Should My Baby Use a Night Light?
The idea behind using a baby night light is not strange since many adults are accustomed to using night lights. Sometimes, they think their baby might need one, too.
The answer is there is nothing wrong with using a baby night light, but not using one is beneficial too. This might sound a little confusing, but the following points will help you understand why you may or may not want to use a soft light for your baby at night.
Why do Parents Want the Light On?
There are many reasons why a parent might want to turn on the light for a baby; some of these reasons are just myths you have to identify. The following are some reasons parents opt for the light:
- You think having the light can prevent your child from getting scared, but babies don’t fear anything that might be lurking in the dark.
- You think a night light will calm your baby down, which is done primarily for your peace of mind.
- Trying to reduce nightmares
Now, this is not to say that a child won’t ever get scared of what is lurking in the dark or won’t feel less anxious with a light, but it won’t happen when the child is that small.
There are a few reasons using a baby night light is a good idea, and you are going to learn about them:
Using a baby night light could help boost visual development. At the moment, your baby is still adjusting to the light around him or her and is working pretty hard.
Turning all the lights off slows that process down, so letting your baby sleep with a little light should force his or her eyes to continue working. Of course, you can just let the moonlight flood in to let this happen naturally though this is not always possible depending on the position of your baby’s room.
Another good reason a parent might be making the right decision when purchasing a night light is that it could help your baby sleep. As mentioned earlier, your baby still can’t see much, so he or she won’t see those cute baby mobiles spinning above the crib.
You are going to make it easier for your baby to focus on those toys by using a baby night light. Being able to see these toys before falling asleep helps a baby focus on a repetitive sequence of events that should help your baby’s brain feel less stimulated. You want this because an overstimulated brain is too alert, which makes it hard to fall or stay asleep.
Of course, you might be happy knowing that those nightly baby checkups are going to be easier using a baby night light because you won’t have to turn on bright lights that could wake your baby up.
Why Should a Parent Turn Off the Light?
This decision is not going to be an easy one because there are two options for you. Still, it is a good idea to identify the myths you do not have to worry about, like the following:
- Turning on the light in the night could get your baby used to sleeping with lights on.
- Some parents think they need a light to see what is happening with their babies, but that is not true because a baby will cry. Plus, some baby cams come with night vision.
Now, there are some genuine reasons why not using a baby night light might be a good idea for parents, like the following:
Some experts say that babies are learning to tell the difference between night and day. This is vital for the baby’s overall understanding of the world he or she is part of, but using a baby night light might interfere with that important lesson.
Understand that part of the reason your baby needs to learn the difference between night and day is because it helps inform the internal clock. The reason you can wake up without an alarm is that you have a pretty good internal clock.
You do not want your baby to start oversleeping because his or her internal clock is a little off, right?
There are some experts who believe that using a baby night light could make it harder for a baby to sleep through the night. The reason is simply that the brain is learning that sunlight means melatonin should not be produced.
Melatonin is a neurotransmitter that makes a person feel sleepy. Its production can be turned off by something like a night light because the brain cannot tell the difference between sunlight and artificial light.
You do not want to wake up in the middle of the night because your baby’s brain was confused.
It is easy to see that there are good reasons for using a baby night light and good reasons to avoid artificial light. Of course, the decision is ultimately yours, but try to weigh both arguments before making a choice.
You might want to try both to see how your bundle of joy reacts to both situations, and stick to the one that works best. Try not to interject your own feelings into the decision; for example, don’t turn on the light because you get scared of the dark. Remember, babies are used to sleeping in a pitch dark womb.
It might also be a good idea to talk to your pediatrician about this decision because he or she can help you make a choice. Keep in mind that the night light situation could change as your baby grows up, so be ready to turn off the light or turn the light on depending on your child’s needs.