Common Newborn Sleep Myths Feat. Miku Medical Advisor Dr. Jacq
Helping your newborn sleep is definitely one of the more stressful parts of being a new parent. And, while all the advice moms receive about newborns and sleeping is certainly well-intentioned, it doesn’t always make things easier. Find out which of the common baby sleep suggestions you don’t need to listen to.
Newborn Sleep Myth #1: You have control over how your baby sleeps
Reality: In the first few months of a baby’s life, their circadian rhythm (the instincts that tell a person when to sleep and when to wake) aren’t yet totally developed. This means that they can’t necessarily tell whether it’s daytime or nighttime. “Some babies’ sleep cycles will be short and some longer,” says Jacqueline Winkelmann, MD, board-certified pediatrician and chief medical board advisor of Miku. “Babies, especially newborn babies, will sleep when they are ready and will wake up because they need to be fed, changed, or even because they’re upset and just want company.” It’s OK if your newborn doesn’t seem to be on any sort of sleeping schedule. It’s still important to have a bedtime routine, but don’t worry if it’s not resulting in predictability right away.
Myth #2: Adding rice cereal to your baby’s bottle will help them sleep
Reality: No matter who’s told you this one … don’t believe it. No studies have shown that putting rice cereal in your baby’s bottle will help them get to or stay asleep. In fact, “Introducing solids, including cereal, before four months of age can cause digestive problems in young babies and is not recommended,” says Dr. Winkelmann.
Myth #3: Keep your baby awake in the day and they’ll sleep better at night
Reality: It might sound logical that keeping your baby awake in the day will help them get to sleep at nighttime – after all, don’t people sleep better when they’re tired? – but this myth is false. “Sleep begets sleep,” says Dr. Winkelmann. “A baby who doesn’t sleep well during the day will be overtired, grumpy, miserable, and fighting sleep!”
Myth #4: Babies Only Sleep in Silence
Reality: Babies actually don’t need perfect quiet to fall asleep. Just think about where they started from – your womb, which is a pretty noisy place! “Complete noise deprivation can actually be counterproductive,” says Dr. Winkelmann. “Noise machines and natural noises will create a more natural environment for baby to sleep.”
Myth #5: At 3 months old, babies should be able to sleep through the night
Reality: The good news is, nothing’s wrong with your baby if they aren’t sleeping through the night by 3 months old. The bad news is, your baby won’t necessarily be sleeping through the night by 3 months old. They’ll likely be sleeping in longer stretches by this age, but don’t expect eight hours from your infant. “Sleeping through the night is not the adult version,” pediatrician Andrew Adesman, MD, author of BabyFacts: The Truth About Your Child’s Health From Newborn Through Preschool told WebMD. A more reasonable expectation might be five or six hours a night, which is still a major upgrade from just a couple hours at a time!
Myth #6: You’ll know exactly what to expect
Reality: We’ll let some real moms take on the myth that anyone can tell you exactly what to expect with your own baby’s sleep. “I’ll hear people say, ‘Cry it out’ or, ‘This or that is the answer for every kid.’ But I’ve learned that all babies are different,” says Carrie Steenlage, mom to a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old. “Our first never could have cried it out because she was too strong-willed. My second really needed to cry to get to sleep – it was how she calmed herself down. Figure out what works for your baby, and don’t get wrapped up in what other people tell you to do.”
Rebecca Kruge, mom to a 1-year-old boy, agrees that you don’t need to get too caught up in what other moms tell you is going to happen. “People overhyped that every baby will be a terrible sleeper, and that it takes all this work to teach them to sleep,” she says. “Maybe I got lucky, but he’s a good sleeper. I didn’t need to worry as much as everyone told me.”
This article was originally shared by Mom.com here.