Arlo is one month old now! Crazy! We’ve settled in as a happy little family, though, I have to admit the first week was eye opening to a whole new side of Thai culture, but mainly eye opening to the fact that my mother in law raised my husband successfully!!
My mother in law stayed with us for the week, and helped when we were in the hospital. We really appreciated the help – especially after a cesarean and not being able to walk or get up easily for the first couple of days. It was great when we arrived home and had help with cooking and cleaning… but, her “words of wisdom” when it came to a newborn and breastfeeding were amusing (and scary).
Raising a newborn and breastfeeding – words of wisdom from a Thai mother in law:
Hats and beanies
Hats and beanies must be worn at ALL times, no, it doesn’t matter if we are in Thailand and the temperature is always warm. It doesn’t matter if he’s swaddled in a blanket. Goodness, it doesn’t even matter if he’s having a bath! A hat must be worn!! When I questioned this, her response was:
“A baby’s brain isn’t developed, you have to keep it warm or it won’t develop properly”.
The bath time must be at 10am every day. Unless it’s raining. If it’s raining the bath time must be at 4pm. If it’s still raining, the bath must wait.
She was so adamant about this, that she called us the day after she left, at 9.55am and asked, “what are you doing? Are you getting his bath ready?”
I wish I had asked her what would happen if we had Arlo in Australia during the winter, when it’s constantly raining. Do we leave bath time for three months?!
Belly button care
Besides obviously cleaning the belly button, she also insisted that his stomach was constantly covered in a blanket and swaddled. Arlo has never liked being swaddled, and it’s hot in Thailand, so generally a light blanket was enough if we were sitting outside. But, watch out if the blanket comes down past his belly, and just covers his legs. She will bounce and pull it up. Her reasoning for this constant covering up was “you never see a baby with his stomach not covered in the hospital”
A babies legs must be massaged straight after every bath, otherwise, his legs will never be straight. I’m sure my legs weren’t massaged straight, or most of the Western population, and our legs turned out just fine.
Raising a baby that isn’t needy
No one would want to raise a spoilt or needy baby. I’ve mentioned previously that we co-sleep and follow many of the principles based around attachment parenting. But, she had some very important advice about holding and carrying the baby:
“You have to put the baby down, only pick him up when he’s feeding or crying, otherwise he’ll be too needy”.
This was said when Arlo was only a couple days old. I’m sure at this age he doesn’t know how to be manipulative and he just wants his needs met and be close to his mother.
Her breastfeeding advice was always my favourite. Please, keep in mind that she never breastfed, and doesn’t know anyone that has breastfed. Where her advice came from, I have no idea, but I’ll give her credit for her creativity and originality.
I was sitting feeding Arlo on the first day he had come home, and my milk was just coming in. All was peaceful, and I was looking down at Arlo happily feeding. When suddenly, out of no where, she came up to me and started using a plastic comb to comb my breast in a downward motion to “help the milk come down”.
She was and still is adamant that I’m overfeeding Arlo, she was comparing breastfeeding to formula feeding and thought I should stop feeding Arlo after a certain amount of time.
This was the scariest piece of advice, particularly when we were first breastfeeding and it took a bit longer to get Arlo latched. She said that you have to make your nipples look more like a bottle. How, you might ask?
I’ll let you process this for a moment.
Her advice was to pull out the nipple with the chopsticks. From that moment, I was terrified of her coming into the room with chopsticks!
What crazy parenting advice have you received?