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Babies and sleep

Tired Signs

  • Fussing/whingeing
  • Increase in jerky movements
  • Flicking ear
  • Eyes drooping/shutting
  • Baby averting gaze or face

Soothing ideas

  • Rhythmic music – pacing, dancing, walking, rocking
  • Being upright over a shoulder
  • Burping (over shoulder with gentle back rub to pat)
  • Feeding
  • Dummy/little finger/own fingers or fist
  • Singing
  • Patting
  • Music
  • Swaddling
  • ‘on you’ in a sling/pouch
  • slightly raised head in bassinet
  • hot water bottle in bassinet
  • swaddling
  • gentle and calm movements

Information about babies’ sleep

  • A new baby’s sleep cycle is about 45 minutes long, and the baby may sleep for several cycles. However the first half of a cycle is REM (dreaming/active) sleep. During this REM sleep babies can wake easily with external or internal stimuli. If they stir or cry in this period, patting or rocking and ‘shh’ –ing may help the baby to settle back down into deep sleep.
  • Babies learn about night and day. Try to keep night care quiet and calm and gentle so as not to excite the baby into full wakefulness.
  • Many babies can tolerate not having a nappy change at night, ie no skin problems and not upset (especially if you use disposables). This minimises the amount of disturbance for you all.