The Way Nepali Mommas do it

If we thought the learning curve was steep going from 1 child to 2, it is nothing compared with 2 children to 3.  Oh yeah, but that could partially be that we are having to do it now and in another country.  Not only have we forgotten everything related to newborn care, but we are learning it all over again, Nepali style.  I’m trying to take my cues from the Nepali mommas around, and hopefully not making too many cultural blunders.

Didi and new daughter

Laxmi our gardner did and new daughter

I came down stairs the morning after our daughter was born to eat breakfast.
‘What are you doing?!’ says my Didi in alarm, ‘You can’t climb the stairs.’

Nepali mommas stay with their babies in bed for several months after babies are born.

I asked my Didi to make saag (like spinach greens) with our dal bhaat for lunch one day.
‘You can’t eat dal bhaat!’ says my Didi distressed, ‘I’ll make jhol.  It doesn’t taste good.’

Nepali mommas eat a very specific diet of jhol (kind of like a buttery chicken broth but really bitter tasting) and specifically cooked meat and vegetable to help recovery and breast milk.

“Do you have good milk?”, “Does she drink milk well?”, “Are your breasts very full (of milk)?” “Has your milk arrived?”, “Are your breasts sore?”, “This {fill in type of food, it seems to change every time} is good for making milk.”  Says, every woman Nepali woman every time I meet them.

Nepali mommas breastfeed their babies till about 3 years old.  It is not uncommon to see woman feeding their children on the side of the road.  Embarassingly enough to a westerner, nursing your baby and the status of ones breasts is a common topic of conversations amongst Nepali woman.

We took our baby to the hospital the first week she was born to meet friends and neighbors.  ‘Where is her hat!’ said our Didi, and our gardener, and our neighbor, and the milk shop owner and pretty much every Nepali person.

Nepali mommas put hats on their children till about age 4 even through the summer heat and believe in wrapping infants up baby burkha style, in multiple layers so only their mouths and noses are exposed.

The family that owns the local dairy shop congratulated Dave on his new daughter and asked who had come to stay with us.  “My father-in-law is here,” replied Dave.  “What? Who will cook for you?” asked the shocked shop owners.

Nepali mommas don’t cook for the post-partem months.  They move back home to their mother’s house and Aunts, Didis and other female family members come to stay with them and do the cooking.  Male family members do not generally visit the newborn, and they especially don’t cook. ;-)

I promised the older children I’d make them pancakes one morning.  When Didi arrived she looked appalled at me cracking eggs.  “I can make the pancake” she told me, but after a lengthy attempt by me to translate the recipe, I told her I’d just make them toast instead.  “I can make the toast,” she said, visibly distressed and exasperated with me, “You should please leave the kitchen.”

Nepali mommas don’t do the cooking (I keep forgetting that one)

“Has your wife had her massage yet?” asked one of Dave’s Nepali colleagues.

Nepali mommas and babies are given a full body, hot oil massage after delivery.  The babies get them to keep the baby’s skin from breaking down because they spend so much time wrapped up.  (I’m still waiting on mine)

So I’m probably not going to make it as a Nepali Momma, but I’ll try my hardest to do my best as ‘her’ momma!

Here's to moms all over the world

Here’s to moms all over the world