Will I ever sleep again?!


There’s no getting away from it: the first few weeks and months (or years, eek!) with a new baby are tiring.

It is both normal and essential for your baby to feed during the night and your baby is likely to wake frequently throughout the night for many months.

Your baby will grow quickly in the early weeks and months and needs to feed around the clock to do so.

Evidence shows that for around the first six months of a baby’s life, parents who breastfeed tend to get more sleep per night. Even though breastfed babies wake more frequently on average, it’s quicker to get them back off to sleep. That’s largely thanks to the hormones found in breastmilk which encourage both you and your baby to get back to sleep quickly.

Even if you do get back to sleep quickly, broken can leave you feeling forgetful and down. Here are some tips to help you cope with a lack of sleep:

  • Remind yourself that you are supporting your baby and meeting their needs. Your baby isn’t ‘manipulating’ you and isn’t waking you up to annoy you.
  • Caffeine may seem a like good idea but too much may have an impact on your baby's sleep as well as yours. A small amount of caffeine can cross into breastmilk, so keep an eye on your intake to see whether it causes your baby to be more restless.
  • Try feeding lying down either on your side or in a laid-back position. It can help you relax and get some rest both at night and during the day.
  • Trying to sleep when your baby sleeps can be tricky. Instead try to have some quiet time and rest while your baby sleeps. If you have older children this might be a good time to read some stories, watch a favourite TV show or just have a cuddle on the sofa.
  • Hide the clock. Constantly looking at what time and how often you woke up won't help you get more sleep.
  • With older babies you can introduce sleep triggers. A routine of certain songs or smells at bedtime, for example, can help them fall asleep.
  • Accept help from others. If someone offers to cook, clean or help out with older children, let them.
  • Talk to someone who understands how tired you are.

Looking after young children and babies can be a serious struggle some days. Add in broken sleep and it’s no wonder many parents end up with mood changes, or feeling forgetful and down. Find out how to cope with baby waking up at night from Breastfeeding.support.

Breastfeeding lowers the risk of sudden infant death (SIDS). Breastfeeding for at least two months halves the risk of SIDS but the longer you can continue the more protection it will give your baby. Take a look at the Lullaby Trust's safer sleep advice for more information.

If you're worried about falling asleep with your baby while feeding at night or have decided to share a bed with your baby, check out their co-sleeping section.


Being a new parent is exhausting and as comforting as it may feel, never fall asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair. It can increase the risk of infant death by 50 times. Always lift the baby into a safe place while you sleep.

BASIS is also full of helpful information on normal sleep development and sleep safety. You can download the Infant Sleep Info app with the same great information delivered in smaller chunks.

You can also find more information in your red book or speak to your midwife or health visitor.


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