Every pregnancy in this world is a unique story, which in turn gives birth to several old wives’ tales. Imagine these tales being handed over across generations in so many different communities and cultures, especially in India - A classic case of Chinese Whispers! While some traditions almost define our culture, some have proven to be rather lacking scientific wisdom.
As you receive this bucket of advice during your pregnancy, you must use your discretion in what you must pay heed to. Here are some popular myths surrounding the birth of a baby that you could easily ignore:
Myth #1: Dress your baby in used, old clothes for first 10 days
This can increase chances of infection as your baby’s skin is delicate and sensitive. To avoid any skin reactions, allergies, it is best to buy clothes and wash them one or two times, to make them soft and to check for running of color. Even if you are using old clothes of your first child for the second one, do wash them before using them.
Myth #2: Shaving or cutting off the hair of a newborn baby will make it grow thicker
This has got many takers! Density of hair is determined by hair follicles on the scalp and is genetic as well. It’s a good idea to simulate hair growth by a mild oil massage but shaving guarantees nothing. If the baby develops any disorders like a scalp infection, alopecia or thyroid problems when grown up, hair loss may still happen, regardless of ‘shaving’. The instruments used for shaving could potentially cause infection or rashes as well.
Myth #3: If you carry your crying baby often, your baby will get used to it
Some believe that babies should not be carried each time they cry. They should be allowed to cry out or they will get used to being carried. Some even believe that crying out will help to strengthen their lungs. Though crying can be normal for babies, it is their way of communicating their needs. This can mean different things such as hunger, discomfort, or even pain. It is still best to check and help them feel better. Feel free to contact your doctor for help if it seems out of control. Soothing a crying baby helps the baby feel secured and cared for. In the long run, such a baby is stronger socially and emotionally.
Myth #4: Massaging the baby’s legs will reduce the chances of him/her being bow-legged
It is believed that massaging the legs of the baby straight can change the form of the bones of the baby early on. In reality, it is normal for babies to appear bow-legged in his or her first days. Though massage is great for babies, baby’s legs slowly straighten up from 18th month onward normally. Make sure that you are gentle because your baby’s bones are still weak at this stage. It is essential that the baby enjoys the massage.
Myth #5: A new born will catch an infection, if taken out before the 40 days period.
It is ok to go out with your new born before 40 days. Fresh air and change in scenery is good for both mother and baby. However, one must remember that a new born baby has a delicate immune system and may catch an infection easily. If you must go out, stay away from crowded public places or, stay away from people who are sick.
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