Sound Advice for a Healthy Sleep Routine; Baby Whisperer and Parenting Expert Tizzie Hall Shares Her Goodnight Secrets

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), May 30, 2010 | Go to article overview

Sound Advice for a Healthy Sleep Routine; Baby Whisperer and Parenting Expert Tizzie Hall Shares Her Goodnight Secrets


In the first few days, newborns can sleep from 16 to 20 hours a day. The gender of the baby or whether he is breast or bottle-fed makes no difference. It is very important in the early days to feed your baby frequently. As some newborns don't have the energy to wake and ask for food, I recommend that breastfed babies should go no longer than three hours in the day and five hours at night without a feed. This benefits your breast milk supply as much as the baby's needs. Formula-fed babies can be given their bottle every four hours during the day and may be left for six hours between night feeds.

By week two it is important to be developing some sort of sleeping and feeding routine. For years health professionals have debated the pros and cons of a routine, but the factor they always agree on is that babies feel secure if they know when and what things are going to happen. The reason I recommend establishing a pattern by two weeks is to ensure your baby is sleeping correctly before he starts to sleep in daytime sleep cycles. My experience indicates that babies don't start to surface between sleep cycles (the process of drifting between light and deep sleep) until they reach about eight weeks. Newborn babies can be aided to sleep by sucking on a soother or feeding or being rocked to sleep and they will still sleep for long periods. But at about eight weeks daytime sleeps change. If you have aided your baby to sleep, you will notice she will only catnap during the day. This is fine at first because she will be sleeping great stretches of time at night. At six months this will change. The baby who is aided to sleep will suddenly start to wake at night when night time sleep cycles start. Usually a baby of six months will show signs of a self-settling problem by waking at about 5am. Then she'll wake at 11pm and by the time your baby is a year old she'll be waking at 9pm, 11pm, 1am, 3am and 5am! …

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