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Parenting Advice Changes over Time

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:37pm
It’s funny how a lot of the advice our parents received about taking care of their babies has changed over time. Of course, most of it wasn’t bad advice, and certainly didn’t hurt us. But certain precautions were sometimes taken that weren’t necessary. Here are some examples:



OLD ADVICE: Babies’ bottles must be warmed before serving.

NEW ADVICE: Most babies don’t mind formula or milk that’s served cold or at room temperature. And there is no medical reason why milk must be warmed. Merely taking the bottle out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before feeding will take the edge off the chill. Or formula can be prepared right before use and fed at room temperature.



OLD ADVICE: Swimming sooner than a half-hour after eating will cause cramps.

NEW ADVICE: There has never been a single death caused by swimming too soon after eating. People do not experience cramps from swimming immediately after a meal.



OLD ADVICE: Sugar makes children hyper.

NEW ADVICE: Many studies have been conducted to test this theory, and no connection has been found between sugar consumption and children’s behavior. Some children may have sensitivities to certain foods, but sugar does not cause hyperactivity in the average child.



Of course, there are also plenty of examples of old-time advice that has withstood the test of time and shown that our mothers were right! For instance, our parents were usually told to keep their newborns home for the first few months to minimize their babies' exposure to germs. But I’ve seen plenty of newborns at public places, such as the grocery store, with strangers’ hands all over them! In this case, I’m with Mom . . . I wouldn’t want to risk a cold or the flu when the baby’s only a few months old.



If you’re a new parent or grandparent, it’s important to educate yourself on current parenting advice. Check with your doctor, read parenting magazines, and listen to your instincts.



Susan M. Heim is the author of It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence , Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year , and Twice the Love: Stories of Inspiration for Families with Twins, Multiples and Singletons . Visit Susan’s website at www.susanheim.com .
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