Complete sleep deprivation is part and parcel of being a new parent. If you hear anything about being a new parent, this is it.
However, the truth about infants’ nighttime habits is not always relayed correctly. Baby sleep myths just serve to confuse an already fraught time in your child’s development. It’s important to know the truth about the ins and outs of baby’s sleep and what are just baby sleep myths to keep everyone as healthy and rested as possible.
Myth: Shhh! The baby is sleeping!
It is true that babies sleep a bit lighter during a daytime nap than during their evening sleep. However, you need not keep the house silent to let baby get some rest. Before your baby was even born, he or she experienced all kinds of sounds from inside the womb. From music to low conversation, low and muffled noises can be a soothing- not distracting- part of nap time.
On the flip side, don’t let your baby get too accustomed to predictable, scheduled sounds. If baby becomes dependent on a noise machine, for example, it may become more difficult to fall asleep in real quiet!
Myth: Fuller tummies, deeper sleep
Contrary to popular belief, filling a baby’s belly with cereal in their milk at night won’t save you a nighttime feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend ever including this food supplement in baby’s milk, or even introducing solid foods until 6 months old. Giving baby cereal in the milk also increases calories. Just the usual amount of milk will be enough to aid on your journey to a full night’s sleep by 6 months old.
Myth: Later to bed, later to rise
Unlike most adults, babies are naturally early risers. Newborns are still adjusting to life outside the womb, light cycles and all. Older children become set in their sleep habits, and introducing new hours is more likely to result in less sleep, not different waking times.
Myth: Snoring is no problem
There is little cuter than the snuffling snores of a newborn. However, disturbed sleep noises can point to a medical condition. Just like adults, infants can suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Brief pauses in deep breaths cause snore or unusual sounds and can cause developmental problems. A study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City discovered that babies with untreated sleep disorders were significantly more likely to develop mood disorders such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety by the age of 7 years old.
Myth: Don’t cry through it
One of the biggest debates with babies and sleep is whether or not parents should allow their little ones to cry through the night. Sleep training programs can rely on letting the baby cry while parents listen until they calm themselves down. Some parents find this unbearable.
When sleep training, tearfulness comes with the territory. Changing habits will upset the delicate balance for your little one, and that can lead to little meltdowns.
The good news is that baby sleep myths about crying it out don’t have to be true. Any sleep method you feel comfortable with is probably the right one for you, as long as you maintain a schedule and stick with it!
We hope the truth behind these five myths can help you, new parents, get a good night sleep without worrying!