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There Is Constantly A 'New Normal' When It Comes To Infant Care

With the information age gathering and interpreting data faster than ever before, even the sage advice offered by your own mom is under the microscope.

The problem is that childrearing practices are being modified faster and more frequently than ever to the point where old wives' tales might be better described as middle-aged or young wives' tales.

It's an observation not lost on Chicago pediatrician Dr. Renee F. Slade, who has been busy in the nursery at Rush University Medical Center.

“The reason we have all the recommendations for babies is we can study them,” said the doctor, who has been privy to a lot of notions surrounding infant upbringing. “There are thousands of them born every day across the country, so we’re always learning, and best practices are always changing.”

For openers, it's no secret that baby boomers are big on using baby powder while changing diapers, although studies have indicated it may do more harm than good. But it's not the area where powder is applied that's cause for concern here. It doesn't matter how little or low you sprinkle the stuff, it's more likely to get into the baby's lungs if any of that powder gets airborne. That can lead to a series of potential problems like lung infections and other respiratory ailments.

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Some mothers swear that adding rice cereal to a baby's breast milk or formula will increase their chances of sleeping better and longer. Doctors argue there's some truth to that notion, but it also puts the baby at risk of becoming obese in later years. Many moms add the cereal to cut down on those 3:00 AM feedings, although doctors state that babies will always cry out to be fed regardless of the time. When they're younger than six months, they'll need their nutrition fix several times a day (and night).

Finally, in their heyday, baby booties lined the shelves of department stores and anywhere that baby supplies could be purchased. These hard-sold items were seen as a way to toughen up the feet and legs once baby started getting into stepping mode. Not anymore. It turns out that they play havoc with a baby's development since an infant's bones aren't totally solid at this stage in life. Bare feet around the home and more pliable soles when outside are being recommended more and more often these days.

What other myths have you been exposed to as a new mother that you've since found out to be proven false? Let us know in the comments!

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