A baby needs a lot of care and attention in the first few months of life. This is especially true after birth. Babies need to be fed, bathed, and burped on a regular basis. They also need to sleep for a certain number of hours every day.
Parents should try to get their baby as much sleep as possible during this time period because it can help them grow and develop better. It will also give the parents a chance to recover from the pregnancy, birth and the big adjustment to parenthood. The amount of sleep that babies need varies by age and development.
As a new parent, you probably will wonder whether your baby is sleeping enough, or sleeping too much. It’s only natural to be a bit unsure when everything is so new. If this is a first child that is especially the case, but it’s easy to forget the finer details of your older children’s newborn days. There are guidelines of what to expect, but of course these can vary from baby to baby. Even if you’ve had children before, each baby will be different.
Newborn babies usually sleep about 16-17 hours in a 24-hour period. Most babies will not sleep through the night until they’re at least 3 months old. This does make it more difficult for parents to get a good night sleep sadly. There are several reasons why they don’t sleep through the night. First of all, their stomachs are very small and they’ll get hungry faster, especially if you’re breastfeeding your babybreastfeeding your baby. Breast milk is much more easily digested than formula, and your baby will need to feed more often, especially in the beginning. It’s not uncommon for breastfed babies to want to feed every hour or two, so it’s best to make sure you have everything set up for easy night time feeding. Maybe consider a side by side cot or similar so baby is close at hand.
Babies also have shorter sleep cycles than adults do and have shorter dream cycles. In general, though, a newborn baby should sleep about 8 or nine hours during the day and 8 hours or so at night. These won’t be in 8-hour cycles, of course. In the beginning, those sleep times will be very short.
As the baby gets older, up to about 2 years of age, she’ll still be sleeping 13-14 hours, but the amount of daytime sleep will diminish month-by-month. By age 2, your baby should be sleeping through the night with a 2-hour nap during the day. Again, this will vary by child. Your baby might need a slightly longer nap or two short naps. At this age though, try to discourage naps too late in the afternoon, as this can make it harder to get them to sleep a few hours later at bed time.
Once a baby begins to regularly sleep through the night, parents are often dismayed when he/she begins to awaken in the night again. This typically happens at about 6 months of age and is often a normal part of development called separation anxiety, when a baby does not understand that separations are temporary.