Friday, December 03, 2010

An assortment of updates (*updated)

So, there are a few random topics I've written about here that I thought I might follow up on.

When I asked for advice at the clinic where we took Gabriel for his 4-month well baby visit, specifically about his waking up to nurse every 2 hours, I basically got a textbook response about how to breastfeed your baby successfully, which was fine, but didn't really help me solve my problem. Anyway, I've learned since then that exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months is NOT the norm here, even though people do seem to appreciate the value of breastfeeding. According to an American woman I met who is a La Leche League Leader in the US, people here tend to switch pretty early to cow's milk, rice milk, and/or a combination of the two, sometimes as early as 2 months.

The woman who comes to clean our apartment once a week (who I thought was our landlord's wife, but isn't, I've since learned) tells me EVERY SINGLE TIME she comes that I need to be giving Gabriel FOOD, not just mother's milk; the reason he wakes up so much at night is he's hungry. SHE weaned her babies at 1 month old and gave them cow's milk, yoghurt, and fruit. The last time she was here, she grabbed Valerie's yoghurt off the table and shoved a spoonful into Gabriel's mouth! He spit it out and made a hilarious face. I was kind of annoyed but I didn't know how to ask her politely not to do that in my limited Shqip. Standard pediatric advice nowadays is to wait at least a year to introduce babies to cow's milk, because baby humans don't digest it very well as it is best suited for baby calves. And also because of potential allergic reactions.

2) I've also realized that what I thought were grandmothers doing nanny duty are - well, many of them probably ARE grandmothers, but they're actually nannies as well - the kids they are watching aren't they're own grandkids. It seems most mothers here work outside the home, at least once the 1-year paid maternity leave is over. Yep that's right - ONE YEAR PAID. It's not full pay, I've heard both 100% for 6 months and then 80% for six months, and I've also heard 80% for 6 months and 20% for 6 months. But still. NICE.

3) I don't know exactly how much weight I've lost since we came here but all my pants are way too big. Certainly all the baby weight is gone.

Off to play with Valerie now.

1 comment:

Anita said...

I can't believe she shoved food into your baby's mouth! I guess in her culture it's a community of women that feed the baby, not just the mom. Still, you know you are giving him the best possible food - fresh, cuddly, perfect baby food.