Birth experiences are special: every mother remembers vividly, hearing baby’s first cry and feeling the warmth of baby’s cheeks as they cuddle for the first time.
But not all of parenting is nice in the same way. Mothers are often overwhelmed with advice, suggestions, and information about raising a baby, sometimes even before baby is born.
One of the hardest challenges a mother will navigate pertains to baby’s sleep.
In my work as a sleep consultant, I have encountered a lot of baby sleep myths and in this blog post I would like to address some of the common misconceptions you might have.
1. Having long naps or sleeping too much during the day keeps the baby up at night.
In reality, having a lot of sleep is necessary for a baby, particularly a newborn. As long as your little one is NOT sleeping all day and up all night, I would not be too concerned about the length of naps. In fact, it is medically reviewed that a newborn baby needs at least 15-17 hours of sleep in a 24h stretch while 12-15 hours is how much sleep infant needs in a 24h stretch.
2. Sleep cannot be taught and must develop naturally in a baby.
YES, sleeping is absolutely natural and NO, you cannot teach a child to be sleepy BUT you can teach a child to fall asleep on their own. Independent sleep is best achieved through laying baby down in the crib while baby is still awake but tired enough and ready for sleep.
3. Late nights do not equate to late mornings.
Generally, a baby's internal clock will drive them to wake early (like 6:30am kind of early). By putting the baby down at a later bedtime, the baby will get less sleep than his body needs, leading to overtiredness and an overall crankier child.
4. Sleep training is stressful for the baby and can affect the parent-child attachment.
This baby sleep myth is a big NOPE. According to a 2016 study conducted by eight of the top researchers of the American Academy of Pediatrics, behavioral intervention, (a.k.a Sleep Training) “provide(s) significant sleep benefits yet convey(s) no adverse stress responses or long-term effects on parent-child attachment or child emotions and behavior.” For more on this see here: Behavioral Interventions for Infant Sleep Problems: A Randomized Controlled Trial | Pediatrics | American Academy of Pediatrics (aap.org)
5. Babies are not “designed” to sleep through the night.
Part of this is true. Newborn babies do not sleep through the night as they have tiny tummies and need to eat often. However, by 6 months there is no reason that children who are growing and developing with a healthy weight cannot be sleeping through the night. In fact, babies who are sleep-trained early often wean themselves off of night feeds as they have the skill to independently go back to sleep.
There are plenty more baby sleep myths and misconceptions, but these are some of the more important ones to get straight on.
Your little one needs loving guidance at all times, especially when it comes to sleep. Just book a call with us and we’d be happy to help you in any way we can.