Where should my baby sleep at night?
When you first bring your baby home, she won't really be able to tell the difference between night and day. Normally she'll only take light naps of an hour or two before waking for a feed. However, starting her off with good sleeping habits can help her recognise the difference between a long night sleep, and the shorter day sleeps.
For the first few weeks or months while baby's waking regularly for feeds it makes sense for her to sleep in a bassinet or cot in your bedroom. Keep the lights dimmed and your voice quiet when you feed her at night so she starts to understand the difference between brightly lit, playful daytime and the darker, quieter evening. You have a few options for sleeping depending on your needs:
In a bassinet bassinet or cot in your room - This is the most popular option with many experts, citing the in-room convenience of around-the-clock feedings and the safety of putting the newborn in his or her own space. And with all sleeping options, experts agree that babies should sleep on their back to reduce the risk of SUDI (formerly known as SIDS).
Co-sleeping - The more traditional, attachment-parenting method, co-sleeping is when the newborn is brought to sleep in your own bed. While this is most convenient for those breastfeeding, the use of pillows, comforters and soft mattresses are hot spots for SUDI controversy. There have also been rare cases of adults rolling over and suffocating their baby. Despite these risks, people all around the world find this a very popular and comforting way to sleep.
Co-sleeper bassinet - A hybrid between the former two options, a co-sleeper bassinet allows the baby to be close to Mummy while still having a separate, safe sleeping space.
A cot or bassinet in the nursery - Some parents decide to go for the gusto and just place the baby in his or her own room from the start. The disadvantage is having to leave the room to go feed you hungry baby.
As with all parenting decisions follow your instincts - you'll know what's best for your baby and for you.
- Baby sleep patterns
- Safe baby bedding
- Cotsand bedding for your newborn
- Introducing a bedtime routine
This article was written by Linda Drummond for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading pregnancy and parenting resource.