During this post I will will look at the truth behind the worst baby sleep advice. Baby sleep advice is often based on hearsay and wife’s tales. As a result it is often inaccurate; leaving parents lost in an exhausted nightmare of bad advice.
That used to be me.
Now, whilst I am not a baby sleep expert; sleep training my son taught me the truth behind the most common baby sleep myths. Since then, I’ve made it my mission to raise awareness among new parents; that there are answers out there. It’s just about knowing where to look!
1) Move your child’s bedtime later, they will sleep for longer
It’s easy for others to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do but every child is different. There are some children who happily sleep on the go, in their pram or car without an issue (mine is not one of them unfortunately!).
I’ll never forget this one time when Carter was about 4 months old. It was my birthday and we took him with us for dinner. As soon as we sat down he started crying uncontrollably and calming him down became impossible.
My husband pushed the pram up and down the road outside the restaurant for over an hour before we decided to go home. We were quite a way from home ND little man spent the whole journey home crying his eyes out. He was overtired and just needed his bed!
Now that my little man has only one nap a day we build our day around it so that he can sleep in his cot. My son is so much happier when he has enough sleep and, as parents, life is more enjoyable and easier to manage.
3) Rock your child to sleep for as long as they need it!
Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with rocking your child to sleep. Every parent has the right to decide what works for them. However, often I feel as if there’s a culture of martyrdom that has been created surrounding motherhood. We’re expected to be superwomen and if we do not conform then we must be uncaring and cold.
There was a time when my son would wake every two hours, expecting to be rocked or fed back to sleep again. I really thought I was losing my mind. For me, this just wasn’t a feasible long-term plan. Teaching my son to fall asleep independently was the best thing I ever did.
4) If your child skips their nap they’ll be more tired and sleep better at night
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Day time and night time sleep are intrinsically linked. If your child is sleeping well during their day time naps their night time sleep will be better.
But why? And we’re back to over-tiredness again. I find the easiest way to think about it is to compare to my sleep. On evenings where I go to bed later than normal falling asleep is much harder and generally less restorative. This is exactly the same for babies and toddlers.
5) Never wake a sleeping child
The notion of never waking a sleeping child is part of old school mythology, passed through the ages and when I first had my little man it seemed quite reasonable.
However, following this advice my little boy would sleep for 2 hours for each of his naps during the day. This meant he was constantly awake at night. It’s important that your child has a careful balance of daytime and night time sleep. Our son recently turned 2 and he has a 2-hour nap between 12:30 and 14:30 (I never let it go on for longer than this).
There is nothing wrong with seeking help…
If the basics aren’t enough and sleep is still a struggle; there is nothing wrong in seeking help. I worked with Katy Huyerman of Slumbertots and it was honestly the best decision I ever made. You can read more about my sleep training journey here.
You can also read more about common sleep myths here on the Slumbertots’ website.
A chatty mum blogger who loves sharing stories and occasionally ranting about all things ‘Mum’ related.