7 Unhelpful Baby Sleep Myths – EP 19

April 20, 2017 |  by  |  Podcast
7 Unhelpful Baby Sleep Myths - EP 19

I often see smart thoughtful parents getting tripped up by the same stumbles time and again. These sleep myths or pervasive beliefs, for lack of a better word, that push parents to do things that are at times unhelpful or even self-sabotaging. Or they over-complicate something which, let’s be honest, is already plenty complicated.

And these come up constantly.

I’m not sure where these sleep myths come from but they float around like a persistent moth trying to land in your soup. Some are contrary to biology. Some encourage you to worry about things that aren’t worth worrying about. And some propose to solve problems while actually creating different problems.

This podcast is longer than most, clocking in at a hearty 48 minutes, but it’s worth it. In this episode we’ll break down the following pervasive beliefs, along with analysis and recommendations of what you should do instead:

7 Baby Sleep Myths

  1. The solution to all your night woes is to cap naps.
  2. Your child is waking at night because they’re overtired, move bedtime earlier.
  3. Naps will improve you use somebody else’s sleep schedule.
  4. A By the Clock (BTC) sleep schedule will fix it.
  5. Everything would be fine if you militantly wake up at the same time each day.
  6. Your child isn’t sleeping because the crib is uncomfortable.
  7. The Dr. Jay Gordon method will fix everything.

As mentioned in the podcast, there is a wide range of normal answers to the question, “How much sleep does my child need?” I pulled together this handy visual from the National Sleep Foundation’s findings.

normal sleep duration ranges

Additional Reading

Total baby sleep duration ranges
Suggested wake times
Normal baby and toddler sleep durations
Why baby hates the crib

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  1. I LOVED THIS PODCAST! It’s as if you guys were observing me this past year and a half with my LO! I’ve pretty much have gotten suckered into all of those sleep myths (except the Dr. Gordon method- never heard of him thankfully!). I can’t believe you guys addressed all that in one podcast! That was awesome and so helpful and enlightening! If I am blessed with another child, I hope I will remember not to believe those sleep myths again. Thank you again, you guys are doing an awesome job!!!

    • Aw Sam you are the best 🙂

      Many people haven’t heard of Dr. Gordon which is why I’ve been hesitant to bring him up but it comes up every few months so I figured FINE let’s just hash this out.

      Thanks so much for the kind feedback as we muddle through with this podcast stuff 🙂

  2. Hi Alexis! Love your podcasts, love your site. I’m on kid number 3 and your website has been such a great resource that I can refer to again and again! I’ll buy your book for myself and everyone I know if you could just give me a little piece of advice please please please!

    I have a question about bedtime and its timing. My 5 month old has been going down for bed anywhere from 6-7:30pm, but most of the time around 6:30-6:45. She has always been in bed for 12-13 hours with a wake time around 7am.

    But we have just completed night two of Ferber CIO. I know you think 5 months is on the young side, but we were stuck in a place with a pacifier problem and a rolling in the swaddle problem and all the adjustments I kept trying to make resulted in us being up every hour or more. Anyway, it’s going well so far with the only real crying at bedtime and then just two wakings to feed. However last night when she did wake up at 4 (a normal feeding time) she seemed pretty awake (and happy). Luckily she went back to sleep after the feed, woke up at 5 and put herself back to sleep and again at 6 but was wide awake. I went in to feed her again to see if she would go back to sleep and luckily she did for another hour.

    I know this sounds all well and good, but I just happened to listen to your podcast yesterday and it made me wonder if I’m setting myself up for early wake times with her bedtime as is.

    This is her typical schedule before CIO started.
    7am wake and nurse
    9-9:30 nap 1 depending on school drop off or if it’s the weekend.
    10:30 wake and nurse
    12 nurse
    12:30 nap 2. Sleeps 1.5-2 hours
    2:30 nurse
    3:30 or 4ish nap 3. This nap sometimes is in the car for 10 min depending on the big kids’ afternoon activities or sometimes doesn’t really happen at all, which can sometimes lead to a really long wake time until bed. I had been making 5pm the cut off for naps.
    4:30/5 nurse
    6 bottle of pumped milk followed by bedtime routine and bedtime by 6:30/6:45

    Should I push more for that third nap and let it be later and thus bedtime later as well, closer to 7-730 or maybe even 8? I don’t want to get stuck in the early bedtime/early waketime cycle!

    I would love any suggestions please!

    Thank you! Love you!


    • And I have to add that yesterday after her first CIO night, her first 2 naps were 2 hours each ending at 3 pm. So I wasn’t sure what to do about nap 3. I tried to get a cat nap in the stroller but had no success. I put her down for bed about 6:20 that night. So that’s kind of a sub question involving nap capping? Should I wake her from long naps to spread the day sleep out so she can make it more easil to bedtime or am I worrying too much about overtiredness?

      • Hi! can she catnap in swing for 3rd nap? I would give my LO a 10 min catnap in the swing around 430/5 to make it to a 730 bedtime till he was about 9/10 months till he was ready to drop the 3rd catnap completely.

  3. Hi Alexis! I’ve been reading and using your site for a while. I feel like I’m hitting the end of my rope here. I have an almost ten month old who we have used cry it out to sleep train. She does good for a few nights of sleep. Cries it out at night wakings and then lays herself back down to sleep, each night it got to be less. Then night four, crying then laying down for twenty minutes then up crying again. This lasted for three hours until it was around the time for her feed around 2 am. Then decided she was up for the day at 530am. It seems cry it out will work for a few days then she will all of a sudden be up all night. I am not sure what’s happening. I really don’t know what to do.

  4. Alexis, I wish I could hug you. I started sleep training last night after reading all of your posts about it. My baby is 6 months old and rocking to sleep wasn’t working anymore. Things were starting to get out of hand around here. After bedtime routine last night, he cried a total of 25 minutes. I almost caved a couple of times but didn’t go in. He finally fell asleep & slept all night. Tonight I layed him down & zero crying! My advice to parents is to read everything here & then do exactly what Alexis suggests.

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