It can feel overwhelming to sort through everything that's out there. I'm here to help! Let's debunk some of the most common myths about infants together.
Myth #1: You Need to Bathe Your Baby Everyday
While babies are messy, you don’t need to bathe them every day.6 You probably already clean the body parts and messes that could cause skin irritation throughout the day. You just have to make sure you clean them thoroughly during diaper changes, after meal times, and when they spit up. Babies also have all that chunkiness that creates those rolls we all love. Unfortunately, food and debris can become trapped in those rolls. Make it a habit to check your baby's folds each time you clean them up with a wet wipe.
For newborns, stick with periodic sponge baths for the first few weeks. Don't submerge them in bath water until their umbilical cord stump falls off.
Myth #2: You Can Spoil Your Baby
This is a common myth that most parents hear at some point. The truth is that you can’t spoil a baby. When you respond to a baby's cries, you're meeting their physical and emotional needs. Infants’ brains rapidly develop during their first year of life. Each time you respond to their cries, you are helping them develop a safe and secure attachment with you. By having their needs met, they are learning that they are safe, cared for, and loved.1
Myth #3: Put Rice Cereal in Your Baby's Bottle to Help Them Sleep Longer
Well-meaning people will suggest that you put rice cereal in your baby’s bottle to help them sleep through the night. I mean who doesn’t want a baby to sleep through the night? Unfortunately, this isn’t helpful advice. Putting any solid foods, such as rice cereal can create problems for your baby. These problems include increased risks of choking or overeating, as well as hindering your baby’s feeding skills.2
Myth #4: Babies Need to Poop Every Day
Myth #5: Baby Walkers Will Help Your Baby Learn to Walk
Baby walkers don't help your child learn to walk. They can actually delay walking when babies are in them for extended periods of time.8 Babies learn to walk by practicing sitting, pulling up, and then balancing. When they're placed in a walker for long periods of time, they’re missing out on time to work on those skills. The key is to use them in moderation and ensure your baby’s safety while using them. Avoid placing your baby in a walker near stairs or ledges. Monitor them while they're in the walker so that they don't pull an item down from a shelf, table, or other surfaces.
Myth #6: Crib Bumpers Keep Your Baby Safe
The Safe Sleep for Babies Act was signed into U.S. law in May 2022. This law prohibits the manufacture, sale, and distribution of crib bumpers as well as incline sleepers for babies.10 The American Association of Pediatrics reported that parents should not use crib bumpers in cribs due to the increased risk of suffocation and injury.1
Myth #7: You'll Instantly Love Your Baby
Before I gave birth the first time, multiple people told me that I'd instantly love my baby. More than one person even said I'd forget all the pain of labor and delivery as soon as I got to hold my son. While that might be the case for a lot of mothers, it wasn't my experience. It took some time for me to bond with my baby. I even remember wondering if there was something wrong with me.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that bonding between mother and baby doesn't happen instantly for many women.9 Bonding can take time and there are various factors that impact it. It's often influenced by birth trauma, maternal mental health, baby's disposition, as well as mom's recovery and support.
Myth #8: Never Wake a Sleeping Baby
I know as new parents, we’re desperate for sleep. There were times when it felt like a monumental feat to get my babies to sleep. The thought of someone waking them up early lit a fire of rage inside me. That said, the common advice to “never wake a sleeping baby,” isn’t true. There are times that you will need to wake your baby up for safety reasons or to help them AND YOU with a sleep schedule.
Newborns need to eat more often than older babies. During the first six weeks, don’t let your baby sleep more than five hours at a time.4 There may be situations when your pediatrician requests that you wake your infant to check on them because of a medical condition.
Young babies often sleep more during the day in the beginning. You'll want to interrupt long stretches of daytime sleeping to help them become more active during the day instead of nighttime.
Myth #9: Newborns Can't See
A baby’s eyesight is still developing as they grow during those first few months. However, newborns are able to see. They notice the contrast between white and black the most during the early days. As they hone their ability to focus on objects farther away, it’s easier for them to look at items or people from an angle.3
Myth #10: You Need to Eat Bland Food While Breastfeeding
You don’t have to give up flavor just because you’re breastfeeding! In reality, eating a variety of foods while breastfeeding can help your baby as they transition to solid foods. Nutrition while nursing is still important for both you and your baby. You want to focus on nutrient-rich foods and avoid alcohol, excessive caffeine, and extreme amounts of high-mercury fish.7
Myth #11: You Shouldn't Breastfeed if You're Sick
Unfortunately, you’ll likely come down with a cold, flu, or stomach virus at some point while you’re breastfeeding. However, you won’t pass those illnesses to your baby through your breastmilk. In fact, your body will make antibodies that your child will obtain by nursing. Wash your hands and wear a mask when in close proximity to your baby, so that you help prevent passing the illness on to them in other ways.
If you’re so sick that continuing to nurse your baby is wearing on your mental and physical health, it’s also okay to supplement. Don’t deplete yourself. That will likely make your recovery harder and longer.
Myth #12: Babies Need Silence to Sleep
Your infant spent the last nine months in a noisy womb surrounded by your bodily noises as well as the sounds of your daily life. They’ll be able to sleep with background noise. A sound machine can be extremely soothing and signal that it’s time to rest. This can also help you feel like you can move freely around your home while your baby is sleeping.
Preparing for Your Journey Into Motherhood?
It’s not a myth that we love supporting mothers at Ellie and Becca. That’s why we create clothing specifically for mothers. We design nursing-friendly dresses with you in mind. We want you to feel beautiful and confident in your postpartum body. Discover our newest collection today!
- American Academy of Pediatrics. “Responding to Your Baby’s Cries.” Healthychildren.org. Accessed August 19, 2022.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Feeding From a Bottle.” July 12, 2021. Accessed August 19, 2022.
- Cleveland Clinic. “Newborn Behavior.” 2019. Accessed August 19, 2022.
- Cleveland Clinic. “Sleep in Your Baby’s First Year: Milestones, Tips and Safety.” Accessed August 19, 2022.
- Cleveland Clinic. “Well Baby Care: 2 Week Check Up.” 2019. Accessed August 19, 2022.
- Mayo Clinic. “Baby bath basics: A Parent’s Guide.” Accessed August 19, 2022.
- Mayo Clinic. “Breastfeeding Nurtrition: Tips for Moms.”
- McCarthy, Claire. “Parents: Don’t Use a Baby Walker.” Harvard Health Publishing, September 27, 2018. Accessed August 19, 2022.
- Ogunyemi, Dotun. “Bonding With Your Newborn: What to Know If You Don’t Feel Connected Right Away.” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Accessed August 19, 2022.
- United States Congress. Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2021.