The infant and the older child often require help from their parents to learn how to go to sleep and return to sleep. Most new behaviours take time to establish and it can vary for each individual child. Newborns will often wake frequently for feeds, feeding up to 12 times per day and sleep for 1-3 hours.
Whereas the older infant may feed 3 – 4 hourly with the first block of sleep at night up to 6 hours, then may wake more frequently the rest of the night.
The early weeks as a parent may feel challenging, as it can seem that there is no pattern to your baby's behaviour. However, the more time you spend getting to know your baby's cry, tired signs and hunger signs the easier it will become to soothe your baby as well as helping your infant to feel safe and secure, and as they grow, are better able to manage their emotions.
The older child may still require help to settle to sleep but the strategies you use will be different to helping an infant sleep. Your Child and Family Health Nurse can assist you with strategies to help your child learn to sleep.