Monday, January 08, 2007

An interesting talk with my MIL and SIL

During this past Eid holiday, we went out to eat w/ my in-laws. While chatting w/ my MIL and one of my SILs, the topics of breast feeding and staying at my MILs house after the birth came up. I had already decided that I wouldn't be staying at my MILs house after coming home from the hospital. There are many reasons for this, but the thing w/ them is that they totally believe that the woman shouldn't be around the husband for 40 days after the birth. I disagree w/ this. I'm of the belief that my husband will help out w/ the baby and we will share things, and we'll both bond w/ the baby. Most ppl in this region don't believe in the husband helping w/ anything. He must have his rest and not be bothered w/ the slightest thing is the mindset of many or at least my in-laws - Lord forbid my husband not get 8 hrs of sleep a night or get up during a feeding!! Not just my MIL believes this, but each and every female in this household believes this.

In the States, yeah, you get help from your mother and such, but the husband is also involved, and I plan to raise our baby w/ the help of my husband - thankfully he agrees. I can't imagine if he didn't. I've told my MIL this, but it falls on deaf ears. She was the same when it came to imagining her son being in the delivery room w/ me. I heard all the horror stories of how he would never forget and it would never be the same and such. I dismissed it. But, now that I've decided to have a c-section, this won't be an issue, and funny enough, she is exhilarated at the fact that he won't be in delivery w/ me! lol

Well, I heard one story after another of all the bad things that can happen to the baby in the first few days and weeks after birth. Thankfully, I'll be in the hospital for 5 of those. But, it got to a point that I was somewhat scared and I guess she saw it on my face and again insisted that I come to the house after coming home. Yes, I know it'll be stressful on me to be by myself, but I know I can do it. I have that strength and I'm ready.... I don't need to go there and have things that I don't believe in told to me or insisted upon being done. You know??

Anyway, after this discussion, we went on to breastfeeding. I was then told that I should not breastfeed around anyone, INCLUDING my husband. That, if I did, it wouldn't be good for the baby to see this. Ok, what part of the baby seeing my husband come into the room will affect him and his life? I majored in psychology w/ an emphasis in child psychology, and never once did I study anything like this. So, I guess this is the problem w/ half or more of the world out there... they were breastfed in front of ppl.

Yeah, I understand not breastfeeding in public and this is something that I won't do because I'm just too bashful, but in front of MY HUSBAND???? She went on to tell me how my SIL (her daughter - who wasn't there at that point) never breastfed around her and that she insisted on her not doing so. Then my other SIL piped in w/ how she didn't breastfeed around her husband and would never do that. Well, she only tried breastfeeding for like two weeks, if that, so I don't understand the point really. Matter of fact, most of these ppl didn't totally breastfeed their babies because no one would spend the time needed to breastfeed, which I intend to do, even if it takes 2 hrs at a time, which they say happens. But, then they remind me how they breastfed for 2 years... how they consider feeding their babies for like 15 mins. breastfeeding... well, I don't get it, but maybe that's the life here.

Well, I told them straight up that I intend to breastfeed in front of my husband. No one said a word. I waited to see what or if anyone would try to tell me how wrong I was for my beliefs, but they didn't. And really, I don't care what they think. There will come a time when my husband comes in the room when I'm feeding, or when he sits w/ me at night - which is a great way for him to bond w/ the baby as well. And... what about the nurses at the hospital? Are they not supposed to see this either? phew... it all just is exhausting mentally. Thank goodness I do my own thing and plan to do so after the baby.

I was also told how I should start feeding the baby food at 2 mths. My MIL said she did this w/ my husband and the one SIL said she started feeding her baby bananas and such at two months. I'm not planning to do this. I will introduce food at 4 mths. I was also told how I should give some type of sugar water to the baby after he's first born in order to clean out his bowels and to keep him from being cranky... I've personally never heard of this and when I told my mom, well, she didn't know what to think.

But you know, I was talking to an Indian friend of mine and she said they believed the same. That you feed the baby sugar water for the first several days after birth - BUT... they weren't doing this and didn't believe in it. Her husband is a Pediatrician and doesn't agree w/ it... so I feel pretty good about not doing this.

So.. what are your thoughts?


Jane said...

I'd avoid giving the baby anything but breast milk, especially in the first few days. It truly is the best thing for the baby's body. His or her system will clean out just fine on its own and if it doesn't, I doubt sugar water would make any difference. Your instincts are right. One thing I noticed when I had my first child is that all of the sudden everyone and their brother felt entitled to give me unsolicited advice. The best thing I did was ignore it.

As far as breastfeeding in front of your husband how are you supposed to avoid that? Stop living together until the child is weaned? Ridiculous. My personal experience was very positive and Jd was very supportive.

Breastfeeding is a natural process. I breastfed both of my children and at times did so in public. I was discreet--I covered up with a blanket and no flesh was ever visible but still some people made rude comments. I made the decision that doing the best I could for my child was far more important than what anyone else thought or said. It's not like I was putting on a peepshow for god's sake. I was nurturing my child and if someone didn't want to see it all they had to do was look away. It's not my problem if they chose to stare. People are far too uptight about it.

In the end, whatever decision you make will be the right thing for you.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Wow, you are in a pickle over such natural things! Too much advice from too many people it seems.
Okay, breast-milk is best - that's my advice, and the experience of bonding between mum and baby is so lovely. The guy can come and go too. Breasts are meant for milk, not for gazing - it's absolutely natural! Even feeding in public - but nicely done. Lots of Fijian women feed their kid anytime, anywhere.
An Australian woman politician fed her hungry baby in Parliament here one day and they were put out - because the kid wasn't registered to 'sit' in Parliament!
Take it easy anyway.

tooners said...

jane, you make me laugh... yeah, that's a good question about not feeding in front of my husband until the child is weaned. i SOOOO agree! and i wonder if they think about that. my SIL told me once that she never allowed her husband to see her pregnant stomach. i can't imagine it. when she fed the baby, it was always at her mother's house in a separate room. i, like you, believe it's a natural thing and something that's important for the baby. i'm looking forward to it and hope it goes well and i have no complications or anything. i've seen women breastfeeding in public, always covered, and never had a problem w/ it. here, it would be totally taboo, i think. i can't imagine what ppl would say... i don't think i've ever seen anyone feeding in a ladies' bathroom either, come to think of it. i'm sure there are women who feel differently and are educated on the matter, thank goodness.

wendy, now, that's a truly ridiculous story about the baby not being registered in parliament. can't hardly get over that but it doesn't surprise me in the least. i could not imagine a woman doing that here, but i applaud the woman in australia who did it. and i agree... i think breast milk is best and i also agree that they're not meant to be gazed at.... but, boy, doesn't it happen! i'm wondering if the reason why my MIL thinks it's not good to show the man this is because his views will change about you or something, which i find to be sorta strange, but i'm sure it happens w/ some men - especially here. i'd be interested to hear an arab woman's views on this and why it's thought of so negatively. i think it probably revolves around sexual things, but i'm not sure. i know the 40 days thing does... so it wouldn't surprise me about breastfeeding as well. not sure though.

Thursday said...

Sounds to me like you've got the right idea on it all. Sugar water? Hmm, not sure on that one, sounds a bit wrong to me but what the hell do I know?

The Moody Minstrel said...

I've never heard about the sugar water bit. That's weird. I guess different cultures have different methods.

I have to admit I tend to wonder about women who openly breast-feed their babies in very public places, but give me a break! I mean, it's a totally natural and innocent thing that most people deal with at least once in their lives! Let's be a little grown up here, shall we? Besides, I'm sure your husband has probably already seen them (or is that the real problem...not letting him see them being put to different use?).

Sorry...that was probably a bit crass, but I still don't see what the big deal is.

tooners said...

moody, well, you hit the nail on the head, i think. i didn't want to say it, but that's EXACTLY why i think it's such a taboo thing in my MILs eyes. she didn't come out and say that, but w/ all the things they've said about the birthing process and such that deals w/ that same thing, well... i think that is what it's all about. and i agree, it's very natural and i would hope that my husband won't see it and then have it on his mind all the time and such... he's never said such or even hinted to something like that. the topic makes me think of that jim carey movie "liar, liar" when his character gets in the elevator w/ that woman and says something or makes noises towards that woman and her big boobs.

Ingrid said...

alrightie girlie, it's too late in the evening for me to comment at lenght, but once my mom will return back to Holland tomorrow, I'll have plenty of time to tell you about my experiences and how to ward of backwards beliefs that obviously your MILS and SILS still practice..eeekh!!
good thing you have a brain in your head, anyhoo..
talk to you later! (and by the looks of it, Jane here already has given her positive experiences also..
man oh man..old wives tales don't die do they??

Olivia said...

I agree with Jane.

Breastfeeding is the best thing - do it for as long as Baby wants. Kids who were breastfed have stronger immune systems and are much healthier even into adulthood. I mean, after about a few months, Baby will probably slow down on the breastfeeding and that's when you supplement with formula and soon Baby is weaned and then it's pretty much on to baby food by then.

As for having your hubby around and living in your own home, of course! And there should be no big deal about breastfeeding in front of him, it's not like he hasn't seen them before and he's not 15 either. You are doing as a mother what God intended.

I don't agree with the sugar water and cannot possibly see how sugar is good. What the baby needs is the first feed of colostum, not sugar.