Sleep deprivation is one of the main problems for new parents. Lack of sleep can make you short tempered, unable to concentrate, tearful, stressed and even down in spirits. Babies have a totally different sleeping pattern than adults. As your newborn’s stomach is tiny, this means feeding routines will impact on sleep patterns, whatever your feeding choice.
On average, babies need 16-18 hours of sleep up to the age of three months, then they sleep around 15 hours a day. Young babies tend to sleep for short periods, usually up to two hours at a time and many go on to sleep through the night by the age of six months. This is because young babies need regular feeds. Even if your baby sleeps through from early on, they may wake up at night if they are hungry, need a nappy change, feeling too hot or cold and when they are unwell (if they have a cold, are teething or have wind).
You can start teaching your baby to go to sleep on their own, but don’t expect them to be consistent until they are a few months old. However, you can try to start a bedtime routine from around six weeks. This can include a bath, which helps your baby to relax. After a bath, don’t overstimulate your baby – a change of nappy and clothing, followed by a story and some quiet time before you place them in their cot will help them wind down. If your baby responds to music, singing some lullabies might work well.