Babies and Sleep Problems

Babies require a great deal of sleep. A newborn baby will sleep up to 16 hours per day. At first they will wake up every 2 to 3 hours to feed, but gradually as the weeks go by, they will sleep for longer periods. From around 6 months old they will sleep 5 or 6 hours continuously, giving parents much needed rest. If your baby keeps waking up every 2 to 3 hours from the age of 5 months, you will need to train them to have a regular sleep pattern. The baby should no longer require feeding as often as before.

Teach them that nothing exciting happens at night, that there will be no playing or too much interaction other than soothing sounds to help them go to sleep. Do not turn on bright lights, if a light is needed at all. If the baby needs to be changed do this with little fuss. If you are concerned about your baby sleeping please do speak to your health practitioner to make sure that there are no health issues.

Babies and Sleep Problems

My Baby Cries

Newborn babies will cry to be fed and this is natural. They do, however, learn from this process that crying does get them attention. In time the baby’s cry might just be for attention and a parent soon learns from the cry if something is wrong. If a baby does cry, it is always best to see if there is a problem and if it is just for attention, gently close the bedroom door and see if the baby settles down. With calls for attention it is usually best not to hurry to pick your baby up but leave them sleeping. You might stroke their head and back and make sure they are tucked in their bed clothes to make them feel secure. It is easier to teach a younger child (4 to 6 months) than one that is older to sleep through the night. Experts say that a baby of 4 to 6 months can be taught in 3 or 4 nights, whereas over 6 months it could be 1 or 2 weeks. It is always best to seek advice from your doctor or health care worker if crying is to excess or you're worried.

Sleeping in the Parents Bed

Should you have your baby sleeping in your bed? This is really a personal choice but there are dangers. First, the baby might well get suffocated by one of the parents if they roll over onto the baby. Statistics tell us that there is an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Second, the baby may well end up never wanting to sleep in their own bed creating a problem later on in its life. Third, the parents sleep will most likely be disturbed and of course that is not good for them. By developing good family routines for the baby and everyone else in the family a baby just like older children can look forward to bedtime and all can enjoy a good nights sleep. If you have any issues with sleep problems with your baby and the simple steps above don't work, it is always best to seek advice from your doctor or health care worker.

Back to Blog