Newborn Baby Sleep Myths Busted!
These days, don't we all know someone who knows everything there is to know about babies and sleep? It seems like every person you meet has an opinion about newborn babies and their sleep!
To get the best information we prefer turning to a sleep expert for advice. Here, we're speaking to Dr Cory Kerchner, an assistant professor of paediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine Center and mother of four, to get some answers about sleeping.
In this post, she confirms and denies some of the most common newborn sleep tips, myths and superstitions out there about babies and sleeping.
1) If babies are tired, you'll know it
Infants have many means of expressing "I'm sleepy, you guys!" Heavy eyelids, yawning, ear tugging. But overtiredness may show itself in unexpected forms. For example, heavy activity or irritability might be mistaken for teethed or ill. That's why it's so important for mothers to learn about their infant's unique sleep patterns.
"Unfortunately, every baby is different and has different needs."
2) Babies can fall asleep anywhere at anytime
Babies have unique sleeping patterns, but they also go through phases of light and deep sleep just like we do. They need peace and quiet to catch those zzz's s.
“We don’t want them to be completely silent, but we do want them to have a good sleeping space where they can’t hear any noise from outside” Kercher explains. “Just like us, if there’s too much noise, we can’t fall asleep.”
3) Never wake up a sleeping baby
For the most portion, the old adage is true. Although, newborn babies will need to be wakened up periodically to be fed, and you may have to awaken the infant from daytime naps if they’re affecting night-time sleep.
'Other than those two instances’ Kercher states, ‘I cannot imagine any reasons to awake a child.’
4) Don’t rush to soothe a crying baby
You should wait until your child is 6 months old before attempting the 'crying it out' technique. By then, they should be able to calm themselves down on their own. If they start fussing during the day, try giving them something else to do instead of picking them up right away. The baby may also benefit from having a bedtime routine.
“We don't want to force our babies into sleep schedules, but we do want to help them learn how to soothe themselves when they're tired.”
5) If your child goes to be late they will sleep late
This may sound obvious, but if you keep your baby awake until midnight, chances are they may sleep in later? However, this can cause problems down the line. "If you're trying to get them to sleep later, then keeping them up really late is not helpful," Kercher explains.
If baby is overtired, they might have a harder time falling asleep. Plus, some babies simply march to the beat of their own internal sleep clock, Kercher says "they’ll wake up early, no matter what you do".
6) Once a bad sleeper, always a bad sleeper
This one is also not true.
It is never too late to focus your attention on good sleep hygiene. Even though, it will be much harder to do without bad sleep habits at 14 months old than at four months old. That is why sleep training early can make a big difference later on.
“Sometimes it takes a little effort in the short run, but you’ll reap the benefits in the long run” Kercher explains.
7) Add rice to your child’s bottles to help them sleep better
“It’s not true!” exclaims Kercher. Rice cereals aren’t meant to be given to infants until after 4 – 6 months of age. In addition, giving rice to an infant can cause constipation.
"It thickens up the milk a little and it makes it harder for the baby's mouth to get into the nipple," Kercher says. "We don't recommend doing that unless there's a medical reason." For sleeping, she adds, "we never use rice in a bottle."
8) Flip your baby to flip their sense of night and day
Newborns aren’t born with an inherent sense of night and day. After all, they’ve been in the womb for nine months! But flipping baby head over heels, as the old superstition goes, won’t help them tell night from day. There are, however, more practical steps you can take to convince baby to give up those vampire-like hours.
From the start, you can do stuff like turn on lights and use normal voices and not tiptoed around during the day. At night, keep lights low, minimal stimulations. When the baby wakes up for feeding, put him/her back to sleep so there's very little interaction.
9) Bath times are essential for sleep times
A bath is a great way to help babies relax before bedtimes, but it’s not a mandatory component of the routine. You may easily whisk your child off to dreamland without the bubble baths.
“Whatever wind-down ritual you choose doesn't necessarily need to be a bath or a massage.” Kercher suggests choosing something that works for you.
We hope you found these newborn sleep tips useful to help you have your baby develop new healthy sleep habits?