Expert advice for getting a new baby to sleep well

by My Kent Family reporter

I've just had a baby - what are the best ways to encourage her to sleep well?

Generally, your baby should sleep for longer periods the older she gets

"Thankfully, human babies are supposed to sleep for at least 15 hours per day. Unfortunately, this rarely happens at a convenient time, so new parents must adapt quickly into a cycle of multiple daily naps.

"Newborn babies are used to being in the womb, so replicating this environment once they're born can help soothe them. Wombs are warm, dark and compact, with only low-pitched noises getting through. Babies are also used to motion, and many pregnant ladies find their babies are far more active when they're stationary.

"So, a warm, dark, space with no high-pitched noises and your baby swaddled is an environment they're used to, and will tend to make them feel safe and fall asleep more easily.

"The most important thing is that once asleep, your baby sleeps on her back somewhere safe. But many parents get stuck in a rut where their child will only fall asleep while being held. Try and break the new routine and risk a few tough nights.

"Habits can take a few weeks to form, so it pays to persevere and endure some short-term struggles for the benefit of long-term sanity.

Babies are all different and you'll find your own ways of helping them sleep

"From about six-weeks-old, your baby should start to get the hang of day and night cycles. The best way to encourage this is to make night feeds quiet and dark and put baby back in bed shortly after. Day feeds should be much more active affairs, with lots of talking, singing and then burping and playing afterwards.

"Another way to encourage night sleeping is routine. Try and get up at about the same time each day, and consider having a night routine such as bath, feed, story, bed.

"Sleeping can sometimes be a concern for parents, heightened by their own sleep deprivation. Generally, your baby should sleep for longer periods the older she gets, although be prepared for periods of regression during teething and growth spurts.

"As long as your baby's developing and growing normally, there's usually no cause for concern. However, a sudden change in sleeping pattern should make you consider seeing a doctor, as there may be an infection or something else causing them pain.

"Babies are all different and you'll find your own ways of helping them sleep. As long as the baby's sleeping in a safe environment and mum and dad are staying sane then you're doing fine."

Dr Tom York, a GP for both the NHS and the GP-on-demand-app GPDQ

More of your questions answered

Share this story

Sorry, comments are not enabled for this article.

Register or log in via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or your KentOnline account to post comments.

Post Comment

People who post abusive comments about other users or those featured in articles will be banned.
Please click here for our house rules.

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments. Please click here for our house rules.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email multimediadesk@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01634 227989.

Helpful links

© KM Group 2018