Life after a new baby: New mom challenges
October 26, 2018
Tragedy at a young age
December 12, 2018

Feed her solids, she will sleep better.

I truly believe a lot of mother’s and women struggle with this realization: Newborns did not come into this world to sleep. Why would they waste their existence by sleeping? So instead, they keep you up at awkward hours of the night and demand your attention and want to chill. Switching off the lights will not help you. When I shared my new reality with mothers, I was advised to give her solids to fill her stomach. I later learned that this is quite a popular notion amongst a lot of mothers. Apparently, newborns do not sleep well because they are hungry. I had a penny for every time someone said “give her a little bit of porridge”, I would be a stay-at-home mom with a healthy bank account (Yes, I am exaggerating)

The poor child was not even a month old when A LOT of moms and non-moms advised me to cook some porridge (motoho) and give her even a single spoon. The food advise came from every single direction possible. Friends, family, even my partner was convinced by some colleagues that porridge is a solution to our sleeping problems. I cannot even begin to describe how pressurized  I felt to do something that did not feel right for your child.

Do not get me wrong. I am not here to judge women that feed their kids solids or give them porridge earlier than 4 months. If you have been following my journey then you know that I am a huge proponent of following your mommy instinct. My mommy instinct told me that my breastmilk was enough to fill Tshimo. If she was hungry, I could instantly identify the ‘feed me now’ signals. All I had to learn was establishing some healthy sleeping rules and helping to adjust to the ‘worldy’ pattern of sleep. Just think about it. This little human was used to living La Vida Loca. Sleep when I want to, and wake up when I feel like it.

I visited my aunt when we Tshimo was 2 months young, and the first night was very rough. Tshimo kept us up most of the night and my aunt, unfortunately, had work the next day. She came back from work the with Cream of Maize porridge for a 6-month-old. I immediately called my sister to help me get out of this very difficult situation. How do I tell an old woman that I don’t want to feed my baby porridge? My sister had the best laugh when I called her for her advise. I needed to know how to say “NO” to her without sounding disrespectful. Come to think about it, it was quite funny. Her advise: Give her (aunt) a difficult diagnosis and tell her that the baby isn’t allowed to eat porridge. I then told her that the baby has Gastroesophageal reflux. It worked 🙂 To this day, that Cream of Maize is still sitting in my cupboard. It’s part of my memorabilia.

Our parents do not mean any harm when they offer their advice or buy items that we do not require. They are just used to a different way of raising children. They raised us during a different time and the environment was not as it is today and they did not have access to resources that we can readily access i.e specialists, internet.

If you are going to be a mom too, this is a heads-up. You need to brace yourself for a few arguments with adults about when to start feeding your baby. I’ve even had to lie to my other aunt and claimed to be feeding the baby when she was still on nothing but breast milk, just to maintain the peace.

Again, the food struggle is very real, but with the right mindset and confidence in your ability, and wish to raise a happy healthy child, you can truly overcome this challenge.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me 🙂

Written by: Karabo Motsiri

Edited by: Thando Bella Khoza

5 Comments

  1. Maleseli says:

    I undergone the same to a point where I lied and said my baby has an infection so the doctor advised me not to give him any solids before 6 months because I realized that if I didnt do that everybody was on my neck that the baby cries because he is hungry.” he is not hungry, he needs attention I would say” but it didn’t help getting my mom in-law off my back. 🤣🤣🤣🤣.. It’s was so frustrating because I’d sometimes think that I’m seen as not capable of doing what’s best for my baby and certainly uninformed as far as raising a child that I believe God gave me because he trusted me with his creation.

    But all these critics groomed us into being good mothers and believing in our capable hands and actually to stand for what you believe is right to do and makes sense. Being a mother is a life long experience.

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  3. Humbu says:

    I remember the struggle. I was so annoyed that my mum understood my reasons and supported me but relatives kept on meddling and calling me a bad mother for not feeding my 6 week old baby.

    • admin says:

      Your mother was the most important person, and her support was all you needed. People will always criticize you, but you should always stick to your guns. Proud of you!

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