It’s perfectly normal and natural for a baby to have trouble sleeping during those first three months or so of life. After all, they’ve just taken perhaps the most incredible journey they will ever take in their lives. Add in the fact that infants’ tummies are so tiny and they have a tremendous amount of growing to do, and it’s no wonder that many parents feel like all their baby ever does is eat and sleep.
It’s important to understand a little bit about baby sleep patterns. During those first eight weeks in particular, a baby will usually sleep in a seemingly random pattern. They will sleep anywhere from 16 to 20 hours a day. Unfortunately for parents, that sleep comes in roughly two hour increments. Your baby doesn’t yet understand the difference between day an night, either, so it’s just as likely for your baby to want to be awake for a long stretch at night as it is for your baby to want to be awake for a long stretch during the day.
During those early months, your baby is learning to self-soothe. She’s learning how to fall asleep on her own. While there are some things that you can and should do in order to help your baby to sleep, the fact of the matter is that sleeping is really something your baby needs to learn how to do on her own.
One thing you can do, of course, is to make sure she eats well before bedtime. If your baby’s tummy is full, she’s more likely to stay asleep. By about 10 to 12 weeks of age, your baby may be able to sleep through the night, if she’s been well fed. Try feeding baby a substantial feeding at around 10 PM or midnight, and you might find that she sleeps in until 6 AM or later.
Finally, you also need to help your baby learn the difference between day and night. The simplest way to do this is to make sure that your home is a stimulating and interactive place for your baby during the day, and that your baby’s bedroom is a dark, quiet place at night that’s free of stimulation.