Your baby and sleep

Every baby is different and will behave differently. Here are some things to keep in mind when managing your baby’s sleep.

Some babies need more sleep than others. Some sleep better where it is very quiet, while others settle best with ordinary household sounds. Some prefer being wrapped and others like their arms loose.

Setting a routine

Most babies will need two to three sleeps a day of up to two hours each, and will wake during the night as part of their normal sleep cycle. From seven to twelve months old, they will normally sleep from between 6pm and 10pm, then until 5am or later.

A routine will help your baby learn when it is bedtime and settle, for example:

  1. Dinner and a bath.
  2. Short playtime.
  3. The last feed of the day.
  4. Nappy change.
  5. Quiet story time together in the bedroom.
  6. Sing a soft song as you put them in the cot.
  7. Kiss and say goodnight and turn off the lights or turn on a night-light.

Help your baby learn to go to sleep independently by putting them to bed sleepy but still awake. If they learn to go to sleep without you, they are more likely to drop off again after waking during the night.

Safe sleep

Minimise the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and fatal sleep accidents by:

  • Having your baby in a cot in your room for the first six to twelve months.
  • Placing your baby on their back to sleep and leaving their head uncovered.
  • Making the bed so your baby’s feet reach the bottom of the cot to prevent their head from sliding under the covers.
  • Using a firm and well-fitting mattress and removing bumpers, soft toys and doonas from the cot.
  • Using only light bedding to avoid overheating.
  • Avoiding using pillows because they are not necessary for babies.
  • Checking that pets cannot get into baby’s room.
  • Placing the cot away from things they might play with and get tangled in, such as heaters, power points, lights, hanging mobiles and curtain cords.

Image Baby gazes at adult as they are gently soothed before sleep 

Published — 16 September 2016 Last updated — 04 November 2016