I looked at Ambergris Today and noticed all the gifts and goodies for the first baby to be born in 2009, and I went, “Wow! All of that for one baby. How fortunate! If that was done twenty five years ago, it would have been considered like winning the Lotto. Indeed the coming of a newborn and raising the baby was very simple, especially in terms of gifts.
Oh Maria, you are no longer going to use those diapers because you are not having any more children, right? I think you can give them all to the neighbor who is expecting next month.” Indeed friends and relatives were always willing to share and pass on a dozen of used diapers, used baby socks, caps, pants and dresses and the most popular item, pajamas and little house coats. Prior to the birth of the baby, the expecting mother and grandmother and mother in law would be busy knitting socks and caps and sewing up little pants and dresses, most of them in yellow because with no ultra sound machines the baby’s gender was a mystery until birth.
Feeding was very different. Unlike today when mothers breast feed for a month or two, twenty five years ago, babies breast fed for one or two years. When the baby started taking the baby bottle, mother would wash and boil a pint bottle, like a clear green Lighthouse beer bottle, and fit a nipple unto it for a perfect feeding bottle. And as for the feeding formula you can forget Klim, Lactogen, Enfamil or the many modern special baby formulas. Mother simply half-filled the pint bottle with water, added a little condensed sweetened mild, shook it and ready to go.
This feeding was complimented, of course, with fresh beans soup, beans with fish, beans with corn tortillas, bread with condensed milk, mashed potato or rice fried with eggs. This was as good as Popeye’s spinach for a strong healthy boy. If the water was from the well, it was boiled for 15 minutes. If it was rain water from the vat, it was used just like that. The mother drank a lot of corn porridge with condensed milk to keep her breasts full for the baby.
There were no baby checkups with a pediatrician but the village “partera” (midwife) visited daily to cure the baby’s navel, and the small round, soft indentation on the center of the baby’s head known as “la mullera”. After nine days with no unusual symptoms, the mom and the baby were declared “fit as a fiddle” twenty five years ago.
- by Angel Nuñez, Columnist