Baby Sleep: 5 Myths

May 14, 2019

Dear parent, have you been searching for baby sleep methodologies and came across with contradictory information? Do you stop searching for advice online and just follow your gut feelings?

Thanks to the Internet, we are able to reach all type of information very easily. However, it is very challenging to distinguish which baby sleep advice is based on the scientific facts and which ones are just myths.

Here are the 5 myths about baby sleep, which doesn't rely on any scientific background:

MYTH #1: Don't let the baby sleep much during the day, so s/he can sleep better at night.

Image: Grace Presley

This is a very common myth and mostly heard advice from neighbors, grandparents, friends etc. However, insufficient sleep causes sleep problems because baby's body produces adrenalin and cortisol to keep that little body awake and these hormones prevent her/him from sleep at bedtime and wake her/him early in the morning. That's why, if you want your baby to have a good night's sleep, make sure s/he get enough sleep during the day with the naps.

MYTH #2: To get your baby wake up late in the morning, put her/him to bed late at night.

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This is very similar to the myth about naps. Parents think or are told that they should delay the bedtime if they want their babies start the day later. However, these little bodies work just the opposite way and you should move the bedtime earlier if you want the little one to get up later in the morning. Otherwise, baby will be extremely tired if s/he stays awake until late at night and will produce cortisol and adrenalin (the same hormones in Myth #1) to keep the body awake. These hormones stay up to 8 hours in baby's body, that's why your baby will most likely wake up several times through the night and probably start the day earlier.

MYTH #3: Keep the lights on at night because babies are afraid of the dark.

Image: Cozy Nursery

Most often children are not afraid of the dark until they are at the age of 2. Besides, keeping the light on will wake the babies up and disturb their sleep. It is very important that babies sleep in a dark environment because melatonin hormone is produced at dark, which help babies sleep better and growth hormone is naturally released during sleep. Having said that, if you need to use light during night, choose red light, as it has shorter wavelength and doesn't disturb melatonin release and sleep as much as the bright light.

MYTH #4: Colic relief drops help to ease colic symptoms and improve sleep.

Image: The Bump

It's not known exactly what causes some babies to get colic and there's almost no evidence that any supplement or colic relief drops really work. I you come across with some products claiming that it is proven to help with colic, ask for that proof and the details of the research. Talk to your pediatrician and think twice before you give anything to your little one, other than breastmilk or formula.

MYTH #5: Swaddling is an outdated method used only by undeveloped cultures.

Image: Amanda Carlton

It is a fact that swaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping infants in blankets or similar cloths. However, it doesn't mean that it is outdates or doesn't work any more. Babies spend 9 months in the tummy, in a very tight environment. That's why swaddling mimics the tummy and when swaddled, babies feel at 'home'. If not swaddled, babies  may get frightened from their own arms and feet and they don't know what to do with these extensions :) Having said that, make sure you pay attention to the safety guidelines while you swaddle your little one.