As if having a tiny new baby isn’t enough to worry about, many new parents find themselves the recipients of a barrage of unsolicited advice that can be mildly annoying at best and damaging at worst. The Baby Sleep Company wants to BUST some of the myths that new parents often question themselves over.
You’re making a rod for your own back!
This exclamation is often in response to seeing a new mother feeding, rocking or holding her newborn to sleep and is designed to strike fear in her heart that she will still be feeding/rocking/holding her little one to sleep well into his primary school years. And it simply isn’t the case. A newborn baby needs to be held – they need to feel safe and secure and form close attachments to the adults responsible for looking after them.
The fact is that as animals, humans’ offspring are born considerably less able than just about every other mammal and those first few months really should still be spent in the womb. So please, just do what your tiny baby needs. He needs to feel close to you and there is plenty of time to wean him off that as he gets to a more appropriate age (closer to 6 months).
He should be sleeping through by now!
The fact is, there is no age that he *should* be sleeping through so it’s really none of your nosey advice-giver’s business. Your baby certainly will reach a point where he is physiologically able to sleep through and that is generally around the age of 6 months but that is only a guideline and NOT one that needs to stress the mother out about. Our philosophy is that if it isn’t a problem for you and your family, it isn’t a problem. Countless mothers are more than happy to continue to get up for a quick feed after the age of 6 months and there is NOTHING wrong with that.
The fact that he *could* be sleeping through in those cases is about as relevant as the fact that I *could* be going for an hour’s run every day! That’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea and sleeping through isn’t a developmental milestone like solids, crawling, talking and walking. So don’t worry about it unless it is becoming a problem for you and your family.
Your breastmilk isn’t enough for him – he’s hungry!
So many mothers who have given up breastfeeding to try formula in the hopes that it will help their baby sleep longer with no results. It is heartbreaking because often their supply is compromised by the time they have realised that it isn’t making the difference they thought it would and they are more or less stuck with formula feeding.
As a society we like to be able to know and measure everything that’s going on and it can be a bit of a mind game to just trust that your baby is consuming enough breastmilk (rather than the millimetre markings on the side of a bottle) but the rule of thumb is that if you baby seems relaxed and satisfied after a feed, has regular wet nappies and is gaining weight then you are producing enough breastmilk to meet his needs.
Crying is good for his lungs – you spoil him by picking him up too quickly
Nothing good comes of a young baby crying - their lungs do not need crying to develop. You are not going to be spoiling your baby by picking him up, in fact that’s exactly what you need to do. Babies under 4 months have very few self-soothing strategies and it’s critical in these first few formative months that babies learn that when they cry, their parents will be there to take care of them.
Under no circumstances would The Baby Sleep Company ever advocate leaving a child under 4 months of age to cry-it-out without any soothing from a parent. Of course, it is very common for a young baby to continue crying, even after they’ve been picked up and soothed but biologically this is very different from the baby crying alone untouched.
You need to enjoy this time because they’re only this little once
Okay so that’s not so much of a myth…obviously it’s true that they’re only this little once BUT this well-meaning piece of advice can be particularly upsetting for a new mother because it puts pressure on her to enjoy something that can really bloody hard. Sure, there are beautiful moments and new life is the biggest miracle we are likely to ever experience but often this advice is given with the benefit of hindsight, not remembering how difficult it can be to be in the everyday world of looking after a newborn baby.
Breastfeeding is often difficult to establish, the adults are sleeping less than they ever have before, trying to differentiate different types of cries can be almost impossible but on top of all that the new mother’s life has been turned upside down. Aim to survive the first few months intact and if you enjoy them, that’s a bonus.
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If you would like personalised help with any sleep issue for a child, newborn to 5 years, contact The Baby Sleep Company today on 0457 473 725 or click here to send us an email.