Family Life


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Outdated Parenting Advice: Busting Age-Old Myths

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If there’s one thing you’ll find when you become a parent, it’s that advice comes fast and furious pretty much the second your baby’s out of the womb. The thing is, depending on the source, the “help” you receive may be, well, passé. Spoiler alert: Older relatives don’t always have the answers. With this in mind, we went to our social media channels and asked parents for the most obsolete “guidance” they were given. Read on for seven doozies, and the truth behind this so-called advice. 

“I was told if you add pablum or rice cereal to your baby’s bedtime bottle, they’ll sleep longer. This was before my baby was even on solids. Also, my babies rejected the bottle and I was exclusively breastfeeding.”

According to Health Canada, infants should not have anything besides breast milk or formula until at least six months of age. It’s best to chat with your child’s doctor before introducing any other food source prior to this time.

“Comforting a crying baby will end up spoiling the baby.”

Nope. You can’t spoil a baby. End of story.

“Car seats aren’t actually necessary.”

Um, what? Not only are they necessary, but there are specific guidelines for how long a child should be rear-facing, in a five-point harness and using a booster seat (and it’s a lot longer than you might think!). Check out Transport Canada’s guidelines at for the latest guidelines.

“If you let them stay up later, they’ll sleep in later…bahaha.”

The laugh track at the end of this quote is especially apt. Infants and toddlers need consistent daytime sleep and an early bedtime to avoid getting into the dreaded overtired zone. Don’t try to push bedtime later; you’re asking for a rough night, an early wakeup and a cranky kid in the morning.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps.”

Okay, this is great in theory, but show us a parent who was ever able to do this on the regular and we’ll show you a total fibber. Naptime is often the only time a new parent gets to themselves in a day, which calls for a hot cup of coffee, catching up on TV shows, calling a friend, starting the laundry…you get it. Plus, sleeping on command is not an easy feat, even when you’re beyond tired.

“Rub a little whisky on a teething baby’s gums to soothe them.”

Do not give your baby booze, full stop. While we’re at it here, teething gels containing benzocaine are also a no-go. Infant formula Advil or Tylenol are your best bet, once your doctor gives you the go-ahead. You can also try giving your baby a frozen teething ring or a mesh fresh-food feeder with a frozen strawberry in it once they’re old enough for solid food.

“Babies don’t like to sleep on their backs! Maybe she’s a tummy sleeper.”

Safe sleep guidelines call for all infants to be put to bed on their back, alone and in a crib without extraneous bedding (you may have heard this referred to as the ABCs. You can use a fitted crib sheet and a wearable sleep sack for extra warmth, but blankets, pillows and stuffies are serious no-nos. 

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