Caring for a new baby under six months of age can be overwhelming at times. Don’t let these nine myths confuse you further, says DR RICHARD C. WOOLFSON.
ILLUSTRATION CHENG PUAY KOON
THE MYTH Your baby should sleep through the night by six months
THE FACT Sleep patterns vary greatly. Statistics suggest that only about half of all babies sleep through the night by the age of five or six months; some don’t do so even at one year. She (and you) will get an unbroken night’s sleep when she is ready for it.
THE MYTH She will become overly attached to you if you use a baby carrier
THE FACT It’s true that a carrier allows you to go “hands free” and also brings your little one close to your chest, which can help her fall asleep. But as time passes, she’ll naturally grow out of this method because she would much rather be able to move and look around without restriction.
THE MYTH The only way to make her feel secure is by swaddling her in a blanket
THE FACT Swaddling your little one in a blanket keeps her warm. Her sense of security, however, comes from knowing that she is loved, not the way her blankets are arranged. Help her feel secure by soothing her when she is upset and by giving her loving attention.
THE MYTH Your baby nurses only when she is hungry
THE FACT Feeding provides important nourishment for your baby and satisfies her hunger. It is an instinctive reaction, yet it also provides comfort to her. That’s why she sometimes sucks for milk even though she obviously doesn’t really want it; the sucking motion helps relax her.
THE MYTH A breastfed baby has a closer bond with her mum than a bottle-fed one.
THE FACT There is no evidence to support that myth at all. What matters is the way you hold your baby during feeding, the loving way you handle her, and the soothing words you use with her. The feeding method itself has no specific effect on bonding.
THE MYTH The only time your baby can form a bond with you is at birth
THE FACT Bonding between you and your baby doesn’t have to occur at birth. True, some parents do feel a close connection with their newborn the moment they first meet. But mostly, bonding takes days, weeks or even months. So there is plenty of time to let your relationship develop naturally.
THE MYTH The only reason your baby cries is because she is hungry, again.
THE FACT Of course, she wails when she needs milk. But the reality is that there are many possible reasons behind her tears. She might simply be uncomfortable, scared, or bored, for instance.
THE MYTH Baby always forms a stronger attachment with Mummy than with Daddy.
THE FACT That’s mostly because mums typically spend more time with their babies compared to dads. But if the men are just as hands-on with babycare duties, they will share a strong bond with the little ones, as well.
THE MYTH A six-month- old baby can be potty- trained.
THE FACT A baby who can sit up on her own is also able to sit on a potty; and at some point while sitting on it, she will empty her bladder and bowels into it. But she has no control – she can’t get on and off the potty by herself. As soon as she walks, she’ll cease to be “trained”.
About half of all babies sleep through the night by the age of five or six months; some don’t do so even at one year.