Mothers often say welcoming their baby is one of the greatest feelings ever, and they feel a protecting love for their little ones that they’ve never experienced before.
So, naturally, mothers will always do what’s best for their defenceless infants – including regulating who gets to visit their babies and setting out rules for the privileged few who are allowed to visit.
We spoke to five moms and they each told us the rules they have and have had for people visiting their bundles of joy. From visitors’ clothing to them not kissing the baby, these are all their rules and why they have them. Weird or not, what mommy says goes.
Charmaine Kettledas gave birth to her baby boy just two months ago, and with all the new love occupying her heart for her little boy, comes with a level of protection that sometimes seems weird to other people, but she’s unapologetic.
“Hygiene is the biggest thing for me; you have to respect my wishes. I always want my baby to be protected from germs. So, the basics…like wash your hands before being around him. Also, don’t wear perfume, don’t kiss him, especially not on his lips. And don’t take picture of him without my permission,” she tells us.
Even though Lumanyano Mndayi gave birth to her daughter five years ago, she says there’s a common practice in her community called “ukujojisa”. “Ukujojisa is when someone comes from wherever, whether it’s from cleaning their house to going about their day. They come in still sweaty from the previous task, run their hand under their armpits and under their feet then wave that hand around the baby’s nose – it’s said to make the baby stronger or something like that,” she says.
“When I did not allow that to happen to my baby girl, people said all sorts of things but I didn’t care because she’s my daughter and I’m the one who knows what’s best for her. So, if you want to see a my baby, sanitize your hands and if you don’t have it, ask the mom for it, she will always have it. Just respect the mother’s wishes.”
Lelethu Sabatana’s son is now two years old, and she says although she didn’t have many rules for people visiting her baby, she had one thing that bugged her: “I just didn’t like it when they kissed him on the lips, so I asked people not to do that, and thankfully, no one was offended, they got it.”
When Lethu Kubeka gave birth to her son 4 months ago, she didn’t think she’d have a lot of rules for people visiting her him, but as time goes by, the rules are piling up.
“Before people come in to see my son, they need to be mindful of the material of their clothes, for instance it doesn’t make sense to hold a baby while wearing a biker jacket, it’s too harsh. This one might be obvious, but I’d prefer for people not to be drunk when coming to see him. Also, don’t feed him unless you’re family, and don’t give him the pacifier. The pacifier falls so many times in a day, it’s always best for me to give it to him because I will know if it’s sterilized or not.”
Emily Magadla has raised two daughters; one is 23 years old and the eldest who is 28 years old just had her own baby boy 4 months ago. “Rules depend on the mother of the child, really. But my main rule is that no outsider or distant relative is allowed to see the baby before 3 months. This is because ‘ifokotho’ [the soft part on the top of the baby’s head] hasn’t strengthened enough yet. So, at that stage, they are easily affected by the weather and even certain spirits.”
So, there you have it straight from the horse’s mouth. New moms are already dealing with so much, the least you can do is respect their wishes when wanting to see their little babies.