Myths and Facts

Q : All babies sleep through the night by three months of age.

Ans :

While many parents wish this was true, it’s not. In fact, it’s fairly uncommon for a baby to sleep through the night at 3 months. Sleeping through the night is part of a baby’s development. For the first three months, babies sleep between 16 to 20 hours a day, spread out within 24 hours. At around 4-6 months, they start to get a sense of day and night, and might sleep a bit more at night. By the time they’re 9 months old, 75% of babies will actually sleep through the night. Don’t worry too much if your child doesn’t. It will come with time. Resource: (Friedman J., & Saunders N. Canada’s Baby Care Book: A Complete Guide from Birth to 12 Months Old. (The Hospital for Sick Children). 2007. Toronto, ON: Robert Rose Inc.)

Q : Babies who walk early and talk early are the smartest.

Ans : Walking and talking are motor skills, and being able to do any of them means that a child’s motor development is slightly ahead. In the big picture though, these skills show up shortly after for almost all kids, and do not have anything to do with intelligence. Each child grows at a different pace, and in the long run, these slight differences don’t make much of a difference.

Q : I’ll never be a good enough parent.

Ans : Many new parents get perfectionist feelings, and are often harsh on themselves. There’s not need to feel that way. A key attribute to being a good parent is responsiveness. Your baby will constantly send out cues. You may not understand them all, but as long as you’re responsive to them and you care and try to understand them, you’re a good parent. Remember, your child thinks you’re the greatest person in the world. Don’t be so harsh on yourself.

Q : My baby will be spoiled if I pick him up every time he cries.

Ans : Research actually shows the exact opposite. In studies of mother-infant pairs, some of the mothers were asked to quickly respond when their babies cried, while others where asked to not respond as quickly. Researchers found that the infants of the responsive mothers cried less frequently. In addition to that, those infants were found to be less clingy, and seemed more securely attached to their caretakers.

Q : The diets of most young children meet the recommended daily requirements for vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Ans : Meeting a child’s nutrient requirements can be tough sometimes. Toddlers can be easily distracted during meal times and it’s hard to monitor what they’re actually eating. Nutritional surveys show that the diets of many young children do not meet the recommended daily requirements, as a result of poor food choices and small portions. Toddlers require 13 vitamins and 16 minerals to keep their bodies working properly. (TIP: Supplements can provide your kids with the nutritional boost to keep them ahead of the game!)

Q : Maternal instinct is all you need to have a child.

Ans : While maternal instinct is helpful and important, it often turns into maternal anxiety. Gut feelings are important, but don’t let them take over and turn into constant worry. It’s important to remain calm because when you’re anxious, it’s hard to get in touch with your intuition.


Q : If your child rejects a food, it’s pointless to try serving it again.

Ans : Research shows that toddler may have to try a new food up to 15 time before accepting it. More often than not, the rejection is a result of surprise, not dislike. Try introducing new foods as often as you can, but don’t take it personally if she rejects everything she tries the first few times around.


Q : Your child will tell you if he is in pain.

Ans : Some kids may hide their pain from you in order to avoid more pain from a needle, for example, or a fear of being separated from you. Comforting them if the best way to make them confident enough to express their pains.


Q : Homeopathy can replace vaccines.

Ans : There is absolutely no evidence that homeopathy can protect your children against illness and diseases, while there are many studies that show that vaccines can protect them against potentially serious infections.


Q : Your child throws tantrums to get his way.

Ans : Your child is not a miniature version of an adult, and he’s unable to think that way. Tantrums are part of normal toddler development and almost every child goes through them as part of growing up. It might be that he just needs attention, but this need is important and should be satisfied throughout his growth.


Q : Babies need sophisticated toys for maximum brain stimulation.

Ans : A stimulating environment is important for kids who are exploring everything around them, but sophisticated toys are not necessary. Babies have a preference for contrasting black and white images, but that shouldn’t make you expect it will increase their intelligence.


Q : If my child holds books too close to her eyes, it will damage her vision.

Ans : Holding a book really close to her face will not damager her vision, though it may indicate that she is nearsighted, especially if she insists on keeping it closer. Check with your doctor, but if it’s just her preference, it’s ok.


Q : Starting solid foods early will help your baby sleep longer.

Ans : Not only is this not true, it can also harm your baby because their gut is not mature enough to handle solid foods. In addition to that, his kidneys are not capable of handling much more than breastmilk. Exclusive breastfeeding is highly recommended for the first 6 months, as it is highly beneficial to the proper development of your child.


Q : Newborns can’t tell the difference between their mother and any other person.

Ans : There is a lot of evidence that shows that babies can recognize their mother’s face and smell. There is also evidence that babies recognize their mother’s voice, from having heard it while in utero.


Q : The bigger the size of the head, the smarter your child is.

Ans : Some parents think that a child with a bigger head must have a bigger brain and therefore be smarter. That’s not true simply because brain size has no relation to intelligence. The critical thing is the number and quality of interconnections between neurons.


Q : It’s better to speak only one language with your child.

Ans : There are many ways in which parents can raise kids to be fluent in numerous languages. Often, each parent speaks only one language with the child, or families adapt languages to various settings, like one at home and one in public. Children’s brains have a fantastic capacity to absorb different languages and differentiate them.


Q : Children are fragile.

Ans :

Your children are much stronger than you imagine. While they’re not emotionally invincible, they can deal with quite a bit. So don’t worry too much if you get angry or lose your temper from time to time. As long as you’ve created a loving environment for your child most of the time, he will survive.