As a rule, an infant sleeps a lot, but as he gets older he will develop a sleeping pattern. Regularity in his sleeping as well as in his eating and playing habits is most important. The baby who is fed his meals at the same hours is more likely to fall asleep at the same time than the baby whose routine is interrupted for one reason or another.
Gradually baby will stay awake a little longer at each feeding, and soon will discover the joys of sociability. Usually babies have their own "play hour"late in the afternoon; then they will create another in the morning. At 6 months, they may sleep 12 hours at night, and 3 to 5 hours during the day. By the time he is a year old, the average baby takes two comparatively short naps during the day, and sleeps a good 12 hours at night.
It is important to realize that babies vary in the amount of sleep they need. Your baby may be an energetic, sociable type who gets along fine on much less sleep than a more placid, dreamy type of child.
During the first year do not be concerned about how much sleep your baby gets. If his sleeping conditions are good, he will take as much sleep as he needs. If however, he appears to be irritable when not getting much sleep, or on the other hand if he seems to be drowsy and sleepy most of the time, your doctor may suggest a change in his feeding or improvement in the stimulation being provided.
Never give the baby medicine to make him sleep. Provide him with good sleeping conditions including a comfortable room temperature of 21 - 22 C (69.8 - 71.6 F) especially for the first few weeks. As he becomes older, the room may be cooler, provided he is sleeping and well covered. Do not excite him before going to bed. If you hear him talking to himself and wiggling around after you put him down, do not worry; he has just decided to play a little longer, and will go to sleep in due time. One should avoid the tendency to allow an infant to get over stimulated and over fatigued, thereby exhausted before he gets a chance to go to sleep.