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As soon as you become a mom, everyone starts having a parenting tip. Family, friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbours…it’s uncanny how all of them become parenting and baby care experts overnight! But mom, starting a baby care practice without understanding its implications can be very harmful for your infant. The practices listed below are very popular in households across India and have been passed down from one generation to the other. But the final word on them is this – keep far, far away!
1. Not Breastfeeding Your Baby For The First Few Days After Birth
Mom, this practice is nothing but complete superstition. It is important for you to breastfeed (or formula feed) your baby immediately after birth. The belief stems from the fact that your breasts secrete colostrum – a yellowish substance – after delivery. But this is actually good for your baby’s immunity!
2. Applying Powder On The Baby’s Skin All The Time
The summer heat, a skin condition, dryness – anything is a good reason for many moms to apply powder on their baby’s skin. While some powder is fine, dabbing too much talcum powder has actually been linked to cancer. This is due to the presence of minerals such as magnesium, silicon and asbestos which can be harmful for the little one. Not just this, powder can also create lung damage and respiratory infections in babies. Stick to moderate use of selected, organic powders only.
3. Using A Drink of Gripe Water Whenever Your Baby Cries
Gripe water is your baby’s favourite drink – lots of people think so anyway! Did you know that gripe water has been reported to contain sodium bicarbonate and even alcohol – substances that can be very harmful for your baby? Experts agree that while gripe water may be useful for slightly older children, you are best advised to not administer it to your newborn. All he needs now is your breastmilk or a suitable, doctor-approved formula.
4. Feeding Cow’s Milk To Babies Younger Than 6 Months
No, we are not denying the goodness of cow’s milk. But please understand that children younger than 6 months cannot digest it properly and may actually develop intestinal infection! What’s more, cow’s milk lacks the necessary iron and vitamins that infants need. If you are running low on breast milk, please switch to formula after consulting with your paediatrician.
5. Feeding Solid Food Before Three Months of Age
The right age to initiate solid food is six months as this is when their digestive system is able to break down the complex nutrients. Introducing solid food too early puts your baby at the risk of developing diabetes, Celiac disease, allergies and intestinal inflammation. Any changes in their meal routine need to be discussed with the paediatrician.
6. Giving Them A Really Vigorous Massage, Too Often
What’s a good baby care routine without the compulsory tel maalish? A massage is definitely useful to develop your baby’s muscles and also create a bonding opportunity with Mamma. But rubbing their body for long intervals, using powerful strokes, is just a bad idea. Your baby will only be in pain and start hating these sessions altogether.
7. Exposing Your Baby To The Sun After A Massage
Doesn’t sun help our bodies process Vitamin D? Well, when it comes to babies, prolonged exposure to the sun can make them susceptible to sunstroke! If you have been told that sunbathing them after giving an oil massage will help their bones become stronger, please also understand that the Indian sun is often too hot for babies to handle.
8. Making A Besan Paste To Lighten Their Skin Colour or Remove Body Hair
The good old besan, your go-to kitchen ingredient for skincare, is not your baby’s best friend! Babies have sensitive skin that cannot stand everything that adult skin does. Besan has been known to cause skin rashes and irritation in babies. Please refrain from applying anything other than gentle baby lotion. As for the body hair, it is going to shed on its own!
9. Putting Mustard Oil In Your Baby’s Ears To Soothe Him
While mustard oil is widely used for giving babies a massage, don’t listen to anyone who suggests putting it in their ears! Exposing their ears, nostrils or umbilical stump to this oil will do more harm than good as it can lead to infection. If you need to clean their ears, just use baby-friendly ear buds to do so. Follow this guide to take care of their umbilical cord stump.
10. Assuming The Fever Is Just Because of Teething
Many moms often assume teething is the culprit behind everything – even a nagging fever that refused to leave your child. As per medical research, teething and fever are not linked except in rare cases. Notwithstanding popular notion, you need to see a doctor if this persists.
The Important Thing To Remember Is
you are the mom and your decision is final. Don’t bow down to pressure from family members or friends and don’t let anyone interfere with your parenting decisions.
Keeping baby healthy is of prime importance and these unhealthy habits do anything but that!