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  Life   Health  29 May 2017  Babycare: Myths and facts

Babycare: Myths and facts

Published : May 29, 2017, 12:48 am IST
Updated : May 29, 2017, 12:48 am IST

Bombarded with lists of newborn care practices passed down generations, new mothers are often worried about its effects on the baby.

No water is  given to the baby till six months of age. Milk — breast or formula — provides adequate amount of water to the babies.
 No water is given to the baby till six months of age. Milk — breast or formula — provides adequate amount of water to the babies.

For every woman, motherhood comes as a mix of emotions — of happiness, excitement, fear, confusion and unending questions. In the tug-of-war between traditional practices and modern-day notions, she will always be unsure about what is the best for her little one.

Demystifying many popular notions, Dr Nitin Verma, associate director paediatrics, gives an insight into proper newborn care...

Myths and facts:

Myth 1: For proper shape of baby’s head and to straighten the legs, oil massage, especially by Japa maids, are good. Putting drops of oil in baby’s ears and nostrils is healthy.
Fact: Oil massage should be started after two weeks of birth using any baby oil. There is no need of a Japa maid. While most of them have the experience (not knowledge) to handle babies, many may have fixed ideas, not updated over the years. Also, massage does help shape the skull, but not the legs. Putting oil in ears and nostrils is a big no.

Myth 2: Applying natural body scrub ubtan (turmeric, gram flour, milk cream or curd paste) instead of soap nourishes the baby’s skin.
Fact: Ubtan should be avoided and standard baby products like soap, shampoo and moisturising creams should be used.

Myth 3: Feeding honey, or herbal paste (like bach) is healthy.
Fact: Honey is contraindicated in the first year of life as it can cause Botulism, a form of poisoning. Similarly, herbal paste should not be used.

Myth 4: Can babies be given water? Will there be dehydration?
Fact: No water is given to the baby till six months of age. Milk — breast or formula — provides adequate amount of water. The total amount of fluids a baby takes is fixed. Let us say a baby drinks 700 ml of milk. If we give 100 ml of water, the baby will drink 600 ml of milk. So while fluid will remain constant, the baby will lose out on proteins and calories in that 100 ml.

Myth 5: Wrapping babies tightly or swaddling helps proper development and straightening legs.
Fact: Swaddling is the art of snugly wrapping a baby in a blanket for warmth and security. It can keep babies from being disturbed by their own startle reflex. It can also help babies stay warm and toasty for the first few days of life until their internal thermostat kicks in. It may even help to calm babies. It has nothing to do with keeping legs straight.

Myth 6: The use of kajal (even if it is homemade).
Fact: Kajal is not to be used for a year.

Myth 7: Crying is good for the baby’s lungs.
Fact: Crying is a natural phenomenon which has nothing to do with being good for lungs.

Myth 8: Sunbathing keeps newborn healthy.
Fact: Sunbathing, besides giving Vitamin D, causes tanning. All babies are routinely supplemented with Vitamin D since birth, so limited sun bathing is required.

Myth 9: Moms should not breastfeed if they have fever or diarrhoea.
Fact: Medicines taken by mothers get secreted in breast milk, hence they must check what medicine they can consume while breastfeeding. However, mothers may breastfeed with minor fever and diarrhoea as long as they feel well enough to do so.

Myth 10: Using talcum powder and/or good nourishing cream.
Fact: Talcum powder can be used after a month of age. Avoid so-called nourishing creams and use standard baby products.

Myth 11: Baby’s tongue can be cleaned using cotton.
Fact: Cotton should not be used to clean the tongue; instead, use a wet muslin cloth.

Tags: motherhood, babycare, baby oil