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A guide to your baby sleeping through the night

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Sleeping Sleeping tips

All babies are different. There is no perfect amount that a baby should sleep and as your baby grows older the amount they sleep changes. It can even change from week to week. Coping with sleep is the hardest part for many new parents, so remember you’re not alone!

When do babies start to sleep through the night?

Don’t worry if your baby is up a lot during the night. Most babies wake during the night and many won’t regularly sleep through until they’re a year old. Newborns can sleep up to 18 hours a day and will slowly need less sleep as they get older. Read our guide to baby sleep length to learn more.

What to do if your baby keeps waking in the night

You could be doing everything right and your baby might still be up every 45 minutes. Babies wake up for lots of reasons. They could be too hot or cold. There could be sudden noises. They could be teething. They could even be going through a growth spurt, but sometimes there will be no obvious reason why.

Most babies don’t know how to settle themselves yet, so when they wake up they may need to be comforted by you. Here are some tips to help you help them.

What the professionals say

“Remember that babies’ sleep development has lots of ups and downs. Typically babies will start sleeping for a bit longer at night, and then resume night waking just when you think you’re past the worst. You haven’t done anything wrong, and there is nothing wrong with your baby. Sleep development like many other things tends to happen in bursts.”

Professor Helen Ball, Professor of Anthropology

More information

Ready Steady Baby has lots of information on helping your baby sleep and establishing routines. If you think your baby is not settling at night because of a health issue, contact your GP or health visitor for additional support.

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 have made 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 have been 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. Email to get in touch or visit their website.

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

Last updated: 13 Jun, 2022