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Myth Busting Sleep Remedies – EP 10

October 12, 2016 |  by  |  Podcast

Looking to help your child sleep better? Well I’ve got the solution for your sleepless woes! Step right into my tent here and take a gander at my surefire remedy for whatever sleep problem you have. Baby can’t fall asleep? Try essential oils! Lettuce baths! Teething got you a bad case of the crabby kiddo? Give amber beads or homeopathic teething tablets a try! Is baby hungry all night? Put a little cereal in their bedtime bottle! What? You don’t believe these will work as well as I claim? Well maybe you’ll believe Ashby and Alexis who separate fact from fiction in a podcast dedicated to myth busting popular sleep remedies.

In this podcast we unpack the fact and fiction behind some of the most popular sleep remedies used by parents today. Which ones work? Which ones don’t? And which ones are potentially dangerous to your child’s health?

Sleep Remedies Covered

We dig into the evidence supporting the following popular approaches:

  • Amber teething necklaces
  • Homeopathic teething tablets
  • Essential oils for sleep
  • Lettuce baths
  • Thickened feeds or cereal in the bottle

Do some of these work? Surprisingly, yes! Give it a listen to find out which ones do. And which ones we encourage you to avoid entirely (hint: there’s more than one).

Additional Reading

The science of amber beads
FDA Warnings on Hylands Teething Tablets
The FDA and homeopathic remedies
Lavender oils and sleep
What are lettuce baths anyway?
The Effect of Thickened-Feed Interventions on Gastroesophageal Reflux in Infants
Use of Thickeners in Milk for Healthy Infants
Sleep and schedules
How to make bedtime awesome

As always, feel free to share any questions or comments regarding this podcast with podcast@preciouslittlesleep.com. You can find this and all of our other episodes at:

Or share your perspective in a comment below!


19 Comments


  1. this should be interesting! Thanks for all the additional references/links too.

  2. I think you hit on a good point with EO’s. It needs to be HIGHLY diluted IF you are going to apply it to a little. I use EO’s for myself, but plan on waiting and doing a ton of research before making the decision to apply/diffuse around my little one.

  3. I am someone who uses natural remedies from time to time ( honey and elderberry for coughs etc.) and have some essential oils. You didn’t offend me:). I have used lavender (extremely diluted) for diaper rash on my baby. I did my research though and agree with your points. Lavender is the only EO I feel comfortable using on kids. The others are just for me. You have to be very careful! I don’t use it for sleep because…like you said, boundaries and routines are really the issues I deal with. Two thumbs up as always!

    • Sounds like a good perspective! Frankly after doing this research, I’m going to be doing some lavender myself. Maybe we’ll all be calmer around here at my house 🙂

  4. While I agree with all your points and like your website a lot, I find your way of speaking about the topics and the people searching for answers a bit mocking and offensive. Almost like you are enjoying laughing at people’s desperation which you see as ignorance. I had to actually turn your podcast off because of this. Much respect for your research and writings, but less for your way of speaking on podcasts about these topics.

    • We’re definitely trying to keep things lively and fun and I’m sorry you felt it crossed the line into offensive. It’s unfortunate that you turned it off however, because you likely missed the part where we discussed the desperate lengths we also went to when we were in the thick of it. That we’re not laughing at anybody, but actually laughing at ourselves too.

      • Alexis we totally should have covered the part where I was in the hospital convinced that my newborn had pneumonia because he snorted a lot. Why won’t the nurses take me seriously??? I’m sure they charted, “Patient is clueless FirstTimeMom and thinks 3 hour old baby has pneumonia.”

  5. I always wondered about the amber necklaces…the idea of beads around the baby’s neck just made me too nervous!

  6. I’ve heard that eating lettuce can help you sleep at night, similar to a cup of warm milk. I wonder if that’s where the lettuce bath idea comes from. (“We can’t feed them lettuce, so let’s bathe them in it!”) But then…we’re feeding babies warm milk anyway, so why bother? lol

    • I wonder if it’s just “eat food you like” to sleep well. Like warm milk is a pleasant and relaxing thing to consume so yes, do that 😉

      Well lettuce is good for you so go for it!

  7. Great podcast. Want to cut the amber necklaces off friends’ babies and fling them into trash! 🙁

    A night two success (so far!) story:

    My almost 6mo falls asleep independently quite well, but wakes up to 4x nightly to boob. Was TERRIFIED to CIO. I mean BUCKETS of tears talking about this with daddy who was all “let’s do this CIO thing!”.

    What made me ready for a change? In ~2 weeks I have to go back to work to a challenging promotion that I cannot screw up and my brain is mush. I mean I can barely read the sign at the smoothie shop w/out getting confused.

    Changes: (1) will no longer sleep in room with baby’s crib b/c she has breastaurant rader and is a super light sleeper; (2) reduce amount of time at breast; (3) reduce to three feedings – dream feed, 2 am feed and 5 am-ish feed; (4) separate boob from bed by 20 minutes.

    Night 1: Glued to monitor all night in sheer terror and barely sleep. Baby woke a lot and fussed herself back to sleep a lot. I forgot the plan (doh!) and fed her 2x but at least remembered to feed her less. At 2 am I decided to not go in again until 5 am. She fussed and slept on and off until 4:30 a.m. at which point I broke and fed her a bit and went back to sleep in the bed in the room until 6:45 a.m.

    Night 2: Remembered the plan better! Did a dream feed at 10pm and set an alarm for a 2am feed. Apparently she was fussing at 1:30 am and I slept through it! I woke and looked at monitor at 2am, 4am, and 4:30 am and each time SHE WAS PEACEFULLY SLEEPING! I woke at 6:45 am and she was STILL PEACEFULLY SLEEPING at which point I woke her to feed my crazy engorged boobs.

    No crazy inconsolable screaming.

    She did not act famished when she ate at 7am.

    I am over the moon.

    Will keep posted on subsequent nights!

    • {INSERT HAPPY DANCE HERE}

      So what did you learn? Hopefully you learned that when you remove the sleep association from bedtime you see that many requests are about habit/association and not actual hunger. How do I know this? Because “light fussing but not enough to wake you up” tells me she wasn’t actually starving.

      And also the fact that she slept through to 6:45 without eating 😉

      Well done and what a great change to make to get your brain back online. Congratulations!

  8. Good morning Alexis! I was wondering if you heard about the SNOO crib? I read about it online and saw a video, and Dr. Karp was discussing it. Looks so cool! Would love to hear your thoughts about it.

  9. Update for good karma:

    On the 6th night there was an extinction burst where she cried off and on from 2:30 am to 4:00 am. But no hysterical crying. Up to that night, she would cry for like 3 to 10 minutes 1x to 3x a night.

    Now she’s sleeping really well with dream feeds at 10pm and 5am which I am enjoying for the quiet night cuddle time, just her and me. I wish she wasn’t such a light sleeper and I could have accomplished this with her in the same room as me. But on the bright side I’m getting enough sleep and she seems no less happy than before.

    Thanks for this blog. 🙂

  10. Help!!! We have been following your plan exactly and at bedtime our 6 month old goes to bed easily now with no crying.we have reduced the number of night feedings but when he wakes up in the night, after eating and falling asleep in our arms, he wakes up every time we try to put him back in his own bed. Any suggestions??

    • Hey Katie that would be LOTS of things. But my best guess would be to look at what’s happening AT bedtime. IT sounds like he still has a “on you or cuddling” association. So make sure there isn’t a heavy emphasis on that in your routine. Like cuddling is FINE but maybe you do that while reading a book or two? Also make sure he’s 100% awake going into the crib and not “drowsy and barely awake” – look to changes at bedtime and in the routine AROUND bedtime.

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