Modern Parenting 101: Outdated Baby Advice You Can Ignore

When you have a baby advice can flow like water.  Your friends and family members become experts on where to find the best diaper coupons, and which times of the day are best for feedings.  You’ve heard countless tips, remedies, and anecdotes, and it can be difficult to separate the good advice from the bad.  Child care has changed significantly over the past few decades, and certain “iron clad baby” care rules have been disproven.  If you’re juggling a newborn and listening to advice from loved ones, know that you can choose to ignore these outdated baby tips.

You should never swaddle a baby, it’s too constraining for them and can be dangerous!

People have been swaddling their babies for millennia, but some people think that swaddling is too restrictive for babies that need to explore their surrounding environment.  Studies have shown that swaddling reduces crying, lowers the breathing and heart rates of anxious babies, and can even allow infants to sleep longer with fewer interruptions.  Swaddling is naturally calming, and if you have a fussy baby you shouldn’t hesitate to swaddle them.

Your baby is having teething pains? Rub a little bit of alcohol on their gums to sooth their pain.

In the past it wasn’t uncommon for parents to calm their babies with a small amount of alcohol.  You may think that a tiny bit of alcohol can’t do any harm, but a small dose can be fatal to your baby.  As little as a teaspoon of alcohol can intoxicate your baby, and it also has the potential to cause hypoglycemia, seizures, and respiratory failure.  There are a variety of products you can use to sooth your baby’s teething pain, all of which are much more safe for your baby than alcoholic products.

Sharing a bed with your baby is safe and recommended by pediatricians.

Sleeping near your baby is perfectly fine, but there is a significant difference between sleeping near each other and sharing a bed.  If someone is telling you that pediatricians recommend sharing a bed with your newborn, they’re probably mixing up their advice with another popular sleeping method.  Co-sleeping is the practice of keeping your baby within arm’s reach of your bed.  Co-sleeping parents and babies maintain their own sleeping space: parents sleep in the bed, and babies sleep in a nearby cradle, bassinet, or an attached bed unit that connects to the bed.  Co-sleeping is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, but sharing a bed with your baby is not endorsed.

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