Pediatricians Debunk 16 Baby Myths

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Aliza Pressman: “Baby
walkers help babies walk.” Baby walkers do not help babies walk. Blair Hammond: “Picking up a
crying baby will spoil them.” Pressman: Picking up a crying
baby will not spoil them. Hammond: “Putting honey on a dummy,” aka a pacifier, “will help with teething.” This is a dangerous myth, actually. “Teething can cause fevers.” I get paged about this myth all the time. Hi and welcome. I’m Dr. Blair Hammond. I’m a general pediatrician
at Mount Sinai Hospital. Pressman: And I’m Dr. Aliza Pressman. I’m a developmental psychologist and cofounder of the Mount
Sinai Parenting Center. The other cofounder. Hammond: The other. We did it together. Today we’re going to be actually talking about debunking myths with babies. Ready, Aliza? Pressman: Let’s do it. Hammond: All right! First myth. Pressman: “Babies who walk and talk early are the brightest of their peer group.” Even though an early talker
may tend to do better in language skills later in life, it doesn’t mean that children
who are not early talkers aren’t going to equal or
rise above those talkers. And with walkers, which
is a different thing, that’s motor development. Motor development is
better at predicting delays and associations with other
issues that may arise. So if you notice there’s
a delay in walking, that’s an important thing to talk to your pediatrician about. But it is not necessarily
true or likely true that an early walker is going
to get you into Harvard. Hammond: “Never wake a sleeping baby.” And this is a myth in particular in the first few weeks of life. So, newborn babies really
need to feed frequently, and if you happen to have a sleepy baby, you would actually wake them every three to four hours
to feed at that time. Pressman: That’s right. Between five and six weeks of age, day and night sleep is organized. So if they’re sleeping more than three, three and a half hours during
the day, at that point, you really want to give
them a little nudge so that you can get them nice, consolidated sleep in the nighttime. Hammond: As children get older, you can let them sleep
longer periods of time. Pressman: “Lullabies help babies sleep.” [laughs] This one is actually sort of a myth, but not completely, because the act of singing a
lullaby, that calming music, can calm both you and your baby. But it isn’t a magic pill that is going to make sure that your baby falls asleep. Finding ways to soothe your infant, especially using music
and touch is, of course, going to relax them and
induce a sleepier state. Hammond: “Naps aren’t necessary.” Pressman: Oh. Hammond: In young children and
babies, naps are necessary. Pressman: Very. Hammond: I always say
that people who are like, “I’m gonna keep my baby up all day so they sleep all night in
that first year of life,” you’re going to have an angry baby, and that is not going to be
a fun baby to take care of. And, in fact, in this young age, especially that first year of life, we really do focus on
naps to help your baby actually learn better, control their behavior, and fall asleep better. Because an overly tired baby is actually going to sleep worse. Pressman: You really need
to keep even one nap. You don’t want your
infant or toddler awake more than about five hours at a time. So, up until three years of age, naps are really important for daytime behavior, emotional development, and nighttime organized,
consolidated sleep. “Babies should be sleeping through the night by three months.” Hammond: We all hope for that. Every mother wishes that. Pressman: If your baby isn’t
sleeping through the night because they need to have a feeding or two feedings, that’s OK. Up until four months, you
really want to let your infant direct how that’s going to go. And then, starting after four months, between four and six
months, you can think about your influence on their nighttime sleep. Hammond: And you might lose your friends if you keep bragging
about your 3-month-old who’s sleeping through the night and they have a 3-month-old who’s not. Oh, this is a good one. Pressman: “Certain toys
will make babies smarter.” Hammond: Right? Pressman: Myth.
Hammond: Myth. Pressman: The myth is that it’s the toy making the baby smarter. What helps your baby grow
smarter is the interaction between you and your baby
while playing with a toy. If you just stick a baby
down with a bunch of blocks, your baby is not growing
smarter from those toys. The best way to grow your baby’s brain in that first year of life is through interaction with a caregiver, and you can then talk about
the toy, describe the toy, support your infant’s discovery of the toy through language and descriptions, but the toys itself are never going to make your baby smarter. Another thing to keep in mind is that when you are
playing with your baby, you might find yourself
using a singsong voice with high-pitch sounds and,
like, a big, exaggerated face. And some people might even
think you’re talking baby talk. The truth is that that
is called “parentese,” and it is one of the most
important uses of language. When you use that voice and you say, like: “[gasps] Look at that
block you’re playing with! Is that a brown block? Are you putting that on
top of a blue block?” The important part of that is that your language is so engaging that parentese actually is associated with such boosts in language
development later in life. Now, baby talk, where you’re saying “goo goo gaa gaa goo goo gaa gaa,” that is not useful for anyone, except if it gives you tremendous delight and you just can’t help
yourself and you really just need to just get in there with that baby. It’s your language and your interaction and your use of parentese
that’s gonna really get you that boost in
intellectual development that you are hoping to get from the toy. Hammond: “Bouncing babies will
cause them to be bowlegged.” I hear this all the time. In fact, I have lots of parents say to me right after a baby’s born, “Oh, no, he’s bowlegged!” And the interesting thing is it’s because when a baby is in the womb, most babies actually
have their legs crossed. So they come out a little bowed-looking, and it is normal for the legs to actually have that appearance. And many babies have that instinct to want to stand and bear
weight on their legs, and that is actually fantastic for their motor development. You’re socially engaging with them, but you’re also helping them develop muscle strength and control. So this is absolutely a myth. Many grandparents are into it. They’re also like, “Don’t let your baby
sit till they’re ready, ’cause it’s gonna ruin their back.” That is another myth. Pressman: I would only add:
You don’t need a contraption. So, a jumper is not a good way to help a baby develop. Hammond: Yep. Because
they go more on the toes, and that’s something
that’s not recommended by most developmental specialists. Pressman: “Excessive crying
means something is wrong.” If you’re feeling like your
infant is excessively crying, the first thing that you want to do is talk to your pediatrician to make sure that there isn’t anything wrong medically. Hammond: You sort of do a one-over on your whole baby to make sure, “All right, my baby
seems OK, my baby’s fed, my baby’s peed and pooped,
whatever, what’s going on here?” And then often it’s just, they’re so awake and frazzled, they can’t calm their body
down at this young age. The most fussy period is between three to six weeks of life. And there is something
called infant colic, which people have probably heard about. And the definition of colic is crying at least three hours a day, at least three days of the week, for at least three weeks. A good thing I tell parents
is if the baby calms down when you’re shaking them
in a gentle rocking way, shushing them, and you’re like, “Oh, if I hold the baby, they stop crying, but every time I put them down, they cry.” That’s reassuring to me that there’s not some real
painful issue going on and that the baby is comforted by you and just needs that help. In general, I say to people, if the baby cries more
than an hour straight and nothing is calming them down, check in with your pediatrician. Pressman: And you could
be doing everything right and it’s not going to stop the baby from crying in the short term, but again, you will be helping their
long-term development. Hammond: “Picking up a
crying baby will spoil them.” Pressman: Picking up a crying
baby will not spoil them. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Hammond: People are often very worried about spoiling young infants. Pressman: Please spoil your young infants. Hammond: Yes, fall in love. I say my job as a pediatrician is to help you fall in
love with your baby. I want you to touch that baby. I want you to snuggle the baby. And the feeling a baby has of being upset and crying and stressed, and then when they calm with you, that actually teaches their brain to go from upset to calm, and that is a life skill. Now, as your child gets older, can you spoil a baby or a
child who’s crying and saying, “I need lollipops for dinner”? Pressman: Yes, you can.
Hammond: Obviously! Do not then just pick them up
and give them the lollipop. That is a totally different thing. In these first months of life, comforting your baby and
calming their body down actually helps them be
calmer humans long-term. Oh. “Putting honey on a dummy,” aka a pacifier, “will help with teething.” This is a dangerous myth, actually. Some myths are just like, your friends are talking
about that, don’t believe it. This one is actually dangerous. Babies should not have honey
in the first year of life. And the risk of honey comes
from a bacteria called botulism. The spores from botulism
your body can process, but young infants cannot, and it can actually cause paralysis, meaning a paralyzed, limp infant, which could be quite dangerous, life-threatening, obviously. No honey in the first year of life for any baby. It’s really something
everyone should know. Pressman: “Baby walkers help babies walk.” Baby walkers do not help babies walk. In fact, there are some small studies that show that babies who use walkers walk later than the babies
that do not use walkers. Do not get a walker, because you want your
baby’s muscles to develop the way they’re supposed
to, without contraptions. Hammond: The AAP, that’s the
American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends against walkers. No. 1, because they do delay walking. But No. 2, because children can
actually fall in walkers, fall down stairs in walkers, and have the ability to reach things that are developmentally inappropriate, like hot stoves, hot water. I’ve had many patients be like: “Oh, my gosh, we put it on a registry. I feel so bad. I already got it.” Return it. “Teething can cause fevers.” I get paged about this myth all the time. People will say: “My baby has a 103 fever. It’s just ’cause they’re teething.” That is a myth. Teething should not cause fevers. It might make your baby
a little more fussy. It might make them eat a little less, but it should not cause fever. It should not cause cough. It should not cause runny nose, vomiting. All those things make me think your baby has some type of infection. Something else going on. So if you have a fever and
you’re concerned about the cause, check in with your pediatrician. Pressman: “Babies need
water when it’s hot.” Hammond: This is certainly a myth, especially in the beginning of life. So, the first month of life, some parents and grandparents will say: “Your baby needs water. It’s hot out.” Your baby should not be given water. We say breast milk or formula
only for newborn babies. Their kidneys are actually immature, and giving water could
mess up their electrolytes and be quite dangerous, in fact. As your child gets older,
around six months of life, we do encourage you to
introduce water for your child. But, in general, many people
are under the impression, like, “Oh, water is a better hydration fluid than breast milk or formula.” But actually breast milk and formula are great for hydrating babies. “You should avoid giving peanuts, fish, and eggs to your child
until they’re a toddler.” This was a big myth. Pressman: Big myth. Hammond: And, in fact,
it used to be supported by the medical community, but there now is really strong data showing that actually earlier introduction increases what we call tolerance, meaning that you won’t
have an allergic reaction. But there in fact is even
an FDA recommendation that infants between four
to six months of life have peanut products
introduced into their diet because there is such compelling data about the reduction in food allergy. I always say, speak with your pediatrician about exactly how to start it and if you have specific
family risk factors. Again, I may emphasize the one food you do not introduce:
no honey till one year. Pressman: “Playing classical music can make your baby smarter.” Playing classical music will be one of the many things that you can do, certainly, to surround them with the kinds of stimulating auditory experiences that will engage their brain. However, playing classical
music in and of itself is not going to make your baby smarter. Hammond: Actually, the
back-and-forth interactions that a baby has with a caregiver where they hear real words usually spoken in your native language so that you can speak with most expression and you’re showing delight and responding to the baby, that is what promotes
the language development and the social development
of the brain the best. “A newborn’s length will tell
you how tall they’ll be.” Lots of parents obsessively
think about the growth chart. I will confess, I sometimes obsessively think about my children’s growth chart. The biggest predictor of
your child’s final height is actually parents’ height. So, we call something
“mid-parental height” as the best predictor. And another big predictor
is when the baby, the child, goes through puberty. So, usually the longer you delay puberty, the more years of growth you have. So, there are some children who are short in seventh grade, but they keep growing,
and they’re still growing in 11th and 12th grade, and then they catch up
and surpass their peers. So, it gives you an idea. It is certainly not the predictor of your child’s long-term length. Pressman: You’re gonna hear
many myths and many things that are gonna make you
question your own parenting. What we would emphasize is, try to think about your gut,
what makes you feel good, because a parent who
feels good and empowered is going to have better interactions with their baby. And if you do have any questions, rather than thinking about
the myths that are out there, seek advice from very reliable and valid resources. Go to your pediatrician with any questions or find the websites that are actually valid and reliable, and never do Google searches arbitrarily or look at chat rooms. Hammond: And, again, pediatricians, we go into this field because we like to partner with
parents to making sure all children are as healthy as possible. So bring your questions to the doctor.

100 comments

  1. I'm watching this at 4am because I am going through the menopause.

    I'm still waiting for my 18 year old to start sleeping through the night. Caught her up drinking cider and watching music videos the other night in the small hours, eating cookies.

  2. My parents told me I should give my 6 month old soda because it "helps the child fight diabetes" 🤣 I've never heard such a ridiculous thing in my life. Then they told me I drank soda from first few months of my life. Wow. My 5 year old has never had soda and prefers water or milk to even juice. That's a ridiculous myth they totally believe.

  3. For giving your baby water: What if your baby is 90th percentile for weight height and head cerconfrince? And hes only 4months. Should I start introducing water now because hes so much larger??

  4. My mom said someone in her family years ago never crawled as a baby and he was really struggling in college and so he did therapy and when they found out he never crawled they said he needs to crawl around because his brain needed that and it's actually a really important step in a babies development and so he did for about a month or 2 and started doin alot better. Really weird but interesting

  5. Propping babies up before they are ready doesn’t ruin their back but it can significantly effect the natural flow of development and it’s kind of mean. They are stuck and can’t move in this position. Adaptions can occur like bum shuffling because they haven’t developed the core strength needed to sit up themselves. Propping them up puts them in a position that they’re not ready for, they will likely fall backwards, get a fright and upset, which can make sitting up an anxious time for them. So after that initial shock of falling backwards they will lean forward to compensate and stop themselves from toppling over.
    Isn’t it more rewarding to let your baby crawl on their own first and sit up on their own?
    Core strength is essential for babies in order for them to sit up on their own and develop normally and they can only develop this through lots of tummy and floor time

  6. "Please spoil your baby"
    NO, LIES! My sister is 18 now and I'm 99% sure spoiling her as a baby was the start of making her terrible.

    I don't know maybe I'm just venting cause she just sucks and I hate it cause all that spoiling could've been used on me!

  7. I'm glad you mentioned honey twice. Also sometimes babies in walkers knock heavy things onto their heads. Would like to see using car seat as crib addressed.

  8. I am obsessed with the woman on the left's personality. She is so endearing & captivating. The kind of doctor who will make you feel comfortable asking questions & going to see her. She seems really cool

  9. I want to have 5 kids hopefully, if I can handle it. 3 Minimum eheh. These women are so knowledgeable and kind and eloquent. I want to be a pediatrician like them

  10. Ppl please keep buying your babies walkers…. they dont help them walk but ….. its like not buying a wheelchair for someone that cant use their legs. It still helps them to move around in a safe way

  11. I wish I could send this to the older women in my family. They all think I’m spoiling my 7 week old because I hold her a lot. And don’t let her cry longer then a few minutes if I could help it

  12. There are so, so many people out there who are willing to spread myths about baby/child care to make money. My mum (midwife) recently had to talk a few clients out of buying a £70 pillow that claimed to "reduce the risk of cot death" (it doesn't)??!!

  13. My sis-in-law's son, was walking way early, way too soon, it seemed, & his legs were bowed out, really bad! I asked my husband, cause I'd never seen that, in all the many babies I'd taken care of/been around, over many years, & he said it's cause his leg bones/muscles weren't ready to hold him up (but because of how his 4 older, but also young, sisters held him, played w/ him, & stood him up/walked him around too early, this happened). His legs have since straightened out, cause he's much older now, but I think he was 7-8 months, when I first saw him walking, so not sure when exactly, he began standing/walking, initially. In addition to being bow-legged, his gate was very wobbly & woddly, but very fast, too; he was a poor baby, from the start, cause his mom…well, he was in NICU for 4 months, going through detox (him & his older sisters, all were born, dependant/addicted).
    So,
    Is that a thing, or just an odd anomaly, in that child, bowed legs from too too early walking?

  14. Unlike you losers I DO have a reason to watch this:
    • I have an aunt father's side 5 times removed planning to have a kid in the following decade.

  15. Them: Walker are bad. They delay walking
    Me: Yeah ok that's why my 3 kids learned to walked faster then ALL of my nieces n nephews.
    Seriously tho my nephew couldn't even walk til he was almost 2 my 6 month old is already "walking" difference is my kids in a walker n my Sis n Law listens to the Dr's

  16. I think this is a ridiculous video. Okay, some things are true but waking up the baby to feed??? It'll wake up if it's hungry jeez.

  17. I agree that babies and toddlers need naps. I dropped them completely for all of mine at around 2 years 3 months and would put them down soon after tea. If they had a nap, they wouldn't settle until closer to 11pm and would be cranky the next day. This was led by each child. They are also necessary for parents mental health.

    I tried not to let any of mine cry. My youngest's hungry cry was so different to the other two. It was as if it flicked a switch in my brain and turned me into a weeping pile of jelly (I'm British, i think others would say jello) who couldn't perform even the most basic function. It was so debilitating. Id be holding them, begging them to be quiet while I used my free arm to make up / warm a bottle. A very simple and quick job (even 1 handed), apart from when my youngest was hungry. It was horrible. When they had the bottle and were no longer crying, I was back to normal. I had to try and time it so I made up the bottle as they were starting to give their hunger cry.

  18. Spoiling isn't a myth though.. you have to care for your house, go to work, and your other kids. If you constantly pick up a baby that's crying to comfort them when there's absolutely nothing wrong with them, that's spoiling them. Especially if they stop crying immediately after you pick them up every. single. time. You can't just ignore the rest of your life like that lol. Babies aren't stupid. They learn. Y'all haven't seen those videos where the baby cries on purpose for attention and stops as soon as the parent picks them up, but starts crying as soon as they get put down ? We might laugh at that as funny, but that baby is spoiled. 😒 babies aren't dumb.

  19. I put my kid in a walker, as soon as she realized it was moving with her she let out the most evil gleeful giggle I ever heard from a pretoddler before shooting around the house like baby gran torismo. it might not have helped her walk but she sure loved it. it was her car.

    as for teething causing fevers being a myth, you explain why my kid got hit with a fever every time a tooth came in. it wasn't a myth in my house. it was unprecedented but it wasn't a myth.

  20. As a stay at home mom of 4, listening to these women.I feel like they are talking to me like a child verse as an adult.🤦🏼‍♀️

  21. I'm taller than both of my parents. 🤭 I was the shortest in my class in primary school and yes I surpassed most of them 😊 when I went to secondary school.

  22. I hate how they look at the camera like their audience members are all idiots watching their youtube recommend at 3am…..

  23. Screw the part about walkers. The likelihood of those instances is extremely low, & also depends on supervision. It can be a very useful and helpful tool when used correctly.

  24. I am actually watching it for a reason. I have a little brother and I wanna know these myths so i can teoo my mom she is WRONG!

  25. The walker one is bull. You can use walkers. Using a walker for an hour a day to do household tasks has NO negative effects what so ever. Both my kids used them and they both started walking unsupported at 6 months. I used one as a baby and I started walking at 7 months. I’ve never known a single baby who had negative effects from using one.

  26. Let's all be honest here.
    The majority of us weren't looking for this.
    Also the majority of us are teenagers who dont even have children and arent even close to having children yet

  27. aww reminded me of how my baby brother had a walker and everytime I would come home he‘d drive with that thing down the hall to greet me, bumping against everything

  28. As a former early talker, I can’t carry a conversation normally. I might have some sorta mental condition but I seriously can’t talk normally about anything. Help.

  29. If teething doesnt cause illness why is it my sin was sick every time he had a new tooth coming in? He was never around anyone sick as i was very protective over that. He wasnt in day care either

  30. My mother used the CIO method and has the same mindset as many other stupid people who think that you can spoil a baby with love. I was not allowed to pick up my sister whenever she was crying but I didn't care and did it anyways. She now comes to me whenever something is wrong and she doesn't even care about my parents. Makes my parents sad when their own child rather cuddles with someone else but that's what you get for torturing an infant.

  31. My little brother walked around his first birthday and started saying a few words too. He even began taking his diaper off so I had to buy him a little potty. It was such a shock for everyone that he was so small and already doing this stuff. Is he smart? Maybe in a non traditional way. Academically he is struggling but he does have a lot of odd ways he shows how smart he is.

  32. ACTUALLY teething does cause a slight fever. The science behind it is that baby's gums are susceptible to infection while teeth are erupting through, so the body creates a slight fever to kill off bacteria and protect the baby from getting an infection.

  33. i used my baby’s walker to strengthen muscles, like bouncing does, he walked at 7 months 😆😆. my second child didn’t use a walker, he walked at 15 months. so every kid is different. both were raised the same. the same with talking.

  34. I disagree with the baby walked. It DID help my son walk faster because it taught him to develop his sense of manipulating those legs to get where he wanted so that when he DID take his first steps, it was quick. We had the 'old-fashioned' kind that had 5-6 wheels on the bottom and I'd take him to the playground in it, and he'd walk around like that, toward things he wanted to see.

  35. Great advices, cheers!

    But the older lady’s got to stop over moving. The younger one looks annoyed at certain times because of the overtly movements of the ginger!

  36. People want to kill me when I say my daughter would sleep through the night at 2 weeks if I let her. I woke my daughter 2 times at night to feed until she was 2 months.

  37. The left lady seems like that obnoxious type of doctor who acts superior and makes you feel too self conscious to ask anything also dismisses any attempt to extract info as a waste of her precious (coz you’re funding it) time.

  38. There's a lot of debate for spoiling a baby so I'll throw in my 2 cents: Coddle and comfort them but set your boundaries.

    This kind of thing does not apply to babies younger than 8-12 months. Why? Babies NEED love and attention, deprive it and it will severely affect the baby (or kill them according to the 40 newborns of 1944 experiment).
    Think of it this way, recall a time where you've felt alone or isolated and you dearly wanted someone to swoop in to save you or give you a hug. Now imagine that but you're placed in a foreign country whose language you can't speak. That's what it's like for babies, they (everyone, really) need that reassurance that everything will be okay.

    Once the baby is old enough to start being independent, it is very important to start setting boundaries and encouraging problem solving without dismissing their concerns. Older babies/toddlers will absolutely try to push boundaries and get upset so you'll have to be very aware of your own behavior. A baby crying because they can't get a toy is one thing, a baby crying because they got hit by the toy is another.

    Let's use that foreign country metaphor again. Let's say you've found a someone who's more than happy to help you through the country. If your guardian let's you spend all your money because you "can't cook food" then you'll suffer in the long run. However, if you cut your finger while cooking then should the guardian come in to either patch you up or assure that you'll be ok.

    Let your kid explore, let them make mistakes, and be with them when they get frustrated/sad/angry/happy. Don't try to take all the hardships of life away but don't turn away when they need you.

    You're raising a child who will later become an adult, teach them the healthy skills needed to be an adult.

  39. My daughter had colic. I felt like a failure as a mother because I couldn't soothe her. We found out she was having infantile migraines. Once we knew I actually was Finally able to start soothing her because I suffer from chronic migraines myself and know what works for me to ease the pain.

  40. I think I knew most of these from research on medical sites and advice from my parents, so I’m surprised how many actual parents thought these were true. I’m not a parent, but I babysit very often for young toddlers and babies

  41. I have no children. I have no plans to have any in the near future. I thoroughly enjoyed this video. I feel smarter ‼️ Thanks docs.

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