8 outdated babycare practices to avoid following

These childcare beliefs aren’t just obsolete, some are downright dangerous!

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d have noticed by now that parenting practices have changed drastically in the past 20 years.

While it’s great that so much time has been invested into understanding parenting from  conception until your kids leave for university, this also makes it harder for parents to keep up with the ever-changing guidelines.

Incidentally, research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academics Societies meeting in May addressed this very concern. It shed light on certain old-school childcare techniques that grandparents still observe that put young children at risk. Nor does it help when the gramps smugly point out that “we did it to you and you turned out fine!”

Nor are you alone if you’ve wondered if you were doing more harm than good for your baby by listening to such old-school parenting tips. We’ve rounded up eight common recommendations from yesteryear that experts say we should retire ― for good.   

Outdated advice #1: “Put baby to sleep on her tummy”

WHY IT’S OUTDATED: While sleeping on their tummies encourages babies to sleep longer (hooray!), it comes at a price. Babies who sleep on their tummies are more prone to suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), because they’re unable to turn over when they can’t breathe properly.

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Ever since the “Back to Sleep” campaign kicked off in 1994, parents have been educated on the dangers of putting their little ones to sleep on their front. This initiative, which is backed by the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the US National Institutes of Health, encourages parents to put babies to sleep on their backs instead. This halved the number of SIDS-related deaths. Plus, it also busted another old-school myth that placing babies on their back could cause them to choke on their spit-up. However, reassuring studies show that babies are able to turn their heads to protect their airways if they spit up in their mouths.

Introducing water too soon to your little one’s system can lead to oral water intoxication, a condition in which sodium in bubba’s bloodstream becomes diluted, leading to low body temperature and even seizures.

Outdated advice #2: “Use crib bumpers, blankets and soft toys to make the crib feel cosier”

WHY IT’S OUTDATED: It’s tempting to create the perfect sanctuary for your sweetie to snooze in. However, loose bedding, soft toys and crib bumpers do more harm than help you achieve your goal of extending baby’s sleep. Blankets, pillows, bolsters and stuffed toys can easily cover bub’s face and suffocate him. Junior can also get his hands and legs trapped between the strings used to keep crib bumpers in place.  

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: There’s good reason why every Finnish baby is given a cardboard box to sleep in right after birth. The tradition, which dates back to the 1930s, has helped the country achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates. Babies don’t really need much to fall sleep. Properly swaddled, your little one will sleep soundly on a bare crib fitted with a firm mattress, nor would you need to worry about their safety.    

Outdated advice #3: “It’s so warm, give your baby some water”

WHY IT’S OUTDATED: While your tot may sweat and lose fluids when he’s outdoors in our hot tropical weather, this is not good enough a reason to give him any water. Introducing water too soon to your little one’s system can lead to oral water intoxication, a condition in which sodium in bubba’s bloodstream becomes diluted, leading to low body temperature and even seizures. Also, when your baby drinks too much water, it might suppress his appetite and lead to weight loss.

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: For the first six months, breastmilk and formula is all your kewpie needs. If he’s thirsty, he will just feed more often. Once he has hit the sixth-month mark and on solids, you can gradually introduce small amounts of water, but speak to your paediatrician first.

Outdated advice #4: “Put cereal in baby’s milk.”

WHY IT’S OUTDATED: This advice was intended to keep baby full longer, which means she would sleep more. Sometimes, it’s also used to help babies who have bad reflux keep down their milk. Although it’s widely practised from generation to generation, plenty of babies who are fed this concoction don’t end up sleeping through the night. On the contrary, it can result in some bad outcomes. Babies whose digestive systems are not mature enough to break down solids of any kind will experience tummy discomfort. Plus, some experts also point out that if baby gets used to drinking his solids, he’ll never know how to differentiate solids from liquids later on.

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Feed baby normally, either breastmilk or formula, and teach him how to sleep well by maintaining a bedtime routine. When he’s old enough, you might want to consider sleep training.