13 Baby Myths Parents Can Officially Stop Worrying About

First-time parents hear a lot of advice—here’s how to find the truth in the talk

Babies don’t come with a manual, but they do come with lots of unsolicited opinions on how to raise them best. Mothers have been passing down their wisdom (including many old wives’ tales) for generations, and while some of that info is valid a lot of it can be disregarded as outdated baby myths. “There are tons of things you can learn from the generation before,” says Dr. Whitney Casares, author of Doing It All: Stop Over-Functioning and Become the Mom and Person You’re Meant to Be and Gerber pediatric consultant. “The most important thing, however, is to fact-check them with a doctor to make sure it’s up to date with current recommendations.”

Since good advice can be a new parent’s saving grace, we’ve enlisted Casares to help us debunk the less-than-solid suggestions—everything from babies needing to poop daily (false) to the idea that you can spoil an infant (super duper false). Here are 11 common baby myths that could definitely use a background check.

1. You can spoil a baby with too much affection.

Let’s get this one out of the way first for the folks who need to hear it: You cannot spoil a baby. Think about where babies came from—they’re used to a warm, dark, cozy space. Now they’re out in the world and it’s scary. “Our job as parents is to attend to our baby when they are feeling unsure of themselves in the world,” says Casares. “Babies are learning from their parents about attachment, safety, and security. They need to know that there’s someone to care about them.”

2. Babies need to bathe daily.

Babies never really need a daily bath, but this is especially true in the first days of life. That white, cheesy substance that’s all over your baby’s skin when they’re born is a biofilm called vernix caseosa and it’s there for a reason. “Vernix includes ceramides which are an important barrier for the skin, keeping all that good moisture in and allergens out,” says Casares. “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents can keep that on as long as possible.” After that early stage, daily baths are a personal choice. The most important thing is to pay attention to your baby’s hygiene, comfort, and safety in the bath. There’s also research that speaks to the importance of maintaining their skin’s moisture barrier with regular moisturization after baths—this can actually help prevent allergies.

Related: 10 Totally Typical (but Weird) Things That Babies Do

3. Giving your baby a pacifier can cause nipple confusion.

Not true. Studies have shown that pacifiers do not interfere with breastfeeding, but there are some things to consider. The AAP recommends waiting until breastfeeding is well-established, meaning baby is eating well and gaining weight, but overall it’s a decision that’s best left up to parents. Plus, there are other positives beyond a happy baby; according to the AAP, sucking a pacifier at nap or bedtime can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

4. You must burp a baby after every feeding…or else.

There’s something slightly ominous when it comes to burping advice, but rest assured: “Your baby will not explode if they don’t burp,” says Casares. “It’s always good to attempt to burp them after every feed, but nothing major is going to happen.” Some gas could get trapped and they may be a bit more fussy, but it usually works its way out. In fact, a 2014 study that compared burped and non-burped babies found no difference in the incidence of colic between the two groups, though they did find that the burped infants were significantly more likely to spit up.

That being said, if you’re going to give it a good go at any time, Casares says before bed is worth prioritizing because that could allow them to sleep more easily. And, well, sleep is everything for parents.

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