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Common myths about babies

4-minute read

There is so much information out there about parenting and baby care, it can be hard to know what is best. This article dispels some of the common myths you may hear or read about young babies.

Myth: Infants need to be bathed every day

Truth: It is fine to bath your baby every day if they enjoy it, but young babies do not need a bath every day. They just need their face, neck, hands and nappy area to be kept clean.

Find out more about washing your baby.

Myth: Picking up a crying baby will spoil them

Truth: You cannot spoil a young baby. Crying is one way in which babies communicate. By crying they are telling us that they need something and it is important for parents and caregivers to respond to them. Observing and learning the cues that your baby is giving you can help a lot.

Myth: I may not have enough breast milk to feed my baby

Truth: Most women have enough breast milk to feed their baby if they breastfeed whenever the baby wants to feed, for as long as they want to feed. In a 24-hour period, 8 to 12 feeds is common and it is normal for babies to want to feed frequently at certain times of the day.

Expect it to take up to 6 weeks for you and your baby to learn how to breastfeed and for your breast milk supply to become established.

Myth: Teething causes fever

Truth: Many parents are often told that teething can cause fever, but this is not true. Teething tends to start at between 6 and 24 months, which is also around the time that babies are more likely to get infections. Parents should never mistake a fever as just teething or they could overlook an illness that might require medical attention.

If you are unsure, you should see your doctor or call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 for advice.

Myth: Putting honey on a dummy will help with teething

Truth: Children under 12 months should not be given honey as it can cause botulism. You should also avoid using dummies coated in food or drink. Many babies are not affected by teething, so you may not need to do anything. Alcohol and sweet substances are unhealthy for babies.

Myth: Baby walkers will help them walk sooner

Truth: There is no evidence that walkers help babies to walk sooner. In fact, walkers can make it harder for babies to learn how to walk because they can slow their muscle development.

Read more about baby walkers.

Myth: You need to clean the baby's cord with antiseptic and alcohol

Truth: There is no need to use antiseptic or alcohol to clean your baby’s cord stump; just clean it as part of your baby’s usual wash or bath, and dry it gently. If wee or poo gets on the stump, you can use a mild soap to help clean it off. Find out more about umbilical care here.

Myth: Babies need to poo every day

Truth: Babies may not poo for several days or even up to a week. If your baby’s poo is soft, they are not constipated, even if they have not pooed for a few days. Fully breastfed babies are less likely to get constipated.

Myth: Babies who hit developmental milestones early are gifted

Truth: All babies are different and will develop at individual rates and in different ways. There is no evidence to show that early infant milestones mean a child is gifted or special.

Myth: Babies need to be in a routine from day one

Truth: It is impossible to force a newborn baby into a routine, despite books that claim to teach you how to. The sleep patterns and cycles of a young baby are different from those of an adult. Young babies only sleep for a few hours at a time and some go through a period of wanting many feeds over a short period of time.

Myth: Babies are always delightful

Truth: Babies cry a lot, vomit and poo. Being a parent can be hard, especially in the early days.

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Last reviewed: November 2020

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