As a parent, there’s so much to read up on, but there’s also a lot of misinformation out there. Make sure you have your facts straight when it comes to these common beliefs on childcare. By Georgina Guedes
Juice is healthy for children
A nice big glass of orange juice used to be part of a child’s healthy breakfast – but fruit juices contain a high amount of sugar and not enough fibre to slow down sugar’s absorption. The best thing for your toddler to drink is water.
Supplement feeding with cereal to get your baby to sleep through the night
A sleep-starved mother will try anything when baby isn’t sleeping through the night, including adding a little cereal to their child’s bottle. In reality, a baby’s digestive system isn’t ready for solid foods (even if they are mixed into a liquid) until between four and six months of age, and providing them too early can lead to gagging, choking and even food allergies. Unfortunately, there’s no magic fix for sleepless nights.
Walkers help babies to learn to walk
Although your baby will almost certainly enjoy the mobility that comes with a walking ring, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend this piece of baby equipment. In a walker, your baby will learn to walk on tiptoe, which causes tight heel and leg muscles, and could delay sitting and crawling, adds US paediatrician Dr David Geller. Your baby will also be able to get around easily, which prevents him from doing the “work” he needs to do to get moving on his own.
Don’t let your baby stand on your lap
Doctors used to advise against letting your baby stand or bounce on your lap, because it could cause her to become bow-legged. Dr Kristen Stuppy, a paediatrician in the US, says that your baby’s legs are quite resilient, and standing supported on your lap can help her leg muscles to develop in the right way – as long as she is comfortable and enjoying it.
Teething causes terrible fevers
Anyone who has struggled through the night with a baby crying from inflamed gums knows that teething is no joke. However, while many healthcare professionals used to blame all kinds of ailments on incoming teeth, new analysis by the journal Pediatrics says that teething can’t cause significantly high fevers (although it can still cause mild instances). Don’t overlook a true ailment because your child may be teething.
Cold weather gives children colds
While no one’s suggesting that you take your baby out with no blanket when it’s freezing, there’s no conclusive evidence of the connection between cold weather and colds. You and your baby can get ill when you come into contact with other people who are sick. This happens more in winter because we tend to be indoors and in closer proximity. But the cold weather itself is not making anyone sick.
Put your baby to sleep on his tummy
Doctors used to advise putting babies to sleep on their tummies so that if they were sick while sleeping, they wouldn’t choke. In fact, it seems that babies are no more likely to choke on their back than on their front, but sleeping on their front increases the incidence of SIDS significantly, according to a study published in Pediatrics. Researchers believe this may be because of pressure on the baby’s diaphragm or he is forced to rebreathe exhaled air, which is low in oxygen. So be sure to put your baby to sleep on his back – but if he’s old enough to roll over on his own, then don’t worry about it anymore.
Bath your baby daily
Babies are not by their nature particularly dirty, unless there’s been some kind of an accident, so there’s no need to bath a baby daily – especially not a tiny infant who’s not enjoying the experience. Wiping hands, feet, bum, face and underarms with a warm, damp facecloth once a day is all that’s necessary to keep a baby clean. However, if your baby loves bathing and you want to establish a routine, there’s no harm in a bath every day – as long as you’re not using soap that will dry out her delicate skin.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.