Meanwhile, my daughter was sucking in her lips and rubbing her face with her hands. My sisters proceeded to exchange more glances. My older sister finally stood up, walked towards me and firmly said, “Bolaji, I think you should feed your baby.” She then turned and sat back down. “Well, I just fed her before you arrived, but, alright then.” Her tone implied that the advice wasn’t to be debated but taken. I immediately acquiesed. My daughter promptly latched onto the breast.
In hindsight, it’s obviously very funny because while there may be umpteen parenting manuals and well-meaning friends who think they know what’s best for you and your baby, nothing can replace the trial-and-error steps a new mom takes to getting to know her own child. At the same time, it really makes no sense to argue with certain kinds of advice, particularly when it’s dispensed from an “experienced” mother.
Days later, our friends brought their little son home and, of course, I couldn’t wait to visit! We came into the home and greeted everyone, newborn last. I made the joke that it’s typical for people to burst into a room where there’s a new baby and all eyes and welcomes are on the newly-arrived and parents immediately fade into the background. They laughed, and agreed. Moments later, my eyes made a beeline for the baby, who was resting peacefully on his maternal grandfather’s arm. He wasn’t swaddled, but he was wearing a little hat and what I perceived to be a flimsy onesie. The room was warm enough but I couldn’t help thinking, When are they going to swaddle him?
New Mom was sitting back on the sofa looking pretty and blissful. Wow, I thought to myself, she’s so calm. I can’t believe she’s not itching to hold her own baby! Grandpa then got up, walked towards me and said, “Here, I know you want to hold him.”
“Yes,” I replied, “but not before I swaddle him, babies like to be warm and secure and cuddly, you know.”
And so it began. There’s nothing like holding a newborn. My eyes rested on his little eyes, his little nose, his delicious smell. Perfection, I thought as I cooed to his sleeping face while rocking him back and forth. And then the new mom’s older sister, herself is a newish new mom with a 10-month-old under her belt, casually walked by and said,“Are you sure he’s not too warm?”