3 Myths about your Baby’s Sleep
Your child’s sleep schedule, naps, wake windows and bedtime may be a huge focus -- and stressor -- in your life. With the vast information and conflicting advice that the Internet provides regarding baby sleep, it can become extremely overwhelming! Here are a few myths I see going around mom groups that I feel need to be discussed.
A baby will naturally create their own sleep schedule
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a definitive way babies informed us they’re tired?! (and it’s time to put them to bed. Sure, some babies provide obvious sleepy cues, and some won't. So what happens when you miss your baby’s wake window and keep them up too long? If you’re not following appropriate wake windows for your baby, chances are you’re putting your bundle of joy down too late or too early, resulting in over or under tiredness. This, of course, creates havoc on day and night sleep routines. If a sleep cycle is missed by even as little as 30 minutes, a baby’s cortisol production can increase. The increase in cortisol causes a surge in energy, thus a baby who will not sleep no matter what you try. Be sure to use wake windows and get to know your baby’s sleep cues because without those, your baby will not let you know it’s time to get those much needed Z’s. Need help with wake windows? Click here for my free guide.
Sleeping naturally develops and can’t be taught.
Sleeping is obviously natural and needed for all. Everyone, including adults, wakes up and falls back to sleep multiple times a night. However, a baby doesn’t have established sleep skills, though you can teach these. When a baby is constantly waking after each sleep cycle, chances are you’re providing something that is helping your little one fall asleep (pacifier, boob, rocking). This vicious cycle will continue until your baby learns how to fall asleep independently without external help. Once babies can effortlessly fall back to sleep, parents are able to get their much needed, uninterrupted sleep.
Sleep training is stressful for the baby and will affect the parent-child attachment.
There is much debate about whether sleep training will cause emotional, behavioral and parent-child attachment problems.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) conducted such a study giving insight on whether sleep training practices do indeed cause harm. According to this study, it was concluded that “Despite assertions that extinction-based methods may result in elevated cortisol, emotional and behavioral problems, and insecure parent-infant attachment, our data did not support this hypothesis.... Behavioral interventions appear to improve sleep without detrimental effects on the child or family.” Another such article written by the AAP in 2012, which did a 5 year follow up on the harms and benefits of infant sleep intervention concluded that, “Behavioral sleep techniques have no marked long-lasting effects (positive or negative). Parents and health professionals can confidently use these techniques to reduce the short-to-medium-term burden of infant sleep problems and maternal depression.” Essentially, teaching independent sleep skills to your baby will not harm them and in fact has benefits for both mom and baby.
There you have it folks. Science has proven that if you decide to sleep train your baby your child will not hate your or have undesirable behaviors.
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