Some babies sleep much more than others. Some sleep for long periods, others in short bursts. Some soon sleep through the night and some don’t for a long time.
Your baby will have their own pattern of waking and sleeping, and it’s unlikely to be the same as other babies you know.
It’s also unlikely to fit in with your need for sleep. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. If you’re breastfeeding, in the early weeks your baby is likely to doze off for short periods during a feed.
Carry on feeding until you think your baby has finished or until they’re fully asleep. This is a good opportunity to try to get a bit of rest yourself.
If you’re not sleeping at the same time as your baby don’t worry about keeping the house silent while they sleep. It’s good to get your baby used to sleeping through a certain amount of noise.
How can I get my baby used to night and day being different?
It’s a good idea to teach your baby that nighttime is different to daytime from the start. During night feeds you may find it helpful to:
keep the lights down low,
not talk much and keep your voice quiet,
put your baby down as soon as they’ve been fed and changed, and
not change your baby unless they need it.
Where should my baby sleep?
For the first six months your baby should be in the same room as you when they’re asleep, both day and night. Particularly in the early weeks, you may find that your baby only falls asleep in your or your partner’s arms, or when you’re standing by the cot.
You can start getting your baby used to going to sleep without you comforting them by putting them down before they fall asleep or when they’ve just finished a feed.
It may be easier to do this once your baby starts to stay alert more frequently or for longer.
Is it important to have a routine from the beginning?
While it’s helpful to have a pattern, you can always change the routine to suit your needs. For example, you could try waking your baby for a feed just before you go to bed in the hope that you’ll get a long sleep before they wake up again.
See Encouraging healthy sleep in Useful links, right, for more information about getting into a good sleeping routine.
If your baby is having problems sleeping or you need more advice about getting into a routine, speak to your doctor or health visitor.
See Useful links for details of support organisations.
Coping with disturbed nights
Disturbed nights can be very hard to cope with. If you have a partner, get them to help. If you’re formula feeding, encourage your partner to share the feeds. If you’re breastfeeding, ask your partner to take over the early morning changing and dressing so you can go back to sleep.
Once you’re into a good breastfeeding routine, your partner could occasionally give a bottle of expressed breast milk during the night. If you’re on your own, you could ask a friend or relative to stay for a few days so that you can sleep.