It is a thing of joy for all family members when a new baby arrives. Grandmas and Grandpas do dance steps that had been hidden away for a long time. As soon as news of the birth of a child reaches older parents plans are made for the grand mummy to go and help nurse mother and the newborn. Sometimes a grandma goes to the home of her son and daughter-in-law vice versa before the arrival of the baby.
The baby becomes a center of attention and shared joyful moments between daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law. They forget their differences and celebrate the new member of the family for a while. But soon the different approach to raising and nursing a child begins to cause a clash. The grandma who has a generation of experience insists on throwing the baby up during bath time and the young mother screams and says, “mama that’s dangerous, please don’t throw my baby up!”😨. The grandma under her glasses😎 if she is wearing one looks at the young mother like, “hey young lady, that’s how I did it with your husband, my son and he is still alive for you to marry!”😒. Grandma also wants to give the baby some local herbs to help make him or her strong, the young mother and father go like, “mama, that can damage the intestine of our baby”! Now grandma is getting frustrated and feeling misunderstood.
The other problem between Grandmas and new mothers when babysitting their newborn is the issue of cooking. Some grandmas want breakfast as early as 7am, an in-between snack before lunch and dinner making a foursquare meal. Guess who has to prepare the meals? The new mother who is still recovering from the herculean task of delivering a 3.7kg baby and God help her if it was not a Caesarean section delivery. So the young mother spends a sleepless night breastfeeding her baby but has to also get up to prepare mama’s food and the type of meal is the one she will properly have to pound yam for mama! Don’t get me wrong, having a baby does not mean that a woman can no longer prepare meals but hey, a new mother needs all the rest she can get!! Some mums a few weeks after delivery end up breaking down and others even land in the hospital…this is not acceptable.
Grandma when you go to the home of your son or daughter to help nurse a baby be prepared to be patient, help a little extra beyond just helping to carry a well-dressed fine looking baby after his or her bath in the morning.
Apart from the stress of preparing meals and going to the market to get the ingredient house chores is another matter of concern when a grandma comes to help nurse a newborn. Now this time I am on the grandmas’ side. Some young couples think that since mama is around to help nurse her grandchild she must be ready to do more than her fair share of house chores. Some grandmas simply because they are willing and some don’t want to say no sometimes are made to do the dishes, washcloths, cook, hold the baby at night so the mother can sleep…hmmm very soon grandma will fall ill and all of you will be running in and out of the hospital. I once told one of my siblings who had just had a baby one time to get help when our mum goes to help with nursing their baby. I told her point blank, “mummy is old and cannot be the one doing all your house chores oooo”! “We cannot have her breaking down”, I added.
Our older parents are not slaves so please get an extra hand to help with your house chores when grandma comes to help nurse your baby.
Grandmas are not as agile as they once used to be, making them do all your house chores is an abuse. This not to say they cannot help around the house. They can cook and do whatever else catches their fancy but do not abuse your aged who has come to help you nurse your baby. So grandmas and new nursing mothers balance is the key here…and please be patient with each other.