by Aarti Kapur Singh
5 Baby Care Tips & Traditional Parenting Styles that should be ignored at any cost.
The tussle between tradition and modernity its omnipresent and everlasting – we see them at loggerheads in almost every avenue of life. More so, when there is a new baby in the house – and the problem is compounded if it is a first baby! Oh, then god help the new mother!! I can say that because I have experienced ‘free advice’, ‘suggestions’ and ‘tips’ from every body who came to the house – right from my maid to relative and neighbors. While some of it will be helpful, some of it is best ignored.
And please, for those who are really stuck up, it is not about ‘hamaare zamaane mein’ or ‘hamaari maa ne toh yeh kiya’ (in our times)! Well what is the point in science and technology making advancements in healthcare if we still follow what was done a century ago? In those times, when healthcare practitioners and facilities were almost unheard of, most first aid was in the form of herbal concoctions that came from the home, garden or the kitchen cabinets! The local physician was called only as a last alternative. And at that time, infant mortality rates were much higher than now! So the argument is not about questioning and criticizing everything. Doctors and grandmothers should NOT be placed on polar opposite sides. Most importantly, it is about what is best for the new mother and the new baby. So stop making it sound like it is tradition versus modernity!
So we are not accused of swatting everything traditional without any explanation, here is debunking a few of the myths or beliefs that you will hear as ‘tips’…
1. Natural ingredients such as besan (gram flour) and haldi (turmeric powder) should be preferred over soaps and shampoos:
WHY IT SHOULD BE IGNORED: A lot of households rub a potent paste of mustard oil, atta (wheat flour), besan (gram flour) and haldi (turmeric powder) over female babies in an attempt to remove the hair! Please. Not only is this painful for the baby but can also cause rashes. You are pulling out the hair and then rubbing in a mixture of mustard oil and a spice in it! Natural products like besan or haldi are not as mild as they claimed to be. They can cause skin allergies or rashes in children. If you have a hairy child does NOT mean she will remain so. And even if she does, there is an age and a time for hair removal! JUST DO NOT follow this hideous kitchen tip. Use hypo-allergic baby care products to clean and bathe your baby as they are safe for your baby’s delicate skin.
2. Babies must have ripe bananas as first solids:
WHY IT SHOULD BE IGNORED: It is not about what you must give, it is about what the baby can digest. Bananas are very slow to digest and will sit in your baby’s stomach for a long time before they can be broken down. This means forcing the baby’s digestive system to work in overdrive. Instead of bananas give a cereal of ground rice as it is packed with iron and is light to digest. After a few months, you can give mashed bananas too.
3. Small doses of adult medicines are safe:
WHY IT SHOULD BE IGNORED: Often we end up self medicating our babies if they fall ill. A number of medications that help adults can be harmful for children even when the dosage is down-sized. Do not do this. Cough medicines, even those designed for children, aren’t a good idea for babies or children under four. Agitation, elevated heart rate and respiratory depression are among the side effects they might develop if they’re given cough medicine. Medications, which ease congestion and sinus problems in adults, are also a no-no for babies and children. Treatment might have a downside in the form of an upset stomach, a rash or diarrhea. So please take a pediatrician’s opinion before you give your baby any medication.
4. Walkers are a safe way to help babies walk earlier:
WHY IT SHOULD BE IGNORED: I wonder why parents or grandparents are always in such a hurry for babies to grow up. Why? isn’t he walking? Why isn’t she talking? Each child develops, grows and learns at her own pace! It is nature. Do not push a child to grow faster! And a walker is mostly an attempt at doing just that! Some parents may buy walkers to keep their babies entertained and help little ones walk, increasingly, research from the world over has suggested that walkers can slow a baby’s ability to walk on his own. Walkers also harm the bone development as the soft leg bones may get bent at the calves if a baby is forced into a walker too soon. Also, the enhanced mobility is frequently a problem. A baby in a walker can quickly and unexpectedly approach a staircase, even under a parent’s watch…
5. Use breast milk to treat an ear infection:
WHY IT SHOULD BE IGNORED: I was once told by someone to put a little bit of breast milk in the ear to treat an ear infection. What?? Like really!!! I agree breast milk does have some antibodies in it, which are helpful to the body. But it also has lots of sugars that bacteria love to grow on. Because the eardrum seals off the area that’s infected, breast milk won’t reach the infection. And when the milk pools, it can attract bacteria. Doing this may actually cause a new infection or aggravate the existing one!
Disclaimer: You are advised to consult your pediatrician before planning to practice or ignore any of the above-mentioned tips/remedies for your newborn baby. Through this post, the author only requests you to avoid blindly following the instructions of any relative/friend/colleague with little to no knowledge on this subject/matter, whatsoever.
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