As new moms, we are sounding boards for all the things people think they did right, wish they had done different, or heard through the grapevine. It almost appears as all these well-meaning folks think they can do this better than we can! Regardless of the answer to this one, some of the advice you receive may sound really good, but can actually be harmful to your child.
Below are some common things I've heard, and why I (and you) should stay away from them.
(If you do get sick of me sounding like the safety police in this one, here is a list of the most annoying things we hear, that should keep you better entertained.
10 Sane Sounding Pieces of Advice That New Moms Should Not Take:
1. 'Your baby will sleep better on their tummy.'
Yes, my baby probably does sleep better now that he rolls over on his tummy. But he rolls over himself and is old enough to roll back, to know when he is suffocating, and....he is now old enough to sleep through the night! That comes with age, not with the position of the baby. Children placed on their tummy to sleep before they can roll over on their own can suffocate, as much as I wanted to sleep through the night, the risk was never worthwhile to me (as I am sure it isn't to you).
Note: even after baby can put themselves in that position, you should continue to put your baby to sleep on their backs, and let them choose which position gives them the most comfort.
2. 'Use a thick blanket to keep your baby warm.'
No, no, no, please no....... the number of children that suffocate is scary. You can tuck in a blanket around your baby, but a thin breathable one, preferably muslin. Even safer than that, are sleep sacks. Yes, babies feel colder than we do, but they need one additional layer only, so buy a thick fleece sleep sack, a warm swaddle and add a thin blanket that can be securely tucked in, and your baby will sleep just fine (For a baby, that is).
3. 'Rub honey on your little one's gums to help with teething.'
There is a lot of stuff out there to help with teething, from rings to natural and even medicated gels. Even cold carrot sticks can give your child relief from those itchy and often painful gums. What does not give your baby relief and can actually make your baby really sick is honey. Yes, there are people who swear this helps, and I'm sure it does by giving your little one a sugar rush and distracting them with sweetness. However, honey can cause botulism in babies so keep it away until your child is old enough to ask for it (or at least two, if you have a baby prodigy).
4. 'Throwing your young ling in a pool, will teach them how to swim.'
Many of us have heard about that one baby that got thrown into the pool and could swim, however, there are even more kids who are thrown in and have become terrified of the water. More seriously, drowning is one of the leading causes of infant and toddler death and should not be experimented with.
5. 'Keep your baby up late and it will sleep better at night.'
This actually is logical, I personally sleep better when I'm exhausted. However, our little ones defy all known logic here because an overtired baby - sleeps less! A lot less, and keeps waking up and crying. I have months of my own data (for those who didn't know that I'm a data junkie, and want to know more about this, click here,) that shows this; but we also have well documented research that shows this to be true and universal based on your baby's brain development. So, to get some (relatively) uninterrupted zzz's at night, put your baby to nap regularly in the day, and get them to bed at a reasonable hour.
6. 'Your breastfed baby can dehydrate in the heat, so make sure to give him/her plenty of water.'
Breast fed babies do not actually need any water. They get plenty of it from you, and more than that can actually be harmful! After 6 months, a little (one or two ounces/ thirty to sixty ml) of water can be given to baby in a sippy cup. However, this is really for sippy cup training and not because they need water. (Don't bother wasting your milk by putting it in the cup).
7. 'Make sure your newborn doesn't go hungry, so supplement till your milk comes in.'
If you plan to breastfeed, don't do it! Yes, there are a couple frustrating nights ahead waiting for your milk, and you are of course wiped out from the delivery and desperate to feel like you are recovering. However, the more you latch your hungry baby, the quicker your milk will come in. Try not to interfere in this process. Your little one's belly is marble sized at birth, whatever you can provide for them is enough.
8. 'Adding cereal to the bottle can keep your baby fuller.'
Cereal, whenever introduced, should be done with a spoon. It can clog the milk bottle nipple, come out in a little bunch and actually hurt your darling. Also, introduced too young, it can be impossible for your baby to digest. 4 months of age is the earliest that any solid food should be introduced.
9. 'Putting baby in a walker will help him/her walk faster'
Maybe, but it can also push my baby to walk before he (or she, of course) is ready (and while his legs are still bow shaped), and actually stunt some of his muscular development. Also, walkers can move fast, are difficult to control and dangerous. (When baby is ready, you are safer picking a walking toy they can hold onto and push, than one they have to sit in. Plus, Jumperoo's are a blast until then!)
10. 'Exposing your baby to germs will build their immunity.'
It sure will! But is this a risk you want to take? I don't wipe down everything my child touches but if someone is sick, or if something falls on the ground, I'm sure as hell going to keep my child away until it (or they) are sanitized.
At the end of the day, you are the parent and need to make decisions that make you comfortable. Don't get bullied by anyone, into doing anything that does not make you uncomfortable. However, if you are under pressure, feel free to quote me to anyone who comes nagging, I'm always happy to help.