Saturday, December 20, 2014

The First Birthday Celebrations!

Where does time fly?

It seems like it was only yesterday when I was wheeled into the labour room. At the time, it was just the pains that clouded my thoughts and nothing else. The following morning, I was holding a little cherub, as I felt my heart melting away.

Fast forward to now....

Prabir has completed 1 year. Already!! There I was, planning and re planning the kind of celebration I would have. And lo and behold, it's come and gone so soon!

I believe in making memories, and wanted to make a huge one for my little man. Of course, there's the thing about babies not enjoying their birthday celebration and not remembering it either way. While I agree to this to an extent, the enjoying part can be managed, if it's planned according to your baby and not the parents or the guests.

While planning the entire event, a few things that were important for me were:
  • Prabir's sleep or meals aren't disrupted. 
  • Everyone gets to enjoy, adults included. 
  • It shouldn't be just another birthday party where you cut the cake, give a gift, have food and that's it. 
  • Relatives traveling to be with us get to see the city closely and taste the local food too. 
  • Every moment is captured for Prabir to look at and smile later.
The first came the card and it had to be special. As we celebrated every month, I compiled the pictures of all the cakes he had cut through the year. So, with all the little ones he cut every month, it was now time to cut the Big 1!!

The birthday was on a Monday and his near and dear ones were more than excited to be with him for his big day, so much so that many of them flew in from different cities for the celebration. So yes, the onus was on us to make their trip memorable and fun.

With relatives arriving before or on Sunday, we planned a 2-day celebration.

The fun started on Sunday morning with a special Ganga cruise. With the weather favoring us, it was real fun cruising on the Ganges, with family for company, snacks for nibbling and lots of candid clicks.

Following this was lunch by the riverside. The restaurant had an open space which we'd booked in advance, making it a private and sunny affair.

Post this, everyone returned and took some well needed rest. Prabir too was home in time for his nap.

In the evening, there was a small get together with local delicacies like litti-chokha, chhole-bhature and mutton curry and rice.

The next day was the big one, with everyone up to wish the birthday boy the moment he woke. Prabir decided to sleep in a little more, while everyone waited. In the meantime, his room was filled with balloons and gifts. So, the moment he woke up, he had this big grin on his face, and darted towards his gifts.

The birthday party was kept in the afternoon as it's at that time when Prabir is most active and playful. We didn't choose any theme for the event as our little boy will have enough to pick from as he grows. Balloons were colorful and the cake was a classic two tier blue butterscotch with cream pandas on the top.

The only thing that I hadn't really thought about was Prabir's dress. While I wanted it casual and chic, I wanted him to stand out too and the party dresses for boys available in the market were just not great. Every store had millions of choices for girls, but for little boys, there were barely a few, if any. We settled for denim pants with a multicolor sweater and a red Nehru Jacket to complete the look.

There were games for both adults as well as the kids, musical chair, spoon and lemon race and paper dance. What fun it was to see Prabir's aunts and uncles running, while Prabir clapped and rocked to the music.

The highlight of the party was a video I compiled with all the firsts, like when he first babbled, first crawled etc.

The return gifts were personalised too. The kids got caps with their name on it. For the adults, there were framed pictures of them with Prabir, ethnic dupattas etc. We also got chocolate bars with 'Thank You' written on them for every kid.

With the event over by 4pm, we were home soon enough for the kid to catch up with his siesta. So, all in all, no cranky baby and just perfect birthday celebrations!

The success of it all would be when my son smiles every time he sees the pictures and videos of his first birthday. That moment is still far fetched, but would make everything worth the effort ☺

Friday, November 28, 2014

Things My Son has Taught Me

The last few months have been stressful, to say the least. Life has taken an unwanted, though expected, turn, the effects of which might never go away.

Amidst all this, if there's anything that has kept me going, it is my son. The tiny, naughty, playful little angel who keeps my world so beautiful and full of sunshine. And when I look at him, there's so much that he's taught me all along.

Smile - Smile, no matter how bad or blue the world around is. It's amazing how easily a little child can crack into a smile instantly. While there isn't much that you can do to change situations or people, you can change your perspective and mood. And all that starts with a little smile.

Never give up - A baby learns things, little by little and by never giving up. Yes, there are moments of frustration and anger too, but he keeps struggling until he has mastered the art, be it rolling and flipping, sitting up, crawling, standing or walking. The sad thing is that as we grow, we lose our perseverance and start giving up way too easily. Looking at my son these days trying to stand and walk is a delight, and a reminder that patience and perseverance always pay.

Sing, like no one is listening - And lots of singing we, mother and son, do. No longer do I care whether my voice cracks up at a high pitch or the fact that I am only mumbling the lyrics I barely know. We sing and have our own fun, all the time!

Forgive & forget - Who says a mother never makes mistakes? Of course, she does. Or for that matter, anyone else who's with the baby. But the baby never remembers and the next moment, it's all about love and hugs for him or her. While we adults keep way too many grudges and, in the process, lose out on valuable time and beautiful relationships.

Live and love the moment - It's all about this particular moment for my son now. If he wants to sleep, he'll sleep and if he's hungry, he'll want to be fed. There's no planning anywhere. So, even if it's 3 am in the morning and he decides to play a while, he'll play. When he grows up, he too will get caught in the maze called life and fret and worry like we do.

Take it easy - The house is a mess, the dried laundry needs to be put away, sleep is now a luxury and I haven't done my eyebrows for over 2 months now. But every moment with my child allows me to sit back and truly enjoy 'the' moment. The colorful stacking rings and the tumblers are more important now than coordinating my dress with the right footwear. All because my child loves playing with these and I'd crawl under the bed in an expensive dress to fetch the one that rolls in there. And despite all the mess and my imperfections, my child loves me nonetheless. While I bask in the moment, I let go of things that can be put off for the next day, just to be with my child. Does the next day come? Who cares. .. as long as I get every moment of my little one's childhood.

Childhood is absolutely amazing, but seeing your child grow is an eye opener. Yes, life teaches, but your child is the greatest teacher. As you become a parent, not only do you look at life differently, but also learn so many things about yourself that you've never known. You are the strongest and the most vulnerable with your child.

Every moment with my son is a treasure and everything else can wait. And my son inspires me to be a better human being, little by little, every day :)

Will be back with more. Till then, take care and stay precious :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hear.... but Do Not Listen!

Hear everybody out, but do not listen. This has probably been one of the best advices I got after giving birth. 

During and after pregnancy, you're hoarded with so many do's and don't's that you either get thoroughly confused or blindly follow each and every thing told to you. I went and am still going through the same phase. The worst is when these come from those who you thought would know better.

  • Don't eat brinjals, else your baby will be dark. Really? The fact is that brinjal is heavy to digest and may cause acidity. However,  the baby's complexion is purely genetic and has nothing to do with brinjal! 

  • Have milk with saffron to ensure that the baby is fair. Again!  To something like this, I'd say that we should even start applying Fair n Lovely on the baby bump!!

  • Eat for two as you need the extra calories for another person growing within you. The fact is that you need to eat just about 250-300 extra calories, so an extra chapati in lunch and a sandwich in the evening would suffice. Eating for two would only leave you with too much of the extra weight you would find difficult to get rid of.

  • Acidity or heartburn is due to the baby's (in the womb) growing hair! Now, how is that possible? In fact, acidity is a common problem during pregnancy.

  • Rest as much as possible and do not exercise. Well, while excessive exercise and heavy weightlifting is an absolute no, regular walk and exercise is important for a healthy pregnancy.

  • Eating ghee and butter would help in normal delivery. This happens through muscle contractions and the ghee and butter do absolutely nothing to smoothen the baby's track (if that is the logic)! It will only give you extra kilos you would find difficult to shed later.

  • Watching an eclipse is bad for the baby. When my father first got the news, the first thing he called to tell me was that there was an eclipse on August 25 around midnight and I shouldn't be out then. An eclipse is said to harm the baby and cause a deformity. Well, I surely wasn't loitering around at midnight then; however, a baby is well protected in the mother's womb to be harmed by an eclipse.

  • Itching the baby bump would cause stretch marks. As the skin stretches, some of us experience itching; however, it is not related to stretch marks in any way. Unless you are one of the lucky few, you will have the tiger marks during and after birth. While some oils and creams are said to reduce them, there's no way to prevent them completely.

  • The day you conceive determines the sex of the child. If so, then whatever happened to the X and Y thing we learned in school!

  • If the fetal heart rate is slow, it's a boy, else a girl. To be honest, I always heard horses racing during the visits to the doc and I have a baby boy :)
  • You will not have enough milk as you don't drink as much milk! Now, how is this even related? A cow eats grass (and all sorts of junk), right?

  • As the baby starts speaking, your hair fall will increase. Hair fall post the baby's birth is due to the hormone withdrawal that takes place then. Guess, this myth came into being as it's at the same time when a baby starts babbling too.

  • You and the baby should not go out for the first 40 days after birth. Well, even I have been confined in the house during this period. There's only so much you can do to fight off such myths. In other countries, though, babies as old as a couple of weeks even go grocery shopping. However, this myth does give you time to regain strength and allow the child to adjust to the world outside, while keeping you both away from infections.

  • Avoid working on the computer or reading after giving birth as that weakens the eye. I have not taken a day's break from work since delivery and haven't had my eyes checked since either :)

These were a few that I could rattle off without much thinking. That's as much you can expect from a sleep-deprived mother :)

Go on and add those you may have heard (or even suffered) :)

Will be back soon. Till then, take care and stay precious :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What YOU 'd Need as a New Maa :)

(Image: Google)

With your expected delivery date (EDD) close, you're sure to be bombarded with the list of things you need to buy for the coming baby. Even various stores and shops will hand you a list of essentials, which of course is their way of telling you that they have everything available. As for you, from wraps to diapers, you'll cross check it all every day to ensure that you have everything set.

As my EDD approached, I, too, was all set with the hospital bag and everything else. And I believed that was all that was required. However, during the first few days after returning from the hospital, there were so many things I wished I had bought earlier. The fact is that no one tells expecting moms what are those things that we, as a new Maa, would need. I was lucky to have my younger sister to help me get the stuff I needed.

So, here are a few things that I felt I should have added to my list while I was preparing for my new role.
  • Front open tops and shirts, especially if you plan to breastfeed your baby.

  • Comfortable lowers or track pants that would be easy to put on. These are important if you've had a cesarean delivery.

  • Nursing lingerie, and ensure you have at least 4 of them. Also, you might want to buy a nursing cover that may come handy some time. 

  • Breast pads - you'd need them whenever you go out, even if that's a short doc visit.

  • Buy/keep clothes that you can wear post delivery. You wouldn't want to be fretting out then for having nothing suitable to wear when you need to step out of your home, even if the trip is for getting your child shots.

  • Invest in comfortable nightwear. If you'll be breastfeeding, they should either have a zipper at the front or you can buy the nursing ones available. If your EDD is sometime in the colder months, consider buying night suits (rather than gowns or nighties) as they are warmer and more comfortable.

  • Keep a good stock of your toiletries, like shampoo, conditioner etc. You might not be able to venture out for a few weeks. Though home delivery is always an option, if you use a specific brand, make sure you have extra bottles with you.

  • If there's a tradition in your family to have a small ceremony in the first week after the baby's arrival, you might want to keep a suitable dress ready as you may not be able/allowed to go shopping then.

  • Buy a good flask that keeps water warm/hot for a considerable period. This will be especially handy during the night, saving you multiple trips to the kitchen. Even if you are exclusively breastfeeding and do not need the water for formula, you'd need it for wiping during diaper changes through the night. Milton is a brand I swear by. 

  • Your room should also be ready for the baby. You'd need a table or a rack to keep diaper supplies close at hand. My husband got one with wheels and four shelves, which made it easy to pull it closer, when required; while the shelves are handy to keep other things like hand towels, extra clothing for the baby, medicines etc.

  • Get a night lamp, if you don't have one. Also, you might want an extension to the main light close to the bed. 

  • Decide on the baby's bed, almirah, etc beforehand, even if you don't want to buy one before the baby arrives. Hand over the design and other details to your husband or other family members. This way, you can focus on the new baby, while those things are taken care of as per your need/desire.

  • Last, but most important! Get a haircut, manicure, pedicure etc. You never know when you'll be able to go to your parlor next. I had to wait 5 months for a haircut! And manicure/pedicure.... What's that???
These were a few things that I missed out on, and, gradually, got them sorted. With you being on your toes constantly in your new role, there will be lesser time to focus on yourself. My next post would be about how I scrape out some time for... 'Myself'!

Till then, take care and stay precious :)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

There's a New Baby and....... A New Mother!!

Pregnancy is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful phase in a woman's life. Everyone around showers her with special care and attention. From the food menu to family outings, all are planned, keeping in mind the expecting mother and her likes and dislikes. Moreover, special care is taken to ensure that she doesn't take any unnecessary stress, while everyone around makes extra effort to keep her happy.

And once the baby arrives, everything turns the other way round. The baby becomes the point of all care and attention, while the new mother takes a backseat. Yes, she's still looked after, but often she's supposed to know it all and take care of everything on her own.

Moreover, the changes in life and routine that come with a new baby lead to many other changes that a new mother may not have thought about earlier. While she grapples to get a hold of her new life, her old life gradually slips away; and before she knows it, it's gone. Those quiet moments with her husband when they talked endlessly, the 'Me' time when she could read or surf the TV channels aimlessly, the impromptu shopping trips and coffee with friends, all seem to be a part of another lifetime that seems distant and strangely unfamiliar.

For a woman, having a child is a life changing experience. And it is at this time that she needs the most support and love. Here is a woman who has just had a baby and is still coming to terms with her new self, her new life and even her new body. Yes, she understands that she has a new being to look after, but she is also yet to come to terms with it all. Suddenly, her life isn't what it used to be and while she knows this fact, it'll take her some time to embrace it. At this point, over burdening her with expectations is a little too much. She's not running away, but needs her time.

I, too, was completely baffled with the way my life changed. As I went into labor 2 weeks earlier, I was actually counting on those 2 weeks to prepare better (of course, there's nothing like being prepared for this, to be honest). There was a time, when I felt I'd lose it completely. I was depressed most of the time, with exhaustion and sleeplessness adding to my condition. And the worst of it all was that I knew what I could fall into (postpartum depression) if I didn't take immediate action. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. However, as I could well fathom my condition, I struggled to stay afloat and sought support immediately. For me, as always, it was my sister who stepped up and helped me cope. Gradually, as a routine set in, I was able to gather myself and work towards being a better and more balanced parent.

At this time, what's more stressing is also the hoards of advices, you are showered with, solicited or unsolicited (mostly). However, with the new age mothers more aware and competent, it's easier to know or find out what's best for your baby. 

The worst of it all, for me, was when at the first cry of the baby, everyone around would turn and tell me the baby is hungry, no matter that the baby had just taken his feed and burped! Unable to figure out why my baby would cry, I, too, would have been lead to believe that breastfeed was not sufficient and I needed to top it up with formula milk. Thankfully, on the first follow up with the pediatrician on my baby's 5th day, we discussed this, and he told me to hear everyone, but listen only to him.

This was only one of 'the things', as there is so much more that keeps coming from all corners. Well, this makes for a separate blog post altogether; but these, too, play a substantial role in bogging down a new mother. 

It is now that your support system comes into play. Hence, it's critical to keep the communication going, be it with your husband, parents, siblings or friends. Of course, everyone would be too awed by the new baby, but they sure understand there's a new mother too. However, if you don't speak up, they might just assume that all is well. This, in turn, would make you feel worse. 

Take out some time for yourself, however little that might be. It could be a nice hot bath or a good cup of tea in peace (chances are that your baby will cry out just at these moments though). You can even put on some soothing music, which would be therapeutic for you and soothing for your baby. Going for a quick 15 minute stroll to the neighborhood park while your husband babysits would work wonders. Basically, anything that gives you some time and space to recollect and refresh yourself.

So, while you work towards becoming a great Maa, don't forget you're an individual who needs her space and time. You owe it to yourself. 

Will be back with more.

Till then, take care and stay precious :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Diet for a Breastfeeding Maa

A Maa who's exclusively breastfeeding her baby needs to ensure that she eats well too. It's not only essential for her, but also important to maintain the milk production. People ask me if I'm having enough dry fruits, ghee etc. And my answer is an absolute no. I'm allergic to dry fruits and I know I don't require dollops of ghee and butter in my diet. On the other hand, the diet needs to be well balanced and light. In the first six months, you cannot exercise; hence, it's the food you eat that will help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight. The key, here, is to have a regular diet plan which ensures you get the extra calories you need to feed your child, while keeping your weight in check.  

Many mothers have asked me for the diet plan I've been following. I have shared with a few, while I'm sure this will help many others out there too. This was given to me at the hospital where I delivered; and it has helped me tremendously in both, feeding my baby well and losing weight (YES!!!).

So for all new Maa's out there, here it is - a diet that involves 6 small meals which are light and good for breastfeeding. 

Early morning - 5 almonds, tea or milk with 2-3 Threptin or glucose biscuits (I skip the almonds though)

Breakfast - milk or milkshake, or cornflakes/daliya/oats/toast, or egg or paneer and fruit or fruit juice. 

Mid morning - lassi or juice or fresh lime with besan cheela or paneer cutlet or dhokla or moong dal cheela

Lunch - 3-4 chapatis or 1-1.5 katori rice, 1 katori veggies, 1 katori dal or soyabean or paneer and 1 katori curd and salad.

Evening - milk or milkshake with biscuits or peanut chikki or til ke laddoo or roasted chana or dates.

Dinner - same as lunch, but avoid rice. 

Bedtime -1 glass of milk.

So, basically, you need to have milk at least 3-4 times and could be as a milkshake or with daliya and oats etc. In case you experience bloating or acidity at night, avoid anything raw (such as salads) after 7 pm.  

Foods to Eat 
Sabudana, methi, fennel seeds, cumin, sesame seeds, tulsi, valaithi saunf or aniseed. 

Also, have plenty of fluids like coconut water, buttermilk, soups, lime water etc. 

Snacks you can have include fruit smoothies, idli, egg salad or sandwich, bhelpuri, roasted nuts, dry fruit, besan sheera, ragi roti and sabudana tikki. 

I personally ensure to have sabudana regularly, either with milk or as khichdi.

Avoid caffeine as it's passed into breast milk. Also, include vitamin c and avoid fatty or hard to digest food.

Following a good and healthy diet is important for a new mother as she needs all the energy and strength to cope with the new phase of life. As days and nights merge into one during the initial few months of motherhood (could extend to a year or two as well), finding some time for yourself and eating the right food becomes even more critical. So, yes, it's essential for your baby as well as you :)

Most importantly, stay happy and stress free and don't think too much. Breastfeeding is very satisfying and fulfilling and enjoy every bit of it as nothing can match this experience.  

Will be back soon. Till then, take care and stay precious :)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Breastfeeding - A Big Deal?

Image Courtesy - Google

This title would certainly raise many brows. Before I begin, I'd clarify that this post is not about being judgemental about whether you choose to breastfeed your child. It is only an attempt to understand why it's become such a big issue.

These days, every time I meet some family or friend, I'm asked whether I've started other foods yet or introduced the bottle. On being told that my son is exclusively breastfed, many are surprised while some are shocked. 'How do you manage? Don't you give a bottle at night either?'

To be honest, I'm equally surprised at such reactions. While I understand that many mothers aren't able to feed their baby due to less or no milk production or because they have to join back work, I didn't have any such reason not to do it. I work from home and am with my baby 24x7. Moreover, exclusive breastfeeding is the first and the most important thing I can do for my child. And if I can do it, then why not? As my baby grows up, I'll get back the long stretches of sleep but never will his first few months return.

Why is it that breastfeeding is considered so difficult now? It's not the baby's needs that have changed, but the life of a woman. We, now, have our jobs and careers, and a life beyond the walls of our home. And it does become difficult to cope with the baby's demands. Families, too, have become smaller and more often than not, there are no grandma's or others to help you with your household chores, which makes this even more tiring. Moreover, breastfeeding doesn't stop at 6 months, it is weaned off gradually and can go on till your baby is 2 years. Every baby is different and the weaning period also differs.

Breastfeeding your baby also puts many restrictions on you. For instance, I rarely go out now. And the first criteria for me to venture out for a long time is to check and ensure that the place I'm going to has space for me to feed my baby. If the latter is an issue or the commuting time is too long, I prefer not to go.

However, there are so many advantages to breastfeeding that can simply not be overlooked. Mother's milk is packed with all the essential nutrients and enzymes that are very important for your child. Moreover, all that immunity you've built in your lifetime is passed in to your child through breastfeeding. While formula milk may be an alternative, it can never be a substitute or a replacement. I know mothers who give their babies formula milk along with breastfeed just so that the baby gets habituated to the bottle. I personally feel that it's just not required. You have all the time to change habits, but those first 6 months are precious. Your baby needs mother's milk and that's all. Like my hubs says, "Breastmilk can never go wrong!"

Then there are others who feel that giving the bottle at night gives you longer gaps between feeds. The fact is that's not really true. Studies have shown that breastfeeding at night helps regulate the baby's body clock and they're able to sleep for a stretch, waking up only for feeds in between. Moreover, breastfeeding helps develop a sense of security that helps the baby sleep better. Of course, sometimes, my son just wants his mumma close to him and nothing else, but then I'm not complaining. The feeling you get when your child is so close to you is simply irreplaceable.

So yes, it is very demanding, but for nothing in the world would I exchange it. Because for me, this is my time with my son, and I'll never get these precious moments back when it's just him and me. One of the best things I can give to my son is the gift of good health and that begins with breastfeeding.

What do you feel about breastfeeding? Have you also countered questions about your choice to breastfeed or not? Do share.

Will follow up with a post on how underrated breastfeeding is. 

Till then, take care and stay precious :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Surviving Morning... Err "ALL-DAY" Sickness!!

While morning sickness is said to be a major symptom of pregnancy, not everyone starts that way. On my first visit to the doctor, I was prescribed medicines for nausea and vomiting. She gave me some more tips to deal with it and said that it was a part of the first trimester. I was yet to begin my reading and researching and the little knowledge I had about this was from friends and family.

Following a healthy diet to the T, I ensured I ate well and on time. As a week passed, I was mighty pleased with myself as I was eating healthy food, with fruits, coconut water etc etc, and I had not experienced anything even close to the famed sickness yet. 

Until one evening! While gorging on my favourite fruit, a watermelon, something made me run to the sink and before I knew it, I was throwing all over.

That was just the beginning. With every passing day, it only got worse. Soon, the better part of my days and nights were spent in the bathroom and within a week, I was completely washed out. Nothing that went in, stayed, with me developing a revulsion for everything I liked and hating food in general.

Hence, I renamed it to "all-day" sickness as it isn't something related to any time of the day at all. The Internet and the 'experienced ones' were full of ideas and advices, none of which worked for me. And as the days progressed, I tried a few things to make myself feel a bit better. 

Here are some of them that worked:
  • Calorie intake being the focus, I kept chocolates and toffees at my bedside and in my handbag. This isn't recommended if your weight is on the wrong side of the scale though. My system didn't allow me to gorge on them anyway. Nothing sour suited me either, but the desi orange candies were just fine.
  • I'd eat very small portions of food or fruits to ensure that there was less acidity which leads to more nausea. To be honest though, eating even that much seemed like a task :(

  • My lunch and dinner comprised more of pulses and veggies and less roti or rice. These are lighter to digest and good for the system. Though whenever possible, I would have idli with sambhar. It suited both - my palette and system.
  • One thing that really helped was harad churan. You get these at most places. These are salty and help change your taste. I always kept some in my bag and popped it in, whenever required.
  • Peppermint was another savior. My hubs got some from a betel shop and a small piece worked wonders.
  • Fresh slices of ginger soaked in a bit of lime juice helped combat the nausea too. You can keep a few in a small box close to you and suck it when you feel nauseus. Though, it's not recommended to take too much of this in the summers.
  • The other thing I discovered, during this phase, were the benefits of Limca with some black salt. While this also reaffirmed my belief that Limca should be sold at the chemists, rather than a general store ;)! I did try the tetra packs of electral in various flavours too, but, somehow, couldn't go beyond a few sips.
  • As if this all-day sickness wasn't enough, I developed lactose intolerance as well, which meant no milk or milk products. Hence, I took to having Horlicks in water every morning, which sufficed to some extent, or so I believe.
  • Marie and Parle G became my favourites, as they are light and good as well as comforting to eat.
  • Rest is the key here. I tried to sleep as much as I could. Also, most prescribed medicines for morning sickness may cause lethargy and make you feel sleepy. So, avoid driving during this period, if possible.
All said and done, this sickness didn't leave me till almost the end of my second trimester. These were just a few ways I ensured that I ate something and had enough energy to make those very frequent trips to the washroom. All the gyan about hormonal changes and blah blah blah only made me more irritable and I took to distracting myself with my work and reading fiction. While my weight gain was consistent, thankfully, after the first trimester, my appetite was gone. Yet, these things helped me survive the phase, if not sail through smoothly.

I'm sure all the mothers reading this would have some ideas and tips too. It'd be nice if you would share those here for others planning to becoming a maa :)

Be back soon. Till then, take care and stay precious :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sleep When the Baby Sleeps... Really???

The nine months of pregnancy, somewhat, prepare you for motherhood. Each trimester, in fact, each month, brings on new challenges and your body and you learn to cope with them. However, one thing that no one is probably prepared for are the long days and nights ahead.

When I was expecting, the 'experienced ones' said it's my honeymoon period and I should enjoy it while it lasts. Little did I understand then what they meant. And now, there are endless days and no nights. So much so that sometimes, rather most of the times,  I lose track of the day and date.

So, when a friend, also a new Maa, said the other day that she needed time management tips from me, I got thinking. Was I really managing things properly?

On returning home with my little bundle of joy, one advice that everyone gave me was to sleep while the baby slept. The truth is I didn't sleep for days after that. I was only napping, rather 'power napping', to get the energy to get through another long day. This is what most of us new mothers do. To regulate your body clock according to your baby's is an impossible thing to do.

It certainly is one of the most irritating advices you're given as a new mom. After all, no one knows when and for how long a baby would sleep. And then, you sure have so many other things to do as well, bathe, eat, clean, and so many other house chores. You can hire people to help you with most of the things, but not all. I certainly cannot hand over the keys of my wardrobe and home to someone else, while I 'sleep when the baby sleeps'.

True, that I have helps for the house chores, but when it comes to my baby, I take care of every little thing. Massaging, bathing, feeding, diaper change, putting him to sleep, I'm one hands-on mother who's been doing all this by herself just fine. So while my baby is my topmost priority and controls me completely, the other important aspect that I cannot ignore is my work, my home and my husband (P.S. in no particular order). 

My son surprised us by arriving a couple weeks early and I had yet not planned my maternity. A typical Virgo, I was unsure whether I'd be able to hand over things to anyone else for some time. And hence, I was working even in the hospital (Thanks to my Smartphone!) the day after my son was born, which was a Sunday. So, yes, I'm yet to take a maternity leave. Though, technically, in the corporate language, I did get the weekend off. And now, I don't only work from home, but am a work-from-home mom who, too, has deadlines to meet. The upside of this is that while I work, I'm right next to my son.

No, I'm no super woman. I'm as sleep deprived as any other new mother and as overwhelmed too. I have only learned to take one moment at a time and work it that way. There are days when my home looks like a storm just passed by and one of the most difficult tasks for me, these days, seem to be able to find anything in my wardrobe (it resembles a honeycomb). To plan even a day ahead is a task for me. But all that can wait! I make a to-do list in my mind, prioritize and proceed with what's most important. When my baby sleeps, I try and complete other things. And when he's up, I'm with him, enjoying every bit of motherhood. Even now, he's napping and I'm writing on my phone. All thanks to technology!

Hence, there's nothing called time management when you're a Maa and a new one at that. Your child is your boss who controls you, your schedule and even your mood. I'd say take it easy on yourself. Outsource whatever work you can such as cleaning, cooking, etc. and focus on other important things and your new phase of life. Don't hesitate to ask for help either. Your family and friends would be only too happy to do something for you at this time. My sisters and my aunt have been my saviors and had it not been for them, I'd have lost my sanity within week 1!

You could also invest in a good baby wrap or sling. I have one and it's so much easier to do other things while my baby sleeps snugly close to me. Another thing that works for me is online shopping. Whether it's diapers, clothes, birthday gifts or anything else, I take the online route. Convenient and quick! 

Moreover, with the hoards of advices and do's and don'ts that people pile on you along with lack of sleep, you're bound to lose it some time or another. This is where your partner comes in. While, the phase is equally new and overwhelming for my hubs too, we have been able to sail through it together smoothly. With help at hand for diaper changes and rocking the baby post midnight, things sure get better. There have been nights when he's up just to give me company :) 

So, you see, I don't sleep when the baby sleeps. And it's absolutely okay. I'd rather take my time to adjust to my new life. And while I do that, I am taking everything one at a time. I guess that is the key - One At A Time!

Another tried and tested formula - Smile and kiss your baby now for an instant boost of energy. Don't believe me? Try it :) I just did!!!

Be back soon with more. Till then, take care and stay precious. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Before P, comes H

Image: Google

You know what's P here, though the H might be sounding strange. It's the most basic thing you need to take care of before, during and even post pregnancy. If you're still wondering, H refers to 'health'.

As we move on to other roles in life, our health is most neglected and takes a backseat completely. I, too, have always been careless; and while salary perks and job promotions kept coming, my health suffered. However, once I left my full time job, I was keen on feeling and looking better.

Yet, it was only during my pregnancy and now that I realise how important it truly was. Though I cannot take full credit here as it was also my hubs who ensures I eat and keep well.

These are some general things I feel every woman must follow, and more so, if you're planning to tread the family way.

  • Exercise! Of course, you've heard it before. Everywhere! From everyone! But again, the more fit you are, the easier would be your pregnancy. It could be anything you enjoy-running, walks, a game, the idea is to build physical strength and stamina. Trust me, you'll need loads of it. On the other hand, if you're pregnant, don't do anything strenuous. Morning or evening walks with hubs would be great, both for emotional as well as physical well being :)
  • Eat well and focus on your haemoglobin, iron, calcium levels. It dips during pregnancy, so the more, the better. Eat things you like; and if it's sinful, eat in moderation.
  • If you're expecting, eat well but stay away from oily and fried recipes. Avoid ghee and butter too. It's a myth that you need to eat for 2 when pregnant. An extra chapati in meals or a sandwich in the morning and evening suffice for the extra calories you require, which are around 300. Eating unabashedly would only lead to massive weight gain; and while we all want a healthy baby, we don't need to double ourselves for that. On the flip side, don't try dieting either. You can lose all the extra weight post delivery.
  • Do things you enjoy. Be it reading, shopping, lunching out with friends or anything else. Staying home all day, somehow, made me dull and I loved going out or spending evenings with my hubs.  Pregnancy brings on many mood swings. The only way I could deal with them was by distracting myself and indulging in things I liked doing.
  • Check with your doctor about what you should eat and what not. Of course, everyone around you will have lots to advise on this. Yet, not everything is true. For instance, brinjal has no effect on the baby's complexion. However, it's heavy to digest and best avoided. And coconut water doesn't make the baby any fairer, but it's good for your skin and digestion.
  • Most importantly, be happy. There's nothing else that matters more. Weed out those things that stress you. Whether you're planning to conceive or already have, being stress free is the key.

No, there's nothing that I've written that you haven't read or heard before. In the rat race called life, we tend to take our health for granted. But, if you're on the road to becoming a Maa, your health is crucial to ensure your baby's health and wellness.

Be back soon. Till then, take care and stay precious :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"MUST DO" Things Before and During Pregnancy

When I was expecting, everyone would tell me what to do and what not. While some were viable and logical suggestions, others were based on myths that have been passed down from generations.  However, there wasn't one person who told me things that are a must before and during the pregnancy phase.

The reason why I'm enlisting these here is that I would not want others to miss these later (later is when you are a mommy).

  • Enjoy your baths. Soak, scrub, shampoo. ..all you like. You've no idea what a luxury it would be to have a 10 minutes non interrupted bath when you're not looking out for your baby's wailing.

  • If you like it, sleep on your stomach as much as you want to. I'm one of those who'd only sleep that way, and I miss it terribly now. During pregnancy, you need to sleep on the left lateral position and once you have your baby, you can forget what sleep is like. You'll most likely learn to sleep like a horse within the first 2 weeks of motherhood. I have!!!

  • This is strictly for planning/pre pregnancy stage. Enjoy your golguppas or tikki or dahi bhallas, the roadside ones. They will be barred once you conceive, for obvious reasons. It's over a year since I've had these and I mentioned this yesterday to my husband, who said I should rather eat these at a good place.  So, you see, they are still out of reach for me.

  • Dress up, put on make-up and look and feel good. Wear those bling earrings a little more and that beaded necklace too. Put on that bright red lipstick often and the mascara as well. Take out the dress or skirt you've been thinking of wearing for some time now and match it up with your favourite stilletoes. Once you are a mom, you'd be dressing up your baby, rather than yourself. And of course, you'll master the art of applying kajal with one hand :)

  • Go shopping.  Wherever and whenever. Call your friends over and just head out to the markets that you're yet to explore. While this is quite doable during the first two trimesters, you'd get exasperated when those with you would constantly exclaim, 'Be careful', 'Watch out', 'Walk slowly', and one of the worse ones 'Don't buy that, you might not fit into it later!'

  • Enjoy your time at the parlour. I never knew getting a haircut is such a luxury, until now!

  • Have long telephonic conversations, with friends, family, siblings. .. whoever. Walk around while you talk, peep out of the window, pluck the yellow leaf from the plant, sip your favourite tea or coffee or simply flip the pages of a magazine. The idea is to enjoy a long hearty conversation without any interruption.

  • Watch as many movies or plays you like.  You can forget about going to a movie theatre for at least one year after you have a child. My husband and I are movie buffs and never missed any major release until you know when!

  • Go out for long drives and impromptu dates with your partner. Or order your favourite cuisine at home, put on a good movie and enjoy yourselves. Hang around in coffee shops and enjoy your moments of togetherness. If possible, go for a vacation. .. just you and him. These moments are way too precious, trust me.

Most importantly, take your time off to be just with yourself.  Do what you love doing. I read as much as I could during my pregnancy and it's been over 4 months now since I picked a book. Ohh yes, it's also been over 4 months since I became a Maa :)

This is a bucket list I wished I would have made earlier. Not that I miss them as much, but I sure feel I could have done more of them. 

Life certainly changes when you have a child. In fact, it takes a beautiful turn. The fact is that you get tuned to thinking about your little one first and everything else takes a back seat. And once you have a child, you'd be wondering what you had been doing all those years! Tell me, all you Maa's reading this, isn't it true?

Will be back soon with more. Till then, take care and stay precious :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

So, You Think You're Ready?

Image: Google

When I was in my first trimester and totally drained with morning sickness, my better half, to cheer me up, would say, "Pregnancy is the ultimate dream of every woman." I, exhausted from all the throwing up, would snap back, "Motherhood it is... not pregnancy!"

So, yes, like any other woman, I, too, have always looked forward to becoming a mother. Isn't it amazing to have your own little baby to cuddle and hug all the time! Children, especially the tiny ones, have always had me in awe. And to have my own... well, could it be any better?

While the decision of stepping into motherhood may be a conscious one for many, yet very few realize what it would entail. And I certainly wasn't one of those few. Of course, I was looking forward to a cute little angel, but wasn't really up for what lay in store in the process.

So, if you are planning to tread down this path, there are a few things you need to be prepared for. Here goes:

  • The first to come are those fretful testing moments - have I conceived yet or not? Your hands tremble, your heart races and knees shake. Yes, those moments are worse than waiting for the results of the most competitive exam you may have appeared in.

  • So you have conceived? Great! Now? Yes, this is one question that even the most prepared cannot answer. I thought I was prepared until this moment. All my courage flew out of the window and a question that popped up was - "Would I be able to take up this kind of responsibility?"

  • So, here you are! All geared to enjoy the coming nine months where there is absolutely no restriction on eating! Of course, all thoughts of dieting can be shelved for later. For now, you are pregnant and have every reason to eat as much you like and all that you love. But wait! While it is true that women develop a craving for certain foods, there are others who simply begin detesting the look of it. I had begun to hate the very word 'food' and it was for all 9 months!

  • Everyone around would now advise you to rest as much as you can and eat well too. The body, too, goes on a different tandem completely and cries for more rest and sleep, all the time. But how can one get rest when the better part of the day is spent in the bathroom, either throwing up or having to go? And as the weeks progress, the body develops strange pains... sometimes, it's the back and at other times, your legs and feet. No position seems to be right while all you want and need is a good sleep.

  • Everyone around you is the most knowledgeable, from your house-help to a neighborhood aunty you never knew existed. Wherever you go, you will be showered with Do's & Don'ts! And it would always start with, "When I was expecting ____, I would _____. I tell you, it's the best way/thing."

  • As the months progress, the guessing game gets fiercer. I was shopping for my hospital bag items when every lady in the store told me what they felt it was - boy or girl. And mind you, these are not supposed to be guesses, but an accurate shot. After all, everyone is experienced, except you :).

  • Whenever and wherever you go, everyone would ask, "So, when is the baby coming?" I always found this funny. I mean, whenever the baby does arrive, everyone would know, won't they?
Have I scared you? Don't be. This is simply the other side of the coin; and I assure you that the better side outweighs all this. After all, experience counts :)

Be back soon. Till then, take care and stay precious.