When you become a parent, the world seems intent on giving you advice on caring for your new baby. Some of it’s welcome, from other veteran parents who kindly share their wisdom. And of course, some unsolicited opinions are less welcome, however well meaning – and can even be downright dangerous.
The best way to deal with bad baby advice? Grit your teeth, say thanks and then have a good chuckle about it later. Rest assured that what was routine before has been debunked by experts today. Here, we’ve rounded up the top pieces of outdated parenting advice that you’re allowed to ignore.
You’ll Spoil Your Baby If You Comfort Them On Demand
This is the one that really grinds our gears! Your baby has spent its entire life so far being comforted by your body. They’re used to your warmth, your smell, your voice, your touch, and being fed on demand. So, it comes as no surprise that being out in the big bad world is a shock for your newborn.
Nope, your baby is not crying to emotionally manipulate you for affection, crying won’t make their lungs ‘stronger’, and picking your baby up every time they cry will NOT make them difficult to deal with later on. On the contrary: your baby will learn that you’ll always be there from them. Awww.
Your Baby Will Catch Cold And Get Sick (Even In Summer)
The old school crowd seem to believe that newborns require, like, 10 layers of clothing, including a blanket, mittens, socks, onesie and a hat, even when it’s sweltering out. The truth is that newborns need help regulating their temperature. That also means making sure they don’t overheat, grandma.
Life Will Be Easier If Your Baby’s On A Strict Schedule
It may work for some families, but don’t feel pressured into putting your baby on a strict feeding and/or sleeping regime. The absence of such a structure will not leave your baby feeling insecure or create bad sleep patterns. It’s perfectly acceptable to go with the flow and embrace the chaos of the first few weeks and months.
Give Up Breastfeeding After A Few Months
Breastfeeding after six months is controversial amongst some of the old-schoolers. Woe betide you if you keep on nursing once your child has teeth or for longer than a year!
Feel free to breastfeed for as long as you like. The decision to breastfeed is up to you, and you decide when you want to give up. That may be a few days, weeks or months after giving birth or years after your child has weaned.
You’re A Bad Mother If You Don’t Breastfeed
We can’t win, can we? We’re told off for nursing for too long but we’re also not good enough if we can’t or don’t want to breastfeed.
With all the information about the benefits of breastfeeding, it’s easy to worry that formula is a less healthy option for your baby. Rest assured, then, that recommended baby formulas are created with specific nutrients that are essential to your baby’s development and regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Put Your Newborn To Sleep On Their Belly
This advice is wayyy outdated and unsafe. Yes, many of us may have been put down on our fronts and survived, but there were plenty of babies who didn’t. Current guidelines say always put your baby to sleep on their back, because back sleep reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Don’t Worry About Putting Your Child In A Car Seat
Older generations often trot out the old refrain: ‘We weren’t put in car seats and we were fine!’ You were plain lucky, mom. More cars on modern roads means the potential for more accidents. This is why it’s more essential than ever to strap our babies into safe, effective car seats.
Babies Sleep Best Alone In A Dark, Silent Space
We can see the logic here, but in practice this doesn’t work! Newborns are used to the sounds of your beating heart, the ambient noise outside the confines of your belly and your voice. White noise is relaxing and can help your baby get used to sleeping in a range of different places.
Bathe Your Little One Every Day
Very young babies don’t do enough to get a sweat on, so they don’t require the full tub experience every day. Plus, too much bathing can dry out their delicate skin. Try a sponge bath instead. Check out our guide: Baby’s First Bath: How To Bathe Your Newborn.
Baby Walkers Help Your Infant To Walk Properly
Nothing substitutes learning how to stand and balance by themselves. Baby walkers and bouncers are great fun but can make your baby too mobile before they’re ready. There are plenty of ways you can aid your child’s natural development safely, such as by creating a baby-friendly space with safety gates and play yards.
We all know that there’s no right or wrong way to parent. Our advice? Ignore the advice and go with your gut instinct. Lean towards what feels right for you and your family.