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Sunday 16th June 2019

Mums given risky advice

29th March 2011

A survey by the parenting website Netmums has suggested that many new mothers are given confusing and potentially dangerous advice about their newborns.


Of the 4,000 respondents to the survey, two-fifths said a relative had given them advice that could be harmful to their baby.

The advice given included the exposure of a baby to tarmac fumes to "strengthen its lungs" and not applying sun cream to children under the age of one because "they can't get sunburnt."

Mothers-in-law came top of the list of people offering bad advice, with 39% of the vote, followed by mothers (35%) and strangers (30%).

Over 75% of respondents said they had asked relatives for advice about parenting.

However the advice they were given was often confusing. The survey showed 51% of mothers had been advised to wake their babies up to establish a sleeping pattern, while 44% were told they should never disturb a baby when it was asleep.

One fifth of mothers said they felt worried or guilty when they did not follow advice they had been given.

Dangerous advice reported to the survey included the 30% of mothers who were advised to put whisky onto a dummy to stop teething pain and the 22% who were told to feed their babies solids from three months old.

Bizarre advice was also reported, such as "don't tickle the baby's feet or it will make them stammer" and "crushed beetles and iron fillings are good for a baby's teeth".

Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of the Netmums website, said: "Mums really are being bombarded with advice from every direction."

"Despite this, however, the findings also showed that many mothers feel that parenting shouldn't be about following strict rules - they do what feels right for each individual child and ignore well-meant advice."

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Dilys Morgan

Tuesday 29th March 2011 @ 9:33

More granny-bashing! Of course some of that advice sounds downright dangerous but mums today have so many resources at their fingertips they can always look these ideas up and check before acting on them. This is yet another survey designed just for publicity I'm sure. What mother today would seriously take a baby out to 'smell fresh tar'.....surely commonsense would prevail. And that's what mothers and mothers-in-law specialise in.

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