Newborn to 2 Months
At this point, the age of your child would determine the sleep patterns or lack thereof. If your child was born early, use the EDD (expected date of delivery) as the true age to find out where your child might be within this time frame. So, for example if your baby was born 3 weeks early then at 1 month your baby would be 1 week old.
At the very beginning sleep comes when it wants to, it varies tremendously. Some babies sleep a lot and others do not. Some babies might be extra fussy even colicky at this time so do whatever you need to do to get the child to sleep. A wonderful book to help you calm your extra fussy baby is "Sweet Baby" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. This book is very important in that it helps parents deal with the perils of caring for an extra fussy newborn. If the parents of these babies use the techniques in this book they will find their baby falling into normal sleep patterns soon after the fussiness subsides.
As I mentioned, sleep is very erratic at this age and doesn't really follow a pattern because basically the newborn's brain is still maturing. There is NOTHING a parent can do at this time to manipulate sleep. Since there is no pattern and brain ability to even comprehend manipulating sleep then don't force what is not possible.
Happens when it wants to, so let it happen and let them sleep for however long they want. If they are fussy newborns do whatever you need to do to get them to sleep and refer to the above mentioned book to help you with soothing techniques that help calm your fussy baby.
As late afternoon comes some babies who are not colicky infants might have a fussy period late in the day early evening. This is normal. As the baby grows during this period this early evening fussiness goes away.
Day and Night Confusion
Most babies tend to have long stretches of sleep during the day and not at night necessarily. Again, this is due to lack of brain maturity. However, as each week passes the brain matures and at about 6 weeks of age (6 weeks after the EDD, for premature babies), you will start seeing longer stretches at night (maybe 3,4,5 hours) it just depends on the baby. Ironically at this time, about 6 weeks you will also notice that late afternoon early evening fussiness starting to go away. Again this is an indication that your baby's brain is maturing. Night sleep is the first to become organized; it's not as we (adults) see a full nights sleep but rather, it is a consistent block of time when the baby is sleeping and the longest within the day. You might also notice some social smiling.
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See also: Soothing Routine