There’s so much misinformation out there about baby sleep, and it’s catching us at our most vulnerable – when we’re knackered.
If you have been told to ditch breastfeeding, cut back on daytime naps, stop holding your baby so much or try a dream feed, then this post is for you!
These are the myths about baby sleep:
1. You should cut back on daytime sleep
You may think a reduction in daytime naps would mean your baby is more tired and so sleeps for longer at night.
Actually bad sleep during the day leads to an overtired baby who is more restless, and so more prone to waking up at night.
2. Spoiling your baby with cuddles is making their sleep worse
You cannot cuddle your baby too much. They are tiny for a short space of time. No one ever looked back on the baby months and thought to themselves “wow I spent way too much time cuddling my kid”.
3. Sleep when the baby sleeps
This one used to really tick me off. The problem with a newborn baby is that by the time you have got them settled and asleep, then got yourself a drink or a snack and then managed to nod off yourself, you’re awake again. Babies sleep in very short bursts, so you can actually end up feeling worse because your nap lasted two minutes.
The solution is to rest a lot, take it easy with your daily routine and get someone to take the baby for a solid block of time so you can get a guaranteed nap that’s a decent length.
4. Dream feeds definitely do/don’t work
Everyone has an opinion about this one! The reason for that is that it works wonders for some people, but makes zero difference for others.
In case you didn’t know, dream feeds generally happen at about 10.30pm when you go to bed and in theory help your baby sleep through until a reasonable hour so that you can get some decent sleep.
My second baby woke up every hour regardless of when her last evening feed was. I suggest giving it a go for a few days, but don’t expect it to be a definite solution. It may work, it may not.
5. Formula fed babies are more likely to sleep through
If this were the magical answer to getting babies to sleep through the night then we wouldn’t see so many knackered mums at baby groups.
Statistically, most babies in the UK are on formula by the time they are six months. However, are most babies sleeping 12 hours a night every single night by this point? No, they aren’t!
Bottle feeding is not a magical solution to sleep problems.
6. Your baby will sleep better once they 12 weeks/four months/six months/one year
If you’re waiting for a magical milestone that will see your baby change overnight, you’re going to be disappointed.
All babies are different when it comes to sleeping through, and expecting them to sleep through before six months is probably a bit optimistic.
Change to sleep for your baby, and you, only really happens when your baby is ready and/or you start doing something different.
7. Dummies are bad for babies
Actually dummies can satisfy the suckling reflex that new babies have and help them learn to fall asleep without being held.
They worked wonders for my first baby, but my second baby wasn’t interested. They won’t do your baby any harm and are definitely worth trying for nap and bedtime.
8. It’s colic
The word colic kind of annoys me. When you look it up it has such a vague definition. It’s basically just long or frequent bouts of crying, which is pretty much typical of any baby ever born!
If your baby is crying and unsettled, especially in evenings, this is actually very common. The way to cope is to take turns with soothing them, lots of cuddles and to remind yourself that they will grow out of it.
9. So-and-so’s baby sleeps 14 hours a night
And they probably poo roses too.
I’m not going to lie. Some babies just sleep incredibly well from day one. But they are the exception rather than the rule.
Between sleep regressions, teething and illness, every baby is going to have a bad spate of sleep at some point. Please do not base your worry and frustrations on what someone else’s baby is doing.
Just focus on your own baby, and stop comparing.
10. Sleep training is evil
Actually it’s not at all! Lack of sleep is used as a torture method for a reason, because it’s so awful!
By helping your baby to achieve good and restful sleep you are helping them physically and mentally.
Sleep training does not involve leaving your baby to cry. For me it involved cutting out night feeds, reassuring my baby then putting them back down in their cot (sometimes 100 times) and being firm.
Read more: Sleep training
Read more: Not sleeping through
11. You’re doing it all wrong
You are absolutely, 100 per cent not doing it all wrong! I realise how bloody awful sleep deprivation is and that you may blame yourself, or wonder what you’re missing. The truth is that the first year is a total killer, and finding the answer to sleep problems can be extremely tough on you.
Your baby will sleep through eventually, remember that! If you’re looking for more information about sleep and sleep training, check out this post. You can also comment or message me if you have any questions.
Read more: 25 tips to improve sleep