Worrisome Mothers

When your baby is first born you worry about everything. And I mean everything. Especially in Mumbai you worry about the water, the dirt, to have vaccinations or not to. But the world over a mother worries whether their baby is eating enough, sleeping too much, not alert enough. “Is this normal?” is all a mother thinks in the first few days.

As the days move into weeks the worries become more related to what we’ve read; should I stop nursing my baby to sleep? Should I stop rocking my baby to sleep? Should I start sleep training? Should I stop feeding on demand? We worry about creating bad habits and not being able to break them. And sometimes we worry so much a whole week has passed and we missed the first smile or some other milestone.

Happy Baby!

Happy Baby!

When it’s time to wean we worry about choking, we worry about food groups, we worry about overfeeding, underfeeding, allergies, gagging. The list is endless! I have just come out of a phase worrying about Annabelle’s weight and her eating habits, turns out it’s all fairly normal!

Then there’s crawling and standing, crusing and walking. We could worry about the dirt, about the falling, about putting things in their mouths. In fact, what’s not to worry about? Ha!

On top of all these I tend to find myself worrying about Annabelle’s teenage years; how do I stop her getting into drugs? How will I ensure she’s happy, confident & hard working? Goodness me…pass me the wine…!

Don't fall!

Don’t fall!

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Paediatric First Aid

Last week I participated in a two day paediatric first aid course conducted by Keshanee Shah of Zen Babies. The course was broken down into two mornings, the first consisted of Primary Care (life saving) and the second day was for Secondary Care, as well as a recap of day 1.

Checking for a response

Checking for a response

CPR on a child

CPR on a child

Defibrillation

Defibrillation

Primary care included CPR (and defibrillation), Serious Bleeding, Spinal Injury and Shock and all aimed at saving infants and children. The courses are held in small groups, ours was 4 people, the maximum is 6. Each course is very relaxed but also quite intense and hands on. After talking through each procedure, every participant is required to go through the motions and be critiqued by Keshinee as well as the other participants.

Vault hold and log roll

Vault hold and log roll

Pressure hold and tying a tourniquet

Pressure hold and tying a tourniquet

Over night we were given some home work in the form of a short quiz and the next morning we were each given blind role play examples to have to negotiate our way through.

Although I have done a number of first aid courses, the most recent being battle field first aid for OTC (Territorial Army) at University it was great to not only recap on procedures but also understand, in detail, the differences required for children and infants.

Zen Babies: Keshinee Shah
Keshinee@zenbabies.in / +91 9820323096 / http://www.zenbabies.in
Keshinee also does courses in hindi for maids and nannies.

Toys or Plastic Bottles?

Why is it we can buy our children all these wonderful colourful toys that are all singing and dancing and our child will reach for the empty water bottle, or in Annabelle’s case the empty pack of wipes?

 

Gimme those...

Gimme those…

I watch the kids on the street here, and it was the same in Kenya where I grew up; the children love items that weren’t designed as toys. In Kenya the children used to make a wheely toy out of a ball of string (old cloth) and a wire then they would wheel, or drag, this thing around for hours on end. In fact we used to give the street children old tennis balls and pens. This seemed to be what garnered the greatest smiles.

Giraffe or water bottle?

Giraffe or water bottle?

I have always said that I don’t want to spoil Annabelle with material items and sometimes I feel like a bit of mean Mum as she certainly isn’t flooded with toys. But then, I throw some of her toys down for her to play with and she reaches for my old plastic water bottle or the packet of wipes…not the snail with a mirror that rolls and sings to her, not the Lamaze octopus that crackles and clicks. Nope, she’d prefer the very simple paper fan made for her buy a friend.  I actually find it heart warming to witness that at this age, children (babies) really don’t care about material things. We have web articles, journals, doctors and other mums telling us what we must stimulate and entertain our children with but the beauty is they just don’t care. So long as Annabelle has something to reach for and shove in her mouth she is happy. Long may it continue!

Got Milk?

I think it’s fair to say that wherever in the world you have your children, the benefits of breastfeeding are constantly put to you. This can therefore make it very difficult if you are unable to breast feed or choose not to. I know some mothers have felt as though they are failure if they can’t produce enough milk or can’t get the hang of it altogether.

Annabelle trying a cup!

Annabelle trying a cup!

I have recently joined a Facebook group where mums can pose all their weird and wonderful questions and other mums can respond with their experiences, suggestions and top tips. It’s a remarkable support network. This morning, someone asked for help with retorts to The Question “are you feeding him/her?” (Which means “are you breastfeeding him/her”, but in some places folk drop the word breast for fear of causing a chuckle!!).  The lady who posted this question has said she found it really difficult to respond to people when they were almost looking down their nose at her expecting her to say “of course”. The responses that some of the mothers gave did make me titer, yes, pun intended:

“Of course not, we have a wet nurse”
“I actually don’t have nipples, it’s the weirdest thing”
“His father is taking care of that”
“Feeding him? Am I supposed to that?”
“Yes I am, when she’s hungry I give her a bottle of awesomeness”

I thought some of these responses were great and moreover it’s nice to see the support for this lady who has chosen (for whatever reason) not to breastfeed.

I am a massive supporter of breastfeeding; I am astounded daily at the ability of our body to make such an incredibly nutritious meal and all the long-term benefits never cease to amaze me. I could read and learn about breast milk all day long, and I feel incredibly lucky that it worked out for me (perhaps a pay off for not getting the birth I wanted?). But, with all that said I think we need to lay off the pressure some what. Some women choose not to breast feed, others can’t, whatever their reasons, we should try to support each other in any way we can. After all, if we can love and nurture our child, that’s all that matters.

 

Bum Genius – The Review

I posted a while back a picture of the reusable nappies that we bought. We did a considerable amount of research as there are many options on the market but in the end, I’m sorry to say I chose based on design! I got all confused by the ‘all in ones’, ‘all in twos’, ‘one size fits all’, ‘all fits one size’ and it appeared to me, that really they were all much of muchness and the costs were all comparable. I also checked which brands delivered to India and was pleasantly surprised that most did… So I used the women in me and was sold to based on pretty colours! Well done Bum Genius design team!

Bum Genius - Great Designs

Bum Genius – Great Designs

We only bought 6 nappies originally in case we didn’t get on with them. They are quite expensive so we didn’t want to waste a good few hundred pounds only to realise we didn’t like using them. Six nappies normally gets us through a 12 hour period and whilst they are being washed and dried we use disposables. I am pleased to say that we are happy with them and will buy another batch of 12 (18 in total) so that we have a complete set and can use them full time. Having said that, I have been slightly disappointed with their overnight capabilities. Annabelle hasn’t woken up dry on one single occasion. I have used the thick liners and I have changed her during the night, but it would appear that the nappy can’t handle more than 4-5hours without being changed. We therefore use disposables at night time.

For those that aren’t sure about reusable (or cloth) nappies, let me give you some background: the outer layer is waterproofed, the inner layer (the part that touches baby’s skin) is suede and wick-able and then the insert, which you place between the inside and outside layer, is made of bamboo and is ultra absorbent. The nappies come with a choice of velcro closing tabs (to imitate a disposable nappies) or with poppers. We initially bought both types to see which we’d prefer and I think we’ll be going with poppers; although they are slightly more fiddly to do up I feel they hold the nappy in place better and they fair better in the wash.

Talking of washing. The nappies only need to be washed every other day (which means you are not doing countless loads of nappy washes) and although they go through the machine twice, once on a cool 30c wash and once on a warm 60c, both cycles should be short and sweet and using very very little detergent. This means, from an environmental standpoint, they are still quite ‘green’.

Annabelle is a (Bum) Genius!

Annabelle is a (Bum) Genius!

We bought our Bum Genius nappies off Smart Baby India website, they delivered to our door and payment was made via cash on delivery. It took 3-5 days if I remember correctly. The nappies are Rs1,695 for one (but you get a discount if you buy in bulk). This does sound expensive, I know (~ £20 for one nappie), but if you consider that you buy a total of 18 nappies (£360), this should last you right up until your child is out of nappies, so perhaps 2-2.5yrs. And they can be used for a second child. On average disposable nappies cost about £10 per week, so after 2 years you’ve spent over £1000 on nappies! A considerable saving.

It’s worth also mentioning, that we don’t take our reusable nappies when we go away travelling, carrying around enough dirty clothes is cumbersome enough without adding pooey nappies to the bill!

Below are some other brands you might want to check out:
Charlie Banana
MollyCoddle
Wonderoos
FuzziBunz
Happy Heiny

Breastfeeding Clothing!

I have been meaning to write about breastfeeding in public, and what to wear, for some time now and just haven’t gotten around to it. However what happened today made me think I really must! The first thing I will say is do not wear a top made of silk if you are heading out to a hotel brunch! If you leak it will go straight through the top and leave two nice round stains for the remainder of the lunch! Beautiful.

It is hard finding clothes that are smart, attractive and breastfeeding friendly. I can’t wear dresses and so many pretty tops don’t allow for ‘easy access’. I do have a feeding cover, or bib, which I find very useful and becoming quite a dab hand at using it.

My recommendation on what to wear would be, obviously, the nursing tops (Mothercare do some nice ones). But if they’re not your style I would always opt for tops that you lift up rather than unbutton from the top. The reason for this is that when feeding the baby will cover your exposed tummy and you top will keep the upper part of your breasts covered. I find that if I wear clothing that unbuttons from the top I expose so much upper boob that it feels like I’m flashing the whole thing!

Of course nursing bras are also the way forward, but in addition I have also found nursing tank tops really handy. I wear them under tops so that when I do go ‘up and under’ I am still modestly covering my now stretch marked and wobbly tummy! Don’t want to put the revellers off their brunch now! I wear ones from Noppies (a dutch brand) and can highly recommend them. I am not sure they are readily available in Mumbai, but you can always order on line from Motherhood (see links below)

http://www.motherhood.com/Product.asp?Product_Id=909230362&MasterCategory_Id=MC29&green=4294447B-32A8-52D7-08AC-E5FA58033789

http://www.glamourmom.com/

Bibs can be bought at Mom and Me.

Shopping for Baby

One of the most popular questions that friends and family ask me is “can you get baby stuff in India”, at first this is what I thought too. I guess I hadn’t opened my eyes to what was available. Yes is the answer. There are plenty of place to buy baby essentials, baby clothes, baby accessories, nursery items and much more. Check back here regularly as I will update it as and when I find new places:

1. MOM & ME
These shops are all over Mumbai, the nearest one to Bandra-ites is on Waterfield Road. This particular store houses everything from maternity wear to baby essentials (baby grows, towels, nappies, muslins etc), to mum essentials (creams, pads, pumps etc) to heavy duty baby goods like prams, cots & car seats. Spread across three floors with exceptionally helpful staff you should be able to find most of what you need.
http://www.momandme.in/

2. MOTHERCARE
Mothercare is mostly found inside Shoppers Stop department stores in Mumbai and these are situated all over. There is one on Linking Road in Bandra, in Juhu, Andheri, Powai and down South. Each Mothercare carries different items, for instance not all of them do maternity wear (best to go to Juhu for this). Linking Road is great for changing mats, pumps, basic clothes, baths etc. Juhu and R-City (Powai) are great for car seats, prams, cots etc. You can call them up and ask which store houses the particular items you are looking for.
http://www.shoppersstop.com/index.jsp.vr

3. GOOD EARTH
Everyone’s favourite shop, I’m sure. Believe it or not Good Earth near Palladium has an upstairs room dedicated to creating the most beautiful nursery. We bought a lovely white wooden chest of drawers with three wicker baskets from there. The items are not cheap, there’s no denying that, but it you want to splash out, this is the place to come.
http://www.goodearth.in/ // +91 22 2495 1954

4. HOPPING BUNNIES
Hopping Bunnies is an on-line network of mums in the city. You can pay Rs3,000 per annum to be a member and this grants you access to their facebook site and the ‘groups’ – Mum’s will send around items that they are looking to purchase or looking to sell and you can respond accordingly. This is a great way of getting some second hand cheaper items. Furthermore HB organise play dates and coffee mornings for different age groups in different areas of the city. They will also arrange events for kids and families around the main festivals throughout the year.
http://www.facebook.com/groups/mumbaihoppingbunnies/?fref=ts

5. THE SHOP
The Shop on Ambedkar Road in Pali (just opposite Pali Village Cafe) has some beautiful pieces for new parents. Their clothes are very Indian, so would make a great gift for overseas friends with children. They also have a few pieces of dark wooden furniture, perfect for nurseries and bedrooms. Their rocking cot is especially grand and beautiful. Perhaps not hugely practical and pretty expensive too, but very lovely!
http://www.theshopindia.com/our-stores/

6. ON-LINE SHOPPING
I’m sure you have already done a quick search of all the on-line shops available. I have not availed of any of their services so I can not comment on whether or not they are good value or not, but is a list that might be of interest to you:
6a) Babyoye.com (http://www.babyoye.com/)
Everything you could wish for – feeding, changing, bathing, clothing, maternity, toys, clothes. Cash on delivery and free shipping on orders over Rs500
6b) Hopscotch (http://www.hopscotch.in/boutique)
An online shop offering you access to many different boutique brands from across the world including Ralph Lauren, Juicy Couture etc. They do only maternity wear and children’s wear from 0-5+ Well worth a look for all you yummy mummies.
6c) OLX (http://www.olx.in/for-babies-infants-cat-365)
A second hand online shop, similar to eBay, OLX provides you with an opportunity to look for second hand or used items in your area. The only problem with this is that you are unable to know the quality of the product before buying. Perhaps arrange a visit first.

Keep checking back here regularly as I update the site. Also check out my Maternity section as there are many other place to buy maternity clothes.