That was one of the most-asked questions when I was a new mom. "Um, we're doing pretty well." Yeah, if "well" means catnaps during the day and maybe three hours between feedings at night...
Neither of my boys were great sleepers as infants. Blame it on their nature, blame it on breastfeeding, blame it on our practices, we could play this game all day. Through a change to one of the factors above, or perhaps just natural development, they became good sleepers (eventually).
"I hafta do pee-pee!" is usually the only reason my 3-year-old gets up at night. The bathroom's dark, he needs help, that's fine. My two-year-old wakes up for a drink and goes right back to sleep. Again, that's fine. Lately he's been resisting going back to sleep, but we know that'll be short-lived so we're working through it.
I actually like spending time with my kids and even helping them get to sleep (when needed). You're a parent, your kids' security is your main job-- even if that means losing 15 min of sleep a night. (Some of you are thinking this is the root of why our babies didn't sleep. That's fine too- to each her own.)
ANYWAY, my point, and I do have one around here somewhere, is that different kids have different sleep schedules. That's it, glad you read all that?
Just kidding. I'm sure you could find a lot of differing research on this, so consider this rough, basic info for the sake of the discussion. Infants 0-9 months need about 12-15 hours of sleep. That decreases only slightly for 9-18-month olds, requiring 11-14 hours of sleep. The bigger difference may lie in the division of sleep.
Your baby takes three 1-hour naps and four 3-hour stretches at night? Four 30-minute naps and two 6-hour lengths overnight? Six 20-minute naps and six 2-hour stretches at night? That last one's unfortunate but not entirely unrealistic to some. 15 hours sounds like a lot, but depending how it's broken up makes a huge difference.
Naps are important to me. Not just for sanity, but because I work from home. (The SAHM v WAHM v WOHM argument should not even be a competition. I'll tackle that another day, but for now the explanation is that I have a paying job that splits my time between office and home.)
The hours in which my boys are sleeping, or older is at school and younger is napping, are my Power Hours. I have figured out how to get work done while they are here and awake (laptop is a train platform/sippycup holder/book prop/etc.) but I can get more done in those few quiet hours than the rest of the day combined.
I love that, many days, I have to wake them up after 3 hours. They sleep about 9.5-10 hours at night, which has them up pretty early, but works for our schedule. Yes, OUR schedule. It has to be a joint effort. If you try to schedule your kids too much, it always backfires. And I'm about as type-A as it comes, so just trust me and save yourself a lot of hassle.
If it was up to you (which we've established that it only partially is) how would you divide your child's sleeping hours?
[This was my second go-round at this post (erasing incident due in part to 2-year-old laptop child, and part to ancient pos laptop computer). But total recall of 98% of what I just wrote is a skill (?). Of course that 2% was probably the best part but oh well. Alas, my english degree was not a waste afterall...]