Monday, 30 July 2018

THE ULTIMATE SHOPPING CHECKLIST FOR NEW PARENTS

Image result for baby shopping
Congratulations parents-to-be! So you are busy planning the arrival of your little bundle of joy, but haven’t really shopped for anything just yet. A lot of expecting moms have constantly asked me for my baby shopping list as I always bought what was most essential and practical. Minimal is me. A lot of wonderful people contributed to my list and in sharing things they no longer needed for their kids.

There are soooo many people and so many varied forms of advice that’s coming your way, and you don’t know just where to begin. A quick stop at a big ‘Mothercare’ or a ‘Mom & Me’ store makes you even more confused with what all is there and you can’t even begin to make sense of what a Muslin Cloth pack is used for, and how it’s different from a Burp Cloth set? There are nipple creams and diaper rash creams, and some disposable underwears, but how do you know whether you will need them all or when to use them? In anxiety you’ll feel as if you ought to buy just about everything you see in the store.

From the fancy bedding set, to the set of onesies; from a body wash to a shampoo to a body lotion and a body cream…one wants to buy everything. Momma-to-be just take a deep breath and hold on. You are preparing for a hurricane (cos everyone has told you it will be one), but you really don’t need everything at one go.

Here are few tips that helped me go about the baby shopping list which I felt was an absolute necessity.
  • We created a Baby wish-list on Amazon where we kept adding and removing stuff after reading up and talking to new parents.
  • Towards the end of the 7th month, we went to a large Mothercare store in Promenade Mall, Delhi, with our list and spent about 3 hours there and shopped pretty much everything that wasn’t on the Amazon wish-list.


For the Baby:

1. Invest in a Baby cot. A lot of parents feel they will start using a cot when the baby is slightly older, but more often than not, babies tend to reject cots if started on it too late. A baby is always safest in a cot and it reduces the risk of SIDS by a large percentage. The right time to start using a cot is in fact the first month itself, and not when the baby starts turning and rolling when she is 3 months old. Cots prevent lots of accidents.

How to identify a good cot?

  • A narrow cot saves space but the baby also outgrows it faster. Hence buy one where the width and length are good.
  • It’s important to buy one where the height can be adjusted. At around 7 months infants start standing up with support. That’s when they can surprise you with their strength and muscles, and result in them jumping off the cot if left unattended.
  • The latch needs to be on the outside. Babies find it fun to play peekaboo in their cot and can hurt themselves if the latch is on the inside. Also, they might even learn to open it on their own.
  • We got a major hand-me-down wooden cot which my parents used from the time of birth of my first sibling. So its around 35 years old, but the space is amazing.
  • Price of a spacious and sturdy cot ~Rs.14000
  • A cot-musical is a good idea as it helps the baby focus better and flex their hands and legs in an attempt to reach the music and toys.

2. Baby bedding set is not always included with the cot, hence you need to buy it separately. It includes a soft mattress, 2 bolster pillows and a blanket. Don’t buy a thick mattress as it elevates the height of the cot drastically.

  • Mothercare has great bedding sets, but know the size of your cot before buying the bedding.
  • Price ~Rs.5000
  • Add a dry sheet to the set, which can also be used for placing under your own bedsheet (especially if the baby is on cloth nappies).


3. A Cot bumper is a useful item if the cot is not cushioned on the sides. Babies tend to jump around a lot in their cots and can hurt themselves on the side of the cot if the sides are not cushioned. The cot has wooden bars which can also see the baby sticking their arms and legs through eventually. So a high level bumper set can prevent this.

  • We bought one from Mothercare which covers the cot from side to side.
  • Price ~Rs.4500

4. Pillow: One can make a pillow for the baby’s head at home or buy a ready-made one. Baby pillows help shape the soft head and helps in making it rounder. A regular flat pillow makes the baby’s head flat from the back. Constantly making the baby sleep on the one side may lead to flatness on that side of the head.

  • Mothercare had a soft baby pillow which is good and doesn’t cause flatness.
  • I bought a pillow make of mustard seeds, commonly known as a rye-pillow in India, from a First Cry store in Delhi.
  • One can even make a rye pillow at home using half a kg of mustard seeds and sewing it in a soft muslin cloth, and then place that inside a pillow cover. I renew the rye-pillow every 4-5 months now.
  • Price ~Rs.500

5. A Baby bather is an absolute must. Our moms and grannies and japas are experts at bathing the baby in their lap, but new moms may feel they aren’t ready just yet. The baby bather I bought on Amazon was useful to us till the kiddo was about 11 months and was such a handy piece that bathing became easy and comfortable for both me and the baby.

  • The cloth used on the bather lets water pass through easily and is super soft on the baby’s skin. It can be easily removed and washed in the washing machine
  • A soft removable pillow is there for a new-born’s head to rest comfortably
  • Make sure to let the bather dry outside after bathing the baby so that the cloth on it can dry completely
  • Here is the link in case you want to buy it: https://amzn.to/2NRQKvm
  • Price ~Rs.1100

6. A Feeding pillow, also known as a Boppy pillow, is a life-saver if you plan on breastfeeding the baby. Using random pillows and cushions to position the baby, and prop against your back can be really harmful for the mother, and more often than not leads to back pains which leads to a not-so-pleasurable breastfeeding journey.

  • Use a donut shaped pillow without a back support. For the back you will need a separate pillow which I will come to in my new point.
  • Chicco offers good nursing pillows, but if you are looking for a slightly more reasonable and equally good option then here is what I used till kiddo was about a 10 months old https://amzn.to/2LAuoS6
  • Price ~Rs.1000

7. A Back-support pillow. A new mom spends a lot of time in bed post delivery. Not only does the infant require frequent nursing but the mother is also recovering from either C-sec stitches or Vaginal delivery stitches. Siting correctly is extremely important. Normal pillows used at home are too soft for the body to be in an upright position. Alternately one can use a comfy armchair for feeding.

  • I used a hard back pillow from Sleepwell, which was purchased from a Sleepwell showroom.
  • Price ~Rs.1100

8. Buy a Pram/stroller in advance. When can you start taking the baby out for a walk in a pram? Well, it depends on when you feel like. Babies love being outdoors, even if for a short while. It’s safe to take the baby out for a walk once they are a month old. At that time you may not have the bandwidth to select a pram, hence it’s good to keep it ready towards the end of your pregnancy.

  • A lot of good brands like Chicco, Graco and Mothercare have a pram cum car seat set where the car seat can be fixed in the pram, and used as a bassinet.
  • A car seat belongs in the car and its best to use it for the baby from the time you arrive home. A car seat is the safest way to travel anywhere in the car. In the US, it’s a rule for the parents to install the car seat before talking the baby home.
  • Should you buy a pram or a stroller? A pram is a sturdy and a more cushioned option, hence babies are much more comfortable in the pram. A stroller is handier when travelling out to the mall or for a holiday. However, buying a sleek and compact pram can be a good solution, as it serves the purpose of both pram and stroller.
  • A good pram can be used upto the age of 3years.
  • In addition to this I also used a pram mattress which is made of cotton, as I felt the pram surface was too hard for the baby. However take a call to buy this once you have bought the pram. The mattress was purchased from a First Cry store and cost ~Rs.1500
  • Price of a pram ~Rs.8000-18000 depending on the brand

9. Toiletries: Honestly, there are just too many baby products to choose from, but trust me, you don’t need most of them. Here are some absolute essentials:

  • Massage oil: After trying various oils for babies from Himalayas, Patanjali, Johnsons, Mamaearth, Dabur, I have come to the conclusion that nothing works wonders on a baby’s skin the way coconut oil does. Buy a cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, and use it 365 days of the year. Coconut oil never gives allergies and even helps sooth nappy rashes.
  • A top-to-toe wash is sufficient for the first few months and you need not buy a separate body wash, soap or a shampoo. Amongst all brands I have used, I found Chicco and Aveeno to be the mildest ones.
  • Body lotion and Cream: Sebamed body milk is superb, and for dry months you can buy a small tube of Sebamed cream. Although I hardly ever use lotions or creams on the baby since I don’t apply too much body-wash regularly and the coconut oil provides a lot of moisture as it is.
  • Nappy rash cream: Yes nappy rashes are very common, and can happen on the baby’s bottoms even if the baby is on cloth nappies through the day. It’s a part and parcel of raising a baby. If you notice any pinkishness in the bum area, use a small dab of coconut oil after washing and drying the area. Let the baby remain without a nappy/diaper for 15-20minutes. If the area is red with slight inflammation, use Sebamed’s Rash Cream which is a miracle cream without being harsh on the newborn’s gentle skin.
  • Nail cutter: Babies have extremely sharp nails from the time of birth and scratch themselves ever so often. Every morning you’ll find your baby’s face covered in war-like wounds from all the scratching. Nothing is more intimidating for a new mom than cutting a new-born’s soft nails. One way is to cut their nails every week or two, but at all other times you can make them wear mittens.
  • That’s it folks, no need to buy anything else please. You don’t need talc, as it clogs the pores. Air out the bum instead of loading it with powder.

10. Laundry detergent: A baby’s clothes require gentle care. Avoid using harsh detergents to wash the baby’s clothes. Pigeon and Mee Mee have good liquid detergents for washing a baby’s clothes, and can be used for both bucket-wash and machine-wash. Its best to wash a baby’s clothes separately till they are 3-4 months old. I often put mine and the baby’s washing machine load together (separate from the rest of the family). To sterilize the baby's clothes, first soak them in a bucket of water with one cap-full of Dettol for 30 minutes, and then wash in detergent. The liquid detergent can be bought on First cry. Link: https://bit.ly/2At5n6y

11. Diapers, nappies and baby wipes. Ok, so the first month is going to bring about a lot of nappy changes. If you choose to keep your baby diaper-free then stock up on atleast 25-30 nappies, or you can choose a combination of nappies in the day and diapers at night. Nappies can be made at home using old cotton sarees (checkout Youtube if you want to go the traditional way), or just buy them on First Cry.

  • I simply loved using the newborn size (extra-small) cloth nappies by Baby Hug brand. Stock up on about 15-20 of these, and they will last you till the baby is almost 2 months old, and gradually buy bigger sizes. A pack of 5 costs ~Rs.250 on First Cry. So 20 nappies will cost ~Rs.1000. Not bad right! You can buy these in various colours on First Cry: https://bit.ly/2LM18XP
  • Now coming to diapers. While most people recommend Pampers Premium, I found it a bit harsh on the baby’s skin, and the fit was not great. I switched to Huggies Ultra Soft Diapers after a friend recommended, which was softer, and has a much better fit for newborns. In the initial 2 months it’s better to use diaper rather than the elastic pants. Remember to change the diaper as soon as the baby poops else it leads to a rash immediately. If there is no poop then you must change it in 3-4 hours. So for an infant who is exclusively on diapers, that’s about 6-8 diapers a day, which is almost 240 diapers in a month. So yes, do stock up for a month, else you’ll find yourself running out of diapers in the middle of the night. I bought Huggies Ultra Soft diapers on Amazon https://amzn.to/2OrwW2X
  • Baby wipes: An infant’s skin is about 30% thinner than an adult’s skin. Since most baby wipes from Himalaya, J&J, Chicco, Mothercare are made of synthetic material and contain chemicals they are extremely harsh on the infant’s skin, using wipes too frequently can erode the top layer of the skin, plus it does no good to the rashes. Use wipes to clean poop or pee only if travelling out of home. Use only organic wipes from Mother Sparsh or Mamaearth if you must. No need to use wipes at home. Instead use a cotton ball dipped in water to wipe the area, or else take the baby to the washroom to clean-up.

12. Diaper bag essentials

  • Invest in a handy diaper bag without too many frills, but make sure it’s a good quality one. The bigger it is, the clumsier it will be to handle. Often parents seem like they are carrying a baby and a diaper bag to war. Buy a reasonable size, with just 2-3 sections, and a smooth zipper. Over time parents become smarter in carrying only the essentials.
  • Buy a small diaper change mat that helps you change the baby’s diaper anywhere. The change mat is useful even at home.

13. Baby clothes: Ah so here’s the part you’ve been waiting for. This part of the shopping list is my favourite and no doubt you’ll love it too. Here I will bust some myths and share some practical information. While a lot of traditional families ask the parents to not buy clothes for the newborn and use only old passed-down clothing from siblings or cousins, it is completely safe to buy new clothes as long as you sterilize them before using.

  • Onesies/romper: Onesies are cute and smart, but not so practical if you don’t intend to use diapers all day. Also, full body onesies are absolutely impractical because if the baby soils the clothes, the entire top to bottom has to be changed. I suggest buying just 1 set of full-body romper (contains 3 rompers) for use at night time to keep the baby well covered. As a general rule, an infant requires just one extra layer of clothing than an adult in any kind of weather.
  • Pyjamas: You’ll need couple of cotton pyjamas as infants can soil their clothes ever too often. Diaper-leaks are the most common culprit. A set of 7-8 pyjamas is essential in new born size.
  • T-shirts: Babies tend to burp out milk very often in the day, almost after every feed. This soils their tops easily. Another reason why onesies are ruled out because changing the entire onesie is cumbersome than just the top after an acid-reflux. A set of 6-7 t-shirts is good enough for start. Buy a mix of half-sleeve and full-sleeve t-shirts.
  • Frock: Skip the frock for first 3-4 months (except for outings if you like) and opt for practical top and bottoms.
  • Vests: A pack of 4-6 vests is enough. Remember to always layer the baby, and a vest provides a comfortable layering.
  • Cap: 2-3 soft cotton caps are a must, as infants lose maximum heat through their heads. Ensure it is not tight, or makes the infant uncomfortable.
  • Mittens: Buy a set of 3 mittens and wash them on a daily basis. Infants tend to scratch their face often. It’s also good to keep their hands warm, especially in winters. Buy cotton mittens with soft elastic. The ones I bought from Mothercare were extremely loose and would come off easily. I found the ones I bought from First Cry store were much better and softer.
  • Socks/booties: Keeping the infant in socks for most past of the day is advisable as their feet tend to get cold easily. The best way to check if the baby is feeling cold or too warm is by touching their hands and feet. Buy around 3-4 pairs of socks as they don’t get soiled so easily, and one pair can last for the entire day. Make sure the socks don’t have tough elastic else it can hamper with the blood flow.
  • Bath towel: Buy a bath towel with a hoodie. I found the brand Abracadabra at the First Cry store and the material is by far the best I have come across in any bath towels.
  • Swaddle sheets: a set of 3-4 swaddle sheets is good enough as babies need to be swaddled for the first 1-2 months only.
  • Burp cloths: A set of 3 burp cloths is sufficient. Instead, one can even use hand towels to place on the shoulder to give the baby a burp.

14. Other miscellaneous things that were useful:

  • Forehead thermometer is required in the beginning as after every vaccination for the first 3 months babies get high temperature. Monitoring the temperature is important. Usually it goes up to 101 deg and can be treated with Calpol medicine, but needs to be treated differently if fever goes too high. If finding forehead thermometers is difficult one can even buy a simple digital thermometer and take the temperature through armpits. Add one degree to the temp seen on the digital thermometer to judge the actual temperature.
  • Baby carrier: Always invest in a good quality carrier. We bought one from Mothercare which can be used from birth upto 2 years. Its easy to wear and ergonomic. However there are various kinds available and one can read up more to find one that suits the most. This is not an immediate essential hence can be purchased later too.
  • Play Gym: One can start placing the baby in a play gym around 2 months, as they strat developing motor skills. 

For the Mom:

1. Nursing Bra: While you may feel like wearing your regular bra or none at all, a nursing bra is the most comfortable option. Invest in a good brand and you will thank me later. Breast tend to sag easily as the quantity of milk weighs them down. Giving them support at this time is important to maintain their shape. A nursing bra also helps in easy access anytime the baby is hungry. I loved the ones from Mothercare. I bought couple of underwired bras for the outings (the fit and shape is amazing- the colours are simple- black, white and cream), and a couple of non-underwired ones for wearing at home. Infact switching to a nursing bra in the 8th month itself can make one feel so much more comfortable.

2. Breast pump: A breast pump is handy if you plan to get to get back to work after 6 months of maternity break and want to keep your baby on breastmilk even then. However I rarely ever used one and found it extremely cumbersome, plus the baby never accepted BM through any other medium except for the breasts. Keeping a manual pump handy can be good idea, as one may face days of over-production or engorgement initially. Pigeon brand’s manual pump costs around Rs.700 on Amazon. Buy a bottle and a nipple in addition to the pump. An electric pump from Medela is an excellent purchase if you intend to pump regularly. 

3. Feeding cloak and nipple cream: These are two of the most overrated items and I find them both utterly useless. A feeding cloak is clumsy to handle and babies often feel very hot under it. Its best to use a cotton dupatta, as it doubles up a feeding cloak and a cover sheet for the baby. There is no better way to cure sore nipples than applying a bit of breastmilk every few hours. Nipple creams have chemicals which are harmful for the baby.

4. Bio-oil: Using bio-oil even post-delivery is useful, as it helps ease out the stretch marks.

5.Sanitary napkins: Stack up on extra sanitary napkins as one usually bleeds for 2-3 weeks post delivery, though the flow varies from person to person.

For the Dad:

1. Read and Guide: You may feel a little left out, and must be wondering where you can help. Buy ‘What to Expect’ and read along. Download the Baby Centre app on your phone, and track the baby’s development week on week. This way you can guide your partner on what she needs to improve upon, go out of your way to pamper her and buy appropriate baby care products.

2. Book Lamaze classes: Check with the hospital where you are delivering if they have child-prep classes for expecting parents. These classes prepare the parents-to-be for labour, child care and breastfeeding. A lot of myths too will get busted in these sessions. Book the classes around the end of the 7th month.

All the best for the wonderful journey! And there is a surprise at the end of each day. Trust me, God is watching over you and you’ll be a fantastic parent. Stay strong, and ask for help when you need it.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

DIAPERS FOR TWO PLEASE


The fun has just started! You’re finally going home with your little bundle of joy! The feeling can be both surreal and nerve-wracking as well. But mommies make sure you are equipped with all the baby and lady-essentials as well!

We all know how much babies can poop and pee in the initial few days. Just when you change a diaper, you hear a pattttarrrr sound and look at the sheepish expression on your baby’s face. Diaper duty begins again. Lo & behold! You’ve just changed the diaper, but the baby decided there was still some poo left, and there you go again! As if this wasn’t enough, just when you change for the third time, the baby decides to pee mid-action. Umm…so the diaper is wet in parts even before the baby wore it…Should you or shouldn’t you still make him wear it? Hahahah! True story!

As if the comedy wasn’t enough, you realize the joke is on you. After vaginal delivery, most women experience heavy flow for a few weeks. This may be slightly reduced for women who have a C-sec delivery. Bleeding goes from heavy to light, and mostly goes on for 2-3 weeks.
So while you may have stocked up on new-born size diapers in plenty, with each wave of hand bringing a fresh diaper magically in your hands, we often forget how many sanitary napkins we require for ourselves.

How I planned it out:
  • For the first week I bought XXL Sanitary Napkins to manage the heavy flow
  • The second week I used my regular XL Sanitary Napkins
  • In the third week which only saw very little spotting, I used small napkins and then eventually moved to panty liners


Your regular periods will resume in 3-6 months post delivery. And the first period will be just like the usual one.








Thursday, 7 June 2018

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WORKING MOM


It’s been 6 months into my new job (not so new anymore) and now I finally feel equipped to write on it. This blog is for all the moms who are looking at getting back to work after a break, especially ones who don’t have support at home to look after the baby. Nuclear families- pin this one up! 

First of all, being a working mom is exhausting, but empowering. It’s all about planning, scheduling and manoeuvring. Life isn’t the same anymore. But hey, no surprises there! 
I love my job, and I’m proud of building a foundation for my child to look up to; that while he is the centre of my universe, I don’t necessarily rotate around him all day. Much to the chagrin of many aunties who feel “hawww, she has left her child at day care to have fun by herself”. This post isn’t for them. 
In the past 6 months both of us as parents have made adjustments in our life(&lifestyle). Here are few things that really work for us, and it’s still WIP:
  1. Prioritise and plan ahead
I usually already know in the night what I’m going to pack in my son’s daycare bag next day. From the clothes to the food items. It’s already thought through. What I don’t bother about on weekdays is folding laundry. I focus on putting things in their right place every night after the kid is asleep. That way I maintain my sanity on seeing a clean house when I wake up. :-) Win-win situation. 
  1. Get additional pair of hands
Mornings are a relay race for us. From making breakfast for the family, to massaging my son, bathing and playing with him, I also love to dress up well for work. So how do I do it all? I got a house help whose job it is to just play with my son while I get ready. That way we don’t get worked up if he is not letting go of us. Over a course of time he has understood that mommy will play with me soon. 
  1. Fill-in for each other 
While one of the partners may have a more challenging work-life than the other, it’s important to offer help. Just the gesture itself works magic in an otherwise uninspired day. But also be the first one to take over. Don’t wait for the other person to ask for help. Seeing you they will also understand your need for space and time. 
  1. Don’t carry work-stress home 
The first glimpse of my child vanishes away all my work-related worries. I ensure that I don’t talk irritably at home after a hectic day. That lowers the spirit of everyone at home. While work is always revolving in my mind, when I’m at home I only attend to work that is absolutely necessary. This way the child doesn’t feel left out or insecure.
  1. Forget the guilt 
I continued breastfeeding my child even when he is 16months old to ditch the guilt. But it’s exhausting to not have slept through the night since more than a year. Mommies, in the end you gotta do what you gotta do. 
Honestly I feel the daycare does a better job of keeping my child mentally occupied than I can do all day by myself. They have many set of hands and professionals who know what is age-appropriate. Monkey-see-monkey-do: it’s amazing how much children can learn from other kids. 
As for what others think about you and your career aspirations- that’s not for you to ponder. They’ll keep busy thinking of you and how you manage your life. Surprise them by your confidence and happiness in following your dreams. 
  1. Make friends who understand you 
Positive people add sparkle to your life. Having a group of girls who can help out and pitch in when needed is very important. They may or may not be working. But if they don’t help out when you need them to then maybe you need to do a reality-check of your friend-circle. Luckily I have a group of girls who are like family to me. They have always understood my challenges and help out even without asking. That’s the power of positivity. 
  1. Do things you love 
No need to change your entire life after having a child. Apart from work, you still need to focus on things that you love to do. For example, I love baking randomly. I paint when I feel an outburst of emotions. And I’m also busy writing a book these days (this might take longer than I think it would). 
  1. Appreciate your partner 
You have no idea how much this changes our attitude in life. From being a wife who is constantly complaining about what the husband isn’t doing right, I started seeing the positives in what he is doing. Just by changing my outlook, and expressing my appreciation in words, I started feeling happier and more empowered to balance work, life and baby. 


In the end it’s all about teamwork! Plan holidays with family, dining out and chilling together on weekends. Not only will it have a great impact on your personal-life but also give you more impetus to perform better at work. 


Monday, 26 March 2018

FITNESS FOR NEW MOMMIES

A lot of new moms worry about when they will get back “in-shape” after having a baby. Some as early as one-week into post-partum phase. The body still looks 5-6 months pregnant, as one mostly loses only 5-7kgs of weight in delivery. The fatigued mind starts despising the body which is now a life-giving form. The belly fat is jiggly, the firm breasts are now sagging and big. The face has lost all the beautiful glow. The long luxurious showers are now a 2 minute affair while you can hear the baby screeching in the background. 
The first few days are nothing short of a marathon. The constant needs of the baby start tiring one out, as day-after-day one is nurturing the new human and focussing lesser on one’s own mental & physical fitness. 
When Baby V was a month, people would tell me “you don’t look as tired as a one-month’s mom should look like”. There is no big secret, but just a lot of clarity that went behind it. When Baby V was 6 months old, I started receiving compliments that I have lost all my pre-pregnancy weight, but not the glow. Followed by questions on how I managed that. 
So sharing the learnings from the post-partum phase, which I found extremely helpful. 
If you had a c-section, check with your Ob-Gyn first, even though walking at an easy pace is encouraged as it helps the muscles to heal. 
1. Myth- During pregnancy eat what you like. The myth needs to be busted. You may eat what you like, but it needs to be healthy. One cheat-day of instant-noodles and pizza is no big deal, but it does set you back on your baby’s nutritional goals. A good diet of 4-5 types of fruits a day, with good consumption of proteins, good fats, and lots of liquids is what our body requires during these 9 months. This is the kind of healthy weight you need to put on, and this is also easy to shed after delivery. 

2. When is the right time to start walks? As soon as you feel your body is ready (which is mostly 2-3 weeks after giving birth), and the stiches of C-sec or episiotomy have healed, one can start with slow walks. I found that the best way to get back into morning or an evening walk routine was with the baby in the stroller. This way one gets to enjoy the time out of home, and also bond with other new mommies. This way I made friends with other new moms like me, who have played a critical role in my journey of motherhood. The positivity exuded by new mommies if contagious and gives a great feel-good factor. 

3. Exercise: If you exercised throughout your pregnancy and had an uneventful vaginal delivery, you can safely start with light exercises – walking and stretching – within just a few days of giving birth as long as you don’t experience any muscle pull or pain. Avoid sit-ups, tummy-crunches, and skipping for atleast 4-5months. If you are a gym enthusiast, then start with light cardio, and slowly proceed with weights after 5-6 months of post-partum. 

4. Swimming: It is safe to start swimming within a month of giving birth as water-therapy helps to heal the body and tones it overall. I found that swimming not only helped me tone ny body, flex those lazy muscles, but even the sun gave me ample dose of Vitamin D, that I did not require supplements throughout. 

5. Kegels: The most important exercise is kegels, and one cannot stress enough on the critical role it plays. After a vaginal delivery, the muscles have stretched to their maximum limit, and to gain back control on those muscles, start with kegels within a day of giving birth. 
Imagine you have had too much water, and try holding your pee while looking for a loo. Well, that’s what kegelis all about. Contracting and releasing the vaginal muscles. I found myself doing kegels in the shower, during my sitz-bath, evening walks, breastfeeding and sunbathing time. 

Kegel exercises help bring the muscles to pre-pregnancy form, but is also great for your sex life. Not paying attention to the muscles in your vaginal area leads to difficulty in holding urine, and may also lead to greater chances of catching UTIs. 

6. Yoga: Yoga works wonders on a post-partum body. Ithelps loosen tight muscles, brings calm to the tired brain, releases tension, and helps rebuild the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles that have stretched over the months to support the baby. However, all the mentioned yoga aasanas must be done only under the guidance of a trainer instructor. Yoga injuries are extremely common when yoga-enthusiasts start giving unclear knowledge on the subject. I preferred going to a yoga centre to follow the exercises even on a daily basis, rather than doing it with a group of people not trained to impart the knowledge. 

Yoga aasanas to follow:
A) Modified Navasana
B) Warrior I with Shoulder Bind
C) Rabbit Pose
D) Camel Pose
E) Locust with Shoulder Bind
F) Bridge Pose

7. Great diet: Since I consciously decided to exclusively breastfeed my munchkin, eating well was my main priority. This means no MSG, no soft-drinks, and least caffeine. I did not follow any fad diets to lose weight, whether it meant a no-carb diet, or a keto diet. My main focus was to produce nutrient-rich diet that would be healthy for the baby’s development. Starting a diet too soon after giving birth can affect your mood and energy level as well as your milk supply. You’ll be surprised to know how much weight you can lose naturally by just breastfeeding, and eating right. So hide those cookies and chips. Focus on summery cucumbers and melons. 
So mommies, take time out for your fitness goals. Just don’t go overboard. If you were not very active during thepregnancy, check with your doctor before you start with serious exercising.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

What Are Symptoms of Chikungunya Fever?

Monday morning rush. Traffic jam. Sleepy baby. Late to work. In one line, a combustible combination!

On top of it, we needed to visit my kid’s paediatrician for his 11months’ vaccination. We were so chuffed about reaching the doc’s clinic at 8:30am, just in time for the appointment, hoping that the clinic would anyway be empty so 5 minutes here or there doesn’t make a difference. Lo & behold! The clinic was so full that people were spilling out. Don’t forget it is still 8:30a.m. On a Monday morning! Luckily we had an appointment so managed to get a wait time of just 10 minutes.  

I couldn’t help but ask the receptionist why there was this unimaginable crowd so early, and that’s when I realized that the menace is bigger than I imagined. 50% of the cases were of Chikungunya! How is this spreading so rapidly and what are we doing to protect our little ones from it? Do we know what are the symptoms of Chikungunya fever to be able to protect our children?

What are the Symptoms of Chikungunya?

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes.
  • The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue hence getting the right diagnosis is important.
  • If you feel there is an abrupt onset of fever, but also accompanied by joint pain. Most likely it is Chikungunya.
Other symptoms of Chikungunya are:
  • Muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
  • Joint pain is extremely draining and can vary in duration from person to person.








Chikungunya Treatment

Medicines do not really cure the disease; hence the treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.

Preventing Chikungunya

The only way to prevent chikungunya is to prevent yourself from getting bitten by mosquitoes.
The mosquitoes that spread chikungunya bite during the daytime, hence ensure that you wear long-sleeve shirts, full length pants especially when you are outdoors.
  • Use a good mosquito repellent. I found the Goodknight Fabric Roll-On very effective as it has to be applied in little quality (just 4 dots), that too on fabric, and not directly on the skin. This is hence safe for children as well. The fragrance is also mild, hence does not irritate. 
  • Air Conditioned rooms usually have lesser mosquitoes.
  • Use a bed net even if you are using a mosquito repellent.
  • Be vary of stagnant water in homes as mosquitoes find this a good breeding ground. If you are wondering where could there be water accumulated in your home, think twice. If any washroom is less used, the water in the WC becomes a breeding ground. Keeping the lid closed is a good way to avoid mosquitoes from breeding there. The kitchen is another favourite area for mosquitoes to breed. The fridge tray or the AC tray are also areas which accumulate water.
  • If you take your baby out for walks in a stroller, ensure that the pram is covered with a net.

Lot of people use mosquito repellents only when they step out in the evening. The mosquito that carries chikungunya virus bites primarily during the daytime, both indoors and outdoors, and often lives around buildings in urban areas. This is the reason why I use Goodknight’s Mosquito repellent on Baby V even when we step out during the day for our dose of Vitamin D. 


Sunday, 7 January 2018

HEALTHY POST-PARTUM RECOVERY

The months after delivery are very critical for new moms as well as for the baby. While we focus most of our energies on understanding the newcomer in our life, adjusting our life around her time and needs, we almost overlook our own mental and physical requirements.

A good caretaker helps the new mother overcome emotional stress by offering to take care of the infant while she gets some rest. They also assure the mother that she is doing a great job of taking care of the baby, and shares valuable advice, and tips. For this its important for the caretaker to be experienced themselves, or to have read or researched enough at their end. I have seen most fathers in western countries take on this role of caretaker and do a fabulous job of it. Birth-prep classes are something that helps the parents in advance. While in India, going for birth-prep classes is not common, I do feel they are absolutely necessary. I wish more and more OBGYN’s would recommend the need for parents to be aware about the challenges, but also how to overcome those challenges, which are taught through these birth prep-classes. 

While the body goes through various physical changes on the outside, have you wondered what’s really happening on the inside? We all know that the body feels tired and burnt out post-delivery. The postpartum recovery doesn’t happen in just a few days. It can actually take months, even for the most fit women. While many women feel they have recovered substantially by 6-8 weeks (that’s when the stiches stop hurting), it may take longer for the others. One almost feels as if the body has turned against them. It took me almost 4-5 months to recover from the aftermath of delivery where I could say that yes I feel my body is now back to what it was! The body is busy repairing the muscles that stretched to make way for the baby and for you to go through labour. 
Here are some simple ways to help your body recover post-parting: 

1. Rest! Yes, get some rest please. Even though the baby may not be so demanding in the first week, they can start to require more of your time second week onwards. So try and get as much sleep as possible to cope with all the tiredness and physical exertion. 
2. Get a caretaker! Let your family know who is needed and who isn’t. This is not the time to take on emotional stress. Your body needs to heal, and practical help around managing the home, baby and you can help you get some stress off your back. 
3. Eating right! This is one of the most important points of post-partum recovery. Whether you are a breastfeeding mom or not, you need to eat healthy meals which include whole grains, fruits & veggies, and protein. I would consume protein in the form of eggs, paneer, and soya. However if you are tired of eating the same things every day, then here’s a healthy cheat-code for you. I recently came across a very healthy way of increasing protein intake through EPIGAMIA’s greek yogurt. While most yogurt brands promise to be a great source of protein, they are also extremely high on sugar!
Increase your daily fluid intake especially if you are breast-feeding. This is simple if you take coconut water daily, buttermilk and carom water. 

Why Epigamia?
1.       Epigamia’s Greek Yogurt is made from cow’s milk which is extremely healthy
2.       Great for weight loss and muscle gain! Exactly what we need post delivery. 
3.       Contains probiotics which help digestion
4.       Low on fat and carbs
5.       Epigamia follows the purest way of making greek yogurt 
Epigamia is available on all leading outlets and online. Check out more on www.epigamia.com

4. Exercise! A short walk with your baby on a daily basis can help you get some fresh air and also feel uplifted!
Stay Calm and Heal On!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

PRODUCT REVIEW | MAMAEARTH WIPES

The baby personal care industry is booming in India. Whether it is diapers, toiletries, clothes, or toys, India has become a large battleground for most brands competing for their fair share of voice. However in our growing up years there were no diapers, and barely any toiletries. How did our parents manage us in cloth nappies all through the day, or take us outside home when there were no wipes, or cerelac to fall back on? 

The daily maalish used to be done with Dabur Lal Tel, or just coconut oil. No special bath tub or toiletries. No sippy cups and fancy spoons for the baby to drink and eat from.

So much has changed now. These days we have easy access to diapers, wipes and tons of toiletries for the babies. A separate bath wash for the morning and a different one for the evening bath. Fancy towels and bath toys. It's our generation's way of pampering our little ones before we get back to our corporate lives. 

Things work a little bit different for Baby V and I. Many people give me a look of alarm when they hear that my little one has been on cloth nappies majority of the day since the age of 2 months. He is almost 10 months old now and wearing nappies for part of the night as well. He is learning to use the potty seat. He has never tasted Cerelac, or any other processed food. 

We don't use many creams or lotions. We have a simple bath routine, and no fancy tubs for engagement sake. We sing, dance, talk, play and enjoy each other's company all day. We love reading, jumping around, exploring every object in the house and evening walks with our friends. 

However, travelling outside brings about some changes to the routine. We move to diapers when we are out for long, and use wet wipes in case water isn't handy. Especially during diaper changes and wiping the baby's face after a messy meal. I had tried almost every wet wipe available in the market and was so apprehensive of using something polyester based on my baby's skin. I shudder to imagine people using wipes at home on their baby's delicate skin every time they clean the baby's skin and private areas.  All wipes have polyester as their base, which is not recommended to be used on babies. 
Recently I was introduced to Mamaearth's Wipes and hence I thought of sharing this review with you.   These wipes have been the best find for me in a long long time. 

- Mamaearth's wipes are India's 1st Organic Bamboo based wipes. What does that mean? Bamboo is biodegradable and environment friendly, hence it does not give rashes. 
- Because of their composition they are safe to be used on the baby's private parts as well.
- These wipes are enriched with Vit E, Shea Butter, Almond Oil and Aloe Vera, which means don't cause drying of skin
- They are thicker than the polyester wipes, so a single wipe can clean much more area and mess.
- They have a soothing natural fragrance which does not irritate the baby.
- Mamaearths wipes are Ph balanced and hypoallergenic. 

All in all, a great product at a reasonable price!
Baby V giving his nod of approval on Mamaearth Wipes :D


#saynotopolyester #mamaearth

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