Popular Baby Care Myths and Reality

Published February 11, 2017 by teacher dahl

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Baby Powder Use

Myth: Sprinkle baby powder on your newborn after you change him.
Reality: There’s no need to use powder on your baby’s skin.
Dr. Adesman Explains: “Diaper technology has come a long way, and diapers nowadays are very good at keeping babies dry. Baby powder, especially talc, has a great risk of inhalation and can cause respiratory problems.”

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Changing Baby’s Diaper

Myth: Never leave an infant in a wet or soiled diaper for more than 20 minutes.
Reality: It’s best to change diapers as soon as they’re wet or soiled, but there is no 20-minute rule.
Dr. Adesman Explains: “Kids are more likely to soil their diapers when they’re awake than when they’re asleep, but if your baby does wet his diaper while sleeping, you don’t need to wake him up to change his diaper. In general, if your baby is awake, for comfort reasons, rash prevention, and to minimize smell, it is best to change his diaper as soon as possible.”

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Baby’s Bowel Movements

Myth: A baby or child who doesn’t have a bowel movement (BM) every day is likely to be constipated.
Reality: A baby or child can have a BM after each meal or go for days without one and still be “normal.”
Dr. Adesman Explains: “When it comes to their baby’s bowel movements, parents might get used to a certain frequency and get concerned when that pattern changes. Mom and Dad just need to remember that regular doesn’t have to be frequent. As long as there isn’t any difficulty passing them, there generally isn’t great cause to worry.”

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Potty-Training Timing

Myth: Your child must begin toilet-training no later than 18-24 months of age.
Reality: There is no definite time for toilet-training.
Dr. Adesman Explains: “Some parents love to claim bragging rights when their child becomes toilet-trained earlier. And while there are certainly some reasons why parents might want to accelerate the process, such as economical reasons or day care requirements, toilet-training is a highly variable process. Some kids are just ready earlier than others.”

Potty-Training Pants

Myth: Don’t use disposable training pants — they’ll prolong toilet-training.
Reality: Using disposable training pants is OK.
Dr. Adesman Explains: “Of all the proclamations about toilet-training, I hear this one the most. A good number of children feel good about using training pants and, likewise, parents can feel comfortable with their children using them. They are a positive stepping stone and a nice convenience.”

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Gender Differences

Myth: Boys are harder to toilet-train than girls.
Reality: It’s no more difficult to train boys, though they might start slightly later.
Dr. Adesman Explains: “There are a few minor gender differences to take into consideration, such as bladder capacity and the fact that Mom is usually the primary caregiver to take the lead on toilet-training. But we are talking about small differences in time — weeks or months, not years. When it comes to toilet-training, little girls and boys are much more similar than different.”

About Dr. Andrew Adesman
Dr. Andrew Adesman is Chief of the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Schneider Children’s Hospital in New York and an associate professor in the Pediatrics Department at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His book Baby Facts reveals more than 200 startling myths and facts about babies’ and young children’s health, growth, care, and more.

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