Grandmothers! Don’t we just love them in this time when we make them grandmothers? But sometimes…just sometimes…
See, if you have given birth in Ghana, you immediately know what I am talking about. At the time our mothers gave birth to us, there were stories. These stories were handed down to them by their mothers who got it from their mothers and so on. No one challenged these stories. In fact, you couldn’t because where was the information? Today, we are living in an age where it’s very easy to get information because it’s just a Google search away. When they give us their cautions, we refuse to believe or we laugh at them and sometimes, they laugh too, but other times, it hurts them to the core because they really hold these “truths” very dear to their heart.
Very early on after giving birth to Asempa, I just came to a point where I told myself that if it wouldn’t kill me or the baby, I will just go with the flow for the sake of peace. Later on, hubby and I will laugh together.
Today, I am inviting you to join the laughter meeting. Don’t forget to drop some of the things you were told too so we can continue laughing. After all, why take life so seriously?
For the purpose of this post, “grandmother” does not necessarily mean my mum or mum-in-law. I have mixed up stuff said by both of them as well as other older women around me.
Ready, set, let’s laugh!
Grandmothers: When you leave Baby’s stuff on the drying line beyond 6pm, Baby will pass green poop. The green poop also happens when Baby is outdoors with you after 6pm.
My Thoughts and Research: Well, I’ve never been a fan of leaving clothes on the line after the sun has gone down. Evening dew and insects moving around, you know. So maybe, that’s all they want to warn us about but why include the green poop? Some mothers swear seeing green poop when either of the above happens though 🤷🏽♀️. Are you one of those? As far as I know scientifically, green poop can be caused by several reasons such as to have excess iron in the baby’s diet due to the kind of formula milk the baby is taking or an imbalance of foremilk vs hindmilk in breastfed babies due to short nursing sessions. If you consistently notice green poop, you should actually check with your paediatrician about it.
Grandmothers: Babies startle because mum drank cold water while pregnant.
My Thoughts and Research: The startle reflex (also known as the Moro reflex) is a baby’s natural response to loud noise, sudden movement or the sensation of falling. It is developed while Baby is still in the womb and starts to fade about 6 weeks after birth and eventually disappears when Baby is between 4 to 6 months. Every healthy baby has this reflex so no, it is not linked to the temperature of water you drink while pregnant
Grandmothers: Your baby will have a line at the back of his head if you eat a lot of food from outside your home while pregnant.
My Thoughts and Research: Oh this one made me have a good laugh. Like seriously? This “line” is actually the soft spots or fontanelles. There are two of them: a diamond shaped one at the front and a triangular shaped one at the back. God left these soft points so that they can “mould” and easily be squeezed out of the birth canal at birth. As the baby’s bones develop, the fontanelles close up. The one at the back closes up as early as 6 weeks after birth but the one in the front can take up to a year to close up.
Grandmothers: Don’t cut your baby’s nails while they are asleep.
My Thoughts and Research: I just couldn’t understand this one. Baby’s fingernails grow so quickly and they will scratch their face with them. You want to cut it ah, this. No reason too oh. You need a calm baby to cut his nails without hurting him and if there’s one moment the baby is calm, it is when they are asleep. Please, hide in your room and cut the nails wai. Hehe.
Grandmothers: Breastfeeding your baby while you are eating will help the baby to put on more weight. However, another grandmother said this same action will cause the baby to have a runny tummy.
My Thoughts and Research: Hubby will say when one person in the village did it and it produced a particular result, a conclusion was made that it works in all cases. I can’t even scientifically explain how this happens either way. Sigh!
Grandmothers: Letting Baby stand early will cause a bowlegged baby.
My Thoughts and Research: What I found interesting about this particular case is that even grandmothers on Google say it. It’s a really popular one. However, research has actually proven that allowing Baby to stand when they are ready actually helps strengthen their leg muscles.
Grandmothers: When the Baby belches while sucking the breast, the mother will get cancer.
My Thoughts and Research: Say what?!! It’s for this reason that they will say Baby should not fall asleep at the breast. Charley, sometimes, that is the simplest way to get your baby to sleep especially when you are tired yourself. I know certain lifestyles put a person at more risk of getting cancer but I don’t believe this is one.
Grandmothers: Kids born 2 years apart are usually the opposite sex.
My Thoughts and Research: Well…I have two boys less than 2 years apart. I know several other mothers in this boat too. These grandmothers just don’t want to accept that gender selection happens at conception. There is always the idea that something external (but not directly linked to intercourse) can influence it. While we are on the subject, while I was pregnant with my second, Emmanuel attempted to carry a neighbour’s baby boy and was strongly cautioned not to, otherwise, we’ll have another boy. Hehe.
Grandmothers: Ayemye was showing his fussy eating drama around the same time he was expected to walk but hadn’t done so yet (he walked at 14 months). One school of thought was that he was not eating because he had to get lighter in order to walk but another said he was not walking yet because he was too light and therefore his legs were not strong.
My Thoughts: Well…As for me, when the views are opposing like this, I don’t even bother to Google. Lol.
Grandmothers: I saved the best for the last. What husband and I have nicknamed “The Great Bath”. When we got pregnant, as part of the preparation being made for the baby’s arrival, there was a constant reference to bathing the baby. When you even meet a grandmother in church, in your neighbourhood, etc, she won’t ask “Who would be taking care of the baby?” but rather “Who will be bathing the baby”. It actually confused me because like I mentioned in an earlier post, I have never been around a newborn so I didn’t know what the fuss was all about. Isn’t it just a bath?
My Thoughts and Observation: No, it is not just a bath! It is not oh. This bath is a whole sport. It starts with a head massage with hot water, then a massage of the limbs, pouring water in the anus, a whole lot! I came to realise that this is the most sacred activity of baby care and has been linked to so many things including better sleep, poop and eating. I still don’t get the fuss, but I don’t fight it. I realise it’s too sacred for me to fight it.
One day, when Asempa was about 3 months, he was cooing and I was responding as Google has taught us to. My mum heard me do this and she asked where I had learnt that from. I told her. Then she asked why I don’t google the other things she tells me. I tell her I do and add that Google says some of the things they tell us are not scientifically proven. We had a good laugh about it. Even today, when she is recommending something, she will still laugh at the fact that our generation doesn’t want to believe the things they believed (and as she puts it) which really helped them.
It’s not always easy dealing with this generational conflict but sometimes, ask yourself which is more important : insisting on your way and potentially losing their support or going their way and getting their support. Like I mentioned earlier, if it wouldn’t kill you or your baby, don’t sweat it.
Okay! I know you have something to share! What did the grandmothers in your life (mothers, aunties, older women in your church) say that totally had you rolling on the floor when you gave birth to your baby? Share with us in the comments below.
Which of mine did you find most hilarious? Let us know in the comments too!