3 Simple Things I Learnt From My delivery | Part #3 of 3 | Recovering Postpartum

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After months of going through a difficult pregnancy, I couldn’t wait to look into my lil angel’s eyes and forget everything that had happened in the past 9 months. I was super scared for the delivery, and frightened to the extent of asking my doctor to just give me a General Anesthesia…knock me out…and hand me the baby like a pre-ordered much-awaited online shopping order. She wouldn’t have it. And I am mighty glad that my doctor had that kind of confidence in me…something which I lacked in myself.

You know how they say, that when you look at your baby…and hold him in your arms for the very first time…your whole world changes? It’s true. Within minutes I was a mother, taking charge of another Being (previously that would’ve meant looking after a drunk buddy post partying!). Each time I had hit panic button through my pregnancy, I distracted myself by dreaming about the beautiful phase awaiting. It was all going to be picture perfect from now on. I had everything organized in my head. I had a plan. And Oh!! How.Wrong.I.Was.

The first few days, are anything but easy. The following few weeks even tougher. If it’s easy making a baby, it’s a tremendous task in keeping the baby safe, healthy and thriving when they are out. I had faced a third degree episiotomy, breastfeeding was no walk in the park, getting up through deep sleep to calm an infant > change diapers > feed > burp > put them to sleep was all getting me brain fried. I was pretty close to punching faces who came to visit me and commented, “Isn’t motherhood bliss”. No. First month is anything but bliss. Its hard work, its crap. Yes, you see your baby and you WANT to do the best for them…but pushing your mental and physical abilities to endless limits is a test that requires a lot of patience….and a LOT of support from your spouse and family.

Here’s something I think that all women should be aware of post-delivery:

1.  Breastfeeding:

BreastFeeding is NOT easy, nor does the milk come in the way you expect. Don’t give up. Try try try and push for atleast a month before you give in to formula feed. I thought I was a pro after watching all those videos on YouTube, till reality hit home. Sore nipples, no ‘let down’ for a few days postpartum, everyone telling me that my baby was hungry so give formula, trying to pump milk to see how much I’m making (which isn’t even an indicator of how much milk one is making), major backaches due to constant bending over while nursing, and other such problems mounted. Not being able to even sit for nursing (due to stitches ‘down under’) just added to the whole stress. Correct latch was a problem for a month and I suffered!! Don’t do it to yourself. You will have other things to deal with as well. Remember…

  1. Please meet lactation consultants to help you and baby get a proper latch
  2. Use nursing pillows / lotsa pillows while nursing

2.  Support System:

I’m sure your spouse is going to pitch in as much as he can. But it’s an emotional and physical roller coaster ride for us. Boys can’t imagine what is going on, even when they ‘see’ everything and are a part of the whole journey with you. Be patient with him. But also TELL him what you want done. I think that the switch-over of roles (from being a daughter to a wife, and eventually from wife to a mother), comes much easier for women than for our men. It’s all too much to take in, and the lack of sleep is accompanied by a constant state of exhaustion with a ‘zombie’ like feeling. Brace yourself.

If you are lucky to have your mom come stay with you (which was in my case as I delivered at my parents home), she is going to be your bestest friend for some time. Don’t hesitate in learning from her. But also remember that at end of the day it’s YOUR baby, and they ALL have to follow YOUR lead. A lot of changes have come from when our mothers looked after us as babies, make sure you discuss how exactly you want your baby looked after and know what kind of assistance you need.

There are also many support groups online that provide you with an incredible amount of guidance and credible amount of information. I highly recommend joining them (search Facebook/Google).

3.  Always Remember:

We weren’t born pro moms. It’s OK to make mistakes, be unsure of what to do, and to ask for help and advice, from whoever you think will help you best with the particular issue you face. Everything will be trial and error till you and baby figure out what works best for you both.

Some Do’s and Don’ts At The End Of The Day :

  • Don’t EVER be guilty about not being able to keep everyone happy. The only person you need to think about is your baby for the next few months. Don’t even bother about what who thinks what. Haters will hate, talkers will talk.
  • Do take utmost care of your health too. If anything happens to you, who will the baby depend on? Your baby needs you for her existence, for a lifetime. Make yourself priority without any guilt!
  • Do Stay happy and healthy, babies pick up on positive vibes. And remember, each pregnancy is different.

So go without any pre conceived notions. Good luck and I’m very sure it’s all going to go smooth and perfect, as did mine ❤

READ 3 Simple Things I learnt From My Delivery | Part #1 of 3 | Pregnancy
READ Simple Things I Learnt From My Delivery | Part #2 of 3 | The Labor Room

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A Furrytail Of Babies

A long long time ago (4 years to be precise), there lived a husband and wife. Very much in love, very much the ‘newlyweds’, very much the travelers, and very much on their way to discovering what it was to live the life of an expat in a country far far away (Dubai) from their home (India)…

Time went by very fast, as they settled into their new roles (and lots of household chores). A little after the New Year celebrations of 2013, they decided to have a baby. It made sense, it was after all the logical thing to do. So they embarked on this mission with full gusto, and signed up on every ‘animal rescue’ site there was on Facebook (Dubai chapter). They didn’t have to search for long, their prayers were answered very soon. There she was… with the biggest brown eyes, a smile to melt your heart, and a tail that could wag faster than the propellers of an aircraft. It only seemed right to name her after the one store they loved the most. Zara.

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 The couple started spending much of their time training, feeding, grooming, loving their new Rottweiler. She was the best thing that had happened to them. Yes their travels decreased, yes their expenditures went up, but there was no denying that she brought in even more love and happiness than they had ever imagined. They did such a good job looking after her, that they thought to themselves, ‘What can be better than having this baby?’. The answer was pretty obvious, ‘Another one! This time around, the human kind. Now THAT would definitely complete this family’. They had, after all, mastered the art of sleepless nights, getting up anytime between 4 and 6am for walks and feed, and keeping this lil munchkin happy and healthy. A baby can’t be any tougher right? They won’t poo and pee all over the house, they won’t chew the furniture, and if you leave them swaddled in one place…they will remain there till you are back… Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.

One year after, they were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. That’s when it all hit home. It was hard work. HARD WORK. The loving husband pitched in as much as he could, but it was tough. The wife juggled between baby, doggy, husband, house. And like all other fairytales, this one had a villain too – Time. There were not enough hours in a day!!! It was tough keeping Zara and baby apart, even tougher together .

The wife started losing her lovely locks, and husband started looking haggard. Both became whiney and started nagging each other all the time. It was turning into a nightmare. The only peaceful moment in the house, was when the baby smiled (or slept).

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It took a lot of patience (and discussions) to understand the whole family dynamics and the change. Slowwwly but surely, they set into a routine. Their lives started normalizing, they rediscovered their friends and favorite restaurants… House was again filled the sound of music, husband played the guitar again and the wife sang songs. Both babies started understanding their place in the family, and the house once more burst with laughter, mischief and play.

 And so they lived ‘Happily Ever After’

 Well, till the day they discovered a tortoise outside their house! They looked at each other cheekily and thought, ‘Hmmmmm, now what can be better than having 2 babies? 3 of course!!!’

The End.

 Stay tuned for the next article on ‘Introducing dog and baby’ 🙂

Ramadan Series: 3 Easy Tip For A Well Stocked Freezer

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The holy time of the year is just around the corner – Ramadan! And when that realization hits us, we try our best to try and prepare our selves for this month and get the most out of the blessed days. Alas, we forget one main concern: food.

It’s not so much forgotten as being unprepared for. We remember it as the month of being deprived during the day and feasting at night. However, with all our spiritual aims and goals of maximum ibadah (worship) during Ramadan, precious hours spent in the kitchen can drain us physically and emotionally.

This is going to be our first Ramadan away from India and as a of family of four. And two little girls under four years of age. I had to plan a lot of things beforehand. I started planning for Ramadan, 3 weeks prior.  And I have been meaning to do a blog post for all my Muslim mommy friends so they could make use of it.

And only yesterday, I shared a picture of my freezer on my Instagram, and from then on, I have been receiving a lot of emails and messages on how-tos, which is why I just sat down to quickly jot everything down for you to read and make the best use. 😀

Thank you all for your emails and messages, I feel so loved :)

And in this post I will quickly you give heads up on how and what to stock in your freezer, before Ramadan begins.

1.  Start by listing everything you need: 

Sit down peacefully and think of what fruits and vegetables you will need very often, those that go in pretty much every dish. For example onions and celery. Put these on the top, so you don’t forget them later.

Next think of the vegetables that you want to stock on and if you have kids, see what they like and quickly make a note of them.

If you have decided to freeze them, then you will need freezer bags or vacuum sealing bags, if you can find them. I used regular zip-lock bags and a straw to draw out the air from the bags, works just fine.

You will also need a clean towel or tissue papers to pat dry the veggies before freezing (depends on the type of vegetable).

2.  Pick fresh fruits & vegetables: 

Start by selecting the most freshest of the fruits and vegetables, you can find at the grocery store. If possible head to the farmer’s market and pick them up at the earliest ( when they are just out of the farm).

Avoid vegetables and fruits with blemish or marks. They generally won’t last you long.

If you don’t have time, ask someone close to pick them up for you, your husband or help. I couldn’t go out myself, so husband got everything for us. Yes he does better grocery shopping than I do! *sigh*

3.  Start prepping the fruits & vegetables:

Freezing is a process that lets you store fruits and vegetables without losing their nutritional benefits, over time, provided they are frozen properly. Now by ‘properly’ I mean that not every vegetable can just be chopped and popped in to the freezer, that way they won’t last you over a week.

So here’s the list of things I have frozen so far and the method I followed:

Freezing onions & capsicum:

  1. Selected fresh and blemish-free onions.
  2. Peel, wash and chop them into 1/2 inch slices.
  3. Spread it flat on a tray and pop the tray in to the freezer for at least 2 hours.
  4. Once all the pieces turn into solid, divide them into meal size portions.
  5. Put them into the zip-lock bags, draw the air out of the bags, with straw and seal.
  6. Then immediately put them back into the freezer.

Freezing carrots, corn. beetroots, beans and cabbage:

  1. Select fresh and blemish-free vegetables.
  2. Clean, wash and chop them into desired sizes (preferably small).
  3. Heat a large pot of water and start bringing it to boil.
  4. Once the water is boiling, put the vegetables in it.
  5. Grab your watch and keep an eye on it. You don’t want to cook the vegetables.
  6. When the water starts boiling again, turn off the heat.
  7. Quickly scoop the pieces of vegetables from hot water, and put them into ice cold water to avoid the vegetables getting cooked further (with their own heat).
  8. Drain the water.
  9. Pat them dry and store in the zip-lock bags.

Tips:

  • Keep an eye on your watch. So you don’t boil the vegetables for more than 2 minutes. Or they will get mushy.
  • Always try to keep the boiling time same as the cooling time. For example if you are boiling for 1 minute, then let then stay in ice cold water for 1 minute.
  • Boiling will kill all the enzymes and cooling then down will lock the nutrients in it. That way they will remain fresh for a longer period of time.

Freezing chicken for sandwich: 

  1. Wash and boil boneless (you can also use boned) chicken in salt and whole black pepper for 20-25 minutes until its cooked.
  2. Remove the chicken and let it cool a little.
  3. Shred it in to pieces using two forks (it’s easier that way).
  4. Divided into meal size portions and freeze int zip-lock bags.

I mix mayonnaise with shredded chicken. Spread it on a slice of bread. Top it off with slices of cucumbers and tomatoes for a super quick kids breakfast.

These frozen fruits and vegetables can be stored at least up to 6 months. Many people claim to be saving theirs for a year. But I can only talk from my experience, I had frozen beans in March and used the last batch only yesterday. And trust me when I say this I couldn’t find any noticeable difference, in the taste.

So these are all that I have frozen so far. I also plan on freeze a bunch of fruits soon. Let me know how you are prepping for Ramadan this year. I would love to hear it for you. Also please leave a comment down below and tell me if you found these tips useful for Ramadan 🙂

 

Counting Boys

mapIt’s a no brainer that India boasts of the all too skewed up sex ratio. With such a patriarchal society like ours, every house wants a boy. Well, every house, except for my hubby’s. Their’s is a small family comprising of two uncles, four cousin and two brothers. A total of ten men (including DH & FIL) in a combined family of fifteen. This lopsided figure started turning for the better when ladies came in as spouses. However, it was safe to say that if India primarily had more boys than girls, I think my new family had a very major part to play.

 Baby no.11:

So it didn’t come as a surprise that everyone prayed hard for a girl when the first of our cousins got pregnant (As they all had when the aunts in the family were expecting, but we know how that turned out!). Oh how badly everyone wanted a girl. Everyone’s hopes soared high, and excited talks prevailed in every house. Counting minutes to D Day for when the lil angel would make ‘her’ appearance. The lady of the hour was finally wheeled into the hospital as the family stood with waited breath… On Feb 15th 2011, a beautiful baby was delivered. A beautiful baby boy. And no matter how the family felt about another boy joining the jing bang, celebrations rolled out to welcome the new arrival. After all, what really mattered was that both mother and baby were healthy, right?

 Baby no.12:

Three years on, my hubby and I announced our big news. This was now also a time of family group chats on Whatsapp. As the family got bigger and mostly living away from one another, the minute to minute update of food, clothes, jokes, ‘Goodmornings’ and ‘Goodnights’ ensured everyone stayed closely connected. And no matter how far my delivery date was, the excited talks on having a girl had already begun. Not a day went by when ‘we hope it’s a girl’ line wasn’t brought up. Few weeks down the line, another cousin got pregnant. The family was bursting with happiness. 2 girls maybe?? Were we both finally going to break the jinx? Bets were made, praying was made mandatory, and a conversation which went something like this ensued every other day:

“So how many girls in your house Dee?”

“Your parents had 2 girls”

“Your sister also had 2 girls”

“So isn’t it true that most of your cousins are girls?”

Everything that hinted at how high the chances were to have a girl in the family, thanks to me, was discussed. In a weird way, I felt the pressure that women in a patriarchal society feel, except that we had the gender in reverse. And before you get all judgmental about my hubby’s family, you should know that everything was always said in jest, and the pressures from such jokes n teases were more in my head than in actuality. But even so, I felt it.

Feb 16th 2015 arrived all too quickly. I was finally wheeled into labor room, and in a matter of hours, delivered our beautiful baby. A beautiful baby boy! The count of boys just went up to 12. But no matter how disappointed the family must’ve been, I was congratulated with full fervor. After all, the baby and I were both healthy.

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 Another baby:

 Few weeks on, the other cousin was wheeled into the delivery room. Now all eyes and attention was on them. Were the prayers finally going to be answered? Was the jinx finally going to be broken? We all waited and waited and waited for the big news. On 24th April 2015, the cousin delivered a beautiful baby. A beautiful and gorgeous baby girl!!! Can I possibly explain how ecstatic the family was? Probably not. Let’s just say, they were happy and relieved (And that all phone lines jammed from Mumbai to Muscat and Whatsapp just crashed!). It was now possible to welcome baby girls into the clan. Needless to say, everything pink was drummed out and the whole family was finally going to get a lil angel to spoil ❤

My boy is now 3 months old, and I love him no less than I would have a girl. He’s perfect. But something my dad said the day he was born, makes me smile each day….

“Now I won’t feel outnumbered in a family of girls. MY supporter is here 🙂 ”.

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4 Exciting Things Of Our Journey To Being Parents

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The Test:

June 2014 – A quick trip to the washroom, and within minutes there had been 2 beautiful solid lines on my home testing kit that said my husband and I were pregnant! Our celebration had consisted of excited talks at a supersonic high pitch, giggles that resembled the banter of school girls, and our crazy pet dog who jumped about excitedly on our bed.

To make the arrival of our little bub more comfortable, my husband and I decided to get things organized in our house and lives that very day! Lists were made, parenting styles discussed and the house rearranged to accommodate our baby’s arrival. All at 6 weeks pregnancy. Enthusiastic much? That was us.

Going shopping:

 Not wanting to waste a minute, we had head to the closest shopping centre with our ‘list’ in tow. We not only planned on doing a reconnaissance of baby items, but we intended on buying stuff as well. Unfortunately, no matter which maternity / baby store we went to, there was a clear cut division between things for ‘girl’ babies or ‘boy’ babies. Majority of them had a section for ‘newborns’, however we found them all to lean towards a certain sex, either blatantly obvious in their display, or subtly color coded and accordingly accessorized to imply the gender it’s meant for.

The lack and scarcity of ‘neutral’ (clothes, baby books etc) disappointed us, but we didn’t let it dampen our childish stupor. Onwards we continued with our mission towards the next stop – the toy shops. And guess what? You either have to turn left for boy toys and right for girls’ (‘cuz girls are always ‘right’ haha). I wondered how everything in today’s age and time became so gender oriented. Who decided that girls can’t play with remote controlled cars and boys sit with doll houses? Who said that girls shall be in everything pink and boys have to do all things blue? Suddenly we faced a big dilemma. Do we fall into this trap even before our baby is born? Is it responsible parenting on our part to mould him/her into a certain stereotype?

 2Baby Shower:

Our woes didn’t end there. Eventually, planning a baby shower was just as difficult for my sister. We were ‘those’ kind of parents-to-be who didn’t know the sex of their child till the day he made his grand appearance. However, everyone wanted to know if we were going to have a girl or a boy, mostly so they could procure gifts accordingly. And I don’t blame them, the market trends don’t make life any easier. But for parents like me who want to ensure that their child is exposed to all the colors of the rainbow and is open to all kinds toys and play, it becomes very difficult to search and choose gender neutral products. I want my child to decide what he/she likes, without being pressurized into conforming to the society’s prejudices; is that wrong?

IMG_1645The Arrival: 

 In due course, we were blessed with a healthy baby boy. But I guess there was a certain gamble involved for all our family and friends when they bought presents for the shower. He now owned everything in either shades of blue or hues of pink. There may have been a few things in yellow or green dotted about, may have.

So here are some fun facts* for you:

1. Most babies are color blind when there are born and can only see shades of grey for atleast a few weeks.

2. In June 1918, an article from the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl”. Ha!!

So for now, I make peace in dressing up my son in blue AND pink, till the day HE decides what his favorite color shall be 🙂

*source:

http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/babies-born-color-blind-7978.html

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/when-did-girls-start-wearing-pink-1370097/?no-ist

Dairy and Sugar Free Annaprashan

The Annaprashana also known as annaprashana vidhi,annaprasan or Anna-prasanam, is a Hindu rite of passage that marks an infant’s first intake of food other than milk. The term annaprashan literally means “food feeding” or “eating of food”. The ceremony is usually arranged in consultation with a priest, who arranges an auspicious date on which to conduct the ceremony.

Yes! You read it right I went all dairy free and sugar free for my sons Annaprashan.

Annaprashan_offerings

Finally, the day arrived when I was to introduce solids to my 6 month old son. After joining a group on Facebook for Baby-led weaning I read a lot of the posts which always mentioned no milk, sugar, salt and honey for infants and I always thought that the first food that I will make for my child are definitely not going to have any of these things, not even in small quantity.

So, I called up the vaadyar (priest) of Tamil temple for an auspicious date, time and things for us to bring. He asked us to make payasam (Kheer) for the little one and bring it to temple. As, I already had in my mind that I won’t be using regular milk and sugar for the food that we going to prepare.  I made the kheer using dates and coconut milk yes and that’s how I went dairy and sugar free.

Below is the recipe for the Dairy free and sugar free Kheer

Ingredients:

  • Dates – 15-20 (pitted)
  • Rice – Pre-cooked ½ cup
  • Coconut milk – 3 cups
  • Cardamom powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Almond – ¼ cup
  • Cinnamon powder – 2 tablespoon
  • Ghee – 2 teaspoon
  • Cashew nuts for garnishing

Method

  1. Soak almonds and dates overnight in water.
  2. Cook rice as usual with little extra water so that it’s softer.
  3. Grind almonds and dates with little water into a fine paste. You can use the water in which dates were soaked.
  4. Shallow fry cashew nuts until golden brown and set aside.
  5. In the same pan add almonds and dates paste and bring it boil stirring continuously.
  6. Then add pre-cooked rice to it. Let it boil for 2-3 mins and then add coconut milk to it.
  7. Add cardamom powder to it and boil for another 10 mins.
  8. Garnish with cashew nuts and serve chilled. Please serve at room temperature to baby.
  9. Sprinkle cinnamon powder just before serving.

Dates & Coconut kheer

This kheer can also be given to toddlers who are lactose intolerant. Also, people who are allergic to nuts should avoid almonds and cashew nuts. While making this kheer for elders you can add full fat cream and a 2 teaspoon condensed milk to enhance the flavours.

Come back soon to know how I make coconut milk. 🙂

Four Photos | March 2015

This series Four Photos reminds me of taking more and more pictures every month. And I’m sure I will cherish all these moments for years to come.

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^^ The Big Thing absolutely loves coloring and I took this photograph days after we moved here to Doha. Back then we hadn’t stepped out to shop for books yet, so mama had to draw her an owl.

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^^ I recently joined a group for bakers on Facebook, that’s where I drew my inspiration from, for making these super yummy chocolate chip cookies. I will be posting the recipe soon, of course if I find enough time.

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^^ And if you thought that’s our kids’ new chalkboard then you may want to think again. We got a brand new center-table for our living room. And the next day, this happened! *sigh*

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^^ No! No one gifted me these. I found them on sale at the grocery store and just couldn’t resist. Oh! I got only three of these because I’m on a diet!! Hehe! 😉

 I strongly suggests all of you to try and capture little moments in life, so you can look back to see how much fun you have had while snapping them. So go get your cameras and start making some memories!!

haajra