mom with child

Baby Myths: Separate Fact from Fiction

July 12, 2023 Infant

If you are a new mom, you have probably noticed that everyone is very willing to offer you parenting advice. While most mean well, there are a few pieces of advice that are simply not true. Here are the facts on four popular myths.

Adding cereal to your baby’s bottle will help them sleep through the night.

Your family and friends swear that if you add a bit of cereal to your baby’s last night feeding, they will sleep through the night. Jessica Todd, MS, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian nutritionist and new mom says, “I have definitely thought about putting cereal in my son’s bottle, because he is 8 months old and still not sleeping through the night!” But research has shown that adding cereal to the bottle does not mean that your baby will sleep through the night. Todd adds, “Your baby has to be developmentally ready to sleep through the night.” Here’s the fact: Adding cereal won’t make your baby sleep any longer. Also, adding cereal to your baby’s bottle can increase the risk of choking.

Picking up your crying
baby will spoil them.

Newborn babies need human contact, so that their brain and emotions will develop properly. Remember, crying is one way newborns communicate. This is how they tell you they are hungry, tired, lonely or they need a diaper change. Research has shown that babies who are not held and cuddled as young infants struggle with emotional development and relationships later in life. So, don’t feel guilty when you get that uncontrollable urge to cuddle your little one when they cry! During those first 3 to 4 months of life, your baby is adjusting to life outside the womb, and needs you close by to make them feel safe and secure.

Babies shouldn’t be
fed peanut butter.

For years, health professionals thought the best way to avoid a peanut allergy in infants and children was to completely avoid serving them peanuts or peanut butter. But researchers have recently found that introducing children to small amounts of peanut butter earlier in life may actually reduce the chance of developing a peanut allergy. After your baby has tried foods that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction (such as oat cereal, apples or pears) with no problem, you may consider introducing a very small amount of peanut butter to their meals.


The American Academy of Pediatrics states that babies can be introduced to peanuts after 6 months of age. A word of caution: You should never give whole peanuts or peanut pieces to a child under the age of four, as they have a high risk of choking. Clumps of peanut butter can also be a choking hazard, so if you give to an older baby, make sure to mix it with mashed fruit or spread it very thinly on a cracker. Also, if you or another close relative has a history of peanut or other food allergies, talk to your baby’s pediatrician before offering peanut butter.

Breastfeeding will come
naturally! You will love it!

While this can be true for some moms, many new moms struggle with breastfeeding. If this sounds like you, don’t give up! “Understand that baby hasn’t done this before and there’s a learning curve for both mom and baby,” says Kris Harwood, RNC, E-NIC, IBCLC, RLC, a lactation consultant. Harwood recommends seeking professional help from a lactation consultant. She also suggests reaching out to family and friends who have successfully breastfed their babies to ask them for tips. Harwood adds, “Take each feeding one at a time, and each day one at a time. Things will get better.” If breastfeeding doesn’t get easier, don’t be afraid to call your WIC peer counselor or lactation consultant!

Side Lying Hold

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross Cradle Hold

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Football Hold

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: