Saturday, 17 December 2011

The strangest advice

Remember the first few months when you had just become a new mum? For me, along with the excitement and elation, it was also filled with a lack of confidence, fear (am I doing the right thing? Is my baby normal) and stress. As it's common in Maldives, I was always surrounded by family and friends giving advice and trying to help out. This was of course much appreciated and welcome most of the time. But some of the advice and comments just make you feel worse. Or confused. After all, these were all experts and you're the novice.
Most advice go something like this...

What, he doesn't burp? They all burp if you give them enough milk. (implying that I'm not giving him enough or that I don't have any)
Oh, (laughing) you're taking so long to put on his nappy, it's such an easy thing to do! (laugh some more) (well, Hello! I haven't been doing this all my life)
Put on some lotion on his bottom and no powder! (person 1)
Put powder, no lotion, lotion would make him feel hot (person 2)
Put lotion and then powder. (person 3) (Oh! what am I to do?!)
You're not giving him salt or sugar?! (gasp!) Well, we always gave them to our babies and they are perfectly healthy! (when I started giving him solids)

Some would be unintentionally hurtful:
Oh but he's so small, our baby was so big and healthy-looking when he was born! 
My, you're what they call pregnancy-poinsoned (maabandu vihavefa), look at your complexion! (This was when I was pregnant. I had gone unrecognizably bloated and dark with pimples)
You're 5 months? But your tummy's so small! I was huge when I was 5 months. Eat lots of ice cream. That will give you a beautiful and big baby, I did! (Also when I was pregnant, and from the same person as above, and no, I didn't follow the ice cream advice)

Some would be just mean:
He doesn't smile, does he? (with a bit of a snicker) (my answer: Well, he does. Only at those he finds nice. By this time I had grown a bit more assertive)

And some advice is just...just weird. Here's what I mean:
My son was around one and a half months old then, and like most babies he would follow shadows with his eyes. He loved looking up at the curtains and how the lights played up at the wall. One lady (a family friend) saw this and said:
"Oh no! he's one of those up-ward looking babies. Do you know what you have to do? You have to tie a black cloth on his forehead to prevent him from looking up all the time. Otherwise he would end up with upward-eyes!"
Horrified, I had looked at my mum who was with us and she was trying hard not to laugh out loud. Well, thank you dear lady but we didn't use your advice. By the Grace of Allah, our baby is as normal as any other baby.

As I said, much of the advice and suggestions I got were truly invaluable. And I thank them for it. I've also learned that as my baby grows and as I grow more confident as a mum, I'm the best expert my baby can ever get, as no one else would know him better than me :)
and here's a picture of a gorilla that came up when i searched "frustrated new mum" on Google :D


  1. Always listen to your heart, because even though it's on your left side; it's always right.