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Ask any woman who has become a mother and she will vouch for the fact that motherhood has given her one of the greatest joys in life. Becoming a mother is one of those experiences that change the world as you know it, introducing you to strengths that were hidden so far, and bringing you unparalleled love and affection. However, as mothers, we also experience several apprehensions and questions that we MUST answer – on our own.
Becoming a mother is life changing. Right from the period of pregnancy up until life post-delivery, your body undergoes many changes. Hormones are all over the place and everything seems rather confusing. However, just like every first time comes with its own share of experiences, lessons and difficulties, motherhood does too. If you are a new mommy, you must always remember that a mother’s instinct is never wrong. When faced with societal pressure or criticism, just remember this and you will be able to find answers that work best for you and your baby.
Here are some of the questions you will be faced with after your baby’s birth. They are undoubtedly difficult but only you can answer them best.
1. ‘Are You Getting Back To Work?’
Many mothers are asked this question right after their delivery! But it has no simple answer. If you choose to go back to work after the baby is born, there will be people to criticize you for being selfish. But if you choose to stay at home, you may be labelled old fashioned and perhaps incompetent.
Moms, it is very important to know that no one knows what’s best for your baby, except you. Therefore, such assumptions should never make you doubt your choices. Women are excellent multi-taskers. Getting back to work doesn’t make you a bad mother as you will still manage to fulfil all your responsibilities. However, staying at home doesn’t mean you are any less than the rest of the women. It’s your decision and your parenting style. Evaluate your situation, also keeping in mind your career aspirations, financial situation and accessibility to help, and choose accordingly.
2. ‘Are You Going To Let a Malishwali Touch Your Baby?’
Massaging a baby is a very common practice in India. It is believed that regular massage can help build strong and healthy bones and also help with keeping the baby’s skin moisturised. However, hiring a third person to do the job comes with its own shares of risks and criticism. While some people say that maalishwalis know exactly how to massage the baby, there are some who think that they will not handle your baby carefully. You might be criticised for the oil she uses and “how hygiene is being compromised”.
When it comes to your baby, you are the decision maker. Getting professional help is never wrong and the details of the massage (how, when and using what oil) depend entirely on you. As long as you ensure hygiene, select a gentle oil for massage, and ensure that the lady handles your baby carefully, you are good to go. It is completely okay to get help for massaging your little one.
3. ‘ Are You Going To Use Soap To Bathe Your Baby?’
In our society, many people perceive that soaps and creams are chemically laden and will only cause harm to the baby’s skin. They may go as far as to advise you not to bathe your baby at all! Moreover, elders of the family often suggest that only natural substances be used to cleanse or moisturise the baby. This may leave you in a complete fix as risking your baby’s health is never on the agenda!
Well, times have now changed and so has the world around us. In the Indian weather and with rising levels of dust and pollution, not bathing or cleansing your baby regularly is not an option. You just have to ensure that the products you pick are safe and specially formulated to suit all baby skin types. The new Baby Dove range, for instance, is an excellent example of dermatologist and paediatrician-tested skincare that goes beyond mildness to replenish essential moisture and nutrients into baby’s skin. All products are hypoallergenic, pH neutral and gentle to the eyes with a mild and caring fragrance specifically developed for delicate baby skin. The Baby Dove Rich Moisture Baby Bar and Lotion ensure that your baby gets gentle cleansing and sufficient moisturisation during and after bath-time. The Baby Dove Rich Moisture Baby Bar contains Dove’s ¼ moisturising cream that leave delicate baby skin soft, nourished, and delicately scented. Plus, its pH neutral formula respects skin’s natural pH balance. While the Baby Dove Rich Moisture Lotion soothes dry skin from the first use and gently moisturises baby’s skin for 24 hours.
4. ‘Are You Cleaning Your House Regularly? ‘
Every mother places her baby’s health and safety above everything else. We know it is very crucial to keep the baby’s immediate environment clean and tidy. However, being a new mother, it will be difficult to keep your entire house clean all the time. You will be exhausted and worn out, and once the baby starts crawling, it will not be possible to clean constantly without tiring yourself out completely!
There is no need to succumb to opinions that doubt your capability as a mother “who cannot keep her house tidy all the time”. Plus, raising kids in an over-sanitised environment doesn’t let their immune system develop properly. So, just do your best and don’t let others dictate your routine. Also consider getting paid help, if possible, and using disinfectants and sanitizers to ensure basic hygiene at home.
5. ‘ Are You Ensuring a Good Feed For Your Baby?’
As mothers, we know that breast milk is the best form of nutrition for your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended at least till the baby completes 6 months. However, as new mothers, it can sometimes be hard to decipher if the baby is feeding well or not. And when people around start asking the same question and giving their suggestions, it can put you in a great dilemma.
The key here is to not worry too much as stress will only affect your breast milk production. As long as the baby is gaining weight and taking the feed at regular time intervals, he/she is fine! If you have any concerns, discuss this with your paediatrician or a lactation consultant.
6. ‘Will You Be Able To Set a Good Example For Your Baby?’
This one is perhaps the most damaging for a mother’s morale, but it is not uncommon. When we step into the world of motherhood, it can be scary and rewarding at the same time. It’s a beautiful journey where a woman, without losing her identity, transforms into a superhuman! But there will always be people around who say that you can barely keep things together; how will you handle your baby? These people doubt your capabilities and if you will be a good, rather ‘perfect’, mother.
Remember moms, every woman has an innate maternal instinct that never lets her down. It is important to always trust that and do what you think is the best for your little one. As Baby Dove’s philosophy beautifully puts it, there is no right or wrong way of being a mother, just your way! Every mother has a unique parenting style and that is what we need to believe in; we cannot be perfect, but we are all real, caring and loving moms.
They say, ‘Mom knows best’, and this really sums up what a mother’s intuition is like. There will be no end to the clutter of advice, opinions and suggestions that will try and force you to act in a certain way, to push you to become the perfect mom. But the reality is, no one can be a perfect mother; perfection is only a myth. What we should do instead is answer all these questions by trusting our instincts and follow what our heart says. Nothing else can be better for you and your little darling!