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Getting your newborn to sleep

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.

Common newborn questions

What other parents say

“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.”

Kelly, Mum of 1

What the professionals say

"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.

Sleep problems during the coronavirus pandemic

You may have found that your wee one’s sleeping patterns have become more disturbed since the coronavirus pandemic started. This could be because lockdown restrictions make it harder for everyone in your family to get out and about and burn off energy. Or it could be because groups and activities you usually attend together are currently closed.

If your child has additional support needs, you may be finding it even harder if you haven’t been able to get the same level of support and respite you did before the pandemic started. If this is the case for you, you’re not alone, and there is support out there and the following organisations can all 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.

Sleep Scotland offer support to improve sleep habits for children and young people. Call them on 0131 258 1258 or visit their website.

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

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Sleeping Sleeping tips Baby (0-1 years)

Last updated: 22 Mar, 2021