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Written by Lavinia
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant
19 August 2020

Sleep miconceptions

I think we all agree that being a mother is an absolute full time job. This is regardless of whether you are a working mum or a stay at home mum. Regardless of whatever else is going on in your life, your children are always in the back of your mind and their needs will be a priority. We therefore tend to read and Google extensively about all things related to parenting to make ourselves as prepared, confident and knowledgeable as possible.  The problem is that when it comes to sleep and sleep training, there is whole lot of conflicting information, leading to even more parental confusion and anxiety.

Today I would like to debunk some of the common misconceptions related to sleep and training.

  1. Baby will naturally learn to sleep independently with age

If your baby is reliant on a sleep prop to fall asleep (eg being nursed, carried, rocked, patted, or have a pacifier replaced) he or she will not magically wake up one day and be able to fall asleep without that prop.  The prop may change as your child gets older, but the dependency on an external factor to get into sleep often remains unless you have taught them how to fall asleep without it. It is possible to teach a child to fall asleep independently at any age, even from the newborn stage. After your child has mastered falling asleep independently, they will begin stringing together sleep cycles with ease, which is the key to "sleeping through the night" as most parents understand it.

2. Sleep training is harmful for the baby and the parent-child bond

Nope. And you need not just take it from me. The American Academy of Pediatrics, which is the one of the leading authorities in the world on safe sleep, says so. And according to a study conducted by 8 of their top researches in 2016,  behavioural intervention (also known as "Sleep training") "provide(s) considerable sleep advantages above control, while convey(s) no deleterious stress responses or long-term consequences on parent-child bonding or child emotions and behaviour." There's just not much room for debate.

3. Babies are not wired/designed to sleep through the night  

Most babies gaining weight as expected, by the age of 3 or 4 months are capable of sleeping through the night. Meaning that they are able to put themselves right back to sleep on their own whenever they find themselves out of a sleep cycle in the night time. And if you allow them to learn that skill, they typically become great at it, and enjoy 10 to 12 hours of sleep undisturbed. The babies I see do this, are typically the happy and contented babies. As good sleep brings immense physical and mental health benefits, I think it's fair to say that we are all designed to be best versions of ourselves when we are well-rested.

Of course, there are many more myths and misconceptions surrounding paediatric sleep but these are some of the important ones. Our little ones are still too young to know what's best for them, so it is for us as parents to lead the way if we want them sleeping well. You can rest assured that your little one will benefit from you doing so, as good uninterrupted sleep is absolutely invaluable to their overrall health and well-being. 

Article written by Lavinia
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant
Based in Singapore
Trained in the Sleep Sense Program

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