5 baby sleep mistakes new parents make (and how to fix them)

by |

Pre-kids, not much sleep used to be a) a good night out and b) nothing that caffeine and a bacon sarnie couldn’t fix. Now that you’re a mum, the amount of sleep you get depends on your baby.

And, when it comes to night-time, some just don’t play ball. You want to get up close and personal with your pillow, but she wants feeding, burping, cuddling and soothing. Sadly, you can’t will your little one to snooze through the night, waking only when you’re dressed, showered and ready to face the day.

But there are things new parents (unwittingly) do that make bedtime harder. Make sure you’ve got the right approach to bedtime and avoid these 5 mistakes every new parent makes...How many do you recognise?

View Gallery
5 photos
1 of 5

1) Expecting too much, too soon

You’ve sung the lullaby and drawn the blackout blind, but your little one still won’t nod off. That’s because babies aged 12 weeks and under have no concept of the difference between night and day.

In fact, the hormones that control our patterns of sleeping and waking don’t start to kick in until around three months old. Younger than that and there’s no point in expecting anything from her sleep-wise – she just has to follow her own needs.

Babies of this age are also so small that their stomachs can’t hold much milk. They need to feed frequently and, when they get hungry, they wake up.

It’s not until around 16 weeks that 
your baby might be able to go without a feed for long enough to give you 
a decent stretch of sleep yourself.

‘Even at nine months old, 60% of babies still wake at night. It’s normal,’ says Sarah Ockwell Smith, author of BabyCalm: A Guide For Calmer Babies And Happier Parents. ‘You will save yourself a lot of heartache if you go with the flow.’

So, lessen your expectations and, remember, it’s normal for parents to be this tired.

Read more popular articles

5 clever baby sleep apps every new mum needs to download

Baby sleep: What is normal?

Night weaning: How to wean your baby off night feeds

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us