Are some babies naturally good sleepers? Katie Hilton, midwife, health visitor and consultant to healthcare professionals as well as the mother and baby industry says yes - to a certain extent - read on for her answers to your most commonly asked baby sleep questions:

 

I am always asked if certain babies are simply better sleepers and I would say yes, this can be true. However there are specific patterns of sleep that are the same in all babies and toddlers. Let’s take a look at how you would typically expect your baby to sleep from newborn phase up to toddlerhood. 

How much will my newborn baby sleep?

In general when your baby is first born he will experience a period of wakefulness for the first few hours after birth, followed by a long period of intermittent sleep. You will need to wake your baby to feed roughly every 3-4 hours.

But the gestational age of your baby very much determines sleep patterns at this age, so if he was born prematurely use your EDD to calculate the true age of your baby. If your baby was born early you will probably find he will sleep through most of the days until his due date, when he may suddenly become more alert. At this age your baby is most likely to fall asleep soon after or sometimes during a feed. If you watch your newborn sleeping you will see eyes flickering, sucking or wriggling of fingers and toes. This is when your baby is in REM or “dream sleep”.

Unlike adults and older babies, newborns go directly into REM sleep, which will continue until they are roughly 3 months old. Your newborn baby can sleep from 11 to 20 hours each day and may make sudden twitchy movements whist sleeping, due to the startle or Moro reflex. It often occurs for no reason, although frequently it is the result of a loud noise. Newborn babies have very brief periods of alertness, this will however gradually lengthen. During the early weeks your baby shouldn’t go for longer than 6 hours between a feed in the night and 3 hours during the day - it will be important to wake him up for feeds if he has slept this long.

During these early weeks there won’t be any type of a routine and there is little point trying to introduce one at this time. By the time your baby is 2 weeks old, feeding will be fully established and hunger is most likely to drive your baby’s sleep-wake cycles, you will also start to notice a particular time of day when your baby is most alert - for most babies this is during the evening time.