Not too many things are more annoying to a mom than hearing someone tell her that she “shouldn’t do that” when she’s trying to raise her baby. It’s busy enough just raising a baby. So, why are baby myths so popular? Believe me, I wish I know, but what we can say is which myths are true and which are surprisingly interesting. Normally, myths are just common beliefs through word of mouth that have been passed down and believed as truth. Some may have more truth to them, while others are completely nonsense. Read on and see which baby myths are true and which ones are false.
Never Wake a Sleeping Baby
This is totally a myth, especially in the first few weeks of life. In reality, newborn babies need to be fed frequently. And, if you happen to have a sleepy baby, you should wake them every three to four hours for feeding time. Between five and six weeks of age, day and night sleep is organized. Therefore, if your child is sleeping more than three hours during the day, you should give them a little nudge. So, that you can get them nice, consolidated sleep in the nighttime. And, as your baby gets older, you can let them sleep longer.
Lullabies Help Babies Sleep Better
Well, this one isn’t true. But, it’s not completely false because the act of singing a lullaby can calm both you and your baby. However, singing lullabies isn’t a magic pill that can make sure your baby will fall asleep. So, it’s important to find many ways to soothe your infant. Whether it’s using music or a rocking chair, you should have more than only 1 way to help your baby sleep.
Naps aren’t Necessary
For young children and babies, naps are very important! You might have heard something like “you should keep your baby up all day, so they can sleep through the whole night”. In that case, you’re going to have an angry baby. And, it is not easy to take care of a fussy baby. In fact, in the first year of life, you should focus on naps to help your baby learn how to control their behavior, and fall asleep better. Because an overtired baby is actually going to sleep worse. Even one nap is acceptable! You don’t want your newborn or toddler awake more than about five hours at a time. So, up until three years of age, naps are necessary for daytime behavior, nighttime organized, and consolidated sleep.
Babies Should Be Sleeping Through the Night by Three Months
Every mom wishes that was true! If your baby isn’t sleeping through the night because they need to have a feeding or two, that’s OK. Up until four months, you really want to let your baby direct how that’s going to go. And then, starting after four months, you can think about your influence on their nighttime sleep.
An Early Walker or Talker is the Brightest of Their Peer Group
Even though an early talker might do better in learning language skills later, it doesn’t mean that children who are slow talkers aren’t going to equal or rise above those talkers. And, it is not 100% accurate or likely true that an early walker is going to get into Harvard! With walking, which is a motor development, it is better at predicting delays and associations with other issues that may arise. And, if you notice there’s a delay in walking, then you should talk to your pediatrician immediately.
Playing Some Particular Toys will Make Babies Smarter
According to this myth, the toy makes your baby smarter. But, actually what helps your baby grow smarter is the interaction between you and your child while playing. If you just leave your baby with a bunch of blocks alone, they might not learn anything from playing it. Therefore, the best way to develop your baby’s brain is through interaction with a caregiver. And, you should describe the toy, support your infant’s discovery of toys through language and descriptions. Remember that the toys itself are never going to make your baby smarter. It’s your language and interaction that’s going to boost your child’s intellectual development.
Bouncing Can Make Babies Bow-legged
The interesting thing is because, in the womb, most babies actually have their legs crossed. So, they may come out a little bowed-looking. And, it is totally normal for the legs to have that appearance! Many babies have that instinct to want to stand and bear weight on their legs, and that is fantastic for their motor development. You’re not only socially engaging with them, but also helping them develop muscle strength and control. So, this is absolutely a myth. Also, most developmental specialists recommend not using a contraption.
Crying Means Something is Wrong
If you’re feeling like your infant is excessively crying, the first thing that you want to do is talk to your pediatrician to make sure that there isn’t anything wrong medically. The fussiest period is between three to six weeks of life. And, there is something called infant colic, which is the crying stage of a normal baby. If your baby calms down when you hold them but every time you put them down, they cry again. That’s not some issue you should worry about because your baby is comforted by you and they just need that. Also, all of the effort you spend to stop your baby from crying in the short term is not a waste. Because it will help their long-term development.
Picking Up a Crying Baby will Spoil Them
False!!! Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. We know that parents are often very worried about spoiling young children. But, please spoil your young infants. The feeling a baby has of being upset or crying and then when they calm with you, that actually teaches their brain to go from upset to calm. Now, as your child gets older, can you spoil a baby or a child who’s crying and saying, “I need lollipops for dinner” That is a totally different thing. In the first year of life, comforting your baby and calming their body down actually helps them be calmer humans long-term.
Baby Walkers Help Babies Walk Better
In fact, there are some small studies that show that babies who use walkers actually learn to walk later than the babies that don’t. Because your baby’s muscles need to develop the way they’re supposed to, without any contraptions. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against walkers because they do delay walking. Furthermore, children can actually fall while using walkers and have the ability to reach things that are not safe for kids.
Putting Honey on a Dummy
This one is actually a dangerous baby myth! Babies should not have honey in the first year of life. The risk of honey comes from a bacteria called botulism. The spores from botulism your body can process, but young infants cannot. On top of that, it can actually cause paralysis in infants, which could lead to other dangerous situations. So, everyone must not give honey to any under 1-year-old baby.
Teething Can Cause Fevers
Most moms usually think teething is accompanied by fever but there is no link between these two. Teething may make your baby a little fussier or lose their appetite. All those side effects can make you think your baby might have some type of infection. But, it will not cause cough, runny nose, or vomiting. So, if you have a fever and you’re concerned about the cause, check in with your pediatrician.
Avoid Giving Allergic Food like Peanuts Until Your Child is Older
In fact, this myth used to be supported by the medical community. But, recent data shows that earlier introduction actually increases a kid’s tolerance, meaning that your child won’t have an allergic reaction. So, it’s good to introduce allergic food to your baby when they can eat solid food or weaning. However, make sure to speak with your pediatrician about exactly how to start it and if you have specific family risk factors.
Listening to Classical Music can Make Your Baby Smarter
Classical music might have some effect to boost human brains. But, playing it to your baby is not going to make them smarter. Actually, the back-and-forth interactions that your baby has with you is what promotes the language development and social development of their brain the best. So, we highly recommend people responding to babies with delight and other expressions.
Newborn’s Length will Tell How Tall They’ll be
Lots of parents obsessively think about the growth chart. But, the biggest predictor of your child’s final height is actually the parents’ height. Also, another big predictor is when your child goes through puberty. For example, there are some children who are short in 7th grade. But, they can keep growing until 10th and 12th grade and then they catch up and surpass their peers. Therefore, you can’t just rely on your newborn’s length and start to worry about their height in the first few years.
It’s definitely more challenging in today’s world of technology and social media to judge the truth from the legend, and occasionally even researching isn’t enough. As parents, you will hear many myths and things that might make you question your own parenting. And, if you do have any questions, rather than thinking about those myths, seek advice from some reliable and valid resources.