Your new baby has no understanding of day or night, so during the first weeks of life they will sleep and wake at random. They generally sleep, feed, sleep and feed. Some babies sleep more than others, there is no normal pattern. All babies have days when they will sleep more and other days when they are more wakeful than usual.
After the first few weeks, your baby will begin to establish a routine and be awake for longer and longer periods.
Generally, in the first weeks of life, babies can sleep between 10 and 18 hours a day. However, they will rarely sleep for more than a few hours at a time.
The safest place for a newborn to sleep for the first six months is in a crib in the parents’ room.
Put your baby to sleep on a firm, flat mattress that fits tightly to the edge of the crib or cot. The room temperature is important as babies cannot control their own body temperature. The ideal temperature should be between 16-18 degrees Celsius (60-65 degrees Fahrenheit). If you are comfortable in the room wearing light clothes then it will be comfortable for your baby.
Keep the room at an even temperature throughout the night. The blankets should be sufficient to maintain comfortable warmth. It is important not to position the cot by a radiator or heater or in front of a very sunny window. Keep toys and stuffed animals out of the baby’s cot. Ensure the plastic covering has been taken off the mattress.
Safe Sleeping Positions
During the first six months, the safest place for your baby to sleep is in their own cot or crib, in your bedroom with you.
The Feet to Foot Position
The recommended sleeping position is to put the baby on their ‘back to sleep’, in the ‘feet to foot’ position, where their feet are at the bottom of the cot ensuring they can’t slip down under the covers.
- Make sure the blankets come no further than the baby’s chest. They should be tucked loosely but securely to make sure they cannot slip over the baby’s head
- Check your baby regularly to ensure their head stays uncovered
- Use a clean firm mattress that fits the cot correctly so your baby can’t get trapped in the gap between the mattress and the edge of the cot
- Ideal room temperature is 18 °C, /68 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pillows and duvets are not recommended
- It is advisable to keep the cot empty from toys, stuffed animals or cot bumper pads
- Avoid anything that could inadvertently interfere with your baby’s airway