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I am about to debunk 3 very common newborn myths that have (unfortunately) been passed around for generations. I bet you have already heard them, too!
Whether you are expecting a new baby or are a brand new parent, you have probably already noticed one thing… You are getting TONS of advice!
Some of this advice is good, practical advice, but unfortunately, most new parents get so much unhelpful and unsolicited advice!
Much of this advice is just plain bad too! 🙁
Before we get into three of the commonly believed newborn myths, let’s chat a bit about how to handle all this advice!
Good Advice vs. Misinformation
There is so much misinformation regarding babies floating around out there! Not only is much of it wrong, but it is also very conflicting.
New parents are often really confused!
Some of that misinformation is on the internet and much of it comes from other moms or well-meaning friends who just want to be helpful.
Another source of “bad” advice comes from parents of previous generations who just don’t have evidence-based or up-to-date information!
Be Discerning When Online
The internet is amazing! Parents nowadays have so much great information literally at their fingertips.
Gone are the days when new parents had to go to the library or purchase books to research pregnancy and newborn care. It’s so easy to search online and find dozens of sites with helpful answers.
I personally use the internet to research everyday. However, it’s important to be very discerning with the websites you use.
If you want evidence-based, current information on pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and newborn care, make sure that you are researching information from an appropriate source.
There are lots of mom bloggers who share their own experience with pregnancy, childbirth and newborn care. This information can be invaluable! It’s great to read the frank discussion of such topics that might be otherwise “taboo” in regular social circles.
It is also great to be able to glean from their experience and wisdom. Let me be clear that I am not knocking these blogs or websites! They definitely have a place in your research and learning. Product recommendations and personal testimonies can be extremely helpful!
Just remember, though, that their experience might not necessarily be yours and that’s okay!
As you are researching blogs and websites, make sure that the author sites reputable evidence-based sources or studies for new parents.
Learn to distinguish fact from opinion and the internet will be a great new-parent tool for you!
Okay, enough of the lecture … on to the most common newborn myths:
Newborn Myths #1 -Holding or Wearing Your Baby too Much will “Spoil” Him!
This may be the most common piece of “bad advice” offered to new parents today.
Unfortunately, this bad advice may even be centuries old! How often will you hear this? Probably too much!
If you don’t want to start a debate with your mother-in-law, just smile and ignore it!
Here’s the truth… Holding your newborn will not spoil her! Period. There is lots of new research that supports this, too.
Holding your new baby, especially skin-to-skin, has so many great health and emotional benefits for both baby and mom.
Many parents worry that holding their baby too much will get them “used” to being held. The truth is that they are already used to being held and rocked (from their time in the womb).
This newborn period is a time to transition them from womb to world and holding them is a great way to do that!
Infants who are held a lot have much fewer crying episodes. In addition, being held helps regulate body temperature, breathing and heart rate.
There are also many studies which demonstrate the importance of infant touch in healthy emotional development of children. Here is one such study.
If you’d like more information about the science that supports this, check out this post.
Let’s do away with these newborn myths, beginning with this one!
Newborn Myths #2 – Your Baby Needs to Learn How to Sleep Through the Night.
Hogwash! Newborns need to eat often. They are hard-wired to do so.
If anyone asks you if your newborn baby sleeps through the night yet, politely tell them the truth or just ignore them.
But whatever you do, DON’T feel like anything is wrong. You have a perfectly normal baby! You may be feeling a bit sleep-deprived, but there are several things you can do to remedy this!
I have written a very practical eBook about how to get great sleep with a newborn. It is a short, easy read that is PACKED with great tips and tricks.
In this eBook, I have compiled some of my best doula tips to help you and your baby sleep better during the postpartum and newborn period. Find out more here.
In a few short months, you will be wondering what happened to your tiny newborn.
Don’t even think about sleep training during the first few months. It’s too early.
Although some babies sleep 8 hours as a newborn, it’s not very common. Baby sleep experts agree, that sleep training or sleep coaching needs to wait until babies are at least 6 months old.
Don’t despair! There are things you can do to encourage better newborn sleep, I promise. Check out my eBook for more information.
Newborn Myths #3 – Your Baby Should Only Eat on a Regular Schedule.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, don’t expect him to keep to a regular feeding schedule.
That being said, some babies are very predictable most of the time, and you may begin to notice a feeding pattern emerging.
In the early weeks, newborns need to eat every 2-3 hours during the day. They can often go longer stretches at night. However, always check with your doctor before allowing your newborn to go more than 3 hours between night feedings.
If your baby is back to his birth weight and is gaining weight at a good pace, your doctor will probably give the green light for “on demand” night time feedings. This means that it’s okay to allow your baby to sleep as long as she wants at night. (Keep feeding every 2-3 hours during the day, though, to encourage better night sleep!)
It is easier to keep a feeding schedule for babies on formula since formula is generally slower to digest. But even formula-fed babies will adjust their feeding needs during growth spurts!
It’s also believed that bottle-fed babies (formula or expressed breast milk) take in larger volumes at each feeding simply because the flow is typically faster with bottles.
Breast fed babies need to work harder at getting the milk and they often fall asleep at the breast after their breastfeeding “workout”. Because of these reasons, breastfed babies may need to eat more often.
Growth Spurts Happen!
Another reason that it’s not good to expect your baby to keep to a feeding schedule is that babies go through various growth spurts.
During a growth spurt, you will notice that your baby wants to eat or sleep more than usual. That’s perfectly normal!
It’s also very good and normal for your baby to cluster feed during the evening hours. Your baby may wish to nurse non-stop for several hours before bed. Don’t worry if this happens.
The extra suckling helps to encourage an increase in milk supply and also helps your baby “tank up” for the night.
Even bottle-fed babies will want extra feedings during the evening, especially before a growth spurt!
*Disclaimer – The information in the post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be medical advice. Please make sure that you talk with your baby’s doctor if you have any concerns about your newborn. Always check with your health care practitioner before giving your baby supplements, medications or remedies.
Are there any other newborn myths that you have heard? Have you had well-meaning family and friends sharing misinformation with you? How have you handled these situations? Any suggestions for new moms?
30 Easy Sleep Tips for New Parents!
Having a newborn is hard!
The greatest challenge for most new parents is loss of sleep. How can you get more sleep with your newborn? It is possible!
My new eBook shows you how.
This is NOT your average book on baby sleep, but an easy step-by-step, hands-on survival guide for new parents!
I teach new parents how to maximize their sleep during the postpartum period.
I have compiled all my favorite doula tips into a very practical and useful book on sleep for new parents. It’s called 30 Sleep Hacks for New Parents: A Sleep Survival Guide for Parents of Newborns.
This quick read is a very affordable eBook that will be a game changer for your family!