Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Myths about Babies

Myths About Babies

Myth: babies need to poop at least once a day
Parents often think a baby is constipated when he’s not. Newborns often have several bowel movements a day, but they may poop as little as every three to four days at about two months to three months of age. 

If bowel movements are very hard and infrequent, or you see blood in the diaper, however, call your paediatrician.

Myth: babies who achieve milestones early are gifted.
When a child first walks or talks, has little or no bearing on his later successes, research shows. Many parents support the idea of giftedness at birth, but this is not supported by the evidence. In fact, in some cases, early “achievements” may indicate a potential problem – for example, showing an inclination to be left – or right – handed before 18 months of age (children should use both hands equally until this age).

Myth: touching your baby’s soft spot can hurt his brain.
The fontanel, or soft spot, at the front of your baby’s head is a skin that pulsates, frightening some parents. There’s a presumption of vulnerability, but the brain is actually quite well protected. 

The front fontanel typically closes at about one year of age, while the smaller soft spot in the back of the head usually closes at two months to three months.

Myth: babies’ cries are always distinguishable.
This isn’t the case every time. It doesn’t make you a bad mum if you can’t fix every problem. You and your baby need to get to know one another, and that takes time.

Myth: newborn babies just eat and sleep all the time.
Ok, they do eat and sleep a lot, but in between the eating and sleeping, they have a lot to do. Newborns babies are not the happy little bundles that we like to imagine that they are. Instead they are very intent human beings struggling against very difficult circumstances to overcome blindness, deafness and immobility. 

At birth, a baby is functionally blind, deaf, insensate and immobile. The sensory and motor pathways grow and develop based upon stimulation.

Myth: A baby’s development is predetermined based on fixed milestones.
There is no preset alarm clock that determines when a baby will gain a new ability. New abilities are determined by stimulation and appropriate visual, auditory and tactile stimulation is given with the proper frequency, intensity and duration.

Myth: if you don’t hold/nurse your baby in the first new hours after delivery, you won’t bond adequately.
Although research has shown that the first few hours of a baby’s life are important, your relationship with your baby lasts a lifetime. Women who have had C-sections, have babies who are born needing immediate medical interventions or have adopted need not be so hard on themselves. 

A loving relationship over the child’s lifetime will more than make up for those missing few hours or even days or weeks of separation.

For example, a newborn baby usually has a less than perfect light reflex. This light reflex is seen when the baby is exposed to light and the pupil constricts in response to that light. The sooner this reflex matures and becomes consistent, the sooner that baby will develop the ability to see outline and then detail. Both of these abilities allow the baby to see the mother’s face and begin to make sense of the visual world in most babies, this reflex is stimulated by accident whenever the baby is taken from darkness to light. But mother can arrange for that ‘accident’ to happen with greater frequency and intensity so that the visual pathway grows more quickly in response to the enhanced stimulation. This is very easy to do and requires very little time, but it means that the baby gains the ability to see detail weeks or months earlier than he would have done if we had relied upon ‘accidental stimulation.’

Myth: it is good to talk “baby talk” to the baby.
Adults should always use the very best language and vocabulary when talking to the baby. Each day the baby’s understanding grows in leaps and bounds. 

Baby talk is essentially disrespectful of the intellectual ability of the tiny baby. The baby has the right to hear his native tongue spoken properly, not in a degrade fashion that the baby will have to unlearn later.

Myth: babies cannot talk
The baby is actually trying to communicate almost all the time. It isn’t easy because the baby can’t make sounds that we adults understand as words. As a result, we often assume the sounds he makes are meaningless. 

The sounds the baby makes are not like language. They are language. All sounds are language. The baby does not waste his breath. Always listen to your baby. Be willing to wait for a response. Accept the fact the baby decides whether to respond or not; it is his choice. Respond to what he says. 

Welcome enthusiastically every effort the baby makes to talk. It is vital for the baby to know that his mother knows that he is talking.

Myth: it is good stimulation for the baby to have a playpen, jumper, walker, etc.
These devices actually prevent the baby from learning how to move and explore the world. When the baby is given the opportunity to be on his belly on the floor, he will move. But too often the baby is placed in a high chair, backpack, playpen, baby seat or walker. 
The baby should be free to move on his belly as much as possible, and confined, bundled up or restricted as little as possible.

Myth: babies have a short attention span.
Babies have superb attention, interest and enthusiasm for everything in the environment. They pay attention to 10 things at once instead of focusing on one thing at a time like adults do. This is one reason why they learn so quickly. They may not pay attention to what we want them to pay attention to, and this may be frustrating to us. 

We would do better to find out what interests the baby and pay more attention to that with the baby.

Myth: learning begins in school
Learning begins at birth or before. The brain grows explosively between conception and age six. 

Learning is actually an inverse function of age – the younger the baby is, the faster he will learn…his happiness, health and general well-being are also significantly improved by stimulation and opportunity.   

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