So you have decided to have a baby. It's a little bit frightening to think that this tiny being will be dependent on you for everything. Such a huge responsibility, parenthood! You read everything you can on becoming a new parent, you ask your friends who have already gone through it, and in general, you try to get prepared for this lifetime job of raising a child.
Moms- to- be take extra care of themselves during the nine months she is carrying the child. She will give up any habits that could put the baby at risk, she will eat right, and often! She will follow her doctor's orders to the letter, and hope that it's enough. Dad will be looking ahead to the future, and setting in motion a plan that will enable him to financially support this baby through childhood into the college years.
First time parents-to-be will be researching the best way to care for their child physically. They will read all the books on child rearing that they can. Everything from how to hold the baby, to bathing time, to how much should the baby sleep. Do babies need a certain amount of sleep? New parents are so afraid of making a mistake that they forget that it will all come naturally.
Your baby will go through many changes during the first year of its life. It will grow faster than you thought possible for a newborn. Eating habits will change, as well as how much the baby will sleep at night. Babies do require a certain amount of sleep, and being deprived of sleep can make for a cranky child, and an exhausted set of parents. It is best to establish set patterns for sleep when you come home from the hospital.
Several things can happen if your baby doesn't get enough sleep, but any of these can be easily avoided if you recognize that your child is not sleeping properly and take the necessary steps to improve the sleep pattern. Your newborn will probably sleep a lot when you first come home. If you are one of the lucky ones, he or she will sleep all through the night after about one month. Most babies never sleep for long stretches of time, but rather a few hours at a time, waking to be fed, and falling back asleep.
At about 3 months of age your baby will need about 15 hours of sleep per 24 hour period. Usually about 10 hours during the night and 5 hours during the day. As the child grows, it will need about 14 total hours of sleep, with most of it during the night, and a few hours during the day. Sleeping habits become more stable as the child progresses in age and they will usually sleep through the night and take a nap or two during the day. As a new parent, it is important to remember that your new baby will most often let you know when he or she is tired and ready for bed.