Dreaming About Sleeping
Infant Sleep Patterns
During the postnatal period of development (the first six months after birth) a newborn sleeps an average of 16 hours in a 24 hour period. Roughly half of that sleep occurs during the day and half of it at night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, infants up to three months old should get 14–17 hours of sleep over a 24 hour period. Infants may occasionally sleep through the night after three months or once they weigh more than 12-14 pounds. Between 6 and 12 months they start to sleep regularly through the night and take a couple naps during the day. And at one to three years of age babies will still sleep about 12-14 hours over a 24 hour period.
Sounds like a lot of sleeping, right? Unfortunately, for Dads who love sleep, babies do not follow a sleep schedule and typically do not sleep 6-8 hours in one stretch until 12 months old. A day and night schedule for sleeping does not exist because infants have not established a circadian rhythm and more importantly need to eat often. The most common reasons for waking up are hunger and dirty diapers.
Since newborns’ stomachs are small they need to eat more often and cannot sleep without interruption. Newborns need to eat every 2-4 hours. If your baby sleeps longer than a four hour stretch it is okay to wake them to eat until they gain some weight.
Whether your infant wakes up regularly or sleeps long periods, that may change as the kiddo grows. Sometimes it because of a growth spurt where the baby wants to eat more. Sometimes its due to environmental changes, developmental changes, or overstimulation.
Infant’s sleep patterns vary and you should not try to control their schedule. The most important thing you can do as a father is to make sure your baby has a safe sleep environment: See The ABC’s of Safe Sleep
As always consult with your doctor if you have questions and contact emergency medical assistance if you feel you need immediate help.