You know how much I read up on baby sleep when I was pregnant? Absolutely nothing. A friend asked my husband if we had a sleep philosophy we planned to use, and I honestly thought she was nuts. Why would I be thinking about how my kid would sleep when he wasn't even born yet? Wouldn't he just sleep when he was tired? Yeah, I learned the hard way that that's not how it works. 

Read more ¿Qué más?: I've finally made peace with my baby's sleep habits

I suppose it can work like that, but if you actually want to get some sleep yourself over the next two to three years, you're probably going to have to pay a whole lot of attention to your kid's sleep habits. You might even have to TEACH him how to sleep. Sounds pretty easy, right? It's not. Keep reading to find out why naps and nighttime sleep, literally and figuratively keep parents everywhere up at night.

1. Their sleep needs are crazy. Depending on age, babies need two to three times as much sleep over the course of 24 hours as adults. But most of the time, those little monsters refuse to sleep anywhere near that much unless someone, preferably mami, is holding them. Do you have 20 hours a day to hold your baby? I sure don't. That means there will be crying, there will be desperation, there will be exhaustion.

2. Overtiredness is scary. The recommended awake time for newborns is somewhere around 45 minutes and for a 2-year-old, it's still only about five hours. That means your child needs to be asleep at certain intervals throughout each day, and if he's not, he will become a cranky, fussy ball of misery that kind of, sort of makes you want to rip your hair out.

3. When they nap, you're trapped home. If and once you do manage to figure out your individual baby's sleep needs, you will find yourself staying home so your baby can nap. God forbid she fall asleep in the car or stroller for five minutes while you're out and then refuse to nap the rest of the day. When that happens--and it will--you will literally feel like you've died and gone to hell. So you stay home.

4. They're ever-changing. A baby's sleep needs change continually from birth until about 18 to 24 months. These changes happen more frequently in the first six months, and are generally easier to adjust to early on. However, when your kid drops down from three naps to two, your whole world will change and it will suck for about a week and then it will be amazing. Things will stay amazing for a while, but then as your little one approaches two, he'll drop that second nap and you will both experience soul-crushing exhaustion. Apparently, this improves too and one nap becomes the bees knees. We're not there yet.

5. Sleep begets sleep. Pretty much every child sleep expert agrees that sleep begets sleep. So when your kid naps well during the day, he'll be able to go down for bed easily at night, and learn how to sleep through the night on his own much better. But you know how little control we have over what happens in the daytime? No matter how hard you try, how many days in a row you stay home, you'll still have very flippin' little control over the quality of naps. You know because, a bird flew by the nursery window and tweeted too loudly.

Image via Thinkstock

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About the author

Shayne Rodriguez Thompson is a full-time wife, full-time mom, and freelance journalist trying to balance it all and looking forward to exploring the world with her son and husband. In her rare spare moments, she's a pop culture junkie and kitchen devotee who makes a mean cupcake!

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So felling like this!!! Y pense q estaba loca o era solo yo! Thank u...
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