作者: J. Claire K. Niala

Posted with permission

Read more from Niala at In Culture Parent

翻譯:鄭宜珉

螢幕快照 2015-04-10 上午11.41.27

 

 

 

I was born and grew up in Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire.  From the age of fifteen I lived in the UK.  However, I always knew that I wanted to raise my children (whenever I had them) at home in Kenya. And yes, I assumed I was going to have them.  I am a modern African woman, with two university degrees, and a fourth generation working woman – but when it comes to children, I am typically African.  The assumption remains that you are not complete without them; children are a blessing , which would be crazy to avoid.  Actually the question does not even arise.

 

我在肯亞和象牙海岸共和國出生長,從15歲開始我住在英國。但是, 我一直都知道我想在肯亞家鄉養大我的孩子(不管我哪時會生小孩)。的確, 我設定我會生孩子我是一個現代的非洲媽媽, 擁有兩個大學學位, 是一個第四代的職業婦女---但是, 在孩子方面, 我是典型的非洲人。非洲人仍然認為, 沒有孩子, 妳就還不完整, 孩子是一種祝福, 只有瘋了, 纔會不想有孩子事實上, 要不要生孩子根本不是疑問

 

I started my pregnancy in the UK.   The urge to deliver at home was so strong that I sold my practice, setup a new business and moved house and country within five months of finding out I was pregnant. I did what most expectant mothers in the UK do – I read voraciously:, anything by Sears – the list goes on. (My grandmother later commented that babies don’t read books and really all I needed to do was “read” my baby). Everything I read said that African babies cried less than European babies. I was intrigued as to why.

 

我在英國懷孕的當時想在自家生產的想望太強烈了, 讓我在發現自己懷孕之後的5個月內, 賣掉原來的生意, 開始了新生意, 和搬到一個新房子, 新國家。我當時像所有英國的孕媽咪所作的一樣, 貪婪般的大量閱讀:像是Our Babies, Ourselves, Unconditional Parenting, 任何西爾斯(Sears)醫生的著作, 一本接一本, (我的祖母後來說, 寶寶是不看書的, 我真正需要的是去“讀”我的寶寶)我所作的所有閱讀都說, 非洲寶寶哭得比歐洲寶寶少, 我很好奇為什麼 

 

螢幕快照 2015-04-10 下午12.48.26  photo by Andy Graham

  

When I went home, I observed.  I looked out for mothers and babies and they were everywhere, thugh very young African ones, under six weeks, were mainly at home.  The first thing I noticed is that despite their ubiquitousness, it is actually quite difficult to actually “see” a Kenyan baby.  They are usually incredibly well wrapped up before being carried or strapped onto their mother (sometimes father).  Even older babies strapped onto a back are further protected from the elements by a large blanket. You would be lucky to catch sight of a limb, never mind an eye or nose. The wrapping is a womb-like replication.  The babies are literally cocooned from the stresses of the outside world into which they are entering.

 

當我回到家鄉, 我就觀察, 我到處看四處都有的媽媽和寶寶們, 雖然年齡很小(四周以下)的非洲寶寶主要都待在家裡, 我第一件注意到的事情是, 雖然很普及的到處都可以看到媽媽和寶寶, 但是卻很難真正“看到”肯亞寶寶。他們通常在揹或綁在媽媽(有時候是爸爸)身上出門之前, 都被包覆的超好,即使是比較大的寶寶, 被綁在背上時, 也會被用一條大毛毯,  進一步保護着不受太多外來刺激,妳一定要非常幸運纔會看到寶寶的四肢, 更不用說眼睛或是鼻子了,那種包裹方式像是子宮般的複製品,寶寶就真的像蛹一樣, 進入一個不被外界壓力侵擾的空間

 

My second observation was a cultural one.  In the UK, it was understood that babies cry. In Kenya, it was quite the opposite. The understanding is that babies don’t cry.  If they do – something is horribly wrong and something must be done to rectify it immediately.  My English sister-in-law summarized it well. “People here,” she said, “really don’t like babies crying, do they?”

 

我的第二個觀察是文化性的,在英國普遍的瞭解是寶寶都會哭,但是在肯亞, 恰恰相反, 當地的理解是寶寶應該是不哭的, 如果他們哭了,  一定有對他們來說可怕的事情正在發生, 一定得做些什麼事情來改變情況,我的英國妯娌就描述的好, 她說, 這裡的人真的很不喜歡寶寶哭, 對吧?!

 

It all made much more sense when I finally delivered and my grandmother came from the village to visit. As it happened, my baby did cry a fair amount. Exasperated and tired, I forgot everything I had ever read and sometimes joined in the crying too.  Yet for my grandmother it was simple, “Nyonyo (breastfeed her)!” It was her answer to every single peep.

 

這一切在我終於自己生產, 我祖母從部落來拜訪我之後, 更有道理和意義了,如所發生的, 我的寶寶哭得相當多…..因為又憤怒又疲倦, 我忘了我所閱讀過的一切, 有時候還也跟她一起哭. 但是,對我祖母來說就很簡單, “餵她吃母奶啊”她每次小哭鬧祖母都是這個答案

 

螢幕快照 2015-04-10 上午11.42.19   photo by H. Anenden

 

There were times when it was a wet nappy, or that I had put her down, or that she needed burping, but mainly she just wanted to be at the breast – it didn’t really matter whether she was feeding or just having a comfort moment. I was already wearing her most of the time and co-sleeping with her, so this was a natural extension to what we were doing.

 

有時候是尿布溼了, 或是我才剛剛把她放下, 或是她需要拍嗝, 但是大部份她只是想待在我胸前—不管她是否真的吃奶, 或是只是享受舒服的時刻, 我已經大部份時候都揹抱著她, 也跟她同床共眠了. 所以這只是我們已經在做的事情的自然延伸

 

I suddenly learned the not-so-difficult secret of the joyful silence of African babies. It was a simple needs-met symbiosis that required a total suspension of ideas of what should be happening and an embracing of what was actually going on in that moment. The bottom line was that my baby fed a lot – far more than I had ever read about and at least five times as much as some of the stricter feeding schedules I had seen.

 

我突然學到了, 非洲寶寶令人愉快的安靜背後那個不太困難的祕密了!那只是一個簡單的需求被滿足的合作關係,  這個合作關係需要我們完全暫停“現在應該做什麼了”的想法, 並擁抱“當下實際發生的一切”,底線是, 我的寶寶要餵很多次, 遠超過我所閱讀過的, 至少五倍於我看過的嚴格餵食時間表

 

At about four months, when a lot of urban mothers start to introduce solids as previous guidelines had recommended, my daughter returned to newborn-style hourly breastfeeding, which was a total shock. Over the past four months, the time between feeds had slowly started to increase.   I had even started to treat the odd patient without my breasts leaking or my daughter’s nanny interrupting the session to let me know my daughter needed a feed.

 

在大概4個月大時, 當很多都會媽媽, 開始像之前提過的教養指引所建議的, 給寶寶固體食物時, 我女兒卻回到新生兒時期模式的每小時哺餵, 當時是個大震撼。在過去四個月, 每次哺育之間的時間其實已經開始拉長了 我都已經可以開始治療病患, 不會噴漏母乳或是我女兒的保姆得打斷療程, 讓我知道我女兒需要餵奶了

 

Most of the mothers in my mother and baby group had duly started to introduce baby rice (to stretch the feeds) and all the professionals involved in our children’s lives – pediatricians, even doulas, said that this was ok. Mothers needed rest too, we had done amazingly to get to four months exclusively breastfeeding, and they assured us our babies would be fine. Something didn’t ring true for me and even when I tried, half-heartedly, to mix some pawpaw (the traditional weaning food in Kenya) with expressed milk and offer it to my daughter, she was having none of it.

 

大部份在我的親子團體的媽媽們已經適時的給寶寶吃米飯(來拉長哺育之間的時間), 所有在我們孩子生活當中的專家們, 小兒科醫師, 甚至是陪產士都說是沒關係的, 媽媽們也需要休息, 我們已經很棒的渡過了4個月純母乳的生活, 他們跟我們確保寶寶會沒問題的但是就是有東西在告訴我這不是真的, 即使我半信半疑的嘗試了, 把一些pawpaw (一種肯亞的斷奶食品)跟擠出來的母乳混在一起, 給我女兒吃, 她完全沒吃

 

So I called my grandmother. She laughed and asked if I had been reading books again.  She carefully explained how breastfeeding was anything but linear. “She’ll tell you when she’s ready for food – and her body will too.”  “What will I do until then?” I was eager to know.“You do what you did before, regular nyonyo.”

 

So my life slowed down to what felt like a standstill again.

 

While many of my contemporaries marveled at how their children were sleeping longer now that they had introduced baby rice and were even venturing to other foods, I was waking hourly or every two hours with my daughter and telling patients that the return to work wasn’t panning out quite as I had planned.

 

所以我打給我祖母, 她笑了, 還問我是不是又讀了什麼書她仔細解釋了餵母奶如何是一切, 但就不是線性的。“當她準備好吃食物時會告訴你的”—她的身體也會

 

在那之前我該怎麼做?我很急切想知道

 

“妳就像之前做的那樣, 常常ㄋㄟㄋㄟ所以我的生活慢下來了, 慢到像停頓了一樣,在我的同伴們已經開始在驚訝她們的寶寶已經睡得長的多,她們也已經給寶寶吃米飯, 甚至還嘗試過其他食物的冒險時, 我還在每小時或是每兩小時醒過來餵我女兒, 並告訴我的病人, 回到工作職場的進度似乎不如我原先計畫的那樣

 

I soon found that quite unwittingly, I was turning into an informal support service for other urban mothers. My phone number was doing the rounds and many times while I was feeding my baby I would hear myself uttering the words, “Yes, just keep feeding him/ her. Yes, even if you have just fed them. Yes, you might not even manage to get out of your pajamas today. Yes, you still need to eat and drink like a horse. No, now might not be the time to consider going back to work if you can afford not to.” And finally, I assured mothers, “It will get easier.” I had to just trust this last one as it hadn’t gotten easier for me, yet.

 

很快地, 我在不知情的情況下發現, 我變成了一些其他都市媽媽們非正式的支持來源, 我的電話響個不停, 很多時候我得一邊餵奶, 一邊聽得自己在電話上說: “是啊, 就是繼續餵就對了, 是啊,  就算你剛餵過了也是, 是啊, 搞不好你今天一整天都沒機會脫掉睡衣呢, 是啊, 你還是得像馬兒般吃多喝多呢, 不不, 如果能負擔得起不工作的話, 現在可能還不是考慮到職場的時機”最後, 我會跟媽媽們確認, 會越來越輕鬆的, 我得至少相信這件事, 因為我也還沒有比較輕鬆

 

A week or so before my daughter turned five months, we traveled to the UK for a wedding and for her to meet family and friends. Because I had very few other demands, I easily kept up her feeding schedule. Despite the disconcerted looks of many strangers as I fed my daughter in many varied public places (most designated breastfeeding rooms were in restrooms which I just could not bring myself to use), we carried on.

 

我女兒5個月前一周左右, 我們到英國旅行, 參加一場婚禮並讓她見見一些親友, 因為我沒有什麼需求, 我還是很輕易的保持她原來的餵奶時程, 雖然很多陌生人對我在許多公共場合餵奶投以驚訝的眼光(多數設計來作餵奶的房間都在廁所裡, 我就是不能讓自己用這樣的地方), 我們還是繼續。

 

At the wedding, the people whose table we sat at noted, “She is such an easy baby – though she does feed a lot.” I kept my silence. Another lady commented, “Though I did read somewhere that African babies don’t cry much.” I could not help but laugh.

 

在婚禮上,同桌的人注意到 “她好好帶好乖唷, 雖然要一直吃奶”我保持沈默, 另一個女士說著 “不過我有在某個地方讀到過, 非洲的寶寶是不太哭的”我忍不住笑了出來

 

My Grandmother’s gentle wisdom:

 

我祖母的溫柔智慧

 

1. Offer the breast every single moment that your baby is upset – even if you have just fed her.

寶寶不高興時就給她奶, 即使你剛剛餵過

 

2. Co-sleep. Many times you can feed your baby before they are fully awake, which will allow them to go back to sleep easier and get you more rest.

和寶寶一起睡, 很多時候妳就可以在他們完全清醒之前餵寶寶, 這樣他們就可以比較容易睡著, 你也會可以多休息

 

3. Always take a flask of warm water to bed with you at night to keep you hydrated and the milk flowing.

永遠在晚上帶一瓶水到床邊, 保持自己水分充足, 乳汁流暢

 

4. Make feeding your priority (especially during growth spurts) and get everyone else around you to do as much as they can for you. There is very little that cannot wait.

讓餵奶變成你的第一優先(尤其在奶陣來時), 讓身邊周遭的人儘量幫你的忙, 很少有什麼事情是真的完全不能等的

 

5.Read your baby, not the books. Breastfeeding is not linear – it goes up and down and also in circles. You are the expert on your baby’s needs.

要“讀”寶寶, 不是讀書, 餵母奶不是線性的過程, 會上下變動, 有時會循環, 你是自己的寶寶的專家

 

螢幕快照 2015-04-10 上午11.43.54  photo by E.B. Sylvester

 

Dr. J. Claire K. Niala是個母親, 作家, 和整骨師, 很喜歡探索世界各國整骨文化的不同, 很感激整骨仍留存在全世界很多文化下。她在肯亞出生, 在肯亞, 象牙海岸共和國和英國長大, 在三個洲工作居住, 自從12歲起, 每年至少拜訪一個新國家, 她最愛的旅伴是她的媽媽和女兒, 女兒的故事和對他人的興趣讓她用之前未曾想像的方式和世界互動, 想多瞭解Niala的話, 可以閱讀In Culture Parent

 

Dr. J. Claire K. Niala is a mother, writer and osteopath who enjoys exploring the differences that thankfully still exist between various cultures around the world. She was born in Kenya and grew up in Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire and the UK. She has worked and lived on three continents and has visited at least one new country every year since she was 12 years old. Her favorite travel companions are her mother and daughter whose stories and interest in others bring her to engage with the world in ways she would have never imagined. Read more from Niala at In Culture Parent

 

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