Does everyone ask how your baby sleeps? Does everyone else's baby seem to sleep more than yours? Has someone told you your baby 'should' be sleeping differently to how they are? If so, you are not alone.
Visit the BASIS website for more about baby sleep.
How babies sleep
Remember… babies don’tsleep like adults, they sleep like babies.
Babies were designed to wake up often at night to feed and cuddle, and remember many adults wake during the night, too. They grow quickly in the early weeks and months of their lives and have very small stomachs. Therefore they need to feed around the clock to meet their needs.
Becoming a parent is a very special time. Getting to know your new baby and learning how to care for her needs can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. However, it can also be challenging, especially when you are tired and your baby is wakeful and wanting to feed frequently during the night.
Read a blog by breastfeeding counsellor Emma Pickett who discusses the dangers of promoting a strict feeding schedule at the expense of responsive, flexible infant feeding.
Babies sleep is more or less evenly distributed between day and night, and occurs in 2-3 hour bouts. It often takes several months for a day /night pattern of wake and sleep to become established.
Where should my baby sleep?
Throughout human history, babies have slept close to their mothers, during the day and during the night. Wherever your baby sleeps you need to ensure they are safe. Visit the Lullaby Trust's website to read more.
What parents need to know about safer sleep
- best sleeping position for your baby
- Sharing a room with your baby
- Placing your baby on their back to sleep is one key pieces of advice to lower the chance of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Some parents choose to bed share with their babies. For advice about co sleeping visit the Lullaby Trust's website and watch this video
- Sleep products/positioners.
- Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby. A special message for dads from #Liftthebaby
- Never co-sleep with your baby if you or you partner smoke. Visit the Health Surrey website for Stop smoking advice.
If you would like to read more about sleep and your baby visit Baby Sleep Information Source website.
What about sleep and older children?
Good sleep is important for your child's physical and mental wellbeing. It is also important for family life and normal functioning.
A relaxing bedtime routine is one important way to help your child get a good night's sleep.
If your child won't go to bed:
- Decide what time you want your child to go to bed.
- Close to the time that your child normally falls asleep, start a 20-minute "winding down" bedtime routine. Bring this forward by 5 to 10 minutes a week – or 15 minutes if your child is in the habit of going to bed very late – until you get to the bedtime you want.
- Set a limit on how much time you spend with your child when you put them to bed. For example, read only one story, then tuck your child in and say goodnight.
- Give your child their favourite toy or comforter before settling into bed.
- If your child gets up, keep taking them back to bed again with as little fuss as possible.
- Try to be consistent.
- You may have to repeat this routine for several nights.