Are some babies just naturally 'good' or 'bad' sleepers?

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In August, Kim Tucci, a mum to quintuplets, said that her six-month-old babies are now sleeping anywhere between 8-10 hours at night. Kim attributes this to a solid routine from birth.

While a routine can certainly help babies adjust to life outside the womb, and help them learn what to expect throughout the day, can it really work for all babies? Will it make all babies sleep this way?

Chelsea Brabrook doesn't think so. Her second daughter, Georgia, refused to sleep for longer than 40 minutes from birth – both day and night.

"I tried every routine going to get her to sleep longer, including cry it out, resettling, walking with her, driving with her and rocking her," she says.

"It was always the same result, and she just never slept longer than 40 minutes at a time. It was exhausting."

It wasn't until Georgia was almost two that she slept through for the first time.

"I woke up three times that night and had to check on her as I was convinced something must be wrong," says Brabrook.

As a result, she believes that Georgia was just born a naturally "bad" sleeper.

"I have four kids and I've done the same with all of them, yet Georgia has been the only one who defied sleep. The others have all been amazing," she says.


Jo Ryan, a baby sleep consultant, says that personality plays a big part in whether or not babies are naturally good or bad sleepers.

"Some babies are pretty chilled and will sleep anywhere, anytime, while others need more assistance, are more alert and struggle to switch off," she says.

While Ryan notes that there are some things you can try and do to encourage good sleeping, if a baby's not sleeping well in the first place they're generally more tired, so routine becomes harder.

She adds that if they're catnapping or only sleeping for short periods, it's hard to get any rhythm to the day, as they're up and down so much.

"Strict routines are crazy for small babies, as some will only be able to be awake for a short time, and some for longer," she says. 

Ryan says that trying to impose a strict routine can put so much pressure on mother and baby and still doesn't guarantee they will sleep well.

"There are many reasons why a baby might not be sleeping," she says. "They could be hungry, in pain, over-tired or going through some separation anxiety."

Despite this, Ryan still advocates trying to implement a bedtime ritual.

"At the first tired sign, start the bedtime ritual. Make the room really dark and use some white noise to block out any distractions that might not be helping," she says.

"For older babies, try to reduce the sleep associations they might have, such as dummies, too many feeds or falling asleep in your arms."

As a final piece of advice, Ryan says not to send yourself crazy with it all.

"Sometimes if it isn't working, just take a break and accept that things will be like this for a bit and then try again," she says.

"If you know you're going to have a bad night, try to go to bed early and take turns with your partner to do the settling overnight."