Thursday, April 10, 2014

Travelling around Jordan with a baby.

I always thought that travelling with a baby would be stressful and hard work.  Being on the road with Ayla has been a wonderful experience.  Yes, it has been hard work, but it has been incredibly enjoyable.  Our travelling life has changed dramatically.  We have had to be very organised and we are constantly thinking about Ayla and her needs.  We have both become very aware of what she needs and when she needs it.    For a 3 month old baby, her routine is solid so it is easy to know what comes next.

Travelling around Jordan with a baby has been lovely.  Jordanians love children so we have gotten lots of attention on this trip - well, Ayla has gotten the attention.  It was amazing to walk around Petra and people to comment on what a happy baby we have.

One thing that no one warned me about was how much touching Jordanian people like to do to babies.  I've had to tell several people not to touch the baby.  People would just come up and stick their dirty hands in her face!  There are no boundaries in this culture when it comes to kids.  One man even picked her up out of her car seat without asking us!  I quickly took a picture of him.  I had visions in my head of him running away with her so I took his picture in order to hunt him down if he did.  He was a kind man though with a daughter of his own.  He knew a lot about and adored babies.  Even so, I could tell that Ayla was not comfortable with him and for the first time ever, she cried when a stranger came near.   Normally, she is very friendly and smiley, but she was not happy that the man didn't ask if she wanted to be picked up.

He was sweet and gave her an orange.  He told me, 'if she is clever, she will put the orange to her mouth.'  Of course, she did just that.  He was also very happy to hear that I was breastfeeding!  I was very surprised at how knowledgeable he was about it.  Apparently, it is instructed in the Quran that mothers must breastfeed their baby for 2 years and that breast milk is best for baby.

This was taken from: 

The Yemen Times is running an article series right now that explores what Islamic Law has to say about things like breastfeeding. It makes for interesting reading whether you are a practicing Muslim or not.

From the article:
Islam prescribed breastfeeding and commanded children do so until they attain full power and strength, as breastfeeding greatly impacts children's growth and development. Allah gave the required time period for breastfeeding. He said, “The mothers shall give suckling to their children for two whole years.” (Al-Baqarah: 233) 
Note the two whole years comment. I thought this was interesting as it fits with the time periods of developing countries, but is considered "extended" by most within the western world. I can't say that the comment is surprising though as most of the "old" religions like Judism, Christianity and Islam teach positively about the act of nursing a child.

The article goes on to say:
If the mother is not divorced, she should breastfeed her child as a religious obligation, not because she is the natural mother. If she is divorced, then nursing is dealt with as nafaqah (financial support), as established in the Shari`ah. Nafaqah of the child is the father's responsibility. The father must give the mother compensation for her nursing. If she refuses to nurse, then it is incumbent upon the father to find and hire the child a wet-nurse. However, scholars make it mandatory upon the mother to nurse her child if the child refuses nursing by any other or if the father doesn't have sufficient funds to hire a wet-nurse.

The article goes on to discuss the rights of wet-nurses, the decision to wean and several other issues related to child-rearing. 

Here are Ayla and I having a picnic in Petra.

I felt very nervous breastfeeding here.  I was concerned about negative comments, but I received none and people left me to do what needed to be done.

Ayla's first holiday and it is to Petra - lucky girl.

Ayla being changed in a cave.

I love this picture of her.

Our experience travelling around Jordan with a baby has been good.  Albeit a little challenging at certain times, but most of the time it has been easy.  As long as you are organised, flexible and have little expectations, you will have fun and people will receive you well.  Just be prepared to stand your ground and to be honest with people.  If you are breastfeeding, it is best to bring a shield and to find somewhere quiet.  I only breastfed in public at The Treasury in Petra, but I tried to do so discreetly as possible.  I think if the place you are visiting has many tourists, it is ok, but a local place with local people might be different.

1 comment:

  1. Ayla is adorable. You have a beautiful little girl. Andrea