Life Lessons: Busting baby sleep myths

Posted: 5:00 AM EDT May 17, 2013

Sleep is a coveted prize for a new parent.

Pediatricians say parents need to focus on how to get their baby to fall asleep on their own and stay asleep.

For example, they say don't set a late bedtime thinking this will make your baby sleep longer. Doctors say the opposite it true.

Keeping a baby up late will make him overtired, make him have difficulty falling asleep and have him waking up early.

Another myth: it's okay to let the dog sleep in the nursery. True or False? False.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends never leave a baby alone with a pet.

The reason? About 600,000 children are bitten by dogs every year. Even a cat can cause harm to your infant.

To play it safe, make the nursery a no-pet zone.

Also, never wake a sleeping baby? False.

In the first few weeks of infancy your baby needs to eat every two to three hours.

In order to keep your baby at a healthy weight, there may be times when you will have to nudge the baby awake to feed.

Another baby sleep myth is to keep the nursery completely quiet.

Sleep experts say newborns actually find background noise, like the sound of a fan, comforting and familiar.

Plus the added white noise can drown out the rest of the noise throughout the house that can wake the baby.