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Getting your newborn to sleep

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Sleeping Sleeping tips

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

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.

Sleep Scotland offer support to improve sleep habits for children and young people. Email to get in touch or visit their website.

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

Last updated: 20 Jun, 2023