Monday, December 15, 2014

5 Sleep myths that can effect your lil ones sleep

Sleep Myth #1:  Give your baby formula - s/he will sleep better - FALSE!!

While formula does take longer to digest than breast milk, they have the same calories per ounce. When we feed our babies by bottle, there is a greater risk of over feeding as well, and sometimes that can make sleep worse for a baby accustomed to breastfeeding. Babies can sleep equally well on both breast milk and formula.

Sleep Myth #2:  If your child is having difficulty going to sleep, keep them awake later - FALSE!!

Children who have difficulty falling asleep often need to go to bed EARLIER. It seems counter-intuitive ... but when a child is over-tired, they catch a 'second wind' (actually cortisol as we have missed their sleep window) and that burst of energy often makes them seem NOT tired or makes them unable to lay still and fall asleep. Instead, try to get your child to bed earlier - before that 'second wind' takes over. 

Sleep Myth #3:  Don't worry if your child doesn't sleep through the night, they'll eventually outgrow it – FALSE!!

6 months is an ideal age to start sleep learning in babies.  Toddlers/children do not sleep independently for many reasons - habit, medical reasons, scheduling...find out why your child doesn't sleep and address it.

Sleep Myth #4 - children will scream when you teach them to sleep so you should delay until they are 6-12 months old - FALSE!

Children are ready to sleep for longer stretches much younger than you might think. From birth, we can slowly teach our children skills that will help them seamlessly develop good sleep habits, without needing to scream hysterically. Even parents who co-sleep and breastfeed can work on these life skills.  

Simple things like developing multiple ways (other than breastfeeding or a pacifier) to soothe your baby, developing a calming bedtime routine around 6-8 weeks, starting a bed routine (not schedule) around 2-3 months, putting your baby down at bedtime drowsy but awake around 3 months and introducing a lovey by 4-6 months all help. All of these tips will help gradually teach your child to go to sleep at bedtime from an awake state and sleep longer stretches at night much earlier than most realize

Sleep Myth #5 - My toddler/preschooler doesn’t fall asleep until 10 pm, and s/he wakes up every morning at 5:30 am … s/he clearly isn’t tired and just doesn’t need a lot of sleep - FALSE!

Many children who go to sleep late at night and do not nap during the day actually rise too early in the morning, NOT because they have gotten sufficient sleep, but because it is a symptom of an over tired child.

Children are different from adults, and may even seem energetic or hyper when they are over-tired. Many children who are over-tired exhibit attention and behavior problems, or may simply be difficult or cranky in the afternoons. Some over-tired children will also fall asleep every time they get in the car, or crash much earlier than their bedtime some nights.

I wish you and your family sweet dreams!

Written by: Michelle Donaghy

photo credit: Lab2112 via photopin cc
photo credit: emerille via photopin cc