The first myth we should be busting about baby sleep? That there’s a magic sleep solution that applies to all babies. Still, there’s a few rumours about baby sleep and sleep safety that need to be put to bed, so to speak.
MYTH #1: YOU SHOULD NEVER WAKE A SLEEPING BABY
The truth: You’ve probably heard this one a thousand times already (and maybe even used it when your in-laws dropped by unexpectedly for a visit with baby), but don’t believe it. In the first few weeks, your baby needs to eat every two to three hours. So there may be times when you will have to gently nudge her awake for a feeding.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) lists several methods to wake a newborn if you need to: Talking, singing, and gentle stimulation; dressing down; going through the motions of diapering; bathing.
Once a breastfeeding baby is eating 8 to 12 times a day and a bottle-feeding baby is eating 5 to 8 times a day, you probably won’t need to wake her up to feed.
MYTH #2: CRIB BUMPERS PROTECT BABY
The truth: Crib bumpers may seem like they’ll protect baby from bumps and bruises, but they can actually be dangerous since they (just like any other puffy bedding like comforters, pillows and sleep positioners) pose a suffocation risk. The AAP has actually advised against bumpers since 2011. According to them, there have not seen a baby who’s seriously injured his head banging it on the side of the crib, but babies have rolled and gotten tangled in bumpers. So keep the bumper—and anything else besides a fitted crib sheet and baby—out of the crib.
MYTH #3: KEEP THE NURSERY COMPLETELY QUIET
The truth: Sure, you may need complete silence to fall (and stay) asleep, but most newborns actually love background noise with a shushing sound, like that of a fan. It can be comforting and familiar, since they heard constant, loud noise 24/7 when they were in utero (yep, it was pretty noisy inside your belly.) If you’re having trouble calming baby down or getting her to stay asleep, consider trying a white noise machine or soothing device to help her sleep.
MYTH #4: BABY SHOULD SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT AT 12 WEEKS
The truth: There’s a huge range for when babies sleep through the night. It could be anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months, but usually around 4 months, sleep starts to consolidate. While every baby is different, it’s not usually until 9 months that babies can log 9 to 12 hours of sleep without eating.
MYTH #5: SETTING A LATE BEDTIME WILL PREVENT BABY FROM WAKING TOO EARLY IN THE MORNING
The truth: This almost always backfires. Here’s why: Keeping babies up late at night will make them overtired, making them more resistant to going down for the night. To get baby to sleep later the next morning, you’ll actually have better luck making bedtime earlier. Trust us and try it! Put your kid to sleep 30 minutes earlier than usual. They will begin sleeping a bit later in the morning.
MYTH #6: IT’S OKAY TO LET THE DOG SLEEP IN THE NURSERY
The truth: The AAP recommends never leaving baby alone with a pet—and that includes allowing the pet to sleep in a child’s room. The reason: About 600,000 children are bitten by dogs every year, badly enough to need medical attention. Even a playful cat can jump into a newborn’s bassinet or crib and scratch.