The Sleep Lies Moms Tell Themselves

Read on to find even more sleep lies that may be preventing your baby from sleeping their best!

Can we be real for a second? I have mom anxiety. I stress over everything. I over prepare and worry like a maniac. It’s real. While there are times it doesn’t seem to bother me one bit, there are also times when I feel paralyzed to do anything. In ever preparing to avoid this freezing anxiety, I often find myself thinking that one little thing is going to magically be able to fix whatever I am worried about. One time, in preparation for a road trip, I packed the BEST activities for my children. I spent time researching what activities to plan and take on a road trip. I went out and bought the needed items and spent time organizing the different activities for our 7-hour road trip. I was sure these activities would keep my children entertained and happy. They would be smiling, giggling, and laughing the whole trip. I know you know how this ends, but I have to say it anyway. They barely played with anything I brought. They mostly cried and ate some snacks. But then something magical did happen. They figured out how to be happy in their car seats without my help. The times they were laughing and giggling were not when they were quietly playing with my carefully packed activities but when they had nothing but each other to giggle with. Those moments were pure joy. And the moments of endless crying were pure hell.

My point? How often do we, as moms, believe the lie and wind up hurting ourselves or our children while we figure out the truth? Sometimes these lies come from the media, sometimes from misinformation, and sometimes we just make them up in our own mind. At some point we tend to figure out the truth, but that usually takes some trial and error and lesson learning on our part--which is not always fun. Oh how I wish I could go back and save my precious time and money and just pack up the kids in the car with a few books, balls, and cars, and lots of snacks. You better believe the next trip I went on I did just that. It was longer, 8 hours I believe, and my kids did great. Yes there was still crying… because as much as I try to think I can control how much they cry it isn’t true. Crying, hurt, and pain are all part of this experience we call life. Packing the right toy will not make my children stop crying!

How does this relate back to the sleep of our babies and toddlers? I have heard so many lies moms tell themselves about baby sleep. If they just do this or that, then their baby will sleep better. There are so many places spewing forth these lies that even when we want to find the truth it can be hard. When I sat down to make a list of the common lies I see, I quickly came up with over 20 lies all about sleep! I, myself, am guilty of believing a lot of these lies. You probably have told or are telling yourselves some of these lies as well. Let’s identify which lies you believe, so you can find your truth, learn your lesson, and overcome your sleep challenge!

1. Lie: My 3-month-old should be able to sleep through the night. Truth: Biologically, babies need to eat at night until 9 months of age. Some babies do begin sleeping through the night much earlier than that, but our goal age for sleeping through the night should be 9 months. If our baby does it earlier, we can consider ourselves lucky!

2. Lie: It’s normal for my 12 month, 18 month, 2 year old, or 3 year old to not be sleeping through the night yet. It will happen when he is ready.

Truth: Babies can begin sleeping through the night at 9 months when they are sleep trained. A sleep trained baby and child (and adult) will wake at night but be able to roll over and fall back asleep. When a child is not sleep trained, he will not understand how to fall back asleep, and this can disrupt his quality of sleep. When a child continues to wake at night there may be other issues at play with their health. Perhaps they are overtired, or tongue-tied, or even have a sleep disorder. When a child is sleep trained and sleeping through the night regularly, it is much easier to makes certain he is getting the sleep he needs and that nothing else is wrong.

3. Lie: A late bedtime isn’t harmful if my baby is still getting enough sleep at night.

Truth: Babies get the most restful sleep at the beginning of the night. Your baby may be sleeping sufficient hours at night, but still be overtired because he is not going to bed early enough and getting the best quality sleep. Babies and toddlers should be going to bed between 6-8pm.

4. Lie: “It’s just a phase.” Your baby will outgrow any sleep regression on his own.

Truth: While some babies do seem to outgrow a sleep regression, most babies need to be sleep trained and have a consistent routine and sleep schedule to improve sleep from a sleep regression. If your child has not improved his sleep from a sleep regression in two weeks on his own, then it may be time to make some interventions to help him overcome it.