Becoming a new parent means getting ready to learn more than you ever thought you could. For many, getting a college education has nothing on the education your little one will give you. Along the way, as you face new parenting challenges and obstacles, you will inevitably be bombarded by conflicting opinions and advice from friends and families. It makes the best sense to check with your healthcare provider before trying any of that "age-old" wisdom out. This simple (not-all-inclusive, however) list of parenting tips and parental advice is here to help new moms and dads discover the joys of great parenting.
For a baby who won't sleep, do not put it on its stomach! At one time mothers were counseled to do just that, so don't be surprised if your mother and grandmother both advise the tummy position. Instead, place the infant on its back to reduce the risk of SIDS. Make sure it has a firm surface to sleep on as well.
No alcohol on the gums! Someone will always volunteer the old whiskey remedy to relieve sore gums due to teething. It's certainly true, the alcohol will numb the gums, but alcohol can be poisonous to infants, so leave the liquor cabinet alone. There are safe products on the market for teething, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.
Don't bounce that bouncing baby boy (or girl)! Because an infant's head is large in proportion to its body, bouncing and shaking a baby can lead to serious injury like cerebral hemorrhaging, blindness, mental retardation and even death. Watch your relatives like a hawk on this one. Men in particular like to show love by gentle roughhousing, but this is uniquely dangerous for infants.
"Why don't you look for a used crib or car seat instead of paying all that money for a new gear?" No. No and no again. Babies are expensive and hopefully you knew that going into it. While second-hand is no problem for many types of baby gear, you should plan on new car seats and cribs (and that is according to expert wisdom). A used crib may sport stripped screws of bolts and a used infant seat may be faulty or even recalled. Your best bet for safety is to buy these new with the appropriate safety ratings.
No peanuts for nursing mothers. Eating peanuts, peanut butter and shellfish should be avoided by nursing mothers as they may cause an infant to develop allergies. Nursing moms should also refrain from alcohol while nursing as well.
When baby scratches itself with those little nails that grow overnight, do not place a bandage on the scratch. Babies love to put fingers and toes in their mouth and even a well placed bandaged as the potential to wind up in their little mouths and prove a choking hazard.
Honey is a no-no for children under one year. Some sources say no honey until after two years of age. Some honey contains spores that could be harmful to babies by causing botulism. These organisms, which are harmless to adults, can lead to problems like pneumonia and dehydration.
Do not use sunscreen on infants under six months old. It can irritate the skin and potentially get into and irritate baby's eyes and nose. Instead, protect infants from the sun with visors, bonnets and canopy tops.
There are certainly many more "do nots" given many parenting situations. Your best bet is to rely on common sense and call your healthcare provider. Other family members and adults may be well meaning, but research is constantly changing the way we care for infants and small children. Your doctor and his staff should be familiar with these updates; generally family and friends are not.