Sleep like a baby

When your baby snoozes all night, so do you. Jessica Hartshorn, Senior Lifestyle Editor for American Baby Magazine has a complete guide to when you and your baby will get the most sleep.

Between birth and two months anything goes. At this point babies sleep for about 10-18 hours a day. They basically sleep for three to four hours and then they're awake for one or two. Newborns lack circadian rhythm, so their sleep is evenly divided throughout a 24 hour day. They can nod off at anytime, anywhere, no matter how loud it is. Babies generally outgrow day/night confusion at around 6 weeks. If your baby has days/nights mixed up, expose her to bright light during the day so she starts to connect sunshine with being awake and alert. Start creating a routine by putting the baby down to sleep between 7 and 8pm.

At three to five months you will start to see predictable patterns. Babies at this age sleep about 15 hours a day. They're consistent in their routine. They eat more meals so they're able to get the bulk of their sleep during the night, anywhere between 6-8 hours at a stretch, before they wake up to feed. They usually take two naps a day of varying lengths. Infants typically wake up four to six times a night. But at this point they are now able to soothe themselves. Your baby's ability to fall back to sleep without being fed, rocked or cuddled depends on your routine. If you rock your baby to sleep in the evening, you'll be doing the same at 1am. Let your baby start associating sleeping with being in his crib, rather than in your arms.

At six to eight months babies get around 14 hours of sleep. They're eating during the day so they can make it through the night without feeding. Most babies at this age nap two to four hours a day but schedules vary. Want to know if they are getting enough sleep? Take note of her behavior after she's had a nap but has been awake for awhile. If your baby isn't cranky, she's getting enough sleep. If she's irritable she may be signaling a need for more sleep during the day and at night. Try putting her down earlier for naps and bedtime

When your baby turns nine to 12 months there are some sleep setbacks. Babies are getting about 12 to 14 hours a sleep. They're sleeping in the morning and afternoon. The downside is that even the best sleeper will start waking again in the middle of the night. This might signal that a major change is about to happen like walking or talking. Another sleep downside is your baby may now understand cause and effect. He knows his actions get a reaction so he may cry and pop up in his crib to test you. Don't give in or he'll start to expect it.

From 13 to 18 months babies start to get into a regular routine and are getting 12 to 14 regular hours of sleep. After his first birthday he'll switch to one long postlunch nap that lasts from 90 minutes to 3 hours. A consistent bedtime routine is now even more important because it transitions your child from active toddler to sound snoozer. Do something that calms him right before bed. He may have a harder time letting you leave the room after you turn out the light and that's normal Separation anxiety begins at 9 to 12 months and peaks at 18 months. A transitional object like a stuffed toy can make sleep easier.

For more information on your baby's sleeping pattern and other parenting tips, click here.

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