Throughout my life I have received lots of parenting advice on how to care for my children, some good, some not so good and some just straight up hilarious. When we moved to South America the unsolicited advice was non-stop. Seriously everytime I walked out the house with my newborn someone had something to say to me, I even had a homeless little kid tell me I needed to put shoes on my baby. It was dispensed freely by complete strangers, homeless people, children, men…. I usually just smile and moved on. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I want to share some of these “gems of advice” I have received from sweet elderly Hispanic women and well-intentioned people.
Since we all know, crazy and humorous advice is dispensed in every culture, other moms also shared below some of their humorous advice. Laughing is good for the soul so enjoy a good chuckle!
Please note: Some of the advice below is interesting and some of it I wouldn’t consider ever doing to my baby. Though I know some women follow some of this advice religiously (to each her own).
A note to all of the well intentioned Hispanic women who have with much concern shared advice with me (that I didn’t follow), I would like to let you know that my babies turned out just fine. This is an insightful article I read on Hispanic folk illnesses for those of you who are curious on point # 3 and #15.
1. I am holding my 3 month old and a sweet elderly indigenous lady who insisted that we let her watch our baby while we go out says to me “you should tie your babies feet and hands when he sleeps and swaddle him tightly this will help him grow.” Rest assured she never watched our baby for us.
2. Take your baby to the beach and cover his body (not his face) in the sand and this will help so he never gets sick.
3. My lovely Mexican mother, with much concerned shared this with me when our son was crying/colicky: Did someone give your child “el mal del ojo (the evil eye hex: envy, strong stare from a powerful person to a weaker person)” this is why he is crying and upset because someone gave him “el ojo”. I just called it colic.
4. If someone does give your child the “mal del ojo” you need to rub an egg all over his body.
5. Don’t laugh because I actually had to do this as a kid. When it is lightning outside you need to put a towel over your head (only if you have long hair) because you might get striked by lightning. I didn’t believe this but my mother made me do this as a little girl so I had no choice but to obey my well-intentioned mother. I must say when I turned 11 I stopped doing this and I have yet to be struck by lightning.
6. When my boys were babies my mother told me to shave their heads so that they could have lovely thick hair.
7. Drink lots of milk while your pregnant this will give you endless supply of milk for nursing.
Other women share their interesting cultural motherhood advice:
8. Leah was very small when she went for her 12 month checkup. I asked what I could do to beef her up a little bit. The pediatrician suggested I feed her Cheez Whiz! Is that even really a food? Who in their right mind would think that is a healthy food for a one year old? What school did this lady get her medical degree? We changed doctors immediately.
9. Don’t eat too many strawberries b/c your child will end up looking Chinese.
10. If your child is a fussy eater, don’t worry just give him chicken nuggets for his meals until he outgrows this picky eating phase.
11. Hurry, put a red string on the baby’s forehead so her hiccups will go away.
12. Your baby is so cute let me touch her so she doesn’t get “ojo”
13. If you are pregnant, you have to wear a key around your belly so your baby will not be born with a cleft lip.
14. No matter how hot it is, if your baby is asleep you have to cover him with a blanket so he won’t get air.
15. If a child is feeling ill, take an egg and rub it all over your child, especially where it hurts.
16. If your baby is drooling from teething don’t wipe it off because it will give her indigestion.
17. Don’t rock or move your baby too much because his head crown will sink in (sunken fontanelle).
18. Peel all of the skin off grapes, beans and apples if you don’t your baby will get indigestion or diarrhea.
19. On the trolley when pregnant, I reached up to hold onto the hand grip above me. I was told “Don’t lift your hand above your head or the baby will get choked by the umbilical cord!”
20. If the baby has a fever or diarrhea, he’s okay he’s just teething.
21. Put whiskey on their gums if your child is teething.
22. Don’t cut your babies nails because he will become cross-eyed.
23. Don’t tickle your baby too much because it will slow down his speech development.
24. We had a pediatrician who we asked when it was time to go from a crib to a regular bed, and he said “once the kid falls out once or twice!”
25. Your child will catch a cold if you don’t put socks on him. (it’s 90 degrees outside)
26. You should be on bed rest for 3 months after you give birth to your baby.
For more great articles:
8 Ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the Family