I've Been There

Getting baby to sleep


All babies are different but it is normal for your baby to cry and be unsettled. Babies need to learn how to go to sleep and being close to mum and/or dad helps babies sleep.


It’s hard to recognise the signs of tiredness at first - but soon enough you will know before they (the baby) even realise they’re tired.


How much sleep does my baby need?

  • Some babies will sleep more and some will sleep less
  • Babies need about 13-14 hours sleep/day through the day and night

 Your baby will let you know when they are getting tired and need sleep.


Look for these signs 

  • Heavy eyes
  • Yawning
  • Grizzling
  • Frowning
  • Sucking
  • Staring
  • Not moving much
  • Turning head away
  • Clenching fists
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Squirming
  • Crying

Babies might not do these things when they’re newborns, so just try your best to work it out and soon enough, you’ll start to learn your baby’s tired signs.


Getting baby ready for sleep

Once you see these signs, start getting your baby ready for sleep before they get overtired by:

  • Check your baby’s nappy and change it if you need to
  • Wrap your baby in a light cotton sheet (if you like to, you don’t have to)
  • Talk quietly and cuddle your baby


Once your baby is ready for sleep you can either:

  • Hold your baby in your arms until they fall asleep and then put them in the cot on their back (this is more for in the early weeks) or
  • Put your baby on their back in the cot drowsy but awake. (Make sure cot sides are up and secure)


For both ways, use gentle ssshhh sounds, singing, gentle patting or rocking, or stroking until your baby is calm or asleep. Soft music can also help.


Be patient. It takes practice. Remember, you know your baby best, so do whatever works. As long as it’s safe. If all else fails, get your baby up and try again later (only during the day).


Extra advice with your baby’s sleeping

Some babies are not easy to settle and get to sleep. It’s important to ask for help if your baby doesn’t sleep much and you get very tired or find it. Find out more about how babies can be different, ask other mums for advice, talk to someone at the early childhood centre, or call someone for advice.


I asked other mums for advice about sleeping and settling and then chose what I felt was best.”