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Sharlene Poole - The First Year



A baby’s development in the first year of their life is continuous and rapid!  Just when you think you have got a grip on one stage they have a growth spurt/developmental change that can sometimes make you feel over-whelmed! Knowing what constant ‘tweaks’ to do can be difficult.




Roughly every 3 weeks from birth your baby will go through what is commonly known as a  ‘growth spurt’. With some babies it is very noticeable and other babies not so much.  What I have found is that a lot of parents think that it is just about increasing the amount of times a baby feeds in a 24hr day but it is more than this, it is a developmental change too! 


Their ability to focus, notice and communicate with you becomes more apparent and with this we need to slowly and slightly adjust what we are doing in our 24hr day to accommodate these changes. 


I see a lot of families who have problems with settling a baby to sleep, most saying to me that their baby use to be great at settling and sleeping well but now they struggle and end up trying anything they can to get their baby to sleep, even if it means doing things that they never wanted to do, like feeding to sleep and so forth. 


I find that if you are aware that every few weeks you need to ‘tweak their awake time and adjust their activities in accordance to their age and stage, a lot of other problems like settling may not occur. 


The Baby Whisperer’s tips:


-      When your baby has been settled, happy and sleeping well but over a few days starts to change, have a think about what you are doing in your 24hr day.

-      Have you adjusted and slightly increased their time since they were born or have you slowly added new activities to your ‘play time’ that suit their developmental stages?

-      Spend time being at home, to watch what your baby is doing, how they have changed.  For example, when they are communicating with you more, have started to talk to you with “Arrh goo’s”, try spending 5-10min just doing this with them when they grizzle, see if this distracts them from their grizzle instead of probably presuming they are tired.

-      Learn a new way of settling your baby if they have found movement in the cot or your old methods are no longer working but adjust their time awake at the same time.

-      Increase their playtime and time awake in small stages, 5-10min a day rather than 20-30min at a time to avoid over-tiredness.

-      Make sure the activities you in a week are age appropriate and personality appropriate!


Sleeping Patterns


Age and stages in the first year:


1 - 3wks of age – Your baby maybe sleeping most of the day and awake for around 1-hour.  Sometimes it might just be 40min and then occasionally 1hr 10min, but predominantly the 1-hour mark.  This includes their feed and interaction time.  You are acting on the first tired sign most of the time where possible.


Sleeping – 2 to 3hrs between feeds but occasionally just sleeping for a shorter sleep, waking hungry.  This is their important time for gaining weight.  They need to sleep to be able to feed.  Feeding on demand but waking 3-4hrly if they have not on their own.


4 - 6wks of age – Your baby should be able to cope with having a little floor play or a few outings a week.   By now their time awake is between 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hour, occasionally longer in the evening if they have slept well in the day.


Sleeping – 2-3hrs between most feeds, some babies showing signs of sleeping longer at night, maybe 4-5hr stretches (on a 3-4hr routine). 3-4 day time sleeps.


7 -15wks of age – Depending on how much you are doing in your day will depend on how long your baby will cope with being awake, this time is between 1 ¼ to 2hrs.  There may be days that a baby of this age will have several days when they can cope with staying awake for the longer time suggested but then requiring a ‘catch up’ day 1-2 x a week, on these days going back to more like a 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hour awake time.


Sleeping – 3 day sleeps (on a 3 ½ to 4 hour routine).


4 - 6mths of age –Your baby will still need 3 sleeps a day but the time of these will depend on your individual routines and activities.  Time awake between 1 3/4hrs to 2-½ hrs. (Depending on the time of day), up to 3hrs over bedtime / bath time if slept well in day!


Sleeping – 3 day sleeps (on a 3 ½ to 4 hour routine).


7 - 9mths of age – Your baby will be having more awake time now and your 3 sleeps are day will be changing their times.  Time awake between 2 ½ to 3-½ hrs. (Depending on the time of day).


Sleeping – 3 day sleeps (roughly a 4hr routine).


10 - 12mths of age – Your baby will be requiring only 2 sleeps a day for most of the week.  Time awake between 2 ½ to 4hrs depending on the time of day.


Sleeping – 2 sleeps a day; morning and afternoon.




Where to go for further info:



Baby Whispering – Sharlene Poole



The Parenting Place

Greenlane Auckland


Sharlene Poole – Little Miracles

Phone consultations, home visits and coffee group sessions