Pregnancy and motherhood bring about drastic changes not just in a woman's body but also in her emotions, psyche, ability to think, and most significantly, her ability to love. As a mother, I have discovered a zillion new things about my personality after the birth of my baby. And no, I am not complaining, because I love this new ME even more! However, this kind of confidence and courage took time to come my way.
In the initial days as a new mother, I was a whirlwind of crazy emotions. I was anxious, daunted, nervous, scared, confused... The responsibility of taking care of another tiny little soul, who I was irrevocably in love with, was nerve-wracking. To make the situationtenser, every person around me bombarded me withconflicting advice related to baby care.
To breastfeed the baby or feed him formula milk
The disagreements began as early as day one. Whether to feed formula or breastmilk to my baby was a source of major discussion, even while I was still in the hospital. The doctor assured me I was lactating well and there was absolutely no need for top feeds for the baby. But my mother suggested I must ask the hospital nurse to feed formula to the baby so he feels full and sleeps better. My mother in law also insisted I feed formula at least a couple of times. But while my mother would ask me to feed formula in a bowl with a spoon, my mother in law suggested infant bottles. Whew!
My two mothers (my mom and my mother in law), who I thought would be my to-go-to people for advice, had different suggestions and opinions to offer. Imagine! I was still at the hospital and contradictory advice had already started!
I was taken aback. Whom should I listen to – the doctor or my mother or my MIL? I was sure I was blessed with ample milk for my baby, I did not see the need to supplement. I did not want to be rude or stubborn, but neither did I want to give in. Little did I know then that this was just the beginning of a war that was about to begin between others and myself.
To hire a maalishwali or give my baby a massage myself
The day we returned home from the hospital, my mother in law appointed a maalishwali for my baby. When my mother learnt about the maalishwali, she promptly said, “I will give the baby a massage when you come here”. I was nervous. What if my mother in law thought I was being ignorant towards the child’s development by not appointing a maalishwali at my mom’s place? It didn’t stop there – their choice of oil for the massage differed too! One wanted almond oil while the other preferred baby oil. And guess what, the doctor in the hospital had advised me to avoid maalishwalis altogether. He had recommended I give the baby a massage myself. I was in a soup again!
When – and how – to feed my baby solid food
When my baby turned four months old, his nani and dadi wanted to begin solids. They were in agreement for once. But I wasn’t! I didn’t want to feed anything apart from breastmilk till six months. So, when my baby reached thesix months milestone, I started cooking for him, preparing meals without salt or sugar. Here again, my baby's dadi and nani were shocked! I was accused of feeding ‘tasteless’ food to the baby.
The differences continued. I don’t deny that my baby's nani and dadi were doing their best for the baby from their perspective. But it was challenging to explain to them that their disagreements were making life hard for me. It was even more trying when my perspective differed from theirs.
Several months have now passed. I have been fortunate to have a lot of friends who became mothers around the same time as I did. I am also connected to many new moms through online and offline communities. I often share with them these stories of differences of opinion and ask for their suggestions. What I have realised is that this is the story in every household. Everyone has an opinion on your baby, his dadi and nani in particular, because they care for him so much. But what should you do when their ideas clash with each other, or clash with yours? This is a concern that has always plagued new mothers and made things even harder than they already are…
With the launch of their moisturising babycare range in India, Baby Dove has addressed this unspoken concern of every mom. The brand encourages mothers to keep everything else aside and follow their instincts when it comes to their babies. Their philosophy is that there is no such thing as perfect moms, just real moms like you and me. Real moms may breastfeed or formula feed, co-sleep with the baby or use a crib, use cloth diapers or disposable ones, choose a day care or stay at home – all these are decisions that only a mother should take. We may face judgment or criticism for refusing a certain tradition or going against the wishes of our elders. But instead of letting this daunt us, we should trust the mother in us and follow our heart.
When it comes to raising a baby, or being a mother, there is no right or wrong way. There is just your way. The way you think is best. After all, with a baby is born a mother, and she knows her baby like no one else does.
As mothers, all of us are definitely doing the best we can for our baby. And this thought gives me solace and reassurance whenever I find myself confused or anxious at any stage of my journey as a mother.
Baby Dove believes that there is no right or wrong way to be a mom because there’s no such thing as a perfect mom – just real moms, doing it their way. Mothers instinctively know what’s best for their child and Baby Dove is here to reassure moms to trust their way!
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