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Routine

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Most parents want to know how long it will be before their baby will be in a set routine of sleeps and feeds. Some find it hard to handle the sleepless nights, but it’s important to remember they won’t last forever. Below is some information to help you understand your baby’s routine and sleeping patterns.

Early Routines

  • Newborn babies don’t recognise the difference between day and night – they wake every 2-3 hours for a feed and attention
  • Many newborn babies sleep for around 14-20 hours per day
  • Babies who are breastfed can need 10-12 feeds in a 24 hour period in the beginning to establish a good milk supply. This will then reduce to around 6-8 feeds per day
  • Bottle fed babies feed around 8 times per day when newborn then gradually reduce to 5-6 feeds
  • In the early months its common for babies to wake at least 2-3 times per night for a feed
  • Learning your baby’s tired signs or sleep cues can help you establish a routine early on. Each baby is different, however signs may include; yawning, rubbing their eyes, crying, fussing or having clenched fists.

Establishing Day And Night Routines

After the first couple of weeks your baby won’t need to sleep all the time between their feeds during the day. However, some babies get confused and may end up having an extended sleep during the day and then be awake for long periods during the night. To help change this pattern you can establish distinct day-time and night-time routines.

Day-time routines

  • Spend time getting to know them – when they are alert, talk to them and smile
  • Take them for a walk, even if it’s just around the house, allowing them to take in their environment
  • Let your baby have some time on the floor, give them some time without their nappy on or hang some toys in front of them
  • Give them tummy time each day, as it’s good for their development – make sure they are awake, you are watching them closely and they don’t fall asleep while on their tummy.

With time you will work out if your baby is more tired in the morning or afternoon and when is a good time for them to sleep and when is a good time to play. Each baby is different.

Night-time routines

  • Try settling your child before putting them to bed with a baby massage, a warm bath or even soft music
  • Feed your baby quietly when they wake, keep the light low
  • Only change their nappy if really needed
  • Try to get them back to sleep quickly

Night-time routines are learned, so once you’ve established what’s right for you and baby, try to stick to it.

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