top 5 baby care myths, busted
Parenting has changed a lot since our parents or grandparents were raising their kids, and science is offering us new understanding of all sorts of aspects of infant care every day. Unfortunately, there's so much parenting advice out there that scientific fact and up to date recommendations can get lost among the outdated information and old wives' tales. Here are 5 common myths about babies and the science-based best practices you should be doing instead!
1. Avoid introducing high risk allergens until age 2.
Recent research actually shows that early introduction of highly allergenic foods like peanuts, eggs, shellfish, etc, makes kids less likely to develop a food allergy. Doctors noticed that Israeli kids had much lower rates of peanut allergies than those in other regions and linked it to the popularity of peanut butter Bamba puffs as an early finger food for babies. The current recommendation is to introduce a variety of solid foods, including nuts and other risky foods, starting at 6 months. Nuts and peanut butter can be a choking hazard for young children, though, so try nut butters spread on crackers, stirred into oatmeal, or baked into muffins.
2. Babies who sleep on their backs can choke if they spit up in bed.
According to the AAP, there is no increased risk of choking or aspiration for babies who sleep on their backs, and babies who sleep on their stomachs are at a higher risk for SIDS and suffocation related deaths. Remember the ABCs of safe infant sleep: babies should sleep Alone on their Backs in a Crib.
3. Flashcards, Baby Einstein videos, and other "educational" tools help babies learn language.
Nope. The way babies learn to speak is from you! Studies show that Baby Einstein videos have no benefit to language development. Talking naturally and reading with your baby, on the other hand, is shown over and over again to be the best way to foster your baby's language development.
4. Rear facing car seats are uncomfortable for kids.
Many parents turn their baby's car seat to face forwards early because they feel their child will be more comfortable or less fussy, but rear facing is perfectly comfortable for babies, toddlers and even preschoolers. More importantly, rear facing kids are up to 500% safer than forward facing! Best practice is to rear face until at least age 2, preferably closer to age 4. Pro tip: many babies dislike the bucket style infant car seats, so if you have a fussy baby, try switching to a convertible seat instead of turning baby around!
5. Putting cereal in a baby's bottle will help them sleep through the night.
Not only does it make no difference to baby sleep, adding cereal to bottles can actually be dangerous itself for several reasons. Cereal in bottles is a choking hazard, interferes with babies' natural hunger cues, and consists of nutritionally empty calories. Healthy sleep routines and development are what cause babies to sleep through the night, not solid food.