Common Myths About Baby Sleep

common myths about baby sleep

Fact or fiction? If you keep your baby up late at night, they will sleep longer in the morning. If you guessed fiction, you're right! Here are six common myths about infant sleep and crying that provided us with some interesting information and helpful tips:


Myth 1: Babies don't need more naps if they sleep well at night.

Your baby's day sleep will affect the night sleep, and the day sleep determines the quality of your baby's night sleep. The first 12 hours of your baby's day directly affect the next 12 hours (evening). A baby who sleeps well during the day will also sleep well at night, as long as they don't accrue naps more than their age each day. And if the baby does not get enough sleep during the day, it is easy to cause babies to become overtired, and overtired babies won't sleep at night. Establishing better naps will not adversely affect their nights in the long run for a baby who is already sleeping through the night but napping poorly. Still, continued poor napping will start to impact their night sleep after a while negatively.


Myth 2: Babies should sleep through the night

Many parents dream of nothing more than getting their baby to sleep through the night. Most babies can hold on for 8 hours or more without feedings when they are about four months old and weigh at least 16 pounds. If a baby of this age and stage is still waking up in the middle of the night, the problem is usually not waking up but going back to sleep. Most babies (or adults) wake up one or more times during the night, but adults quickly fall back asleep, while babies enter REM (rapid eye movement period) sleep cycles because they haven't learned to self-soothe back to sleep. Babies usually whimper or cry, and parents can soothe them by playing a comforting lullaby or white noise to help them go back to sleep.


Myth 3: Babies should sleep in a silent room.

Babies, especially very young babies, sleep better when it's noisy. For example, babies from 0 to 3 months, since they have just left the mother's womb, are not quite used to this silent and new world, and they prefer the environment close to the mother's womb. The mother's womb is warm, humid, dark, and noisy. Therefore, for babies from 0 to 3 months, appropriate white noise or life noise can make them sleep better.


In addition, the sleeping environments of day and night are also different. At night, they need a tranquil setting to sleep through the night. However, they only need to take a nap during the day. The noise of daily life will not cause significant disturbance to the baby's day sleep but can improve the baby's ability to adapt to the environment. The day's noise and the night's silence, such a completely different sleeping environment, help the baby form different sleep patterns during the day and night.


Myth 4: Never wake a sleeping baby.

If your baby is a great daytime napper, they might have too much day sleep, which would mean they won't sleep as much overnight. So waking up a sleeping baby can adjust the baby's sleep rhythm and duration to ensure their nighttime sleep. Other than that, parents should always wake their sleeping baby using a little technique called "wake and sleep." It gently teaches your child the essential skills of self-soothing. When you wake a sleeping baby, they soothe themselves back to sleep, which trains your baby to sleep through the night.

never wake a sleeping baby 

Myth 5: Swaddling should be stopped at two months.

Unwrapped babies wake up more often, and an unswaddled baby can roll into unsafe positions more quickly than a baby confined by comfortable swaddling. Swaddling has been shown to reduce crying and promote sleep. That is critical because the stress provoked by constant fussing and parental exhaustion is a potent trigger for postpartum depression, child abuse, car accidents, and even risky sleeping practices, which are associated with up to 70% of all infant sleep fatalities.


Myth 6: "Crying out" is harmful to your baby.

Most experts and studies agree that letting a baby or toddler cry while sleeping won't have any long-term damage. Bedtime crying may only last a few days before your baby adjusts and begins to learn how to put himself to sleep. But this is not easy for parents to accept so that parents can check the baby's status every 10 minutes.


Myth 7: Babies who eat solid foods sleep longer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages feeding solid foods to babies before four months of age. This is due to their immature digestive system and lack of oral motor skills. Adding complementary foods too early is more likely to cause adverse reactions such as gastrointestinal discomfort in the baby, affecting the baby's sleep. Even if complementary foods are added at ordinary times, many babies will develop mild allergies to complementary foods or may not adapt to them. At the same time, the intake of complementary foods may affect milk intake, causing babies to wake up at night due to hunger.


Myth 8: It's essential to respond immediately to your baby throughout the night -- why else would you have a baby monitor?

Some parents are so concerned about their baby's health or desperate to help them sleep through the night that they pay too much attention to their baby's nighttime performance. With baby monitors, parents can hear every whimper, but there's no need to respond to slight arousals. Because one of the most significant sources of sleep problems in infancy is that parents who pay too much attention to their babies can cause babies to wake up from the REM sleep period.

HelloBaby baby monitor with no wifi 

Myth 9: Babies should sleep in their room.

It takes a long time for babies to grow up to be independent. Having your newborn sleep in another room is inconvenient (for feedings and diaper changes) and can be dangerous. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in their parent's room for at least six months. Sharing a room but a different bed with a parent can significantly reduce the risk of SIDS.


Myth 10: Putting babies to sleep on the back has solved SIDS.

Putting babies to sleep on their backs can significantly reduce the risk of SIDS, but it's not the only possible factor that can cause SIDS. The scientific community has not yet found the exact cause of SIDS. Currently, Risk factors for SIDS can be divided into extrinsic and intrinsic categories. Intrinsic risk factors can be subdivided into developmental factors, such as prematurity, and putative genetic factors, such as familial SIDS (i.e., a recurrence of SIDS in subsequent siblings), male sex (by a 2:1 ratio), and race or ethnic group. Extrinsic risk factors are physical stressors, including prone and side-sleeping positions, overheating, and exposure to tobacco smoke.

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