Most new parents are not given any professional advice or tips on sleep training, leaving it up to them to figure things out for themselves or go by common advice given by other people who just did what made the most sense to them. There’s a lot of misinformation out there and a lot of parents suffering needlessly trying to form a healthy sleep pattern for their baby. This post will help you avoid the common myths about sleep training your baby.
#1. It’s Better to Keep Baby Up Later
Many people do this, so they think it’s best. It seems to make sense; the later it is, the more tired the baby will be and they’ll go to sleep easier and more soundly. But that doesn’t match science. Researchers have discovered that there is an ideal window where children of different ages should go to sleep. If they stay up later than that, they get too tired, their bodies enter a sort of fight or flight mode to help them fight fatigue, and they don’t sleep well. A baby with a healthy sleep routine will be more rested and better able to go to sleep easily and sleep more soundly.
#2. Avoid Naps So Baby Will Be Sleepy
Again, it seems to make sense. But it doesn’t work. Sleep deprived babies don’t sleep well. Their bodies are too full of stress hormones to sleep well. Sleep is a cycle, and the whole day is part of that cycle. In fact, babies need two daytime naps for a healthy sleep routine.
#3. Sleep Training is Stressful to Baby
There are some misconceptions out there stating that sleep training will cause attachment issues, ADHD, and insecurities. This is not backed up by science.
Not sleep training your baby can cause problems such as:
- Poor mood and emotion control
- Lowered neurobehavioral functioning
- High cortisol levels
- Anxiety disorders in adulthood
- Decreased school performance
#4. Sleep Training is a Magic Fix
While sleep training is very important for your child, it can’t fix every sleep problem your child has. It’s common for children to not sleep well because they’re hungry. A change in their diet would be a more direct way to help that baby. This may be a feeding schedule issue or a food issue. You’ll need to discuss that with your baby’s doctor. Sleep training may still help them later on when their hunger is no longer an issue.
#5. You Have to Wean Your Baby at Night to Sleep Train
This is not true. You want to make sure you are feeding hungry babies and not babies who are just in the habit of eating at night, but sleep training and nighttime feedings are not mutually exclusive. Talk to a sleep training expert and/or your baby’s doctor to determine what your baby needs.
#6. Formulas or More Solid Foods Will Improve Sleep
This may be true if the baby isn’t sleeping because they are hungry. Sometimes babies aren’t getting full enough from breast milk or formula, and they need something more. Don’t automatically assume this is true if the doctor hasn’t said so. If you try to change your baby’s diet unnecessarily, you probably won’t fix the sleep problem and you may cause other problems like digestive issues or choking risk.
#7. Crying-it-Out Is Synonymous with Sleep Training
Crying-it-out is a term made up a long time ago about not giving in to all of your child’s demands so they’ll learn to go to sleep. Some methods in sleep training are similar, but it is not the same thing. Some people avoid sleep training and think it will cause stress because they associate it with crying-it-out. You aren’t supposed to ignore your baby’s needs, but you do want to train them in healthy habits and behaviors. If you’re concerned about this, speak to a sleep training expert for clarification.
#8. Some Children Just Don’t Need as Much Sleep
Almost all children need around 12 hours of sleep per night and daytime naps. They may be wakeful at bedtime because they are sleep-deprived and their bodies are wide awake with stress hormones, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need sleep.
#9. It Will Straighten Itself Out
Children won’t magically learn a healthy sleep routine, and even if they could, how much suffering would you both go through waiting for it? What does happen is the sleep deficits transfer themselves in new ways as the child ages and will probably lead to issues like anxiety and reduced school outcomes.
#10. Snoring is Normal
Snoring isn’t normal. Your child may have one of a variety of issues like palate or airway abnormalities, or they may be suffering from allergies. Definitely ask the doctor to determine the cause.
Call Petite Dreamers
You can speak to a sleep training expert to get accurate answers to all of your questions. Reach out today!