Routine & sleeping
What’s a normal sleep routine for babies? This can be a difficult
question to answer. We need to remember that normal is individual to the
baby. An average baby will take about an hour to feed, change and settle.
Usually they will have an unsettled period probably 2 – 4hours a
day and 1 unsettled day a week.
Babies sleep requirements change as they grow, being able to stay awake longer the older they get. Below is a guide.
|Birth - 6 Weeks
||1 - 1.5 hours
||2 - 3 hours
|6 wk - 3 Months
||1 - 1.5 hours
||2.5 - 3 hours
|3 - 6 months
||1.5 - 2.5 hours
||2 - 2.5 hours
|6 - 9 months
||2.5 - 3 hours
||1.5 - 2 hours
|9 - 12 months
||3 -4 hours
||Usually 2 day sleeps 1-2 hours
Around 70% of babies will sleep through the night by 6 – 7 weeks (night being roughly the hours 11pm – 4 or 5am).
Settling for sleep
Safe sleeping – SIDS
- Check baby is not too hot/cold, not hungry and has a clean nappy – comfortable.
- Baby might need to have a wind down time e.g. relaxation bath, cuddles, story.
- Try to put baby to bed awake. This will depend upon the age of baby.
- Wrap baby in a light cotton fabric, hands near their face.
- At about 4 - 6 months stop the wrap (they are moving around cot) and tuck them into the cot firmly.
It is not recommended sharing sleep surfaces with a baby but room sharing is recommended.
To reduce the risks of SIDS and fatal sleep accidents:
- Sleep baby on the back from birth and not on the tummy or side.
- Sleep baby with face uncovered.
- Avoid exposing infants to cigarette smoke before birth and after.
- Sleep baby in its own safe sleeping environment next to the parents bed for the first six to twelve months of life.
Consider the following when choosing to share a sleep surface:
- Put baby on their back to sleep
- Make sure the mattress is firm
- Make sure the bedding cannot cover the baby’s face
- Place the baby at the side of 1 parent, not in between 2 parents
- Ensure the baby is not close to the edge of the bed
- Do not place pillows at the side of the baby to prevent rolling off
- Do not place bed against the wall as baby may be trapped
- As an alternative to bedding, a baby sleeping bag (fitted with neck and armholes) may be used so that baby does not share the same bedding
- Do not place baby to sleep on a sofa, beanbag, waterbed or sagging mattress
- Do not place baby to share sleep surfaces with other children or pets
- It is not safe to share sleep surfaces where the parent is under the influence of alcohol or drugs that cause sedation or is overly tired
Source: SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping: www.sidsandkids.org
Mother’s rest & sleep
- Sleep derivation is probably the greatest source of stress for parents. It is important to recognise when you haven’t had enough sleep to deal with everyday life.
- Try to sleep when baby sleeps or lie down & relax.
- Give sleeping a higher priority than the housework.
- Where possible share the settling at night between both of you.
- Talk to each other about sharing the load and when each can get added rest.
- Be careful not to try and be superwoman. Perfection is impossible.
- Ask for help from family and friends.
- Remember if you are getting a lot of advice from different people, you are under no obligation to follow it. Trust your instincts.
- Eating a well balanced diet and staying in touch with the outside world will give you a positive practical approach to parenting.
Postnatal depression – PND
Due to the many emotional, physical and social changes that occur during pregnancy and the 1st year of baby’s life, women can be vulnerable to depression.
Postnatal depression refers to a period of clinical depression during that 1st year of baby’s life. It is not like the “baby blues” which occur in the couple of weeks after childbirth.
It is normal for you to feel exhausted and overwhelmed at times, but not to the extent that you’re day to day activities are affected for a prolonged period of time (> 2 weeks). Below are feelings experienced by mothers with PND and they usually have a combination of symptoms.
- Loss of control when usually competent
- A poor self-image
- A poor sense of self-worth
- An inability to do household chores
- Being tearful for no apparent reasons
- Exhaustion and being overly concerned about the lack of sleep
- Overwhelming feelings of anxiety or depression
- Poor concentration
- Reduced appetite, or overeating
- A lack of interest in sex or pleasurable activities
- Suicidal thoughts, plans or action
- An inability to think clearly or find the right words
- Fear/withdrawal of social contact
- Exaggerated fears about the health and safety of self, baby or partner.
Ways to help
- Have realistic expectations of baby, partner and yourself.
- Care for yourself - take time out, eat well, sleep.
- Discuss how you are feeling with your partner.
- Seek help through your Early Childhood Centre who will refer to appropriate Health Professionals.
- Talk with either Tresillian (1800 637 357) or Karitane (1300 227 464) 24 hr telephone counselling.