Tips and tricks to help with sleep and settling

Published on 06 July 2022


Do you have a baby or toddler that is struggling to settle or sleep? Council is here to help with our free Maternal Child Health Sleep and Settling information sessions.

Sessions provide support for parents experiencing sleep and settling concerns with their babies/toddlers. Three separate information sessions are available for newborn 0-3 months, babies 6-12 months and toddlers 12 months to 2 years.  Both face to face and online group sessions are available. 

Each Sleep and Settling Information Session covers typical sleep patterns and routines; responsive settling strategies; age-specific development and what to expect; challenging sleep problems; and family wellbeing.

See upcoming sleep and settling information sessions

Unable to make the sessions? Here are some commonly asked questions with some tips and tricks to help with sleep and settling from one of our Maternal Child Health nurses. 

What strategies do you discuss in your Sleep and Settling sessions?

The strategies that we talk about are called “responsive settling strategies”, which revolve around responding to infant cues, such as tired signs, hungry cues, whether they are in active alert states or quiet alert states etc. We also encourage parents to work within their own limits, this differs greatly from parent to parent for all sorts of reasons. 

What is a common challenge for new parents when it comes to sleep and settling?

One of the common challenges that we hear from parents is that it can be hard to know what babies need if they are overtired.  Tired cues may look like hunger cues.  So, baby gets a feed, that maybe they did not need, so it turns out to be just a little snack, then has a little nap, then has another little snack feed as they did not get a full feed last time. It can be very tricky to get out of this situation without some support and someone to be able to notice with the parent what might be happening. 

A very general rule that we find with a lot of babies, but not all, is that if they are sleeping less than around 40 minutes for at least two of their sleeps, we would generally encourage offering the opportunity to resettle for a longer sleep; for younger babies this can often be in parents’ arms.  All babies are different though, and some are very happy with these shorter sleeps.

What are some recommended sleep safe practices or products?

It is really important to acknowledge that if parents are feeling comfortable and happy with what they are doing, while following the Red Nose recommendations, then usually no change needs to happen.

It is very important that the Red Nose recommendations be followed. Red Nose have a detailed Q&A forum webpage on frequently asked questions about safe products to use.

We do not recommend any particular products to help sleep.

One of the most common questions arise around swaddling babies to help them sleep, which can be very helpful for some babies, but also important to do this safely. 

It is important to begin unwrapping babies when they start to move around themselves and especially when they start to roll.  Babies need to have their arms free when they are sleeping if they can roll themselves around.

What resources are available around sleep and settling?

We encourage parents to reach out earlier rather than later to get support, sometimes a conversation with a Maternal Child Health Nurse might be all that is needed.

We encouraged families to talk to their partners, family and friends to arrange support if possible, or speak to your GP or MCH nurse if you are finding any aspect of parenting difficult.

We have our Maroondah sleep and settling information sessions and Maroondah day-stay program for babies from newborn to 12 months.

External resources such as the 24-hour MCH line, Early parenting centres, both public and private. The raising children’s website and the Ellen Barron Early Parenting Centre offer short podcasts on settling strategies. Your MCH nurse can help direct you to the most appropriate service.

Other important resources for parents are PANDA, and Beyond Blue.

About the Maroondah MCH Service

Maroondah Maternal and Child Health Service is a free service offering families information, advice and personal support in caring for their children.

Our Maternal and Child Health service offers Maternal health and wellbeing appointments; Child health and development screening; and Regular maternal and child health programs and activities. Programs and activities include sleep and settling information sessions; breastfeeding Information (Lactation consultants available); first food for babies; first time parent groups; pram walks; support groups; play groups; and much more.

Find out more about Maroondah MCH service

Other resources and contacts

Further information

For more information please contact Maroondah Maternal & Child Health Services on 9294 5777 and request to speak with the sleep and settling team, or email