4 Popular Baby Feeding Myths Every Parent Should Know

If you’re like the average expectant parent waiting on your little one to arrive, you’re probably devouring a dozen books on labor and birth, newborn sleep schedules, baby wearing and tummy time. It’s a stressful and yet exciting time for the mother who’s painting a nursery and researching different types of cribs; so it’s no surprise that, when Baby finally does arrive, very few tidbits of research actually sticks to her memory.

However, there is one topic that you, as a new parent, should pay attention to. You should do your homework in regards to how, when, and what to feed your newborn.

Some of the information about a baby’s eating habits is quite straightforward: it’s true that breast milk holds the best nutrition available for young children, and it’s also true that babies shouldn’t drink cow’s milk until they’re a year old. But there are other myths floating around on the internet, myths that we should definitely clear up before your little one arrives in the world!

Here are a few of the most common myths concerning your baby’s diet.

1. Newborns Need to Supplement Breast Milk or Formula with Water

This is not true. Breast milk is almost 90% water is as, and thus adding water to your baby’s diet can lead to water intoxication. If your child is exclusively breastfeeding, she will not need to drink any other liquids until you begin to introduce solids to her diet (around six months or so). Even if your child is formula-fed, you probably won’t need to give her water unless a.) it is very hot and she is clearly dehydrated, or b.) she is feverish, constipated, or dealing with frequent diarrhea and vomiting.

2. Your Baby can be Allergic to Breast Milk

Your breast milk is perfectly designed to nourish your child; there’s no way for your newborn to be allergic to your milk. However, if your baby seems to be having an allergic reaction, she may be allergic to something you’ve eaten, as certain foods can leech into your breast milk and affect your baby’s digestion. Cow’s milk is a common allergen for newborns; if you’ve noticed your child is gassy, constipated, or nauseous after you’ve eaten or drunk dairy, she may be allergic.

3. You can Heat Bottles in the Microwave

It’s not good for your child to heat her bottle in the microwave. For one, microwave heating causes toxins from the plastic bottle to leech into the milk. Not good! For another thing, microwaves do not heat liquid evenly. Your baby’s bottle could be alternatively too hot and too cold. The best way to warm a bottle of milk is to either run it under hot water, or to put the bottle in a pan of water and heat it on the stove.

4. It’s Okay for Mothers to Switch Back and Forth from Nursing to Bottle-feeding

Nursing moms, it’s a bad idea for you to give your baby a bottle – even if the bottle is full of your own breast milk. If you switch from breast-feeding to bottle-feeding, you can cause nipple confusion in your baby; and over time she may reject your breast entirely. If you’ve already committed to breastfeeding, you don’t want this outcome! Breastfeeding builds the bond between mother and child; it provides your baby with antibodies and necessary hormones and it also helps babies develop fine motor skills in their mouths and tongues.

But of course you will sometimes need to use a bottle, if only for a chance to get out and grocery shop for a couple hours! Therefore, find a bottle that mimics a real nipple, and make sure that someone else feeds the baby. If your husband or babysitter is the only one who ever bottle-feeds your child, there’s a much lower chance of your baby developing nipple confusion.

Ultimately, new parents, there is room for mistakes in everything newborn-related; and your baby will tell you what she needs. These are just some good and simple tips to keep in mind so you can lower the inevitable stress that comes with learning how to be a new parent. Just sit back, keep on reading your dozens of parenting books, and look forward to the arrival of your beautiful bundle of joy!

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