By: Michelle Donaghy, Pediatric Sleep Consultant – Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
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 bybottle, 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. Breastfeeding moms are more likely to fall into some habits that encourage more frequent wakings because it is such an easy way to soothe babies to sleep, while bottle feeding parents are often forced to look for a variety of techniques and teach babies to self-soothe younger.
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' - 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! Studies actually show that children who never learn to sleep independently turn into adults who don't sleep well. Children do not sleep independently for many reasons - habit, medical reasons scheduling... finding 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 cosleep 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 nap routine (not schedule) around 1 month, and introducing a lovey by 4-6 months (even just during feedings and in a swing) all help. You can gradually teach your child to go to sleep at bedtime from an awake state and during night wakings/feedings,
Sleep Myth #5 - My toddler 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 sleep deprivation. 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.
Look for my next blog post where we will talk more about Healthy Sleep Habits for your Children and I will answer more of your questions. If you have a question you would like me to answer please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll include it in a future blog.
Michelle is a Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Certified Gentle Sleep Coach who offers parents a gentle and loving approach to their sleep problems. Through her years as a therapist, a mother and a sleep coach, Michelle’s approach offers tired parents an alternative to the cry it out method. Her proven solutions are medically and developmentally appropriate and look at all aspects of your child to gently get them the sleep that is so important to the entire family.
Michelle Donaghy, Pediatric Sleep Consultant – Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
Cell: 714 651 5116 ~ Fax: 267-382-2070
Making Sweet Dreams ~ Sleep Coaching for Children
email@example.com ~ www.makingsweetdreams.com
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