PUTTING RICE CEREAL IN BABY’S BOTTLE HELPS BABY SLEEP LONGER
Fact: This advice stays popular because parents are told that “tanking up” baby before bed with thicker milk or formula will help baby sleep longer. This is untrue and actually often leads to more gastric distress, keeping baby awake longer.
Parents usually try the rice cereal trick when baby is about 12 weeks old. They think the thicker formula is what’s making baby sleep longer but in reality 12 weeks is when baby is sleeping longer anyway, creating a false positive.
Suggestion: Feed baby slower. This helps to set the stage for long stretches of sleep.
GAS DROPS LIKE MYLICON HELP BABY’S TUMMY
Fact: Every parent buys gas drops in an effort to help baby’s fussy tummy. Sadly though, study after study shows that gas drops such a Mylicon have the same effect on baby’s gas as a placebo.
Suggestion: Feed baby before s/he gets into an agitated state of hunger. Learn what baby looks like in the early stages of hunger so you can be ready to feed before the crying starts. It’s the crying that can force baby to take in excess air which leads to gas.
FEED BABY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE SO THEY CAN GAIN WEIGHT
Fact: Baby’s belly is only the size of a small cherry on day 1 of life. Even after a month, baby’s belly is only the size of an egg. When feeding from a bottle, don’t let even the tiniest bottle fool you – baby should not be overfed or s/he’ll end up uncomfortable and crying. (Think of how you’d feel being stuffed even after you’re full).
Suggestion: A better option is to feed baby slowly. If bottle feeding, use the slowest bottle flow possible and refer to the chart below. It’s not unusual for a feed to take 45 minutes or more.
GOOD SLEEPERS DON’T WAKE UP DURING THE NIGHT
Fact: Many babies are great sleepers and easily self-soothe through the night. It’s important to remember though that it’s completely normal for babies to wake and need care sometimes overnight. Here are just a few of the things that will cause a baby to wake in the night:
1. Mobility (learning to crawl or pull themselves up is fun to practice in the crib)
2. Brain maturity (around 4 months they realize they have a choice to go to sleep or be awake and hanging out with the family — guess which they choose?)
5. Natural hunger due to growing
And a million other reasons.
So, the fact is that babies wake up all the time — it’s developmentally and completely normal, but parents think they’re doing something wrong if baby wakes overnight.
Suggestion: We suggest what the American Academy of Pediatrics does; allow baby to sleep in your room but not in your bed for the first year. Having baby next to your bed allows you to respond quickly and even stay in bed sometimes. While it’s fantastic to “sleep train” baby if that’s what you want to do, it’s also helpful to have a realistic frame of mind that “this too shall pass” when it comes to baby’s sleep habits.
PUT BABY TO SLEEP LATER AT NIGHT AND S/HE’LL SLEEP LATER IN THE MORNING
Fact: We wish this was true but it’s not. The fact is that the internal clock is a powerful force that typically wakes children up at the same time every morning. So all we’re doing is robbing them of sleep they should be getting when we put them to bed later, making them even more fussy.
Suggestion: A good solution to early wake ups is to take turns with your partner, if you can, so one of you isn’t always on early wake-up duty. That and caffeine.