The day I had my baby, my mother gave me a piece of advice – “Now that you have become a Mom, get ready to hear those pearls of wisdom from the entire world.” Admittedly, that’s the best advice I got from anyone, ever!
Seventy per cent of Indian mothers feel overwhelmed by the amount of information and advice on how to be a parent, says the Baby Dove Real Mothers Heard Survey. I am not surprised!
In the last three years, I have been stopped at random places and been given some unsolicited advice on traditional Indian parenting practices – by elders and youngsters, moms and dads, maids and bosses, friends and foes, auto drivers, cleaners at malls and the list goes on… And I can understand why 67% of Indian Moms feel judged if they don’t follow traditional methods of parenting, as found in the Baby Dove Real Mothers Heard Survey.
After a point, I realized I have to safeguard my sanity by planting appropriate filters in my brain. Here are a few examples –
Kaala Tika: At least 50 odd people told me to put a black ‘kaajal’ dot on my baby’s forehead/ foot to guard her from evil eyes.
How I see it: That’s a compliment! My baby is beautiful! Or, They care for my baby.
What I did: I’d rather save her tender skin from those chemicals I don’t trust. I will raise her to fight those evil eyes herself rather than depend on 'kaala tika'.
Head shaving/ Mundan: “Six months, mundan not done yet?” “One year!” “Get it done, she will have good growth of hair!”
How I see it: First haircut is a social milestone and is a conversation starter. And they noticed that my baby has thin hair ;-)
What I did: I waited for 70-80% of the vaccinations to get over so that the shaving blade doesn’t plant infections that she can’t handle. On the other hand, I thought it is better to do it earlier than she learns to be conscious of her own beauty and resists head shaving. I went for it when she was around 22 months old, just at the onset of summer. Perfectly worked for the season!
Ear piercing: Hats off to India and its diversity on this one! Every community has its pre-set rules starting from 28 days to 5 years! Thanks to life in a cosmopolitan city, I got bombarded with the entire range.
How I see it: This is one notion immersed in myths and preconceived notions and no one really knows what’s best (including me). Some feel it is best to get ears pierced as a baby so the baby won’t feel the pain. Really? Aren’t they little humans? Maybe they don’t cry enough to upset the adults.
Some feel it is best to do it after two or so when they can be told why we are doing it. This seems reasonable only until they bring the shotgun or the gold wire near your baby and they outcry all other babies in the vicinity!
What I did: Took doctor’s advice and got it done at 18 months. Went armed with 3 adults to hold her, especially for the second lobe! Fed her well and kept a bottle of her favorite juice handy right after the surgical mission. Allowed her to rejoice in her newfound beauty with those earrings after a bit of short lived pain!
Anna prashan: Bengalis have the first rice-feeding ceremony (cute affair) for baby boys at 5 months and baby girls at 6 months. This is basically the formal onset of weaning!
How I see it: A good time to formally invite friends and family to see your baby but the gender bias was bothering me.
What I did: Did it at nine months, when she could at least take in what was offered and the gummy smile was visible (What’s a function without a photo opportunity)!
Daal ka pani and khichdi as the baby’s first solids: This one, really, is done to death! I don’t know which baby can jump from breast milk to khichdi.
How I see it: Try it out only if you really think your baby is ready for it. Mine wasn’t and it put me through a lot of stress.
What I did: Started out with mashed fruits along with formula milk or boiled and pureed lentils and veggies. May not be the most delicious but my daughter took to it and her gut processed it well! (Proof – her poop and growing weight)
So, please respect everyone’s advice but go with your gut to know what’s best for your baby!
And, that’s exactly what brand Baby Dove believes in too – ‘trust your way’ for a mother always knows what is best for her baby.
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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by: Baby Dove
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