5 Baby Sleep Myths Busted!

The Importance of Naps

MYTH No. 3: Some babies don't need to nap.

TRUTH: While nap length varies, all babies under 1 need a daytime snooze. "If they don't nap, they get overtired and cranky and sleep restlessly," says Dr. Karp.

BETTER BET: Give baby a nap at the same time each day, using a mini bedtime routine to set the tone. You might lower the blinds and turn on soft music or white noise. If baby refuses to sleep, have some quiet time -- seat her on your lap and read books or sing lullabies.

MYTH No. 4: Babies sleep through the night when they reach 2 or 3 months.

TRUTH: At 3 months, breastfeeders may wake every three to five hours, and bottlefeeders about every six hours. "Babies rouse easily to survive," Dr. Sears says. "If they're hungry, hot, cold, or can't breathe, they wake to get help."

BETTER BET: Babies may begin snoozing five to eight hours at 6 months, but not all do. It's best to keep your baby on a consistent sleep schedule and then just follow her natural rhythms.

MYTH No. 5: Never let baby fall asleep in your arms or he won't learn to sleep alone.

TRUTH: "Babies are built to relax and fall asleep after they eat, especially since being cuddled makes them feel confident and secure," Dr. Karp says.

BETTER BET: It's fine to let newborns drift off in your arms, but once they're 6 weeks old, jostle them before placing them in the crib. "Rousing them just enough so they open their eyes will give babies the experience of putting themselves back to sleep," he says.

Aviva Patz lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, August 2005.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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