This section is from the "The Young Mother. Management of Children in Regard to Health" book, by William A. Alcott. Also available from Amazon: The Young Mother
Generally speaking, the night is the appropriate season for repose; but in early infancy, it is every hour. I have already spoken of the vast amount of sleep which the new-born infant requires, as well as of many other circumstances connected with it, requiring our attention. Suffer me, however, to enlarge, at the risk of a little repetition.
What time the infant is awake, should be during the day. It is of very great importance, in the formation of good habits, that he should be undressed and put to bed, at evening, with as much regularity as if be had not slept during the day for a single moment. It is also important that he be permitted to sleep during the whole night, as uninterruptedly as possible; and that when he is aroused, to have his position or diapers changed, or to receive food, it should be done with little parade and noise, and with as little light as possible. All persons, old as well as young, sleep more quietly in a dark room, than in one where a light is burning.
I am well aware that the course here recommended, may be carried to an excess which will utterly defeat the object intended, since there are children to be found, who are so trained in this respect, that the lightest tread upon the floor will awake, and perhaps frighten them. But this is an excess which is not required. All that is necessary during the night, is a reasonable degree of silence, in order to induce the habit of continued rest, if possible. In the day time, on the contrary, fatigue will impel a child to sleep occasionally, even in the midst of noise. I am not sure that the habit of sleeping in the midst of noise is not worth a little pains on the part of the mother. Nor is it improbable that a habit of this kind, once acquired by the infant, might ultimately be extended to the night, so that over-caution, even in regard to that season, might gradually be laid aside.
Dr. North, a distinguished medical practitioner in Hartford, Conn., confirms the foregoing sentiments; and adds, that he deems it an imperious duty of those parents who wish well to their infants, to form in them the habit of sleeping when fatigued, whether the room be quiet or noisy. With his children, no cradles or opiates are needed or used.