Top 10 myths about babies you need to understand before you get pregnant

How much of what you are told when you are pregnant or trying to conceive can you really believe? We took 10 of the craziest baby myths and put it right once and for all

myths about babies
Baby myths: How much should you take on board?

When the time’s right to start a family the one thing you can count on is the wealth of advice you’ll get from well-meaning friends and relatives. But how much of this ‘knowledge’ should you take on board and what are the things you should just dust off as myths about babies?

Be ready, because some of the tips on how to conceive will be eye-opening, and when you do eventually announce your pregnancy the numerous predictions about the sex of your baby will leave your head in a spin.

And when the little one arrives it doesn’t end there either, as you’ll no doubt be deluged with remedies on what will be “best” for baby. 

Some of it might actually be useful, but you’ll be amazed at how much is nothing more than old-wives tales.

Confused? You will be. Take a look at our top 10 myths about babies and feel a little more in the know…

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1. Fertility problems will only affect first-timers

Fertility issues can strike at any time, whether it’s your first baby or fifth.

If you conceived quickly the first time around, there’s absolutely no guarantee it will be a walk in the park the next time.

Secondary infertility, when a couple has trouble conceiving after having one or more babies, is said to be more common than primary infertility, which is when first-time parents have difficulties.

The good news is there’s a lot of advice available. The National Fertility Show in Manchester on March 23-24 is aimed at providing all parents and parents-to-be with as much information as possible. Featuring experts giving seminars on a range of fertility issues, it also offers advice, Let’s Talk Fertility sessions to guide on treatment and quiet rooms providing a discreet place one-to-one chats.

A spokesman said: “Alongside our brilliant partners – Fertility Network and IVFbabble – our aim is for all our visitors to leave the show feeling clear and positive about making informed decisions on whatever path they wish to take.”

If you can’t make the event in Manchester there is another show in London later in the year and ties in with Fertility Week at the end of October.

2. Whether you have a boy or girl is all to do with when you have intercourse and in what position

There is some truth in this as there is some evidence to suggest male sperm swim faster but female sperm lives longer in the body. Therefore, if you want a boy have sex right before ovulation, but it you want a girl do it a few days before.

However, while there might be some truth in this method it’s not a cast-iron guarantee.

People also believe that different positions can affect the gender of a baby, but again, there’s no firm evidence available.

In truth, there is no sure-fire way to choose the sex of a baby but what is guaranteed is there is a 50/50 chance you will have one or the other.

3. If you have a Caesarean you’ll always have to have one

There are many reasons why someone would have a c-section, such as the baby being in breech position, a low-lying placenta, high blood pressure, infections or if the labour isn’t oprogressing and the baby isn’t getting enough oxygen or nutrients.

It’s quite a popular myth, however, that once you give birth by c-section every subsequent birth will have to be one too.

This isn’t true as there are quite a lot of women who go on to have vaginal births in the future. It all depends on the pregnancy as each pregnancy is different.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says having a natural birth after a caesarean offers quicker recovery time and avoids the risks associated with an operation.

4. First babies are always late

If you’re a pregnant mum if you paid yourself a pound every time someone told you this you could probably be a millionaire by the time you do give birth.

Let’s be honest, there’s no real evidence to support this theory. It’s just one of those things that seems to get past down the generations.

The fact is babies arrive when they’re ready and for every mum whose first baby arrived a fortnight late, there will be plenty more who will tell you their little ones arrived early – or bang on their due dates. There’s just no way of knowing.

5. You’ll fall in love instantly with your baby

For many of the lucky mums this will happen straight away. No sooner as the baby is placed in their arms they will be filled with an intense rush of love and instantly bond with their offspring.

However, there are also many women who do not experience these rush of feelings. In fact, it can take quite some time for some mums to feel the love and connection to their newborns and crucially this is all perfectly normal.

Post Natal Depression also affects one in 10 women within a year of giving birth and this can have a major influence on the bonding process.

Parents shouldn’t feel guilty about this as it’s all normal and thankfully there are people speaking up about it and raising awareness. Instagram blogger Clemmie Telford, who has a website called Mother of All Lists, has written and spoken about how she struggled to bond with her first son Bertie after a traumatic birth and also suffered with post-natal depression.

She and fellow Instagram blogger Steph Douglas, who also runs the Don’t Buy Her Flowers gift company, have talked about the importance of “pulling up the drawbridge” after giving birth and spending time recovering at home rather than trying to do too much.

There is also lots of support available to help mums cope with PND.

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6. Dads miss out on bonding if you breastfeed

Some dads might feel the lack of involvement in feeding the baby might make it less easier for them to bond, but really there are lots of other ways for dads to feel close to their newborns.

Spending time cuddling the baby and changing nappies are just as important as feeding.

And sitting up with an arm around mum during the 2am night feed and settling the baby back to sleep afterwards can all help dads feel involved.

However, if dads do want to get in on the feeding, then mums can pump their breast milk into a bottle. Giving a feed this way early on might also help to transition when the time comes to move on from breastfeeding.

7. Babies need to socialise

It’s fun to take your baby to all the elaborate groups offering music, yoga and sensory fun.

However, it’s not an absolutely necessary, not least because everything your baby needs to develop happens naturally every day. Parents who spend time talking, smiling and playing with their youngsters are doing everything their baby needs to develop social skills.

Baby groups are great places to go for parents looking to get out and about and meet other mums and dads. But don’t feel under any pressure to go, especially if it’s not your thing or the groups are expensive. Your baby won’t be missing out.

8. Second babies weigh more

This can happen and it often does in a lot of cases. It might be due to the fact that older mums tend to have heavier babies and naturally as mums will be older when they have a second child that could happen.

But as with everything when it comes to babies there is absolutely no rule of thumb.

9. Giving babies a wide range of flavours will help them be less fussy

This doesn’t always follow as you may find babies are willing to eat anything when they’re younger but as they get older their tastes change and they go off certain foods.

Similarly, some babies may only want to eat certain flavours at a young age but as they get older their list of likes will expand.

Whatever happens, it’s always good to encourage them to eat as many different foods and flavours as possible, especially healthy fruit and veg – but don’t beat yourself up if they don’t like it.

10. You will never sleep again

Everyone says it the moment you tell them you’re having a baby and it’s the thing that fills most would-be parents with dread.

Yes it’s true your sleep will be affected when the tiny person arrives and turns your world upside down. What with the night feeds, nappy changes and colic to contend with it’s a major shock to the system for any new parent, especially if you’re used to getting a good eight hours every night.

While some babies wake a lot in the night or others are up at the crack of dawn – and this can carry on until they are older – babies do sleep eventually even though it might not seem like it at the time. You may find your sleep patterns changing to fit in but rest assured at some point you will sleep.

And you never know, you might be one of those lucky parents with a baby who loves to sleep through the night from a young age. Just don’t get too smug – because it doesn’t always last.

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