A trending topic today is sleep. “How much sleep, why can’t my baby sleep, when is the best time to sleep, and what does good sleep look like”? Families are struggling with sleep now more than ever. The demands of a hectic work schedule, kid’s activities, self care, and family time can be overwhelming. Try to figure it all out while making sure your family is getting the sleep they need is a real challenge. Not to mention, there is so much information out there about sleep. Which can make it difficult to know what is best for your family. As a Sleep Consultant, I am here to set you straight on your child’s sleep. Here are a few sleep “myths” I hear often:
My baby doesn’t need that much sleep.
This is NOT true! In fact, the most common cause of short naps and/or frequent night wakes is due to the lack of quality sleep your little one is getting. Your baby needs up to 14-15 hours of sleep per day (up to 1 year of age), and around 12 hours a day for toddlers. The amount of quality sleep impacts their cognitive ability,behaviors and/or mood, and immune system. Therefore, it is important to offer better sleep habits to promote growth for your little one.
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If I keep my baby up all day, they will sleep better at night.
As you can tell from the information above, this is also a BIG sleep myth! I’m here to tell you that sleep equals sleep. The better rested your baby is throughout the day, the easier they will fall asleep at night and sleep more restfully throughout the night. Focus on a consistent nap schedule and implement earlier bedtimes. This will help your baby sleep better overall.
My baby is waking at night because he/she is hungry.
By 4-6 months of age, provided your baby is thriving (no medical concerns), your baby no longer needs the nighttime feedings. In most cases, your baby has created a habit of feeding to fall back to sleep. There are a couple ways to address this common issue. One involves removing the night feedings. By doing this, they will learn how to fall back to sleep and become an independent sleeper. Another option allows you to keep the night feedings. This would require a schedule and routine with feeding that still allows for quality sleep. The key is staying consistent and avoid feeding to sleep.
I can’t sleep train my baby because they are teething.
As a Child Sleep Consultant, I hear this one often. But here’s the truth. Teething shouldn’t affect your child’s sleep. I’m not saying there isn’t any pain associated with teething, there can be and every child is different. However, don’t throw all your sleep rules out the window and resort to helping your child fall asleep (if truly just teething). If you have been dealing with sleep struggles for a long time chances are it’s not teething. In this case, it may be time to consider taking a closer look at your child’s sleep habits and schedule.