Top 10 Baby Sleep Myths

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Do you recognize yourself in any of these statements? Here’s the truth about the most common misconceptions

By Cathryn Tobin, MD

Author of The Lull-a-Baby Sleep Plan

Do you recognize yourself in any of these statements? Here’s the truth about
the most common misconceptions.
Myth #1: My baby wakes up because of gas. The most common reason older babies
wake up and stay up is that they lack the self-calming tools necessary to manage
night awakenings.
Myth #2: My baby wakes up because he’s hungry. Like adults, babies eat for reasons
other than hunger. A baby will nurse because it’s the only way he knows how to
get back to sleep.
Myth #3: My baby is a poor sleeper. We inadvertently train our babies to be poor
sleepers by not equipping them with the skills they need to fall asleep.
Myth #4: Rice cereal before bedtime will help my baby sleep longer. Hunger is
typically not the cause of sleep problems after 3 to 4 months of age.
Myth #5: Crying damages a baby’s psyche. I’ve known babies who were raised on
attachment parenting principles and those allowed to cry it out. Can I tell them
apart by their intellectual, psychological, or emotional states? Absolutely not!
Myth #6: It’s easier to sleep-train an older baby. The longer a habit is reinforced,
the harder it is to break.
Myth #7: Teething disrupts sleep. This may be true at times, but teething is
blamed for way too many sleep problems.
Myth #8: Poor sleep habits improve eventually. Without their parents’ help, the
vast majority of babies will sleep worse, not better, over time. Sleep problems
don’t magically disappear. Consider the 2004 Sleep in America Poll, which found
that two-thirds of children from infancy to age 10 experience frequent sleep problems.
Myth #9: Babies will get the sleep they need. If only! Babies resist sleep like
similarly charged magnets resist each other. Parents need to insure a baby gets
enough sleep.
Myth #10: There’s no harm in getting up with my baby as long as I’m willing to
do it. If you enable unhealthy sleep habits, you run the risk of your child developing
long-standing sleep problems that will persist into the preschool years.
Reprinted from: The Lull-a-Baby Sleep Plan: The Soothing, Superfast Way to Help
Your New Baby Sleep Through the Night . . . And Prevent Sleep Problems Before
They Develop by Cathryn Tobin, MD (Published by Rodale; August 2006; $14.95US;
1-59486-222-2) A

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