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New parents need realistic sleep expectations – study


Parents of new babies need to accept the first year will involve a lot of disrupted sleep with no set timescale as to when a baby will be able to sleep through the night without a feed rather than aiming for an unrealistic target based on unscientific perceptions and attitudes, according to the findings of a new survey of Australian children.


The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, which involved data from 4507 six-month olds, showed that waking up on average every four hours for feeding was normal for both breast-feeding and bottle-fed babies over the course of the first year. It was found that breast-fed babies were more likely to wake up but this was not an indicator of being unsettled or having a disturbed sleep pattern.


“We often expect babies to be sleeping through by six weeks or three months or six months, and there’s a lot of professionals feeding this idea that the earlier babies sleep through, the better,” researcher Dr Megan Galbally told “We need to understand that over the first year, the pattern of sleep-wake cycles are much shorter in infants, and this is quite normal.”

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