Mingling with the clashing chords of parenthood, parenting advice creates a cacophony of confusion. New moms and dads often struggle to play the right notes as information pushes and pulls them in different directions.
Whether it’s strangers without kids or mommy friends, people simply love to share their wisdom about raising kids. From the impractical tip "Sleep when the baby sleeps!" to the strict rule "Do not praise your child!", new parents are doomed to listen to weird pieces of advice.
Old-school advice, in particular, often collides with medical evidence and contemporary practices. Should parents let the baby cry it out or should they sing nursery rhymes 24/7? Should kids be grounded or should they wander the streets alone?
What’s more, old wives' tales add more dramatic notes and unsettling tips which restrict the buzzing vibes of parental intuition. Who knows? Maybe a pregnant woman can actually give her child a birthmark with her cravings!
Medical advice has also changed drastically over the years. Maternity corsets and twilight sleep, for instance, are no longer popular. There is a vast array of weird pieces of advice, opinions, and myths, which parents can feel free to ignore.
So, here are 20 old-school things doctors advised, but moms need to stop following.
20 Fighting Fever With Aspirin
As a baby's immune system needs time to mature, colds in infants are common. From fever to excessive vomiting, dealing with a sick child can be stressful. Unfortunately, sometimes natural cold remedies may be ineffective to relieve an infant's flu and cough symptoms.
An old-school piece of medical advice (that modern parents can safely ignore) was to fight fever with aspirin.
Doctors reveal that giving aspirin to children under 18 is not safe. Aspirin is no longer recommended as it increases the risk of developing a fatal disorder. According to parents.com, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are safer options to treat an abnormal temperature.
19 Co-sleeping Is Unsafe
Putting a baby to sleep is one of the touchy topics that trigger heated debates and social media feuds. Co-sleeping, in particular, is surrounded by numerous myths and misconceptions.
Many parents still believe that co-sleeping is always dangerous as it increases the risk of SIDS.
However, while safety should always come first, doctors now reveal that co-sleeping can boost a baby’s emotional development and social skills. Thus, according to thebump.com, new parents can find the happy middle ground by putting the baby to sleep in a bassinet next to their bed (not in their bed) for the first six months.
18 Formula Is The Best
Breastfeeding or formula feeding, women are free to decide how to feed their little bundle of joy.
Yet, formula revolutionized parenting and mothers simply loved the convenience. According to parentschoiceformula.com, in the '60s, breastfeeding was out of favor and only 30% of new moms reported their babies were breastfed at one week of age.
Medical recommendations changed, though. Compared to the '70s when only 25% of babies were breastfed in the hospital, now 75% of US moms choose to breastfeed. In fact, it was in the '80s when the government tried to establish a national health objective to promote breastfeeding. Lactation groups now are crazy about breastfeeding.
17 Early Ear Piercings
Beauty ideals vary between cultures and societies. Ear piercing, for instance, is one of the most popular practices around the world, a common form of body modification.
Although Kylie Jenner had her daughter’s ears pierced early, ear-piercing is already an outdated practice.
While health experts today agree that there’s no ideal age for piercing a baby’s ears, modern moms often let their child make her own decision about ear-piercing to avoid anxiety and fear. In addition, according to parents.com, piercing a child’s ears early can lead to bacterial infections and keloids. Some metals, such as nickel, may even cause an allergic reaction
16 On Bedding, Pillows, And Safety
From painting the walls to buying baby furniture, designing a baby nursery is one of the sweetest moments of motherhood. In fact, nesting during pregnancy is common among pregnant women worldwide.
Interestingly enough, until recently, people believed that babies should sleep on pillows and under blankets.
Now, moms and dads know that this is one of the worst parenting tips ever. The US Academy of Pediatrics recommends removing all pillows, bedding, and stuffed toys to reduce the risk of SIDS. Children can start using pillows at around two years of age (when they can also move to a toddler bed).
15 Baby Walkers Aren't All That Wonderful
Walking is one of the major milestones which new moms and dads anticipate with love. Seeing a baby take their first steps can make us cry, right?
However, until recently, experts believed that baby walkers were wonderful to help young children learn to walk.
The truth is that walkers create a false sense of security and can delay walking. What’s more, mobile walkers can be dangerous. As Dr. Richard Saphir says, "Stationary walkers, which have no wheels but have seats that rotate and bounce, allow a baby to practice supporting his body on his legs without the safety hazards of moving walkers."
14 Correcting Pigeon Toes And Posture
There’s no doubt that parents are doomed to endure lots of sleepless nights… and useless parenting advice. Fortunately, medical advice has changed a lot over the years.
Doctors in the past believed that corrective shoes and leg braces were necessary to correct pigeon toes, known as in-toeing. In addition, many health professionals claimed that letting an infant stand or bounce on someone’s lap was wrong.
Nevertheless, experts today reveal that in-toeing is a common condition that can correct itself without treatment. Also, according to parents.com, a baby’s legs are strong enough, so bouncing is totally fine. So, simply ignore outdated advice, mama!
13 Early Potty Training
Potty training is a huge step for toddlers and caregivers alike. Although potty training can be a long process, it’s an important skill which can increase a child’s confidence and self-awareness.
There are many dos and don'ts to help parents potty train their little one. However, you might be surprised that only a century ago people believed that infections could be prevented if one was able to control their bowels. According to twentytwowords.com, parents used to potty train early — when their babies were only two months old.
Now, we know that this piece of advice is silly because potty training success depends on a child’s development, usually between 18 months and three years.
12 Hygiene Tips: Use Oil Instead Of Soap
Hygiene is essential to keep a baby healthy and happy. Hygiene practices can boost a baby’s emotional development and even social skills. After all, bath time can be a great bonding experience.
Surprisingly, parents in the past believed that water and soap were unnecessary and used oil instead. Well, oil is often thick and acidic, so better leave cooking oils for salads, mama!
While some contemporary bath products also contain chemicals, which can be bad for a baby’s soft skin, we know that water is essential to keep us healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for instance, hand washing can reduce the risk of diarrheal and foodborne diseases.
11 Hard-Soled Shoes For Infants
When it comes to walking, we’ll have to agree that baby shoes are adorable. Funnily enough, according to parents.com, pediatrician Lane France admits that parents buy baby shoes to make their little ones look pretty. Although shoes can round off the perfect outfit, the truth is that newborns do not need Disney moccasins.
An old-school piece of medical advice (that parents now can ignore) made lots of people believe that babies needed hard-soled shoes that cover the ankle.
Doctors today recommend letting the baby barefoot to help them explore their body parts and surroundings. Flexible shoes with non-skid soles, for instance, are great for low temperatures.
10 Leaving The Baby Alone Too Often
Babies need lots of cuddles, affection, and care. It’s no surprise that new moms worry about leaving their little one unattended — even for a second.
Thus, we all might be startled that behavioral psychologists in the '50s believed that leaving the baby alone was totally fine. According to twentytwowords.com, the famous psychologist John Watson was one of the main advocates of this practice.
While helping children become independent and overcome separation anxiety is crucial, experts agree that leaving kids unattended can be fatal. At the same time, cultural differences play a major role in parenting. Parents from the Netherlands, for instance, do not hesitate to leave their babies to sleep outside.
9 Establishing Strict Feeding Schedules
From breastfeeding to pumping and formula feeding, feeding the baby can be challenging and tiring. After all, a baby’s tiny belly needs little bites of love.
Many doctors still recommend putting the baby on a strict feeding schedule — just after leaving the hospital.
While establishing daily habits and routines is vital, the truth is that breastfeeding moms might find it hard to follow a strict schedule. Thus, moms need to trust their baby's needs more. Advisor Katherine Karlsrud told parents.com, "For the first three months, follow the baby's lead and feed on demand... By the time he is four months old, he'll probably have established his own schedule."
8 Some Questionable Advice
From exercising to drinking plenty of water, we all know that pregnant and nursing women should follow a healthy lifestyle. What about babies, though?
Surprisingly, doctors in the past recommended using the hard stuff for teething babies and drops of kerosene for croup. According to twentytwowords.com, during the Middle Ages, beer was also a popular baby drink as water was severely contaminated. In fact, fresh mild ale was also recommended for nursing mothers to boost their milk supply.
Now, doctors warn that even small doses can harm a baby’s liver and cognitive development. So, better keep it for yourself, mama!
7 The Importance Of Fresh Air
Fresh air is good for everyone, especially newborns. It helps children sleep better and boosts their learning skills.
For centuries it was common wisdom to give enough fresh air to children. According to thevintagenews.com, it was Dr. Luther Holt, the father of pediatrics, who promoted the importance of "baby airing." With mass urbanization at the beginning of the 20th century, "baby cages" became quite popular. As we can see, mothers in urban areas simply loved them.
Giving a baby enough fresh air is still recommended, but fortunately, metal baby cages hanging from block towers and houses are out of favor.
6 Should We Not Breastfeed After Nine Months?
Feeding the baby has become a controversial topic worldwide. People are quick to point a finger at breastfeeding women... while judging mothers who choose to bottle feed.
Interestingly enough, according to twentytwowords.com, doctors in the past claimed that formula was better than breast milk. They believed that breastfeeding after nine months could cause serious illnesses. Some health professionals claimed that breastfeeding could harm the mother and cause blindness.
Doctors and lactation consultants today, however, recommend exclusive breastfeeding. The World Health Organization states that "exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond."
5 Saying No To Snuggles
Love is the main ingredient in the mishmash called parenthood. Babies need lots of food for the soul in the form of kisses, hugs, and encouragement.
Nevertheless, some psychologists in the 20th century believed that feelings were unnecessary and advised mothers to avoid affectionate behavior to raise grounded children.
We know that this advice is downright wrong! Simple because children need lots of care and support to create a bond with their caregiver, which may affect their behavior later in life. In fact, a secure attachment happens when an adult attends a baby’s needs and provides a stable environment and love.
4 Be A Parent, Not A Friend
Attitudes in parenting have changed drastically over the last decades. Take Millennial parents for example! Data shows that 61% of Millennial parents consider themselves drone parents (versus helicopter parents), allowing more unstructured time and freedom.
Thus, the old saying "I’m not your friend, I’m your parent" is no longer valid.
Parents today consider themselves more open, diverse, and curious. Expert Rebecca Parlakian told globalnews.ca, "The good news is that parents know more about child development than ever before." Millennial parents, in particular, behave like friends who follow their little ones — not like adults who have to direct or schedule them.
3 Swaddling: Pros And Cons
Swaddling is one of the most controversial topics which may startle parents. Although swaddling was used for thousands of years to soothe the baby, there are several pros and cons modern parents should consider.
In fact, we should note that the practice of swaddling was abandoned in the 18th century as it was considered barbaric and restricting.
Now it seems there’s a resurgence of swaddling. Holistic experts claim that swaddling can help babies sleep better, avoid jerky movements, and keep crying to a minimum. On top of that, swaddling can prevent babies from scratching themselves and help them stay in a safe back position.
2 Sending The Kids Outside By Themselves
Parenting advice pushes and pulls parents in different directions. Should we supervise kids 24/7 or teach them independence?
There’s no doubt that parents today allow more unstructured time. At the same time, many moms ignore the old-school practice of letting their kids outside by themselves. Parents often worry they will be judged by bystanders and social media users, which may result in harsh consequences. In Norway, for instance, the Child Welfare service is raising concerns across the globe due to their strict and inhumane policy of separating families.
Thus, many modern parents allow screen time instead. As expert Parlakian says, "Google is the new grandparent, the new neighbor, the new nanny."
1 Unusual Practices From Around The World
From gender ring tests to chilling legends, our world is a colorful arena of old wives' tales fighting medical evidence.
There’s a vast number of superstitions, for instance, that surround the first few months after birth. In fact, the tradition of postpartum confinement for the first 40 days after birth is still extremely popular across the globe, especially in Asia. According to listverse.com, mothers in Russia also believe they should not take their baby out in public for at least 40 days... to protect them from negative energy.
While a baby’s immune system needs time to mature, modern moms can skip this outdated practice and enjoy some fresh air with their little one.
Ignore outdated advice and trust your intuition, mama!