Parenting

Baby sleep guide: Are your sleep expectations TOO high?

Is your little one keeping you awake at all hours of the early morning? Don’t know where to start on sleep training? Are your expectations too high?

This baby sleep guide may be your new saviour – even if it just gives some peace of mind.

Thank you The Tresillian Sleep Book!

Portrait of young funny newborn babe napping on white knitted blanket with his arms up. Cute caucasian new born child sleeping. Relaxed kid lying on bed with closed eyes. Copyspace. View from above

Baby sleep: Are your sleep expectations TOO high?

The Tresillian Sleep Book says that for the first 4 to 6 weeks of a bubs life – there is no such thing as a day-night rhythm. Therefore, we cannot expect baby to have a consistent sleep pattern…and or be too hard on ourselves for not getting baby down easily.

Babies just aren’t mature enough….yet. 

The book gives the example…. you wouldn’t expect your baby to start having a conversation with you at 4 weeks old so why should we stress so much about perfect sleep patterns?

For your baby to sleep through the night, they must be mature enough to do these 3 things (according to the Tresillian book):

1. Sustain longer periods of unbroken sleep (without waking)

Developed over the first 3 months and needs to occur before self-settling can happen.

2. Be able to put herself back to sleep after she has woken from a period of sleep

Also known as self-settling.

3. Be able to keep doing these for one stretch of six to eight hours

Hopefully this occurs while you are sleeping too!

sleeping baby girl

SLEEP GUIDE: Here is what a ‘sleep through the night’ indicator looks like

Newborn to 6 weeks: 6 to 8 regularly occurring periods of sleep, lasting 2 to 4 hours each, around the clock. Sometimes they wake for a feed, short socialisation or a resettle (the day–night pattern emerges by 4 weeks).

6 weeks to 3 months: one period of sustained sleep of 4 to 5 hours during which your baby may begin to self-settle. Don’t sigh of relief yet, there’s still going to be a few small awakenings.

3 to 6 months: the period of sustained night-time sleep has lengthened to 5 to 6 hours twice a night, during which your baby has the ability to self-settle. However, having the ability doesn’t necessarily mean they will do this every time when they wake.

6 to 12 months: the period of sustained night-time sleep has lengthened to 6 hours twice a night, during which your baby has the ability to self-settle. You’re getting nearer to them self-settling consistently.

From 12 months: the rate your baby sustains night-time sleep and self-settles steadily increases from 8 to 12 hours. Sleeping through the night is here! (most nights).

So, mums – give yourself a break! You are not doing anything wrong. Bub’s sleep just won’t be perfect for a little while, and that’s totally okay. If you are however worried about their breathing while sleeping, think they sleep too long or too little – then its ALWAYS best to chat to your midwife, paediatrician or health care practitioner.

Want more sleep tips? This midwife shares her tips on how to help get your baby to sleep.

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written by:

Katie Fowler

Katie is a yoga loving writer from Sydney's northern beaches. With a flair for healthy baking you can find her scouring Instagram for the latest take on raw brownies and trolling Pinterest for interior design inspiration!