There is a lot of handed down wisdom you are likely to hear about baby sleep.
But equally there are a lot of myths attached to baby sleep that you’re likely to hear. We look at what is fact and what is fiction:
1. Don’t waken baby
Actually new born babies need to be fed at regular intervals of two hours or so in the first few weeks.
So even if a baby is sleeping offer a feed. He or she may not even awaken, but may feed instinctively while asleep.
2. Crib bumpers are a good idea
They aren’t. Many experts have called for their ban since they pose choking and suffocation hazards. The risks outweigh any possible benefits.
3. Babies sleep through the night 40 days/12 weeks
Alas babies have their own ideas about when they want to sleep through the night – and by that we mean 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Some babies are angles and may do this at one week; others may not do this till they are 12 months old – both are normal!
4. Keep complete silence to help baby sleep
Actually it is better for a baby to be used to normal household sounds while falling asleep as well as while sleeping.
This makes baby used to noises and less likely to be disturbed. Some babies actually sleep a lot better with some white noise (humming, whirring and so on).
5. Late bedtime means baby will awaken late
This usually tends to backfire because if you let baby stay up too late, they are likely to become overtired. This means crying jags, difficultly sleeping and middle of the night waking.
6. Add cereal to baby’s bottle to help baby sleep longer
There is evidence to show that babies don’t need solids before 4 months of age and that adding solids before that age could actually be a risk factor for childhood obesity. Also there is no evidence to show that adding cereal to the bottle will make baby sleep any better.
7. It’s OK to let pets sleep in the nursery
The fact is that pets can be unpredictable no matter how trustworthy they are. The rule is never to leave baby alone with a pet – scratches, bites and smothering are a very real danger even during play.
Other infant sleep tips
Always place a baby on the back to sleep. The stomach down position is not recommended by experts because of the risks associated with it.
Swaddling helps a baby feel snug and warm. Swinging or rocking motions are very soothing and will help baby sleep.
Let baby suck – whether it is the breast, finger(s), thumb or pacifier. It helps calm and soothe baby.