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Your baby’s sleeping needs will change as they grow older. After they’re born they can sleep for up to 18 hours a day, though not always at the best times for you! Here are some tips to help you.

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Tips to help you get your newborn to sleep

Tip #1: Learn the signs

Watch your baby closely and soon you’ll be able to tell when they are getting sleepy.

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Tip #2: Almost asleep

Try putting your baby down when they’re sleepy but still awake. This will help them connect a story, cuddle, song, or you chatting quietly to them with sleep.

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Tip #3: Don’t worry

Photo of a baby sleeping in its mothers arms

Try not to get too concerned. Sleep is the hardest part for most parents, and it is normal if your baby only wants to sleep on you at the beginning.

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Tip #4: Wait a little longer

Babies don’t fall into a deep sleep straight away, so maybe wait a little while after they fall asleep on you before putting them into their cot.

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Tip #5: Take care with car seats

They might look comfy asleep in the car seat and you don’t want to wake them up. But try to take them out when you get home. Babies can have breathing problems in car seats so shouldn’t be in them for too long.

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Tip #6: Not too hot

Check how hot your baby is by touching their neck or their tummy. If they are sweating they are too hot. Remove blankets if you are worried that they are too hot. And make sure their head is always uncovered.

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Tip #7: Not too cold

Also make sure they are warm enough by adding any blankets if needed.

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Tip #8: Daytime noise

Don’t be too quiet when your baby is asleep during the day, and avoid total darkness. It’s tempting to tiptoe round a sleeping baby, but it’s better if they get used to a little noise and get used to the difference between day and night.

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Tip #9: Call the health visitor

If you are breastfeeding through the night, try and get your partner to do the morning changing and dressing so you can have a lie in. You can speak to your health visitor for some advice and support.

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Tip #10: Me time

While your wee one sleeps, try and squeeze in some ‘you’ time. Read a magazine, watch TV, have a bath, or just try to get some well deserved sleep!

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Common newborn questions

How do I make sure my baby's safe when they're sleeping?

Newborn babies sleep a lot, but not always for long at once. Read our safe sleeping tips to keep them safe when they’re sleeping.

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When should my newborn sleep?

Newborn babies sleep whenever they need to throughout the day and night. As they get older they might start to sleep more at night. But when they are very little just let them sleep as and when they need.

Remember that all babies are different and their sleeping needs can change from week to week. Speak to your health visitor if you are worried about their sleep.

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When should my baby sleep in their own room?

Photo of mum putting a baby to sleep in the baby box

Your baby should sleep in a cot or Baby Box in your room until they are 6 months old. This lets you keep an eye on them and respond to their needs. Having you close will help comfort them too.

They should be in the same room as you when they sleep during the day as well. Never let your baby sleep in a room where people are smoking or have smoked.

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How long can they sleep in their Baby Box?

The Baby Box is a safe and comfortable place for your baby to sleep until they can start to pull themselves up. Keep your baby box on the floor where you can see them.

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What other parents say

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“She doesn’t sleep, so she’s up quite a bit. I breastfeed, so she feeds off me, so she’s up a couple of times during the night for a feed, and sometimes she’ll just want to stay up and play. So you’ve just got to try and keep it slow, calm her down and keep her relaxed and then she will eventually cuddle in and go back to sleep. But she’s usually about an hour, before she will go back. It’s only usually the one hour she is up at night.”

What the professionals say

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"Babies are full of surprises, especially when it comes to sleeping patterns! I've seen a lot of parents who think they have it sorted one night, and are up every couple of hours the next. If your baby doesn’t have a pattern yet, try not to worry. It can be a bit wearing for parents, but it’s completely normal!

“If you feel you need more help getting your baby settled, or if they are having problems sleeping, have a chat with your health visitor."

"It is likely that your baby may have a very different sleeping pattern to the one you are used to and you could find yourself up more during the night. Try and fit your sleep into the times when your baby is sleeping, even if this is during the day. Just make sure that your baby is safe in their cot."

More information

Find out more about keeping your wee one safe when they’re sleeping during the day at the Ready Steady Baby website. Your health visitor is always there to help, too.

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Sleep problems

If you’re worried about your baby or child’s sleep, remember, you’re not alone – there is support out there, starting with your GP or health visitor. The following organisations can also help:

Cry-sis offer help and support to parents with babies who cry excessively or have sleeping problems. They have a helpline you can call on 08451 228 669.

Twins Trust have advice on sleep if you have twins, triplets or more.

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