the one who does not sleep.

But it could just be that not a single method ever worked for me. Not cry-it-out, cuddle-him-up, not rocking him to sleep or patting him down, not closing the door or staying in the room. Not schussing, or singing, or white noise or black out blinds. And I can honestly say that saying five simple words would not have worked either.

Some babies just do not sleep.

And you know what, eight-years later I am okay with that.

I have accepted that some babies simply don’t fit the pattern and trying to fit them all into the same mould is a recipe for disaster: failure for the baby –and a whole lot of heartbreak and distress for their parents.

I don’t begrudge parents trying techniques, and Alison Scott-Wright's methods probably do work for many many families but it will not, and never will work for everyone.

Some babies are just awful sleepers and while I can’t say it will pass I will say that you will learn how to deal with it your own way.

Have you successfully tried a baby sleep method? Share your story below.