Top 10 Baby Sleep Myths

Top 10 Baby Sleep MythsDear Mom and Dad,

What if I were to tell you that I’ve uncovered a secret that enables very young babies to sleep through the night—and that with the information I’m about to divulge in this book, you can begin to reap the benefits tonight?

When I hung up my shingle more than a decade ago, I had no idea how easily a very young infant could learn to sleep through the night. Like other baby doctors at the time, I assumed new parents simply had to accept and suffer from sleep deprivation. I totally empathized with dog-tired parents, but all I had to offer were flimsy platitudes like “This, too, shall pass” and “Try to nap during the day.”

Even though research findings from the past 2 decades have provided us with a deeper understanding of the nature of infant sleep problems—including ineffective associations, inappropriate timing, and addictive nurse-to-sleep habits—these insights have not helped Mom and Dad get more sleep.

After completing my residency at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, one of the world’s busiest pediatric medical centers, it struck me that our culture goes about infant sleep training completely backward. First we allow bad sleep habits to form, then we go to extremes trying to break them!

Once I recognized this crucial mistake, the solution to the dreadful problem of sleep deprivation became crystal clear: Encourage young babies to develop good habits right from the start, and you won’t need to break bad ones down the road. This insight led to the biggest breakthrough in infant sleep learning in years: the discovery of the Window of Opportunity (WOO) that exists to gently encourage terrific sleep habits.

The WOO is a precious and fleeting moment that begins around 6 weeks to 2 months of age, when a baby is ready to absorb good sleep habits—provided she’s exposed to them. Unfortunately, the vast majority of parents and doctors don’t know about this crucial time in their baby’s development and fail to take advantage of this precious opportunity.

That’s what Lull-a-Baby is all about. In the coming pages, I’ll describe good sleep habits in infants, tell you how to identify when your infant is ready for the Lull-a-Baby training, and explain what to do if you’ve missed the magic WOO. Most important, I’ll show you how to lull your tiny baby to sleep so neither he nor you feel any grief. You’ll soon see that the true beauty of the Lull-a-Baby Sleep Plan is that a small baby needs only a tiny nudge to become a good sleeper.

Are you ready for more sleep? Then read on!

Dr. Cathryn Tobin

Do you recognize yourself in any of these statements? Here’s the truth about the most common misconceptions.

• Myth #1: My baby wakes up because of gas.
The most common reason older babies wake up and stay up is that they lack the self-calming tools necessary to manage night awakenings.

• Myth #2: My baby wakes up because he’s hungry.
Like adults, babies eat for reasons other than hunger. A baby will nurse because it’s the only way he knows how to get back to sleep.

• Myth #3: My baby is a poor sleeper.
We inadvertently train our babies to be poor sleepers by not equipping them with the skills they need to fall asleep.

• Myth #4: Rice cereal before bedtime will help my baby sleep longer.
Hunger is typically not the cause of sleep problems after 3 to 4 months of age.

• Myth #5: Crying damages a baby’s psyche.
I’ve known babies who were raised on attachment parenting principles and those allowed to cry it out. Can I tell them apart by their intellectual, psychological, or emotional states? Absolutely not!

• Myth #6: It’s easier to sleep-train an older baby.
The longer a habit is reinforced, the harder it is to break.

• Myth #7: Teething disrupts sleep.
This may be true at times, but teething is blamed for way too many sleep problems.

• Myth #8: Poor sleep habits improve eventually.
Without their parents’ help, the vast majority of babies will sleep worse, not better, over time. Sleep problems don’t magically disappear. Consider the 2004 Sleep in America Poll, which found that two-thirds of children from infancy to age 10 experience frequent sleep problems.

• Myth #9: Babies will get the sleep they need.
If only! Babies resist sleep like similarly charged magnets resist each other. Parents need to insure a baby gets enough sleep.

• Myth #10: There’s no harm in getting up with my baby as long as I’m willing to do it.
If you enable unhealthy sleep habits, you run the risk of your child developing long-standing sleep problems that will persist into the preschool years.

Written by Cathryn Tobin, MD – author of  “The Lull-a-Baby Sleep Plan”Buy book from Amazon

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