Your Shopping cart is waiting for you! Are you also a compulsive online shopper mommy like me?

‘Manasi, 24 hour sale is back!’ ‘

‘Hey Manasi, Checkout the Top Deals of this week’

‘9 Exciting Deals. Valid for Today Only.’ 

‘Thursday Thunder – Additional 15% OFF On Your Order

‘More Baby Products Only for YOU’              

Phew! This is just too much pressure. What should be my next move? Which e-mail to open? Where to spend my money next?  Decisions, decisions, decisions….

It is really shocking how quickly I have developed a habit that is compulsive and obsessive. The World Wide Web has engulfed me in its “web of shopping” and what can I say I am hooked and addicted! How did this happen? Hmm, let me try and explain if I can. Last year this time I was an “online shopping virgin”. I just could not understand all the fuss about shopping online. Why would anyone want to shop online and let go of the physical experience and delight of shopping at your favourite high street, mall or neighbourhood store. For me, shopping is an exhilarating and liberating experience (you guessed it right – I AM A WOMAN ;)). The delight of discovering a new store opening in your favourite mall and rushing to checkout the wares or the thrill of window shopping, trying out new stuff and making the purchase physically was the REAL deal and not by browsing things online and putting them in a virtual shopping cart. No sir, online shopping was not for me or so I thought.

Then what changed? The truth is that I have become a compulsive online shopper ever since I became a mother! Sounds weird doesn’t it. What does becoming a mommy have to do with shopping online? Well, a lot!  For starters, you are largely home bound and exhausted in the first few weeks after giving birth and really do not have the time or energy to go shopping. You have a new person in your life – your little infant and want to play dress up and buy all sorts of things for the baby from essentials like diapers and baby wipes to clothes, baby gear and all things to do with babies. Also while you are nursing or rocking your baby to sleep you have the “oh! so wonderful smartphone or ipad/tablet” in your hand (balancing baby in one hand and phone in the other is an art you learn pretty quickly) and have enough time on hand to browse for your much needed baby products online. Then there are the superb deals – everything online comes at a discount and some of the deals are really very good. It is because of these awesome deals that I buy pampers, baby wipes and a lot of other baby stuff online. So it is true – online shopping is really convenient and convenience is a prime consideration when you have a baby.  But then it is also compulsive and highly addictive and strangely liberating. You can buy almost anything at the click of a button, pay nothing (thanks to cash on delivery option in India) and have it delivered at your doorstep and also returned if you don’t like it.  It really is super cool. BUT WAIT here comes the bad part….

While online shopping is convenient,  you find that you are now the target for all sorts of advertisements, discounts, promotions and new offers from sites you have shopped at previously and so you are routinely bombarded with emails on what you MUST buy. It feels like you are being stalked and strangely by someone who knows a whole lot about you. Infact, the worst thing is that sites that you have never even bought from start sending you spam. All of a sudden ads of products you bought in the past or were looking to buy pop up in all the social media sites, in your google search results pane, in your email side bar and even while you read your daily news article (s). SIC! It really is a little eerie and a bit too much.

Soon, there is the realization that your most frequent visitor is the courier/post man and the people at home are so used to a package being delivered at your doorstep every day that they stop asking what you ordered and just frown unless it is a gift for them! Your credit card bills get bigger and bigger and bigger and ofcourse, by now you remember your credit card number, expiry date and CVV number even if you do not recall your husband’s mobile number! You also have the weirdest calendar reminders whether it is for WOW Wednesday offers on Flipkart or the 11 minutes at 11 pm sale at Firstcry or the Deal of the Day at Amazon 😉 Sometimes you even forget you ordered something and it is delivered at your doorstep! And lastly, when you type www on your internet browser it automatically assumes you want to be redirected to your favourite e-commerce website. I can just go on and on on the side effects of being a compulsive online shopper. But wait a minute, did I hear something? Ding dong, ding dong….someone is at the door.  Looks like it is a package. Yes, it is from Amazon. Thank god those pampers have come in time and just before I ran out of my supply and what do we have here…seems like I got a baby shampoo free! Yippee, Oh how I love online shopping. God Bless the Internet!

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Breastfeeding support infographic for new mom's

The latch that matters : breastfeeding tips for new moms

Breastfeeding tips when your baby is born

Feeding right after birth – Nursing Tips

 

A big hola to new mommies and to-be mommies!

I know that you are probably tired beyond imagination and have a zillion things to worry about now that you are a mommy and are caring for a little infant. Today I would like to talk about your decision to nurse your babyBreastfeeding is that one impending experience that every new mom is perplexed about – unsure what it will exactly entail and how it will play out? It tends to define your experience of being a first time mommy atleast for the first six months if not more.

It is a little terrifying especially if you have images of milk sprouting from your body one fine day (yikes!)! 

WORD OF CAUTION: The blog post below is not for the faint hearted ;). It can get pretty graphic so tread with care.

Now, I must admit that at first I was not really worried about breastfeeding. I was more preoccupied with the “BUMP” phase and a tad anxious of the “BIRTH” phase and hence completely overlooked the “BREASTFEEDING” phase. It was only after giving birth that I realized that breastfeeding was going to be an integral part of my life and my daughter’s life for the first year after giving birth. I had a zillion questions and concerns. Like most new moms I took to googling about breastfeeding and eagerly discussed it with other mothers.  This blog is my attempt to help new moms with “Breastfeeding Basics 101”.

Let me say this upfront, Breastfeeding is not easy. It requires patience. It is a commitment. It is perhaps, the first REAL parenting decision that you will make if you choose to nurse your baby. Yes, I say parenting because if parenting is about child rearing and nurturing then breastfeeding is one of the first nurturing decisions that you make as a parent. Breastfeeding is also a personal decision. While health experts the world over recommend that you exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first six months and continue breastfeeding for a year, breastfeeding requires the support of your partner, your family and friends to help create an environment that helps you to nurse your baby comfortably.

As someone who exclusively breastfed for first five months and continued to do so even after introducing solids till 9 months, let me say that breastfeeding my child has been the most fulfilling experience. Seeing your baby grow and become stronger on your milk (as cliché as that sounds) is gratifying and strangely exhilarating! Breast milk is ALL the nutrition your child needs till six months of age. Breast milk is easy to digest as compared to formula which is why babies on breast milk are not constipated (have non-smelly poo’s) and tend to feel hungry faster than formula feed babies.

Breastfeeding is also beneficial for the mother – it helps in contraction of the uterus post birth and is also said to aid in losing the post pregnancy pounds (I lost 9 kgs out of the 17 kgs that I gained within first two months after birth). But most importantly, for me, it was a calming experience that helped me to connect with my daughter and gave me a chance to sit down and relax.

Here are my top ten tips for breastfeeding –

Nurse right after birth

Breastfeed within the first couple of hours after birth. Cuddle and hold your baby and make skin to skin contact to help trigger the baby’s natural reflex to feed. The first few feeding attempts will be awkward and you will require help from the nursing staff to guide you how to hold the baby and position yourself for breastfeeding.

Ask for help

While breast feeding is how nature intended us to feed our babies, it is not the most natural skill and requires practice. It is ok to ask for and seek help on how to nurse your baby properly. Infact, you must seek the help of nurses or a lactation consultant at the hospital while trying to feed your baby for the first time. I found the sessions on breastfeeding as a part of my pre-natal classes to be very helpful. We were taught everything from how to hold your baby to how to burp the baby after a feeding session. Improper latching is often the reason why breastfeeding is not established in the beginning and many new moms get frustrated and opt for bottle feeding. Remember that breastfeeding is a new experience for the baby also and might take you both a couple of days to get used to it. So in the meantime, seek that professional help but do not give up on breastfeeding. The more you will breastfeed the more will be your milk supply so keep at it.

Breastfeeding Support - Tips for Nursing when you go Home

Continue on your Breastfeeding Journey – Tips for when you go Home

Get that nursing pillow

It is important to be in the right position for successfully nursing your baby and I found the nursing pillow to be a boon in this regard. It helps to support the baby without tiring your arms and allows you to get into the right posture to feed comfortably. My nursing pillow was my constant companion and has helped me avoid some serious shoulder and back pain.

Experiment with positions/holds while breastfeeding

Thank god there isn’t just one position or hold for feeding your baby. Infact there are atleast four such positions 🙂 While the cradle hold is the most common, the football hold and the reclining position worked wonders for me. So go find your own favourite hold and do not be afraid to try different breast feeding positions especially if you are recovering from a C-Sec or a difficult delivery or your baby has problems latching on. There is plenty of information and videos on different positions online and they are definitely worth a watch.

Take care of yourself

Breastfeeding is painful and you will be sore for the first few weeks. I would often cry out loud, correction, I would SCREAM whenever my daughter latched on. This was a constant occurrence for the first 3-4 weeks after her birth. It is very important to take care of yourself and treat sore/cracked/dry nipples. I found rubbing breast milk or ghee on them to be far more effective than using lanolin creams. It did not help that the lanolin was almost frozen (winter season) and difficult to apply (sticky). Also if soreness continues for a prolonged period of time then most likely your baby is not latching properly (feeding on the nipple and not the breast) and it is best to seek the help of a lactation consultant. Hot compresses or cold showers might also help to ease the pain.

Breastfeed on demand

Nurse as per your baby’s requirement and not as per a pre-defined schedule so throw that clock away:). Feeding sessions can be as short as 10-15 minutes or as long as 45 minutes. Newborn babies might demand feeds after every 2 hours or sometimes even before. It all depends on your baby’s hunger and sometimes their need to comfort themselves. Since breast milk is far easier to digest, breast fed babies are likely to demand more feeds and this does not mean that your milk supply is low. Infact, a newborn (till 3 days) has the stomach size of a small marble or cherry which cannot hold more than 7-10 ml of milk so do not fret if you produce only 10 ml of milk for every feeding session – that is enough to satisfy your baby in the first few days and is NOT a case of LOW MILK SUPPLY. Infact, it is only after 10 days that your baby’s stomach becomes as big as a large egg and can hold 2-2.5 ounces of milk and that is when major growth spurts (babies want to nurse more than normal during growth spurts) begin.

Burp, Burp, Burp 

It is absolutely essential that you burp your baby before switching sides during breast feeding even at the risk of waking a baby who has dozed off while feeding. Babies tend to swallow air while feeding and need to be burped. This might take a couple of minutes but is a must do because babies tend to be very uncomfortable if not burped and can become fussy or spit out their milk. As babies get older (> 4 months), they learn to feed without swallowing too much air and might not need to be burped but until then you have to harness your burping skills.

Be hydrated and eat well

Breastfeeding is dehydrating and you need to take extra care to constantly stay hydrated. Always keep plenty of water by your side especially for round the clock night feeds. Amp up your intake of other fluids such as milk, fresh juice, lemonade etc. You will also be constantly famished after feeding and it is best to keep several healthy snacks (dark chocolate, nuts, fruits, dried fruits etc.) handy for those late night or early morning hunger pangs. You also need to be careful of your diet for the first couple of months and avoid gassy foods or extra spicy foods that might make your infant gassy or colicky.

Get that breast pump

For those of you who want to continue breastfeeding after joining work or simply want a break to step out and meet your girlfriends for a couple of hours or those of you who want to involve your husband/family in helping to feed your baby, you need to go buy yourself a breast pump. My Medela Swing electric breast pump was the best gift I gave to myself this year. I started pumping around 3 weeks after Miraaya was born and started to get her used to feeding from a bottle. Moving to the bottle took some time and effort (babies abhor change!) but allowed me the opportunity to step out without being concerned about my daughter being fed. If you are planning to continue breastfeeding even after joining work, you must introduce your baby to the bottle atleast 4 weeks in advance – babies need time to adjust to change and so do you.

Breastfeeding Support- How your Family can Help?

Breastfeed on Demand – Family Support Matters

Be cheerful

Lastly but most importantly you need to maintain a happy and cheerful disposition. Childbirth and life with a new born can be stressful and stress directly impacts your milk supply. Keep those tensions, fears and anxieties at bay. Take the support of your husband and your family to help with chores and in managing the baby. A happy mother contributes to a happy, cheerful and satisfied baby. So cheer up and SMILE MOMMIES – you have just given your baby the gift of breastfeeding….KUDOS TO YOU!

 

Our Ultimate Toy Playmate - Doraemon

The Ultimate Toy Playmate: Go get your own Doraemon!

Babies grow rapidly and never fail to amaze you with how quickly they transform and learn new skills and new tricks. Infact, the moment they come into your lives they add an entirely new dimension to your being and things well and truly start slipping out of your hands.Now, caring for an infant is a tough job and can entirely engulf your life and more so if you are a first time mommy. Life takes a 360 degree turn and you go from being responsible for yourself to being responsible for another little person who you are totally and completely besotted with for one minute and frustrated with for another minute. Furthermore, you will quickly realize that babies have little patience and need to be constantly entertained and if you have an infant with the attention span of a microsecond (that’s my girl Miraaya for you!) then you have a real problem on your hands. It is a test of your creativity – I am proud to say that I now know how to make zillion weird sounds, two dozen funny faces, can babble for an hour non-stop, can indulge in spoon throwing and can clap and dance like a clown at a moments notice. Alas! if only I was paid for harnessing these skills !

So folks, parenthood is a total loss of control. Your “much touted” problem solving skills (I really believe I have those ;)) and organized work and/or home ethic go straight out of the window from day 1 of the baby’s arrival.Things function not as you would like them to but as per your babies needs and any sort of a routine can only be established after you baby is 6-8 weeks old. Do not fret, this is normal and the fun phase begins now when your baby starts responding to your attempts to entertain her.

Babies never cease to amaze you with the fun, frolic and chaos that they can cause. Infact, the first time your newly born baby wails is a wonder – was this my little bundle’s pitch – OH YEAH! You better believe it! Infact infant wails become louder with each month and at 6 months they can bring the house down literally 🙂 Then ofcourse you have a BIGGER PROBLEM when reasonable, serious adults in the house start behaving like little infants –  case in point are my cousin brothers and my uncle (mammu) who insist on behaving like Miraaya when around her and more so when not around her so I can understand my massi (aunt) being upset when her son in his mid twenties chooses to answer all her queries with baby babble – thats tah tah tah….baa baa baa….phurr phurr phurr (the spitting sounds all babies learn magically themselves) for you !

As exciting as it is to be a playmate to your little one and have your near and dear ones shower attention upon them, you really need a “toy playmate” to help your baby be engrossed with objects rather than people (ofcourse soon they become so engrossed with objects that you wonder how to get their attention back). Till my daughter was two months old, the rattle fascinated her and then she rediscovered it again when she was 7 months old. She felt excited to be able to hold it, examine it with both hands and then hit all and sundry with it with her new found force! That’s baby happiness for you 🙂 However, the toy she is most fascinated and besotted with is this drum beating, head shaking Doraemon who slides on the floor and smartly turns around if he bumps into something.

When my aunt and uncle gifted this toy to Miraaya just after she was 3 months old, little did we know that he would become the ultimate toy playmate in her life and in ours. Miraaya just loves Doraemon…he makes the right amount of noise, shakes his head which is fascinating, has a drum which lights up when he is playing it and most importantly Dorae can move and so my daughter is in LOVE !!! Her face lights up, she gives him her best smile and ofcourse pays him the biggest compliment by trying to eat him up 🙂 Thank God for Dorae – he is a real life saver. He works his magic whenever Miraaya feels uncomfortable in a new surrounding or is fussy or finds that mommy is not at home. Dorae even travelled with us to Italy and entertained Miraaya all over Rome, Florence and Venice.

At three months, when an infant still cannot sit up or grasp things for too long they really like toys that they can look at and listen to. Musical toys both entertain and soothe an infant and more so if they can move or light up. Beware, your ipad or laptop are liked for the very same reason – the bright screen and the lit keyboard/ipad are an instant attraction. TV and AC remotes and Cell Phones are next in line and kids only want the REAL thing so buying a toy mobile or remote wont help. We have resigned to this fact and so are not surprised if everyday some icons or the other is magically deleted on our phones or the TV settings are altered multiple times in the day ! Infact, I see the little bunny crawl towards my laptop this very instant….HELP….WHERE IS DORAE? GIVE HER DORAE….Phew….Got to go….You mothers, go find your Dorae, NOW!

I WANT the laptop

 

First Date Night after Baby

First date night after baby – bas hungama ho gaya !

Flashback 14th March 2014Woo Hoo! The day has FINALLY come ! This is going to be so much fun and I just can’t wait ! I feel like I am 20 something. 

Which day you may ask ? Well this is the day I have been dreaming about and waiting for weeks infact, 10 long weeks to be precise and no, I am not referring to giving birth 🙂 I am talking about my FIRST DATE NIGHT after baby was born. It was a movie night with popcorn and cold coffee (yeah ! I like cold coffee with my popcorn!)whooopie !!! A bonafide movie date with my husband. No diaper duty for two full hours. No baby howls. No feeding. No hiccups. No lounging in mom pajamas. WOW! No, I am not bonkers – this is and was a big deal when it happened on a sultry evening in Chennai on 15th March 2014 and required a lot of elaborate plotting, planning, scheduling and back up planning (wink, wink). Continue reading

OMG I am pregnant now what - enjoy your growing waistline

OMG I am pregnant now what – hurrahs & howls

OMG I am pregnant now what.

Sigh!there are some moments in life that are truly life altering and you know that things will not be the same again but very rarely do you come across such a life altering moment which has the potential to keep surprising you every week with just how much your life REALLY IS ALTERING 🙂 Being pregnant is the beginning of one such phase and its amazing how you change as a person through this phase. Infact, as I look back I realize that pregnancy is a perfect training ground for becoming a mother especially getting used to the rapid changes in your body and in your life and is a sneak peak into what will be the most overwhelming experience ever – motherhood!

Looking back I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. I was in the midst of a very hectic work assignment travelling in the beginning of the summer season (2013) to South India. Right in the middle of the week, in Hyderabad I bought the pregnancy kit and when those two blue lines appeared there were only three words that came out of my mouth – OH MY GOD! What followed was a blur, calls to my mom and husband – we are a twin city couple, I live and work in Delhi and Ashutosh in Chennai (we continue to be twin city ! more on that in another blog about managing a family in 2 cities). Hectic plans were made for the hubby to fly down to Delhi for our first OBY-GYN appointment as also to break the happy news to my in-laws and close friends/family. HURRAH ! HURRAH!

OH! But wait a minute – I am a consultant and I just started a really important project which requires me to work round the clock (time no bar!SIC!SIC!) and travel incessantly especially in the first trimester. HOWL HOWL HOWL! What is worse is that I can’t break the news to anyone at work or people at large since its a taboo to do so till the first trimester is up! DOUBLE HOWL! And of course I cannot have that glass of wine at the team outing much to the suspicion of everyone around !!! Infact, you can say goodbye to wine, beer, those lovely refreshing cocktails for a year at the very least especially if you are going to be breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months.

As these thoughts crowd your mind you also witness REAL changes (sometimes daily) in how you feel in the first trimester. This is according to me, the toughest part of pregnancy because you do not look pregnant visibly or feel a life inside you but your body seems to be acting out on its own, rather misbehaving. Everything hurts, you feel tired and exhausted and a tad anxious with all that is happening to you. For me the weird sick feeling aka morning sickness was a big bad HOWL and I couldn’t fathom why I would suddenly feel sick at the slightest trigger – sometimes while sipping my morning cup of tea ( I am a tea and coffee addict) and definitely while smelling things. Infact the smell factor was so strong that I would feel like puking at the strong smell of perfume or sweat and I am sure my team at work felt I was going nuts when I started spraying perfume while entering a cab or randomly while sitting in a conference room 🙂 Oh my god !moan….moan….moan….IS MY LIFE IS OVER ! Well yes and no 🙂 Life as you knew it is over but nothing stops you from trying to live it up as much as possible. One tends to overreact and become too cautious while being pregnant – blame it on the crazy hormones or the incessant advice from all and sundry about what you should eat, how much you should rest, how you should stop wearing heels and drinking that coffee or eating chinese food ! The list is endless.

All I can say is that pregnancy is an overwhelming experience and especially for those of us who experience morning sickness and extreme fatigue right in the beginning. I knew that after I have a baby I would need to make some adjustments especially in my work life. As a consultant I travel and work on client sites sometimes being away from home for months, five days a week and this routine is something I would have to sacrifice after my baby is born for atleast a year. So I decided that I was going to immerse myself into my work while I could, travel (I did 7 hour road trips for work as also multiple flights all over India) as if everything was normal (it really is normal) and not fuss about what I was eating. My husband was in another city so that also helped me to focus on work and luckily he wasn’t one to fuss or question how much I was working or what exactly I was eating. So yes I roamed the length and breadth of the country – it was work and it was fun ! I got a prescription pill to help ease my morning sickness. I drank my coffee without worrying about how much is advisable as per xyz survey, enjoyed the occasional chinese meal and requested the chef not to add MSG  and  yes I did not give up on popping a mint a day and sometimes had diet cola as well !There I have said it – for many this bindass attitude was careless but I think it gave me a peak into the kind of mommy that I would become – definitely not possessive or overprotective.  And yes I gave birth to a normal, healthy baby girl who is an absolute delight and a total riot and drives me nuts 🙂

It is so easy to get carried away and be extra hyper while being pregnant about all sorts of things. Being able to google everything just adds to the pressure and information overload. In retrospect, I think having a bindass OB-GYN who said everything was fine despite the 18 hours work days, crazy travel, 17 kg weight gain through pregnancy really helped. So a big thank you to Dr Tripat Choudhary and a big shout out to my mom and husband for being there and attending to my cravings, frowns and howls. It seems like I have talked too much about the howls – let me end with the biggest HURRAH in the first trimester – the first ultrasound !

Being able to see your lil one for the first time is an indescribable feeling ! Its soo exciting and REAL. You are shown a tiny little life, a new person, your baby – WOW ! OMG! I am pregnant now what – Time to celebrate YIPPEE :):):)