Let Us Take Our Stand And Say NO
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
I am sure most of us as "new mommies", have faced this dilemma where someone elder from our family has advised us about some age-old tradition whereas in your recent visit to your baby's pediatrician you were strictly advised to not follow any of these traditions. Let's pause for a moment here to understand this a little better. Why are the age-old practices that were tried and tested perhaps by your own parents too while you were a kid seem irrelevant and inappropriate in today's time? This is primarily due to the advancements in the field of medical sciences and the change in our lifestyle over the last several years. Traditionally these practices were followed by our elders because they didn't know any better. They didn't have access to research like how we do. In this blog, I have attempted to share some of the age-old traditions that I had to let go off for my baby. All the recommended practices mentioned in this article have been scientifically proven and are vetted by my pediatrician.
- Traditional Practice - Applying besan, ghee, milk or vekhand on babies’ skin especially face to improve/lighten the tone of baby’s complexion.
Current recommended practice- Baby skin is highly highly sensitive. In the first few weeks, the birth skin ruptures and a fresh new skin is re-generated. Please note that your baby's skin tone is genetically decided and so no amount of these raw substances can make a difference. Instead usage of these substances will only make your baby's skin even more dry thereby causing increased redness and skin rashes. The only recommended product to be applied on your baby's skin is oil for massage, baby soap for cleaning and baby lotion for moisturizing.
- Traditional Practice- Apply aata (a ball of wheat dough) to remove the baby body hair and any facial hair.
Current recommended practice- Aata is sticky and may result in exfoliation of your baby's skin. Other than oil, nothing else can be applied to your baby's skin. The baby body and facial hair will disappear automatically on its own with time. It takes around 3-4 months for these birth hairs to completely disappear.
- Traditional practice- Giving gripe water, animal milk to your little one.
Current recommended practice - For the first six months your baby needs to be exclusively fed only breast milk or formula milk. Nothing other than these two. Not even water!
- Traditional practice - Giving Baal Guthi comprising of substances such as Nutmeg honey etc. to cure issues related to colic or gas.
Current recommended practice- Your baby's digestive system is still developing and these substances may not suit your little one and hence are to be strictly avoided. Some of these substances which are used have sedative and hallucinogenic properties. Some of the substances are also carcinogenic and some countries have indeed banned the usage of these substances in food. We have no way of confirming if these substances are pure and it is quite possible that these ingredients available in the shops may be contaminated or processed. Baby may seem like he is sleeping better or having no gas trouble. But that is because the child has in effect been "drugged". While these substances may contain certain medicinal properties, instead of giving them please stick to the prescribed medication from your pediatrician in case of any stomach or colic related issues.
- Traditional practice- Giving baby medicines mixed with milk or honey.
Current recommended practice- You never know how will the prescribed medicine react when mixed with milk or honey and hence better to be given standalone without mixing it with anything. Honey is a botulism risk and botulism can even kill the child.
Usually the medicines for the babies are available in liquid form and often come with a dropper.
- Traditional practice- Exposing the baby to the smoke of sambrani or benzoin resin post bath. The objective of this practice was to ensure that the baby is well dried so as to protect the baby from catching cold.
Current recommended practice- Burning of sambrani produces harmful gases which in turn is inhaled by your baby and hence it may lead to breathing problems, lung issues and is not recommended. Traditionally people used cold water for bathing and hence there were chances of baby catching cold. However, this is not relevant today as we tend to use warm water for bathing the baby.
- Traditional practice- Pinching, pulling your baby's nose while massaging so as to make it sharp.
Current recommended practice- Shape of your baby's nose is determined by the genes and no amount of external pinching or pulling can change it. In fact, pinching or pulling might exert extra pressure there by hurting your little bundle of joy. Better to avoid any additional pressure and continue with gentle massage.
While it might be difficult to explain the rationale for not following some of these practices to the elders in your family, it is important to note that the disadvantages of these traditional practices in current times on your little ones is far higher than the pros. Hence, let us go all out to take the right step and an informed decision of staying away from these traditional practices for the well being of our little precious ones.
If you know of any other such practices which are no longer relevant, please comment the same below so that all the new mommies reading this article will benefit from it!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store