It's normal to go into parenthood with expectations about what your baby's sleeping habits will look like. You go in thinking they'll sleep soundly in their bassinet in your room until they're old enough to be in their own room. Then, once they turn 5 months old, you'll start sleep training and they'll sleep through the night. You'll nurse at night until you deep it unnecessary. The funny thing about these preconceived notions about baby sleep, however, is that they're rooted in some baby sleep myths that are total BS.
Although there is plenty of sleep advice that's rooted in scientific fact (like the idea that you should lay your baby on their back to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS,) some of the advice you'll receive is nothing more than an old wive's tale or piece of outdated advice. You may hear it from a well-wishing relative, an well-known book, or from unreliable sources, but the myths circulate all the same.
As hard as it can be to sort through the sleep myths and sleep truths, knowing about the following sleep myth to ignore right off the bat can help you establish healthy (and practical) sleeping habits for your family.
Myth 1: Never Wake A Sleeping Baby
This pithy phrase isn't necessarily true. According to The Baby Sleep Site, you can (and should) wake your baby if their nap will interfere with their bedtime or if you need to preserve time for enough naps for their age.
Myth #2: Your Baby Should Sleep Through The Night At 12 Weeks
Not only is this myth completely false, it can give parents false expectations about their baby's sleep habits. Although The Bump noted that some babies do sleep through the night at this age, every baby is different and expecting your child to do so will make you think you're doing something wrong.
Myth #3: Letting Baby Stay Up Late Will Help Them Sleep Longer
I can say from experience that this one is false. But, because science is important, Precious Little Sleep noted that letting a baby stay up too long is the number one sleep mistake parents make. Although the reasoning makes sense, letting your baby stay up too long can actually make them sleep worse at night, instead of better.
Myth #4: Your Baby Wakes Up Because They're Hungry
This one is a bit more complicated than a simple "fact" or "fiction" statement. According to the aforementioned Baby Sleep Site article, however, babies who are older than 4 months and are waking frequently likely aren't hungry but have formed other habits that make it difficult for them to fall back asleep on their own.
Myth #5: Adding Rice Cereal To Your Baby's Bottle Will Help Them Sleep Longer
This myth has been making the rounds for years, but that doesn't make it any less false. According to Parenting, adding rice cereal to your baby's bottle at night time won't help them sleep longer or stay more full. In fact, the benefits of rice cereal in general are worth questioning.
Myth #6: Babies Should Learn To Sleep On Their Own
Although people are led to believe that babies are capable of sleeping alone from a young age, Belly Belly noted that babies instinctively sleep better when they're close to their parents. If your little one has a hard time sleeping in their own bed or being moved out of their bassinet, don't worry that anything is wrong.
Myth #7: There's A "Formula" For Successful Baby Sleep
Like most things in parenthood, there's no successful "formula" that will work for everyone when it comes to sleep. Each baby is as different as the family raising it, so expecting your little one to sleep just like another baby simply won't happen.