After delivery, relatives, friends, and family members keep sharing tips and hacks on how one must take care of their babies. It can be quite taxing, while everything is so hectic and overwhelming already!
As for me, being the mother of a boy, my major concerns were to do with how to take special care of his body. I would hear a lot of people around asking me to feed him more (because he is a boy and gets hungry more frequently) or that I should think about circumcising him (the foreskin is too tight for his age).
Here are three things I refused to do to my son’s body. I just did things my way. Of course, a lot of research went into figuring what’s right or wrong, but then it's all worth it for my little one's safety and future:
1. Dress Him in Blue All The Time!
On my first ever outing with my baby boy, I decided to pick up some clothes for him. My little one had been in neutrals for a week, and he needed a lot of colours. And I realized most of the clothes in the boy's section reflected of hues and shades of blue! My mother-in-law and her friends also always look at ‘man-ly’ and ‘boy-ish’ colours when seeing or stitching homemade outfits for my son. WHY?!
This age-old tradition of ‘pink is for girls’ and ‘blue is for boys’ really needs to be debunked now. So, one thing I refuse to do to my son’s body is dressing him up in blues, and grays and navies. Today, many parents reject the notion of colour stereotypes, and there's a move towards gender-neutral clothes. It really doesn't matter if we don't dress girls in pink and boys in blue!
2. Push Back His Private Parts While Cleaning
No, no, and a big no! Most traditional maalish-waalis (masseuse for newborn kids) during your newborn’s massage time will tell you to push back the foreskin. And if not at that stage, then at some point in future. But I really don't think this should be practiced.
In infants and young children, the foreskin is fused to the glands. Forcing it back can cause extreme pain, bleeding, infection, and scarring!
All you do is clean the outside, by throwing heaps of water during bath time and post-poop cleaning. What you need to be careful of is to keep the place clean and hygienic (especially if your little one is in diapers). But, one thing you must not do is manipulate the foreskin for the sake of cleaning his private parts ultra-hygienically. In time it will become separate on its own and you can teach him to pull it back and rinse with fresh water.
3. Circumcise My Boy
I am anti-circumcision. The fact is, a major surgery on a newborn isn’t a small matter. Just because someone asked you to go for it because your little one catches urine infection way too frequently is not the only approach or way out! Many doctors are under-educated on circumcision and the benefits of leaving boys intact, especially older doctors. Please don’t take your doctor’s word for this without doing your own research and following your gut.
An intact penis is extremely easy to care for. In infants, only the outside needs to be cleaned properly. They should not be retracted at any point in time (reason already mentioned above). Keeping an intact boy clean is just as easy.
The first few years should not even be considered for circumcision. In fact, I would recommend against it at any given point!
Finally, I am not against following traditions. It is just that we need to be extra careful when it comes to our baby's safety. So, if we disagree on certain things as told by our own mother or her friend, it's best to not dismiss their experience. But if you don't feel up to it, I recommend you try it out yourself (if it makes sense) and then basis your experience, decide to continue or discontinue it.
The final decision should be yours as a mom, for no one knows or is closer to your baby than you!
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