Good sleep is important for healthy growth, so try our all-day guide to better sleep.
Sep 10, 2019
Get physical: Your baby may sleep better if you’ve exercised your baby’s mind and body so make time for daily activity and stimulation, such as ‘tummy time’.
Know your nap times: Try to set regular times for daytime naps and bear these in mind when you’re planning your day together.
Keep it calm: Where your baby sleeps should be a dedicated relaxation zone with a quiet atmosphere and low-level lighting. Banish distracting TVs, laptops, and tablets.
Hang in there: As your baby approaches four months, try to keep them awake a little bit longer if it is getting close to bedtime. Instead of a nap just an hour before bedtime, give them a bath and massage, or read a story.
Time it right: Start to put your baby to sleep at the same time every night. Putting your baby to bed at the same time every evening will help their chances of getting enough sleep.
Offer a feeding: As your baby gets a little older, and is able to sleep five to six hours at night, offer your baby a feeding just before bedtime. This may help them to sleep for the next several hours. Extra-absorbent nappies can also be a useful way to maximize sleep. If your baby is drinking from a bottle, rather than breastfeeding directly, do not add any cereal or other foods to the bottle. This practice is not recommended and has not been shown to increase the length of time they will sleep.
Set a routine: Follow your own pre-sleep pattern with tips from our Bedtime Routine Checklist.
Separate sleep: Your baby needs to learn to sleep alone, so put them to bed in their own cot rather than letting them share with you.
Share a room: The risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) has been shown to be reduced when babies sleep in the same room as their parents. Have your baby sleep in the same room with you, not in the same bed, at least in the first 6-12 months if you can.
Settle into sleep: Put your baby down when they are sleepy but still awake. Once your baby knows the routine, they will start to fall asleep on their own. Let them learn how to settle themselves once they are in their cot.
Clean cot: For safe sleeping, only your baby belongs in the cot. Do not give your baby a pillow, blankets, quilt, sheepskin, stuffed toys, or anything that can cause them to suffocate. Cover the mattress with a tight-fitting sheet.
Keep your baby comfortable: Check your baby’s sleeping area isn’t too hot or too cold. As a guide, dress your baby in one more layer of clothing than you’re wearing.
Get it right at night
Take your time: Give your baby a chance to resettle or ‘self soothe’ before you rush in, to help reduce the number of times they wake up in the future. That’s good news for both of you!
Put the hugs on hold: If you’re checking on your baby, don’t automatically pick them up. Instead, rub or pat them gently or sing a lullaby. Reassure your baby that you are there for them without rewarding every cry with a cuddle.
Think before you feed: Don’t assume that your baby is hungry every time they wake up at night. Around four months your baby may be able to go five to six hours between feeds and could just be looking for comfort. Feeding your baby every time they wake will actually make their nights less settled.
Stick with the cot: If you do need to feed or change your baby at night, don’t be tempted to bring them into bed with you afterwards. Always put them back in their cot so they get used to falling back asleep on their own.