Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Classic woman!!

New mommies, girl pals and my mommy generation and beyond! A shout out to you all! A big round of applause for creating each other and defining each other and getting us girls here, where we are, with  girls and boys of our own too!! Ok this is getting slightly convoluted…but am wayyyy too excited to stop here and pause! Well no! it’s no Eureka moment for me! Well it is in a way! Gosh!! This is getting so exciting and revealing at the same time I really need to get to the point!
We women, we girls are way beyond amazing! Yes we are! No I mean we are not just amazing because we think we are, but because our bodies have been programmed to be amazing, we produce children, we procreate! Now in this age of feminist undertones and alpha male overtones and what not idealistic noise, as I prefer to call it, here is something so fundamental and so basic that even I am guilty of having overlooked it completely!
When motherhood dawned upon me I first realized that something is wrong, well when I had difficulty conceiving, I felt stupid, vulnerable and helpless. I did not know whom to blame when all our tests came out normal! It was a combination of so many pressures, the pressure to outperform a habit I picked up since school days, the pressure to get what I want, the ultra independent woman way, the pressure to answer/rebut the stupid questions following X years of marriage and so many other aspects. Most of all I felt completely whacked out of my whole life harmony till then! I had always meticulously planned, worked hard and got what I wanted. And here I was, thinking creating babies, well the beggar on the street gets them too, big deal a complete low IQ thing…just happens…well was I in for a surprise? Big time!
Turns out that creating children and rearing them is the most important and intelligent of all pursuits that we can ever have! We are creating a new generation which shall stay on long after we have completed our own pursuit of ego and achievement. As a Gen Y er I too never gave as much thought to “children and all that stuff”, always thinking I can adopt big deal! But it was never about giving birth vs adopting, it was way deeper than that. It was about my own body, my own wellness and my own life! Sadly no education in the world teaches children about this biggest and single most important aspect of life! Procreation and wellness! Don’t get me wrong, mere sex education is worthless here. We need more than that -empathy and understanding of our bodies, bodily functions, their emotional, physical and physiological implications. Something as fundamental as menstruation cycles, totally thought they just were created to stop me from practicing basketball! Hell no!

They were telling me and my body a lot lot more…only I realized it all well much later when the doctors told me about it all! And for the doctor it was scant information scattered here and there, but when I realized myself that PCOS, fibroids, type two diabetes,  dysfunctional thyroid are definitely not normal occurrences, why they are like sirens wailing out from your body telling you to stop abusing it! Even irregular periods, moodiness, boredom, weak sexual desire, excess or diminished appetite, plain forgetfulness are all indicators to bigger deep set problems, we just need to fine tune into our bodies, understand what is our body trying to tell us and act likewise. Today there is a lot of information, it is empowering and we must as literate, techno-savy women empower ourselves, inform ourselves train our minds to search for all answers. No longer is health a bastion of doctors, no, it’s your body and you better take care of it! Nature has set it out so beautifully and yet in such a complex fashion, it humbles us, boggles our mind and then finally helps us get in touch with our inner selves, our bodies, and eventually our own gut feel, instinct and soul. This lovely TEDx talk opens up new possibilities in which we can view ourselves and in the future help our daughters and sons view themselves and their partners.
Being mother by giving birth or adoption is a choice under varied circumstances, but being a woman is not a choice, it’s a reality and an empowering one at it! It’s a perpetual journey towards fine tuning ourselves towards that inner rhythm which is intrinsically humming a song of creation, of existence and nurturing…be it creating children, masterpieces or business empires, be it existing for family, for society or nations, be it nurturing relationships, environment or spirituality.
Enjoy the journey of womanhood!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Responsible parenting-the fun way to grow!

Ask any new parent; hey did you catch up on the latest blockbuster? The last failed dud movie? Come let’s sit n trash it apart! Laugh at the silliness and admire the costumes…well am sure you wouldn’t even get this far in your conversation, because of course new parents cannot go to movies! Well do you recall seeing such a notice at the movie hall? Nope there isn’t any, but hey who has the time!! Bringing up babies is serious stuff…Time passes by and you forget to catch up with your new parent buddies and after a few years  if you ask them, hey did you catch up on any new movies? Sure! And guess what, they were all children’s movies!! The baby now bosses over the parent’s choice…think again! Is it so? Do you take your children to children’s movies just because the children demand so? Well then think again, which have been your favorite movies growing up? Am sure each one of us has fond memories of cartoon films and animation films from childhood. It’s gloriously delightful to share each and every nuance and experience of your own with your child…and then why are you holding back your share of favorite movies from your child?

 Just don’t do that! Share all those lovely old movies which had different messages, morals and such innocent storylines…let your children discover that magic is not gender based, each amazing character doesn’t have to be a hero, each princess doesn’t have to be rescued! Each prince doesn’t need to go out alone, trust some animals over a princess for performing any heroic deed…you can sure read between lines and discover that the plots of children’s movies have slowly fed into the children the gender bias…am sure we don’t want to raise yet another generation biased about their differences, can they not learn to be a team? Can they not learn to co-exist? Such wet cement age influences need to be not only monitored but also changed, not all can produce new movies but we can certainly search through our memories and internet to find a treasure trove of movies where the team wins, where the girls lead and don’t wait for the prince to come and rescue them! Can we have new fairy tales which are fair to both the genders please?
If you like and agree with me, here’s a nice TEDx talk about this…

Monday, November 11, 2013

Travelling with a baby 0-12 months

Most mothers dread going out after having a baby! Gone are the days when you could just grab a purse or just mobile phone, keys and card and go! Well travelling with kids is the other extreme. You have to be prepared for everything and more, if you could, you wish you could carry your house along, in case you might need it too!! Well this pretty much explains why most new moms avoid travel! Not to mention the unflattering figure you might perceive yourself to be in! Well all of the above is not really true! Be proud of your mommy figure and work hard to get back in those pre-mommyhood jeans, am sure each one of us will succeed!
Now getting back to dragging your house along for travel! Good idea! Well not really! As far as I was concerned, the nomadichic in me could not sit at home for long, within the first three months of mandated rest I was up and riding a motorcycle, a car and was really aching to do my first trip with Baby A!
First few times I literally took the home with me except the walls! But I learned quickly that the babies really don’t need everything! Just a bit of each thing! Okay whatever does this mean! :P
Here are some common things which a mommy on the go always needs to have on person no matter how long or short her travel is! In case of short travel, this becomes an exhaustive list, in case of long travel, it becomes her go-to bag!
Diaper bag essentials
1.      Diaper bag: I too used a lovely cute diaper bag for a while, It’s pretty handy but soon I graduated to carrying a backpack! Its way more convenient and easy to carry! The diaper bag can be used over a shoulder or used as a sling bag but in case you have to carry your baby in your hands, then this bag suddenly becomes very unwieldy! A backpack is very well balanced on your back and the weight is evenly distributed on your shoulders so you don’t have aching shoulders or cramps in your back, apart from having to carry the baby as well! But each mother can have different needs and she knows best her needs and style quotient too! J
2.      Inside the bag! : Well diapers essentially, cloth diapers or regular ones depending up on what you prefer for your tiny one’s tush! How many is the golden question here! Well, generally babies require a diaper every 4-6 hours and if their potty timings are pretty irregular, you would want to carry a few more! Depending on the number of hours you will be out, always carry diapers accordingly and just add 2 more to the count in case you feel the need to! For example you have changed the baby’s diapers just before leaving home and you shall be driving for 5 hours with two breaks in between, carry 3 diapers, one in case you really find the diaper filled in the due course of the journey and 2 more in case you really need to use them! But it is unnecessary burden to tug along the entire case of diapers for each and every journey. I have a small tote, which holds 2 diapers, a small packet of wet wipes, disposable bags, diaper rash cream tube, small plastic sheet and a small toy. This is the only thing I carry on most trips around the city. I rarely have needed more than that!
In case of long trips, it would be ideal to have this tote or small bag, and additional 5 diapers in the bag. Remaining diapers can either be stashed inside the big luggage bag or ideally brought at the nearest supermarket at your destination. This saves a lot of space and weight while travelling.
3.      Wet wipes: They come handy for so many situations! Just carry a small packet in your regular tote and put a larger box inside your main luggage in case of long distance travel.
4.      Small plastic sheet: This comes handy when you are not sure of the surroundings where you shall lay down the baby to change, even at airport changing stations, it’s better to have your own plastic sheet, (which you duly wash when at home) before laying down the baby.
5.      Disposable bags: I have found the pet poop bag dispenser better than the designed for human version! :P it’s easy to find one in most places and pretty light weight. You may choose to get a regular baby diaper disposable  bag dispenser!
6.      Small toy: Always carry a small toy which makes a small interesting sound and can be held by the baby. A small wooden or plastic rattle is your best bet! When you are changing the baby, it might try and turn or simply cry…you have too many things to pay attention to at that time, so you’d rather give this tiny toy to your baby to entertain itself while you get the work done! Works like a wonder if the toy is known to the baby.
In addition to these basics you can keep adding stuff to the mommy tote for long term trips, a few long trip essentials are
1.      Baby carrier: Trust me till your baby is over 20 lbs it’s your best bet! I totally love my beco baby carrier!* It came in interesting print and color, the baby loved its feel and it was so easy and comfy to carry! I have used it on numerous plane journeys, on walks, trails and even treks! Yes I have trekked with Baby A through dense woods which ended in a waterfall! And she was nearly 22 lbs that time! It’s easy and fun and always worth it! And while travelling by any mode of public transport from buses to planes always wear your baby! never carry the carrier in luggage! You can thank me for that later! :P

On a trek with Baby A in the carrier!

Do your research well, get a carrier which is not too bulky, you can wear it yourself alone without any assistance, be sure all the buckles and clasps are of high quality and snap perfectly in place, there are no poor stitches which might come off during use.
Also the material should not only look good but also be breathable. It’s always better to get a cotton based carrier; you can clothe the baby according to weather rather than having a bulky weather-proof carrier.
2.      Stroller: The most light and effective stroller worked well for me. Just the plain fold able wonder with basic hood and safety features. I was looking for a stroller that I can easily carry through airports and fit into overhead bins of a plane if there was a need to…Strollers come in various sizes, shapes and wheel arrangements. If you see yourself travelling frequently via planes or public transport, the small fold able strollers are your best bet, in case of local travel, jogger strollers or the bulky weather-proof ones should be great. Depending on your most encountered road conditions and weather conditions you should buy a stroller to keep your baby safe and riding smoothly in the stroller. Always keep one cuddly toy stashed in the stroller for the baby to play with in case the baby is bored with the sights around or it can double up as a pillow in case the tiny one decides to take a nap!
3.      Spare clothes: Spare clothes for the baby are the obvious but surprise surprise, keep a spare set of mom/dad clothes too in your travel tote. Why? Well if you are travelling with the baby, it’s bound to delightfully smear gooey applesauce, some milk burped off or some such icky thing on your clothes too! And no one quite likes to smell of formula or milk or applesauce, if they did, they’d make perfumes of such smells! Gahh!! :P
So my dearies always keep a spare shirt or tee-shirt for you as well while travelling.
4.      Small engaging toys: The gizmo age generation quite entertains itself with numerous smart phone apps! They are delightful and saviors in so many situations but then again, there better be some engaging toys when the phone batteries decide to die! Ha ha! Just carry one or two of them and if it is a long trip, carry a few more in the main luggage and keep rotating the toys so the baby feels it has something new each day.
5.      Small blankets or wraps: Keep one of these goody wraps in your tote, it can be the small baby blanket when the baby dozes off or something to quickly place your baby on to, in case you need to change the baby in airport or strange bathrooms, also if you breastfeed and need an extra cover, just tuck this blanket’s edge in your shirt close to your neck and voila you have a quick breastfeeding cover!
6.      Baby food: Okay! This one was pretty easy and forgettable for me! I breastfed baby A till she turned one! So I was the on-the-go snacking station for her, helped her n me a lot through all those flights, the take offs and landings have been a dream! She could easily snuggle close to me and also drinking milk kept her from crying and the air pressure change did not affect her. Not breastfeeding? feel odd about breastfeeding in public? well for starters you shouldn't feel so! It’s your baby’s birthright. In case of your baby being on formula it would be ideal to carry a thermos of warm water and dry formula, so you can mix it on the go. In case of air travel, they will allow you to carry one flask or thermos but there are always Starbucks outlets, they sell you full fat milk and spare some warm water too! You can always buy distilled water in case you run out of boiled water for the baby! :)Always carry some disposable liquid soap, a bottle brush and two milk bottles and one water bottle for the baby. The soap and brush come handy to rinse off the bottles in the long journey. And in case your baby is already on cow milk, just carry ice-packs and buy milk on the go. Pour the milk directly from the milk carton into the bottle and adjust for water quantity in case you add water to the milk or else the baby can directly have milk without warming it as you’d do at home. Just ensure you buy pasteurized whole milk. Carry one snack like raisins or gelatin sweets in your tote as emergency distractions. For other snack ideas refer to my blog post on Home-made baby food  here.
I also found the new squeeze food packets very handy while travelling i found Happy baby and Plum organics very safe n relatively chemical free!*. In case you use them, keep a small baby bib and spoon handy!
This is a long post, of course reading a long post once is lot easier than lugging around the whole house!
A few more parting tips
Carry essential medicines for the baby in case of overseas travel or any journey longer than one day. Also always try and follow the food and sleep timings of the baby even across time zones. For e.g. you are travelling from say India time zone to any other, as a mom or primary care-giver always keep your wrist watch on India time and follow that as your baby’s time-keeper till you reach your destination and have slept through one night in the new time zone, then slowly shift the baby to the local time zone.
Happy travelling! It’s easy and beyond all of this above its your own positive enthusiasm that carries you through! Read on my own semi-horrific travel misadventure with my baby on my blog nomadichic: Homecoming…it still did not deter me from travelling so much with Baby A, it’s always a delight!!!Read here about another delightful travel tale with baby A Trek on baby!

* I have not been paid to endorse any of the brands mentioned above! It is a happy recommendation after using these products over a period of time!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Mom Song!

I have been really not keeping up with my blogs regularly, am sorry about that! Just a wee bit system failure on the home turf! All my plans keep coming apart dang! Being mom is not all that easy! And does it get any better from where I stand? Well we’ll see! Being the CEO of our homes n hearths is no easy task and requires as much planning as it requires running a company! Ok maybe more! Your investments come out of your heart and soul! So the stakes are really high up there!!
And so finally while I key in this post, at this very moment my lil one is out there ravaging my closet, which I put in order for the 199th time since yesterday! Okay exaggerating! But please get the point! Toddlers are so filled with energy and curiosity that nothing is more exciting than doing that-what-is-told-as-do-NOT-do!! Be it chewing mom’s slippers, eating off the floor! Yay! Better immunity! Be it ravaging mom’s closet, tearing newspapers-the unread ones that is! Be it snacking on leaves from the garden or any weird thing you could have never thought of! Well, the toddler is sure to have not only thought of it but acted likewise as well!!
I have a self decided no-yell policy with Baby A, but now-a-days am more like erring on the wrong side of it, it gets crazy to just walk in a room to see all freshly ironed clothes, suddenly crumpled again without even wearing them once! Just to see your favorite make-up all over the bathroom floor! A drenched toddler who emerges from the self bath only to sit merrily on the bed! So voila you have soaked bedding, bed and a baby who might catch cold!! N NO you are not supposed to YELL!!! Why be Buddha when you can be Mom!!
So why all this ranting on this blog! My mom sob day is here! Ta da!! Well nope thank you! This is fun and challenging me too!!

Just wanted to share this fun rap I found for today’s post!
The MOM SONG!! Totally loved it! Here it is for all of you!

Thanks to Wellness Mama, I found the song on her super wonderful blog!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We, the women

Being a daughter, wife and mother, I think life has now come the full circle. Being a mother brought a lot of awareness into my life. I was never aware of nutrition, wellness and overall developmental stages of humans and now I have a treasure trove of information to guide me on my journey of bringing up my daughter. I think it is very important to raise children with utmost awareness, they are your direct contribution to society, its wellbeing or destruction depending upon how you have raised your child. As mothers the responsibility lies on us to raise the collective consciousness of society, sow hope, love and empathy in young hearts so that the society of the future is filled with blossoming hope, love and empathy! That makes our role as parents very vital and very important. Given the sweeping changes in the world around us, sometimes we ourselves are mired with confusion, in conflict with our values and ethics. We are riddled with changing economic dynamics, changing relationship equations and our own bodies and souls. Then how can we ever focus on the child? Well there lies the answer. Collect our own lives, tidy up our routines, fill them with laughter, smiles, songs and exercise! Because children won’t listen, they will emulate…they will mimic their immediate environment. So instead of cursing the world around, becoming more mistrusting and sorrowful we have to make the best use of this opportunity we have, to contribute meaningfully to society in the present and the future.
Being a mother to a daughter has its own joys and worries! But when I find myself confused about my own career path, my own ambitions and reality, I doubted how can ever tell Baby A that go ahead, dream on! Achieve what you want to…
I have been in a process of seeking answers for myself and on my way I have found some real inspiring bits…today am sharing them all for all other parents around me, it lovely to know what other mothers think do and believe!

And lastly this wonderful movie/documentary which i insist each mother should see, to understand that if we human mothers were compared to other animal mothers, we sure have a lot to learn from them! How they take care of their young ones and how they are prepared to kill and die in order to give their young ones the hope of life! 'To the arctic' is a story of a polar bear mother with twin bears and how she leads them through the most wild, unforgiving landscape left on earth, to survival, to hope and life! 

Hope we keep learning a lot along this wonderful journey of motherhood!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hospital bag – Essentials

Finally all the trimesters are over and the D-day is round the corner, you will be in labor and as if by magic everything will be fine! Well nice to know that! But hello!! We live in a real world with real needs, for the new mother and child! So than sending the family running out to buy stuff or even get things from home, make the most of your hospital stay, the first few hours and days with the newborn! Plan ahead! Simply!
Around the end of month 8, it is a good time to start packing your hospital bag tentatively.
Just keep putting in things, and finally when your final delivery date and schedule is confirmed by your doctor, pack the bag completely and ensure that your spouse or parent who is accompanying you to the hospital is aware of what all has been packed and in which order. So that you don’t have to divide your attention again, hunting for trivial things, when all you wish to do is give complete attention to your child!
If every trip, every journey requires planning and packing bags, this is a super journey for life, so packing and planning are very much a part of it!
According to the Indian belief, new clothes and baby things are not to be purchased before the birth of the child. But today we can clearly rationalize that this belief must have stemmed from a pure economic perspective, poverty and high infant mortality rate at that time. Today such is not the case, all your tests are periodically done, the fetal growth is charted methodically and medical care is always at hand, so keep aside your anxiety and fears and shop the basic essentials for your baby or gratefully accept hand me downs.
But do not overdo anything, all cute fanciful things, frilly clothes, shiny shoes…hold them all! The baby is going to be quite small, with extremely delicate skin, you need to select the softest and most firm fabric for your baby clothes. According to the season you can pack in more or less warm clothes, woolens, but do not omit them ever from your bag. Even summer babies, they need more warmth than grown ups!
Now to the actual bag packing, firstly understand that there will be two sections to your stuff.
One is clothing and essentials for the new mother, the other are clothing and essentials for the new born baby.
Hospitals will provide gowns and sanitary napkins for new mothers, but for your own comfort I would suggest carrying your own gowns and sanitary napkins.
Now here is the list of things for new mothers

List of Essentials for the Mother-To-Be

1.     2 nursing gowns
2.     2 nursing bras
3.     Minimum 3 pairs of Washable breast pads
4.     Maternity sanitary napkins
5.     Maternity sanitary pants
6.     Slippers
7.     Breast Pump (optional)
8.     Nipple Shields (if recommended-Buy only Madela)
9.     4 panties
10.  Disposable glasses
11.  1 Plate, bowl, spoon, thermos, knife
12.  2 ltr water bottle with water
13.  2 Face towels
14.   Bathroom kit (Soap, Toothbrush, Toothpaste)
15.  Cosmetic Kit (Comb, powder, cream etc)

This list is pretty exhaustive in itself. Do not add too many fancy items to this. You are not going shopping or travelling to a tourist destination, but going to a hospital. Focus on comfort and durability. It’s cute to have a light pink or baby blue gown n some neat polka dotted dress a la Princess Kate…

but no, recall your worst menstruation period, with heavy bleeding and magnify it thrice that is the kind of flow you might have after delivery. After all its 9 months of no periods, so is it some revenge! Nah! This is not your regular periods, this is lochia the blood loss you will have after delivery. It is more likely you will spoil your initial gowns, so have some sturdy cotton gowns with darker shades or big prints, in case of staining. After the first two or three days, once you gauge your fitness levels and lochia flow, bring on the pastel shades! J
If you need to add your mobile phone, your music player to this list you may do it! But I would suggest in the last week before delivery or at least 2 days before your due-date had over your phone to your spouse or parents, and focus on the major event in your life, do not be distracted by trivial and material pursuits which can wear you down. So generally avoid watching TV or getting chatty on the phone etc.
Now the list for the baby

 List of Essentials for the Baby-To-Be

1.     3-4 Full Jumpsuits( with socks)
2.     Minimum 6 onesies or baby shirts
3.     Minimum 6 cloth diapers or baby swaddlers
4.     1 Quick dry sheet
5.     1 mackintosh sheet ( for potty cleaning time)
6.      Diapers (New Born Size, Small pack)
(If in India prefer buying Huggies diapers, for the first 3 months because they fit well to the Indian baby’s smallish tush! ;))
7.     4 pairs of mittens
8.     4 pairs of socks
9.     5 cotton sheets for baby cribs/ bed (washed and free of any residual soap etc)
10.  3-4 baby caps
11.  1 small bowl and spoon, 1 small bottle for feeding in case latching takes time
12.  Cotton Bundle / Baby Wipes for cleaning potty
13.  2 Baby wraps/ Swaddle cloths
14.  Baby’s Mosquito Net (Applies if there are mosquitoes in your region)
15.  Bathroom kit ( baby soap, cream, oil, diaper rash cream, hair brush, powder)
( Soap, oil, cream,
 diaper rash cream, Powder )
16.  Cotton sheets  for cushioning the baby cot ( to cover over  what the hospital provides)

You should also ask your spouse to pack charged camera batteries, camera equipment, essential contacts list on paper, list of people you wish to first inform about your baby’s birth and also all your hospital records neatly filed and kept aside for emergency reference. This is very important that this file is handy for your doctor to refer. You may keep a cardigan or knitted jacket for your own self in case you feel cold after delivery.
Also request your visitors, friends and relatives to avoid coming in for the first 3 days after delivery if possible. So you have maximum time for your baby to bond, to let all the reality of parenthood sink into you. Also in case it is not possible, request visitors to stick to the visitor timings of the hospital. And never wake the baby when there are visitors, unless the child is awake. Young babies need a lot of sleep and rest in order to grow well. The baby has endured a long journey to be in your arms. Baby photos n displays can and must wait till about a week after childbirth. Also the very first pictures of your baby are indeed treasures! But on a side note, avoid using flash while taking pictures of your baby. Insist on that each and every time someone wants to click a picture of your child. The eyes of small babies are still adjusting to light, after being in the womb for 9 long months; they are still gaining control over their optic nerves. Sudden flash startles the baby and confuses the response generated. Hold off the flash until your child is about 6 months old and has a steady gaze.
So pack in advance, enjoy the actual trip to the hospital, cradle your most creative creation in your arms and smile! Rest a while, thank Mother Nature for this wonderful journey till delivery and brace for motherhood, the world’s most challenging and often understated job!
All the best!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The third trimester

Finally the end of a very creative phase is here, only to begin anew as another challenging phase of patience, love and bonding. The third trimester is full of emotional upheavals. All anxiety of whether we will be good parents? will the child be alright? Will the labor progress well? Will I bond with the newborn? Hope the water doesn’t break in a public place like shown in films! All this and more thoughts begin to cloud your mind. Even the most confident girl begins to waver in this phase. Why so? Why this excessive emotional phase? It’s your body preparing you for motherhood, a new surge of hormones, the final batch so to say is delivered into your systems, this should prepare your body for actual labor, prepare for the blood loss that follows and also makes provisions for your little one, in form of milk in your breasts.
Be very mindful during your entire pregnancy and don’t get swayed often by emotions, understand it’s the handiwork of hormones and learn to tide over them. It’s not for nothing that mothers and grandmothers advice you to keep smiling and be happy during pregnancy. It’s more like happiness should be your dominant state of mind, though there will be episodes of weepiness, excessive anxiety and depression. Tide over them quickly.
Now the unexpected tips for this trimester; firstly increase your fluid intake, keep adding more water, coconut water, fruits to your diet. Go easy on your fatty food intake towards the final month, and finally wean off food for the last few days and keep yourself well hydrated and sated, do not overeat. Why so? If you are going to eat more, your body is compelled to focus on digestion, rather than focusing on easing your labor, you certainly don’t want that! Also your body weight by now has gained the last 2-3kgs to hit the targeted mark from the first trimester.
Secondly keep walking, keep exercising. Don’t let your body shape or heaviness keep you from moving around, unless advised against by the doctor. You need all the muscle strength and agility to help you through labor. Now that brings us to a very crucial question, natural labor vs C-section. Most girls in urban and semi-urban places now a day prefer undergoing a c-section even in cases when it’s not needed. Unless there are some very strong reasons given by the doctor stating the need of c-section, go ahead and deliver naturally. Why? Well whatever does not kill makes you stronger! Keep in mind that giving birth naturally is well natural! Nature knows what she is expecting out of you! You are a part of nature aren’t you? If you have prepared your body in advance to give birth naturally, it would be easier than thought. Do not let film scenes cloud your judgment. These days hospitals offer you a pre-delivery labor room orientation. Ask your doctor, your hospital for a round of the labor room, and ask questions regarding what might happen that day, begin revising it mentally with positive thoughts about easy labor and healthy baby n you! It helps! Fear breeds from unfamiliarity, the unknown, once you know the staff in your labor room, the overall feel and look of the place, the bed and operating table, a sample of your hospital room, it becomes easier to train the mind to focus on the known objects and people. Also importantly it’s the birthright of your child to get the very important immunity bacteria from the vaginal canal and gradually be admitted in this world, as is the case with natural delivery. In case there is a last minute decision to have a c-section, do not consider this as a failure on your part or in your efforts, it’s just how it is meant to be. Look at the positives of an urgent c-section too! Your baby and you are safe, in case of a c-section, you do not face labor pain. Of course the pain that follows once the anesthesia wears off is going to be there, but at least you will be able to bear it better. Either case, target getting up the very next day of your delivery, better still the same evening, as much as it pains or you feel disoriented, it’s very important to gain control over your body, pain as early as possible. Because now you have the biggest responsibility of your life, your child! Why does all this have to be told in the third trimester? Forewarned is forearmed! It’s better to train your mind regarding all this in the final trimester, so that there is lesser rude surprise post child-delivery and you can focus on enjoying the blissful moments of motherhood. So for the third trimester, read about actual labor, brush up your GK about birthing techniques, explore them if you wish to, consult your doctor about your choices and if possible have a birth plan in place. Birth plan is a mutually decided piece of informal agreement between your doctor and you regarding the preference of natural birth and the kind of medications you should be administered during delivery.  Read more about birth plans if you are interested.

Thirdly, start packing your hospital bag in the last month. Well, if I tell you, you have a trip to a transformative planet far far way…what will you be doing 1 month before your trip? Of course planning what you’ll wear, check your camera if it is working, carry matching pairs of shoes and of course not to forget your favorite lip gloss! If for any trip you plan as much, should you not pack for a trip of a lifetime where you go as a couple and return home a family? Start asking around friends and family if they have recently had babies, welcome hand me downs, the gently used clothes and purchase baby wraps and blankets. Hand me downs are good because they are softer on the baby, and the baby needs a lot of clothes in the first few months and babies outgrow their clothes very soon. Than buying all new ones, and keeping them piling around the house, it’s better to circulate clothes between well meaning friends and relatives.
Plan what you should pack in your hospital bag. Watch out for a detailed post on this one next!
 Begin reorganizing your closets, buy an extra closet (small one) to accommodate excess clothes, toys etc. During the first three months you will have very little time, energy and enthusiasm to do anything around your home. Plan likewise and get the furniture rearranged, to accommodate extra set of parents, or relatives coming over and generally more suit your comfort in the days to come. Do not try pushing pulling any piece of furniture yourself, ask your spouse to do it.
If possible start sleeping on the left side so that your belly rests properly and you have no problem breathing. After the belly grows, it’s very difficult to sleep in your favorite sleeping positions which might range from curling up, to sleeping belly down. Also in order to ensure proper oxygen supply and to aid digestion during the final trimester, it’s advisable to lie on the left side of your body, so the lung cavity opens up better and there is no pressure on the heart or digestive system. As the baby grows within, the digestive track and other abdominal parts are cramped and pressurized. When you lie on your left side the pressure is temporarily eased.
Like I have mentioned in one of my earlier blog posts, start talking to your unborn child. It will be very useful! Read more about it here.
Lastly spend as much time you can with your spouse, discuss your fears, your joys, your dreams and aspirations. Prepare for the roles of parenthood, prepare for the changes in your lives as a couple. Assure each other of your unstinting support and be there at each step of this journey together. If you get your spouse to read and share the material regarding pregnancy, the birthing plan, the rituals if any involved, after delivery, even what you plan to post on social media, the pictures, the messages, discuss it all! Even the friends and family from either side who has to be informed about this news first etc! Your spouse literally takes over from you the charge of your wellbeing, your spouse is your moving self now on for at least the first few days. So trust him with your mobile phone, e-mail, social media and of course a host of other simple tasks around the house. All this will definitely bind you stronger to each other! Trust me go out on dates, get ready and go out to peaceful romantic places as often as you can! Some even have babymoons! Your last holiday together as a couple! Before you begin travelling with your baby! All this will serve as a beautiful memory when days post delivery mean you are confined to home for months on end. And romantic thoughts seem to have abandoned you altogether and patience is all used up for the baby and only yelling at the partner remains! All this won’t happen if you are prepared in advance and totally focused on enjoying parenthood positively! J
Congratulations for completing term! Best wishes for having a healthy happy baby! :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The second trimester

By now “being pregnant” feels a real deal! Slowly moving past the initial awkward days, slowly the belly begins to emerge, it’s still too early to jump into maternity clothes but yes those days are soon coming! :)
There are a few unexpected pieces of advice for this trimester too! :)
Firstly, stop wearing heels if you do wear them regularly. As glamorous it looks and feels otherwise or on pregnant celebrities, it does no good to your posture and legs muscles and overall body balance. Why is this important during pregnancy? Well slowly but surely the center of gravity of your body is shifting, due to the increasing baby weight. Be very careful about quick movements and think thrice before joining in any vigorous activity like rock climbing, bungee jumping or even rushing up or down a flight of stairs. The baby is still very fragile and so is your body in certain ways, so it’s better to be safe. That doesn’t mean you cannot exercise or move around at all. It just means that now on develop a sense of awareness regarding body movement and reflex actions and act likewise.
Secondly start paying closer attention to your fluid intake. As the baby begins to develop, it is living in and feeding on the amniotic fluid. The aim is to constantly maintain a healthy level of fluid for the baby’s regular nourishment and growth. Aim for more natural drinks, avoid carbonated or fizz drinks altogether during and after pregnancy as long as possible. Extra sugary, extra salty or sour drinks should be avoided. The best drink is natural coconut water. You can begin by drinking one serving of coconut water every alternate day, as the pregnancy progresses to the third trimester, you can increase it to one serving per day. Just remember, in case the season is cold or rainy, do not increase the intake of coconut water, it might not really help. Coconut water has high potassium content and contains antioxidants. It also contains cytokinins which promote plant cell division and growth. Other biologically active ingredients in coconut water include L-arginine, ascorbic acid, magnesium etc.
You can also consume home-made yogurt and buttermilk with a little black pepper and cumin powder and rock salt to taste. And instead of fruit juices, you can eat the fruit as it is.
Also H2O is your best friend from now on! Drink up all the water you can! If you are going to drink boiled water, plan to boil in advance and let it cool to room temperature. You can add cumin seeds, coriander seeds or dill seeds to the water while you boil it or even bits of dried amla (Indian gooseberry) so you have flavored water.  Later you can give such flavored water to your baby as well when she/he crosses the 6 month mark and is allowed to take sips of water. I used to drink flavored water, its good fun also I added a pure gold coin/ ring to it. If you intend to do that, keep aside a 24 carat or 22 carat gold coin or ring(which is not in use or worn by anybody) not more than 2gms in weight. Add it each day to the water container in which you will boil the water. After the water is boiling rapidly, continue to boil it for nearly 20 minutes and then remove from heat. This process ensures that the gold particles are released in water, such treated water is useful for the baby and your body, as gold helps your immune system and also its benefits are passed on to your baby. Another tongue in cheek benefit is, you yourself do that chore of boiling water and later keeping that gold coin/ring safely till the next use! ;) Another precious idea! Use pure silver glass or bowl to store or drink water. Not because you are a queen now! Haha! Just because silver has amazing anti-bacterial properties, which are passed on to the contents it holds. So even after you baby begins eating food, try feeding him/her in a silver bowl with a silver spoon! If you are reading this post on your laptop or desktop, am sure your kid is born with a proverbial silver spoon! So might as well use it! :P
Next important thing is clothing. As difficult as it is, I would like to tell you all that your body will undergo a massive change during these 18-20 months. After all how often in life do you gain nearly 15 kgs and lose them in a span of few months? Almost never! Hence the body will be changing its shape size and also utility. That rocking figure you earned till now, might not be around for a while but always aim and stubbornly do get back there! So girls! Do not throw away your clothes as you increase sizes! Just keep them boxed away! What you shed going up the scales, you shall use while coming down the scales too! So keep salting away all those jeans and fitting shirts, you will wear them again, after 2 years or so…or maybe later but we can always try!  Also instead of going in to buy all maternity clothing or confining yourself to tent like clothes, please keep the style meter upped! Stretch clothing is your best friend, so is your hubby’s closet! Borrow baggy shirts, tee-shirts and shorts and also warm jackets when you need them! It’s fun, romantic and economical too! 

 Also try and avoid pants which leave a mark on your belly or are very snug fitting, no your baby will not have a flattened nose because of that ;P, just that you will have difficulty breathing at times! :) Start buying maternity clothing after month 5 so that you can know if you are comfortable in it, because your maternity jeans will be your best buddy till your baby is nearly 5 months old! That long!! Yes so buy a sturdy pair or two! :) Also another idea you can use is, buying regular clothing but just a size or two over your normal size. For eg. If you wear size M, buy size L or XL, with shirts, tops and jackets it is immensely useful! Don’t buy for the baby yet! We need small doses of retail therapy throughout our term isn’t it girls? ;)
Practice your kegels! (go find out more about them! that is your homework! ha!) Okay! Your pelvic floor will be undergoing massive strain in the days to come, are you prepared? Your vaginal muscles need to be prepared for childbirth, even in case of a planned c-section, the pelvic muscles weaken after delivery. So for all those and more surprises springing on your pelvic floor, go ahead and give them a good exercise! If you are a yoga lover, you know your kegels by the name "Ashwini Mudra" Of course kegels are for you too! Ask your yoga teacher to explain it to you! This is something we can do simply in our free time, while we are sitting around watching TV or even reading a book! Its good to keep your pelvic floor in good shape! it will help you recover rapidly even after delivery! They are your great friends! Keep doing them!
Try and reach out friends and acquaintances those who are pregnant too! Not to discuss the baby’s weight or your last frightful bout of morning sickness! But to share reading material, new thoughts shaping in your mind and also joking about your changing contours! Laughter therapy is often such a good idea during these days! Also restrict your caffeine intake to just one cup per day, or skip it altogether better still replace it with milk! Full milk, with cream that is! Yikes! Is that what you said! Well I am a born milk hater! But let me tell you all, I just told myself this is a medicine prescribed by the doctor for me, so I have to have it! It works better that way! Why full cream? Well all the fat the good fat that goes into the system helps lubricate your system from within, which means lesser stretch marks, better healing and post partum recovery and brainy baby! Good fats are a blessing even for your tiny one’s brain! So gulp on! But do not over do anything, however good it is! Also, always verify facts and consult your doctor about your bodily requirement, it may vary from person to person!
That brings us to the topic of good fats! Consume cheese, clarified butter, and unsalted butter in sensible quantities during your entire term. Just as a well oiled machine would work longer and better, without any squeaks and sounds, your body which is currently manufacturing that lil nut, needs lubrication. Please don’t drink oil or ghee for that! Kidding! Just include small quantities in your meals! Add it to your rice, dals or your breads. That will be perfect! Also as much the body needs lubrication from inside; it needs it from outside as well! As the pregnancy progresses, some of you will have glowing face, long beautiful nails, thick hair and general beautiful feeling! Some might feel teenagers again, with pimples sprouting all over your face!
Well thank your genes in either case! J Also than thinking that stretch marks need to be cared for after delivery, start beforehand! Before they occur! Liberally use mustard oil or almond oil to massage into your entire body at least once a week now and nearly every day by the completion of term! Oil easily penetrates through your skin layers and helps the body stretch relatively easily and halts the damage or tear occurring in your dermis. And be informed that stretch marks appear on your breasts, stomach area and thighs as well. So better prepare in advance to avoid the damage! And after all this effort, when you still do see those reddish lines zigzagging around you, please don’t come berate me! But wear them as your badge of honor! Your mommyhood badge! J After all the bravest soldiers earn the most medals don’t they!
So enjoy this whole time, it’s your ‘golden mean’ time. One trimester behind you and one ahead of you! So work, be creative, laugh a lot and read loads, listen to super soothing music and smile often at your partner, finally it’s your cute secret that’s out! That you really love each other! :P Enjoy this phase!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The first trimester

Congratulations you are pregnant!! Once you hear these magical words from the doctor you have mixed feelings never is that just joy,its always mixed with apprehension and some unknowns. Trust me though it is humanity's oldest feeling, for each woman it is very new and very very different! Am not going to tell you here about what generally follows next but about some things which you might not have expected in the midst of all euphoria...

Firstly sit with your spouse and calmly focus on all possible implications this new responsibility is going to have on your relationship and openly discuss each one's fears, dreams aspirations and ideas about pregnancy and child birth and during the second trimester discuss child rearing,passing of values,beliefs and general outline about parental role that you are poised to play. This is very important because pregnancy which I believe belongs to the couple is suddenly hijacked by mothers,mother-in-laws, female friends,aunties n all the female brigade n the poor husband is left out of the whole sacred and amazing process of child birth. This is very important to sit together and discuss all things and define each others roles for the days n years to come and assure each other of unstinting support in all new circumstances.
Secondly draw up a health schedule for yourself. Google about pregnancy friendly exercises and see what suits your body type and current state of body. Seek your doctor's guidance regarding this and plan out your food intake and subsequent weight gain which is healthy and normal. Most doctors will have a general idea about how much weight gain would be right for you and will readily give a month by month or trimester weight gain pattern for you. Each one's body is unique and each one's response to pregnancy is bound to differ,hence carefully plan out your food intake, meal timings and stick to them religiously. Its very important that your body gets all the vital nutrients required during pregnancy,childbirth and nursing. Be in charge of your food intake since the day you know you are pregnant.
Cravings have long been glorified during pregnancy. But realise that strong desire to eat something sour or spicy or sweet is not the baby inside asking for a particular food item!! How can it! Its your own body crying out for attention, pointing out a severe deficiency! Read your body signals well. If you crave for sour things maybe its vitamin C that you need rather than some salty sour snack! Do not forget your basic education which equips you to be curious, ask questions and seek rational answers than just follow what everyone tells you. Nothing which discomforts you is normal during pregnancy, so if someone tells you to live with it, ask your doctor. Consider your body as a factory and the baby your finished product. Its your complete responsibility to provide your body all necessary raw material for the creation of a perfect product. If you get lax or ignore the demands of your body now,it won't hurt you right now but later post delivery the body will show signs of extreme wear and tear. So be informed and happy in the long run.
Walking and yoga have been my preferences during my pregnancy,it can vary for each one of you. If its walking for you,set up a goal, say 1000 steps twice a day. These are not to be calculated with all the moving around during the day but an additional task to your day. Walking near greenery and barefoot on grass if possible will help. If not wear comfortable flat footwear and walk.
Keep a small journal to note down any new feelings,thoughts and bodily changes along with questions about the next developmental stage of your baby and your body's response to it. Take this journal along for your visits to the doctor. Discuss things with the doctor and stay informed. Read up various references and books and get to know the massive miracle you are living out. Than just relying on what others have to share regarding pregnancy(trust me a lot of unsolicited advice comes your way)the right information helps you parse all the info avalanche headed your way!
Another very important thing which you should accept and behave likewise,pregnancy is a natural state of the body its not a disease. Even if you are puking all day n living in the bathroom half day, it still is not a disease at all and hence enjoy all pampering once in a while but do not make it a reason to lounge at home each day!! Go on with your life as normally and just a bit more carefully than you otherwise would. In fact set up goals to be fully mobile till the very last day of your pregnancy. Unless the doctor has enforced strict rest ,keep doing all your activities normally.
Keep a keen tab on all your feelings and responses. With the body poised for major tasks ahead,hormonal changes will be rapid and taking hold of your emotional state as well. Think rationally before responding to anyone or any situation, it will save you a lot of trouble later on when you return to being your normal self approximately two years from your first trimester.
Pregnancy also should bring out the imaginative and creative streak in you! After all you are poised to be apprentice of mother Nature and create your life's masterpiece in form of your child. The mental frame of a pregnant woman always should be positive is what we know but if we look further into it, if the mother to be has an optimistic frame of mind she can always channel her positivity into creating a healthy, wise, brave and happy human being. We all admire successful people but do we realise we are given a chance to mould a perfect human being when we are pregnant. Your country, your world needs brave, beautiful, compassionate people, leaders and visionaries and in pregnancy each mother,each father is offered a chance to change the world. If you even begin to consider how powerful that is, am sure each pregnant woman will end up being responsible, healthy, happy and determined to change the world.
Read more about the second trimester and third trimester in the following posts...
Be creative! be imaginative!! momma :-)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Talking to the Unborn baby

Coming from India, where there are roots of ‘Garbhasanskar’- learning in the womb concept, I was very intrigued by the whole concept and when I learnt about my pregnancy, I was more than enthusiastic to try it out! I first thought it would be easy to talk to my own baby, so what if she was still not present in front of me, I would still talk! But turned out such that I felt little embarrassed to sit to myself and talk aloud with my baby…so I decided I would try something else!
I was completing my research about teaching adults to talk in Russian, while I was pregnant, so taking a leaf from all those theories, I simply started reading aloud, my own thesis work and references to myself or my unborn child! This seemed to work! I was really not expecting any response at all but just some reading aloud nostalgia from school times…

Also I began to talk in my mind about my future plans, desires and general aspirations from the child and myself after she was born. I began to narrate current events and happenings to my baby too! Later when she was born, I used to read aloud the newspaper reports while nursing her. People around me gave me quizzical looks but to me it did not matter, as long as I was bonding with my baby with thoughts and words!
To check the validity of the mythological claim that children absorb and learn complex things while in the womb, I began playing Hindustani classical music to my unborn baby. It was particularly soothing in the last trimester, when I would get all worked up, nervous at times for no apparent reason. I also attended a live concert featuring Ustaad Zakir Hussian that was the first time I felt my baby move! It was a double delight indeed!
Later each day after practicing yoga, chanting the Gayatri Mantra nearly 21 times a day, and other shlokas, I would listen to tabla recordings of Ustaad Zakir Hussain for about half an hour or so. It used to soothe my nerves and make me feel really perked up on days when my hormones went racing! That inner calm which I experienced was not mine alone is what I merely sensed but cannot ever prove!
As the trimesters moved on, I felt a thin, fragile bond being created between me and my unborn child, it was a very subtle feeling, yet very definite! Each new raga we explored together, each new classical concert we attended, I realized this was indeed special, as I personally have no particular inclination towards classical music, frankly it could put me off to sleep at times. But during pregnancy, it soothed me and comforted me by literally carving out notes on my silence.
Finally when my daughter was born, and she cried the very first time, I replayed the same tabla recording which I had been repeatedly listening before delivery. Miracle or not, she stopped crying, as if to realize she was in familiar surroundings, though the whole birthing experience might have been way more taxing for her, the music enveloped her and reassured her, that she is amongst familiar people, her own!
Being a colicky child, she was prone to long spells of crying, and though not all times, I could prevent her crying most of the times, by playing her comfort music-tabla! It worked wonders! I still call Ustaad Zakir as her favorite baby sitter! It still works well, when she is throwing a tantrum! Totally diffuses her temper and there she sits, all attentive, unblinking staring at the laptop screen or listening to the music while travelling in the car! Thanks to that CD we have been taking her on road trips across India and now USA!
Am not sure, she will follow some starry footsteps and become a table player but what I know for sure now is that the sounds indeed permeate the womb walls and reach those yet to be formed ears!
Ideally I would suggest new mothers to start this process around month 4 or 6 and continue till the end leading up to delivery and beyond! It works well! You can try your own favorite music or something totally opposite of your own choice. Talk or better still read out some of your favorite books, and they need not be children’s books, read out novels you like or feel inspired reading!

More on this, talking to your child after she is born! That’s for the next post! Keep reading! (Pun intended) J

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Home-made baby food!

A market place flooded with convenience foods for all, adults and children alike, there is hardly any incentive to cook food at home especially when the new mother is sleep deprived and tired all day tending to her baby.
But I urge young mothers to push themselves a little further, prudently enough, to realize that these few years are the foundation blocks of eating habits which will last your baby a lifetime!
Even if you decide to feed the baby homemade food, do you find yourself running out of ideas? Also, still worried about the nutrition your baby is getting? Worry not! I faced similar questions and based on my first year as a mother, I am putting down some recipes which are easy to make, liked by babies and importantly nutritious!

Firstly you have to understand, your child is no culinary competition judge, so you don’t need to overdo when it comes to spices and garnish! Secondly appearance, well texture precedes appearance for the baby at this stage. Lastly and most importantly, quantity! The baby food is meant for the baby, so instead of preparing in adult portion sizes and then eating that battered bland puree as a mother’s compulsory lunch side dish, make smaller and manageable portion sizes for the baby food!
1.      Rice+cumin+clarified butter
1 tablespoon rice
1 pinch of cumin/cumin powder
1 tablespoon clarified butter
½ cup boiled water/distilled water
1 pinch rock salt

Clean the rice by running cold water over it once and draining it. In a small pot, pour ½ cup boiled/distilled water and allow it to heat, after 1 minute, add rice and cumin powder, let the rice get cooked thoroughly. Check a grain to confirm. There will be additional water left in the pot even after the rice is cooked. Do not throw it away, mash the rice into that remaining water and make a watery rice solution. Add a pinch of rock salt and let the mixture reach room temperature. Add 1 tablespoon clarified butter (ghee) , mix and serve.
This mixture contains rice, which is relatively easy to digest for the baby, who still has gaps in his/her intestinal track, hence cannot digest top feed easily. Clarified butter is added in large quantities, to ensure smooth passage of the food, through the food pipe and intestines, which are still in a developmental phase.
Rock salt instead of regular table salt, as rock salt aids digestion, and doesn’t contain as much sodium and iodine as regular table salt. Sodium even in smaller quantities puts a lot of pressure on the small kidneys of the baby for filtration systems of the kidneys is yet to settle down. Cumin is added to tease and develop the taste buds of the baby.
 The baby can have up to 1/3 rd bowl of such rice gruel during the initial days and as the appetite grows, the water to rice proportion can be altered, and the child can have this preparation till it reaches the age of 1.5 years
2.      Apple+cinnamon sauce
1 apple
1 small stick of cinnamon
2 cups boiled/distilled water
Peel the apple and dice into small pieces, crush the stick of cinnamon and add these to a pot containing 2 cups water. Let the apple cook on even flame/medium heat till tender. Once the apple pieces are tender and disintegrating, remove from heat and let it cool. Once cooled, place on a steel mesh/strainer and using a spoon mash evenly and strain the flesh of the apple. Mix the strained applesauce with some boiled water, to make it runny consistency and serve.
This is regular applesauce, but home made. This can be made in advance and stored in clear glass bottles and refrigerated. Ensure it is used within 3-4 days. Ensure the sauce is at room temperature before you serve your baby.
Apple being a storehouse of good vitamins, having a baby friendly texture, even after cooking, is a universal favorite of mothers! Cinnamon not only gives a distinct sweet spicy flavor, but also keeps bacteria and stomach irritation at bay. It soothes sore throats as well! Note that there is no need to add sugar or honey or any other sweetening agent to baby food at this age or any age, as sugar may deposit on the gums and tiny teeth of the baby causing cavities as your baby is still not using a tooth brush regularly.
The baby can begin having 1/3 bowl of such sauce and can have it up to the age of 8 months. Later the baby can be encouraged to bite slivers of apple, during the teething time, instead of giving plastic teethers.
3.      Moong dal(split green gram)+rice+cumin
½ tablespoon moong dal
1 tablespoon rice
1 pinch cumin/cumin powder
2 cups boiled/distilled water
1 tablespoon clarified butter
Clean the moong dal and rice by running water over them. In a pot bring water to boil, add moong dal and rice and cumin to it. Let it cook thoroughly. There will be excess water retained even after cooking. Mash the dal and rice into that water and add a pinch of rock salt and 1 tablespoon clarified butter to it. Serve once at room temperature.
Moong dal is easy to digest and does not cause flatulence. If your baby is colicky, avoid any flatulence causing foods for the baby. Clarified butter eases the passage and digestion of the food.
This is a very nutritious gruel and can be served to the baby with varying proportions of water, rice and dal as the age and food requirement of the baby advances.
4.      Raisin water
1 tablespoon raisins
½ cup boiled/distilled water
Heat the water till warm and remove from heat. Add raisins to the water and soak overnight. Blend the raisins with the water and serve.
Raisins aid digestion and also have a natural sweet taste for the baby to savour. It helps in colic to an extent.
You can do this same blend by replacing raisins with dried figs also. The figs are iron rich.
5.      Popped rice + water
½ cup Popped rice (please note popped rice is not puffed rice)
1 cup boiled/distilled water
Warm water and add popped rice
The popped rice will disintegrate in the water, mix the gruel and let it cool before serving.
Popped rice very light, easy to digest for the baby and this gruel is effective in soothing the tummy.
6.      Sweet potato+clove sauce
1 sweet potato
1 clove
2 cups boiled/distilled water
Thoroughly clean and peel the sweet potato, dice it into small squares.
In a pot boil water and add the diced sweet potato and clove. Once cooked and cooled, mash and pass through a strainer. The gruel can be given directly to the baby or can be diluted with small quantities of milk.
Sweet potatoes are nature’s multivitamin! With B6, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and D, they are just the right food for your baby!
At the age of 4.5 months or whenever your pediatrician advices, you should start supplementing breast milk or formula with top feed. Initially the quantity consumed will be very less, but gradually it will grow. Try and feed the baby small quantities of closest to natural foods, by just steaming or boiling them. Do not add sugar or manipulate the taste of natural foods because unless the baby knows the real taste of each item served, it will tend to be biased towards one particular taste which dominates his palate.  This will lead to troublesome habits during toddlerhood and beyond. Fussy eaters are not as much inherent, what is being served to the baby initially will largely decide if your baby will be a fussy eater in the future.
Also for babies, remember to use smallest of the available spoons, avoid plastic spoons and use silver or silver coated spoons as far as possible. Silver has anti-bacterial properties and easy to clean as well. Hence there are far less chances of your baby developing an infection once he/she starts consuming top feed. Also use the smallest size of bowls, again preferably steel or glass.
Also instead of a fancy bib, just drape a long soft washcloth around the baby and the seat, with newspapers spread around the baby seat or even below it. It makes cleaning up after the baby easy!
Also always taste a bit of the prepared food, for temperature, taste and texture before feeding it to your baby and do not ever add salt or spices according to your mature adult taste. The baby food can continue to be bland even after the baby begins to eat regular food.
Enjoy your new challenge mommy chef!