“Baby is fine. Mother is stable. Discharge home! Signed: Dr. Alabi”. You’re now free to go with your bundle of joy. Your mum (grandma 1) is patiently waiting at the hospital reception. Your mother-in-law (grandma 2) is on her way from Ibadan. The moment you stepped out of the Obstetric ward, grandma 1 grabs the baby, kisses her on the forehead and carefully puts her on her back, securing her with her wrapper. All of these happened so fast before you could open your mouth and say, “Mum, have you washed your hands? Kindly apply this hand sanitizer before you touch the baby”. For where?!

As soon as you entered the house; grandma 2 arrived. “Iyabode oko mi! Kaabo… “. In your mind, you’re like, “Who is Iyabode? Is that the best name you can come up with? Besides, who sent you to name my child for me?” She begins to dismantle the things she parked in her bag for the new baby: palm oil, black soap and local sponge (for the baby’s first “welcome bath”), herbal concoctions (liquid and powdered forms), mascara, royal beads to decorate the baby and so on.

If you’re a butty (unlike me), you’re probably safe from all the above, but there must be something you can’t be safe from. Every now and then, you will hear the statement: “that was not how we raised you”. Many things have changed in the way we raise children. Most of these changes are complete opposite of what our parents are used to. It’s usually very hard for them to understand. Take breastfeeding for example, there are overwhelming evidences to prove that it is sufficient for babies in the first 6 months of life. If you quote the WHO guidelines, they just yinmu. Is it grandma 1 who is already putting pepper in the baby’s mouth? Or grandma 2 who is not convinced that the baby should not be given additional water?

Even if you try to conquer grandma 1 because she’s your mother, what about grandma 2 whom you don’t want to provoke? Well, they are our mothers and they want what’s best for us, but we need to find a way of passing the message across without causing world war III.

Khadijah Sanni-Tijani


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