Let's play a "Mom Edition" game of two truths and a lie. Spot the two baby facts that are true and the one false fact. Which one of these three is wrong? 1) Babies don't have kneecaps. 2) Bouncing babies cause them to develop bow legs. 3) Feeding infants peanut butter causes them to develop allergies later in life.
Which one's the lie hidden among the facts? As it turns out, all of them are total BS. If you bounce your baby and they develop bowed legs, you're witnessing correlation, not causation. Peanut allergies develop for various reasons, but peanut butter exposure is not one of them. Babies do not have fully developed knee caps, but they do have soft bone around the knees which will eventually become fully formed kneecaps.
Don't worry if your mommy radar was a little off with this game. After all, we did give you a trick question. Even so, if you experienced a little hesitation when reading through these "facts," think about how much false information you read about babies without even knowing. As parents pass information through the grapevine, what is true and false often tangles together until even the most skeptical mom can't always trust her intuition.
This article's aim is to expose 15 falsehoods that are commonly spread as "truths" when in actuality, they are nothing of the sort. Next time your husband balks at feeding your one year old a little peanut butter or your mother recommends you let your newborn "cry it out" through the night, redirect them hear and we'll set them straight.
15 Early Walkers/Talkers are "Gifted"
When your baby says their first words that is something to be proud of. You'll never forget when they take their first steps, either. But if your child learns to walk early, don't call Mensa just yet or sign them up for law school. Unlike common thought, learning to walk or talk early isn't necessarily a sign of higher intelligence. It simply means that your baby is developing at a healthy rate and that all babies develop differently.
Of course your baby's bright and of course an early walker or talker is something to celebrate. Just don't put any unnecessary pressure on your baby to become the next Einstein when intelligence is so much more than a high IQ.
Want to encourage your baby's intellectual development from a young age? Try to invest as much emotional contact with your baby as possible. Some research suggests that because babies learn to read facial emotions before they learn any other way of expression, teaching them non-verbal communication skills sets them up for stronger long-term relationships and teamwork skills as adults.
14 Babies Are Born Blind
It's true that babies aren't born with great eyesight. Newborns eyes see blurry images for the first couple of months, with their vision increasing little by little with every month. Even though they might not have great sight from the start, however, they still can see to some extent. Babies are not born blind unless they are born with a visual disorder.
Some pediatric doctors believe that this myth got started because of how strange newborn eye movements are for the first few months. While their eyes do move jerkily, this is because they don't have control of their eye muscles just yet. As early as two weeks old, babies can distinguish red from green and can see a limited color spectrum. If your baby does not react to visual stimuli and you think they may be blind, call your ob-gyn or pediatrician as soon as you can.
13 Keeping Newborns Indoors Prevents Sickness
Some moms don't take their newborns out much because of the hassle. New babies are fussy and wiggly, and you may find that even simple errands become more of a chore with them around. During the winter months, you may also want to snuggle your baby inside rather than expose them to the elements outside in case they catch the flu. If you miss life outside your home but are worried your baby will get sick when exposed to the cold, put that myth aside and get some fresh air.
A little fresh air can do your baby some good and, unless it's a blizzard outside, your baby should be alright if you keep them bundled up. Sickness isn't spread because of the temperature. It's spread when a lot of people are kept in close quarters because they're cooped up inside. Your baby has a greater likelihood of getting sick at home than outdoors.
That being said, keeping your baby away from crowded indoor places (like the grocery store or a family party) can be a good idea for the first month or so. Newborn immune systems are still developing and may not be as efficient at first.
12 Babies Don't Have Kneecaps
We've seen this baby "fact" on just about every article under the sun. Why is it so popular? Who knows, but let's set the record straight once and for all: it's just not true. Well, it's at least not entirely true.
Babies have kneecaps. What they don't have is hard kneecaps. Like many things in their body, your baby's bone structure is still developing after birth. Some of their bones are made of soft cartilage, like what their ear or nose is made of. Saying that they don't like kneecaps, then, is like saying they don't have ears.
Their knees are made of cartilage for the first year because they are still experiencing rapid growth spurts and a kneecap made of hard bone could not keep up. Once they're around one or two years old, their knees will get firmer and turn into bone.
11 Letting The Baby "Cry It Out" Is Good
If you've talked to someone from an older generation (such as your mother or grandmother) about how to take care of a crying baby at night, they might have suggested letting them "cry it out" to you. After all, they might have said, crying strengthens the lungs and teaches them to become more independent. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work that way nor is taking care of a distressed baby that simple.
Newborns don't just cry when they're sad. Crying is one of the few ways they know how to get your attention. For the first month or two, they can't smile or make many other sounds; they just don't have that control over their body. Crying could mean anything from they're hungry to in pain to just needing some comfort.
Don't ignore your newborns' cries. Their lungs are already strong and in time, they'll learn independence. Babies need to feel cared about. Listen to them.
10 Babies Need A Bath Every Day
For the first couple of months, your baby might despise bathing to the point where you might ask yourself if all that screaming and wiggling around in the tub is worth it. If your baby made a mess or smells a little questionable, your best idea is to give them a bath. After all, you don't want a baby around you that smells like spit-up.
But if your baby's nice and clean and you don't have a reason to give them a bath, you don't necessarily need to every day. In fact, your baby's skin may be better off. Bathing removes moisture from the skin. Since your baby's is delicate and soft ("like a baby's bottom," you might say), you might be making their skin dry or irritated. Soapy bathwater can also lead to UTIs in female babies, which can be harmful.
To be safe, keep your baby's neck, diaper area, and other skin areas clean and try to give full baths two to three times per week unless otherwise needed. If your baby enjoys bathtime, feel free to give them more but try to limit soap exposures.
9 Bouncing Babies Permanently Bows Their Legs
Although you may have heard this old wives' tale many times, that's all it is: a myth with little truth behind it. In fact, this is a harmful myth because evidence points to the opposite result. Bouncing babies may even strengthen their muscles and lead to straighter legs later on.
Why is your baby so bowlegged for the first year? Don't blame bouncing. Blame the past nine months they've spent developing through pregnancy. Legs are often bowed due to the position they spend in-utero. Straightening out after all that time takes a while, and they might not fully straighten until they learn to walk.
You can quicken the process by encouraging movement and practicing a little stretching with them. Laying them on their backs can also help straighten their legs a little faster. If neither of these work, give it time and wait until your baby's walking before asking a pediatrician.
8 Baby Walkers Help Them Learn Faster
Baby walkers are lots of fun, but they don't actually help your baby walk. Worse, walkers might even be dangerous. Babies can't see their feet when placed in a walker nor can they see where they are going in the immediate moment. Because infants are already not very coordinated, they can easily fall down the stairs or into the wall when placed in a baby walker.
A word of caution for those who choose to use a baby walker: make sure your baby is old enough and has developed motor skills to use one. Giving mobility to babies who aren't ready to walk is a very bad idea. Not only are they more likely to run into a dangerous object but they are stretching muscles which aren't yet ready to be stretched. You may think you're giving your baby a little freedom, but you're actually encouraging muscular problems later on.
Plus. baby walkers encourage infants to grab things that would have been out of reach if they were crawling. Make sure your house is baby-proofed and ready for your baby's newfound mobility. If a baby can grab it, rest assured they will.
7 Classical Music Will Make The Baby Smart
Laymen call it "the Mozart effect:" does classical music actually brighten a baby's brain and encourage them to become the next Einstein? The effect might not be as profound or limited to classical music. In 1993, a study showed that listening to Classical music improved preschoolers' paper cutting and folding skills.
Now, before you rejoice and put on some Bach for your baby, the study also showed the same effect for children who listened to stories about musicians. What improved the childrens' intelligence is whether they enjoyed the stories or music.
The key here is stimulating interaction. If your baby likes classical music, play them some classical music. If they like stories, read them a book. You may even consider teaching them an instrument later on. Anything that encourages a lifelong enjoyment for the arts will help your baby profoundly.
6 Newborns Sleep All Day
You'd think you'd given birth to a sloth based on how much newborns sleep for the first couple of months. Their bodies are still growing and sleep helps them develop at a normal pace. But how much sleep is normal to expect from a newborn? Is it true that they sleep all day? Don't worry: your newborn will be much more interactive than a sack of potatoes, even if it feels like that's what you're lugging around all the time.
Newborn sleep schedules are not exactly 24/7, as much as you might want that when your baby wakes you up at three in the morning. Newborns sleep in cycles of about 2-3 hours, after which they'll need your care. Between cycles, they need feeding, soothing, changing, and anything else that requires your attention. Once they've tired themselves out, they'll fall asleep for another cycle.
5 Baby Cries Are All The Same
Babies have their own language, and it's not their fault that cries tend to sound similar to an untrained ear. Cries for changing, feeding, and soothing all sound a little bit different. Don't beat yourself up if you can't distinguish them at first, though. Just try to listen closely and see if you can notice a pattern. You'll catch distinct changes in time, which can help you help your baby more effectively later on.
You may think that every time your baby cries, they are in pain. Usually, this is not true. In fact, the louder your baby cries, the healthier they are: after all, you need a strong baby to cry with that set of lungs. Ill babies or babies in pain will usually react more passively with faster breath and limper motions.
If your baby has no visible injuries, has a healthy hue to their skin (ie: is not bluish), and is moving around, odds are they're okay and just need your help with something.
4 Smaller Doses Of Adult Medicines Are OK For Babies
Can you give your baby half an adult-dose ibuprofen if they have a headache? No! This is a terrible idea. In fact, let's all say it together to drill it into our heads: never, under any circumstances, give your baby adult-dosage medicine. Never!
Many medicines that help adults are harmful or even deadly for babies. Dosage matters, but it's only a part of why you shouldn't give adult medication to children. Cough medicines, for example, are not intended for children under the age of 4. While they seem harmless, they can cause agitation, elevated heart rate, and even diminished respiration.
Babies are more vulnerable to side effects and must have medication designed for infants. Keep your baby away from your medication. Never forget this baby myth out of anything you remember from this list.
3 Many Babies Develop Nipple Confusion
From how much moms talk about nipple confusion, you'd think that no infants nurse anymore thanks to the evil work of bottles and pacifiers. Both of these things can encourage nipple confusion, but it will only do so if combined with other underlying problems.
Should your baby stop nursing after you start them on a bottle, they may not be confused per-se. Rather, some babies just like the faster flow of some bottle nipples. Bottles can be easier than breastfeeding and if your baby enjoys bottle-feeding more, they may start rejecting breastfeeding. Nipple confusion's got nothing to do with it.
Make sure if you choose to bottle feed, you pick a bottle with a slower flow. Too fast and your baby may drink more milk than they need and end up with a stomach ache.
2 Feeding Babies Peanut Butter Encourages Allergies
Baby sites seem to change their mind on peanut butter every week. This week it's okay and the next, you're dooming your baby to a lifetime of peanut allergies if you give them a spoonful too early. What's fact and what's fiction when it comes to peanut butter?
Researchers currently believe the opposite: eating peanut butter doesn't encourage an allergy but actually diminishes the chance due to early exposure. If a baby product contains peanuts, unless your family has a history of allergies or you have other children allergic to peanut butter, don't worry about feeding it to your baby.
That being said, keep an eye out for allergic reactions in young children. Although peanut allergies are not caused by exposure, they may still have one. If your baby breaks out in hives, has digestive troubles, or experiences tightness or swelling in the mouth or throat, give them medical attention immediately. Peanut allergies are nothing to mess around with as they can be fatal.
1 Newborns Adapt To Sleep Schedules
Kiss your sleep schedule goodbye, new parents. Give up your control over their sleep schedules and fall into the madness that is infant sleeping patterns. Throw any advice about establishing a sleep schedule during the first month into the trash. You're just giving yourself false hope.
Babies do not have an innate circadian rhythm that tells them when it's nighttime or daytime. Sleep schedules are learned later in life. If you can, try to catch rest when your baby does and follow their pattern. For the first month, you may just have to strap in for a bumpy ride. Once your baby's past the newborn stage, they'll develop a more stable sleeping pattern.