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Busting baby myths

Anyone who has been pregnant or had a baby knows that you get advice from everyone! We look at what’s valid and what’s just a myth and professional nurse Phumeza Mhlandleni gives a medical perspective.

Eating oranges during pregnancy causes jaundice

Jaundice is a yellowish discolouration of the skin and whites of the eyes caused by too much bilirubin in the blood. It is quite common in newborn babies and usually goes away as a baby’s liver develops and as the baby begins to feed, which helps bilirubin pass through the body.

Phumeza says oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and are often recommended to boost a person’s intake of the vitamin. ‘Eating oranges cannot cause jaundice. You can, in fact, enjoy all fruits, including oranges, in moderation,’ she says.

Eating ice during pregnancy will affect the baby or make you cold during labour

Cravings are common during pregnancy and many women have weird cravings, sometimes for things that are not even considered to be food, like ice, sand, clay and chalk. The good news is that ice holds no real danger to the baby. The mother’s teeth may just become painful from chewing on it.

For many women, chewing on ice eases morning sickness and it is a great way to increase a pregnant woman’s water intake. ‘But, with other cravings for non-food items like chalk and soil, it is advisable to speak to your doctor to rule out any serious causes for concern like an iron deficiency’, advises Phumeza.

You’ll spoil your newborn if you pick them up whenever they cry

You can’t spoil a newborn. If your baby calms down when you pick them up, they needed to be picked up. But more importantly, they have to gain confidence that you will respond to their needs, says Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D., author of Emotionally Intelligent Parenting (Three Rivers Press).

In fact, during the first six months of life, that’s a baby’s primary job. ‘The critical task at this stage is developing a sense of trust that the world will take care of them,’ Dr Elias says. ‘If you’re crying or screaming and no one comes to pick you up, you don’t develop that trust.’

After the baby is about six months old, Dr Elias adds, your job is to pull back a bit and let them figure out that they can survive – for a few minutes, at least – without someone rushing to their side.

Put cereal or pap in your baby’s bottle to help them feel full

The recommended age for a baby to start eating solids like cereal and pap is from four to six months old. According to Phumeza the reason for this is that even though these foods are easy for the baby to eat, they are not easy for the baby to digest because a baby’s digestive system is not developed enough before the age of four to six months. ‘Introducing solids like cereals and pap can cause malnutrition.’

Read more: Sleeping battles

Images: Gallo Images/Getty Images.

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