7 Old Wives’ Tales for Moms — Debunked!

If you take the time to reflect on all the old wives tales that have been passed down for generations, it can be crazy to think that many of us still believe and practice them today. From anti-aging hacks, gender predictions, to our overall health; we’ve heard them all.

We’ve gathered some of the wildest, most common old wives tales to prove them wrong once and for all!

1. Breastfeeding is a natural form of birth control

Many women have heard this old wives tale, that as long as they’re breastfeeding their baby, they’re safe from getting pregnant. However, breastfeeding only significantly decreases fertility if very specific factors are met. These factors include: experiencing a complete lack of period since your delivery, only breastfeeding your baby for nourishment (no other food), and only breastfeeding while your child is less than six months old. If, and only if, all three of these criteria are met will you lower your chances of getting pregnant. To be pre-cautious, it’s important to practice safe sex by using condoms or going on birth control if you aren’t ready to get pregnant again.

2. Your diet doesn’t affect wrinkles

Although many myths related to skin and diet have been proven false, diet can indeed affect your aging process. If you consume a diet high in sugar and other glycemic index foods, like pasta, white bread, and potatoes, this can cause wrinkles. Eating too much can expedite a process called, glycation, which hardens protein fibers in your skin. This affects the elastin and collagen proteins in your skin and can accelerate the development of wrinkles. So if you notice your skin is aging quicker than you’d like, it’s a good idea to reflect on what you’re eating!

3. Pluck one gray hair and more will grow in its place

When you see a gray hair or two, you may think it’s a good idea to pluck them. It’s a quick and easy fix, right? Plucking doesn’t remove the hair follicle itself, so when it grows back, it will grow back gray just the same. Additionally, if you pluck that one strand, that specific hair follicle doesn’t affect any of your other hair follicles surrounding it. However, it isn’t a great idea to pluck your gray hairs as it can sometimes damage the hair follicle itself and cause the hair to not grow back at all.

4. You’ll catch a cold if you go outside with wet hair

There is no correlation between feeling cold and getting a cold. Both the cold and flu are caused by viruses, which can not be caught solely by going outside with wet hair. Having a cold head may make you uncomfortable and it’s important to bundle up if you are going out in extremely low temperatures to ensure you don’t freeze. This old wives tale may have arisen because of the increase of viruses during the colder months. Still, in order to catch a cold, you must have been exposed to a virus first. For more common myths about getting sick, go here!

5. Feed a cold, starve a fever

The original saying was actually “feed a cold, stave a fever,” meaning to prevent a fever. Fasting will only make you feel worse as you’re weakening yourself, rather than preserving your remaining strength. Even if you don’t feel like eating, it’s important to eat food such as soup or crackers slowly to ensure you don’t get too weak.

6. You can predict the gender of your baby based on how you’re carrying

If you’ve heard this one, you know that if you are carrying low you’re having a boy and if you’re carrying high you’ll have a girl. Shockingly, there’s no scientific correlation between the way in which you carry or the shape of your stomach to the gender of your baby. This is one of the old wives tales that actually stems from old Englishmen believing that boys needed more room for independence in the womb, while girls were carried higher because they needed protection. Sound promising to you?

7. Using toothpaste as a spot treatment will get rid of pimples

You may have heard one of the old wives tales of toothpaste as a trusted solution for breakouts. On the contrary, however, they actually can make your skin worse. The ingredients commonly found in toothpaste can temporarily dry out your pimples, making them appear smaller; but the key word here is temporary. On average, a pimple takes roughly three to seven days to fully heal. Using toothpaste as a spot treatment can cause severely dry and irritated patches on your skin, which can worsen acne. Instead, treatments with benzoyl peroxide are a better idea as it will clear and prevent breakouts from the start.

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