Keep your baby close

There are many different reasons why babies do not sleep. It might be reassuring to know that it is both normal and essential for your baby to feed during the night. Babies grow quickly in the early weeks and months of their lives and have very small stomachs. Therefore they need to feed around the clock to meet their needs.

Place your newborn baby on their back to sleep, in a cot in your bedroom for the first six months. There may be times when your baby remains unsettled after feeds. Placing your baby in skin-to-skin contact with you and gently rocking can provide comfort. Your partner can help with this too. Keep your baby close. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot by the side of your bed. This means you can hear your baby and respond to her needs before she starts crying or becoming distressed, and reach her easily without having to get up. Only breastfeeding babies should ever be fed in bed and should be positioned on the outside of the bed and returned to their cot after the feed.

While it can be frustrating when your sleep is disturbed during the night, it can also be a lovely quiet time to be with your baby away from the bustle and distractions of daytime. Babies rely on the security and comfort of being close to their parents and need this at night as well as during the day.

You can help your baby to sleep safe and sound by keeping the temperature in their room between 16-20°C. A basic room thermometer will help you to keep an eye on the temperature.

For further information

Caring for your baby at night


It is not safe to bed-share in the early months.

  • Do not sleep with your baby when you have been drinking any alcohol or taking drugs that may cause drowsiness (legal or illegal).

  • Do not sleep with your baby if you or anyone else is a smoker.

  • Do not put yourself in a position where you could doze off with your baby on a sofa or armchair.

A safe sleeping environment

  1. Place your baby in the feet-to-foot position i.e. baby’s feet at the foot of the cot.

  2. Newborn babies sleep in a cot in parent’s bedroom or room where you are during the day.

  3. Make sure baby is not too hot nor too cold.

  4. Put baby to sleep on their back to reduce the risk of cot death.

  5. Keep baby’s head uncovered.

  6. Do not smoke and keep the house smokefree.

  7. No pillow, stuffed animals, toys or bumper pad.

  8. No heavy or loose blankets.

  9. If a blanket is used, it must be tucked in and only as high as the baby’s chest.

  10. Crib sheets must fit tightly over mattress.

  11. Use a clean, firm, well-fitting mattress. Mattresses should carry the BSI number BS-1877-10:1997.

  12. These apply to day time and night time naps and sleeps.