Your baby’s sleeping patterns – what you can expect in the first year

Author of 'The Babysense Secret' Megan Faure reveals what to expect in terms of sleep at each of your baby’s key stages, from newborn to 12 months, plus common sleep problems

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Your baby’s sleeping needs change as she grows and develops during her first year.  Here’s what to expect at each key stage, from night feed patterns to common baby sleep problems:

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How to establish good baby sleep habits

Whatever stage your baby’s at, to set the stage for good sleep habits and improve your baby’s sleep from one week to the next, keep night feeds strictly business affairs. This means not interacting with your baby at night other than feeding.

  • Don’t wake your baby for feeds – take her lead for waking at night. This allows your baby to establish natural sleep cycles. (Your health visitor will tell you if you need to start waking your baby at night if she’s not thriving)
  • Avoid smiling or talking to your baby at night – keep these important happy interactions for daylight hours.
  • Feed in semi-darkness – use a dimmer or a hallway light instead of the bright bedroom light.
  • Don’t change your baby’s nappy – buy the best nappy you can afford for night-time and leave it on all night unless it is clearly dirty with poo or leaking. The new generation gel nappies are fine to leave on all night as they soak up all the urine and the bottom remains dry.
  • Don’t give your baby a dummy every time she wakes at night in an attempt to decrease night feeds. Instead, feed her when she wakes for feeds at night, if more than two and a half hours have passed since the last feed. 
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  • From about 3 months onwards, encourage your baby to self-soothe.

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