When it comes to mothers and their newborns, it seems as if everyone wants to offer their advice — whether the new mom wants to hear it or not.
In some cases, the advice is actually pretty good and can help make new parents’ lives a heck of a lot easier. For example, when my little sister was born, one of my mom’s friends recommended a really sturdy crib model that she used for her child (who was about a year older than my sibling), and my mother went out and bought it for my sister. It wound up being very well made and able to handle a lot of wear and tear.
In other cases, the advice giver means well but either spouts old wives’ tales that have since been debunked by science or something completely and utterly mind-boggling, to the extent that the mom can’t help but wonder where they even heard such a wacky idea.
For example, the old chestnut of “letting an infant screech all night in order to learn how to sleep on their own” has since been debunked by parenting experts as being too harsh, and they advocate for gentler sleep training methods now.
Aside from the usual old wives’ tales, underneath is a list of utterly ridiculous advice that moms have been given — but thankfully didn’t follow.
20 Bite An Infant Back When Feeding
Reddit user Emieyl notes that the most bizarre piece of parenting advice that she ever received was from an ex-co-worker whose son started biting down on her chest when he was feeding, so she started biting him right back in an attempt to teach him not to do that.
There have been plenty of dog trainers who have recommended something similar for nippy puppies, but it is absolutely mind-boggling that this kind of ridiculous so-called “advice” has made the transition from the canine world to the human world. Honestly people: Biting anyone — a human infant or a puppy — isn’t exactly a great training method, and it’s weird as heck.
19 Feed A Six-Month-Old Solid Foods
According to Reddit user Liddys, her mother-in-law got very annoyed with her because she refused to give her infant solid foods and completely ignored the fact that pediatric experts all over the world have said time and time again that infants can’t eat solid foods until they are six months old or even older.
To add insult to injury, despite the fact that Liddys told her mother-in-law no to any kind of solid foods before the recommended age, the older woman basically said that she should force feed solids to her infant anyway to get them used to regular food. Really? The kid probably doesn’t even have any teeth yet; was she supposed to give him dentures so that he could chew?
18 Breastmilk Isn't As Clean As Formula
Ultra-Powerful Cutex pointed out on Reddit that one of their relatives told them that they shouldn’t breastfeed because breastmilk isn’t clean since your body can absorb environmental toxins and it will pass to your infant. Apparently, formula-fed babies are magically safe from all of the icky and gross toxins that are lurking in the environment.
What kind of nonsense is this advice? Did this relative ever read a book on how to feed an infant? First off, while breastfeeding moms need to be careful what ingredients they have in their meal or their beverages, they certainly aren’t magically absorbing all sorts of mysterious germs from the environment and passing them to their child. Second of all, breastfeeding or formula feeding is simply a matter of personal choice; one isn’t better than the other.
17 Let Infants Cry Themselves To Sleep
EFisk666 adds on a thread on Reddit that the silliest advice they ever received was to let their son exercise his lungs at night in order to self-soothe himself back to dreamland. The well-meaning but very outdated piece of advice didn’t work for EFisk666 and their partner, since their son screeched until he had an upset stomach.
Both parents felt silly for even trying such an outdated piece of advice and went back to square one after a couple of weeks. EFisk666 notes that they wound up slowly weaning the little guy off of co-sleeping and he’s been sleeping soundly ever since.
16 Not Allowed To Nap When Baby Naps
V.Vixen writes on Reddit that a sweet but rather clueless friend of hers (who hilariously was also a parent) wigged out when she casually mentioned to him that she had just put the baby down in his crib for a nap and was going to curl up and take a nap herself because, in his mind, it was a huge faux pas for anyone to take a nap when their infant sleeps.
And this dude is a father? What did he do with his own child, have copious amounts of caffeine in order to stay up for a year so that he could watch over his own infant? Honestly, napping when the baby naps is a common method for parents to catch up on their own sleep, so what’s the big deal?
15 A Little Bit Of Chocolate Syrup Can Hide The Taste Of Meds
SingerChick97 regales other Reddit users with a hair-raising but utterly hilarious tale of a clueless substitute pediatrician that they had the misfortune of encountering when her daughter’s regular doctor was on vacation.
She notes that her daughter had to switch to a hypoallergenic formula at four months old, but the infant felt that it tasted like crud and refused to touch it. So SingerChick97 made an appointment with their pediatrician, but the regular doctor was out of town, and the person they got to fill in recommended mixing the hypoallergenic formula with chocolate syrup. Sadly, this was sincere advice and not a joke. Can we say facepalm?
14 Hold A Child Still When They Are Being Rambunctious
AliceinB.land notes on Reddit that flames almost started sparking from her ears when her son’s former daycare provider recommended that she hold him down when he was being rambunctious and even tried this quasi-alpha roll on the poor kiddo. Needless to say, he never went back to the daycare after that mess.
Did this daycare provider watch one too many episodes of The Dog Whisperer and think to themselves, “Hmm… alpha rolling children sounds brilliant! Let’s try it!” Never mind the fact that any dog trainer worth their salt could tell you that the methods used on The Dog Whisperer are seriously old-fashioned and aren’t good to use. Positive reinforcement and kindness work on both humans and canines, people!
13 Essential Oils Can Bring A Fever Down
Reddit user Liddys adds that another well-meaning but misguided person also advised her to not give her child some meds when her little one wasn’t feeling well because all you need to do is rub essential oils onto your child’s feet and they’ll feel better within the next hour or so.
Look, essential oils smell delightful, and I have a bottle of eucalyptus oil in my migraine-busting toolkit because it can help ease my headache, but they absolutely should not replace going to a doctor and getting time-tested and FDA-approved meds to help you or your infant feel better.
12 Give A Baby A Tablet For Entertainment
On a Reddit thread, poster FreeToBeYourself writes that the most ridiculous bit of parenting advice came from a fellow mom who advised them to give a 10-month-old infant a tablet in order to keep them entertained.
There is currently a major debate going on amongst parents and parenting experts alike about whether or not to let young children have access to devices like tablets, as well as the amount of screen time they should be getting, but even the more technology-friendly and lax parents’ jaws would drop if they read this story because it’s just not a good idea.
11 Cold Meds Can Help Kids Go To Sleep
IcedHemp77 admits on a thread on Reddit that when they were venting about their young daughter waking up in the middle of the night on social media, another mom recommended that they give the little one some cold meds to help them sleep throughout the night.
Really, people? Really? First off, there is typically a certain age requirement for kids to be able to take various kinds of cold meds, and second of all, giving a child that is a) likely too young to have something like that and b) is actually perfectly healthy is just asking for trouble to come knocking at your door.
10 Swing Your Child Around To Balance Their Energies
Another Reddit user that goes by the name of BrandyS. admits that the weirdest piece of parenting advice that she ever received was the time that someone told her in all honesty that she should pick up her newborn child by their very delicate feet and swing them back and forth in order to “balance their energies.”
How this poor mother didn’t laugh in the person’s face is something I will never be able to understand because if I heard that, I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from cackling wildly — because that is honestly one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard in my entire life.
9 Washing Their Mouth Out With Soap And Water
Romper writes that a mother named Norah admits that after her son called her a “stupid head” when he was feeling cheeky one day, her mother-in-law overheard him and told her (in front of the little boy, no less) that she should wash his mouth out with soap and water. Of course, once the poor kid heard that, he started quaking in his tiny shoes.
Can we say overreaction? Besides, who even takes the old wives’ tale of soap and water seriously in this day and age? Norah’s mother-in-law sounds like she needs to get hip to the latest parenting trends instead of suggesting such a ridiculous punishment.
8 Don't Leave Your Baby Until They Hit The One-Year Mark
Romper adds that a mom named Laura writes that her yoga teacher told her that moms should under no circumstance ever leave their baby until after they hit the one-year mark.
While it’s great that this yoga teacher was able to stay at home with her own child for the first year of his or her life, doesn’t she realize that she was very lucky to be able to do that and not many moms are afforded the same opportunity? My mom would have loved to have taken a year off after she had my sister and me, but living in NYC requires both parents to work, and after her maternity leave was up, back to work she went.
7 Dip Your Kid's Food In Sugar And Honey
According to Romper, another mother named Meghan says that her best friend is always advising her to dip her children’s food in either sugar or honey. While there’s nothing wrong with a child having a sugary treat every once in a while or adding a dab of honey to their cup of tea (if they’re old enough to have honey, that is), this sounds like a recipe for a dental mess.
I’m not a dentist, but children constantly consuming sugar and honey plus other food items sounds to me like a great way for them to develop cavities or other dental issues.
6 Car Seats Are Only For The Faint Of Heart
Romper writes that a mom named Emily admits that her father-in-law told her that car seats are not a requirement but are, in fact, simply optional and that her six-month-old infant would be perfectly fine sitting on her lap during car rides.
Did Emily’s father-in-law step off of the set for Mad Max: Fury Road or one of the Fast and Furious flicks? Does he not realize that car seats were invented for a reason and not using them is just asking the universe to cause shenanigans for both you and your infant? Plus, not using a car seat is a great way to get pulled over.
5 Use Hand Sanitizer At All Times
Reddit user Cernston was flabbergasted when a relative told them in all seriousness that they should make sure that their child always carries a bottle of hand sanitizer on them and they should immediately use it after they touch something lest they catch any kind of icky germs.
Look, I’m not averse to carrying a bottle of hand sanitizer with me when I need it — especially since I’m also a dog walker — but there’s a fine line between using it as needed and going overboard with being sanitary. Sounds like this relative is a bit of a hypochondriac and is way too fretful about germs.
4 Give An Infant Water If They Are Sweating
According to Reddit user Poor_cReddit, one of their friends advised them to give their infant water when they are sweating. I sincerely hope that this friend has no children of their own; otherwise, my eyebrows might raise so high off of my forehead that they fall off because you’d think that another parent would know from experience that giving an infant just water to drink is so not a good idea.
I sincerely hope that this poor mother told her buddy that pediatricians recommend nixing water until an infant is six months old. Until then, all they really need is breastmilk or formula to drink.
3 Hold Your Child Until They Fall Asleep Every Night
S. Mommy notes that a mother named Dani was irritated to no end when she was talking to a friend that was a nurse at a family event about sleep training and her cousin’s wife tossed herself into the conversation without being asked in order to give her this gem: “Hold your child to sleep all night, every night” because that’s what she did with her daughters.
Uh, unless you have the arms of Lady Sif from the MCU or Diana Prince/Wonder Woman from the DCEU, that isn’t going to work because sooner or later, you’re going to feel tired and you’re going to have to set your infant down in their crib when that happens.
2 Only Take Infants Out In A Carrier
According to S. Mommy, another mind-boggling piece of advice that Dani received from her child’s own pediatrician was that she should only take the little one out if she was wearing a baby carrier. This advice actually rattled Dani’s cage to the point that she waited three and a half weeks until her child grew big enough to actually be held in the carrier to take the poor baby outside.
You’d think that a pediatrician would have enough sense to not rattle a new mother by giving such a silly recommendation, but I guess there’s always going to be some dunces in every bunch.
1 Keep Your Infant Up All Day So They'll Sleep At Night
Finally, Dani from S.Mommy notes that the final piece of advice that made her want to facepalm for a full hour was when one of her relatives told her that she should make sure that her infant daughter stayed up all day so that she’ll sleep all night and therefore make sleep training easier.
Needless to say, this piece of advice was thoroughly disregarded because after dealing with 11 months of sleep issues, she knew that this “plan” wasn’t going to work out. This kind of advice might work with puppies or even kittens, but sleep training a baby is far more complex and rigorous than sleep training a pet.