Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Out of the loop here

Sorry I've been out of the loop a bit with posting. DH and I went to Bangalore for 6 days and had fun with lots of our friends. Anyways, that's not what I planned to blog about.

A friend of ours had her baby a few days ago. Twins, a boy and a girl. Well, they are home...just came home today, and I want to buy them a gift. Well, seeing as how I've never bought a gift for a newborn baby in India I am sort of out of my element. I don't know what things are needed here, what sort of clothes I should purchase for the baby. I asked the mother, and she said, "Their aunty is buying them something, there is no need to ask. Whatever you want to buy." Well, as nice as that question is...it didn't answer my question. I don't know if they need anything, although I doubt it. So...what will I buy? It remains to be determined by what I find at the stores. I will post about that later.

This also brings me to think about the differences between India and in the US in regards to visiting after a new baby comes home. I remember when my friends and family had babies they wanted only immediate family to come the first few days to give the parents and the baby time to settle in to their new surroundings, and their new life. That's fine...that's what I'm used to. So, when I called today and asked and the father said, "chole esho" (come over) I was a bit shocked. I don't know why, I mean, here family is a big thing. So everything and anything is shared by family, and friends. So...this is just a culture thing.

But still...it remains to be determined is it a good thing?

I think, personally, that it might be a bad thing. The mother is probably worn out and wants some peace and quiet after being in the hospital, but this is their culture. :-) Lets see how it goes...hopefully DH and I will be going to visit the babies tonight!!


  1. As a mom in India, I would always appreciate toys. Good quality wooden toys. They are actually not easy to come by. Maya Organics from Bangalore make some good stuff, but I am not sure whether they are available in Cal.
    Maybe a cuddly sleep toy is also a good idea.
    Personally, I would not buy clothes except if I knew their taste very well and also how they dress the child. Some are not making them wear anything other than a vest and nappies.
    We received many clothes for our newborn. I am sorry to say so but most were quite ugly and most were for much, much later, which seems thoughtful but it's actually a nuisance because they need to be labelled and stored away and later one tends to forget. ;-)

  2. How exciting! I would suggest getting a nice bath set - hooded baby towels, baby wash clothes, bath oil and lotion... these items are used daily and baby won't out grow them any time soon. I also found that I could never have too many socks for the newborn... someone told me that warm feet = happy baby, and I found this advice to be very true!

  3. I think it depends on what community. For Muslims of my husband's background, traditionally the new mom goes to her mother's house for like a month or 40 days (this isn't an Islamic tradition, just something I heard is done or at least used to be done among desi Muslim friends-I say used to be done because maybe the new mom doesn't go for the full 40 days in more modern type families, and with friends, I have seen the new mom's mom comes to visit the girl's apartment and stays there and the new mom doesn't go anywhere). Everyone comes to visit the new mom and baby, as you describe---but I think traditionally the new mom was kept secluded. If the family is conservative, only women go sit with the new mom in the bed where she lays. Traditionally, the new mom lays in bed for like a month and drinks rich almond and thickened milk drinks, and gets massages and stuff. I know after I gave birth, someone brought me a strength giving, fattening drink.

    People usually give an envelope with cash in a denomination plus 1. Like 1001 or 5001 rupees or 51 dollars or whatever. If it is a girl baby, people give gold earrings or tiny baby rings, and very close relatives might give a larger piece of gold like a necklace or bangle. These days gold is so extremely expensive, so I don't know if people are doing this right now. I know when my daughter was born, my husband's relatives from India were in town visiting Dubai and they brought (from Indian Hyderabad) a special pure silver cup and told me it was traditional to hold oil for giving "maalish" or massage, cuz they are very much into baby massage.

    When we took my 3 month old to Pakistan, we had a baby showing party to welcome my daughter into the khaandaan, and she got clothes, some baby gold, and cash, plus one pure silver rattle.

    So I don't know how it is for Bengalis of your DH's family background, but clothes, baby earrings, and cash seem to be best in my husband's community.

  4. @Phoren hehe, yeah, I didn't buy any clothes. I purchased a Johnson's Baby care set, that came with a bib and a shirt. Upon returning home...DH says, You should have bought 2, what will they do with 1 bib and 1 shirt for 2 babies?! LOL

    @Saathi, socks...good idea...except it summer!!! lol

    @Fatima, yeah, I've noticed that. We have given cash to older children before who are visiting...but not normally. And I don't know how the parents would react if we bought jewellery...so I just kept it simple.

  5. For the gift, I agree that good quality age appropriate toys are welcome, they tend to come pricy in India but they are a must. Another good idea is going for a baby care product hamper, several brands are making them and Himalaya has a great line of personal care products for baby.
    Right after I gave birth a friend came to visit me in hospital and brought a Johnson baby gift set that included all the bath time product and a soft sponge, turned out to have been the best thing, because in the hospital I delivered they ask parents to provide the soap and shampoo for the first bath 24hr after birth, not sure what the reason is, maybe they don't want the parents suing you if the product the hospital chose gave rash...anyway I wasn't prepared for that LOL, the hospital had a in house pharmacy where I could have bought it, but my friend showed up just an hour after they told me about what was required for the first bath the next morning...life saver that was, plus that spared me the hassle of having to figure it out all in the first few weeks back home, I had the starter kit already :)

    As for visiting, in Switzerland familiy and friend generally come to visit during the hospital stay, which is 3-4 days (pretty much the same length as in India) then they give you space to adjust at home. In india it seems that there is very little consideration for that. In our case since my mom lives in Switzerland my MIL decided she HAD to be there, she made my life a bloody living hell as she stayed 2 weeks. We don't have any family or relativve in Bangalore, so that limited the visits to our close friends who were hesitant to drop by, they all came toward the end of my MIL's stay or right after they left knowing we would both be far more relaxed then.
    As a mom I swear the last thing you want after giving birth and being sleep deprived, puffy and hormonal is to play good hostess and good daughter in law :)
    I would personnaly wait at least 2 weeks after they got back home to visit, and even then keep it short, bring the gifts, stay for a cup of tea and then leave, there is plenty of time to catch up later, and generally the onslaught of visits right after birth are pretty much a formality, there is nothing very personnal about it. the few friends that came to visit when my MIL was around felt pretty awkward, this is one of these instance where you are just sitting there, doing small talk avoiding any topic deemed unfit by the elders, your guests will want to leave fast anyway, and you as a new mom will just want to go back to your room to catch a few zzzzz before you have to start breastfeeding again.

  6. Oh and next time you are in Bangalore...let's get together for a cup of coffee or something :)