If there is one thing a new mom dreads, it is the constant truckload of advice that starts arriving like an avalanche.
It all begins when she announces her pregnancy. Don’t do this, do that. Oh, no, no, no–never do this! And so on.
As the D-day approaches, and the mom-to-be is anxiously waiting to hold her precious bundle of joy in her hands, the flow of advice gets stronger. As it is, she’s already nervous about handling her newborn and doing the right thing, and on top of that, with the advice overload, she becomes even more anxious! Now, she’s just not sure what to follow and what to ignore.
I experienced the same thing as soon as I announced that I was pregnant. Let me give you some examples:
“Add saffron to your glass of milk every day so that your baby’s complexion is fair”.
“Do not eat papaya as that might cause an abortion”.
“Eat whatever you like! Now is the time to enjoy all your favorite foods and indulge in your cravings!”
Of course, I didn’t follow any of that because there’s no logic behind such advice. But close to my due date, things got even more bizarre.
The neighbors had their elderly aunt over for a visit. We invited them for coffee. The first thing she did was touch my stomach, feel it all around, and announce that it was going to be a girl. She actually advised me to go in for a cesarean on a specific date and at a specific time, so that the child’s “horoscope” would be a good one.
Can you imagine? As it happened, I had a baby boy and we still laugh when we think about that incident.
The inflow of support and ‘help’ did not stop after my baby came into the world. I remember that time, soon after my son was born, when some close relatives and well-wishers gave me advice I really wish they hadn’t:
“Do not bathe him every day.”
What, why? I was not comfortable with this at all, because babies need care and hygiene. So, I simply went ahead and gave him a sponge bath for the first five days, and then, started regular baths. Oh, how he loved them!
“Give baby a hot oil massage.”
During my baby’s first summer, he developed a rash on his body. We were told to apply oil on it. But when we did, it got much worse! Naturally, I panicked and called the doctor. He sternly told us to leave it alone, and keep the baby cool with a gentle lukewarm water bath. Soon the rash cleared up. Eventually, I preferred to gently give him a coconut oil massage every alternate day – and certainly not with ultra-hot oil.
“Bind him in a wrapper all day.”
If there was one thing my son couldn’t stand, it was being fully covered. Of course, we dressed him in layers when the weather turned chilly, but binding him? No way!
“If he’s thirsty, give him sugar mixed with water”
This was perhaps the worst advice ever. I was horrified. My doctor had advised me to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months, and if necessary, use some boiled and cooled water. Later, mashed vegetables and fruits. But sugar water? No! Infants don’t need that.
I recall how annoyed some of our guests were when they came to see my son for the first time. They said it was a ritual to feed him a pinch of sugar. Can you think of how much sugar that would add up to, when a group of people visited? Ugh!
So, yes, in retrospect, I wish these people hadn’t tried to help me with baby-care advice. I am sure they meant well, but new mothers are already anxious enough without being put through more pressure and contradictory opinions.
One thing I am glad of is that, for the most part, I’ve followed my own instincts as a mother. I turned to my doctor when professional medical advice became inevitable. But that said, my maternal instincts have been my greatest source of help in taking care of my son.
I came across a television advertisement for Baby Dove the other day, and found myself smiling. They have recently launched a range of moisturizing skincare and bathing products for babies, and their philosophy is something I found I have followed all along!
Baby Dove believes that there is no right or wrong way to be a mom; it is entirely instinct based. The best way to care for your baby is your way. I really love their motto and think this is something all of us moms need to remember in our parenting journey. I am really glad that Baby Dove is reassuring moms out there to trust their way!
I say this because, at the end of the day, our babies turn to us for love and comfort, and loving them comes naturally to us. They don’t expect us to be perfect. They just expect us to be real and loving.
I’d love to hear your experiences about receiving advice as a new Mom!