What you need to know

  • In the first six months, it’s perfectly normal for your baby to wake regularly at night. They need to feed through the night to get enough food for their growth and development.
  • Your baby will need you to help them settle back to sleep for the first few months, too.  
  • For parents and caregivers, this time of severely broken sleep while caring for a baby is exhausting. If you have other children, it can be even more challenging.
  • Newborns often have irregular breathing patterns when they sleep, and can be noisy or snuffly sleepers.
  • If you're concerned about your baby's sleep, contact PlunketLine on 0800 933 922.

My baby won’t sleep/keeps waking up

In the first six months, it’s perfectly normal for your baby to wake regularly at night. Babies aren’t born knowing the difference between night and day, and they need to feed through the night to get enough food for their growth and development. Your baby will need you to help them settle back to sleep for the first few months, too.  

For parents and caregivers, this time of severely broken sleep while caring for a baby is exhausting. If you have other children, it can be even more challenging. Just try to sleep or rest when your baby or children are, rather than rushing around or doing housework. You could arrange for whānau or friends to look after your children so you can get some rest.  

If you’re breastfeeding, you may want to consider expressing breastmilk so someone else can feed your baby while you rest. If you’re formula feeding, show someone else how to make up the formula. If you’re feeling desperate, or like you can’t cope, call PlunketLine any time, day or night, on 0800 933 922. We’re always here for you. 

Sleep deprivation and parenting

Health navigator

Visit Website

New Zealand health information for the public & health professionals.

My baby is a noisy sleeper

Babies can be noisy or snuffly sleepers. It’s sometimes surprising to hear the many grunts, gurgles, and groans they make in their sleep – but it’s totally normal.  

Irregular breathing patterns in baby’s sleep

Newborns often have an irregular breathing pattern when they sleep – it may alternate between fast and slow breathing with occasional pauses, for example. 

Other concerns about your baby’s sleep

If you’re worried about your baby’s sleep because: 

  • you can’t settle them 
  • they sleep for long periods 
  • they’re too tired to feed 
  • they don’t wake for feeds 
  • they’re not feeding well, or not having many feeds 
  • they’re breathing more quickly than usual 
  • they’re wheezing 

then contact PlunketLine on 0800 933 922your midwife, doctor, or your Well Child nurse. 

Read more about baby waking and settling problems
Need free support or advice?

Call PlunketLine 24/7 on 0800 933 922