9 baby-care myths every new parent should stop believing

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1. Your baby should sleep through the night by six months

Fact: Sleep patterns vary greatly. Statistics suggest that only about half of all babies sleep through the night by the age of five or six months; some don’t do so even at one year.

She (and you) will get an unbroken night’s sleep when she is ready for it.

2. She will become overly attached to you if you use a baby carrier

Fact: It’s true that a carrier allows you to go “hands free” and also brings your little one close to your chest, which can help her fall asleep.

But as time passes, she’ll naturally grow out of this method because she would much rather be able to move and look around without restriction.

3. The only way to make her feel secure is by swaddling her in a blanket

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Fact: Swaddling your little one in a blanket keeps her warm. Her sense of security, however, comes from knowing that she is loved, not the way her blankets are arranged.

Help her feel secure by soothing her when she is upset and by giving her loving attention.

4. Your baby nurses only when she is hungry

Fact: Feeding provides important nourishment for your baby and satisfies her hunger. It is an instinctive reaction, yet it also provides comfort to her.

That’s why she sometimes sucks for milk even though she obviously doesn’t really want it; the sucking motion helps relax her.

5. A breastfed baby has a closer bond with her mum than a bottle-fed one

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Fact: There is no evidence to support that myth at all.

What matters is the way you hold your baby during feeding, the loving way you handle her, and the soothing words you use with her.

The feeding method itself has no specific effect on bonding.

6. The only time your baby can form a bond with you is at birth

Fact: Bonding between you and your baby doesn’t have to occur at birth.

True, some parents do feel a close connection with their newborn the moment they first meet. But mostly, bonding takes days, weeks or even months.

So there is plenty of time to let your relationship develop naturally.

7. The only reason your baby cries is because she is hungry, again

Fact: Of course, she wails when she needs milk. But the reality is that there are many possible reasons behind her tears.

She might simply be uncomfortable, scared, or bored, for instance.

8. Baby always forms a stronger attachment with mummy than with daddy

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Fact: That’s mostly because mums typically spend more time with their babies compared to dads.

But if the men are just as hands-on with baby care duties, they will share a strong bond with the little ones, as well.

9. A six-month-old baby can be potty-trained

Fact: A baby who can sit up on her own is also able to sit on a potty; and at some point while sitting on it, she will empty her bladder and bowels into it.

But she has no control – she can’t get on and off the potty by herself. As soon as she walks, she’ll cease to be “trained”. 

This article was first published in Young Parents.