Infants need far more sleep than their parents, though it may not seem that way when they are keeping you awake at all hours of the night. While in the womb, there isn’t a set sleep schedule, so when these little guys are born, they will likely sleep whenever they want, and keep you wide awake the rest of the time. How do you get your new little one on a regular schedule? It will take time, so don’t expect it to happen overnight, but if you follow these tips during the first few months, you will be grateful when your little one is sleeping through the night.
Newborns need 16-17 hours of sleep a day, but they probably won’t sleep for extended periods of time. For the first few months don’t count on a sleep period of longer than 2-3 hours, day or night. Keep in mind that during the first 4 months or so, your baby will probably need some assistance while falling asleep.
If you want your little one to start forming good habits from the start, don’t let them fall asleep in your arms and transfer them to bed after. Instead, when they are getting tired, put them straight in the crib, and gently soothe to sleep on the crib mattress. By establishing this habit early, you won’t have to go through the heartbreak of “training” them to fall asleep in their crib later on. If you allow them to fall asleep in their car seat, or swing, these habits will need to be broken later on. Avoid letting your child sleep with a pacifier or bottle, as these habits are also very hard to break later on.
For the first couple of months, if you keep your baby awake too long (more than 2 hours at a time), he will likely become very restless, and have more trouble falling asleep than if you watch for signs that he is getting tired, and put him to sleep right when you see the signs.
After a baby reaches the 4-month mark, he is more likely to be able to sleep for an 8-hour stretch, and if you have started to work on sleep training, you should have a baby who will sleep through the night.