3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Your Baby Sleep

Your Baby Sleep

On average, your newborn baby will sleep for a total of 18 hours out of 24, but he will still keep you busy. He has developed his own sleeping pattern in the womb, so it is unrealistic to expect him to follow your sleeping pattern immediately now that he has been born. However, he will soon learn to distinguish between day and night and you will gradually be able to establish a routine.

Sleep patterns

As your baby grows and starts to feed less at night he will sleep for longer periods. By 4 months he will probably be sleeping twice as long at night as during the day. Make the most of his waking periods by talking to him and letting him kick on a mat on the floor. He is more likely to sleep soundly after some stimulation - it does not take much to tire a baby!

Being in a dark or quiet room will make no difference. Usually he will just like the security of being near you. After a few months, he will outgrow a carrycot or Moses basket, waking himself up by kicking or pushing against the sides.

Try to sleep while your baby is asleep during the day. This will help you to cope with sleepless nights. Understandably people will want to visit you, but try to limit visits to a certain time each day, so that there are periods when you know you will not be disturbed.

Safe sleeping

Your Sleeping Baby

Follow these guidelines to make sure that your baby sleeps safely:

Calming your baby

Babies do cry and we cannot always tell why, which can be hugely frustrating. For much of the time they probably do not even know themselves. They are often more unsettled in the early evening, perhaps because they sense that you and your partner are tired. If you are feeling tense, take a deep breath and consciously relax your shoulders as you breathe out - babies easily sense any tension and will react to it by crying.

Ignore any advice telling you to leave your newborn baby to cry, unless you are totally at the end of your tether. In the longer term, your baby will feel more secure if he knows that you will respond to his crying and will be more relaxed. However it is worth allowing him to 'fuss'a little when you put him down, as he needs to learn to go to sleep on his own.

Comforting a crying baby

Some of the methods used to comfort a crying baby may sound ludicrous but, when your baby is crying, you will try anything.

  • Check whether his nappy needs changing.
  • Offer him a feed - he may be having a growth spurt and want feeding more often.
  • If you breast-feed and putting him to the breast comforts him, do not worry whether or not he is hungry or just sucking for comfort. Does it matter so long as he is content?
  • Try winding him. Vary the positions: across your shoulder; seated on your lap while you support his head; or laid across your lap, having his back gently rubbed. If you think he still has tummy ache, try soothing him with a bath.
  • Some babies like certain sounds, for example, the vacuum cleaner or running water. Record a tape of these noises and play it to your baby - you may find that he stops crying when he listens to the sounds.
  • He may just want to be held, which is a perfect excuse for doing nothing except cuddle him.
  • Whenever you feel unable to cope, put him in his buggy or take him out in the car - either of these can help to calm both of you!

Some parents find that their babies settle better if they share the crib -after all, they are used to being in a small space where they can touch and see each other. If you let your babies sleep together, be sure to follow the rules for safe sleeping (see opposite). It is possible to buy a larger cot specifically designed for twins, although they will eventually need separate cots.

Inevitably, twins are exhausting. As well as caring for two babies you may be recovering from a caesarean section or a premature birth. Having good support when you leave hospital is essential. It can be worth contacting any local college that runs a nursery nursing course; they may be looking for somewhere to place a student, who can gain valuable experience while, at the same time, providing you with help