By the time their child is born, many new parents have had enough of people warning them about the impending lack of sleep. 'All right, so we'll be tired!' they say. But it's true: you really do reach a new level of exhaustion as you get through the first few months with baby. Babies sleep a lot—about 60 percent of the time—but they sleep and wake in short periods, all around the clock. So though you can return a few phone calls and write a few thank-you notes while baby naps during the afternoon, you'll regret not having caught a nap yourself when you're up at 4:00 a.m. To avoid exhaustion, it's a good idea to learn to sleep just like your baby—taking short naps at the same time.
With a baby younger than about nine weeks, you actually don't want your child sleeping through the night. A newborn that young needs a night feeding in order to keep gaining weight steadily. Once baby's stomach is a little larger and he can drink a bit more at each feeding—often by the time your child weighs about 11 pounds—it will be fine for baby to sleep for about five to ten hours when it's dark outside.
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.