5 pieces of bad advice about parenting your 6-month old
Everybody and their (and your) mother has an opinion and advice when you're pregnant, and it only kicks up several hundred notches once your baby starts smiling and yelling and babbling and just generally being on this side of the womb. Some advice is good, and some advice is bad, so part of being a parent is learning to weed out the few really useful tips. Most bad advice is completely innocent, but there are some pieces of advice that could be harmful to your baby if you followed them.
- "How about some water?"
This is a common one, especially in the summer - lots of would-be advisers will tell you that you should be giving your baby water to drink as well as breast milk or formula, to ward off dehydration. While it’s not nearly as dangerous to give your baby water as it would have been a few months, or even a few weeks ago, it’s also not necessary. At this point, a couple of ounces won’t hurt your baby, especially if you’ve started to introduce solid food in addition to formula or breast milk, but she is still getting all the hydration she needs from the breast or bottle.
- "It’s never too early to set boundaries."
It is, in fact, too early to start expecting your baby to follow a specific set of rules. She is still developing her memory and comprehension, and at this point, it’s more effective just to redirect your baby’s attention when she, say, pulls your hair than it is to try to teach her to stop once and for all.
- "She’s just manipulating you!"
This one goes along with everyone’s favorite ‘you’ll spoil her if you pick her up too much,’ line that has roots in baby advice tracing back to the 1800s. While it’s true that when your baby cries, she generally wants your attention for one reason or another, she is highly unlikely to have underhanded, ‘manipulative’ motivations beyond wanting a bottle, to be burped, or maybe a quick cuddle - unless, of course, you’re one of the few who happens to be raising a supervillain. And even if you are raising a supervillain, going to her and picking her up when she cries won’t spoil her, it’ll just help to make her a happier, more well-adjusted little supervillain.
- "You’ll catch more flies with honey…"
You can totally feel free to tell the people who advise you to dip your baby’s pacifier or bottle nipple in honey, sugar water or jelly that your baby isn’t a fly. They might give you a kind of funny look, sure, but they also might stop trying to give you advice.
your baby is already getting all of the nutrients she needs from breast milk or formula, and if she is eating solids already, she is starting to form an attachment to the flavors in her life. She is sure to get a taste for sweets soon, but there’s no need to rush it!
- "Hair of the dog."
A suspicious number of traditional teething pain remedies involve rubbing babies’ gums with different types of hard liquor. Alcohol for teething relief is a bad idea, no matter what so-and-so’s grandmother says. When your baby starts teething, try applying light pressure, cool compresses, or any number of other potential remedies - different things work for different babies, it’s true, but liquor on the gums is a pretty universal one to steer clear of.
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