Being a Mom is such a learning experience. Just when you think you have it figured out, life throws you a curved ball. The hardest thing is trying to decipher information that you hear and read as being fact, or just a theory from someone who thinks they know your child. Here are some classic ones:
Just give them a little rice cereal. That’ll help them sleep through the night
My 2 cents: Actually, the AAP recommends waiting until six months because their digestive system isn’t ready for them yet. So, that’s what I plan to do. I can’t tell you how many people on the Baby Center forum that have their four month old on solid foods and then post on how they don’t understand why their child is all of a sudden waking up numerous times a night.
Your baby no longer has a nutritional need for a middle of the night feeding after 3-4 months of age.
My 2 cents: Every baby is different. I know that sounds like a classic response, but it’s true. It depends on whether your baby is breastfed or bottle fed. A mom’s milk supply is different every day, and a baby could take in less milk during the day, thus needing more at night. You can’t make them drink more during the day (unless they’re bottle fed) because when you breastfeed they only eat when they’re hungry. If they don’t get the calories they need during the day, then they’ll want to get them at night. KellyMom.com says this:
After the first few months, your baby will begin to associate the breast with far more than just a way to satisfy hunger and thirst. It becomes a place of comfort, security, warmth, closeness, and familiarity. The act of nursing is not just nourishing; it is nurturing. Keep in mind that these needs are every bit as real as baby’s physical ones, and having them met is every bit as needful to baby’s overall development.
Your baby should be getting X amount of naps for X amount of time at X age.
My 2 cents: While I think it’s great to get your little one on a routine we (when I say we, I mean I)should be realistic about the length of nap times especially for babies under six months. Most doctors agree that most babies are “short nappers” up until six months of age. Sleeping long periods (naps and bedtime) is a milestone just like crawling, walking etc. I think establishing a routine is a great thing, but I believe in taking the time to learn YOUR baby’s sleep habits, because it may not be “by the book” and sometimes that’s okay. I’m preaching to myself as I type, because I’m all about “oh, he’s suppose to sleep one and a half hours exactly…crap! he only slept for an hour and wouldn’t go back to sleep…what did I do wrong” The answer is NOTHING. Sounds so simple eh? I guess I’m just a bone head.
If you leave your baby to cry it out, they will have issues with feeling insecure and abandoned.
My 2 cents: Those that know me know that I haven’t been a fan of the cry it out method. Mainly because I don’t feel right leaving my child to scream so I can have “order” to my day. However, I think it’s important to again learn your baby. I’ve found that if I let my son do a “mantra cry” that this is a perfectly acceptable way for him to settle himself into a good sleep. I also feel that age is a factor too. All babies develop at different rates, but I do believe that there is an age that is too early to let a baby cry it out…even a mantra cry. Each Mom has to figure out what time crying it out will work best for their baby. As for the debate of whether or not crying it out will leave your child feeling abandoned and insecure, I think that this can certainly be the case with some instances. Like anything…some things can be WAAAAY overdone.
You should never rock or feed your baby or have them depend on a pacifier in order to fall asleep
My 2 cents: If there’s anyone that knows about sleep associations it’s me. After replacing the billionth pacifier in one night…I clearly realized that it was an issue. Let’s say that there are certain things you need order to sleep every night (blanket, pillow, etc.) and in the middle of the night, you wake up and all of a sudden it’s not there any more. Would you get up and get it in order to sleep? Most people would. Same thing for some babies. I think it’s perfectly okay to rock your baby to sleep or offer a paci if they sleep through the night no problem. However, it becomes a problem when they come out of deep sleep into a lighter sleep state and in turn needs the thing that got them to sleep in the first place several times a night. It’s not an issue the first few months because you have to wake up to feed them anyways, but later you start to wonder if they’re waking because they’re hungry, or if what they associate with going to sleep is no longer there. Eliminating the sleep associations helps decipher what the real issue is.
If I keep my baby up more during the day, then they’ll sleep better at night
My 2 cents: Those who have had sleep issues with their baby know that sleep begets sleep. Have you ever noticed that when you’ve had a lot of sleep at night that you feel tired during the day? In contrast, if you don’t get enough sleep, hormones are released to help you stay awake longer. The same thing happens in babies. If they sleep well during the day, they sleep well at night. It doesn’t seem like it would be true, but it totally is. If your baby is overtired, they are much more likely to have several night wakings and also be harder to go to sleep in the first place.
When you breastfeed, you should only feed on demand
My 2 cents: I don’t agree that the only correct way to breastfeed is on demand. I think a lot of Moms (especially first time Moms) find security in having some sort of a routine so they can keep track of feedings and make sure their little one is getting enough food (and keep their naps regular too). I believe that babies find security in predictability, and erratic feedings could cause erratic sleep patterns, thus complicating things later down the line. However, I do agree that abiding by a strict schedule can damage the nursing relationship with your little one. Especially when those growth spurts sneak up on you. It’s reassuring to have a routine in place because it can often help determine what’s going on when the baby has fussy periods. You don’t have to “guess” that they’re hungry or tired, you know already how many times they’ve been fed and napped.
I clearly don’t have all the answers. Just a first time Mom sharing my two cents of experience. It’s all such a learning experience, and I intend on taking advantage of my trials and errors and so that I can hopefully be the best Mama I can be to my little man.