Sleep and settling including safe sleep information
A Child Health and Parenting Service (CHaPS) parent resource
Preventing sudden unexpected death in infancy
There are six key steps you can take to reduce the risk of sudden infant death
- Always sleep baby on their back
- Keep baby’s face & head uncovered
- Keep baby smoke free before and after birth
- Safe sleeping space night and day
- Sleep baby in a safe cot in parents’ room
- Breastfeed baby
Ensure your baby’s sleep space is free of:
- Cot bumpers
- Lamb’s wool or underlay
- Soft toys like a teddy
Although we think of sleep as a natural process, it doesn’t always come easily – especially for babies and young children. However, if you know what to expect of young children’s sleep behaviours, everyone can sleep a little better.
- Just ten to twenty minutes of gentle play will tire out very little babies. They will probably be overtired if they have been awake for more than one and a half hours.
- At three to six months, your baby is likely to be overtired after one and a half to two and a half hours awake.
- At six to twelve months, babies get tired after two to three hours of being awake.
- At twelve to eighteen months, babies who miss their morning or afternoon sleep will be overtired.
Never shake your baby
Babies have soft brains and blood vessels that break and bleed easily. The result of shaking your baby could be brain damage which can cause delayed physical and mental development or even death.
Babies cues and tired signs
Be aware of your baby’s ‘cues’ and body language. When your baby starts to yawn, grizzle or cry, this is usually a good indication they are ready for a sleep or a change of activity.
Other cues to watch for include:
Jerking arms or legs; closing fists; fluttering eyelids; frowning; arching back; staring; stiffness; sucking on fingers; difficulty focusing (even appearing cross-eyed); rubbing their eyes (for babies over four months); grasping at their own body or clothes.
Clumsiness; demands for constant attention; clinginess; boredom with toys; fussiness with food.
Babies communicate by smiling, making noises, whimpering and crying. Every baby is an individual. Some cry a lot and some cry hardly at all.
- establishing a bedtime routine. This might be a bath and massage, a story and cuddle before bed
- putting your baby to bed awake can help them learn to settle themselves to sleep
- rhythmic gentle patting can be calming for babies and help them settle
- swaddling your baby with a muslin wrap (loosely around the legs).
- Red Nose Foundation
- Raising Children Network
- Child Health and Parenting Service: 1300 064 544
- Tasmanian Parent Line: 1300 808 178
Learn more about the Child Health and Parenting Service (CHaPS)