“When you were little…” — does that sound familiar? Whether it’s your parents or your grandparents who start their sentences that way, the following nuggets of advice they offer you may be totally out of date. From babies sleeping on their bellies to rice cereal in the bottle, parenting rules have changed over the last several decades. Here are five examples of how the advice has changed and what new rules you should follow.

OldCarSeat-cc-RichardBH via Flickr

Photo: rbh via Flickr

Use of Car Seats

You can’t even leave the hospital with your new baby these days without a car seat. But that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, it wasn’t until the late 1970s and early 1980s that states started mandating the use child safety seats. Within the last decade it has changed again, with the American Academy of Pediatrics updating its recommendations to state that all infants and toddlers should be in rear-facing car seats until they are at least two years old or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.

BabyonBack-cc-NICHD via Flickr

Photo: NICHD via Flickr

Back is Best

Depending on the era you or your parents were raised in, you likely were placed to sleep on your stomach or side. All of that changed in the early 1990s with the well-known “Back to Sleep” or “Safe to Sleep” campaign, which asked parents to do just what its name says — children up to one year old should be sleeping on their back. According to research from the campaign, in the early 1990s, when infant stomach sleeping was more common, almost 5,000 babies died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, each year. Today, as more babies sleep on their backs, fewer than half that many babies — about 2,000 — die from SIDS every year.

BabyTeethingRing-cc-Cantaloupe99 via Flickr

Photo: Cantaloupe99 via Flickr

Whisky for Teething

Perhaps this is more of a “home remedy” than one health care professionals were actively recommending, but this old wive’s tale type of advice has been disproven. First, children should not consume alcohol. Second, there is no solid scientific evidence that whisky will actually numb the pain or discomfort of teething. If you’re looking for safe teething remedies, we have some ideas here for you.

Photo: Donnie Ray via Flickr

Avoiding Peanuts

This is one piece of advice that has done a total 180-degree change. For some time, parents were warned not to introduce peanuts to babies during their first year or so of life, as it could lead to food allergies. Now, researchers are finding that babies who eat peanuts earlier in life may, in fact, avoid those allergies. Obviously, parents should always consult their pediatrician on introducing solids and understanding potential allergies and allergic reactions for their child. When you’re ready, check out our favorite recipes for introducing peanuts and other nuts to your baby.

BabySleepingonBack-cc-NICHD via Flickr

Photo: NICHD via Flickr

Blankets and Pillows in the Crib

“Won’t baby get cold?” As a mother a few decades ago, it would make sense to keep baby warm in his or her crib with a blanket, but now, medical professionals have spoken out. This is another safe sleep recommendation that has changed the way our babies sleep at night. Thanks for ingenious ideas like the wearable blanket, parents now have been able to keep their little one’s crib free of blankets and pillows — potential suffocation hazards — and still keep them warm at night. Also not recommended inside the crib? Bumpers and teddy bears. A bare crib is the safest option.

What advice have you heard from your parents or grandparents that is totally different from what’s advised now? Tell us in the comments.

ADVERTISEMENT

—Jane Putnam