Tuesday, 3 October 2017

POST-PARTUM DIET


I'm a stickler for eating well... and more so when I was expecting Baby V, and especially after delivery. Most of my friends would have hardly ever seen me binge on fast food or packaged snacks even otherwise, but during my pregnancy even my office colleagues would find my lunch bag surprising. No wonder I used to spend 30minutes packing my lunch bag to work everyday. I would never suggest eating Maggi or drinking soft-drinks at home, unless its someone else's suggestion. But even that was avoided during pregnancy and postpartum. I love dairy products and enjoy home-made food more than eating out. 

I have already spoken earlier about the need to eat well during pregnancy, and in this update I'll be talking about postpartum diet. 

With so much going on after the arrival of the baby, a mom almost forgets all about herself. Being a new mom means you're going to experience serious fatigue until you adjust to your new routine, so you need a diet that can help carry you, not one that will leave you constantly hungry and feeling deprived. The caretaker must ensure that the new mom gets the right nutrients and recovers well. Don't go about worrying about the weight loss just yet, even though you may still look 6 months preggers even after delivery. Breastfeeding will eventually help shrink the uterus and reduce those inches. Even if you are not breastfeeding, your body is still working round the clock to repair you from the inside. Give yourself 3-6 months to get back to your routine. Don't let others dictate what you should and shouldn't do. 

Some of the foods that must not be forgotten are (irrespective of a vaginal or a c-sec delivery). 
Note: C-sec moms should be careful on the amount of fat consumption.

1. Increase breast milk supply

Lactonic Granules
- Jeera & Ajwain Water: Boil 3 glasses of water with one spoon of jeera (cumin) and 1 spoon of ajwain (carom seeds). Reduce this concoction to just 1 glass of water and drink slightly luke warm. Don't go overboard in drinking this every time throughout the day. Just 1 glass a day is fine. Jeera and Ajwain help the mom recover fast and also helps increase breast milk supply. It also helps to reduce gas and indigestion, which indirectly helps the baby as well. 
In principle avoid drinking cold water for first 1 month after delivery. 

- Dairy: 1 Litre of milk a day is extremely beneficial in aiding milk supply. In addition to it, you should also take paneer, curd or lassi. 

- Laconic Granules: A little bit of outside help goes a long way. I took Laconic Granules for 1.5 months after delivery, twice a day. In the morning one glass of milk with 2 spoons of laconic granules and same in the evening. 


2. Recover from stitches the traditional way

Whether its a C-sec or a vaginal delivery, either way both get stitches, hence recovery from that is critical. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 glass of milk and bring to a boil. Note that the haldi must be boiled to help bring out the best benefits of it. One glass a day is good for the first 2 months. 

3. The main diet

- Eat maximum fruits and veggies. I used to eat 5 types of fruits a day during my pregnancy and even post delivery. 
- Protein consumption like eggs, sprouts, sea food and chicken, should be ample, to help the muscles recover 
- Leafy greens- always a must
- Iron from meats, spinach etc
- Vit C, which can help with wound healing for mothers who delivered via C-section, from oranges, tomatoes and fruit juices

My breakfast used to consist of cereals in a big bowl of milk, 2 hard boiled eggs and 2 toasts. After an hour or two, I would eat some fruits and then again some milk. 

4. Super foods

Few other super foods to that a new mom can take:
- Ragi: Ragi is a great source of iron and calcium. It is also fed to babies post 6 months in large parts of India (especially Maharashtra and South India)
- Hummus: home-made hummus is also a great source of 

5. What to avoid

- Chocolates- pampering yourself here n there is fine, but chocolates certainly are not doing you much good, apart from keeping the oxytocin levels high, which is also important if you are suffering from PPD
- Spices must be avoided. Eat plain simple home food for atlas first 2-3 months. 
Avoid the "gassy" veggies, like you did during pregnancy (onion, cabbage, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, and peppers)
- Restrict eating out or outside food for about 3 months, especially if you are breastfeeding

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

CAPTURED IN MEMORY

BABY PHOTOSHOOT

As new parents, one of the things we all mostly wish for is a good photoshoot for our tiny munchkins. But we just don't know how to go about it? Whom to ask about a good photographer, how to find out on our own, etc etc.

Recently we did a photoshoot for our little one in Mumbai and had a great time!! It was one of those big milestones for me, with Baby V turning 6 months old, and I really wanted to capture it. Since we did not do a newborn photoshoot for him, it was all the more important to capture the half year. Plus I  think the perfect time for baby photoshoot is either first 2 weeks of the baby's life, when they are mostly sleeping through the day and through the photoshoot as well :) or once they are ready to sit up, and hold themselves more steadily. But of course, its the parents call on when they think is the best time.

Here are some tips from our experience of baby photoshoot that might help you in planning yours:

1. Word of mouth: If you see any of your friends posting pics on social media of their baby's photoshoot, reach out to them and take inputs from them. They will mostly be very helpful in giving an unbiased review of the photographer. A positive word of mouth goes a long way.

2. Follow mom bloggers: Find out some mom bloggers on Instagram, as they would know the good photographers in their city. As a mom blogger, I saw a fellow mom bloggers's baby's photoshoot and contacted the photographer. Once you follow the photographer on Insta and see their work, you'll also get suggestions on following similar people. That's how you collect your data and then speak to them.

3. Studio vs home: Most popular photographers like Shipra & Amit, Anega etc charge a higher fee for coming to the family's home for the photoshoot. Although I feel going to their studio is much better, as they know the natural lighting is best at what time, which part of their home or studio is the cosiest, and they will have props that you mostly won't have at your home. If its an outdoor setting then they can suggest the best places nearby, like a beach, or a good park.

4. Recee: If the shoot is planned at your own home, let the photographer come a few days prior to the photoshoot to see what kind of equipments they will need to bring with them. This helps solve issues of miscommunication and expectation of space etc.

5. Research: You will need to check works of international photographers and Indian photographers to see what kind of style you like best, and whether your shortlisted photographer will be able to achieve that. Select and share pics that you really desire, and discuss with your photographer.

6. Average cost: A good photographer charges anything between Rs.15-50k, depending on the package. For a Rs.15k package they will mostly give 15-20 hi-res pics (after you shortlist from among 40-60 pics), the shoot will be for 3-4 hours in 3 different settings. For a Rs.35k package, they will give you 20-25 hi-res pics, the shoot will be for 4-5 hours, in 4 different settings, and they will also share a coffee table book with the chosen images.

7. Props: start discussing the baby's clothes and props required for the photoshoot with the photographer atlas 2-3 weeks in advance. Try to borrow some of this stuff from your friends. For Baby V's photoshoot we bought a bow-tie and tie from firstcry.com and borrowed stuffed toys from his friends

8. Keep baby's toys handy: During photoshoots, babies can get cranky with the big black camera staring at them constantly. Let them see their familiar toys once a while and feel comfortable.

9. Don't let the photographer rush you up: If you have the package for 3-4hrs, let the maximum pics be clicked when the baby is most fresh. They will genuinely come out better than when the baby is sleepy, hungry, wet or intimidated.

10. Extra pair of hands: Parents get so fuzzled with managing the baby, props, their own attires that having an extra set of hands is very helpful. Make sure this person (whether its a baby-sitter, or a friend, or an aunt) is familiar with the baby and can manage a cranky baby on their own.

All the best!

Monday, 11 September 2017

INFANT SLEEP TRAINING

Can newborns be sleep trained?
Should newborns be sleep trained?

Lot of new moms discuss the same plaguing problem- my baby does not sleep at night, what can I do?

The solution lies entirely with you and your partner.

As adults we more or less follow (should follow) a sleep pattern. We have dinner by 8pm and go to bed by 10pm. Wake up by 6:30am. Thats the broad outline of a working couple's desired (and somewhat achievable) sleep pattern.

But when babies come in our life, we forget all rules of the book. We stop referring to the books we read during pregnancy and we don't consult good parenting books due to sleepless nights, fatigue etc etc.

Babies can be sleep-trained from Day 1 and as part of imparting good social-skills they ought to be rightly sleep trained by both parents. Only the mom or dad alone cannot achieve this. Together the partners need to be consistent in their pattern and help the baby achieve one.

So here are some basics that I followed with my lil one from Day 1. 

1. Create a familiar bed-time routine daily. Do not waver from it more than once a week (if you must). This helps regulate the baby's body-clock and creates a sleeping pattern. In fact a baby feels much more relaxed when they can anticipate whats coming next. This can include reading a story together, or singing together or just talking.

2. The routine can include, singing, massaging and bathing or if you don't want to get into that just change the baby into night clothes. This ritual makes the baby feel fresh, loved with all the touch and cooing, and hence cosy. Some people say why change the baby's clothes since the baby isn't dirty. Well, its just about hygiene and habit. The massage should be much more gently and very different from the morning massage. Its to press their tired bones and ease them.

3. Post dinner, say "Goodnight" to everyone in the house and retire to the room. When you get to the room say "Goodnight moon, goodnight stars." These words help establish night time and that there will now be no activity.

4. Dim the lights and play a gentle music. We used the Chicco musical cube which has very gentle and soothing music. This calmed both me as a tired mum and the baby.

5. Feed but without talking. A gently humming tune can be sung, but no more talking for the day. If there is anything you and your partner need to discuss, it should be done when the baby is asleep. Else babies also want to be part of the talk and love to engage.

6. No phones or screens. This is the time for the mom and baby to bond into a lasting comforting relationship. New moms love to distract themselves and read 101 things wrt motherhood, breastfeeding etc etc. Leave it for the time when the baby is asleep or when an elder has relieved you for a while to be by yourself.

7. Burp the baby and cuddle.

7. Once the baby is asleep put them snugly into the same place everyday. Its never too early to introduce the cot.


How to encourage good sleeping habits:

1. Start reading cues for sleep:
- The type of cry is different for sleep, hunger, gas, being wet, cuddle or colic.
- A sleepy baby may:
+Rub eyes incessantly
+ Flick her ears with the hand
+ Stare blankly
+ Become irritable for no reason

2. Establish between day and night
Day time activities:
-  Can include not shutting off all lights. I would let some light into the room even when my baby was few weeks old.
- Don't shut the door at all times. Let some ambient noise come from the hustle of the house so that the baby knows that the people of the house are up and about.
- Talk and play as much as you want and don't keep whispering around the baby.
- Play peppy music for the baby. Of course not loud.
Night time activities:
- Talking gently
- Cuddling
- Soothing music

All the best zzzzzz

Thursday, 7 September 2017

EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFEEDING

Together as a family we are so happy that we kept Baby V an exclusively breastfed baby till 6months. While I thought that was tough, now the start of solids proves to be another challenge



😋
Breastfeeding is one of the most rewarding experiences of a mother's life. 💖💖 Here are some breastfeeding basics that helped me in these 6months:

🌸The first milk that a mother gets is called Colostrum, which is extremely rich in antibodies and helps build the newborn's immunity. That's why it's called the "high octane" milk. Most mothers insist on feeding the baby immediately after delivery. But some take a little longer which can be due to the C-sec pain or the baby requiring NICU more importantly. I managed to feed V just 3 hrs after his birth. 


🌸Sometimes a little assistance goes a long way. A kind nurse helped me draw out the colostrum the brutal way & I thank her for it even today. That restored my faith that I can feed.

🌸Hospitals love to keep the baby on formula. That's partially because a mother doesn't usually get the quantity of milk required to fill the newborn's tummy just yet. Insist on feeding before each top feed. Doesn't matter how much milk you get, try for atleast 15-30mins each time, as long as the baby is comfortable.

🌸Only a baby can draw out the milk in the best way. They may not have the muscle power and training to feed just yet, but trust them they learn very fast (all good & bad things).

🌸Trust yourself. The real challenge began when we got home. No top feed, no nurse. Hmmm! Only mom & baby. So we kept at it for hours. Babies falls asleep mid-feed so it's good to tickle their feet once in a while else they wake up hungry very soon. 🌸Sore nipples😫Yes that too. Almost every new mom goes through it. The best way to cure sore nipples is to apply a bit of BM to it after every feed. It works wonders.

🌸Latching! The best technique that works for me is Clutch hold. I watched the "Deep latch technique" thanks to @frootiness who came to my rescue in the first week after delivery. The key word is PATIENCE. I have nursed for 6-8hours at many sittings for the first month (while the stitches hurt).

🌸No milk? That's often not the case. Misleading nurses and elders can fill up the vulnerable mind of a new mom that she doesn't have enough milk. That's usually not true. It's all about DEMAND & SUPPLY. Simple 11th standard economics. The amount a baby feeds, the more mild your body will produce. 


🌸Switch sides. Often we don't realise that we have a favourite feeding side. Keep switching breasts everytime. Empty out each side on one feed. Offer the next side on the next feed. In the beginning multiple feeding sessions merge into one. Switch sides then. Eventually after 2-3 weeks you will be able to tell which sides needs emptying out first. 


🌸Pumping: pumping is a good idea if you have a partner who is eager to help or parents at home who can relieve you of one feed and give the bottle to the baby. The Philips Avent manual pump worked best for me. 


🌸Nipple confusion. Avoid giving the bottle too many times in the beginning as the baby can get confused between the bottle and mother's nipples. Use special nipples from Philips Avent or Medela.

🌸Feeding pillow. Invest in a good Boppy pillow. And a hard pack pillow to save your back from slumping.

Stay calm & Breastfeed. :) 

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

TRAVELLING BY AIR WITH AN INFANT

Just 2 months back Baby V & I took our first flight together ✈️ Ohh what a lovely experience! (But before the flight, the anxiety 😋)Lots of people ask me how does one travel by air with a baby? 


Here are some great tips that I collected from many moms & the ones what worked for us🙂
✈️Target reaching the airport atleast 1.5hrs before the flight. In case the baby requires a diaper change or a feed, you'll have time for it.

✈️A pram or a baby carrier is a must! I can't imaging carrying V in my arms that too at T3 IGI Airport. A pram helps you change the diaper and in case the baby falls asleep, they have some place to lie down in. We managed to run to the boarding gates in it 


😆
✈️Ensure the diaper is not full and baby is going to be comfortable for the next 2-3hrs in it. It's not easy changing in the air. 


✈️If you are travelling alone with the baby, check in ALLLL your luggage & keep only the diaper bag and pram/carrier with you. You have only 2 hands! No handbag on top pls. 

✈️Ask for help from the airport staff when you need to collect your luggage from the belt. It's not going to be easy managing baby and luggage. They are more than willing to help out. We had a great experience at Mumbai airport in this regard. 

✈️How to use the washroom? Trust the Airlines female staff if you have to go for a quick bio break. They usually have experience & are dependable.

✈️Carry a hand sanitiser like PalmSafe cos it's a 100% Alcohol free foam hand sanitiser with a very pleasant fragrance&safe for all age groups. I hate using strong alcohol-based hand sanitisers esp when I'm handling baby V. And public places are big risk for infections and viruses. I don't let strangers touch BabyV &politely tell them off 

😋
✈️Feed the baby at take-off and landing. The pressure in the ears is what gets babies agitated. Swallowing is the best way to handle the pressure. Whether it's your own BM or bottle, don't start feeding when the announcement is made. It usually takes a while before the ascend and descend. When you feel the plane is tilting up or down, that's the right time to feed.

@Palm_safe can be easily bought on @amazondotin http://amzn.to/2x42rtI

THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN

Taking the right amount of Vitamin D is extremely important for everyone and more so for babies. 
Baby V and I love being in the sun. While baby skin is extremely sensitive & can burn easily, yet there is no better way to consume Vit D than direct sun exposure (newborns should take indirect sunlight to even bring down jaundice). 

Paediatricians prescribe taking in atleast 400 IU of Vit D daily through supplements like Sunsips/Vitanova/Uprise etc., which is a must given our lifestyle of minimal sun exposure, but nothing beats the power of the sun. 


☀️ Why is Vitamin D required for babies?
- Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, can be produced in the body with mild sun exposure or consumed in food or supplements. Vitamin D has multiple roles in the body, like- maintain the health of bones and teeth. Support the health of the immune system, brain and nervous system.
- Vit D is required to absorb Calcium & phosphorous in the body, which are needed to build and maintain bones. 

- Lack of Vit D leads to lactose intolerance (even to mother's milk)
- Insufficient amount of Vit D can lead to rickets (brittle bones)



☀️
How much Vit D is required?
- Direct exposure to sun is required for 10minutes each day for fair skin & slightly longer for wheatish skin. 

- Skin should be directly exposed to the sun. It cannot permeate clothes and glass windows. 


☀️How to keep the baby safe in sun?
- Babies should not get direct sunlight in their eyes since their eyes are very sensitive. I try to turn V away from the sun so that his lower half gets max sun. - Ensure baby is well hydrated to be able to sit in the sun for these 10mins. 

- Best time for sun bathing is 9:30-11:30am

POST-PARTUM DIET

I'm a stickler for eating well... and more so when I was expecting Baby V, and especially after delivery. Most of my friends would ...