Infant sleep

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Lots of questions about wee infant sleep. I've really got nothing except: It's a crapshoot until at least 12 weeks. And it depends on your kid.

You hope it's going in a generally positive direction, of course, but it's sometimes hard to assess what that is. My older one was never much of a day sleeper anyway, and has always needed less sleep than other kids his age at any given age. But he was also always either asleep or awake (no "drowsy but awake" business for him), which may have tainted my perception.

My second was sleeping 7-8 hours in a stretch at night from a few weeks on. (I know. Seriously.) But then he started teething in earnest at 6 weeks and it all went to hell.

Having come out the other end of this twice, here's what I think helped me and has helped others (with "help" meaning got us through with sanity intact) more than anything else:

1. Don't ever (EVAR) compare your child to any other child. Not even your child's identical twin. As it says in the Desiderata, "If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter." Totally true with infant sleep.

2. Instead, compare your child's sleep to your child's sleep at some other point in time. Let's assume you're keeping some type of accurate records of wakings or length of time it takes to go down or whatever your particular issue is with that kid. Compare within those records to see how things are going.

3. And don't forget to take development into account. There's not a thing you can do about the 18-month sleep regression (or the 4-month, 9-month, 13-month, or 24-27-month ones, either). So if you're looking at your records, those time periods really don't count as progress or lack of it. Nor does heavy teething, learning to crawl or walk, or any other major disruptions.

4. Once you've got some data, try looking at it another way. Maybe that "late nap" is really your child's body trying to go to sleep earlier than you thought it needed to shut down. If your kid wakes exactly an hour after going down every night, that could be silent reflux. Etc. When in doubt, there's some scientific reason that has nothing to do with your competence.

So, infant sleep. Who's got a story or lament from the age 0 to 12 weeks days?