How long after feeding can i put my baby down to sleep

Helping your baby to sleep

Some babies sleep much more than others. Some sleep for long periods, others in short bursts. Some soon sleep through the night, while some don't for a long time.

Your baby will have their own pattern of waking and sleeping, and it's unlikely to be the same as other babies you know.

It's also unlikely to fit in with your need for sleep. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps.

If you're breastfeeding, in the early weeks your baby is likely to doze off for short periods during a feed. Carry on feeding until you think your baby has finished or until they're fully asleep. This is a good opportunity to try to get a bit of rest yourself.

If you're not sleeping at the same time as your baby, don't worry about keeping the house silent while they sleep. It's good to get your baby used to sleeping through a certain amount of noise.

How can I get my baby used to night and day?

It's a good idea to teach your baby that night-time is different from daytime from the start. During the day, open curtains, play games and don't worry too much about everyday noises when they sleep.

At night, you might find it helpful to:

  • keep the lights down low
  • not talk much and keep your voice quiet
  • put your baby down as soon as they've been fed and changed
  • not change your baby unless they need it
  • not play with your baby

Your baby will gradually learn that night-time is for sleeping.

Where should my baby sleep?

For the first 6 months your baby should be in the same room as you when they're asleep, both day and night. This can reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Particularly in the early weeks, you may find your baby only falls asleep in your or your partner's arms, or when you're standing by the cot.

You can start getting your baby used to going to sleep without you comforting them by putting them down before they fall asleep or when they've just finished a feed. It may be easier to do this once your baby starts to stay alert more frequently or for longer.

If you use a baby sling to carry your baby, make sure you use it safely. The Lullaby Trust has information about swaddling your baby and using slings safely.

Establishing a baby bedtime routine

You may feel ready to introduce a bedtime routine when your baby is around 3 months old. Getting them into a simple, soothing bedtime routine can be a great opportunity to have 1-to-1 time with your baby.

The routine could consist of:

  • having a bath
  • changing into night clothes and a fresh nappy
  • putting them to bed
  • reading a bedtime story (see more in Baby and toddler play ideas)
  • dimming the lights in the room to create a calm atmosphere
  • giving a goodnight kiss and cuddle
  • singing a lullaby or having a wind-up musical mobile you can turn on when you've put your baby to bed
  • brushing their teeth (if they have any)

As your child gets older, it can be helpful to keep to a similar bedtime routine. Too much excitement and stimulation just before bedtime can wake your child up again. Spend some time winding down and doing some calmer activities, like reading. 

How much sleep does your baby need?

Just as with adults, babies' and children's sleep patterns vary. From birth, some babies need more or less sleep than others. The list below shows the average amount of sleep babies and children need during a 24-hour period, including daytime naps.

Newborn sleep needs

Most newborn babies are asleep more than they are awake. Their total daily sleep varies, but can be from 8 hours up to 16 or 18 hours. Babies will wake during the night because they need to be fed. Being too hot or too cold can also disturb their sleep.

Sleep requirements at 3 to 6 months old

As your baby grows, they'll need fewer night feeds and will be able to sleep for longer. Some babies will sleep for 8 hours or longer at night, but not all. By 4 months, they may be spending around twice as long sleeping at night as they do during the day.

Baby sleep at 6 to 12 months

For babies aged 6 months to a year, night feeds may no longer be necessary and some babies will sleep for up to 12 hours at night. Teething discomfort or hunger may wake some babies during the night.

Sleep requirements from 12 months

Babies will sleep for around 12 to 15 hours in total after their first birthday.

2-year-old sleep needs

Most 2 year olds will sleep for 11 to 12 hours at night, with 1 or 2 naps in the daytime.

Sleep requirements for 3 to 4 year olds

Most children aged 3 or 4 will need about 12 hours sleep, but this can range from 8 hours up to 14. Some young children will still need a nap during the day.

Coping with disturbed nights

Newborn babies invariably wake up repeatedly in the night for the first few months, and disturbed nights can be very hard to cope with.

If you have a partner, ask them to help. If you're formula feeding, encourage your partner to share the feeds. If you're breastfeeding, ask your partner to take over the early morning changing and dressing so you can go back to sleep.

Once you're into a good breastfeeding routine, your partner could occasionally give a bottle of expressed breast milk during the night. If you're on your own, you could ask a friend or relative to stay for a few days so you can get some sleep.

Dealing with baby sleep pattern changes

All babies change their sleep patterns. Just when you think you have it sorted and you've all had a good night's sleep, the next night you might be up every 2 hours.

Be prepared to change routines as your baby grows and enters different stages. And remember, growth spurts, teething and illnesses can all affect how your baby sleeps.

If your baby is having problems sleeping or you need more advice about getting into a routine, speak to your health visitor.

Video: How much sleep should my newborn baby have?

In this video, a midwife talks about how much sleep a newborn needs and how every baby is different.

Media last reviewed: 4 October 2022
Media review due: 4 October 2025

Breastfeeding FAQs: Sleep - Yours and Your Baby's (for Parents)

Breastfeeding is a natural thing to do, but it still comes with its fair share of questions. Here's what you need to know about making nights easier for you and your baby.

Where Should My Baby Sleep?

It’s a good idea to put your baby to sleep in your room without sharing a bed. That’s because bed-sharing puts babies at risk of suffocation, strangulation, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Experts recommend room-sharing for at least the first 6 months of life, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Here are some ideas:

  • Put a bassinet, play yard, or crib next to your bed. This lets you keep that desired closeness that makes it easier to breastfeed at night. It also lowers your baby’s risk of SIDS.
  • Buy a bassinet or play yard with one side that is lower, which attaches to your bed. This allows you to be next to your baby without the chance of rolling over onto your infant.

Don’t let your baby sleep in the same room as someone who is smoking.


  • Don’t let your baby fall asleep on a product that isn’t specifically designed for sleeping babies, such as a sitting device (like a car seat), a feeding pillow (like the Boppy pillow), or an infant lounger (like the Dock-a-Tot, Podster, and Bummzie).
  • Don’t use products or devices that claim to lower the risk of SIDS, such as sleep positioners (like wedges or incliners) or monitors that can detect a baby’s heart rate and breathing pattern. No known products can actually do this.
  • Don’t use products that are weighted, such as a weighted blanket, sleeper, or swaddle.
  • Don’t use products that have not been approved by the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as meeting federal safety standards for infant sleep products

How Should My Baby Sleep?

Always place your baby on the back to sleep, not on their stomach or side, to help lower the chance of SIDS. When babies can roll over easily from front to back and back to front, it's fine for them to stay in the sleep position they choose.

When picking out bedding for your baby, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use a firm sleep surface. Cover the mattress with a sheet that fits snugly. Make sure your crib, bassinet, or play yard meets current safety standards.
  • Do not put anything else in the crib or bassinet. Keep plush toys, pillows, blankets, unfitted sheets, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and bumper pads out of your baby's sleep area. Make sure there are no items within reach that could pose a hazard to your baby, such as cords, ties, or ribbons.
  • Dress your baby for the room temperature, and don't overbundle. Watch for signs of overheating, such as sweating or feeling hot to the touch.

How Can I Make Nighttime Feedings Easier?

To make nursing in bed more comfortable, keep a donut-shaped nursing pillow on or near your bed or use a "husband" back pillow with arms on each side.

Keep the room dimly lit and any noises (talking, singing, etc.) to a minimum. This will help your baby realize that nighttime is for sleeping — not playing — and can help your baby fall back to sleep sooner.

My Baby Falls Asleep While Nursing. What Can I Do?

Newborns often fall asleep at the breast, especially after feeling satisfied from a feeding. (You'll know if your baby isn't nursing if you don't hear swallowing sounds, like little clicks, or see the jawbones moving.)

If you think your baby is asleep and hasn't finished nursing, here are some tips to try:

  • Undress your baby and rub their back.
  • Tickle your baby’s feet.
  • Burp your baby.
  • Change your baby's diaper or switch to the other breast.
  • Gently compress (squeeze) or massage your breast at the end of feeding to encourage your baby to drink more.

Babies who latch on wrong may fall asleep at the breast. If this happens, break the suction and reposition your baby onto your breast to include both your nipple and areola. You can break the suction by slipping your finger in the side of your baby's mouth (between the gums) and then turning your finger a quarter turn. 

After you've broken the suction, try to burp your baby and switch to the other breast.

Is it OK to Nurse My Baby to Sleep?

In the first few months of life, it's practically impossible to keep a nursing baby awake who is satisfied with a full belly. But as babies grow, encourage them to sleep on their own. To do this:

  • Put your baby down for naps and bed slightly awake. This teaches babies to get used to falling asleep on their own.
  • Create a familiar and relaxing bedtime routine. Bathing, reading, and singing is soothing and signals an end to the day.
  • Be consistent with the bedtime routine. Eventually, babies associate these steps with sleeping.
  • Offer a pacifier. Experts recommend giving a pacifier at naptime and bedtime to babies under 1 year old to reduce the risk of SIDS. Only give a pacifier after breastfeeding is established, so no sooner than 3 weeks of age. If your little one doesn't want a pacifier, don't push it.

When Will My Baby Sleep Through the Night?

Breastfed newborns' longest sleep periods are generally 2–3 hours — this is about how long their small bellies can go between feedings. If newborns do sleep for a while, they'll probably be extra-hungry during the day and may want to nurse more often.

And just when you think that sleeping through the night seems like a far-off dream, things start to get a little easier. At 3 months, a baby averages a total of 5 hours of sleep during daytime naps and 10 hours at night, usually with an interruption or two. Most babies this age sleep "through the night," meaning a 5-6 hour stretch. But every baby is different, so don't be surprised if your baby sleeps more or less than others.

Will it Hurt My Milk Supply to Let My Baby Sleep?

Letting your baby sleep for longer periods (usually at around 3 months of age) isn't going to hurt your breastfeeding efforts. Your body readjusts your milk supply based on when you nurse and how much your baby needs. Some babies will sleep through the night early but will make up for it during the day, so your breasts will accommodate that.

As your baby matures and starts taking solid foods, the need for breast milk will decrease and your body will adjust for that too.

Reviewed by: Jamila H. Richardson, BSN, RN, IBCLC

Date reviewed: January 2021

Baby sleep schedule | Budgetary healthcare institution of the Omsk region "Regional Children's Clinical Hospital"

After returning from the maternity hospital, the child builds a sleep, wakefulness and feeding regimen himself.

How to help a child adjust to the lifestyle of adults and teach him not to confuse day and night? Elena Baibarina, chief neonatologist of the Ministry of Health of Russia, tells.

The mode will set itself…

During the first weeks after birth, it is quite difficult to change the baby's day and night mode. During this period, the child focuses on his feeling of hunger, and not on the time of day. nine0003

Pediatricians recommend feeding baby as requested by . In the first weeks of life, a newborn wakes up and asks for a breast every one and a half to two hours.

This is perfectly normal, because his digestive system is not yet developed and digests mother's milk in small portions.

... and then the parents

From the maternity hospital - home

Elena Baibarina, chief neonatologist of the Ministry of Health of Russia, talks about how the first days of a newborn at home should go. nine0003

After a few weeks, the baby can already suck out more milk at a time, which means that he stays full longer. The interval between feedings is increased to 2.5-3 hours .

These changes in routine give mom more free time. First of all, it should be used for recreation. After all, even taking into account night feedings and caring for a child, a woman should sleep at least six hours a day.

Rest will help to avoid overwork and related problems: poor mood, depression, reduced milk production. nine0003

Good night!

At a few weeks old, a baby can already be "explained" the difference between day and night. Before you put your baby to sleep at night, follow a certain ritual .

Choose the time at which you will put the child to bed, based on the habits of the family. If you go to bed late, calculate the time so that the baby sleeps until the first nightly feeding on his own, and then falls asleep with the whole family.

Bathe your baby before bed. If the child is too excited from bathing, it is better to move it to an earlier time. Then the baby will have time to calm down, eat and fall asleep soundly. nine0003

Talk to your baby, sing him a lullaby or play soothing music. Maybe the child will fall asleep better next to a musical toy that plays a melody and glows dimly for several minutes.

Let dad wait

Usually dad comes home from work by the time of bathing. Despite the fact that the young father misses the baby a lot, do not let him talk noisily, actively disturb the child and play with him.

Dad can help you with bathing and calmly talk with the baby. The child will be pleased to hear his native voice, but he will not be overexcited.

Noisy games are best left until the weekend. At the same time, dad, yearning for parenthood, will provide mom with a couple of free hours.

Night is not the time to play

When it's time to feed or change a diaper in the middle of the night, do not turn on bright lights, try to move smoothly, and talk quietly.

After feeding the baby and changing the diaper, immediately put the baby in bed, not allowing him to wake up completely.

Good morning!

Be sure to open the curtains in the morning to let in daylight. Encourage your baby to play, turn on soft but energetic music.

The first transport

Even the first journey in life - from the maternity hospital home - the baby must make in a car seat. Learn how to choose and use the correct child restraint.

Take your baby with you to the kitchen or another room. He should hear the usual household sounds: the sound of pouring water, a boiling kettle, the conversations of adults. nine0003

However, remember that the kitchen is a potentially dangerous place ! Never place your child where he can reach the stove, hot kettle, and food that is not intended for him.

Never eat or drink tea while holding a baby: one careless move and the baby will burn!

Daily activities

During the day baby will sleep after feeding. But, unlike at night, give him the opportunity to be active during the waking period. Play with him, massage and exercise, show toys and objects in the apartment. nine0003

Arrange time for walking. Better in the afternoon after feeding - this provides about three hours of good sleep.

Baby usually sleeps better and longer during a walk. With a child who does not fall asleep very well, you can take a walk in the evening - before bathing and feeding.

The most important thing

During the first weeks after birth, the child independently sets the daily routine. Gradually, parents can accustom the baby to the routine of the life of the rest of the family.

Based on the materials of the site


CHILD (inhalation of food, stomach contents (aspiration), foreign body and foreign body ingestion, suffocation, drowning, etc.):
• Never leave a child alone in the house.
• Feed your baby in a sitting position. Make sure that the child's nasal breathing is not difficult due to strong pressing against the mammary gland. If the baby is formula-fed, feed him in your arms, make sure that the baby does not swallow air. nine0097 • After feeding the baby, hold him upright to spit up air, and only then put him on his side in the crib.
• Do not give your baby bread crusts, bagels, bagels, pieces of fruit and vegetables, seeds, nuts, or other foods as they may cause food to be inhaled.
• Baby needs to be supervised while feeding. Coughing, noisy rapid breathing, or an inability to make sounds are signs of breathing problems and possibly choking, which can lead to death. nine0097 • Choose a crib with a space between the bars so small that the baby cannot stick his head between them.
• Do not use pillows in a crib, on a changing table. Never put your baby to sleep on a pillow, he may roll over, which will lead to the closing of the baby's airways and suffocation.
• The crib should be free of foreign objects (pillows, blankets, diapers, plastic bags, toys, cords, ribbons, bows, etc. ) that can cause entanglement or suffocation. nine0097 • To sleep, the child should be placed in the crib on its side.
• Never put an infant to bed with you. You can fall asleep and, if you involuntarily turn, crush the child and cut off his air supply, which will lead to tragedy.
• When laying out the baby on the tummy, be sure to be close to him, remove all objects that can block the baby's air supply (diapers, toys, pillows), lay the baby out only on a flat, hard surface. Don't put your baby on your tummy to sleep. nine0097 • In the child's field of activity there should be no small objects (parts of toys, batteries, buttons, coins, balls, sweets, etc.) that the child can take into his mouth, risking choking.
• Soothers with strings, ropes, hanging toys, rope swings can cause suffocation to a child.
• Never leave your baby alone in the tub while bathing, even for a second, babies can drown in less than two minutes even in a small amount of water.

• Never leave a child alone in the house, even if you put him to bed.
• Don't trust older children to take care of your child.
• When placing your baby in the crib, check that the sides of the crib are well secured.
• Choose a crib with high sides to prevent falls.
• Do not leave your baby alone on the changing table or other furnishings (bed, sofa, chair, etc.) as they may fall to the floor.
• Do not put your baby to sleep anywhere other than a cot (avoid sleeping on a bed, sofa, etc.). nine0097 • In the stroller, the child must be secured with special fasteners.
• Make sure that access to the window, the window sill for the child is not possible.
• When using a walker, keep a close eye on the child (avoid obstacles: thresholds, steps, stairways, etc.). The walker could tip over and the baby could be seriously injured.

3. TO PREVENT HOUSEHOLD ACCIDENTS WITH CHILDREN (poisoning, burns, cuts, etc.)
• Always measure the temperature of the water with a thermometer (not your elbow!) before placing your child in the tub - the child may be burned.
• Do not add hot water to a baby bath.
• A small child can also get burned when using a heating pad if the temperature of the water in it exceeds 40-60°C;
• Protect your child from sunburn, sunstroke and heatstroke.
• Baby toys must be made of safe, non-breakable materials (risk of injury or choking on small pieces). nine0097 • Remove tablecloths and napkins hanging from the tables - they can contain heavy, sharp, hot objects and drinks (the child can pull the edge of the tablecloth, tip over objects, get hurt or burn).
• Do not allow pets to sleep in a crib or stroller.
• Keep children away from electrical appliances, electrical outlets, cords, and extension cords.
• Do not leave piercing or cutting objects, such as needles, scissors, knives, within reach of the child. This can cause big trouble. nine0097 • Keep medicines and household chemicals, acids and alkalis, poisons for rats and insects, and other toxic substances out of the reach of a child.

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