How to get your newborn baby to sleep
Tips from the experts to help get your baby to sleep
Tips for mums
Feed, wind and change baby before putting down
Let your baby gradually get used to night and day
And when supporting mum
If your baby is bottle-fed, offer to do night feeds so mum
Introduce a relaxing bedtime routine in the evening
Babies sleep most of the day. But exactly how much and how often they wake up differs from baby to baby. What is almost certain, is that your newborn baby’s sleep patterns will be very different to yours. That’s why developing a baby sleep routine is important to help everyone get the rest they need.
How to help your baby sleep
- When they are a few weeks old, slowly let your baby get used to the differences in the light and noise of day and night. During the day, try playing, singing and laughing with your baby when they are awake. When they wake during the night, keep the lights low, and stimulation to a minimum
- Make sure your baby has been fed, winded and has a clean nappy on before you put them down for a sleep
“I find rhythmic noises calm my baby and put her to sleep – I tried putting a loudly ticking clock in her room and it worked a treat.”
- Around three months old, introduce a consistent nightly routine of calming activities like bath, story and cuddle. This will help your baby learn that it’s time to sleep
- Try to give your baby the chance to fall asleep on their own whenever possible. If you feed or rock your baby to sleep during the day they will expect you to do the same at night
- Learn to recognise the signs of sleepiness so you can put baby down to fall asleep in the cot or Moses basket. Look for yawning and stretching. Your little one may start rubbing their eyes and ears. Or they may lose interest in toys and people
- 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
“You never realise the importance of a blackout blind until you see the 4am summer sunrise when you’re visiting family. Sorry mum and dad!”
When baby won’t sleep
- There may be times of the day when your baby tends to cry a lot and can't be comforted. Early evening is the most common time for this to happen. This can be hard for you, as it's often the time when you're most tired and least able to cope. The amount babies cry tends to peak at about seven weeks, then gradually tail off. For more advice on why baby may be crying visit the NHS website.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The sleep disruptions and deprivation are some of the greatest demands placed on new parents. If your baby is bottle-fed, split the night-time feeds with your partner and take turns doing early morning changing. Ask a friend or relative to come stay for a few days or even just an evening so you can catch up on your sleep
When do babies start sleeping through the night?
Most babies sleep through the night from about six months. So there is a light on the horizon.