Grandparents, friends, and society flood parents with well-meaning advice, but how can Mom and Dad be sure they are receiving accurate information? With help from Dr. Andrew Adesman and his book “Baby Facts”, we separate baby myths from reality.
Myth: Baby needs sophisticated toys for maximum brain stimulation.
Reality: There’s no evidence that a particular toy will make your baby smarter.
Dr. Adesman Explains: “As babies learn to explore their environments, a stimulating environment will help, but sophisticated toys are not necessary. Likewise, although it’s true that babies seem to have a visual preference for contrasting black-and-white images, parents shouldn’t have false expectations that surrounding a child with these images will increase their baby’s intelligence.”
Myth: If your child has a speech or language delay, it’s nothing to be concerned about, as children usually overcome these problems with age.
Reality: Get help early if your child is showing signs of delays in these areas.
Dr. Adesman Explains: “Parents need to recognize the differences between speech (quality of sound) and language (content of communication) and take any delays seriously. Early intervention can help determine if the child may have autism or other cognitive problems. All parents should know that their children have legal rights to a free evaluation, and if they are concerned, they don’t even need their physician to recommend a developmental evaluation.”
Myth: The youngest child in a large family will be a late talker.
Reality: Birth order can play a role in speech and language but is not always a deciding factor.
Dr. Adesman Explains: “Parents have to be wary of rationalizing language delays in any child. Birth order can have a small impact, but every family is different. Be careful not to ignore a possible problem because you are assuming the baby of the family will be a late talker.”
Myth: A baby’s length at birth is a predictor of adult height.
Reality: Length at birth is not a predictor, but later measurements may be.
Dr. Adesman Explains: “There is a natural tendency, if a baby is long, to say, ‘Oh, she’s going to grow to be a tall girl!.’ But parental height is a much better predictor of a child’s adult height. Another approximate height predictor is to double the child’s height at age 2.”