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!


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



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.

Eye Infection

Only two days after getting the all clear from the doctor at her 2 month check up, Annabelle got an eye infection. At first I thought it was conjunctivitis and was just putting breast milk on it since this seemed to be the consensus based on reading things on the internet! The eye began to flare up on Friday and on Saturday morning I was meeting some mum friends one of whom is a midwife, so I asked for her opinion. She said it’s unlikely to be conjunctivitis but that it’s probably something to do with the tear ducts. At this young age the tear ducts are still quite immature and can get blocked easily. Infections can occur if the tear ducts get dirt in them, which in Mumbai is very likely.

Gloopy Eye Infection

Gloopy Eye Infection

My husband decided we should take her to the hospital to have it checked over. We went to Hinduja Hospital in Khar which is very clean and efficient. The paediatrician there laughed at me when I said I had been putting breastmilk in Annabelle’s eye. That irritated me. She then went on to call Dr Ajit our regular paediatrician who asked for a photo. The wonders of camera phones. He diagnosed it to be infected and Annabelle has been prescribed Ciplox eyedrops. We bought them from a local pharmacy for, wait for it, Rs8. That’s about 1 pence.

2013-07-01 09.23.13

As instructed we have been putting the drops in and poor Annabelle’s eye has been so so gloopy, but I just hope that’s all the ‘bad stuff’ coming out. She was pretty sleepy yesterday, I think because it was too much trouble to try and open her sticky eye.

Today I am going to try camomile tea swaps to help soothe her eye and clear away the gloop. A friend recommended this idea, based on her mother using it as a child. I prefer to stay away from antibiotics if I can.

Hinduja Healthcare
11th Road, Khar West

Two Month Doctors Check Up

At 9.5 weeks, so a couple of days late, I took Annabelle for her second doctors check up. We use Dr Ajit in Khar and he is wonderful. A small office and very understated but Dr Ajit himself has a lovely nature with the babies (and mothers too). Although he’s not worked overseas he has excellent knowledge about the UK, US and Australian medical care systems and offers you the chance to follow their vaccination schedules or to go along with an hybrid Indian schedule.

At this check up, Annabelle was weighed and measured. She is now 5.5kg and 59cm long. In Dr Ajit’s words “mother diary is working well”. Most babies are to gain around 200g in weight per week and Annabelle has been gaining nearly 300g per week. Chubster.

Annabelle has a slightly wonky head (plagiocephaly) as she tends to favour her left side for lying on. We have been encouraged to get her to lie on the right side, which we do when she’s awake but it’s hard when she’s sleeping. Either way, the doctor is not too worried and thinks that as her neck continues to strengthen she will use both sides equally. Our other concern is her hips; due to being breech Annabelle had slight hip dysplasia when she was born. I asked Dr Ajit to check it and he said that he could tell from looking at her that it was fine, I asked how he knew and he responded by saying the creases in her thighs were equal!! Is he calling my baby fat??

Little Chubster

Little Chubster

Mosquitoes can be a pain at this time of year because of the monsoon, so we have been advised to keep her dressed in long clothing, which is hard when it’s still so warm. No more pretty dresses!

Finally, Annabelle was given 3 vaccinations. One oral (to prevent severe diarrhoea and vomiting) and two in the leg. One for Hep B and one for meningitis. Poor thing was none too pleased. She was a little bit grouchy and sleepy the following day but no fever.

Dr Ajit Gajendragagkar
106 Anand Dham CHS, 10th Rd, Khar West
022 2605 2255


Hospital Look-See

I am coming to the end of my second trimester shortly and we thought this to be a good time to go and check out the hospital ward and rooms and to ask the doctor about the standard procedures we can expect when we arrive at the hospital in the early stages of labour.

We are using Hiranandani Hospital in Powai and so far have been very impressed with the cleanliness and efficiency of the hospital. When we did our look-see we were not disapointed. Unlike perhaps in the UK where you might have a doctor or a member of staff show you around, we went alone and muddled our way through but the security guards and ward nurses were all very helpful.

We checked out the labour ward which is surprisingly small, there are a couple of labour rooms, an ICU and that’s about it. We couldn’t gain access to any of these rooms but I have been reliably informed by Nning the midwife that the labour room at Hiranandani is very nice. Hiranandani has a number of choices when it comes to rooms, they don’t have specific wards like most hospitals, but instead you choose the type of room you want and that determines which floor you’ll stay on. We have elected for a single room, which comes with a hospital bed, a chaise longue type sofa-bed for relatives, a TV and a private en-suite bathroom (shower, no bath). The deluxe room was as above but with an additional lounge area, with extra TV, another bathroom and a kitchenette. The rooms were very clean and spacious and still had that ‘new’ feel to them.

We have been told that when we arrive at the hospital we will be shown to our room where I will be able to see through the early stages of labour. As soon as I am ready for delivery I will be taken down to the Labour Ward. I like the idea of being able to walk around in the privacy of room with Mr Maternal at my side.

Below are the room costs:
Sharing AC (6 beds) – Rs1,500 per day
Twin Sharing – Rs2,250 per day
Single Room – Rs5,500 per day (this is what we have opted for)
Deluxe Suite – Rs7,500 per day (this is the other room we looked at)
Presidential Suite – Rs25,000 per day (we didn’t check this out – I think Mr Maternal would have wanted to move in!)

Meet the Midwife

In India most of the prenatal healthcare is doctor-lead unlike in the UK where it would be midwife-lead. I have found our doctor here to be excellent but finding out where to do prenatal classes and who to turn to post-birth for new born care and breastfeeding advice proved to be a little difficult. Many a mother here recommended I get in touch with Lina Duncan. Lina is a British midwife, American trained, been in India for 5 years after 10-12 years of work across Asia. Nearly every mother I spoke to suggested I get in touch with Lina. So I did.

Lina and her business partner, Nning, offer a “Premium Midwife Service” which includes everything from pre-natal check ups, labour support (home-births, including water births, are available) and post-natal new born care including lactation advice. This package costs Rs40,000. If you are only interested in part of the package it can be broken down. Lina and Nning also offer pre-natal private and group classes on the Lamaze technique, they will also cover off inductions, cesarians and other potential complications.

Both ladies have good relationships with the hospitals and doctors. I have only had one meeting with Lina and Nning but I found their knowledge of the Indian procedures to be very reassuring and it has already helped me with what questions I should be asking the doctor. For example episiotomies are standard here in India and since I would prefer only to have one if necessary I have been able to raise this with my doctor ahead of time.

We have signed up to the group classes and the premium midwife package. We are lucky that our insurance covers a lot of our costs. I will keep you updated on our progress.

Lina Duncan
JustLink Health Services
E: admin@justlink.in

Costs (service tax not included)
Premium Midwife Service – Rs40,000
Lamaze Childbirth Course – Rs6,000 (group) / Rs9,000 (private)
Newborn Care Service – Rs8,000

Which Doctor?

My husband and I had been married 6 weeks when we found out that I was 4 weeks pregnant. It came as rather a surprise. I had just returned to Mumbai after sorting my visa in the UK and we were just getting ready to settle into married life. Even though I have three older sisters who between them have 5 children, I still didn’t know what the first step was! Mr Maternal, efficient as always, checked with his HR policy regarding maternal care. This got the ball rolling and we discovered a list of private hospitals that were available to us. In the end we chose Hiranandani in Powai as, believe it or not, it was the closest. Of everyone I’ve spoken to about having children in Mumbai 99% had their babies at Breach Candy hospital and 1% at a private “Nursing Home” in Bandra, therefore Hiranandani Hospital came with no expectations.

Hiranandani Hospital, Powai

Hiranandani Hospital, Powai

We were quietly pleased. Mr Maternal got us an appointment for the next Saturday with a lovely young lady doctor called Dr Rakhee Sahu. She is Indian trained and German trained. Her manner is quiet, quick, but thoughtful and kind. The hospital itself was pretty well organised, by Indian standards and most definitely very clean. We registered with ease, saw the doctor almost immediately and were feeling pretty happy about the whole process…until we were asked to get blood tests. No-one showed us where to go, told us what blood tests to ask for or any other information. At first it was a bit daunting, but as is always the case in India, these things do sort themselves out.

Our doctor gave us her mobile number (you’d never get that on the NHS) and the one time I have contacted her through that medium she answered straight away. She is always ready to listen to what may seem silly questions or worries and never makes us feel rushed. The down side is that, unlike the UK, we don’t leave the hospital bundled up with lots of pamphlets and reading material about do and don’ts; this may be preferable to some people and it didn’t bother us, just meant I had to call upon friends and family (and the internet!) for advice.

We are yet to do a tour of the maternity ward (hopefully this coming Saturday) but have been told that we will have our own private room, with guest beds, ensuite, room service and that we will be able to come into the hospital at any time during the labour process; my biggest fear was being turned away for not be dilated enough…It takes us 1hr45minutes to get there!!

Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital
Powai Kailash Complex link road, Hiranandani, Powai
W – http://www.hiranandanihospital.org
T – 022 2576 3300