From TV and movies, friends and neighbors, family anecdotes, we’ve all heard about things that help calm babies or help them get to sleep. When you are in the throws of days on end without sleep, you are probably ready to try just about anything. Here are three “baby myths” that you may have heard. While some of these ideas work for many people, if they don’t work for you, you aren’t alone!
Baby Myth #1: Babies sleep through the night once they start solid food
This sounds like it makes a lot of sense. You would think that once their bellies are full of food that takes longer to digest than the easily digestible breast milk that they would not wake as often due to hunger. Maybe that is partly the case, but babies wake during the night for many reasons. Actually, everybody wakes during the night for many reasons but many babies have an inability to self-soothe themselves and fall back to sleep on their own. There are many strategies for teaching babies soothing techniques and it is true that some babies do sleep better after starting solid foods. However, many babies are waking through the night and waking you to meet their needs at the age of twelve months and beyond. This is a full six months later than the recommended age to begin introducing solid foods. It is also true that some babies begin sleeping through the night before the introduction of solid foods. For many babies, sleep and beginning solids are not necessarily related.
Baby Myth #2: Babies love riding in the car and will fall asleep peacefully
I’m sure you’ve heard of the parents who were at their wits’ end and ended up bundling their baby into the car every night to drive around and around until the little one fell asleep. It’s a nice anecdote, but for some parents can actually feel like a slap in the face when they realize this is never going to be their child. Some babies actually abhor riding in the car. They hate it with a vengeance and will make everyone’s life miserable to compensate. Some infants have reflux which can be exacerbated by the reclined angle of an infant car seat. These children can be in a lot of discomfort and the car is no picnic for them. Other babies find the restraints to be… well, too restraining and fight and strain against the straps for every second that they are buckled in to the seat. For some babies, we just don’t know what they find so unappealing but their constant screaming, crying, and wailing will make you want to throw rocks at the car with a baby sleeping in the back seat.
Baby Myth #3: Babies find pacifiers soothing and will calm (and even fall asleep) when given one
You’ve seen it on Facebook, in movies, walking through the mall: a fussy baby gets a pacifier popped in his mouth and all becomes right with the world again. Sorry to tell you, but not all babies are fond of that little maneuver. For some it is a problem with the pacifier itself. It may be too big, too small, shaped incorrectly, or have the wrong texture. For these situations, it could take many pacifier purchases in order to find a compatible fit for your baby. They don’t accept returns once those bad boys have been opened either. Other babies may have had every model under the sun and still refuse to be pacified by one. Some accept only the real deal or nothing.
Again, some of these baby myths may have worked for you and your babies and that is fantastic. However, for some people, none of them work. If these “tried and true” methods don’t work for you, it’s okay. You are not alone. You are a good parent. There is nothing wrong with your baby. Do what works for you and your family!