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A stranger suggested we use menstrual blood on our newborn's skin

Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...

Old wives' tales have haunted pregnant women for centuries

Our infant daughter had absolutely gorgeous skin, apart from one unexpected "pimple" on her cheek. The little red spot didn't bother me (nor did it concern her pediatrician), but it apparently disturbed one do-gooder. So much so, in fact, that she was compelled to pass along a bit of truly unwelcome advice: Get rid of that thing by treating it with a drop of menstrual blood.

When I read a recent article about using menstrual blood as a fertilizer, I couldn't help but recall this bloody parenting tip. Such unconventional remedies have been passed along since the beginning of time. And while the menstrual blood acne treatment is one of the more unsettling bits of advice, there are countless more pregnancy and parenting superstitions to reject:

Do not let other menstruating women hold your baby:  The baby will get the stretches. I have no idea what "the stretches" are, I just know that I'm tired of talking about a period's effect on baby.

Do not eat strawberries when you're pregnant: Your baby will be born with a permanent birthmark, aka a "strawberry." On the contrary, do eat fruit — including strawberries — when you're expecting for a great boost of vitamin C for you and your baby.

Do not look at a mouse when you're pregnant: Your baby will be born with a hairy birthmark. Um, ew! And, speaking of hair, don't cut your infant's mane before his or her first birthday or you condemn the child to a lifetime of "bad hair."

Do not look at scary or ugly things when you're pregnant: You will bear a marked (i.e. ugly) child. I prefer to think that every baby is beautiful (or, at the very least, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder).

Do not let a cat go near your sleeping baby: It will steal your baby's breath. While the cat really won't suffocate anyone, it's always a good idea to supervise any animal that comes close to your baby.

Do not stretch or reach your arms overhead when you're pregnant: The umbilical cord will become wrapped around baby's neck. The truth is that stretching activities, such as pregnant yoga, are quite beneficial.

Improve your baby's bellybutton: To turn your infant's "outie" to an "innie," push in the bellybutton stump with an egg, tape it down with a silver dollar and remove in one week. It seems that parents would be better advised to please not leave loose change with your baby — it's a choking hazard!

Dry up your breast milk: Express milk into a cup and pour it onto a rock. When the milk on the rock dries, so will the milk in your breasts. Trust me, there are far more reliable ways to wean.

More pregnancy and parenting controversy

Celebrity moms use old wives tales to predict baby's gender
Comebacks to unsolicited parenting advice
Judging women for public breastfeeding

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