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. Even worse, hearing, "that can cause such-and-such" or "the baby will have X because of Y". It's nerve-wracking enough just raising a baby, period -- So why are baby myths so popular? That's one question that we can't answer, but what we can say is which myths are true and which are surprisingly interesting. Most of the time, myths are just common beliefs that, through word of mouth, have been passed down and passed along and believed as truth. Some are old wive's tales while others, well...Let's just say we're not really sure how they became true.
We've come up with some common baby blunders that many moms might believe are true, but are, in fact, not even close to being accurate. 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. Some may have more truth to them, but overall if a mom is concerned about a particular "myth", she should talk to her doctor. Otherwise, read on and see which myths can be spotted as true or false!
20 True: "Crying" Is Inaccurate Until Three Weeks Post-Birth
This is more of a technicality rather than a myth that's true, simply because of the word "cry". It's obviously a well-known fact that babies make a lot of noise during their first week they're born, but this can't technically be called crying, because babies physically can't cry during the first three weeks of their life. The reasoning behind this is a delay in tear duct development and it's completely normal. While a baby can produce enough moisture to ensure that their eyes are well-watered and protected, they simply can't produce enough tears to physically cry until around the three-week mark. This is why instead, they'll yell and wail rather than full-on cry.
19 False: Toys Will Educate Your Baby
There has been no scientific evidence to directly link the benefits of educational and learning toys with a baby's brain. We're not saying that all toys are useless, but what we are saying is that it's much more in how your baby is playing, rather than what they're playing with. When they're in their toddler stage of learning, educational toys are helpful in reinforcing what they already know or are continuing to learn...However, as an infant, educational toys don't really have much of an effect and their learning falls more under the category of motor functions and skills. A baby's five senses are still developing, so what they're learning is actually touching, feeling, smelling, seeing, and hearing. Whether they're touching a flashy toy that lights up and sings or a plain 'ol building block with a letter on it, they're learning much of the same thing -- How it appears to them with new senses. The same goes for educational videos, which according to one pediatric organization, can actually delay language development in children under two years of age.
18 True: Not Colorblind, But They Do Prefer Monotones
Another common contradiction is when parents think that babies love bright colors and flashy toys. While these things are distracting, yes, a newborn baby is easily overwhelmed by his or her surroundings. When a child is born, in addition to only being able to see things clearly from 8-12 inches away, they also are not fans of bright colors. Seeing things in black and white helps a baby to process the information they're seeing and does less to overwhelm them in their new world. If you consider the world from their point of view, while colors are something they'll love later on, initially, the simpler scope of vision the better.
17 False: Sugary Candy Is The Cause Of Wall-Bouncing
We hate to break it to you, but sugar does not cause hyperactivity in kids or babies. Rather, it's a combination of all the forces at work within the sugary treat your child is indulging in, which can include anything from candy to a banana. According to Alan Greene, M.D., from Palo Alto, Cali, fiber essentially acts as the sheriff between high amounts of sugar and your body. The reason for sudden, often unwarranted, bursts of energy comes from the adrenaline that's released when you increase your intake of sugars (any kind, not just the sweet kind). This is why granola, protein bars, smoothies, etc., are super healthy and helpful for people who work out or go on long hikes, but not so great for settling kids down. Fiber is the key to regulating that adrenaline since it's responsible for somewhat canceling out the effects that straight sugar has on your body -- Meaning that while tootsie rolls and fruit roll-ups may be causing you serious angst, giving them a snack with a balance of both sugar and fiber, like an apple or fiber bar, can help level out the effects.
16 True: 300 Bones... It's True
You might be reading this thinking, "how in the world is it possible that babies come into this world having more bones than adults?" It's possible, and it is a fact. When a baby is first born, their bones have not yet been fully fused together. This makes complete sense when you consider the fine, squiggly lines on the skull of a human head -- Those lines are fuse marks from when the skull pieces actually come together to form a skull. Babies are born with, for lack of better words, flexible skulls. This allows them to come out and into the world with no problem, while their skull will fuse and grow together as they grow. It's also common knowledge that babies have a soft spot on their head called fontanelle, which is why regarding a baby's head is so, so important.
15 False: Teething And Fevers Are Directly Related
The problem with this myth isn't that parents believe that teething will always cause a fever, it's that they'll believe it to the point where an underlying issue may go unnoticed. This is not in any way to say that teething won't present itself as a fever in your child, but it's more unlikely that teething is the cause of it. According to Dr. Rachel Vreeman, a pediatrician out of Indianapolis, science has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that fevers are always linked to teething. In fact, she says that there hasn't been enough support to say with absolute certainty that the two are 100% related at all. If your child does present with a fever, and they do happen to be teething at the same time, it's always a good idea to see your pediatrician just in case. A popular baby myth shouldn't cause another condition to be overlooked and the best way to avoid that is a trip to the doctor's office because it's better to be on the safe side.
14 False: Walkers Are Great For Babies
Baby walkers may not be as popular now as they used to be, but they certainly don't offer a child any help in the walking department. Some studies have proven that walkers can actually delay the learning process for babies, leaving them left hanging onto walkers rather than trying to walk on their own. While this varies on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on the baby as well, overall, walkers aren't the best thing to help a child learn to walk on their own. Aside from the aspect of enabling, they can also be a serious danger to kids. Walkers can move fast, much fast than a baby can on his or her own, which means that they can get your baby in some pretty sticky situation very quickly. Doctors suggest rather than purchasing a baby walker, try your child in a stationary stand-up disc where your child can strengthen his or her leg muscles, safely stationary, in preparation for the big day.
13 False: Don't Pick Up A Crying Baby, It'll Spoil Them
There's such a huge difference between spoiling your child when they're old enough to understand what it's even like to feel spoiled, and spoiling them when they're a newborn by holding and showing them affection all of the time. The great news is this: Regardless of their age, it's no one else's business how you choose to "spoil" your child or not. What we can prove is that there is absolutely no direct link whatsoever, scientific or otherwise, to prove that repeatedly picking up a crying child will eventually lead to "spoiling" them. Some people still believe this to be true, though, and follow the tough love route of newborn care. The first six months or so of a baby's life are crucial as far as building trust goes. When they cry, it's their way of knowing that you'll be there for them, thus slowly establishing the mother-baby bond and adding constant reassurance that when something is wrong, you'll be there. Avoiding their crying could potentially have worse effects later on down the line than a child becoming "spoiled".
12 True: A Newborn Is Top Heavy
Now for the fun stuff! You haven't been lied to, every baby is completely out of proportion. A baby's head is their heaviest body part when he or she is first born and it takes some time for the rest of their body to catch up. This might not be a shocker considering every parent knows how important it is for their baby to have head support. It's also a special day when a baby can finally hold their head up on their own because it is so heavy (to them, at least). If you consider how much of baby's brain actually needs to grow throughout pregnancy, it comes as no surprise that their head takes up 25% of their total body weight.
11 False: Baby's Length Is Indicative Of Height As Adult
Some parents might read this list and roll their eyes if some of these myths seem to be obviously false, such as this one. Believe it or not, there are still some believe who believe that the height and size of a baby at birth is completely indicative of their height and size as an adult. Unfortunately, guessing how much or little a child will grow isn't as simple as looking at a dog's puppy paw and guessing at their full-grown size later on. Aside from the most obvious reason debunking this myth being that babies grow according to genetics, it's just not possible to know how your child will grow and progress throughout their lifetime because factors throughout a mother's pregnancy can be cause for sizing at birth as well. Determining a baby's absolute height is more of a guessing game than it is a certainty and the best way to do that is by taking into account the average height of their parents.
10 False: Holding Books Too Close Will Hurt Their Eyes
Yet another very old-age myth, the saying goes that if your baby holds something too close to their eyes, it might cause damage later on. Holding a book or any other object up super close to their face won't cause permanent damage. We're all pretty familiar with what it feels like to have something directly in front of your face when your eyes struggle to focus; it causes some eye strain and pain, but nothing long-lasting. A baby who constantly holds something so close to his or her face may be indicative of another problem: Permanent nearsightedness. This isn't a definitive indicator as your child may just be holding things close for their own sense of exploration, but if it happens very frequently, it can't hurt to make an appointment with your pediatrician just to make sure your baby's eyesight is 100%.
9 True: Boys Tend To Be Heavier
We're not sure why this is a fact, it's just the way the world works. Newborn baby boys have gone on record as being, on average, often heavier than baby girls. Of course, this isn't always a fact when you take into consideration preemie babies and boys who might pop out a tad smaller than their older sister, but more often than not it is the case. We're only talking a few ounces but anyone who has had a child knows there's a difference; on average baby boys come out weight somewhere around 7lbs. 10 oz., while baby girls usually weight around 7lbs., 2 oz.
8 False: Allergies Are All Genetic
Just because you're allergic to tomatoes doesn't mean that your child will absolutely become allergic to the delicious summer veg. Genetics is not one thing that determines allergies and while they can play a part in it, are not the lead as far as who gets what. Genetics may determine what to be wary of (bee allergies, serious food allergies, etc.), but don't necessarily mean that your child's body will follow the same rules that yours does. Allergies are not something that is passed down and your child may even be allergic to things that are the complete opposite of yours. If you are concerned, the best way is to have your doctor give your child an allergy test and avoid all foods you might be concerned with until then. However, you can't fear your child's potential allergies based on your past performance with them...Phew!
7 True: Their Hearing Is Impeccable
The hearing is one of the five senses that starts directly in the womb. What's amazing is that babies can instantly recognize their mother's voice and some studies have shown that newborns, immediately after being born, know exactly who she is. It's truly beautiful and one of the things that bonds and mother to her child. While a newborn still has fluid in his or her ear at the time of birth, their hearing is still 100% -- The reason it takes them some time to discern what, or who, they hear, is because they're slowly learning to take in all these new sounds and voices.
6 True But Makes No Sense: More Tastebuds, Fewer Food Options
In addition to things that babies are born with and without are taste buds. You would think they're born with less since they can't eat solid foods or drink anything other than milk, but it's quite the opposite. As backward as it is, babies are born with about 10,000 taste buds. Of course, these don't remain in place as babies grow, but rather they disappear and are reduced to one-third of what they're actually born with. These taste buds appear all over their mouth while they're still in the womb, including on the roof, back, and sides of their mouth. It's hard to believe that your baby was tasting things better than you, but it's true.
5 False: There's No Avoiding The "Terrible Twos"
This isn't to say that the "terrible twos" aren't terrible at all...Because they definitely stink. The myth that we're debunking is the part where the "terrible twos" HAVE to be terrible and there's just nothing that you can do about them. When a child turns two, they're at a unique age where their self-discovery is at an all-time high outside of the eventual teen stage. According to Susan Anderson Swedo, M.D., two marks the age where children really begin to feel out their independence...Hence the outbursts, rage, and rebellion. Her advice is to thoroughly prepare both yourself and your child for these upcoming years to make it a little bit easier and less stressful for both of you. By limiting options for a child and creating clear-cut decisions for them, such as only deciding between two things for dinner or to wear for the day, you can cut down on fits and tantrums. It's also useful, Swedo says, to enlist the help of your partner and switch off between toddler duties so that you don't need to expose your child to a situation where rebellion is imminent (i.e. food shopping). It's not impossible but it's definitely difficult, but being prepared and knowing what's coming might help make the "terrible twos" a bit more bearable -- Keep in mind your child is growing and testing their limits.
4 True: No Kneecaps At Birth
It's somewhat hilarious and kind of strange to think of a human being without kneecaps. It's true though, kneecaps are one thing that babies aren't born with and something they develop over time. Rather than have a full kneecap, babies have squishy cartilage that serves the purpose of a kneecap without actually being one. So while it's not scientifically accurate to say they "don't" have kneecaps, it's accurate enough to say that they don't have kneecaps like adults or toddlers do. An infant's kneecaps don't actually mature until at least six months of age, which is why they can be seen crawling on their arms initially, rather than their legs and knees.
3 True: Almost All Babies Have Birthmarks
According to momjunction.com, birthmarks are common with around 80% of all newborn babies. While they vary greatly from baby to baby, if your child has one it's completely normal and even the standard for newborns. The reasoning for this is because of what happens while a child is working their way out of their mother's womb. During the process, tiny blood vessels are dilated and can later cause visible birthmarks. These, along with dome birthmarks, may disappear over time. Birthmarks are not something to panic over in newborns and are instead just a remainder of their trip into this world. However, it's always best to see your doctor if you find something that does concern you.
2 False: Crib Bumpers Keep The Baby From Bumping Their Head
Just like walkers, we're not really sure how popular crib bumpers are nowadays either. The thought process is that it will protect your child's head from bouncing off crib bars if they happen to peel it back at some point. While this is a legitimate concern, Dr. Sarah Denny, out of the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, says that babies really don't generate the force it would take to injure their heads in the way that many people think. More so, these crib bumpers have been proven to be even more of a dangerous risk to infants. The AAP does not recommend them and has actually encouraged their removal due to the risk of SIDS by suffocation.
1 True: Two Hearts Can Beat As One
This is one myth that we're happy to prove right. It's not just a rumor that a mother and child are connected on a level much deeper than just blood relation, those bonds go as far as matching heartbeats. According to Israeli University, a mother's heartbeat and their child's can be matched within only seconds of looking into each other's eyes. This is fascinating because a newborn's heart rate at birth is about 180 BPM and will eventually drop to 115 by the time they're a year old. The fact that a child recognizes his or her mother and has a bond so strong with her that even their heart rate can replicate their moms' is truly a thing of beauty.