5 Common Baby Sleep Myths

5 Common Baby Sleep Myths

We asked a local sleep expert for some tips and info about getting babies to sleep at night!

Katie Kuncho owns Katie Ks Sleep Consulting, and lives here in Jacksonville with her husband Rodney and son, Owen.

I have experienced first hand how tricky sleep can be for a new baby.  While experiencing sleep troubles with my son, I went on a mission to find out how to help him. What I found is that there are ways to help your child learn independent sleep skills without feeling mom guilt.  Once I understood what was happening, I felt guilty for not helping him sooner!  Watching Owen’s transition and how it has changed our lives is what has led me on the journey of helping other families get the quality sleep that they deserve. I am passionate about helping families because I know how important sleep is to both baby and parents health.  It’s a necessity. Not a luxury. 

There’s no such thing as a casual mom. This gig is full-time, no matter if you’re a stay-at-home-mom, a working mom, or somewhere in between. Your kids are on your mind 24/7, no matter what else might be going on, so we tend to do a lot of research, and with access to unlimited data via the internet, Barnes & Noble, or your mother-in-law, (the latter having the most to say, by a mile) it’s inevitable that we get some conflicting information. Sometimes it’s even hard to sort out the opinions verses the facts. So today, I want to focus on my area of expertise, that being sleep, and try to dispel some of the more popular myths I’ve seen in parenting forums, heard from Mom groups I’ve talked with, or even heard from a well- intentioned family member or friend. 

1. Sleeping too much during the day will keep baby up at night. 
 Not likely, except in extreme cases. Unless your little one is sleeping practically all day and up all night, you probably don’t need to concern yourself with the length of their naps. Newborns especially need a ton of sleep. In fact, up until about 6 months, I don’t recommend that your little one be awake for more than about 2 – 2 1/2 hours at a time. For newborns, that number is more like 45 minutes to an hour. 

What keeps babies awake at night, more than anything else, is overtiredness. You might think that an exhausted baby is more likely to sack out for a full night than one who slept all day, but it’s actually just the opposite. The reason we refer to it as being “overtired” is because baby has missed the “tired” phase and their bodies start to kick back into gear, which keeps them from falling and staying asleep. A baby who has gotten a decent amount of sleep during the day is far less likely to miss the sleep window.

There are substantial variations depending on baby’s age and the length of their naps, but up to that 6 month mark, it’s really not uncommon for baby to be sleeping around 5 hours a day outside of nighttime sleep, so if your little one is still within those guidelines, let them snooze.  Bottom line is sleep begets sleep, the better baby naps during the day, the better they will sleep at night.

2. Sleeping is a natural development and can’t be taught. Sleeping is natural, absolutely. Everybody wakes up and falls back to sleep multiple times a night, regardless of their age. So no, you can’t teach a child to be sleepy. What can be taught, however, is the ability to fall back to sleep independently.

The typical “bad sleeper” of a baby isn’t less in need of sleep, or more prone to waking up. They’ve just learned to depend on outside assistance to get back to sleep when they wake up. Once your little one has figured out how to get to sleep without assistance from outside sources, they start stringing those sleep cycles together absolutely effortlessly, and that’s the secret to “sleeping through the night” as most parents understand it.

3. Babies will naturally dictate their own sleep schedule. The idea that infant physiology is so flawlessly, naturally programmed to regulate a baby’s schedule is, to be blunt, laughable. Nothing against Mother Nature, but she doesn’t provide us with a ready-to-run baby. Our babies need extensive care and help in their development, and their sleep cycles are unbelievably erratic if left unregulated. If they miss their natural sleep cycle by as little as a half hour, their cortisol production can increase which causes a surge in energy, and things quickly spiral out of control.

So as much as I wish babies could just fall asleep when they’re tired, it simply doesn’t work that way. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t respond to their cues, but you shouldn’t rely exclusively on them either.

4. Sleep training is stressful for the baby and can affect the parent-child attachment. Nope. And this isn’t just me talking here. This is the American Academy of Pediatrics. If there’s a more reliable source of baby health information, they’re astoundingly bad at marketing themselves. And according to a 2016 study* conducted by eight of their top researchers, behavioral intervention, (A.K.A Sleep training) “provide(s) significant sleep benefits above control, yet convey(s) no adverse stress responses or long-term effects on parent-child attachment or child emotions and behavior.” Not a whole lot of gray area there.

5. Babies are not “designed” to sleep through the night. Trusting your child’s physiology to dictate their sleep schedule, their eating habits, their behavior, or just about any other aspect of their upbringing is a recipe for disaster.

Is your toddler designed to eat three pounds of gummi bears? Surely not. Will they if you don’t intervene? Without a doubt. Is your baby designed to avoid predators? If so, nobody told my little one, who would have happily hugged a hungry Siberian tiger if it approached him. (He might still, I don’t know. It’s never come up.) Our little ones need our expertise and authority to guide them through their early years, and probably will for decades after that. This is especially true when it comes to their sleep.

Some babies are naturally gifted sleepers, for sure, but don’t rely on the advice of those who tell you that babies should dictate their schedules. You’re in charge because you know best, even if it may not feel like it sometimes.

There are obviously plenty more myths and misconceptions surrounding babies and their sleep habits, but these are some of the most important to get the facts on. Remember, there are endless posts on social media and websites that portray themselves as factual, but there’s nothing stopping them from making that claim, regardless of their accuracy or basis in actual scientific evidence.

Google scholar is a great place to find peer-reviewed scientific study on all things baby-related, and trusted sources like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institutes of Health, Britain’s National Health Service, Canada’s Hospital for Sick Children, the World Health Organization, and other national children’s health organizations are excellent sources of information you can feel confident about using to answer questions about your baby’s health.

And if you want more information about the benefits of sleep, I’m willing to chat!

Contact Katie:

info@katieksleepconsulting.com

904-595-7333

https://www.katieksleepconsulting.com

*https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/05/21/peds.2015-1486

Photographs by Christy Whitehead Photography, newborn photography studio in Jacksonville, Florida.

Tag! Featured: Random Fandom Gifts

In an effort to feature local businesses during Covid, we are playing “tag”. We are asking local companies info about their favorite places. And then we ask some of the companies they tag about their favorites!

Random Fandom Gifts was recently tagged as a favorite by another local company so here they are:

Your name: Alexis Kaisharis and Rich Oliver

Where are you located: You can usually find us at Riverside Arts Market, but you can always find us on our website www.randomfandomgifts.com

Tell me about your business.

We hand make pixelated artwork, home decor, and accessories representing all kinds of pop culture across all medias. Our pieces can range from 100 beads to 10,000 beads; our biggest piece ever was actually 30,000 beads. Everything we make we do it with pure geeky love. We’re bringing geeky goodness to everyone, and our goal is to make everyone’s pixelated dreams come true!

Now that you’ve been tagged, tell me your favorites!

FOOD

What is your favorite local restaurant for date night? Orsay

What is your favorite food place to go with family? Leaderboard Arcade

Who has the best sandwiches? Eddis & Sons

Best pizza? Pie 95 Pizza 

What toppings MUST go on a pizza? Cheese, Pepperoni, and Canadian Bacon

What should NEVER go on a pizza? Pineapple or any fruit, except tomatoes. 

Best Mexican? El Jefe

Best Chinese? Tim Wah Dim Sum

Best burger? JoyShtick

Best fries? JoyShtick

Best bar? Rec Room 

Best BBQ? Twisted Okie

Favorite food truck? Pie 95 Pizza and Fusion Food Truck

Favorite place to get dessert? 1748 Bakehouse

ACTIVITIES

Favorite activity around town that’s free? Riverside Arts Market

Favorite activity/place to go, that costs money around town? The Cummer Museum 

Best local band or musician? The Fire Water Tent Revival

SERVICES

Best place to get a hair cut? Red Hot Looks

Best realtor? Lou Morales Realty, David Morales

Do you have any tattoos? Who would you recommend? Melaniinks at Dark Matter 

AROUND TOWN

Favorite mom & pop shop? Darby’s Dungeon, Bellalina Bath and BelloBoopie 

Favorite side of town? Riverside

Favorite local event? Riverside Arts Market and the GAAM Show. 

What local charities do you like to support? First Coast No More Homeless Pets and JASMYN.  

What is the most underrated shop or company in North Florida that everyone should know about? Bijubee Jewelry, plus maybe also us lol

Best place to get married or have a big party? Congaree and Penn

Best place to get fresh veggies and fruit? Riverside Arts Market

Anyone we missed? All of the amazing artists in Jacksonville! Elena Ohlander, Chappy Lips by Leslie Valerio, Hypnoticat, Olivia Gonzalez (Garage Roses), and R.L. Pyro Art are some of our favorites

Where can people find you:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/randomfandomgifts

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randomfandomgifts

Website: www.randomfandomgifts.com

Email: randomfandomgifts@gmail.com

Tag! Local business, Bello Boopie

With everything going on, the need to support other small businesses is more important now than ever. On the last flight I took, I saw a magazine and they interviewed local business owners and those business owners mentioned their favorite businesses, and then THOSE businesses were interviewed, and it kept going.

So, we are doing a “TAG! You’re it” Local business feature to help get the word out about a lot of local businesses that I hope you’ll patronize!

The first is Bello Boopie, who makes paper goods, like cards and stationary, you may have seen them at Riverside Arts Market.

Your name: Noel a.k.a. The Minion Man

Where are you located: Riverside Arts Market, Orange Park Farmers & Arts Market, Art Walk Downtown Jacksonville.  In Store: Trove Antiques and Coconut Barrel

What makes your business unique? Bello Boopie isn’t afraid to push the boundaries.  Most Greeting Cards come blank or with sentimental greetings; our greeting cards are geared to make people laugh. 

What’s the favorite thing you sell? Our locally inspired greeting cards that make fun of Floridians

FOOD

What is your favorite local restaurant for date night? Hawkers 5 points

What is your favorite food place to go with family? Clarks Fish Camp

Who has the best sandwiches? European Street (Park Street Location)

Best pizza? V’s Pizza!

What toppings MUST go on a pizza? I’m a Cheese kinda guy!

Best Chinese? Peony Asian Bistro

Best bar? Park Place

Favorite food truck? Pie95

Favorite place to get dessert? Community Loaves

ACTIVITIES

Favorite activity around town that’s free? Riverside Arts Market

Favorite activity/place to go, that costs money around town? Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

Best local band or musician? Jacksonville Symphony (I’m an old soul)

SHOPPING

Best place to get fresh veggies and fruit? Riverside Arts Market and Orange Park Farmers and Arts Market

SERVICES

Best place to get a hair cut? Barbara Fisk at Beauty Boss Hair Studio

Best realtor? Mary Ann Eldreth

Best massage therapist? Brenda Star Walker

AROUND TOWN

Favorite mom & pop shop? Trove Antiques

Favorite side of town? Riverside/Avondale

Favorite local event? (Party, sports, concert, whatever) Weekly: Riverside Arts Market.  Yearly: Boat Lighting Parade

What local charities do you like to support? JASMYN, V for Victory, and First Coast No More Homeless Pets

What is the most underrated shop or company in North Florida that everyone should know about? Coconut Barrel

Best place to get married or have a big party? Old St. Andrews

Best Local Maker: Random Fandom Gifts

Best Fur Friendly Company: A tie: Lucy Lou’s Designs for collars and leashes, Bubbas Bistro for pet treats

Best Local Shoe Company: An Unlikely Pear

Best Burger: One Twenty Three Burger House

Best Local Instagram Account: JaxMarketplace

Where can people find you:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/belloboopie

Facebook: www.facebook.com/belloboopie

Website: www.belloboopie.com

Email: belloboopie@gmail.com

Phone/Text 904-290-3060

Bello Boopie

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