3 Baby Sleep Myths Debunked

August 20th, 2013 by Dionna | 3 Comments
Posted in Ensure Safe Sleep, natural parenting

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3 Baby Sleep Myths Debunked

We’ve all heard the phrase about “sleeping like a baby.” That phrase takes on a whole new meaning once you become a parent, because, really? Babies don’t sleep that hard. In fact, babies are physiologically incapable of sleeping as deeply for as long as adults.

So what other baby sleep myths are perpetuated to unsuspecting new parents? Here are three theories related to sleep that I’ve heard, along with links to the evidence that tends to disprove them.

Myth #1: Babies/children who cosleep will grow up to be more insecure and dependent on their parents.

Those who are anti-cosleeping often argue that it produces children who are dependent on their parents. In fact, the opposite is true. Children who share sleep with their parents are actually more independent than their solo sleeping peers. Why? Because they’ve learned from infancy that their caregivers will respond to their needs no matter the hour. Parents who sleep close to their infants are establishing a deep, lifelong trust. For more benefits of cosleeping – even past infancy! – see Five Benefits to Cosleeping Past Infancy, Good Nights: The Happy Parent’s Guide to the Family Bed (and a Peaceful Night’s Sleep!) and Safe Cosleeping Habits.

Myth #2: If your baby is not sleeping through the night by ____ months, they will develop poor sleep habits.

Waking during the night is completely normal for several reasons. First, babies do not sleep as deeply as adults, because they need to be able to rouse themselves to cry when they have a need (a hungry tummy, a wet diaper, a stuffy nose, etc.). Second, babies have tiny tummies – about the size of their fist – and mama’s milk is digested quickly. It is normal (and healthy!) for them to eat every few hours. Finally, babies’ sleep patterns aid in the development of their brains. Their sleep cycles are shorter to help them grow! For more information on normal baby sleep patterns, see 8 Infant Sleep Facts Every Parent Should Know and Should My Baby be Sleeping Through the Night?

Myth #3: Babies need to learn to fall asleep by themselves; if you help them, they will never learn to go to sleep alone.

Babies fall asleep many different ways. The way your baby falls asleep will be very dependent on her personality. My husband and I used to babysit a baby whom we could simply lay down in his crib awake, and he would fall fast asleep within minutes. Then we had Kieran, and he was nursed to sleep for about the first three years of his life. It was tiring. But no matter how your baby falls asleep, know that parenting your baby to sleep is not a bad thing. Even parenting your baby back to sleep from night waking is ok. You want to create a safe, peaceful atmosphere for your baby. Is it ok to help them gently learn to soothe themselves back to sleep? In time, yes. Check out The No Cry Sleep Solution and The Baby Sleep Book for gentle advice.

What did you hear about infant sleep before you became a parent? Did it hold true for you and your babies?


Originally published in the June 2013 Natural Parents Network — Code Name: Mama — Hobo Mama Joint Newsletter. Sign up at this link for exclusive giveaways and coupon codes, original content, and more!

3 Responses to:
"3 Baby Sleep Myths Debunked"

  1. Amanda   thecheeselife

    I read somewhere that the phrase should be “slept like a husband.” haha. No one really told me anything about babies’ sleep before I had my son. It was after he was born that people tried to make me think my son should be sleeping through the night. As much as I would love a full night’s sleep, to get us there by “sleep training” just sounds awful to me.

  2. Emmie

    I was told that I would sleep too soundly (I’m a deep sleeper by nature) and could roll onto the baby… WHAT A LAUGH! I woke up with every hiccup, whine and toot – and I loved it. I was constantly aware of my son’s presence in my arms or at my breast. There was no way in heaven or earth that I could have possibly rolled onto him.

  3. Jennifer Hoffman   EveryBreathBlog

    If I had a dollar for every time I heard one of these, we could feed a lot of starving children! Thank you for helping to debunk them! And thanks for sharing with the Tuesday Baby Link Up Community!

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