Our abuelas know everything, but consult your pediatrician when you need to!

Raising children of Latino heritage now is very different than it was in our abuelas' day or even in our mothers' (who are now abuelas) day. We have a lot more information readily available, more than ever before and based on that information we make our decisions as parents. Some of those decisions will be based on medical advice, advice from our abuelas, a combination of the two, or just plain instinct.

What do you do when you get advice handed down from abuela that goes against medical advice? For example, my mother told me that if I laid my babies down on their back all the time they would develop a flat head. My doctor told me that if I did not lay my babies down on their back every single time, then I risked their lives. 


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My first born's head was as flat as a board for a minute (and by a minute I may mean months) because I was advised by her doctor to always lay her on her back to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. My mother listened to my reasoning, she assured me that I was still alive even though she didn't always lay me on my back and told me that I was going to give my baby a cabeza de tabla. As you can imagine, she will not be surprised by the findings of a recent study showing that 47 percent of babies have a flat spot on their head from being on their backs too much.

So I followed my doctor's advice, but my mother was right, I gave my first baby a flat head and I did not want her to go through life with that weirdness. She really was starting to resemble a pancake. But I wasn't about to risk her life by not putting her down to sleep on her back.

Don't worry, my first born does not have a flat head anymore. I listened to both my pediatrician and my mother on this one. I always laid my babies on their back to keep them safe. I also did as my mother said and changed their orientation in the crib so that my babies would be compelled to turn their heads in a different direction and avoid having constant pressure on only one part of their skull. I would have followed the doctor's advice about tummy time to avoid the flat head, but my firstborn HATED tummy time. Oh and my mother said, "Tummy time?¿Qué es eso?"

So my advice is listen to both your pediatrician's guidance and your abuela's time-tested advice. They both have valid points.

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Topics: abuela  advice  parenting