Sleep is not under our control and cannot be forced. Up to around 3 months there is a huge variation in the amount of time your baby will sleep - it can range from just over 9 hours to 20 hours.
Sleep cycles are short at about 45 minutes. Your baby has a very small stomach and needs to feed around the clock to meet their needs. Although managing night feeds can be challenging, it is also a quiet time away from the business of the day.
It’s not until around 8-12 weeks that your baby’s circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) matures enough for them to begin to tell night from day. Babies have increased amounts of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep so will wake more easily.
It is thought that the sleep cycle and arousal from sleep is a protective mechanism against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). At this stage it is advised that you have your baby in the same room as you (day and night when sleeping), until at least 6 months of age.
Recognising sleep cues
These can vary from baby to baby, but you will begin to recognise your own baby’s cues over time. The cues will also change as they grow.
They may yawn, rub their eyes, pull at their ears, become quieter, or you may notice them frowning, pulling their hair, being less engaged and responsive, a glazed look, drooping eyes, they may want to suck/feed, or arch backwards. However, becoming irritable and beginning to cry are late signs and can lead to your baby becoming over-tired.
- Preparing for pregnancy
- Your new baby
- Your post-pregnancy body
- Changing nappies
- Mental and emotional health
- Soothing your baby
- Teething and tooth care
- Washing and bathing