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  • Stop Believing These 5 Myths When It Comes to Caring for Your Baby

    Find out fact from fiction to hone your maternal instinct.
    by Rachel Perez .
Stop Believing These 5 Myths When It Comes to Caring for Your Baby
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Think of Chinese New Year as a quick reset. We're taking this time to give you a rundown of common myths moms often ask. If you've have made a few resolutions, parenting or otherwise, as the past year came to a close but maybe haven't really gotten to them, this the time to act on them. Keep these in mind so you won't have to second-guess yourself as you hurry to Google it or post a question on social media.

    Myth: Giving your less than 6-month-old baby water is okay

    In fact, it can endanger your baby's life when water is introduced earlier than his sixth month. His kidneys have yet to mature fully, and giving water can lead to water intoxication. And do not water down your breast milk or the formula milk because it can put your baby at risk for malnutrition.

    Moms usually think that water will help your baby poop. But at this age, your breast milk is all good. If you're using formula milk, strictly follow the instructions for the amount. Formula-fed babies do have fewer bowel movements than breastfed babies, but not pooping for a day is not necessarily an automatic red flag. Consult your pediatrician right away if you notice that your baby is not wetting his nappies or he is showing signs of discomfort in your baby and is passing pebble-like stools.

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    Click here and here for a more detailed discussion on why water should not be given to babies younger than 6 months.

    Myth: Bathing your baby at night will cause colic

    Bathing your baby before bedtime or going outdoors with your baby at dusk does not lead to gas or colic. The myth is also associated with exposing your baby to hamog, which you can protect against by dressing your baby for cold weather.

    The cause of colic in babies is, unfortunately, still unknown. Gas does not cause colic but it is treated as a symptom of colic. Gas in babies can be due to several reasons, such as a not being burped after feeding, a nursing mom's diet, improper latching, or choosing the wrong size or flow of nipple for bottle-fed babies.

    Click here for tips on how to burp your baby correctly, here for proper latching tips, and here for breastfeeding-friendly feeding bottles.

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    Myth: Breastfeeding hinders your baby from being sleep-trained

    Breastfeeding and sleep training have nothing to do with each other, says sleep coach Gabrielle Weil. Newborns have yet to establish their circadian rhythm or their sleep-wake cycle. They also have tiny stomachs that get full faster, which also causes them to get hungry soon after a feeding. So, don't expect your newborn infant to sleep through the night just yet. He will wake up to feed every two to three hours.

    You can absolutely still nurse your baby at night, but make sure your little one is awake and actively swallowing. Weil explains, "If you're feeding at night, make sure that your baby is awake and actively swallowing," Weil advised. "If they're just sleeping on you, stop [breastfeeding] — they're using you as a pacifier." She also suggested to strip baby down to his diaper to help keep him awake during a nighttime feeding. "If their eyes are starting to close, stop [breastfeeding]."

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    Click here to know more about sleep training and breastfeeding.

    Myth: Walkers helps your baby learn to walk faster

    Despite the name, walkers do NOT do much in teaching your baby how to walk. It may make your baby more mobile, but it's can actually even hinder your little from taking his first few steps. Even doctors want walkers to be banned.

    Learning how to walk involves your baby seeing and understanding how their legs and feet move. Because walkers have trays, your baby takes steps without seeing his limbs or even the surface he's walking on. Putting your baby on a walker too early may also affect his gross motor skills such as crawling and pulling himself up to stand. Plus, a baby who has yet to learn to walk on a walker with which he has no control over its speed or direction is also a recipe for accidents.

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    Click here for more reason why your baby doesn't need a walker and here for more debunked myths on what helps a baby learn how to walk.

    Myth: Holding or carrying your baby often will spoil him

    Attending to your baby's needs, including his need for comfort, will NOT make him spoiled. Don't deprive your little one of acts of love. There is a long list of rewards for doing the opposite: always holding or hugging your baby and showing him affection.

    Boost in brain activity, higher self-esteem, better parent-child communication, fewer psychological and behavior problems—these are science-backed benefits that you are depriving your child if you're holding back on the cuddling due to fear of your little one being spoiled.

    Discipline may not be an issue later on when you've established a loving connection with your baby. So, please, go on ahead hug your baby anytime, and every time you feel like it.

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