Re: My newborn has a schedule where she sleeps all day and is up all night. Just awake, not too fussy -- she just wants someone to hold her.
I want to establish a normal sleep schedule so that I can quit taking turns staying up with my husband. How should we start?
All parents have ideals about what life will be like after their baby arrives. In reality, every baby is perfect in some ways and challenging in others. We personally had the "rarely gassy, but addicted to a pacifier" baby and the "very smiley, but with chronic acid reflux" baby. It sounds like you may have the "very patient, but nocturnal" baby. These imperfections can be very stressful during early parenthood. However, they are a normal part of the development process and most babies outgrow them sometime during their first year of life.
If you have a hard time surrendering to your child's short term sleep habits, there are a few things you can do to try and communicate that daytime is for fun and nighttime is for sleep. First, take baby out of the house for at least an hour each day. New experiences and fresh air are stimulating. Sunlight also helps reset babies' sleep clocks. Second, make sure nighttime is extremely boring for your child. Do nothing to make this time remotely interesting or stimulating. That means only darkness and no playing, singing or even talking to your baby.
Remember, it may still take several weeks or months before your newborn figures out that she has her days and nights confused. Until then, our best advice is to relax and sleep whenever you can. Enjoy your sweet quiet moments together at night and remember that it won't be like this again. Well... at least until she turns 16 and starts pushing her curfew.