The article is written with the kind support of Dr Moira Chia (Consultant, Department of Paediatrics, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital)

Adequate sleep is important as it is what will allow you to have better concentration when taking care of your baby.

Sleep Deprivation Can Occur After Childbirth

Sleep deprivation after birth is due to a combination of various factors. Parents may be struggling with adjusting to the anxieties and stress of caring for a baby1. During this period, the nights are disturbed as parents have to respond to the baby’s unpredictable feeding cues and needs at night. That is because babies have yet to develop their circadian rhythm, i.e. the internal clock that regulates sleep and wake cycles. For breastfeeding mothers, this can be especially trying, as they are solely involved in feeding the baby. Some mothers also have to wake up in the night to express milk for their babies. Fathers are often not spared as well, as they also find themselves waking up to tend to their children, or to support their partners.

What Are Some Issues That Can Arise From Sleep Deprivation

Those who experience sleep deprivation may see reduced daytime functioning, increased stress, irritability and anxiety or more intense emotional changes associated with the postpartum period, such as postpartum blues or postpartum depression. Due to reduced alertness, caregiving parents may also risk safety issues for their children and themselves.

Sleep deprivation can also negatively impact positive parenting, being responsive and warm toward your child. This is because of the higher level of stress, which affects emotional regulation.

7 Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better So You Can Get More Rest

Babies generally need about 14 to 17 hours of sleep a day.

With your baby who sleeps well, you will be able to have more rested sleep. Babies generally need about 14 to 17 hours of sleep a day. Whilst their sleeping schedules are irregular, there are still ways that you can encourage them to develop a more routine and regular sleep pattern. Here are some tips:

  1. Develop a regular nap and bedtime routine to help your baby gradually learn that it is bedtime. For example, having a warm bath, a feed, reading a book aloud or singing lullaby.
  2. Create a good sleeping environment that is safe, cool, clean, quiet, and dim.
  3. As challenging as it can be, try your best to put your baby to bed while he/she is still sleepy but awake. Doing this helps babies learn to fall asleep on their own without the need for rocking and holding.
  4. Wait for a few minutes before responding to your baby’s fussing, so that you can see if he or she is able to fall asleep without your involvement.
  5. Keep your baby’s wake time stimulating. For example, when your baby is awake, play or interact with him or her.
  6. Swaddling can help babies have a better sleep. If you swaddle, let your baby sleep on his/her back. Remember to put your baby to sleep after swaddling. Stop swaddling once your baby can roll over – this is because once your baby is mobile, he/she can kick off the blanket, which poses a suffocation or strangling hazard.
  7. You can consider using a sleep log to track your baby’s sleep duration and progress. Doing this will help you understand your baby’s schedule and create regular wake and sleep routines. However, be aware that as your baby is growing, they sometimes cluster feed and the routine gets disrupted. Do not despair. It all gets better with time.

Download your baby sleep log today!

For more tips and information on how to help your baby fall asleep, visit this baby sleep page.

Important: Ensure Safe Sleep for Your Baby

Safe sleep is of utmost importance in preventing the occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)3. Below are some recommendations to keep your baby safe:

  1. Ensure that your baby is placed to sleep on his or her back, on a firm surface.
  2. Avoid placing your baby on inclined surfaces.
  3. Keep the sleep surface clear of potentially dangerous items that can cause accidental suffocation, such as blankets, pillows, cushions or loose items like toys.
  4. Try to avoid bed sharing – it is recommended for parents to only bring babies into their beds for feeding and return the baby to their own sleeping spaces afterwards.
  5. Place your baby’s bed in your room.

6 Tips for Parents to Sleep Better

Now that you have your baby’s sleeping schedule well taken care of, take action to look after your own – this will help boost your energy and concentration levels when taking care of your little one.

Adults typically need about 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep to function well2. However, there is often a gap between the amount of sleep they need, and the amount they get. Parents with babies typically experience frequent night awakenings which lead to fragmented sleep, and hence, poor sleep quality. Signs of inadequate sleep and sleep deprivation in the day include difficulty concentrating, memory issues, irritability and fatigue.

Here are some ways to help you sleep better.

  1. Stay away from caffeine and alcohol at night
  2. Avoid using electronics at least 30 mins before bedtime
  3. Before sleep, try wind-down activities – listen to relaxing music, and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises such as simple yoga stretches.
  4. Nap when your baby naps. Even short naps of 10 to 20 minutes can help you recharge! Learn to say “No” to visitors until you have a more comfortable routine during the early months.
  5. Be physically active.
  6. Fathers can support mothers in night-time care of their baby, for instance, by feeding, changing, or soothing the baby.

Getting a good night’s sleep may seem impossible for parents with a baby but making some lifestyle adjustments – both for yourself and your baby – will come a long way in enhancing your well-being. Do seek advice from a healthcare professional if you feel like you or your baby’s sleeping habits are affecting your well-being.

Visit Parent Hub for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.

Visit MindSG for more tools to take care of your mental well-being.

The article has been endorsed by the following representatives, listed in alphabetical order by institutions: A/Prof Daisy Chan (Chairperson, Chapter of Neonatologists, College of Paediatrics and Child Health Singapore), A/Prof Tan Lay Kok (Obstetrics & Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital), Ms Adeline Kooh Seok Koon (Asst Director, Nursing (Maternity), Mount Alvernia Hospital), Dr Angelia Chua (Family Physician Consultant, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics), Prof Lee Yung Seng (Group Director, Paediatrics, National University Hospital), Ms Susan Kok (Senior Asst Director, Nursing, Gleneagles Hospital, Parkway Pantai Group), Ms Helen Cruz Espina (Senior Lactation Consultant, Raffles Hospital Pte Ltd), A/Prof Yong Tze Tein (Head & Senior Consultant, O&G, Singapore General Hospital), Ms Fonnie Lo (Asst Director, ParentCraft Centre (Clinical) and Lactation Consultant, Thomson Medical Pte. Ltd).


  1. Pacheco, D. (2022). How Does Being A New Parent Affect Sleep? Sleep Foundation.
  2. Caring for Ourselves. (2022). Sleeping Well. Healthhub.
  3. American Academy of Paediatrics. Safe Sleep.