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Sleep for you and your baby

Dad sleeping babyYour baby will have their own pattern of waking and sleeping, and it's unlikely to be the same as other babies you know. Some sleep for long periods, others in short bursts. Some soon sleep through the night, while some don't for a long time. It is recommended that your baby sleeps in a cot in the same room as you until they are six months old. This makes night time feeding easier – babies cry less when they are near their parents and you’re able to respond to their early cues that they’re hungry or waking up instead of them waking fully. Studies have also shown fewer SIDS (unexplained infant deaths) occur when babies are in the same room as their parents.

If you’re struggling with lack of sleep, know that you are not alone. At some point during their baby’s first months of life, many parents wonder whether there is something they can do to help  their baby sleep longer, deeper, better, or through the night. BASIS has helpful information on normal sleep development and useful information on sleep training and managing how babies sleep. You can download the Infant Sleep Info app with the same great information delivered in smaller chunks. Beside You has some great tips for women who are breastfeeding on sleep.

BASIS offers support for parents on the subject of twins sleep and sleep patterns. The Twins Trust also offer valuable information around sleep expectations when you have twins.

Keeping baby safe while sleeping

Sleep for you and your babyWe know many parents worry about how to keep their baby safe while sleeping, due to the possibility of Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). This is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby and usually happens while the baby is asleep.

We recommend:

  • Babies sleep on their backs until they can turn from their back to their front and back again by themselves.
  • Babies sleep flat on their back on a firm, flat, waterproof surface with their feet to the foot of the cot or Moses basket.
  • Up to the age of six months your baby should sleep in a cot or Moses basket in the same room as their parents day and night.
  • Keep the room at a temperature that's comfortable – about 16 to 20C is ideal so your baby isn't too hot or cold.
  • Not sharing a bed with your baby. However, some parents prefer to share their bed with their baby. It is important to follow safe sleep advice if you plan to bedshare. The Lullaby Trust has safe sleeping advice if you are co-sleeping with your baby.
  • Never sleeping with your baby on a sofa or armchair.
  • Not smoking during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and do not let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby.

The Lullaby Trust has some fantastic videos to give you peace of mind. Many parents have found that bedside cots, often known as co-sleepers or sidecar cots, are a great solution for keeping babies safe and close to them without bedsharing. UNICEF has useful information on caring for your baby at night.

The Kent Health Visiting Team has put together a short video with safe sleep guidance.