For those parents who are regularly staggering around in the dark at all hours of the night  trying to comfort a crying baby new research may offer a crumb of comfort!

A new study from Swansea University has shown that it is perfectly normal for babies up to 12 months to be waking and feeding during the night.

New parents, especially mums, have to put up with an overwhelming amount of pressure supposedly helpful advice when it comes to what their baby should or should not be doing in terms of sleeping and feeding.  So it may come as some comfort and help put their minds at rest when it comes to their babies waking during the night and feeding.

The study which was carried out by the Department of Public Health, Policy and Social Sciences asked 717 mums with babies aged between 6 to 12 months how often their child woke during the night and whether they fed their babies during that time.

The findings showed that more than three quarters of babies did wake regularly and of those 6 out of 10 were having at least one milk feed during the night.

It was found that breastfeeding mums tended to feed more at night but interestingly there was no difference in the number of times a baby woke regardless of whether they were breast or formula fed, how many feeds they had during the day or how many solid meals they ate.

Dr Amy Brown, MSC Child Public Health said:

‘The findings are very interesting as they firstly challenge the idea that babies should be sleeping through the night once they are past a few weeks old and secondly that what you feed babies will help their sleep. There is a common belief that formula milk or giving more solid foods will help your baby sleep better and this study shows this isn’t true.’

So if your baby is not sleeping through the night try to ignore the ‘tuts’ of those who tell you what your baby should or should not be doing – eventually they will be able to go through the night and you will have the pleasure of uninterrupted sleep until they become teenagers and you keep awake for completely different reasons (although the requirement for constant feeding never stops…….!)