Breastfeeding! Ease into it!

I exclusively breastfed both my babies upto 6 months of age and then continued it upto the 2+ years for my daughter and planning to do the same for my son. Breastfeeding even though important can be overwhelming sometimes and we are always on the look out for tips to make it easy going and effective with minimal things.

I had this experience twice and corrected some of my ways during my second time like using a breast pump. For the World Breastfeeding Week 2020, I’m sharing some of the things I followed during my breastfeeding journey.

✓ Massaging your breasts and nipples during pregnancy using coconut or olive oil. Firstly its for the pain and dryness that your breasts have during pregnancy. For first time Moms, feeding your babies becomes difficult in the first few days due to nipple issues. Massaging and pulling of nipples with the help of oils helps this to much extent.

✓ Do your research about breastfeeding, positions, latching, etc. You can even think about buying feeding pillows and breast pump during the 9th month of your pregnancy as a pre-prep so you do not have to worry later.

✓ After delivery, skin- to- skin contact of Mom and newborn is of utmost importance. It builds their bond and also helps in the building of the hormone oxytocin and hence increases breastmilk supply.

✓ Latch your baby within the first hour. Do not feed formula or water or honey.

✓ The first milk i.e. colostrum should be fed to the baby. It is the best for their immunity since it has antibodies and lowers the risks of infection.

✓ Massage your breasts before and after every feed atleast for the first month. At the start the milk supply is high and a newborn’s needs are less so there are chances of milk-clot and blocked ducts formation. Massaging helps to keep the ducts clear and the milk flowing. Your gynaecologist or lactation experts can help you understand these massages in a better way.

✓ Breasts pumps are a boon. It is a mother’s choice whether to bottle feed breastmilk to your baby or not, but you can definitely use them to empty your breasts to avoid milk clots and further issues. Plus it helps to increase you milk supply as more demand so more supply.

✓ Blocked duct can be self soothed by regular oil massages, warm water compresses and baths, etc. But if it gets severe and you have temperature, it’s best to consult your gynaecologist for medication which will help relieve the clots faster.

✓ Your medication which includes multivitamin, iron, calcium, folic acid and omegas should be continued untill you breastfeed your baby. Postpartum also affects your body alot and continuing your multivitamins helps your body to cope better.

✓ A healthy diet including iron and protein rich foods can help boost your milk supply. Calcium rich foods are also important as well. Having galactogogues is also a must to keep your supply high and also helps your body to recover faster.

✓ Taking proper rest and being stress free also helps a long way. A happy and well rested Mama will keep the newborn happy and healthy too.

Breast is best and every mother should definitely give it a try for the health of your newborns. Many experts including the organisations like WHO, UNICEF and IMA (Indian Medical Association) , IAP( Indian Academy of Pediatrics) recommend exclusive breastfeeding upto 6 months and to continue breastfeeding upto 2 years of the baby’s age.

But some Moms are not able to do that due to medical issues. That doesn’t mean breast is the only and the best way and a mother failed. They can always go for formula feed or human donor milk which can be procured from Human milk banks where storage of breast milk is being done. Many doctors are now suggesting to go for human donor milk instead of formula milk.

After all, you know what is best for your baby!

Happy World Breastfeeding Week 2020!

Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mama and Baby

There is nothing more amazing than the liquid gold called breast-milk that a Mama provides to her newborn. Starting from colostrum that is the first thick yellowish milk that a mother produces is very important for the baby and as the days go by the milk supply increases and it’s scientifically said that the nutrients adjust to meet your baby’s needs.

why is breastfeeding important for the baby

✓ Early initiation of breastfeeding after birth boosts the baby’s immunity with direct transfer of antibodies and essential nutrients.
✓ these antibodies helps the baby fight viruses any bacteria.
✓ Breastmilk provides the ideal nutrition for your infant.
✓ It provides all the nutrition including vitamins, protein and fat that your a newborn needs.
✓ It is easily digestible.
✓ Due to its high content of water, baby is properly hydrated.
✓ Breastfeeding lowers the chances of having allergies and asthma.
✓ Breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months reduces the chances of ear infections and respiratory infections in the baby and reduces the chances of diarrhoea.
✓ Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ in babies in later stages of their life.
✓ It helps babies in adequate weight gain.

Moreover, the physical closeness, skin-to-skin contact and eye contact of the mother and baby have great effects on the baby making them feel more secure and strengthening your bond.

How Breastfeeding helps the mother.
✓ At the top of all, breastfeeding helps you loose some calories that you have put on during pregnancy.
✓ It releases oxytocin, a hormone that helps your uterus to reduce back to its pre-pregnancy size.
✓ It reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
✓ It gives a mother time and space with the baby which is very much needed for their bonding and also the comfort which is needed for a new mother.
✓ No need of sterilizing nipples and bottles when breastfeeding.

Many experts including the organisations like WHO, UNICEF and IMA (Indian Medical Association) , IAP( Indian Academy of Pediatrics) recommend exclusive breastfeeding upto 6 months and to continue breastfeeding upto 2 years of the baby’s age.

With the leading world that we are in today, many hospitals and organisations are now having Human milk banks where storage of Breastmilk is being done. If Breastmilk is not being supplied by a baby’s own mother, many doctors are now suggesting to go for human donor milk instead of formula milk.

Hope that all you Mamas have a happy breastfeeding journey! ❤️

Secrets to being a Happy Mom during lockdown! ✨✨✨

How do you think a Mom reacts when she is tired or unhappy? She’s a ticking bomb that probably might go off on anyone and everyone and with current scenario where everyone is stuck at home, Moms tend to lose it every now and then.

I’m a Mom of two kids where one is a schooling girl and needs me during all her activities and other being an infant wants all the attention and care he can get. Trying to do it all and more gets overwhelming sometimes.

There are ways to handle all of it in a much better way and I’m sharing some tricks of mine here for all you beautiful Mamas to try!

  1. Ask for help
    Yes! This is the first and foremost stress buster. Ask for help from your husband, grandparents, friends or family. It all becomes overwhelming at certain times and all you have to say is “Please help”!
  2. Eat what you like
    A big bar of chocolate, your favourite cup of souffle or just a big slice of cheese cake. Good food sets one in a good mood.
  3. Take a power nap
    Being sleep-deprived can make anyone cranky. Nothing like a good nap. No matter the time, once the kids are taken care of, just get back to your bed. Working on getting your 8-hours sleep might work out better!
  4. Coffee/Tea
    The magic potion I call it. Nothing that a good cuppa cannot fix. Go to your favourite spot in your home with your cup and just relax.
  5. Get groovy!
    Put on some good music and dance to it with your partner. Including kids can also turn out to be fun! Play a mix of evryone’s favourites and get on the floor.
  6. Me time
    Me time is very important on a regular basis. Be it for just a cup of coffee, painting your nails or with a magazine. Just keep some time for yourself.
  7. Talk
    Talk to your partner about stuff that you can handle, that you can’t handle. What you did that day, how you did it, etc. Just talk and he will understand when he needs to step in!
  8. Special weekends.
    Movie nights or game nights turn out to be super fun. Watch kids’ favourites or put them to bed and watch your favourites. Unwind with some binge watching. For games, even the simple pin-the-tail or Uno turn out to be super engaging and fun.
  9. Quiet time
    Keep some quiet time for older kids. Engage them in some activities like reading or crafts. Playing their favourite pretend plays, etc while you put your legs up.
  10. Cuddle up
    Your little bunnies are gonna be all grown up in no time. So get your hugs and kisses while you can. Lots and lots of them and especially when something is wrong. It will work it’s magic and all the stress will disappear in no time.

A happy Mom creates a happy family and this happiness within you can come with constant efforts from yourself.

What’s your trick to be a happy Mom? Share in the comments below.

Corn Upma

Monsoon is here and there is nothing more delish than a roasted corn with a dash of lime and salt.

Corn upma is also an amazing and flavorful recipe to try! This is my Nani’s special recipe and we enjoy it every time.

Roasted corn kernels (2 corn)
2 medium onions chopped
4 – 5 dry red chillies (you can even use green chillies or chilli flakes)
1/2 inch ginger finely chopped
1/2 tap asafoetida
1 tsp mustard
2 sprigs of curry leaves
2 tbsp coriander leaves
1 lemon’s juice
Salt to taste
3 tbsp oil

Remove the corn kernels from the cob and roast them in a pan. Cool them for a while and grind them in mixer. They shld not turm completely (the trick to do this is to pulse the mixer/grinder and not run it for long)

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. rackle Add mustard seeds and crackle them followed by curry leaves and dry chillies. Now saute chopped onions and ginger. Add asafoetida. Now add the corn mash and mix it well. Add salt as per taste. Stir fry it for a while. When almost done, add the lemon juice and mix well.

Enjoy the hot corn upma with a cup of masala chai!!

Ways to prepare your firstborn for a sibling

Being acceptable of a sibling is not easy for every child and it is our responsibility as a parent to prepare them early before the baby is due.

When I completed my first trimester, me and my husband talked to Eira that we were expecting. She was on top of the world but I still knew I had to prepare her for all the changes she is gona see in me and after the baby comes.

Ways I prepared Eira during pregnancy,
✓ Sharing the pregnancy news together as parents. The child should not come to know from someone else.
✓We read about the baby’s development together every week. So there were no surprises when my bump started to grow and she knew exactly what was going on inside me.
✓ I involved Eira in my pregnancy announcement.
✓ Reading books about being a big sister and how the baby will be.
✓ Talking about her also being responsible for the baby and that the baby wil learn more from her.
✓ Reading to the bump together. Since her reading skills had developed she read more stories to the baby and made some of her own.
✓ Some kids expect that when the baby comes, they wil be able to play right away, so we talked about how she can be involved with the baby by reading, singing, playing her guitar, changing diapers, helping during bath time, etc.
✓ Some kids expect a certain sibling like Eira wanted a sister. We talked about how nature takes its course and a healthy and happy baby is what we should be looking forward too.
✓ We also shared stories about when I was expecting her and she used to find them very interesting.

Some kids are well prepared but once the baby arrives, everyone’s attention seems to shift and that can change the elder child’s mind.

We started the connection between them right at birth. When the baby was taken to the family, I had asked the doctor in advance to let Eira be the first one to see and hold the baby. Of course their Dad was there. I cannot express how happy and special she felt and how she talks about it till date. At that moment itself, the big sister feeling had taken over.

Ways to avoid jealousy between siblings:
✓Make sure there is an alloted amount of time for the elder child everyday.
✓They should be included in the daily chores of the baby showing that even they are needed by the baby. Reading, singing, baby exercises, fetching diaper essentials, helping during bath time can be done together.
✓ Try to avoid conversations where family and friends talk about how parents love little ones more.
✓ When the older sibling needs a parent, it just might not be patient enough to understand that the baby is crying or feeding, etc. That is a great time for Dads to step in and take it ahead. For kids who need their mothers the most, this step needs to come in practice during pregnancy phase itself.

At the end, we also need to understand that they are kids themselves. We need to cut them some slack. Give them a little time and they will definitely come around with our love and support! 😊

Kokum Mojito Mocktail 🍹

Mojitos are one of the best drinks ever. The refreshing flavors of lime and mint in them are extraordinary. This is a quick mojito recipe with an Indian twist of kokum to intensify the flavors and makes it perfect for a hot summer day.

What’s in my kokum mojito?
It has easily accessible ingredients from your kitchen which are regularly available and can be made in no time!

For one serving.
50 ml Kokum syrup, ⁣
5ml lemon juice⁣
20 ml sugar syrup, ⁣
1 sprig of mint, ⁣
5gm of black salt, ⁣
300 ml of soda⁣

Muddle the leaves mint and lemon juice together in a glass. Add salt, sugar syrup and kokum syrup to it. Mix it well and top it up with club soda. ⁣

⁣Kokum mojito is a perfect body coolant. It’s our family favourite and kids can enjoy it as much with added benefits for health.

🍹🍹🍹

🎯Beautiful themes in children’s literature

When it comes to children’s books, we usually look for a moral or a message that kids can get from them. It might be just about understanding their family and friends or being kind or just about being themselves. All these and many more come under different themes in children’s literature.

First books are generally simple. Emotions like joy, love, fear, etc that make us human can all be inculcated in a story. But when a book has many themes blended together they turn into favourites!

Here is a list of themes that you can easily come across in children’s books:

Love
Happiness
Friendship
Courage
Growth
Faith
Equality
Fear
Jealousy
Anger
Imagination
Kindness
Hope
Curiosity
Humor
Peace

Illustrations are also a wonderful theme in books. There are books with no text and just pictures. Those books encourage kids to use their own words and form a story and they tend to love it. Haven’t you heard a toddler just make up something when he/she looks at their favourite animal in a book 😊

There are many more themes under fiction to explore and all of them are wonderful.

Here are some examples from some of our favourite fiction books to get you thinking:

  1. “The hungry caterpillar”, shows growth and development from an egg to a butterfly and some foods and days of the week for kids to pick up easily.
  2. “Room on the Broom”, portrays friendship where animals help the witch to find her lost things and save her from the dragon.
  3. “Guess how much I love you” shows love and how deep it can be and how to express your love to others.
  4. “A patch of black” portrays the fear of a child and how turns into a world of whimsical fantasies. This book helped Eira move into her own bed with less fears to no fears at all.
  5. “Aliens love underpants” is full of humor and imagination where aliens come to earth only to get everyone’s underpants.

Introducing more themes to your kids makes them understand their emotions as well as learn about others emotions as well. They tend to understand and adapt to the characters and try to follow them in real world.

Do the above listed themes relate to any of your kid’s favourite books?

🎯🎯🎯

Early reading importance: How I developed this habit in my kids. 📚

In our family and friends, first time parents are surprised to receive books as gifts from us for their newborn. It is the last thing they expect for their baby and don’t understand the need of it but I know from our experience that it’s never too early to start reading.

When Eira was 3 months old, I got her a book after a lot of research. It was “The hungry caterpillar” by Eric Carle. When Eira saw the book, her eyes grew wider. The beautiful illustrations caught her attention and she just went cooing and smiling. She would gaze at it for hours.

We inculcated the habit of reading together on a daily basis. Sometimes as a routine and other times because she chose to. There was nothing like a good stack of books that would calm her. She became a little bookworm.

When I was pregnant the second time, Eira had already started basic level reading on her own. As doctors suggested, she used to read to my bump. Classic books, baby books, sing aloud, etc. She would make up stories of her own telling the baby how the world was, what the baby is like now and what a good sister she wil be! Reading became a way for her to connect with the little one.

When Eric was born, we noticed that along with me he would react to Eira’s voice also very well. The first book I got him was “Baby’s very first black and white book of animals” from Usborne. The high contrast pictures of the book are lovely for newborns. Later we moved to the hungry caterpillar and other books from Eira’s library. Eric is now 8 months old, and it amazes us the interest he shows when he sees a book. Books over toys is his preference now.

Eira has taken over Non-Fiction now and can’t have enough of it while Eric wants to have every book of his sister. Reading has helped them both in many ways and their bond just grows stronger and stronger with it.

Reading books acts as a friend. It teaches kids about themselves and the world around. It is one of the best things we can do for them and along with them. Introducing books early in life enhances the way kids perceive the world and helps their growth in an unimaginable way.

Happy Reading !!!!! 📚📚📚

Rainbow Baby 🌈

(Featured on https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/contribution-the-story-of-my-rainbow-baby)

We use the term “rainbow” quite often especially when we have kids around. So often that even our pictures are loaded with them. But what meaning does it hold when I say that she is my Rainbow baby??

When me and my husband decided to grow our family, my pregnancy happened soon enough. We were on top of the world sharing our sweet news with family and friends. Though the conditions in my pregnancy were a little complicated, but it was all forgotten in the joy we had. One morning, we lost our baby in miscarriage. We were saddened to the core with no family around us to guide and support as we resided out of India. After the medication and depression and trying for many months, I had almost given up. Then there it was… A pregnancy test done with no expectations turned out to be hopeful. We faced a lot during the second pregnancy too. Even a similar miscarriage incident where we thought we lost the baby again, but against all odds, that turned out to be the day I heard the heartbeat of my babe for the first time. I experienced extreme joy during my whole pregnancy with tremendous fear overriding it that because of my complications I might lose my baby any day any minute. The day arrived when my babe struggled even for her breath inside me and I had an emergency C-section and she came into our lives, our daughter, our rainbow baby perfectly healthy and happy.

A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. A rainbow baby also brings light in the parents life. We never forget our angel babies, but the rainbow babies help the depressed parents to have hope. They especially help the parents who’ve lost their grown child right from their arms to fate, to live through the unimaginable pain and sadness.

My rainbow baby somehow lives perfectly to the name. The joy she brought into our lives has been extraordinary. We can’t imagine our lives without this bundle of joy that God has blessed us with.

Cheers to all the Mamas and their rainbow babies!!! 🌈🌈🌈