5 Newborn Sleep Myths, Dispelled
You don’t need us to tell you that there’s a lot of information out there when it comes to motherhood—especially when it comes to brand new moms. That’s why we created Tinyhood, and why we continue to bring you advice from our board of experts on all things motherhood, babies, and toddlers. Here are some pesky pieces of misinformation—and why they're wrong—about your little one's sleep schedule!
1. It’s ok to let your baby sleep on her side or belly.
A resounding no! In order to ensure your baby’s sleep environment is safe, it’s important you always put your baby on her back to sleep.
2. Adding rice cereal to your baby’s bottle before bedtime will help him sleep for longer stretches at night.
Another no! A newborn’s gut is not developed enough to process solids of any sort. Adding rice cereal to a baby’s bottle is only recommended when needed for severe reflux—and this should always be done under the care of a physician. Furthermore, studies have shown that adding rice cereal does not lead to longer stretches of sleep.
3. Giving a breastfed baby formula at bedtime will help her sleep for longer stretches at night.
Also a no! Sure, there are some babies for whom this may work; however, there is no scientific evidence that formula will help your breastfed baby sleep any longer than normal.
4. You can control your newborn’s sleep schedule.
Nope! A newborn does not have developed circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are what allow our sleep to be organized and predictable. Some babies may fall into what appears to be a fairly set schedule early on, but for the most part, sleep organization does not occur until closer to 12 weeks. If your baby is up all night and sleeping all day they may be experiencing Day/Night Confusion.
5. Putting your baby to bed later at night will help him sleep later in the morning.
Another nope! In fact, babies are biologically predisposed to go to bed for the night sometime between 6 and 8 PM. When a baby is kept awake longer than he should be, his body is filled with cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These stress hormones make it difficult for babies to fall asleep and stay asleep, and often lead to early morning wake-ups—the opposite of what you were hoping for.