While rolling over, walking, and talking are important developmental landmarks for all babies, getting them to sleep through the night is a critical step forward for parents!
Most new parents would give the world for a good night's sleep, but do not know how to get there. You can help to promote your baby's development of good sleeping patterns and encourage your baby to sleep through the night.
When your newborn is a few days old, the main problem is often that his or her daytime sleep and nighttime sleep are reversed. This is not surprising. Many babies come out of total darkness in utero, into a hospital delivery room and then nursery, where the lights are on 24 hours a day.
Most babies can adjust to a day and night schedule on their own in two or three weeks, but that is a long time for tired parents to stay up all night! To help shorten your baby's adjustment period, first, minimize stimulation at night. Feed, burp, change, and hold your baby quietly, quickly, and in the dark. During the day, try to keep your baby awake and active for 20 minutes after each feeding by changing positions, moving around, and providing visual stimulation and a variety of sounds.
Generally, babies of average size sleep for three hours between feedings at night (four if you are really lucky), and nurse every two to three hours during the day. It is a rare baby that can accommodate to the proverbial "four hour schedule." It also helps to remember that "three hours between feedings" is calculated from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next. Given that in the very beginning, feeding, burping and diapering may take nearly an hour, that leaves you with barely two hours of sleep at a time.