Understanding your baby's sleep, 1-3 Months

0-2mths | 1-3 mths | 4-7mths | 8-12 mths | 1-2 yrs | New baby and toddler

You’re probably noticing that baby is starting to stay awake longer during the day and sleep more at night. At this age baby is becoming more alert and daily routines are starting to be introduced to his life.

How long will my baby sleep?

Your baby is now more alert and aware of immediate surroundings during the day, and since his stomach can hold more breast milk or formula, he is beginning to adapt to the sleep-wake cycle that parents favor. At three months of age you can expect your baby will be sleeping approximately 15 hours out of each 24 hour period, two thirds of that time will take place at night. Most babies will have settled into a daily sleep routine of two or three sleep periods during the day, followed by one long sleep of approximately six to seven hours after a late night feeding.

Encourage wakefulness during the day while also allowing him to have distinct sleeping periods. You can also choose to introduce a late-night feed at a time that suits your sleep schedule. For instance, if he is tired after a 7pm feed then sleeps until 2am before feeding again, try waking him at 11pm for a dream feed and then put him back down to sleep until an early morning feed at 5 or 6 am. It may take a few nights to establish this routine, but it will happen if you are consistent.

Once he has started waking at 7am, you can start to move your 11pm feed back 15 minutes every night or two. If he wakes at 6.30am you have moved the feed back to soon and if he wakes before 7am try to keep him in his crib so he learns to always be up at the same time daily. If he wakes during the period that you want him to be sleeping, keep activity to a minimum. Remember to change and feed him in the dark, and don't play with him.

Not all infants keep to the same timetable, so speak with your pediatrician if you have questions or concerns.

Where and how should my baby sleep?

If you are still waking up regularly throughout the night to feed your baby, it may be more convenient to have baby’s crib in your bedroom. If baby’s movements and sounds throughout the night are interrupting your sleep, you may want to consider moving the crib or bassinet into his own room.

Crib /cot safety

Again, make sure baby’s crib complies with safety standards, and remove all pillows, comforters and toys. If your baby is active, you may want to consider dressing him in a sleepsack at night. Not only will this prevent him from kicking blankets onto his face, but also keep is temperature regulated and and allow him to resettle himself if he wakes through the night.

Back to Sleep

The occurrence of SIDS has dropped by more than 50% since the recommendation to place baby to sleep on his back was made in 1992.

Co-Sleeping

Experts recommend against bringing your baby to sleep in the bed with you for safety reasons. Although many cultures endorse co sleeping, there is a risk that the baby can suffocate or strangle, and studies have shown that there's a higher incidence of crib death ( sudden infant death syndrome) in households where the baby slept in the bed with the parents.

How can I encourage my baby to sleep?

If you haven't already started a bedtime routine, now may be a good time to introduce nightly activities that signal the end of active time and the start of relaxation for baby. Bathing, reading, singing and baby massage can be soothing for both parents and babies, and signal wind down time to the end of a busy day. Consistency is key to ensuring baby associates these activities with sleep, so make sure you perform them on a regular basis and at the same time each night.

Be consistent, and he will soon associate these steps with sleeping. Keep in mind that if part of your bedtime routine is to rock him for half an hour, then whenever he wakes up at night he is going to expect and need that step to get back to sleep. Ideally, he should be put into a crib or bassinet while drowsy but still awake. This way he will learn to fall asleep on his own.

Although hard at first, some experts suggest letting baby fuss for a few minutes when he wakes during the night is OK and promotes self-soothing. He may simply be in a phase of light slumber, and some babies squirm, whine, and even cry in their sleep before putting themselves back to sleep. Unless you suspect that he requires a change, is hungry or unwell, leave him for a few minutes before attending to him.

It is never easy so do talk to friends and family for support.