Some babies wake up at night more often than others. Different developmental stages, for instance teething and learning new mobility skills, may temporarily change the baby’s sleep pattern.

Factors promoting good sleep for the baby

  • Regular lifestyle in the family, where routines, including bedtime and bedtime rituals, are repeated in the same way every night, also at weekends.
  • Calming down and unwinding as the bedtime is drawing closer.

1-4 months old baby and sleep

  • An infant feeds often during her first weeks.
  • A baby feeds around the clock with varying breastfeeding frequency.
  • The mother should sleep when the baby sleeps, regardless of the time of day.
  • Colic and other stomach problems may disturb a small baby’s sleep.

4-12 months old baby and sleep

Babies’ need for naps is unique and varies from baby to baby.

The total amount of sleep a baby requires is down to 14 hours a day.

A six months old baby sleeps longest at night.

Safe sleeping environment for the baby

A newborn baby’s sleeping cycle is not yet developed and the baby’s sleep and awake times are difficult to predict or control. A baby should sleep in the same room with parents, but in her own bed until 6 to 12 months of age.

  • The baby sleeps in her crib close to the parents’ bed.
  • Make sure the baby can sleep safely.
  • Respond to the baby’s signals quickly.
  • The baby sleeps on her back until she starts to turn and roll to the sleep position of her preference.
  • No pillow in the baby’s crib.

A newborn does not always breathe regularly and healthy newborns often have pauses in their breathing. An infant normally breathes 30 to 50 times a minute. Breathing pauses are harmless if they take less than 15 seconds. Short breathing pauses are fairly common when a baby feeds or sleeps and her skin colour and condition remain stable.

Never smoke in bed. Do not take the baby to your bed if you are under the influence or have taken medication which may affect your powers of observation.

Sleep disorders of the baby or a child may be caused by the following:

  • Irregular daytime routines
  • Environmental: light, noise, temperature
  • Medical: medication, illnesses
  • In relation to the developmental stage: teething, learning to move
  • Emotion: fear, worries
  • Temperament