How play and feed affect your baby's sleep

Feed, play and sleep is an important part of establishing a good routine. The 3 steps need to remain separate to be effective.

  • Feeding is in your arms.
  • Down is where you play.
  • Sleeping is in a cot.

Establishing a feed/play/sleep routine helps you watch out for and recognise signs that your baby is getting tired. When you see these signs and you know you’ve already fed your baby, then you should start settling them down straight away. Don’t wait until your baby is already hungry, tired and grumpy to feed them, as it will allow them to fall asleep in your arms and make it difficult for you to put them down without waking them up.

This, however, does not mean that you are sacrificing cuddle time with your baby. These should be incorporated in your playtime and don’t forget that you’re still feeding your baby in your arms. The only difference is that you’re not letting them fall asleep there.

Wondering how to recognise signs that your baby is getting tired?

Tired crying is different to hungry crying. Have you noticed your baby happily playing on the floor one minute and then, for no apparent reason, start to yawn, guzzle, rub their eyes or arch their back? These are classic signs your baby is getting tired.

Other signs include:

  • Not wanting to feed
  • Not happy when picked up
  • Not happy when put down

An older child might also get nasty when they’re tired. Once you notice these signs, it’s time to start ‘settling’ and put your baby to sleep...


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