Busting through parenting myths across the generations

This is the second post in a four-part series about being a grandparent.

I remember fondly being pregnant with my first baby; I had such a thirst for all and any information.  It was crazy… 9 months to prepare for a lifetime of parenting just didn’t seem like enough.  How do people do it? Prenatal classes, books, online information, discussions with my partner and other parents really helped.

Your own parents (grandparents-to-be) may also have some well-meaning advice and tips from when they raised you.  Some of it is really valuable information, but there are also some myths that just don’t seem to go away!

Some common myths:

1)  Babies need to drink water regularly to thrive

2)  Babies can sleep on their tummies

3)  Sugar water eases teething pain, constipation, and colic

4)  Thumb or soother sucking will lead to a plethora of dental concerns

Do any of these ring a bell? It’s not that grandparents are trying to give you inaccurate information.  They are giving you advice based on the best information they had when they had you.  However, times have changed and so has the research.  We now know more about why some things are simply not true!

Myth busting!

1)  Before 6 months of age, babies get the water they need every day in your breastmilk, and in what’s used to make breastmilk substitutes…and the nutrients from those sources is all they need to keep them healthy. Not water.

2)  It is proven that babies who sleep on their backs have a much lower risk of SIDS- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  Strong research over past several years consistently tells us this.  In fact, once we started putting babies to sleep on their backs we saw SIDS rates drop significantly.

3)  Babies who receive sugar-water regularly in their diet could end up with major dental problems like early childhood tooth decay.  It can also interfere with babies overall nutrition and dietary habits.

4)  Most babies enjoy pacifying themselves by sucking on something.  It is very soothing and helps them to cope with many feelings and situations.  Avoiding a pacifier for the first month during the initiation of breastfeeding can help parents better identify their babies feeding cues.  An advantage of a pacifier is that parents are in control of when it is given and when it is taken away.  By introducing it at specific times, like at nap and bedtime both parents and baby are in control.  Some parents prefer if their little one finds their fingers or thumb to self soothe, because they are always available.  Rest assured that as long as the soother and thumb-sucking is finished by age 4, it should not be a problem in the dentist chair later on.  During waking hours when your little one wants to socialize with you, try to make sure their mouth is free because those early coo’s are the path for important words to come!

Whether you’re a parent or a grandparent helping your own child navigate through the endless bounty of parenting information, connect with us at HaltonParents. We can help!

Tell us some of the myths you’ve busted as a parent:

  • Leave us a comment
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at haltonparents@halton.ca
  • Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About this guest author:

Carolyn Wilkie is a Public Health Nurse with Halton Region’s Early Years Program who teaches Prenatal and Calling New Parents classes.  Carolyn has a passion for children and advocating for their health.  When she is not working she enjoys hanging out with her two boys.

This entry was posted in Babies, Breastfeeding Your Baby, Feeding Your Baby in the First Year, Keeping Your Baby Safe, Parenting, Parenting Your Baby, Play, Growth & Development for Babies, Pregnancy, Preparing to Breastfeed and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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