Published July 09, 2012
For new parents, getting a baby to sleep can be challenging.
Dr. Harvey Karp, author of “The Happiest Baby on the Block,” said sleep deprivation is the number one complaint of new parents.
“They’re tired; they can’t take it,” he said. “As a matter of fact, the lack of sleep was more a problem than the lack of money, in most families.”
Exhausted families will try just about any tactic to get their little one to go to bed.
Beware – not all those old housewives tales work.
Karp gave us the lowdown on some sleeping myths when it comes to babies.
Myth No. 1 – Babies need to sleep in silence
“Totally, 1,000 percent incorrect,” Karp said. “Inside the womb the sound is louder than a vacuum cleaner, 24/7.... Adults, we like the sounds of the waves, the sound of the wind, that kind of sound makes us feel more calm. For babies, it's essential for turning on their calming reflex.”
Myth No. 2 – Never wake a sleeping baby
“Total myth: You have to wake a sleeping baby,” Karp said. “What I call in the ‘Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep,’ (is) the ‘wake and sleep’ method. So, what you do is let them fall asleep... you slide them into bed and then you wake them up a little bit... In that 10 seconds before they fall back asleep they are now learning how to put themselves to sleep.
Myth No. 3 – A belly full of cereal will help a baby sleep
“Total myth. Several studies have now been done to show that feeding rice cereal has not increased sleep at all,” Karp said. “Why should it? It's starch, it's like a little bit of rice starch. The milk, your formula or breast milk, it’s got protein, it’s got minerals, it’s got fats and it’s got carbohydrates.”
Myth No. 4 – If your baby is up all day, he (or she) should sleep all night
“Complete myth. In fact, it’s just the opposite,” Karp said. “They're totally wired, they're totally hyper. They can't settle themselves down.... they need to get a good amount of sleep during the day and that then prepares them for a lot of sleep at night.”
Myth No. 5 – It will take months for my baby to sleep at night
Karp said the good news is, it will not take months before your baby sleeps through the night. Using his tips and techniques, you can start teaching your baby to sleep better from the first week of his or her life.
For more information, visit happiestbaby.com.