Sleep Patterns For Baby

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your baby were born with the same sleeping pattern as you? However that is usually not the case, some babies are more active at night and prefer to sleep during the day.

Most newborns sleep an average of 16 - 17 hours a day, usually for around 2 - 4 hours at a time.

Their little stomachs cannot hold a lot of breast milk or formula, so they will often wake up when hungry and need a fresh nappy change.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your baby were born with the same sleeping pattern as you? However that is usually not the case, some babies are more active at night and prefer to sleep during the day. Most newborns sleep an average of 16 - 17 hours a day, usually for around 2 - 4 hours at a time. Their little stomachs cannot hold a lot of breast milk or formula, so they will often wake up when hungry and need a fresh nappy change. It will usually take about three to four weeks for your babies' brain to register the difference between night and day, once they do, most baby’s will adjust to a reasonable sleep pattern. Breastfed babies need feeding more often, every two hours, bottle fed babies every three to four hours which also interrupts sleep.

What is the best way to help baby get sleep regularly? Here are a few things you can try:

Create a routine Make a specific wake-up times and, even if you have been up most of the night, instead of going back to sleep in the morning keep them awake. This will teach your baby to stay in routine. It is hard work and sacrifice but it is worth it!

Stick to your feeding times When baby is sleeping during the day, for the first month or so, wake them up at the scheduled time for feeding, even if they are fast asleep. It is tempting to leave them asleep, but after a few weeks baby should be sleeping like clockwork.

Keep it noisy During the day keep all the curtains open, run the washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher, let the phone ring. This will teach baby to sleep through anything! You don’t want to be tip-toeing around your own home. We have seen lots of friends have success with this, and watched their little one’s sleep through loud cafe noises, coffee grinders, and shouting while out to lunch.

Keep it calm for bed time When naptime or night time comes around, darken the room, use a nightlight, speak softly and keep everything as calm as possible, so as not to stimulate baby. This little routine will help them to know the difference between awake and asleep time.

Less is not best At 6-8 weeks old keeping baby up beyond 2-3 hours will not tire them out more, it does the opposite as you will encourage them to become over-tired, leading to a stressed out baby that won’t sleep soundly at bed time. Keeping them awake longer during the day so they ‘sleep more at night’ is not an effective technique! Go easy on yourself Your baby can sleep well one night and not the next, and there will still be rough nights and bad days. Be as consistent with your night-time routine as possible but don’t stress out if you don’t make it one night. Your baby is more resilient than they look! If your baby is fussing, it's ok to cuddle, rock, hold, and comfort. In the first few months of life, “spoiling”, is not a problem.

All babies are different By two months of age your baby should be able to sleep 6 - 8 hours during the night and by 4 - 6 months they should be able to sleep 8 - 12 hours during the night. Some babies sleep through the night from 6 weeks, others at 6 months and some only sleep through when they are toddlers. Always be flexible, if it doesn't work out the first time, just try again.

We hope these tips and guidelines assist you in establishing a great sleeping routine for your baby. However each child is completely unique so should you have any concerns about your baby's sleeping patterns, contact your healthcare provider.