Who nurses a woman who just gave birth: Her mother or the man’s mother?
The arrival of a baby that should bring joy to a young couple, turned out to be one of their worst moments. The two mothers struggled over who will bathe the child and over other things.
They had mothering styles that were totally different. And these were two powerful mothers whose opinions no one challenged in their homes.
The young couple were not wise and strong enough to know what to do. It was, therefore, a big relief and a thing of joy to them when both mothers eventually left for their homes after about three months.
I love my mother very much, but when we had our first child 30 something years ago, I made her not to come immediately. It was about six weeks later during the dedication of the baby that she came on a Friday, took part in the dedication service on Sunday and traveled back home about two days later. It was my wife’s mother that nursed Carol, my wife and the baby. In fact, she nursed all our four biological children.
I can remember my mother-in-law cooking delicious fresh fish pepper soup and different delicacies for Carol. Carol refused to eat those expensively delicacies. Instead she told her mother to prepare for her pap and dodo (fried ripe plantain). Her mother told her that a woman who had just been delivered of a baby should eat better food. But Carol insisted.
With looks of amazement on her face, her mother went and prepared for her pap and dodo. Boy! Trust me, I ate the fresh fish pepper soup and the other delicacies.
The question now is, do you think that it would have been easy for Carol to tell my mother to prepare pap and dodo for her after she had laboured to prepare the other delicious dishes? Who then nurses the mother and child under the extended family system practiced in Africa and other parts of the world?
I seriously recommend that the person the nursing mother is most familiar with should do so. In most instances, it’s likely to be her mother, as it was in Carol’s case. In very few instances, it may be her husband’s mother. This is very rare. In some other instances, it could be a relative, an experienced friend or a friendly church member. In Ruth 4:13-17, when Boaz married Ruth and she gave birth to Obed, the father of Jesse who was the father of David, it is written in Ruth 4:16 “And Naomi took the child and laid it in her bosom and became nurse unto it.” Ruth’s mother-in-law by name Naomi (who was now like her real mother) nursed Ruth and her child because she is the person she was most familiar with. It was not Boaz’s mother or aunty that did it.
I pray that we will all have the wisdom and courage to handle simple, but potentially complicated matters of who should nurse mother and child immediately after child birth. Love you.