I wish to take this opportunity to throw some light on a few of the sleeping myths I have heard over the years I have been a sleep consultant.
1st myth… Keeping your baby up longer at night, or longer between naps will encourage her to fall asleep faster and sleep better.
This is I can 100% say is definitely a myth. All that will happen by you keeping your baby up longer at either bedtime or between naps will result in an overtired child.
2nd myth…Why is the result of a overtired child such a problem, sure they will fall asleep quicker?
Of this the opposite it actually true. An overtired child will be fussy, cranky, have trouble feeding and take much longer to settle into their sleep, also there is a much more likelihood of them now waking through the night and earlier in morning, and only have a very short nap.
3rd myth….Your baby will sleep automatically through the night when she hits three months of age.
So this one is not 100% a myth, it can happen if you have set the foundations for healthy sleep skills early and your child is developing good self-soothing strategies. Then yes, you can usually expect them to start sleeping through the night by 3 months (providing they are healthy and developing well). So this does become a myth when your children that still rely on “props” to fall asleep,
examples of these are feeding/rocking/patting etc. Due to this they will more than likely continue to wake through the night. The reason being is they have never learned the ability to put themselves to sleep, so they are unable to consolidate sleep cycles through the night. They will often rouse after a sleep cycle, because they require a prop instead of using their own skills to return quickly to sleep they will cry out for their “prop” before they are able to go back to sleep.
4th myth….Letting your baby fall asleep while being held is a bad thing.
I know & understand it is very hard request to always put your baby in their cot/bassinet while awake, then allow them to use their own skills to fall asleep when they are newborns, as they need to sleep so often. This makes it almost impossible for parents to be out and about doing normal life tasks, so they need to put their baby to sleep in the pram/car or carrier. However, what I ask is that you be respectful of your baby/child’s sleep needs and whenever possible give them the opportunity to try and fall asleep in their cot/bassinet. This being the best place that they are going to get their best quality sleep. I simply remind parents to remember just how difficult and often disturbed your own sleep is if you have to sleep in the car or even when staying in a hotel room as opposed to your own bed at home. So by always let your baby fall asleep in your arms they are never going to develop their own self-soothing skills. I like to remind parents that as your child grows they get heavier. Although you will find it easy to rock a newborn to sleep in your arms it is not so easy when they are 1, 2 or even 3 year old.
5th myth….you should never wake a sleeping baby.
It is never nice to have to wake a sleeping baby. There is only one reason I would suggest doing this and this would be to preserve a bedtime. The older your child gets their sleep needs change and sometimes too much daytime sleep (for an older baby or child) can have a negative effect on bedtime and sleeping through the night. However, the opposite is also true and overtiredness will also negatively impact night time sleep so it’s best to err on the side of more sleep as opposed to less.
6th Myth…Daytime naps aren’t always needed.
Most children usually drop their daytime nap around the age of 3 – 4yrs old, as long as they are getting their 11-12 hrs of night time sleep. That said I have seen this happen as early as 2.5yrs but that is unusual & definitely not the norm. Before this age though, a daytime nap or naps are very important to prevent overtiredness and recharge their little bodies for the rest of the day.
7th Myth….By putting infant cereal in their bottle you will fill her up and it will help them sleep.
So, for very young babies, the length of time they are able to sleep for, is largely determined by how quickly their little tummies become empty after a feed. However, as your baby reaches the 3-6 months mark with a good healthy sleeping habit and good self-soothing skills (which I suggest you introduce gently from birth) this will help your baby sleep for longer periods. It is still very important to ensure your baby is well fed and developing properly with the consolidation of good nutrition throughout the entire day making this more important than adding infant cereal to their bedtime bottle.
From Anna, who has a 10 months old son, George
“Thank you so much for teaching me to teach my son how to sleep! He is now my little sleep superstar! The plan was detailed and told us exactly how to handle every eventuality. Lisa was great! Regularly checked in and gave me so much guidance through everything! Really a life changing experience…”