Shop
02445

5 Baby sleep myths uncovered

 
Everyone has an opinion when it comes to baby sleep, and sometimes it’s hard to establish myth from reality. With access to unlimited information via the internet, from coffee groups, friends and family, it’s inevitable that you’ll get a lot of conflicting advice. Here are some tips to help you dispel common myths around babies sleep habits.
Everyone has an opinion when it comes to baby sleep, and sometimes it’s hard to establish myth from reality.

With access to unlimited information via the internet, from coffee groups, friends and family, it’s inevitable that you’ll get a lot of conflicting advice.

Here are some tips to help you dispel common myths around babies sleep habits.
 

5 Baby sleep myths uncovered

 

Myth 1 - Sleeping too much during the day will keep your baby up at night


Now this one is not likely, except in extreme cases. Unless your baby is sleeping practically all day and up all night, you probably don’t need to concern yourself with the length of their daytime naps.

Newborn babies especially need lots of sleep. In fact, up until around 6 months, I don’t recommend that your baby is awake for more than about 2 – 2.5 hours at a time. For newborns, that number is more like 45 minutes to an hour.

What keeps babies awake at night, more than anything else, is overtiredness. You might think that an exhausted baby is more likely to sleep for a full night than one who has slept all day, but it’s actually just the opposite. Sleep really does beget sleep.

The reason we refer to it as being ‘overtired’ is because your baby has missed the ‘tired’ phase and their bodies start to kick back into gear again, which keeps them from falling asleep and staying asleep.

A baby who has received a decent amount of sleep during the day is far less likely to get overtired.

There are considerable variations in play depending on your baby’s age and the length of their naps, but up to that 6 month mark, it’s really not uncommon for a baby to be sleeping up to 5 hours a day, outside of their night time sleep.

So if your baby is still within those guidelines, let them snooze.

 

Myth 2 - Sleeping is a natural development & can’t be taught


Sleeping is natural, absolutely. Everybody wakes up and falls back to sleep multiple times a night, regardless of their age. So no, you can’t teach a baby to be sleepy. What you can teach them however, is the ability to fall back to sleep independently.

The typical ‘bad sleeper’ doesn’t need less sleep, and they’re not more prone to waking up. They’ve just learnt to depend on outside assistance to get them back to sleep when they are wake.

Once your baby has figured out how to get to sleep without assistance from outside sources, they’ll start stringing those sleep cycles together effortlessly, and that’s the secret to ‘sleeping through the night’ as most parents understand it.
 


Myth 3 - Babies will naturally dictate their own sleep schedule


When teaching self-settling and putting good sleep habits in place, I do look to see a baby’s natural rhythm emerge. But the idea that infant physiology is flawlessly programmed to regulate a baby’s sleep schedule from the start is questionable.

Babies need extensive care and help with their development, and their sleep cycles are unbelievably erratic if left unregulated.

If they miss their natural sleep window by as little as a half hour, their cortisol production can increase which causes a surge in energy, and things quickly spiral out of control.

So, as much as I wish babies could just fall asleep themselves when they’re tired, it simply doesn’t work that way.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t respond to their cues, you definitely should! But sometimes their cues can be misread, so you shouldn’t rely exclusively on them either.
 


Myth 4 - Sleep training is stressful for your baby & can affect the parent-child attachment


Rather than being stressful, research carried out by the American Academy of Pediatrics (the big authority on baby health), suggests to the contrary.

According to their 2016 study on Behavioral Interventions for Infant Sleep Problems, behavioral intervention or sleep training ‘provides significant sleep benefits and conveys no adverse stress responses or long-term effects on parent-child attachment or child emotions and behaviour.’



Myth 5 - Babies are not designed to sleep through the night


Babies need our expertise and authority to guide them through their early years, especially when it comes to their sleep patterns.

Some babies are naturally gifted sleepers, for sure, but don’t rely on the advice of those who tell you that babies should dictate their schedules if it’s not working out for you.

You’re in charge of determining your child’s sleep schedules because you know them best, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes.

More baby sleep articles for you to enjoy:
Source: This article was written by Kim Corley, a certified sleep sense consultant at Cherished Sleep www.cherishedsleep.co.nz.
Enquire

You might also be interested in ...

10 steps to ditching the dummy

10 steps to ditching the dummy

The longer you leave it to ditch your child’s dummy, the more attached they will become to it. Bite the bullet while they're young and the agony will be less in the long run (although it may not feel like it at the time!). Make a start and follow these 10 simple steps.
4 Newborn sleep secrets

4 Newborn sleep secrets

Is your baby having sleeping problems? These newborn sleep secrets will help encourage better sleep during the newborn stage. From how long they should stay awake to starting a bed time routine, differentiating between night and day and letting them self settle.

join us

Join us on social media for all our latest news.
facebook twitter pinterest
 

sign up

Sign up and receive our latest newsletters.
First/Last Name
Email
Town/City
 

contact us

mailinfo@under5s.co.nz
phone09 376 4408
PO Box 147429
Ponsonby
Auckland 1144

advertise with us