Through the influence of past generations, certain extraordinary superstitions regarding baby care still persist, even in these enlightened days. Here are a few of such common fallacies:
1. That it is dangerous to take an infant out in rainy weather.
If the child is very young, premature or very delicate, it is not wise to take him out in the rain, but the normal, healthy child is enormously benefited by an outing in the clean, fresh air.
The air is vastly purer and more healthy to breathe after and during rain than when it is windy or cloudy. Children do not “catch cold” as long as they do not get actually wet.
2. That a child must be kept awake after a fall.
This is a very grave mistake to make. A child should be soothed, and after examination has proved no injuries present, should be put into a quiet room to sleep, and so recover from the shock. When he awakes, the effect of the fright will have passed away.
3. That a baby needs rocking.
Do not rock or shake a baby while nursing him. It is irritating to the baby’s nervous system and makes a fretful and restless child. Many mothers, even when the child is sleeping in their arms, will continue to sway and pat him. The result is that when he is put down and the movement ceases, he immediately wakes up.
When he is asleep, keep him perfectly still. If crying, raising him on the mother’s shoulder and gently rubbing his back is all that is desirable. If that does not soothe him, rocking, shaking and jolting will not pacify him, and is injurious mentally and physically.
4. That the baby must be hungry every time he cries.
This old belief is responsible for endless trouble to mother, and untold misery to the child. Often baby cries because he is already overfed, and the more he cries the more the mother feeds him, and the more she feeds him the more he cries; so a vicious circle is set up which can only end in a serious digestive disturbance for the baby
5. That cutting teeth “on the cross” is more troublesome and painful.
It makes no difference to the child which teeth he gets first.
6. That it is unlucky to cut baby’s fingernails.
This is only an absurd superstition. It is much more unlucky to leave them long and dirty so that he scratches his face and also sucks the dirt from under the nails.