Sleep – or lack of it – is an issue that preoccupies new parents more than most, so it’s no wonder that there are a number of myths surrounding this emotive subject. Let’s dispel a few of the most popular…
Formula fed babies sleep better
Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that regardless of feeding method new mums get roughly the same amount of sleep. While some mums feel formula helps their baby sleep and others argue that breastfeeding is much more convenient in the middle of the night, it’s worth bearing in mind that hunger isn’t normally the cause of sleep problems after 3 to 4 months of age.
Day time naps spoil night time sleep
While you don’t want your baby to sleep all day, day time naps are essential for helping babies to sleep well at night as they prevent babies from becoming overtired in the lead up to bedtime which in turn causes resistance to sleep and issues during the night.
Delaying bedtime will help babies fall asleep faster and sleep longer
Quite the opposite, a baby who becomes overtired is often difficult to settle, restless during the night and may well wake earlier as a result. A consistent, reasonable bedtime – say 7/7.30pm – and good daytime naps are far more likely to help your baby to sleep well at night and wake up refreshed in the morning.
Never wake a sleeping baby
This is one we’ve probably all heard before and as a result is something we might be reluctant to do. But in order to get babies into a good sleep routine and to teach them the difference between night and day, it’s sometimes necessary to wake a baby who might otherwise oversleep.
Babies will get all the sleep they need
Wouldn’t that be lovely? Baby’s tired so he drifts off and sleeps for just the right amount of time necessary in order to wake up happy and recharged… In truth, babies are all too capable of resisting sleep if they feel there’s more exciting stuff going on. It’s up to us as parents to help our children settle into a good routine and make sure they get enough sleep overall.
My baby’s just a bad sleeper
All babies are different when it comes to sleep; some need less, some need more and each prefers a certain routine. When it comes to sleep issues, most – if not all – can be overcome or aided with a little fine tuning.
Babies eventually outgrow sleep problems
Some causes of night time waking, like hunger, gradually fade as babies get older, but overall sleep problems need to be addressed in order to resolve them. A consistent bedtime and the ability to self-sooth are vital tools for good sleep, both of which parents are responsible for. Sleep habits are best formed early on as the longer a bad habit is reinforced the harder it is to break.
For lots more baby sleep advice… visit our baby and child sleep community!