9 Baby Sleep Myths Put to Rest

May 30, 2016 at 9:12 pm by Divyangna Singh  2

A new mom always gets loads of ‘what to do’ and ‘what not to do’, advises from the ever increasing number of well wishers. Some would ask you to deny her short naps while others may advice you feed her extra in late evening to ensure a good sleep. You will find hard to ignore them as they usually come from well-meaning people but it does not necessarily make them true. Here we will talk about  the most common baby sleep myths.

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  1. Good sleepers will not wake up at night

We, adults, always wake up at nights albeit briefly. We will roll over, adjust the pillow or just stare for a few seconds and then go back to sleep. Typically the sleep cycle for an adult lasts for 90 minutes after which we enter a period of light sleep. Similarly babies follow a 60 minutes sleep cycle which means that every hour they have a phase of light sleep. Babies who are known to sleep well also get up like the other babies but the only notable difference is that they will fall asleep effortlessly on their own.

  1. Excess feeding of milk at night will result in better sleep

This is way too far from the truth! The most common cause of night waking is a problem in digestion. If you feed the baby with an excess quantity of milk then the tummy will become bloated and chances of forming gas is high. This can lead to a period of poor sleep. If needed try to feed your baby a little extra in the late afternoon or early evening in order to encourage better sleep at night. However, it’s recommended that you consult with the pediatrician before making any major changes in your baby’s diet.

  1. Sleep gets better at three months

This is, probably, one of the biggest misconceptions that you will ever hear. Many of us believe that newborns will sleep better with advancing age and by three months they will learn to have a sound sleep. But we should understand that the sleep pattern of a baby does not follow a linear progression. So a baby who is sleeping well at just 2 months age can begin waking up from sleep more frequently when she is 3 – 4 months old.

  1. If you keep the baby up late then he will sleep better

If a baby stays up very late then he will enter a hyperalert state and his stress hormones will begin to work overtime. The baby finds it very difficult to go off to sleep and they suffer from frequent night waking. The baby should follow a strict bedtime schedule and you must make every effort to ensure that the baby manages to stick to that schedule. In order to find out the optimal bedtime of the baby, you must look for certain signs such as yawning and rubbing of eyes. In fact, the baby will get cranky as the sleep time comes near. Just make a note of these ‘tired signs’ and start the bedtime routine at least half an hour in advance.

Always keep in mind that even if a baby is awake in the crib at an odd hour and is making noise, it doesn’t mean that you need to attend immediately. Just give the babies some space and they will fall back into another deep sleep on their own. Eventually they will get a full night’s rest.

  1. Never wake a sleeping baby

This is one myth that goes around from anyone and everyone to the new mother, however it is not true. During the first few weeks of your child’s birth, the baby needs to be fed after every 2 to 3 hours so that he or she can put on a weight. So many a times you would have to gently wake your baby up for this feeding.
Once the newborn regains his body weight, it is ok to let the baby sleep and not wake up during the night. However, you’ll need to  feed sufficiently during the daytime.

  1. Whenever the baby wakes up during the night, it is because he is hungry

It is by far the most common myths that has stuck around through time. This is not always true that the baby wakes up because he is hungry. Sometimes it happens when they need better ways of falling back to sleep rather than being fed; And it is better to let the babies fall back to sleep every now and then all by themselves, making them capable of correcting their sleep pattern.

  1. It is unwise to rock your baby to sleep

Rocking your baby to sleep or even swaddling is considered a “fool’s errand.” While rocking  helps the baby soothe and hence prepares for a better and sound sleep time. Swaddling on the other hand, keeps the baby from taking his hand to his mouth which could be a sign that your baby is hungry.
However, you should be wary that the baby doesn’t habituate itself with sleeping only by this method.

  1. There’s a need to be extremely quiet while your baby is asleep

It is normal that in order to fall asleep the baby requires peace and quiet but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to keep complete silence at the time. The baby has been accustomed to sleeping during noise while in the mother’s womb where he heard all kinds of noises consistently. it is perfectly fine to let the baby get used to typical noises of the house; that’ll help him sleep through the night comfortably.

  1. If your baby snores,there is nothing to worry about

Snoring of your baby is something you should be concerned about. Although about 15% to 25% of the babies do snore but a noisy breathing can signal towards a medical condition of obstructive sleep apnea, where a baby pauses breathing briefly causing him to make unusual noises during the night. Snoring of occasional basis is nothing to work yourself up about; but in case this happens consistently, discuss it with your pediatrician.

It is astonishing how these reasonable sounding advises, emanating, for generations. It is advisable to read on these “preachings” than to follow them blindly. Every baby is born different and it is better to know your baby through his experiences and not go by everyone else’s word of mouth. This would be a safe and a more efficient way to parenting.

2 thoughts on “9 Baby Sleep Myths Put to Rest”

  1. A surprisingly balanced article on a pretty controversial topic, ruled by sleep trainers and sleep book authors who advocate pretty damaging ways of “coaching” a baby to sleep. There is a Facebook group that provides peer support to parents on baby sleep issues. It’s called Gentle Baby Sleep Support for Indian Parents and follows a gentle, attachment parenting ethos: https://www.facebook.com/groups/574920582659041/ . I think both the author and readers of this article would be interested to join it.

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