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Common New Mom Myths

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 by | 4 views

In my line of work I find myself hearing the same thing over and over from new parents: “We don’t want to spoil her” “We want him to get used to the crib right away.” These common myths are just that....myths! I feel strongly about educating and encouraging parents with the truth. I want to debunk these myths and give parents a positive message that empowers them in caring for their babies.

1. “If I hold my baby too much…he’ll get used to it and then he’ll want to be held all the time.”
It is impossible to spoil a newborn baby. The first 3 months of a newborn’s life should be as much like the womb as possible. What great news! That means you can take every opportunity to hold, comfort and shower your little one with affection. The more physical contact they have, the more confident children and adults they will be.

2. “My baby hates tummy time, but if I don’t make her do it while she’s a newborn, she’ll never learn to crawl.”
Every baby is different. Some will crawl earlier than others...but that is determined by their genetic make-up and personality, not how much tummy time they had as a newborn. If your baby enjoys tummy time and is motivated to crawl, then support your baby by challenging them to go and get their toys, rather then giving them something all the time. If your baby is uncomfortable or dislikes tummy time then put it on the shelf and spend that time just enjoying and getting to know your baby. Tummy time is not necessary. Babies develop best when allowed to develop at their own pace.

3. “My milk never came in… so I had to stop breastfeeding” or “I have implants or have had a breast reduction, so I can’t breastfeed.”
Gone are the days where just because you had previous surgery or your milk never came in meant giving up on your dream and desire to breastfeed your baby. Don’t give up! These days there are many ways to bring up your milk supply: herbs, medications, and pumping are just a few. Talk to your doctor and/or visit the La Leche League website for guidance.

4. “I want all my friends and family to visit my new baby as soon as we get home from the hospital.”
For at least the first six weeks you have your new baby, visitors and external stimuli such as television, lights and lots of loud talking should be kept to a minimum. Low stimulation is the name of the game when arriving home from the hospital. Don’t worry; there will be plenty of time to show your new baby off to all your friends. For now, focus on allowing others to take care of you, so that in return you can care for your baby. Social pressures may tell you that you have to be grocery shopping and at the gym right after you have your baby. However, accommodations must be made; you have to accommodate your baby not the other way around. You need to fit into your baby’s world. Your baby cannot accommodate you. Did someone offer to bring you a meal or run an errand for you? Great! Graciously take them up on it and allow yourself to be nurtured so that you have even more energy to nurture your baby.

5. “If I keep my baby awake during the day she will sleep better at night.”
When it comes to babies and sleep...they go hand in hand. Sleep begets sleep with babies. Keeping babies awake causes over-stimulation which then prevents them from calming down to go to sleep. Newborns need 16 to 20 hours of sleep a day (depending upon their age). Remember...the more they sleep....the more they will sleep!

6. “Newborns LOVE rattles and other toys dangled in front of their faces, right” or “I need to play games with my newborn to stimulate his brain.”
Ouch! They DO NOT need that stimulation. Every time they open their eyes it’s a wonder world for them! Remember, your baby is just learning how to take in all the stimuli around him. He doesn’t need anything dangled in his face to stimulate him. Can you imagine opening your eyes and seeing what equates to being Disneyland on Acid?  The human face is the only thing newborns need to focus on for at least the first couple of months. In fact, the brain synapses really kick in when your baby looks at you or any face for that matter. Even pictures of faces are appropriate stimulation for your baby.

Kathleen Sullivan CPD CPD-T

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