Even before your little one arrives in your arm, you start becoming the common target of ‘well-meaning’ advice from older women (and men) around you. Heck! People who have never reared a child also do not shy away from passing on some shudh desi unsolicited pearls of wisdom(!).
Here are some common myths we know is better not to follow.
1# Giving Honey to the baby right after birth
It can be dangerous to give honey to a baby before she turns a year old. The clostridium bacteria in honey may cause botulism in babies.
2# Swaddling to keep the baby comfortable
It is common practice, not just in India but other countries also. However, there is no research to back it up. Theory is that the baby will feel snug like a bug in a rug, just like she was in her mama’s tummy. But swaddle your baby too tight and risk her feeling constricted and uncomfortable.
3# Applying Kajal
This one has a lot of grannies cheering for it. The old wives’ tales say that applying Kajal is said to make the baby’s eyes big, bright and beautiful. Most importantly, it is said to ward off the evil eye. What it actually does is become a source of infection if the hands touching the kajal are not clean or if it is not kept in sterile and hygienic conditions. Commercially made kajal also contains harmful substances like Lead. Similarly, it is uncomfortable for the baby to have fingers poking her. If you believe in ‘nazar’ or the ‘evil eye’ then you can safely apply kajal behind her ears or near the hairline.
4# Adding solids to baby milk
Sometimes people suggest you to add some solid food like wheat malt or rice starch to baby’s milk so she is full and sleeps well. This is not good for a baby less than six months old. Their digestive system is not ready for solids yet and can hence cause gastric troubles in the baby.
5# Oil Massages by the Maalishwali
While oil massages are great, many ladies insists on a professional masseuse aka maalishwali to give oil massage to the new born baby. These ladies are professionals who go door to door providing massages to babies and adults in the same piece of clothing all day. It is in fact quite unhygienic. TO add to that, most of them are not professionally trained either and hence can possibly hurt the baby. I came across a real life incident in my Ob/Gyn’s office where a lady came with her 25 days old baby boy whose nipples were infected. It so happened that her mother in law and the maalishwali insisted and pressed his nipples everyday to push out any remaining milk from them leading to a puss filled infection. Some baby’s have milk coming out of their nipples after birth due to hormones from the mother and it is absolutely natural and goes away on its own, You do not need to play with nature! Nothing is better than a loving mother gently massaging her own baby.
6# Baby should constantly be with the mother
A baby needs her mother and there is no denying that. But I have come across stories where women have been advised by well meaning folks to always carry their little ones around and even sleep closely with them. In fact, one lady told me that her mother in law made her go to the toilet holding the baby! It sounds the way it is, ridiculous! Post birth, mothers are exhausted, especially those who have had a c-section. It is impossible for the first two weeks to hold your baby without sitting with support. A little logic people!
7# Not using diapers on the baby
Many and I mean many women have suggested me not to use a diaper on my baby mentioning the ill effects of those being diaper rash and UTIs. These ladies themselves have never used diapers on their babies, so I especially do not understand how come they be so knowledgeable about it. I understand that it is bad to keep the baby stuck in a wet diaper, but with proper hygiene maintenance, it can help you keep your baby dry and rash free and yourself sane. Not to mention a clean house where others can also breathe! My baby never had diaper rashes as I always ensured that she was clean and dry. Choose the diaper brand, size and make carefully. Observe your baby’s cues, change often and your baby will be comfortable and a happy baby.
8# Not using saline water for baby’s blocked nose
Taking a cue from the fact that babies should not be given any medicine for cough and cold, a lot of people suggest not to use saline water. The truth is, it is the only thing you can use as it is just that – saline water.