‘Hamaare zamaane mein toh yeh hota tha...’ or,
‘Hamaari maa ne toh yeh kiya’
(In our times, this would happen. This is what our moms would do.)
How many times have we, as mothers, heard such statements in the context of baby care? This head-on dispute between the old-world "charm" and today’s "modern" style exists in everything, whether in the scene of fashion, beauty, cinema, we see the two-worlds at loggerheads in almost every avenue of life. And if you have a new baby in the house, that too a first baby, the problem gets much more complex and compounded!
I am particularly feeling you - the new momma out there, sitting on the couch, all confused. What should we follow in such situations - the traditional advice or our maternal instinct?
Age Old Practices - Are They Relevant Now?
A century ago, the world was very different. Healthcare practitioners and facilities were almost unheard of. Most first aid was in the form of herbal concoctions that came from the home, garden or the kitchen cabinets. The local physician was called only as a last alternative.
And at that time, infant mortality rate was much higher than now! Why do we still follow what was done a century ago?
I have out my foot down as a mom and decided to debunk these three age-old/ popular traditions for babies. To be honest, I have tried some of the "old remedies" suggested to me, but after having tried them, it felt like I was a fool...
1. Besan and Haldi to Remove Baby's Unwanted Body Hair
Does your baby (especially girl child) have "unwanted" body hair? No worry - many grannies suggest rubbing the newborn’s body with a concoction of:
--Atta (wheat flour)
--Besan (gram flour)
--Haldi (turmeric powder)
The objective is to remove the hair! But, mommies, not only is this painful for the baby but it can also cause rashes! You are pulling out the hair and then rubbing in a mixture of mustard oil and a spice in it!
Natural products like besan or haldi are not as mild as they claim to be. Besides, how do you know that they are 100% organic? They can cause skin allergies or rashes in children.
If you have a hairy child it does NOT mean she will remain so. And even if she does, there is an age and a time for hair removal! JUST DO NOT follow this hideous kitchen tip. Use hypo-allergic baby care products to clean and bathe your baby as they are safe for your baby’s delicate skin.
2. Start With a Ripe Banana as Baby’s First Solid Diet
This is almost "mandatory" - a banana is supposedly the best solid food to introduce to a baby for the first time. Well, it is not about what you must give, it is about what your baby can digest. Bananas are very slow to digest and typically tend to sit in your baby’s stomach for a long time before they can be broken down. This means forcing the baby’s digestive system to work in overdrive!
I am not saying that you mustn’t try it. It’s just that this may be subjective. If your baby vomits after having tried a bite of it, don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal. Instead of bananas, give a cereal of ground rice as it is packed with iron and is light to digest. After a few months, you can give mashed bananas too.
3. Treat Ear Infection By Pouring Breast Milk Inside the Ear
I was once told by someone to "just put a little bit of breast milk in the ear" to treat an ear infection.
I agree that breast milk does have antibodies in it, which are helpful to the baby. But it also has lots of sugars that bacteria love to grow on. Because the eardrum seals off the area that’s infected, breast milk won’t reach the infection. And when the milk pools, it will attract bacteria. This means, doing this may actually cause a new infection or aggravate the existing one!
Ultimately, I want to assert that I am not arguing or questioning and criticizing everything. I am not placing doctors and grandmothers on polar opposite sides. I just want to do what is best for the new mother and the new baby.
Things have changed now and there are many more information sources out
there which rely heavily on science and technology in healthcare. I
agree that the concept of childbirth and parenting can’t be changed. I
also do agree that one has to be all ears to what others (the
experienced lot) have to say. Yet, most times a maternal instinct is
what a new momma needs to fall back on (NO MATTER WHAT)!
So, let's stop making it sound like it is tradition versus modernity, and focus instead on keeping our little darlings happy and in the pink of health! :D
Picture Via Shutterstock