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Busted! 10 myths about parenting

By Tanya Khubchandani Vatsa
Last updated on: July 10, 2019 11:05 IST
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Don't get bullied into doing anything that does not make you uncomfortable, says Tanya Khubchandani. The key is truly to trust yourself and your instinct.


Image published for representational purposes only. Photograph: Kind courtesy BabyChakra

Tanya Khubchandani is mother to two children -- Riaan and Kiara, who are four-and-a-half and two years old, respectively.

In her book All You Need to Know About Parenting, Tanya pens down handy tips to young mothers and parents on how to cope with the new phase.

From the time you welcome the baby till they start walking and doing things on their own, the book aims to help you understand the various stages of growth and how to tend for it.

This includes dealing with unsolicited advice, busting age-old myths and staying calm.

Presenting an excerpt from the book on 'Myths About Infants':

Book cover: All you need to know about parenting by Tanya Khubchandani As new moms, we tend to be sounding boards for all the things people think they did right, wish they had done differently or even heard about parenting through the grapevine.

Some of the advice you receive may sound really good, but can actually be harmful to your child.

This includes:

'Your baby will sleep better on their tummy.'

Yes, babies probably do sleep better on their tummies.

However, this is only safe after they can roll themselves over and know when they are suffocating. That comes with age, not with the position of the baby.

'Use a thick blanket to keep your baby warm.'

Please don't listen to this; the number of children who suffocate is scary.

You can tuck your baby in a blanket, but a thin, breathable one, preferably muslin.

Even safer than that are sleep sacks.

Yes, babies feel colder than we do, but they need one additional layer only, so buy a thick fleece sleep sack, a warm swaddle and, if really needed, a thin blanket that can be securely tucked in

'Rub honey on your little one's gums to help with teething.'

There is a lot of stuff out there to help provide temporary relief from teething, from rings to natural and even medicated gels.

Even cold carrot sticks can give your child relief from those itchy and often painful gums.

What will not give relief and can actually make infants really sick is honey because it can cause botulism in babies.

So keep it away until your child is old enough to ask for it or at least till the age of two.

'Throwing your youngling in a pool will teach them how to swim.'

Many of us have heard about that one baby that got thrown into the pool and could swim.

However, there are even more kids who are thrown in and have become terrified of being in water. More seriously, drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional child deaths.

'Keep your baby up late and he or she will sleep better at night.'

This actually is logical; I probably sleep better when I'm exhausted.

However, our little ones defy all known logic here because an overtired baby sleeps less, a lot less, and keeps waking up and crying.

So put your baby to nap regularly in the day and get them to bed at a reasonable hour.

'Your breastfed baby can dehydrate in the heat, so make sure to give him/her plenty of water.'

Breastfed babies do not actually need any water.

They get plenty of it from you, and more than that can actually be harmful!

After six months, a little (30 to 60 ml) water can be given in a sippy cup. However, this is really for sippy-cup training and not because they need water

'Make sure your newborn doesn't go hungry, so supplement till your milk comes in.'

If you plan to breastfeed, don't do this! Yes, there are a couple of frustrating nights ahead waiting for your milk.

However, the more you latch your hungry baby, the quicker your milk will come in.

Your little one's belly is marble-sized at birth, whatever you provide is enough.

'Adding cereal to the bottle can keep your baby fuller.'

Cereal, whenever introduced, should be done with a spoon.

It can clog the milk bottle nipple, come out in a little bunch and actually hurt your darling.

Also, introduced too young, it can be impossible to digest.

Four months is the earliest that any solids should be introduced, and for reduced allergies it's best to wait until between five and six months.

'Putting the baby in a walker will help him or her walk faster.'

Maybe, but it can also push the baby to walk before he or she is ready and actually stunt some muscular development.

Also, walkers can move fast and can be difficult to control.

When the baby is ready, you are safer picking a walking toy they can hold on to and push than one they have to sit in.

Plus, stationary jumperoos are a blast until then!

'Exposing your baby to germs will build their immunity.'

It sure will -- this one is true! But below three months, any fever can be dangerous, so proceed with caution.

While you don't have to wipe down or sterilize everything your child touches, if someone is sick or if something falls on the ground outside the house, I'm sure as hell going to keep my child away until it is sanitised.

Remember, at the end of the day, you are the parent and you need to make decisions that you are comfortable with.

Don't get bullied into doing anything that does not make you uncomfortable. The key is truly to trust yourself and your instinct.

Excerpted from All You Need To Know About Parenting by Tanya Khubchandani Vatsa, with the kind permission of the publishers, Penguin Random House India.

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Tanya Khubchandani Vatsa