As a new parent, one of the not-so-easy to digest thing is sleeping pattern or lack of sleep pattern in the baby. Though the newborn babies sleep for almost 16-18 hours a day for the first couple of weeks, it is almost impossible for parents to get a whole night sleep. With the sleep deprivation on the cards, it becomes difficult for the exhausted state of mind to differentiate between truths and myths. So, here are top 5 baby sleep myths busted for the benefit of the tired parents.
Myth 01: More food = More sleep
Busted: You might have received pieces of advice such as feeding cereal or rice to the baby before their bedtime to avoid night feedings and make the baby sleep longer. How we wish that was true! But there is no scientific evidence to prove this. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend introducing solid foods to the babies until 6 months. The introduction of solids before the recommended age could lead to getting extra calories and in turn causing excess weight gain. However, the healthy baby eating a regular diet should be able to sleep throughout the night on her own by 6 months.
To extend the babies’ sleep a little longer, you can try out cluster feeding (multiple feedings before bedtime) or dream feeding (feeding the baby while sleeping).
Myth 02: Don’t want the baby to wake up early? Put the baby to sleep late at night.
Busted: A baby that is awake too long will usually be backfired. The baby gets over tired. They are very much exhausted and can’t settle themselves down – especially in the morning hours when the sleep will not be so deep. So, the late night sleep will usually be followed by the early morning awakening.
Unfortunately, it is not easy to change the internal clock of the babies. Some babies are naturally early risers.
Myth 03: Feeding or rocking the baby to sleep is a bad habit.
Busted: One of the easiest and quickest ways to get the babies to sleep feeding or action of sucking. Biologically, it helps the baby to relax and fall into sleep. The same holds true for rocking as well. Rocking a baby to sleep is instinctive. Gentle swaying motion or steady to and fro motion is unquestionably a sleep inducer. Whether it is a parent’s arms or a rocking hammock, it helps the baby settle down effortlessly.
Rocking or feeding is not a bad habit. As the baby develops, he will outgrow the need of feeding or rocking to sleep.
Myth 04: Shorter daytime naps helps in long night sleeps.
Busted: Shorter daytime naps could drain out the energy of your little one and keep him tired all day. This could cause him to be overtired by night. Similar to the late bedtime, the baby might be having trouble to settle down and have a good night’s sleep. The fact is – “A well-rested baby will sleep better at night”. But it is important to keep an eye on the timings of naps. Napping after 4 or 5 p.m. will affect the bedtime routine and the sleep will be delayed.
Myth 05: Shhh! The baby is sleeping!
Busted: It is true that we, adults, need deafening silence to fall and stay asleep. But that is not the case with the newborns. They actually need recurring background noise such as shushing or dryer sound or fan sound or whooshing to fall fast asleep. It is because, inside the mother’s womb, the baby has encountered a noisy environment with all sorts of noises for 9 months. Many of those noises are familiar and could be soothing to him now. So, the next time you think of tiptoeing because your baby is asleep, relax! You don’t have to do it.
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