20 Baby Myths Parents Believe In
It is a fact universally acknowledged that new parents are prone to believe anything and everything that people say is good for the baby- from boiled apples to soothing colors in the baby’s room, they try it all. So of them really do work and some don’t We do not blame the parents, after all, we want is what is best for the baby. Let us try to bust a few of them, though!
Myth 1# Your 3 to 4-month-old baby is teething
What have the old cronies of the neighbourhood told you about teething? Let us repeat it for you-
If you find your baby showing the following signs, your baby is teething-
- Is irritable and grumpy
- Has a frequently interrupted sleep cycle.
A grumpy and grouchy babe at this age is quite normal.
At this age, all the babies start producing more salivary Amylase in preparation for weaning.Hence, they all soak up their bibs and your t-shirt. They also put anything and everything that they find in their mouth, it is their sensory zone after all.
A disrupted sleep cycle is normal too!
And all this because it is a part of child development.
Research has shown that the real symptoms of teething are- rubbing the ear, irritability, fever, diarrhoea, itching, loss of appetite, runny nose, and rash.
Most symptoms that parents attribute to teething are not predictive of it. Another concerning issue that surrounds teething is the use of medication which though for infants are medicines in their own rights and may cause future complications.
Myth 2# Your Three To Four Month Old Baby Is Ready To Wean
Perhaps your baby is really little, so tiny that your family members seem to think that he needs a bit of that baby rice to help him put on weight. Maybe your baby is healthy and big such that it seems even to you that you milk might not be enough for him to provide the required nutrients for his body.
We would say that none of those beliefs are true because the baby’s salivary glands start producing salivary amylase only after a baby is five to six-month-old. This means that before this period, the baby is unable to convert the nutrients in the food to energy. On birth, the baby does not produce salivary amylase as the milk is easy to digest and the production increases over the next six months. If the babies wean before this age then the nutrient absorption will be very poor and the baby may suffer from diarrhoea, constipation, stomach cramps etc , all of which interrupt sleep.
After these six months there are other physical developments as well like the baby being able to sit up unsupported , the loss of the tongue thrust reflex and the ability to pick up and drop objects.
Myth 3# If A Breastfed Baby Is Supplemented With A Bottle Of Formula Then He Will Sleep Better
The first theory that pops up in your head when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night is that he is hungry hence the midnight siren-call for a midnight-snack! But consider this, research has found out that babies wake up for want of human contact. Plus, the formula milk is harder to digest than breast milk.
So, we conclude that the theory is absolutely baseless.
Research has also found that babies who are breastfed at night are likely to sleep better than babies who are formula fed because, in addition to the physical contact, it provides sleep hormones including melatonin which helps them sleep and which is absent in formula milk.
Myth 4# Dreamfeeding Is The Magic Sleep Tool
This theory works on the logic that ‘ feed the babies up so much that they sleep as long as is possible for them’. Now, we know this is unfounded as we know that a baby wakes up for human contact as much as for food. There are even downsides to this-
- Waking a baby just enough to feed him up messes his circadian rhythm ie. the baby’s body clock. It is the thing which slowly makes the baby’s body accustomed to sleeping more and longer at night and less and less during the day.
- Feeding the baby at 10pm when the next feed should be at 10am is like setting up and encouraging this habit long into the future which would otherwise be dropped far before.
Myth 5# The Baby Needs To Attend Groups To Socialize
All your baby needs to be social, is you? Trust us when we say that your baby might be more social than yo are (wink, wink!). Babies are tremendously social beings and are really observant so a little smile, a sudden game of peekaboo and copying your facial expression goes a long way. The only one who gets to be ‘more’ social is you and it is a good thing as you get to share the parenting experiences with other parents.
Myth #6 The Practice Of Self-Soothing To Be Taught To The Babies
Babies cannot be taught to self-soothe, plain and simple. They are as likely to not want attention while crying or not want their mother’s by their side while going to sleep, as they are to be able to drive a spaceship. Much more important is the question is why should they? Why should they learn to self-soothe? They do not need me such at young age. It is a part of growing up and it would come to them naturally. Besides, they bond with you better when you are there when they need you.
Myth #7 Babies Need To Be Taught To Be Independent
In order to be Independent, the babies need to be dependent on you first. Forcing a baby to be independent before he is ready can only have negative effects resulting into him becoming more clingy, under-confident and shy. They will try to become independent after a certain age themselves, you won’t have to force them then.
Myth#8 Babies Need Some Tough Love
Never and I repeat never resort to this. You might think that you are paving your way to gaining control over your child but all you are doing is paving your way to a point where your child will stop trusting you and you will lose control altogether.
Every parent loves his child and would like the child to share his troubles with him/her and trust them with their problems. In forcing the child into ‘tough love’ though smacking, grounding , time out etc. Make your kids want to obey because they love and respect you and not because they fear you. It will be a good place to remind you that corporal punishment does not fall into the category of even ‘tough love’ and is severely punishable.
Myth #9 You Absolutely Have To Visit Your Health Visitor
Some health visitors are really good and some not so much. If you are UK based then we’d like to inform you that there is no legal obligation for you to visit your health visitor.
Health visitors are just registered nurses and midwives who have had a bit of extra training which is absolutely not enough to knowledge about the infant’s psychology and postpartum families. The health visitors who are really good keep themselves up to date about a science of sleep and that of infant feeding and attachment. So, most of the advice that health visitors give especially regarding sleep is their personal opinion. What we suggest is not to take their advice at face value and do some research of yourself if you have a hunch.
Myth 10# Babies Gagging On Finger Food Means That They Are Choking
Babies have a really strong gag reflex which prevents them from swallowing anything dangerous and actually choking. Some parent’s who aren’t familiar with the phenomenon may be alarmed by the gagging and conclude that their baby is not ready for finger foods.
We do advise that the parents should take a paediatric first aid course to deal with cases of real choking or other dangerous situation which may god forbid befall your child.
Myth 11# You Will Instantly Feel That Special Bond With The Baby
For some mothers, it is true that they may instantly feel that bond click in with the baby at first sight or firs touch. But, it is okay if some mothers don’t. It is just like meeting a new person. Just it takes a time to bond time bond with a new person, the bond between the baby and the mother grows and strengthens over time.
Myth 12# Babies Do Not Have Kneecaps
Well, babies do have kneecaps, they are jut not hard enough, or rather they are soft. Paediatric occupational therapist Anne Zachry, Ph.D., explains that an infant’s kneecaps are made of soft cartilage,which allows for early growth spurts. Throughout childhood, these kneecaps get harder as they form into bones.
Myth 13# Newborns Are Unable To See
Newborns may have blurry vision but they absolutely and most definitely can see. There is reason enough for the origin of the myth though which might be the weird movement of the newborns eyes. Zachary says that it is because the babies do not have full control over their eye muscles, therefore they sometimes have jerky eye movements. Research says that it is as early as two weeks that babies learn to differentiate between colours and can tell between red and green, but before that everything is black and white for them.
Myth 14# In Order To Learn To Walk , Infants Need Walkers
American Academy of Paediatrics says that walkers are not necessary for the infants to learn to walk and may even prove to be dangerous as the infant is unable to see his own feet and hence is likely to fall down. If the walker is used by infants not yet of walking age, it forces the muscles of the baby to work in ways they are not supposed to be working. Further, the walkers help the baby reach things that should actually be out of their reach.
Myth 15# Good And Bad Baby Bottles And Nipples
It takes some work to make the baby transition from breast to bottle.Sadly, there is no secret formula to let you know which bottle is best for the baby. In fact, there is no bottle which won’t leak or form the gas. Babies are unique little beings and everything depends on his sucking style, the shape of his little mouth and preference and so when a parent complains about constant leaking, it has more to do with these factors than the bottle or the nipple. The only thing you can do is round up a few types of bottles and nipples and then see what your baby takes to.
Myth 16# Nipple Confusion Is A Giant Issue
The baby absolutely realizes when you are switching from nipple to the bottle. It is just a matter of preference for him. If he likes the bottle and the faster flow that it offers, it might be difficult for him to go back to the breast. Some babies, on the other hand, are pickier. The important thing is to make sure that the baby does not gulp down bottles and that there isn’t much in the bottles. It is best to choose bottles with a slower flow.
Myth 17# Bouncing Causes A Bowlegged-Baby
This even sounds like the old wive’s tale it is. On the contrary, bouncing leads to straighter legs, says pediatrician Vicki Papadeas, MD. Legs are bowed due to the in-utero position and straighten up once the baby starts to walk and stand. So basically, all the baby needs are normal stretching and movement to straighten out those bowed-legs at birth.
Myth 18# Excessive Crying Means That Something Is Majorly Wrong
If your baby is crying and crying and crying , it does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with the baby. Ill babies are limp, listless, breath fast, febrile and generally passive. Whereas, it takes as good amount of energy to cry. If your baby has had a heart meal, has a normal bowel movement and does not have a fever or any visible injury, chances are that he is perfectly fine. Crying is just the baby’s way of asking for something.If soothing for 15 to 10 minutes does not work, simply sit with your baby in a soothing atmosphere and help him through his distress by just being there. Your calm presence will help the baby calm down so take care to maintain your cool.
Myth 19# Being Attached To The Nanny Is a Big No
Every mother is possessive about her baby and wonders ‘ will my baby think that the nanny is his mother?’. That is perfectly normal. Lindsay Heller of ‘The Nanny Doctor’ says that it is a good thing if the baby loves the nanny. Understand that the baby will see the nanny as the parental figure but it does not mean that it will affect his bond with you. You and the baby’s bond will always stay in place, just make sure to keep reminding the baby that you are there for him by spending as much time with him as possible.
Myth 20# All Baby-Cries Sound The Same
The baby’s only way to communicate with you is his cry. There is a different cry for everything and it takes time to decipher this complicated baby-tongue. If you listen to the crying carefully, you will soon discover that there are different ways that the baby cries for different things he needs. Heller says that most parents report that an “owh” sound may mean baby’s tired (the o-shape of the mouth enacts yawning), “eh” means “burp me” ( the tightening of the chest muscles makes this sound) and “neh” means baby’s hungry (no reason!).
And that parent is all about the myths that you are most likely to come across once you have your first baby. Just remember, myth or not consult the Paediatrician about everything that concerns your child because it is always best to have an expert advice. You may also go through the latest research about the baby-world to help understand your baby better. Most of all, just love your baby!