Dr. Ankita Patel is a pediatrician at Novant Health Meadowlark Pediatrics in Winston-Salem. Here’s her answer.
It may feel like newborns are always awake when in fact they sleep on average of 16 to 17 hours a day for the first six months. During this time, newborns sleep in one- to two-hour spurts throughout the day. After the first six months, babies begin to form a regular sleep schedule and the average sleep time per day drops to 12 hours.
To help your baby sleep more at night, you should, when possible, shorten the amount of sleeping during the day. This can be done by talking and playing with the baby throughout the day as much as possible so that more sleep takes place at night.
When she wakes up in the middle of the night, it's OK to let her cry for five minutes at first, gradually lengthening that time to 10 minutes and more over time. Before you respond, give the baby some time to calm herself. If she continues to cry, then go in but don't turn on the light or pick her up. And try to keep your interactions to a minimum. Just let her know that you're there, and, of course, check to see if a diaper change is needed.