N.B This post was originally published in January 2016.

Having a baby can be quite overwhelming, and is probably the single most life-changing event.

However, there are some special little quirks that come with the experience in different parts of the world, and Lebanon is no exception. With its love for family and obsession with all things tradition and etiquette, you can easily foresee that any milestone in life will have its share of Lebanese accessories that come along with it.

1. You have a 40 day long visiting frenzy instead of a maternity leave.

Lebanon is all about extended family, and it is that very importance places on the value of family that gives it that warm and welcoming aura you don’t find everywhere else. However, that can sometimes be overwhelming… and having a baby is definitely one of those times. Basically, you will need a personal maid and your mother and whoever else can help out just to make sure the house is always ready to welcome more and more guests, adding to all of your post-baby craziness. It is in this period of time that all of the people you and your spouse ever knew will pay you a visit.

2. Be prepared to get lots of new wishes (or even requests) for a new baby brother or sister for the baby (yes already!).

(Image via newlovetimes.com)

In spite of your newborn being very new, you will still get many, many well-meaning relatives and friends expressing their wishes for another new addition to your family. You will literally be holding your week old baby and have a person ask you when you’re planning on having another - it’s just a continuation of the endless array of wishes that you’ve been receiving since before you could walk. However, it can be quite hilariously distressing to a new mama who’s still recovering from the first biggest change of her life.

3. Make room for lots and lots and lots of traditional “Mighle” pudding.

If you’re planning on losing that baby weight as soon as possible, think again. All that hibernating time consisting of lots of one-on-one with the baby at home, and the sheer abundance of the “mighle” that surrounds you will result in an endless snack-fest: an exhausted mommy binging on those pretty little pudding glasses . Don’t feel guilty, we’ve all done it and all the future generations of Lebanese mommies will do it as long as it remains tradition. So when baby sleeps, relax take a deep breath and have your pudding, woman!

4. Your baby somehow looks like your father, your spouse, your mother-in law, and your grandpa all at the same time.

They’re all excited to see the little one, and they all want him or her to resemble their side of the family so get used to this. In fact, even if they are not part of the family they will surely have an opinion as to who the baby resembles most. At times it will feel like one big guessing game where each has a turn at , and it will sometimes have your head spinning as you become absolutely clueless as to who your own baby might actually look like (he may just look like himself, or not even that yet either). The more heated the argument gets, the more the chance that the grandmothers will bring out their personal weapons: you and your spouse’s baby pictures. Let the competition begin!

5. You will have a lavish newborn chocolate stand, just like all your friends.

Trends quickly catch on like fire in Lebanon, and before you know it, something easily becomes a must. Just like you cannot have a wedding without all of the grandeur in Lebanon, you cannot simply bring home a baby without having a wonderfully decorated stand of chocolates, sweets, and all the candy in the world in your living room before you arrive from the hospital. Don’t get us wrong, you will definitely enjoy choosing little souvenirs as a warm welcome for your little bundle of joy, but be aware that this has been turned into a fiasco. It used to just be a basic tray of chocolates!

6. Try to bite back your “feminist” tongue.

Yes, even in 2016 you have to brace yourself for sexist remarks from at least one person. For example, many relatives will constantly wish upon you another male if your first-born was a boy, even if you clearly desire a girl. And in case your first was a girl, the wishes will come in the form of encouragements with assurance that next time it will be a boy! Even if this makes your heart race, there will be times where you will just have to nod in agreement, grit your teeth, and smile back with a thank you. Some things never (or might take ages) to change and it’s best not to waste what little energy you have correcting this ridiculousness.

7. You’ll get lots and lots of unsolicited motherly advice, and not just from your mother.

(Image via thesun.co.uk)

If there was ever a time that you’d expect to receive tons of unsolicited advice, this is it. You would think the advice would mainly be limited to a mother and mother-in law sort of thing, but it is not. These conversations can sometimes go on and on with no ends, as the pull and push of opinions starts to move back and forth into a stormy cloud of confusion mainly for the one who is new at this and who didn’t really ask for the advice anyway. Everyone has an opinion about how your baby should sleep, eat, sit, and breathe.

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