Debunking Baby Sleep Myths with Meg Faure

Debunking Baby Sleep Myths | S2 Ep67

Debunking baby sleep myths… do I have your attention yet? Join me in this episode of Sense by Meg Faure as I chat with Bailey Georgiades, who takes over as the host, to shed light on common misconceptions about baby sleep. As an Occupational Therapist and bestselling author, I’m here to debunk these myths and provide valuable insights into establishing healthy sleep habits for infants and toddlers.

The biggest baby sleep myths

We kick off the discussion by tackling prevalent myths I’ve encountered throughout my career. One misconception we address is the belief that babies cannot self-soothe, and another is the idea that all babies should sleep through the night. I explain why these myths are inaccurate and highlight the importance of understanding each baby’s individual sleep needs.

We then dive into the crucial factors for establishing good sleep habits in young children. I emphasize the concept of co-regulating, where healthy sleep habits go beyond sleep itself and focus on a child’s overall well-being. Creating routines that support emotional regulation and connection between parent and child is key.

Healthy baby sleep habits & conscious parenting

The conversation shifts to the notion that sleep patterns will naturally resolve on their own. I challenge this assumption and advocate for conscious parenting and intentional efforts to establish healthy sleep habits. Consistent routines and responsive parenting can have a positive impact on a child’s sleep patterns, providing long-term benefits for their well-being.

We also address the guilt and anxiety many parents feel when their baby doesn’t sleep through the night, contrary to societal expectations. I provide guidance on how to avoid these negative emotions and set realistic expectations for baby sleep. It’s essential to focus on your baby’s unique needs and progress, rather than comparing them to others.

Age and developmental stage play a significant role in a baby’s sleep needs and habits. I explain how sleep evolves as children grow and offer practical advice on adjusting expectations accordingly. Understanding developmental milestones and adapting sleep routines accordingly is crucial for supporting a child’s changing needs.

Debunking baby sleep myths: separating fact from fiction

With the overwhelming amount of conflicting information on baby sleep, we discuss strategies for navigating this landscape. I encourage parents to trust their instincts, seek evidence-based information, and tailor their approaches to their child’s temperament and individuality. Open communication with healthcare professionals and finding support from reliable sources is key.

And of course, we can’t forget the fun segment! Bailey and I engage in a rapid-fire “True or Myth” round, addressing common sleep-related questions from moms. We tackle topics like daytime sleep affecting nighttime sleep, the impact of teething on sleep disruptions, safe sleep positions, sleep training methods, and breastfeeding’s relationship to sleep disruptions.

As we wrap up the episode, I want to remind you to approach sleep with realistic expectations and seek evidence-based information. Don’t miss out on this informative discussion debunking baby sleep myths. Tune in now!

For daily and weekly tips to help you navigate your baby’s sleep, download Parent Sense now and start using Responsive Routine as the easiest, most intuitive way to manage the unpredictable!

Guests on this show

Bailey Georgiades

Bailey Georgiades

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Debunking Baby Sleep myths

Bailey: Welcome to Sense by Meg Faure, the podcast that helps parents make sense of the early years of parenting. I’m your host today, Bailey Georgiades, and today we have a very special guest on her own podcast. [00:01:00] None other than the well-known parenting expert, Meg Faure. Meg, I have to tell you, I get stopped in the street all the time from parents going, “Ahh, Meg’s podcast is just a game changer, a life changer. It has helped me so much and it brings me so much joy to hear that, that I had to pass it on to you.

Meg: Thank you Bailey. It’s actually so interesting. You know, you don’t know how many people, well obviously we see the stats for how many people have downloaded it, but you don’t realize the impact. And so many moms have actually said to me, oh, I’ve been following Cassidy’s journey. Because Cass is actually one of the moms who we followed all the way through to baby being a toddler. And it’s amazing how many people are actually getting, you know, great information. And it’s always absolutely fabulous to have you hosting me on my podcast. It’s one of my favourite parts of the series.

Bailey: Mine too. And for those who don’t know or are perhaps brand new, Meg is a renowned occupational therapist. She is a bestselling author of the Sense Series books, basically providing practical guidance on baby and child development. And I’ve always said that we’ve always wanted a baby manual, this is as [00:02:00] good as it gets. And in today’s episode, we’re going to be asking Meg to shed some light on some of the myths about baby sleep and really sharing her insights on why they are inaccurate. I cannot wait to dive in and learn from this. So, Meg, are you ready to go?

Meg: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I think the myths are so much fun. I actually posted something on my Instagram recently where I asked people to ask me myths and truths, like they could ask anything that was a myth or truth. And it was so interesting because there are all these preconceived and misconceived ideas that become these myths, and that’s what we’re going to be chatting about so very excited.

Bailey: All right. Well, on that base then, what are some of the most common misconceptions that you’ve encountered, and why are they so inaccurate?

Meg: Yes. You almost have parents falling into two buckets. BC, Before Kids and seasoned parents, you know. I think one of the misconceived ideas, or one of the myths is that babies can sleep really well. And actually, there’s that adage that says, I slept like a baby, meaning I slept so well.

Meg: Now any parent

Bailey: come from?

Meg: That’s [00:03:00] not true. So the first myth is that your baby’s going to sleep through the night. I mean, the reality is that babies do wake up at night. And, I think that it, it’ll maybe depress parents to know that more than 50% of toddlers are still waking up at night. So it really is the first myth that does need to be debunked is the baby sleep through the night and then it just happens. It, it doesn’t just happen. And you’re not parenting consciously about it, it’s actually not going to happen. And you know, then you’re going to end up with a situation where, where you don’t have a baby sleeping through the night.

Meg: So that’s my first misconception I would certainly like to say, is that the majority of babies are not sleeping through the night even when they’re toddlers. So, that’s number one. The second misconception comes post babies. And this is something that gets thrown out and I think it comes from moms who have tried everything, nothing’s worked, and then they almost get this frustration around the expectation that their baby should be sleeping through the night and then they say, well, babies are not supposed to sleep through the night, and babies can’t learn to self-soothe. And if you are trying to get your [00:04:00] baby to self-soothe, you’re doing the wrong thing and babies don’t sleep through the night. And that’s also a misconception because babies can and should be able to sleep through the night. So the first one is that babies don’t all sleep through the night, but the second one is that babies can sleep through the night. So people who tell you that babies can’t sleep through the night and that they won’t sleep through the night for a very long period of time, that’s also a misconception.

Meg: So it sounds like I’m kind of playing both sides of the coin, but actually the reality is that babies can and should be sleeping through the night. And that is, for me, a very important thing, you know, that I’m, we able to help parents to get their babies there. So I think those are the two very common misconceptions around sleep that we see a lot of.

Bailey: You said something about consciously parenting and being able to actually help babies sleep through the night. So creating healthy sleep habits is crucial for infants and toddlers. What do you believe is the most important factor in establishing really good sleep habits for young children, and why is it so vital for their wellbeing?

Meg: [00:05:00] Yeah, so it’s a very interesting question. First of all, sleep for the sake of sleep is important. If there was no other reason to sort out sleep, it’s just because of sleep, you know. I mean any mom who’s listening to this, who is sleep deprived, knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Meg: And I know you’re a seasoned mom, Bailey, you’ve got two little boys, and I’m a mom of three. When you’re sleep deprived, you just can’t parent. In fact, you can’t do life very easily. It’s hard. So the first reason why it is important to establish good sleep habits is because it’s vital. Sleep is vital. But it is whole lot bigger than that. It’s not just for us and how we are as parents and how we are feeling. It’s also for their health. We know that babies learn better when they’re well rested. We also know that babies are able to co-regulate themselves and their behaviour better when they’re rested.

Meg: And this goes for all of us. You know, when we are, overtired, overstimulated, we are actually not able to self-regulate our behaviour. We become frenetic and we are just not good mothers when we cranky and little kiddies are exactly the same. And so for their [00:06:00] overall wellbeing, it’s really, really important that baby sleep as well.

Meg: But, you know, when we start to talk about the principles of actually establishing good sleep habits, and we’re going to talk about that, I’m sure, teaching a child to sleep is actually about a lot more because it’s almost like it becomes a, a playing ground to play out all other areas of parenting, you know. you have to learn to read your baby, nurture your baby, give them the narrative, help them to learn to self-regulate.

Meg: Now, those things which we can go into bits and pieces of that. Not just important for sleep, they’re important for concentrating when you’re in grade one and you’re learning to read, because it’s also about staying calm, self-regulating, following boundaries, whatever it is.

Meg: I mean, you can take your head wherever you want to go, but sleep almost becomes like a practice ground for life. And so it’s more than just, great for mom, great for kiddies. It’s also a place in which we as parents can hone our skills and help our children in a whole lot of other aspects of their lives.

Meg: And when people do my sleep course, which is actually inside the Parent Sense app, so moms, if you haven’t got The Parent Sense App, go and download it. And in there you’ll find the courses [00:07:00] section, you’ll see my sleep course, and that course is actually a crash course in parenting. It talks about emotional regulation, it talks about nutrition, it talks about health and all of those pieces are part and parcel parenting.

Bailey: I think such a valid point that you’ve brought up here is that we often tend to look at things so isolated as if they’re their own little islands sleep, feeding, stimulation, when actually they’re all intertwined like a big spider’s web. And it’s really great to have that holistic look at it at everything.

Bailey: Most parents are often told that their child’s sleep patterns will work themselves out over time. And you know, this is the question, is it important to establish routines to help babies develop those good sleep habits that can actually carry into their teen and adult years?

Bailey: Or will it just naturally resolve on its own?

Meg: Mm. Yeah. So, you know, I mean, over the last few years there’s just been so much literature and science coming out around adult sleep. And I’m sure you’ve read, you know, I mean, there’s, there’s the books, you know, talk about you mustn’t have too little sleep and sleep hygiene for adults [00:08:00] has become a thing.

Meg: We now know that we sleep in a coolish room. And so now that you actually get mattresses, I mean, I don’t know if you know this, but you get mattresses that can regulate your temperature down. And I mean, if any of you have listened to Tim Ferriss’s podcast, absolutely love Tim Ferriss and he’s got every sleep gadget under the sun.

Meg: You know, we have our, our clocks that wake us up slowly and not using cell phones before you go to bed. You know, there’s all this, what we call sleep hygiene for adults. And actually it’s exactly the same for babies. It’s slightly different in what gets done specifically, but the concept of sleep hygiene is exactly the same.

Meg: So the answer to your question is, will kidney just kind of naturally resolve their sleep habits on their own? Will they all just be sleeping through by the time they’re teenagers and sleeping very long hours by the time they’re teenagers if you do nothing. The answer is no. Just like adults need sleep hygiene and need structures in place in order to sleep well at night babies are exactly the same. We have to, as parents, approach sleep very consciously. And, and that’s why sleep experts worldwide have a very similar rhetoric. [00:09:00] One is establish a bedtime routine. You know, bedtime routine’s, critical, you know, bath before bed, calm time, no screen time at all before bed. Not removing your baby from their bedroom is a common one as well. That that all feeds into sleep hygiene and it’s conscious. Every different sleep expert then has different nuances around it. So that one might say, you know, they must just sleep in your bed and that’s the best way to sleep. And another one might say they don’t, but you know, tho those are the nuances. But the point is that sleep doesn’t just happen naturally. Sleep is something that we need to work on as parents and be very conscious about. It’s interesting, Bailey, for moms who have got little babies, you know, kind of first trimester after birth, first three months, this is the time where if you start to bed down really, really healthy sleep habits ahead day sleeps and night sleeps, you’re likely to have a better sleeper.

Meg: There’s no question.

Bailey: Wow. All right, so that’s another myth that’s been busted. I love that. Now, you said in the very beginning that there’s the myth of babies can’t sleep through, but [00:10:00] at the same time, Babies can sleep through, and it’s not uncommon for parents to feel really guilty or anxious if their baby isn’t sleeping through the night as they’ve always been led to believe that this is the ideal.

Bailey: So how can parents avoid feeling guilty or anxious about their baby’s sleep habits and, and what realistic expectations should they have?

Meg: Yeah. So I mean, look, maternal guilt, we, I mean, we’ll find anything to feel guilty about. So, you know, and Yep. And, and actually I’m doing a great podcast with a psychologist, Nadine. And, and we are going to be talking about maternal guilt because, you know, I’ve always said, We should never feel guilt and she’s actually taking a different approach to it and saying, you know, how do we deal with it?

Meg: So maternal guilt is, is a massive thing and we do have a lot of guilt around or we almost feel like we failed so maybe that’s a better way to look at it. We almost feel like we failed if we don’t get our little ones sleeping through the night. And actually that gets fed into by all our friends, because I mean, this definitely happened to you because it happened to me.

Meg: It happens to every mother. Is your baby sleeping

Bailey: I know what you’re going to say.

Meg: Is your baby sleeping through the night and you get asked it when they’re six [00:11:00] weeks old, three months old, 10 weeks, you know, whatever. Yeah. Is your baby sleeping through the night? And so it becomes this measure of, how good a parent are you, have you got your baby sleeping through the night?

Bailey: which is so ridiculous. Like, can we just take that pressure off ourselves instantly? And I remember also, uh, being in a mommy’s group and people going, if your baby is sleeping through the night, you keep quiet. Nobody needs to hear that.

Meg: is because I don’t want to know about it. That is also true. Yeah. So I mean, look, I think it’s like everything in parenting, you know, it’s such a personal journey. It really is. You know? And so I think it’s very important that moms don’t feel anxious or guilty if their little one’s not sleeping through the night.

Meg: That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing something about it. I do think you should be doing something about it, because sleep is important for the reasons we’ve already.

Bailey: Fair enough.

Meg: But I do think that, you know, we need to do, need to take the pressure of ourselves. And, maybe that comes from not asking everybody.

Meg: I mean, if you’re in a mummy group and don’t ask everyone is your baby sleeping through the night because it just kind of perpetuates the same feelings. Let somebody else tell you about the fact that they’ve had a [00:12:00] really bad night or they’re so excited because their baby’s finally sleeping through the night.

Meg: You know? So, first of all, don’t ask. Second of all, understand if you are the mom who’s little one is not sleeping through the night, it’s very important that you understand that babies are so unique, which means that some little ones are going to sleep through really early and others will not.

Meg: Even if you parented them exactly the same way. I have three children, and each of them slept very differently. My second baby, she did sleep through the night by the time she was six weeks old, she was sleeping through the night and never didn’t sleep through the night. You know, she was an exceptional sleeper, but her sensory personality is a settled baby.

Meg: And so that was going to happen for her. She had, she came with other challenges for other reasons. You know, my third baby, and by then I’ve got, you know, parenting completely honed, supposedly. Didn’t seep through as easily. I had to really work at it. She was a reflux baby, you know? So if she had been my first baby, I would’ve been like, oh, I just, I haven’t got this right. I’m doing something wrong. But in actual fact, there’s what your baby brings as well. So, you know, I think be gentle on yourself, be gentle on each other, and recognize that your child [00:13:00] is their own human being and they’re all going to be different.

Bailey: I feel like you’ve just let parents around the world breathe out that relief sigh. Like just takes the pressure off. You know, the age and the developmental stage of a baby can greatly impact their sleep needs and habits. So, you know, you talked about six weeks being able to sleep through. So how does a baby’s age and developmental stage affect their sleep?

Bailey: And how as parents, can we adjust our expectations, especially the before kids are now actually in the thick of parenthood.

Meg: Yeah, so look, I think it’s important to know that babies don’t sleep through the night in the first few months. And my baby did sleep through at six months. She was super unusual. Babies don’t always do that. That’s not the norm. I wouldn’t say that that, that that’s anybody’s benchmark, it was her sensory personality. And Bailey, you and I did a podcast, which still remains our number one podcast, which was on the baby sensory personality. So if your moms, if you haven’t listened to that one, do go back and listen to it cuz it’ll explain why some babies do sleep through early and why others don’t.

Meg: [00:14:00] But in general, to answer your question around expectations, the first thing is that babies don’t sleep through the night generally in the first three months of life. So most babies require nutritional sustenance and nutrition at night in the first three months. What does happen for most babies is that they start to sleep better and better in those first 12 weeks.

Meg: So they go from waking three hourly, day and night to waking, maybe stretching for a four hour, five hour, even a six hour stretch, and then back to three hourly. So they start to do this one longer stretch, and it gives us so much hope because by the time they’re 12 weeks old, we are probably having like a down at seven in the evening, up at two in the morning and then at five o’clock and we feel like, oh, we’ve just had one night feed. It’s, you know, we, we are getting there. We’re getting there. We can see it. The next expectation that does need to be highlighted though is that around about 17 weeks we get a sleep regression where babies start to wake up more frequently at night.

Meg: And that is not a myth. So when we are talking about debunking myths and you hear about the 17 week sleep progression, that is not a myth that does happen. Babies do

Bailey: That was my [00:15:00] next question, so I’m so glad that you’ve debunked that. Yeah, no, it’s good. It’s good you’re helping.

Meg: yeah. So yes, so 17 weeks sleep progression’s, not a myth. That definitely happens and it happens for very good reasons for babies but basically they start to wake up more frequently and they do need to have an extra feed at night. And then they need to have solids introduced. And that, by the way, is another myth that we need to debunk, that introducing solids helps babies to sleep through because the truth is that solids is not a magic wand.

Meg: It doesn’t necessarily just mean that, you know, babies are going to sleep through the night. So, I think those would be the early stage expectations. The next stage expectations, which is the middle of the first year, is the baby should be able to sleep through the night at six months.

Meg: So all things being equal. Baby should do 10 to 12 hours at night from six months onwards, which is effectively sleeping through the night, going down at seven and waking at five. That’s through the night. So that is where we should expect them to sleep through the night. And if your baby’s not sleeping through the night from six months onwards, then there’s usually something that needs to be [00:16:00] problem solved.

Bailey: I love that. I mean, that’s the thing where I, well, what I love about your podcast is That you always bring in so much information for us, and I know that there’s so much conflicting information and advice on baby’s sleep. I’ve heard some horror stories out there that really put me off trying to get help with my baby’s sleep, and I think it can be extremely, extremely overwhelming.

Bailey: So my first piece of advice, if I may, is really decide who you trust, and that’s what I love about you Meg is that I can always come here and I know that I’m going to get incredible factual, loving, gentle information, but what advice do you have for parents who are struggling with their baby’s sleep and really being bombarded by all this conflicting advice from others?

Meg: Yeah, so I mean, you definitely mentioned the most important thing, which is choose one voice to listen to. So, my voice won’t be the voice for everybody. There will be people who doesn’t resonate for. So you need to choose one voice. For instance, if you have chosen the route, and I’m going to pick two quite [00:17:00] distinct camps here and they are stereotype camps, I guess. But, there will be a group of moms and advisors who recommend co-sleeping, not moving your baby towards self-soothing, you soothing your baby a hundred percent all the time through the baby and toddler years. You being fully available to your child, not having expectations of self-soothing and truly Bailey, there’s a big group of moms and advisors who believe that. And I mean, it’s all over Instagram and TikTok, that sort of theory of really letting the baby lead the process and not moving them towards sleeping through.

Meg: Now, if you’ve chosen that route, then that is the route that you need to choose. And if you are then anticipating that your baby’s going to sleep on their own in their bed without you, that that would be an unrealistic expectation and would cause conflict for you. So choose the one route and move along that route.

Meg: Know that your baby’s going to be in your bed. Know that you’re going to be doing the soothing for your baby. Know that your baby’s not going to sleep through the night for a very long time because they’re going to need you and be okay with it. Like live with that, embrace it. Live in that and [00:18:00] be that parent, you know, because then you’re not going to be conflicted.

Meg: But don’t come and say, I want my baby to fall asleep in their own cot and sleep on their own because that expectation doesn’t align with what you’ve bought into and what you are enacting for your baby, on the other

Bailey: Well, they always say start the way you mean to finish. So really think about what your end goal is.

Meg: I love that. And, and that really, that, that is so important.

Meg: And then if you are the parent who wants a little bit more routine, who does want your baby to sleep in their own space. Which by the way, I did from very early on with my babies. I was a good and intuitive Mum a lot of the time. But I didn’t want my baby in my bed. I didn’t want it. I had my own sensory space.

Meg: I’m a little bit slow to warm up, so I don’t like babies in my bed. I love the morning cuddles. Come into my bed in the mornings and do your afternoon sleeps with me. I love those. But in the middle of the night, no, I don’t want you in my bed, because I needed my own space from the timethey were little.

Meg: So I chose that route. I wanted them in their own space, and I wanted them in a routine, and I wanted them to sleep through the night because those things were important to me. And [00:19:00] so I chose to listen to the voices that supported that theory. And obviously as a scientist have read on both sides a lot of the science and a lot of the research, and so I, I had that information, but the route that I chose was to listen to the voices that reinforced what I wanted for my children.

Meg: And I think that that’s what you were saying with choose a voice, and I think that’s very, very important.



Bailey: Well, in the very beginning of the podcast, you mentioned that you had asked moms to send in true or myth questions. We are going to have some fun now because I have access to those and we’re going to bring them to life here on the podcast. So are you ready for some fun?

Meg: Absolutely. Let’s do true or myth.

Bailey: True or myth, I feel like we need some sort of like fanfare, music, like a game show. All right. True or myth. Babies who sleep longer during the day will sleep better at night.

Meg: Babies who sleep longer in the day will sleep better at night. That is true. So sleep beget sleep and so if your baby sleeps well in the day, they’re going to sleep better at night.

Bailey: Okay. Number two, true or myth teething is always the main cause of disrupted sleep in babies.

Meg: Myth. That is a myth. So teething gets a really bad rap. Teething gets blamed for being the reason the babies wake up at night, but it is not

Bailey: I like teething being [00:21:00] the scapegoat. I need

Meg: Parents do, I know. The thing that actually is probably the biggest thing that is the main cause of disruptive sleep is actually a baby who’s not able to self-soothe and who isn’t able to self-settle. And teething only really happens from six months onwards. So if a baby’s waking up at night be before six months, then they definitely not waking for teething reasons. So that is a myth. Okay. So let me focus on your next myth. Your next quick fire.

Bailey: True or myth, babies should be put to sleep on their stomach to prevent choking.

Meg: Oh, that’s a hard myth. That’s a very important one. So that is not true. The first half of the 1900s babies were put on their tummy because their parents were worried about them choking. And then we had the sudden infant death syndrome scenario where babies were dying in their sleep, which still happens to this day, sadly. But research showed that babies were more likely to actually die if they were sleeping on their tummies, and they had certain mechanisms that we think are the reason behind that. But the bottom line is that [00:22:00] babies should be sleeping on their backs or potentially on their sides, but certainly not on their tummies.

Bailey: True or myth, babies need complete silence to sleep well.

Meg: Mm. I would say it depends on their age. So I’m going to go myth because they don’t need complete silence in the early days. And in actual fact, they do better if there’s a little bit of sound in the background, which is one of the reasons why we use white noise. You know, white noise in the background is really good because it does filter out the noise.

Meg: Having said that, I do think a quiet-ish environment is a good thing to teach your baby early on because going forward you want them to be sleeping through, whereas you don’t want them to be completely dependent on being in a noisy restaurant in order to sleep type things. So, um,

Bailey: Sure. Okay. True or myth, crying it out is the only effective method to the sleep train a baby.

Meg: A hundred percent a myth. Definitely a myth. So babies definitely can learn to sleep through without cry it out. And in actual fact, I’m not really a fan of cry it out and we are not going to go into all of that. although, I have done on previous podcasts, but I [00:23:00] don’t think cry it out is the best way to get babies to seep through. I don’t recommend it. There are much better ways to get babies to seep through the night, like helping them to learn to self-soothe, supporting them, there’s a lot of other things.

Bailey: True or myth, babies who sleep in their parents’ bed will never learn to sleep independently.

Meg: Myth as well. So if your baby sleeps in your bed, there will come a day where they will learn to sleep in their own space as soon as you decide that that is right for them. So, if you’ve chosen for your baby to co-sleep with you for the first, let’s say 14 weeks, when you move them into their own bed, they will learn how to sleep in their own space.

Meg: If your baby is with you for the first eight months and you move them out, they will also learn how to. The thing is though, it is a little easier when they’re younger for them to learn. You know, the longer your baby’s been sleeping in your bed and particularly a toddler, potentially, the harder it is to move them into their own bed.

Meg: But, in terms of never learning to sleep on their own, no, that’s a myth.

Bailey: Co-sleeping with your baby is always dangerous and should be avoided.

Meg: Okay, so the word there [00:24:00] that I’m going to have to focus on is always, so co-sleeping is not always dangerous and should be avoided. It can be done safely so you can co-sleep with your babies safely. Babies would need not to have your pillow near them, not to have your duvet on them. And to have their own sleep space within your bed.

Meg: So, you can co-sleep safely, however, There definitely is enough indication that co-sleeping can increase the risk of, of SIDS, of Sudden Infant Death syndrome. The Americans in particular are quite fastidious on this, on not having babies co-sleep because of the risk of SIDS, but there are factors that really do impact that. Co-sleeping on a couch, super dangerous. Co-sleeping when you’re under the influence of alcohol, super dangerous. Co-sleeping if you’re on painkillers, super dangerous. So don’t do those things but you can co-sleep safely.

Bailey: Here’s one that I’m really fascinated by, and I, I’m sure lots of moms sent this in. Babies who are breastfed have more sleep disruptions compared to formula fed babies. True or [00:25:00] myth.

Meg: Okay, so that is true. It is true that babies who are breastfed are likely to wake up slightly more frequently. formula is just a little bit more filling, little bit more sustaining. Breastfeeding comes with that comfort piece, you know, that does lead to babies wanting to be close to you just for the comfort more than just the nutrition.

So it’s a multifactorial impact on sleep. So yes, the research shows that breastfed babies don’t sleep quite as well as formula fed babies. But caveat, of course, that’s not a reason to give up breastfeeding. So, it is a short-lived, slightly negative impact on sleep.

Bailey: Okay, this has kind of come up already, but we’ll go through it again because it was something that parents sent through. True or myth, babies should be sleep trained and left to cry it out to learn how to self soothe.

Meg: It’s a myth. And the reason is that the other ways is to teach your baby to self-soothe. And in actual fact, self-soothing is a piece of self-regulation and the only way that a human being learns to [00:26:00] self-regulate is in the context of a relationship. I mean, this is, the research is quite clear on that, that you need a loving and nurturing relationship to learn to self-regulate.

Meg: When you’re doing cry it out by nature of what it is, you’re on your own. You’re not in the context of a relationship. So for me, if a baby’s going to learn to self-soothe, it’s not going to be done through cry it out. It’s going to be done with a parent there.

Bailey: Great and the final true or myth, adding rice cereal to a baby’s bottle will help them sleep longer at night.

Meg: It’s a myth. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Food needs to be on plates. Liquid needs to be in bottles. Don’t ever mix them together. I don’t think it’s going to improve your baby’s sleep, and I think it’s going to be very disadvantageous for baby’s health. So definitely don’t do that. That one’s a myth. Yeah.

Bailey: Meg, thank you again.

Meg: Good fun. That, and that was actually really fabulous. I should, I think we should be adding that into the end of every single one of our podcasts together. I think that was a great way to, to kind of have a look at the, at the truths and myths.

Bailey: I think so. I mean, it’s so fascinating to hear it out because we hear all [00:27:00] those things all the time. Whether it’s, you know, from other moms and dads or through social media that it’s just nice to have a parenting expert weigh in. So thank you so much for shedding light on the myth surrounding baby sleep.

Bailey: And really sharing your expert insights. I feel like I always gain valuable knowledge, even though I have slightly little older toddlers now. I still feel like, gosh, I learned so much through this. So thank you, thank you, thank you. And remember, it is important for parents to approach sleep with realistic expectations and really to seek evidence-based information.

Bailey: So please do join us next time on Sense by Meg Faure for more informative discussions on parenting and child development. Thank you again, Meg.

Meg: Thank you Bailey, and thanks Mums for joining us.


Meg faure

Meg Faure

Hi, I’m Meg Faure. I am an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Parent Sense. My ‘why’ is to support parents like you and help you to make the most of your parenting journey. Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of babies, and I’ve come to understand that what works for fussy babies works just as well for all babies, worldwide.