You know what the hardest part about becoming a new mom is? It’s not the fact that you have this brand new life whose very survival is dependent upon your every breath; it’s not the irrevocable change to every facet of your life that comes with cohabiting with your new “room mate” (i.e. the baby); it’s not even living in the state auto-mode that every woman finds herself existing in after getting by for weeks on snatches of sleep, snatches of food and snatches of a shower every day. Uh-uh. What sucks about becoming a new mom is contending with old biddies who had their children 30 – 40 years ago and
TRULY THINK THEY KNOW EVERYTHING.
For my part, I had a gaggle of old women telling me what and what not to do when my eldest was born. Everything I, my pediatrician and my OB/GYN said was wrong…even down to diapering.
“You new-fangle moms,” they would chide. “You have no idea how what you’re doing!”
Really? For real? Perhaps our infant mortality rates are a liiiiiittle bit better in 2010 than they were in 1968-1978 because we switched things up. Perhaps it has something to do with expectant mothers not taking a final drag off her cigarette and swallowing down her last sip of Cognac before as she watched her water break at the house party she was attending at 9.5 months pregnant!
I digress. This post is not about me. It’s about my poor baby sister, who does not have the balls to call out the old hags who put her through the ringer this week: the grandmothers of her new baby. One of these women I don’t even like (our mom) and the other I don’t even know (her troll-mate’s mother), so I have inclination to bite my tongue. Ladies and gents, I present to you 7 Pieces of Crappy Advice from Women who Think they Know Better, and an Assassination Attempt.
Cocoa Butter on the baby’s lips: My nephew (who is now known as Sir Longfellow as he was born 22″ long) was born with black smoker’s lips. At a loss for what to do to ‘cure’ this, my sister called me to ask how to treat the coloring on his lips.
“His lips are fine,” I said. “As long as he’s getting moisture from his saliva on them and they’re not cracked, it’s nothing to be concerned about.”
Old Biddy 1 had a problem with this advice. She suggested/insisted on putting cocoa butter on the baby’s lips. Cocoa butter? For real? Do adults even put cocoa butter on their lips??
Give him some water!: Sir Longfellow just turned a month old 2 days ago. He’s still a newborn. ALL HE NEEDS IS FORMULA AND/OR BREAST MILK. However, Old Biddy 2 was adamant that he needed to drink water as well. Did you know water to a newborn is potentially lethal? Yeah. It flushes out the valuable nutrients they need to survive. Please don’t let any idiot old ladies coerce you into giving your baby WATER before his immune system can handle it.
His tongue is white. Wipe it off with a white cloth: Sir Longfellow, as we have established, drinks milk. It stands to reason that his tongue would have a tinge of white to it. Now, unless this is thrush (and in this case it wasn’t), there is no need to run grabbing the nearest dish cloth to wipe off his tongue, thereby introducing bacteria (over the counter antibiotics) and drying out his poor little mouth! ‘Nuff said.
Oh! YOU must have left the gas on: Old Biddy 1 generously offered to allow my sister and her troll-mate a few hours out alone and stayed at home to watch her new (2 week old at the time) grandson. Upon re-entering the house a few hours later, my sister detected gas in the air… As in propane. She walked over to her sleeping baby and noticed his breathing was funny.
“Um…Did you try cook something? Did you leave the gas on?”, she asked Crazy Old Biddy.
“No, no!” was her shrill reply. “You guys must have left it on before you left!”
I stopped my sister as she was narrating these events.I was not the person she needed to be talking to.
“Please hang up the phone and take the baby to the hospital right now.”
Old Crazy Biddy 1 protested the whole way, saying the baby did not need to be seen. He was fine, she insisted. Uh-huh. You’re just trying to save your old mole-y hide because you almost killed someone, you selfish hag!
Night air causes colic: Old Biddy 2 was very firm in her assertion that Longfellow must never be taken out in the summer evening air, never mind that it’s still 80* at 9 pm. “Taking a baby out in the night air gives them colic,” she said matter-of-factly. I had to laugh at this one. Colic is not something you catch. Colic is something that happens, like SIDS. It’s an unexplained anamoly.
Brown some flower for his behind!: *Sigh*. Old Biddy 2, once again! Her maternal piece of advice was to inform my sister that if the baby ever develops a diaper rash, she is to brown flower and sprinkle it on his behind with each diaper change. What? Are we making baby bootie gravy now? 1) My sister doesn’t bake and 2) In the effort it would take to run out and buy some flower and then brown it, she could easily purchase Butt Paste or any other cream with Zinc in it to treat said rash, like normal people do! Which brings me to…
I don’t need no bib: Old Biddy 2, ever so proud to be THE principle caregiver (for 5 days) of her new grandson, rebuffed almost all my sister’s advice and requests.
“You need to pump your milk so I can feed him,” she stated.
Anyone who has ever breast fed knows that this is a huge inconvenience unless it is a necessity, but being a good sport (or a punk) my sister kowtowed. She then watched in horror as the woman, on more than one occasion, thrust the bottle into the baby’s mouth, failed to support neither his neck nor his bottle, and allowed milk to dribble down his shirt and ultimately into the creases of his neck as she chatted on the phone.
“Could you please use a bib or one of the towels I laid next to you,” my sister asked timidly, I’m sure.
“He don’t need no bib,” was the brisk reply. “It’s just milk.”
Again, I stopped her mid-sentence to scold her. I was mad.
“This is your baby. Your first baby. Don’t let some crazy old woman let him suck in air because she’s too lazy to feed him properly, and definitely make her wipe up the milk! That sh*t causes a yeast infection if you don’t keep his neck clean.”
“Oh! Is that what that is? His neck is all raw and red and it stinks.”
Now my nephew has yeast infection.
Babies can swim on their own: I think it was Old Biddy 2 who again, matter-of-factly, told my sister to drop her son in the pool because babies instinctively know how to swim. They spent 9 months in a watery environment, after all.
I can’t even comment on this one.
These women are crazy. If you’re a new mom and you’re reading this PLEASE ignore the idle yammering of anyone over the age of 50 unless you can look at their children and want to model your kid’s life after theirs. These women have no frikkin’ clue. We don’t put lead in our paint anymore because it kills us. The “mom stop” has been eradicated because we now strap our kids safely in the back seat. We don’t leave our kids in a running vehicle while we go inside to grocery shop. There are certain things we don’t do anymore, simply because we never should have been doing them in the first place!
I think I like what my dear friend Chris said in response to all this madness:
“Careful Adj. You may come home to find your baby floating in the pool with a tube stuck through his belly button. You know, babies feed through their belly buttons in the womb, and a pool full of water is just like being at home for a baby…where life began.”