Most people scoff at me when I say you shouldn’t feed your baby with those and that type of food. Many Bhutanese don’t care about what their babies eat. Well, I can understand the mothers at village, they either have don’t have time to look for what is healthy for their baby or to cook it separately and most of them, they think it is ok to give whatever the adult eats.
Back in olden days, in Bhutan, baby is fed with butter on the day he/she is born, bathed three times a day and fed with whatever is edible. The motherless babies are fed with dairy product.
I don’t think it is necessary to be conventional in bringing up your own baby. Hence, taking advantage of my education and of being literate, I first do little research on what are the good things that are healthy and best for my baby. The first thing first, I bathed my baby only after a week from the day she is born and only once a day. I used to bathe her every two-three days and I would wait at least a week for her next bathe when she is sick or the worst, suffering from cold. That being said, I used to massage her everyday with Olive oil (with mustard oil while she has cold) and change her every day. The reason I use Olive oil is because it is thick and creamy, ideal to be used as massage oil. Of course it has its own benefits. That kept her clean and healthy.
While she is down with cold, I used to dip a clove of garlic in the mustard oil and massage her with it. Gently tapping, raindrop massage, on her cheeks which makes way for the mucus. I used to firmly massage her chest, feet and palm with warm mustard oil which super relaxes her. When I once suggested to this to my husband’s uncle (since he has baby little older than mine), he scolded me saying “Roktey ana ani nan bu aiee lay…” and sadly his son has watery eyes.
The second thing, which most Bhutanese dread, is the thought of using the disposable diapers. They think if they use it, it will bent the baby’s leg which I think is absolutely non-sense. I used it while she was five days young and she still has straight leg. (:D). But I have stopped using the disposable because it takes 500 years to decompose. It makes me feel very guilty when I use it sometimes.
I breastfed her exclusively for six months, which most working Bhutanese mothers doesn’t do. Thankfully, I have a boss who has a baby and she completely understands me.
The next big thing after six months is what to feed to the baby. The people in developed countries serve baby cereal. Poorly, we don’t get baby cereal in our country and most mothers land up serving their baby with “Yoechum”, the local rice which has more starch than the normal rice that are easily available in market. The local rice gives constipation to the adults, so think about baby’s condition. The common ingredients to the baby’s food are butter and salt (people say it to make it tastier). Think about the size of the baby’s kidney. Think about all the process it has to undergo to remove the salt from their tiny body. My baby’s food contain only cereal, vegetable or fruits and still she eats deliciously because she don’t know the taste of salt and butter.
My baby has a sore throat and a rough cough these days. My colleagues suggest that I should feed her honey. Most Bhutanese don’t understand the potential fatal disease that can be caused due to honey. Botulism is rare but very life threatening illness.
Well, how we bring up our baby is our own style but I think it is necessary to know what we think healthy could prove to be danger to the baby.