Caring for your baby at night

Waking at night is normal during early infancy and healthy babies experience several awakenings per night at the end of sleep cycles.

Newborn babies have very small stomachs, and need to feed often, so they wake at least every 2-3 hours in order to do so, sometimes more often. As babies grow they are able to last slightly longer between feeds, however human milk is quickly digested, and babies commonly need to feed frequently throughout the day and night-time.

Whilst it can be frustrating when your sleep is disturbed during the night, it can also be a lovely quiet time to be with your baby. Babies rely on the security and comfort of being close to their parents and need this during the night as well as during the day.

It’s important to make sure you create the right environment for getting as much rest as possible.

  • keep the room fairly dark
  • keep your baby close
  • try not to stimulate your baby too much

There may be times when your baby remains unsettled after feeds. Placing your baby in skin-to-skin contact with you and gently rocking can provide comfort. Your partner can help with this too.

If you are breastfeeding you can offer your breast again even if your baby has just fed. Babies find the suckling comforting and there is no risk of overfeeding a breastfed baby.

If you have had a particularly disturbed night, try to take time out to rest during the daytime. Visitors can wait – or help by taking over chores or looking after other children while you and your baby catch up on sleep.

If your baby is crying for long periods she may be ill and require a medical check.


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