Sleep and your child: zero to six years

Sleep at zero to three months

Your baby will sleep most of the day and night for the first few weeks, waking every two to three hours for a feed and attention.

By three months they will usually have settled into a pattern of longer awake times during the day and sleeps of up to five hours during the night.

This is considered sleeping through the night, but they will probably still need one or two night feeds.

Signs your baby is sleepy

Learn the signs that your baby is tired. These can include:

  • yawning
  • random jerky movements
  • crying
  • rubbing their eyes
  • when they are relaxed after a feed.

Settling your zero to three-month-old

The following ideas can help you to prepare and settle your baby for sleep:

  • if your baby is more wakeful at night than during the day - settle them at night in a quiet, dark place and don’t play or do anything that makes them more wakeful
  • put your baby on their back for sleep
  • work out how your baby likes to settle - some new babies settle best in a quiet, dark place, others settle more easily in noisier, lighter places
  • have some background noise such as humming, relaxing music or household noise
  • wrap your baby in a thin cotton sheet or use a safe sleeping bag that has no hood or arms
  • pat them gently with a cupped hand - at about the pace of your heartbeat
  • rock them in a pram or your arms for a while and then settle them into bed - always stay with them if they are in a pram
  • push them in a pram back and forth over a bumpy surface - eg: the edge between your carpet and tiles, or over footpath bumps
  • check that they are not too hot or cold, and that clothing is not too tight
  • give them a warm bath
  • give them a massage if they like it
  • offer another feed
  • allow them to suck on a thumb or dummy - only offer a dummy once breastfeeding is working well, around four to six weeks
  • carry them on your body in a baby sling.

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Last updated: 11 March 2016

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