While all advice is given to new moms with the best intentions, some of it is less accurate than it should be. Yes, some of your Great Grandmother’s advice hasn’t aged as well as she has, and that’s why we’re mythbusting the origins of 4 common pieces of advice given to new mothers. Let the experiment begin!
You should never wake a sleeping baby
This seems like one of those pieces of advice that makes sense on a practical level, because why would you wake the baby if it’s difficult to make the baby go to sleep in the first place? You wouldn’t. That said, people seem to treat this rule as incredibly hard and fast, and it isn’t really a rule at all. It’s important to feed a baby every two or three hours, so yes, this means that sometimes you’re going to have to nudge the little one out of their slumber, and that’s okay. Feeding every two or three hours is an important practice to ensure that your baby gains a healthy amount of weight, says Dr. Tanya Remer Altmann, author of Mommy Calls.
Carrying low means you’re having a boy, carrying high means you’re having a girl
Some say this one is straight-up old-school sexism courtesy of Old English folklore, when it was thought that a boy grew “low” (i.e. down low and out in front of mothers) because boys and men either are more independent or needed a certain degree of independence, whereas girls grew “closer” to their mother because they needed to be protected.
In truth, where the baby is carried can be explained pretty simply by science and common sense: it all really depends on the mother’s physiology and body type. Carrying higher is usually the result of tighter abdominal muscles (whether due to age or being a gym enthusiast); carrying wider/narrower is usually dependent on body type.
(By the way, Old English Folklore also spoke of a “large, hairy man with a tail, who performs housework in exchange for a saucer of milk and a place in front of the fire.” So consider the source.)
Never EVER touch the soft spot on the baby’s head
Don’t touch the baby’s fontanel (or fontanelle), they say, because if you do, you’ll make a dent that will last forever. Or you’ll damage the baby’s brain. Or your baby will grow up to be a werewolf. All of this makes sense because babies are pretty fragile and defenseless against the world, and the fontanel does pulse with a heartbeat. But fear not — the baby’s brain is actually quite protected. Moreover, touching the fontanel is more than just okay, it’s important to do, such as during bath time, lest you want your newborn child to have a condition known as cradle cap.
Eating strawberries will give your child a birthmark and/or not eating strawberries will give your child a birthmark
Far and away our favourite is this one, which doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason to it, because it seems like one of those situations where you can’t win either way. In fact, there are a whole host of food-related pregnancy/baby myths and customs practiced all over the world, whether in regards to a baby’s prospective markings, a baby’s prospective smell, a given birth canal’s lubrication, or how eating a given thing (spoiler alert: it’s crab) could give your baby eleven fingers.