Bringing home your bundle of joy seems like a dream come true. After that, you realise that being a parent is a really tough and demanding job, especially when you have sleepless nights. This will often leave your wondering, when will my baby sleep through the night? What can I do to teach my baby to sleep through the night? And when you discuss sleep woes with others everyone will have an advice for you like your baby probably gets up because of gas, or because he feels hungry. Here are the top ten sleep myths and facts of babies.
Sleep Myth #1: My baby wakes up repeatedly at night because of gas.
Sleep Fact #1: According to doctors a 3 month old baby can sleep for 5–6 hours at a time at night. But some infants may still wake up repeatedly at night. This does not mean that your child has gas or needs feed. Many babies often wake up at night but if they cannot go back to sleep, he will cry (which the parent interprets as gas or hunger). Train your baby to fall asleep independently in the crib when he is sleepy rather than putting him in the crib when he is asleep. This way even if your baby gets up in the middle of the night he can soothe himself to sleep again.
Sleep Myth #2: My 6 month old wakes up repeatedly at night because he feels hungry.
Sleep Fact #2: The fact is that a 6 month old can sleep through the night. But some infants may still wake up repeatedly at night. This does not mean that your child is hungry. Babies may wake up at night, fail to go back to sleep again and cry which you end up interpreting as hunger. With time you will be able to teach your baby to fall asleep independently in the crib. Also make it a habit to not put him in the crib after he has slept. This way he will slowly learn to soothe himself back to sleep.
Sleep Myth #3: My baby does not sleep well.
Sleep fact #3: The fact is that we make our babies poor sleepers by not training them to fall asleep if they get up at night. Like so many other things that we teach, you have to encourage your child to sleep. It is never too early to teach good sleeping habits. You can start teaching good sleep habits right from the start such as put him to sleep the same time every night, keep night time feeds quiet, and train your baby to fall asleep independently in the crib when he is sleepy rather than putting him in the crib after he is asleep.
Sleep Myth #4: Giving cereal for feed before bedtime can help my baby sleep longer.
Sleep fact #4: Most infants by 4 months of age do not get up at night because of hunger after having a feed. The commonest reason for an infant to wake up often at night after 3 to 4 months of age is that he does know how to sleep on his own.
Sleep Myth #5: If I let my baby cry at night it will damage his psyche or mental health.
Sleep fact #5: This is absolutely wrong. You have to train your baby to soothe himself back to sleep when he gets up at night. If he gets up in the night and cries wait for some time before going to pick him up. Allow him to fall asleep without your assistance. This is a very important process of newborn care.
Sleep Myth #6: It will be easier to sleep-train my baby when he is older.
Sleep fact #6: This is absolutely wrong. You can help your baby sleep through the night by teaching him good sleep habits right from the start.
Sleep Myth #7: My baby’s sleep is disturbed because of teething.
Sleep fact #7: Sleep may be disturbed during teething but teething is blamed for more sleep problems than it probably causes. Your baby’s sleep can be disturbed several reasons like due to changes in his environment or if he is ill.
Sleep Myth #8: My baby is a poor sleeper but his sleep habits will improve eventually.
Sleep fact #8: Your baby’s poor sleep habit will not improve if you don’t try to change it; it may actually get worse. It is never too early to start teaching good sleep habits. You need to teach your child sleep discipline and ensure that he follows a routine.
Sleep Myth #9: Babies will sleep for the time that is needed for them.
Sleep fact #9: Many babies try to resist sleep. You have to ensure that your baby sleeps enough daily. If the baby does not sleep for the time that is required he will become irritable and cranky.
Sleep Myth #10: There's no harm in sleeping and getting up with my baby if I can do it.
Sleep fact #10: Sleeping and getting up at odd hours is going to make your child develop unhealthy sleep habits which may lead to sleep problems that can persist into the preschool years or even later.
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