We have just started formally weaning Annabelle; whilst away in the UK and Dubai we would give her the odd ‘snack’, Granny (Matt’s mum) gave her some custard, Matt gave her some yoghurt and my sister gave her some banana and pumpkin, but we weren’t following anything structured.

To be honest, I was quite scared about weaning. I felt unprepared and frankly, clueless. My sister shared her knowledge with me and let me borrow her Annabel Karmel recipe book, I also read Gina Fords weaning book and the Baby Led Weaning book. As usual I think there is a lot of literature out there that can end up overwhelming us rather than assisting us. I was worried about allergies, about choking, about her digestive system not be ready…all sorts of things, but actually I have learned, it’s fun! I love pureeing up the food (sado!) and I love feeding her, watching her reaction and making a mess.

Mmm, Sweet Potato

Mmm, Sweet Potato

I remember a friend of mine telling me she felt sad when she started weaning as for the first time in her baby’s life she was taking nutrition from an outside source and no longer so dependent on her mother. I could certainly understand her situation, but I’m pleased to say I find it a wonderful milestone and an exciting time ahead, possibly because I love my food so much!

The down side is that I can’t just grab my bag and run out the door now. If Annabelle gets hungry when we’re on the go I can pacify her with my boobs, but sooner or later she’s going to want some substance. The other down side is, well, the little surprises she leaves in her nappy!


Getting back into Shape!

So much pressure is put on new mums to ‘get back into shape’ quickly and if you pick up trashy magazines there are pictures of all these celebrity mums who have gotten back into shape in 6 weeks or wot not. First off, they have about 20 people helping them with cooking, shopping, watching the baby, personal training, personal shopping… so it’s a little bit easier for them. I  made a choice to not put an pressure on myself as I didn’t need the added emotional strain when I’d just had a baby. Let’s face it, some days getting showered is an achievement so getting down the gym or to the park for a jog is unlikely at best.

I was asked to be a bridesmaid at my friends wedding which was 12 weeks after Annabelle was born but of course I had to get the dress bought before she was born. I used to be a size 10 and so opted for a size 12 dress that was lose around the tummy and fitted around the boobs. First mistake. My boobs were so ridiculously huge after Annabelle was born that whilst I could get the dress over my tummy  it was 3-inches from closing across my chest. So now I had an aim; to fit that dress by 12 weeks post partum. Gulp.

It’s worth noting that boobs will increase in size, but I had not appreciated that the rib cage expands in order to accommodate the guts since the tummy is taken up with baby. It takes some time, perhaps 6-10 weeks, for the rib cage to return to it’s original size. This can obviously affect the size of tops, bras and dresses you will be able to wear after your baby is born.

My first port of call was to buy some clothes that did fit. I went to Cotton World and bought two pairs of XL shorts. Just wearing something that wasn’t maternity was refreshing and made me feel less of a heifer. Of course I did keep wearing my maternity leggings and jeans for a good long period too. I also decided I would not even try on any of my pre pregnancy trousers or shorts for at least 8 weeks. There was no point stressing myself over it. Sure enough when I did go through my wardrobe I was pleasantly surprised at the number of clothes that did fit.

In terms of diet and fitness, well, diet? No chance. Food makes me happy and if I’m lacking on sleep and sanity I’m not giving up food. So exercise? Well just this week (12 weeks post) I started doing some workouts at home courtesy of P90 DVD. I can’t get out to the gym or to yoga since I don’t have any one to watch Annabelle so I have to do something at home whilst she’s sleeping. I use the 9am nap for this purpose.

The last thing I will say is not to worry in the least. There is so much else that’s new in your life, you may as well get used to your new body and buy clothes to fit it. I look in the mirror after my shower and I am shocked by how different my body looks now, but you should feel proud at what your body has brought you. Not saddened for the loss of you old body. I am certainly a lot curvier now, what with my new busty chest and nice voluptuous hips, but I am embracing it! And finally, people are far less critical than you think. People are kind and understanding and they really won’t judge if you’re taking your time getting back in to shape. Let’s face it, they are too worried about their own shape to take any notice of yours!

P.S - The dress fitted, but I missed the wedding thanks to no passport

P.S – The dress fitted, but I missed the wedding thanks to no passport

Homemade Museli

Although imported cereals are available here in Mumbai, I have recently started making my own museli, it takes about 10 minutes and lasts me and my husband the whole week. The total cost is about equal to an imported cereal, so it works out to be financially viable too.

This is what I use:

Home Made Museli

Home Made Museli

400g Quaker Oats
200g Crushed Almonds (I buy them whole and stick them in the mixer)
200g Crushed Walnuts (as above)
A handful of Flax Seeds
100g Raisins

I buy all the ingredients from Prabhat Provisions in Pali Market and it costs me about Rs650 in total, but I don’t use all the ingredients up each week, so it works out about Rs300 per week.

Great snacks for the Pregnant Women

I am an eater, a big eater. I am always teased by my family and friends about how much I eat and I have always stated that the only reason I work out is so that I can eat what I want. Imagine my joy at becoming pregnant and being able to milk the “i’m eating for two” line… In fact I was quite restrained, I was determined not to fall into that trap but instead to continue taking care over my nutrition. Since working for the Foundation I have also learned so much about how important good maternal nutrition is from the day of conception. With this in mind, I wanted to find some snacks that were healthier than peanut butter on toast (never mind the can you – can’t you question over peanut butter)!

Here’s a taster of what I have enjoyed so far:

Edamame – Immature Soy Beans 220px-Edamame_by_Zesmerelda_in_Chicago
These are readily available on the market (I go to Pali Naka vegetable market) during their season, which is towards the end of monsoon until late November. A large pack costs about Rs100, which is not cheap by Indian standards, but still reasonable for a health snack.
Wash the beans, cover them in lots of salt whilst a pan of water boils. Add salt to the boiling water, boil the edamame for about 5-7 minutes, remove from the pan, drain, cover in salt and serve.
Soy beans are high in carbohydrates, protein and dietary fibre. The salt is also thought to help moderate bloating and water retention and is thought to be one of the few things that a pregnant women can indulge in without too much worry. You can read more information from BabyCentre.com here

Chikku Milkshake

Chikku Milkshake (C) Ruchi

Chikku Milkshake (C) Ruc

Chikku is a small brown round fruit that you can find on any veg stall in Mumbai. They are very cheap.
Remove the skin and deseed the fruit, chop or use a electronic  mixer if you have one. Add a cup of milk, preferably cold. Add some honey or sugar if you like. Done!
The milk is good for fat and calcium (which the baby rapidly depletes from you) and the chikku is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C.

Chopped Carrots
Carrots are so readily available, so delicious and so cheap! I buy a load on Monday morning and then peel and slice and keep in the fridge. I carry them with me whenever I’m out for a long day and can’t be sure where or when my lunch will be coming from.

Also readily available but not so cheap. I packet of about 100g will normally last me a couple of weeks (but can cost up to rs225). A small munch on some almonds normally gets me through to the next meal.

December Squat-a-thon

Before becoming pregnant keeping fit was a big part of my life and I was determined to keep it that way all the way through pregnancy. In the first few weeks I tried to keep up the cycling and running until Mr Maternal said they cycling was too dangerous (cycling from Bandra to NCPA at 4am every Tuesday for 3 hours probably was a bit ambitious) and running started to really hurt my back. With nowhere to swim (we are not members of any private clubs here) meant I was left with few options. I have continued with the gym where I use the cross trainer and bicycle as both are easy on my joints and I now do pre-natal yoga.

However, I have started a squat-a-thon for December, not so sure yet about 70 squats on Christmas day, but I guess it’s not like I’ll be drunk like usual so I’m sure I can squeeze them in.


Squats are not only great for a strong lower back and thighs and a rock hard bottom, but my reading and research tells me having strong thighs for labour can really ease and assist! So what’s not to love. Whenever I’m tiring and feeling a bit won, I think about how tired and exhausted I will be during labour and that I’ll always have to keep going, that’s what spurs me on to finish the set!


Pre Natal Yoga

I have been doing my pre natal yoga at The Yoga House In Bandra for about 3 weeks now and can’t get enough of it. When I started we had a young lady taking the class. Beautiful shape and very calm and softly spoken, just sitting in her class was relaxing. This last week we have the original instructor back from her holidays. She is exceptionally aware of the changes all her students are going through and often comments on changes in their tummy position, ankle swelling and tiredness. It’s always reassuring to know she’s keeping an eye out for things we might miss.

I thought pre-natal yoga would not be particularly strenuous and that I might only learn some breathing techniques. I was wrong. My thighs have been stiff for 3 days now thanks to our last session. There are normally no more than 5 of us in the class and we therefore receive a lot of one on one attention and correction throughout the hour long session. The instructor knows each women’s ailments and will adjust the poses accordingly. The last session focused on back strengthening since 2 women had asked about back exercises to do. More over the instructor will commentate throughout on the benefits of each pose, going into such detail as ‘string thighs will assist in labour’. The breathing techniques learned are also relevant to labour… I can only tell how useful once I’ve been through it myself!

The Yoga House is also a health food cafe, so you could grab your dinner there afterwards or have a pre-session snack. I’ve only tried it once so can’t comment on the food.

The Yoga House
53 Chimbai Road (behind St Andrews Church), Bandra West
Course of 10 classes – Rs 5,000
Pre Natal Yoga – Tuesday 4.30pm, Thursday 4.30pm
F – http://www.facebook.com/theyogahousemumbai?fref=ts
T – 022 655 45001