Sleep Myths to Ignore

New answers to old questions

  • Large babies sleep through the night earlier than small ones. A study of one hundred 2- to 4-month-old babies weighing 8 to 22 pounds found no correlation between size and sleep, reports Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., a sleep specialist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
  • If you keep Baby up during the day, he'll sleep better at night. Nighttime sleep and daytime napping are independent of each other, says Paula Elbirt, M.D., a pediatrician in New York City and author of 365 Ways to Get Your Child to Sleep (Adams Media, 2000). "Trying to wear your baby out doesn't work," she says. "You just end up with a cranky, overtired infant."
  • Putting cereal in his bottle will help Baby sleep through the night. "It's actually dangerous," Dr. Elbirt says. "Young babies aren't ready to digest cereal yet; it can make them feel ill. Also, introducing cereal too soon can increase the risk of developing allergies."
  • Some babies don't need to nap. "There are clearly individual differences in sleep needs, but all babies need to nap," Dr. Mindell says. "One persistent myth is that infants who are 'gifted' need less sleep; there are no studies that bear this out."

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