5 Myths About Babies Sleeping Through the Night
by Nicole Johnson, Founder and Lead Consultant at
The Baby Sleep Site®
When you bring your beautiful baby home for the first time, it seems like anyone and everyone has a piece of advice for you to follow. From what diapers to buy to what sleep sack to buy. Some advice is fantastic! Some advice will make you say ‘huh?’ You will learn the “nod and smile” very quickly as a new parent and figure out for yourself what advice to keep and what to file away for never.
As a professional, expert sleep consultant, I can share with you the 5 most common myths about your baby sleeping through the night:
5 Myths About Babies Sleeping Through The Night
One quick note that when people sometimes say their baby ‘sleeps through the night’ they may technically mean just 5 hours of sleep without waking and without feedings. However, if you’re ike me, you’re wondering when babies will actually sleep ALL night…8-10 (or even 12) hours of uninterrupted sleep. For the purposes of this article, we’ll use that second, and most-coveted, definition.
- “Keep your baby awake a lot during the day; then, she will sleep through the night.” When your baby is tired, she will sleep, right? Even though it might seem to make sense that keeping a baby awake for long stretches during the day would help her sleep better at night, it generally doesn’t work that way. It’s counterintuitive, but true, that if your baby is overly tired before bed, she will have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. Remember, better naps = better night sleep.
- “Your baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet? It’s probably because you’re breastfeeding.” I think this myth exists because formula takes longer for babies’ tummies to digest, and breastmilk digests fairly quickly. However, this does not mean that formula-fed babies automatically sleep better than breastfed babies – I’ve worked with plenty of parents whose formula-feeding babies are not sleeping through the night.
- “All babies can sleep through the night by <insert weight or age here>.” Yes, a small percentage of babies will sleep through the night early, but in my experience, most babies will take several months and it has nothing to do with a specific age or weight. We have worked with thousands of parents and I promise not all of them suddenly let us know their baby sleeps all night at the same age or weight. Not even close!
- “If you feed your baby solids, he’ll sleep through the night.” Sure! If your baby is only waking out of hunger, it might follow that more food would mean more sleep. But, in my experience, hunger is only one of many reasons babies wake at night. There is no meaningful connection between feeding a baby solid foods and having her sleep through the night.
- “Your baby still isn’t sleeping through the night?? MY baby started sleeping through the night when she was 4 minutes old!” Some parents seem to rub it in that their baby slept all night from a young age! And while some of those claims are true (some 8 week old babies really do sleep 8 straight hours at night), they often aren’t. For starters, a parent who makes a claim like this could be using a different definition of ‘sleeping through the night’ than you are (see above). Additionally, they might also be straight up lying about it. Many parents take it as a reflection of their own parenting skills whether their baby is sleeping well and if they aren’t, they don’t want to admit they “failed.”
In the end, all babies will sleep through the night…eventually. Although some of these myths aren’t true, it doesn’t mean you can’t establish healthy sleep habits from a young age. Maybe your 4 month old won’t sleep 8-12 hours straight, but she surely shouldn’t wake up every two hours, either. You know your baby best and if it feels like a “sleep problem” it probably is.
Nicole Johnson is a married mother of two wonderful boys and owner of The Baby Sleep Site. When her eldest son was born, he had a lot of sleep problems – he would wake every one or two hours, all night long! She got busy and thoroughly researched literature and scientific reports until she became an expert in sleep methods, scheduling routines, baby developmental needs, and more. She overcame her son’s sleeping issues in a way that matched her own parenting style, and knew it was her mission to help other tired parents “find their child’s sleep”. If you have your own sleep issues, Nicole and her team at The Baby Sleep Site® can help! Download the popular free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night, to get started today.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."