Better Parenting

by David and Charissa Scotford

Baby Basics Part 2


Last month we started looking at some of the basics to establishing a healthy routine with your new baby. One of the best pieces of advice I was given was to keep their three main activities during the day in this order: Feed, Wake, Sleep.

Let’s take a closer look at sleep this time.

Babies and parents need sleep. Sleep is an essential element to healthy development for a baby and it is essential for parents caring for a newborn. One of the most common problems we encountered with our newborn babies was crying when we put them down to sleep. There are several reasons why babies cry before a nap:

They may be overtired and so find it hard to settle themselves. Newborns really only need to be awake for as long as it takes them to feed and have a nappy change. If you 0-6 week old is having trouble settling themselves, you may be keeping them up too long.

They may need to cry to get rid of excess energy before falling asleep. Most of us as adults read, talk, think, listen to music or generally take same to settle before falling asleep. Our babies can’t do most of those things by themselves so a natural way for them to get rid of excess energy is by crying. We found all our babies different. Some of them needed to grizzle for quite a while before they settled down whereas others barely made a sound before drifting off to sleep.

We found it useful to wait a couple of minutes if our babies cried when we put them to sleep. Learning to settle themselves is a learned skill and if parents rush in as soon as their baby cries or nurse or rock their babies to sleep every time, the baby won’t have the opportunity to learn the skill of settling themselves.

Since pioneering developmental programmes with children, David and Charissa Scotford have worked in private practice over the past 15 years. They teach and produce parenting resources available at

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