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This is a promise every new mother makes to her baby. It is a promise that we all, as mothers strive lifelong to maintain and ensure that we never falter on this front. While becoming a mother may not be very difficult for all, being one is not easy. There are multiple hurdles to be faced at every step of parenting and you are always faced with the difficult task of choosing what is best for your baby. Becoming a mother changes multiple things in life – most importantly priorities. Your baby becomes your first and foremost priority, for each and everything in life.
You always want the best of everything for your baby. In the earlier times, things were comparatively easier as there were not many options. Medical care was not readily available and mothers were heavily dependent on elders and family. Today the scene is completely different. You have Google, qualified doctors as well as elders to look up to, when it comes to choosing the best for your baby. There are so many options that you do not know which to refer to. At times, the multiple options seem overwhelming and you really get confused as to which direction to take.
I too faced the same dilemma. Staying in a joint family, I had advice from multiple elders; who naturally felt they know the best. Being the educated, internetsavvy mom that I am, I used to refer to Google at the drop of a hat. Then, there was my pediatrician who had his own point of view. At times, all 3 advices used to match. But more often than not, they don’t. They take completely different directions.
There were multiple incidents when I had a difficult time choosing what to do, choosing what was best for my son. For instance, the moment my son came home from the hospital, my family insisted on hiring a “maalish waali bai” for him. Being naïve, I initially agreed. And then began the torture. Every day that woman would come and douse my son in oil and massage him and then give him a bath with scalding hot water. My son would cry his lungs out while the elders would smile in approval. My doctor said it is absolutely unnecessary to have a maid to massage him while Google gave me a mixed opinion. I dreaded her coming every day and the first few days were spent in misery as my son howled and I had no choice but to look the other way. My family felt it was needed. However, after almost 20 days, when I regained my strength, I decided enough was enough and took a stand and kicked her out. I took on the onus of massaging my son myself and referred to Google as well as other mothers for help. Slowly, I became confident and my baby started loving it. The ritual became a bonding time for us and we both enjoy it so much that it still continues till day.
There are many videos available online, which help to learn the best massage techniques. Here is one video which helped me a lot:
Another instance was when my son had horrible colic bouts. Medicines by doctors refused to help and Google gave a variety of home remedies which confused me further. My grandmother gave me the idea of warming a “paan” leaf, smearing it with castor oil and keeping it around the navel. Google also supported the idea and for some reason my instinct told me it was right. I went ahead with it and it miraculously worked on my baby.
The case has been the same for multiple instances like kajal application in the eyes, ear piercing for my son, choosing cloth diapers versus disposables, following traditional weaning versus babyled weaning etc.
The last one year has been a roller coaster where multiple times I have had to go against elders, my husband and maybe the doctor; to make decisions for my baby. However, during the course of the year; I have realized that my instinct never fails to help me. Whenever I am about to make a choice for my baby, more often than not I go with my gut. And yes of course, we must never discount our babies. They are excellent teachers. They guide you with what they want and what works for them. All you need is to be a little more observant and you can soon gauge what works best for your baby. It is also important to remember that each baby is different and what works for one baby may not work for another.
Be it food, health care, skin care etc. Do your research, listen to your elders, speak to the doctor but at the end trust your gut. The maternal instinct will never fail you.