Did you know that some baby tips for new moms are actually unsafe?
Being a first-time mom can be overwhelming.
There is so much to know and so much you want to do for your baby.
There will be times when you feel out of depth because you just don’t know if what you’re doing is right.
It is at times like these when you rely on practical tips from more experienced moms who have done this before.
Surely because they’ve been through this means they know better right?
Well, not necessarily.
Sometimes people will give you baby tips they have never tried before just because they read it somewhere.
You might be tempted to take the advice because you feel they might know what works and what doesn’t.
Some baby tips and old tales might be more harmful than good for your baby.
Read on to discover which unsafe baby tips new moms should totally ignore plus the most practical advice for new moms.
Shockingly Unsafe Tips For New Moms To Ignore
If you are a first-time mom, you might not be aware of some baby tips that can actually be harmful to your baby.
Here are the most common tips given to new moms.
1. Put Baby To Sleep On Their Tummy So They Sleep Longer
Who wouldn’t welcome the idea of having extra 15 minutes to get things done while the baby is napping?
It is true, babies who sleep on their tummy can sleep longer compared to a baby who is put to sleep on their side or their back.
There is a reason for this.
A baby who is sleeping on their stomach goes into so much deep sleep that it becomes difficult for them to wake up on their own.
This is particularly dangerous, especially when your baby is less than 1 year, as it increases the risk of SIDS.
People say they put their babies to sleep on their tummy and nothing has happened to them.
No one disputes that.
But is it OK to advise a new mom to put their baby to sleep on their stomach while babies have suffered from SIDS while sleeping on their stomachs?
I know I would not want to take that risk just to score an extra 10 minutes.
You should not either. Even if your baby refuses to sleep.
Either way, putting your baby to sleep on the tummy makes it more likely for their diaper to leak while sleeping.
So your baby might wake up earlier because of being wet, the exact opposite of what you want.
Follow safe sleep guidelines and always put your baby to sleep on their back.
Read Also: Safe Baby Sleep: Essential Tips For New Moms
2. Starting Solids Early
I think almost every first-time mom gets this advice.
It is very common for moms to get advice to start their babies on solids before the recommended age of 6 months.
As early as 2 months even!
The reason is that the “milk is not enough and your baby will go hungry”
Believe me, if your baby is not getting full enough from milk alone, they will show you.
They will either want to drink more frequently, even when you increase the amount of milk per feed, or maybe reduce the number of soiled nappies.
You should not just assume that they are not getting full and start giving them solid food.
Your baby’s system is not mature enough to process solids before 6 months old.
Some babies do start solids at around 4 months old, but that is because they are ready then.
Experts have been advising that you can actually start at 4 months old if your baby shows signs of readiness.
If you believe your baby really needs to start eating solids, do speak to a medical professional before taking this step.
3. Use Soap When Bathing Baby To Remove Dirt
You might hear that the only way to thoroughly bathe your baby is by using soap.
I mean, if it doesn’t foam then it is not effective, right?
It is totally wrong.
In the past, moms believed you needed to give your baby a thorough bath with soap (especially baby’s first bath) to “remove all the dirt accumulated during pregnancy”.
The thing is, soap is too harsh for your new baby’s delicate skin.
And besides, a baby does not get so dirty that they need harsh chemicals to remove the dirt.
Use safe baby bath products that are gentle on a baby’s sensitive skin.
By using gentle products, you avoid drying up your baby’s skin and making it prone to eczema.
4. Diluting Formula To Make It Go Further
Baby formula is expensive, no doubt about it.
If there was a clever tip to safely make a can of formula last longer, I would be the first one to share it.
Unfortunately, new moms (even experienced ones) get tips to mix in a lesser amount of formula than it is recommended for a feed, to try and save some bucks.
Doing this is quite dangerous for your baby’s health.
It is one of the common but dangerous formula feeding mistakes you should avoid.
First of all, you are reducing the amount of nutrients from that feed.
You are also giving your baby more water than milk, this may lead to water intoxication and nutrition loss (also dangerous).
Some moms get tips to do the opposite and rather thicken formula to help babies stay full for longer.
Putting in more formula than it is recommended per feed can lead to constipation.
Never adjust the water-to-formula ratios printed on the formula mixing instructions from the manufacturer. Follow the correct mixing instructions.
5. Using Scratch Mittens
Babies’ nails grow fast! It must be from all the finger sucking.
Unfortunately, long fingers mean your little one is more likely to scratch themselves while making jerky arm movements.
Moms are usually advised to use mittens to prevent newborn scratching.
However, besides all the dirt that collects on mittens, using them can have negative effects on your baby’s development.
Babies explore the outside world by using their sense of touch.
They get to differentiate between soft objects and rough ones, plastic toys, and fabric toys, etc.
Babies also suck on their fingers to self-soothe.
Mittens will have your baby all covered up and unable to soothe themselves or to use their amazing sense of touch to explore their surroundings.
Read Also: Are Mittens Bad For Babies? The Honest Truth
6. Using A Baby Walker To Help Baby Walk Sooner
Using a baby walker is a well-known tip to train your baby to walk.
Apparently, it helps a baby learn to walk faster compared to if they did not use a walker.
However, it has been reported that there is no evidence to prove that using a baby walker can actually help train your baby to walk.
The truth is, 100s of baby walkers have been getting recalls due to baby injuries and deaths.
Unfortunately, most parents buy them without knowing how unsafe they are.
I, myself, only found out about the dangers posed by a baby walker when I was considering buying it.
I honestly don’t understand why baby walkers are still being sold.
I mean, with all the recalls and incidents reported, they are still all over baby stores.
Stay on the safe side, ditch a baby walker and buy a stationary device (such as a stationary jumper) instead.
Be sure to only start using the jumper when your baby is old enough to use it, usually around 6 months old.
Always supervise your baby and limit time spent on the jumper.
7. Giving Baby Water For Constipation
Giving baby water is one of the most common baby tips new moms get.
This happens when the baby is not even close to being 6 months old.
Either because your baby will get constipated, or they will get dehydrated, especially during hot weather.
Constipation can occur when your baby is still small, but it does not mean you have to give your baby water.
Speak to a medical professional to find the reason behind your baby’s constipation and how to treat it.
Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from constipation.
If you are formula-feeding, the kind of formula your baby drinks could be causing constipation.
Here is how to choose the right formula for your baby.
What about giving your baby water to prevent dehydration?
Yes, your little one can get dehydrated, but there is absolutely no reason to give them water before they are 6 months old.
Unless you want to put their health at risk.
What happens when you give your baby water before 6 months old?
Well, there are two main reasons.
Firstly, there is a risk of water intoxication.
According to experts, when a baby drinks too much water than their system can take, electrolytes in their body get diluted.
This can lead to swelling if the body cells. Symptoms include swelling on the face and body limbs, confusion, and dizziness.
Water intoxication happens when your baby consumes large amounts of water.
You will obviously not give your baby a whole cup of water, but little amounts your baby may ingest while bathing or playing can easily add up.
The second reason why you should not give your baby water is a nutritional risk.
Your baby’s primary source of nutrition if from breastmilk or formula.
If you give your baby water in between, this might fill up their little stomach and they will still be full when it is time for the next feed.
They will either drink less or not drink at all.
This means they automatically miss out on the much-needed nutrients from that feed.
Do not give your baby water if they are under 6 months old.
They get all the water they need from breastmilk or formula.
Even when your baby turns 6 months old, only give water in small amounts and increase as they grow.
8. Putting Sugar or Honey On The Bottle Or Pacifier
When you are breastfeeding and you try to introduce your baby to a bottle, there might be some resistance as they are not used to that texture yet.
People often tell moms to put a little bit of sugar or honey on the nipple to encourage the baby to take the bottle.
Giving your baby sugar is bad for their health. Even more so when they are under 1 year old.
By giving your baby sugar while still small, you are laying a foundation for obesity in the future.
You also risk getting your baby used to only taking the bottle when you have put sugar or on it.
By the time the first tooth erupts, the sugar on the nipple can cause tooth decay.
Should you give your baby honey?
Honey is one of the most dangerous foods for babies under 1 year.
There is a risk of infant botulism in babies who eat honey at a small age.
Even when they have already turned one, you should not give your baby large amounts of sugar or honey.
There is a misconception that babies love sweet things.
It is absolutely not true. My firstborn hated sweet stuff and still does.
Your baby will get used to the tastes you introduce to them.
There is no evidence that babies prefer sweets over other tastes.
However, your little one will get used to sweets if you make a habit of always giving them something sweet.
9. Always Co-Sleep With A New Baby
Our parents argue with us on this one. It continues to be a debate amongst mothers.
It has always been standard practice that a newborn sleeps with mommy until they are old enough to sleep on their own.
The reason is that mother and baby need to bond.
Besides, the picture of a small baby sleeping alone can be heartbreaking.
But what if sleeping with your baby can actually put their life at risk?
Co-sleeping has been named as one of the factors that increase the risk of SIDS.
So, if you are going to co-sleep with your baby, you should also know the danger you pose to them.
Yes, some parents have and do co-sleep with their newborns. Myself included.
But what I can tell you is that it is risky.
It is even riskier if you smoke, have been drinking, or taking sleeping pills.
The fact that you use big blankets and sheets also means you risk accidentally covering your baby up with those blankets, which could lead to suffocation.
What I’m saying to you is, co-sleeping is not a ‘one size fits all’ kind of thing.
If you are going to go ahead with it, take safety precautions first. Don’t just follow the advice of others.
The above tips are common and almost always offered to new moms.
Unfortunately, sometimes when something has been done for years, it is difficult to question if it is safe or not.
With any tip you hear or read about, always ask yourself if there are no risks to your baby’s life, health, and livelihood.
The Best Practical Advice For New Moms
Now that we got all the dangerous tips for new moms out of the way, here is some practical advice to make your journey easier as a new mom.
Be Kind To yourself, Your Whole Life Has Changed
Remember to not give yourself a hard time. Being a first-time mom is challenging.
You have to get used to sharing your space, adjusting your routines, and literally give up your freedom.
If you are not up to speed yet, do not worry. You will get there, at your own pace.
Write Down What You Need To Get For Baby And Get It Before They Need It
Now, this does not mean getting each and every single thing listed on a checklist for baby items.
Unfortunately, as a new mom, it can be difficult to know what you really need and what you can do without.
What I can tell you is to be practical, check how long you will need to use an item and if it is worth getting it.
Do not buy unnecessary baby items.
Ask other moms for baby items they found useful, and the ones they feel were a waste.
If you still feel like you want to splurge, by all means, go for it.
Know Which Milestones To Expect And When
Baby milestones are usually used to check a baby’s growth and development.
If there is a delay, it may indicate a more serious underlying problem.
Now keep in mind, babies reach different milestones at different times.
However, a baby who is still not able to sit unassisted at 11 months means they have a major delay and need to be assessed by a medical professional.
Establish A Routine
Honestly, this is easier said than done, but having a routine will make your life so much easier.
You don’t need to plan out the whole day. Just write down things that you do every day and follow the same routine all the time.
The trick to make the routine work effortlessly is to combine your baby’s routine with yours. This way you only have one list to look at.
For example, your routine could look something like this:
- Wake up and give thanks
- Change baby’s diaper and breastfeed or give formula
- Spend a little time together while doing an activity
- Mom eats breakfast while baby is occupied with another activity
- Prepare lunch
- Feed baby and put them down for a nap
- Do one chore on your to-do list
- Do an afternoon activity
- Bathe your baby and read a bedtime story
As you can see, the routine is basic and does not include every detail, just the main activities of the day.
It might change every now and then based on your baby’s wake-up times (for example, the baby might sleep longer, giving you a chance to eat breakfast before you change their nappy).
It Is OK To Feel Helpless
Being a first-time mom means you are new to this, you have never had to be a mom before.
This might stress you out and make you feel like you are failing and have got no clue.
It is ok. That is normal.
Look within and tell yourself, there are lots of moms out there who have been through exactly what you are going through, and they survived.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed and helpless, calm down and tell yourself you can do this.
Ask For Help
I struggled with this a lot with my first baby.
I just felt if I ask for help it would mean I am failing because I cannot cope with raising my only child.
Boy was I wrong!
If you do not want to burn out, ask for help.
Help with washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning, and yes, help with your baby so that you can rest for a while.
Dad can also step in here and spend quality time with the baby while you rest.
You will reserve your much-needed energy and be able to fully be there with them, without thinking of things you still have to do.
Read Also: 10 Super Simple Ways Dad Can Bond with Baby
Do Not Compare Yourself To Other Moms Or Compete
This is one of the worst things you can do as a new mom.
Comparison and competing means you will never do things at your own pace.
Looking at other moms and trying to replicate them will always make you feel like you are not doing enough.
Do you know what is funny?
You could be looking at one mom thinking they are much better at this parenting thing, and the same mom could be looking at you too thinking the same thing!
Stop wasting your time and energy looking at what others do and stay in your lane. If there is anything you like, go ahead and ask them how they do it. Simple.
Live by your own rules, lay your own foundation and build from there. Be you.
Know That No One Has It All Figured Out At The Beginning.
When we see another mommy being more organized, more in control, calmer, etc, we tend to think they are better at this. Wrong.
They have just adjusted faster to this, or they have found a routine.
No one was born a parent.
Sure, some may have had practice from being an aunt or working with children before, but it is completely different with your own child.
Always look for ways to make your day go easier and deal better with your baby’s demands.
Who knows, maybe other moms will look at you as well and start thinking you have it all figured out.
Babyproof Your Home
By all means, babyproof your home before your baby starts crawling
You do not have to buy every babyproofing product out there.
Babyproofing your home before your baby comes is essential.
Do not wait until they are in danger or even worse until they are hurt before dealing with the dangers in your home.
Bonus Tips For New Parents
These bonus tips are geared towards new parents to help them parent together.
- Being a parent is not easy, be considerate.
- Discuss and choose what kind of parent you are going to be and what values you will instill in your baby.
- Learn to compromise. With different opinions and preferences parents may have, being parents can be even more difficult.
- Share the load. No one can do it all alone.
- Acknowledge each other’s efforts
- Respect each other’s opinions and do not criticize.
- Make decisions about your baby together, either big or small.
- Be active in baby’s life, both of you (both parents should be able to choose or do what is best for their baby)
Being a new mom brings many challenges. You will obviously always want what is best for your baby.
When surrounded by experienced moms, they will always give you tips based on what they did with their babies.
Some of these tips for new moms are unsafe as you have read above.
If you get one of these tips, just ignore them.
Do not continue with the cycle and keep taking unnecessary risks with your baby’s well-being.
Your baby’s life is more important than unsafe baby hacks and tips that have been proved to be dangerous.