I'm a baby sleep expert – here are five ways to help your baby sleep through the night at 12 weeks | The Sun

ANY new parent knows just how precious sleep becomes when you have a baby.

And while there are schedules you can follow to help your child's sleep patterns, many people assume they're only applicable to older babies.

However, according to baby sleep expert Hannah Love, there are numerous things you can do to encourage your baby to sleep through the night by the time they are just 12 weeks old.

"Newborn babies CAN learn to sleep independently," Hannah said.

"In fact, any aged baby can learn to sleep however you teach them to sleep.

"If you teach them to sleep with rocking, patting, feeding, or cuddles then they will.

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"Equally, if you practice them sleeping on their back in a cot then they will also learn that.

"There are things you can do to facilitate this in the first few weeks, regardless of what you have previously read."

Hannah suggested five things to try to encourage your newborn to sleep through the night by the time they reach 12 weeks of age.

Feed when your baby is hungry

While your first port of call may be to feed your baby, Hannah suggests that "you do not need to use the breast or bottle every time your baby cries".

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"Remember their sleeping and feeding signals are pretty much identical in the early days so rooting, crying, sucking, lip smacking etc. can all be tired signs too," she said.

"Try to use feeding as a last, rather than first go to, especially if your baby has fed within the last 2 hours.

"This will inevitably mean you manage bigger gaps between feeds and baby can learn to sleep without feeding."

If you end up feeding your baby every time they cry, it can result in the child "constantly needing feeding and falling into feeding to sleep – day and night", Hannah warned.

Separating feeding and sleep

"If your baby is always feeding to sleep they could find it very difficult to go to sleep, and remain asleep overnight, without you feeding them," Hannah explained.

"Aim for the EASA routine – Eat Activity Sleep Activity – so that you have a little awake time either side of feeding, in the daytime.

"If your baby is sleepy after a feed then wake them, change their nappy and have a little awake time before getting them to sleep without feeding."

Sleepy cuddles are good

All parents love a sleepy cuddle with their baby, but it's important to ensure you're holding them in the correct way.

"Hold your baby in a position that is similar to them being in their cot, e.g. on their back," Hannah said.

"If your baby gets used to contact napping on their tummy, on your chest, then they could find it impossible to sleep on their back in their cot.

"Opt for them sleeping in the crook of your arm on their back or lying on your knees on their back, or on your tummy, on their back.

"You can absolutely have skin to skin but with baby on their back rather than tummy."

Avoid using a sling  

While slings can be useful in some situations, it can also encourage a baby to sleep in a position that won't be helpful in the quest for a full night's rest.

"If you are going out then use the pram or car seat," Hannah suggests.

"In the home use a baby bouncer or their cot.

"If you use a sling all the time, your baby will learn to sleep upright and tummy to tummy.

"This position is less than ideal overnight – as it will mean that need you to walk up and down with your baby in a sling at 3am."


It's important to practice "your baby going to sleep on a hard-ish surface, on their back, from the start".

"This could be their crib or a Sleepyhead or pillow on your knees (when supervised) or next to you on a bed or a baby bouncer with a little bounce," Hannah suggests.

"You may help them with a head stroke, little bounce, rock or wiggle but try and practice from early on."

"Putting in some gentle habits that are similar to sleeping in their cot, on their back will mean less habits to reverse later on," Hannah concluded.

"By setting in place a good routine from day one and avoiding habits such as rocking or feeding to sleep, your baby can and will learn to self-settle.

"If your baby learns this vital skill from day one, there will be no need for sleep training later on and they have a much better chance of sleeping through the night from 12 weeks."

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Hannah Love is a paediatric nurse, parenting and sleep expert. Through her CALM approach (Consistent, Achievable, Loving, Manageable) she helps parents in all areas of parenting, including her favourite subject – sleep. 

You can access Hannah’s advice for free in her growing community here.

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