My breastfeeding story – International Breast-Feeding Week

My breastfeeding story – International Breast-Feeding Week

As they say, no two pregnancies are same. Everybody is different, each body responds to the changes in a different way. The world and specially moms are celebrating International Breastfeeding week from Aug 01 to Aug 07. Most of us (our readers dads as well as moms and grandparents) would have passed this phase in their lives. Some may term it just as a single phase in their lives and some like me would say, it was a life changing experience. In my life, exclusively breastfeeding my little one is a greatest chapter which I will never be able to erase from my heart.

Not having a mother to help me with my motherhood was the biggest challenge that I faced during my delivery. That is where my dad stepped in and he helped me being my mother in every challenge that I faced. I hope my breastfeeding story inspires other people.

Dr. Jayashree Jayakrishnan of Happy Mom helped me immensely in this journey of Exclusively Breastfeeding my little one.

Since, 5th month I religiously attended her pre-natal classes and as per her suggestion, I kept myself active throughout the pregnancy. The best part about her classes were the handouts that she gave for practicing the exercises at home. The last scan revealed something else. They said the baby was too heavy to be a normally delivered baby. As I had planned and visualized, I could never get any labor pains at home. We went to St. Isabel hospital after one day of the due date to be induced. After the induction, I gave birth normally to the little one after being in the labor for 5 hours. She passed meconium while in stomach, so she was in neonatal care for around 7-8 hours.

Breastfeeding Journey

Later at night, they bought her for the first feed. Latching was an issue; she could latch but I was not feeling that she was comfortable. I was diligently noting down her feed timings to show it to Dr. Jayashree as she stepped in the hospital the next day. She helped the baby latch properly and told me the right hold. Taking a pillow below the baby helped me with my posture and prevented backache.

We continued breastfeeding exclusively, in between I had my own struggles as around 3rd month I had to resume my office. The lil one was in no case ready to hold bottle in her mouth. So, I got an Avent Breast pump. It was a great help. La leche Pan League group from Facebook was very helpful here. I would get up at 4.00 am, pump the milk, keep in freezer for my dad to thaw it and feed the baby using bowl and spoon. It was a couple of months till the ordeal went on before we could feed her some raagi and semi solid food. He did it with all his heart and my office people helped me too. During the lunch hour, I used to go to my female colleague’s place who stayed nearby to pump the milk again for the next day.

After a point of time, breastfeeding is not the child’s need but more of the mother’s. I needed that time to be with her. My bonding with her was only those couple of breastfeeding sessions through the day as I was a full-time working mother.

 

They say breastfeeding works on the demand supply concept. I would say “Yes”. My grandmother made sure that I ate everything nutritious during those crucial first 2 months. Eating a lot of greens, fenugreek seeds and the delicacies made with it, ghee, ahleev kheer and other kheers helped me enormously.

Me and my daughter felt like a team when we started the journey and around 2.5 years. It continued till she went to Kindergarten. I did not have to wean her using anything else but just my talk and assurance. She weaned off it just in a day, this again with the help of Dr. Jayashree and suddenly, I was back to be who I was 2.5 years before. I was no more her comfort food source. I was no more a breastfeeding mother. It has been close to 6 years, but the memories are as fresh as it all happened yesterday.

Once you are keen on what your child needs and are ready to provide it “Come what may”, place is seldom a concern.  “We got to do what we got to do” – was my standard concept when I was breastfeeding. My family protected me from those odd glares which did not bother me because I was the mommy on the JOB.

Happy Breastfeeding Week you all!! Hope we raise a lot of awareness for making the world a better place for breastfeeding moms.

Snehal – A Happy Mom 

You can check my testimonial just after my daughter was born here 

How to make 2018 a great year!

How to make 2018 a great year!

December is here and we are just nearing an year end. Many of us must have had resolutions and through the year hardly 2 of them would have been accomplished, I bet. Some of us would just have not set up any resolution just because neither of them gets fulfilled but some of us would have done what they had decided pin to point this year.

We have hardly some days left ( 17 days to be accurate) and here is a foolproof guide to make it awesome in the last month.

How would you do that? Well…read on..

Knowing what you want from yourself:

  • Divide your life into Work, Family, Personal, Social categories
  • Deduce which of the following areas you would like to improvise on
  • Say for example Family, break down the things that you miss out on the family front.
    • Family
      • Dining together
      • Spending time with each other (Going for concerts, movies, get togethers)
      • Being with children ( Helping them with their chores and studies)
      • Playing with children ( Outdoor activities like trekking, hiking etc.)
  • Once you have the above list ready you can just tick on the action item for the coming weekend. Action item is nothing but a task which can be performed immediately. 

    • Family ( Action Items as per the priority)
      • Dining together ( 1 – Can be done today )
        • Check availability of all the family members including timings
        • Plan dinner accordingly.
      • Spending Time With Each Other ( 4 – Can be done on Sunday)
        • Check the tickets for concerts,movies or check invites for the get together if any
        • Send RSVP for get togethers
        • Take consent from the family on Saturday to book tickets.
      • Being with children ( 2 – Can be done today )
        • Helping children with their chores, is best done on weekend.
        • Check whether they have any homework left or any project work to be submitted over the weekend.
        • If exams are on, you can sit with them for preparations
      • Outdoor Activities ( 3 – Can be done on Saturday )
        • These activities can be planned in advance or on the go.

This is how in the next 3 days you will accomplish something which you have been planning for a long time and have been procrastinating for the whole year.

This is just the example.

The whole point of making these 17 days amazing is avoiding procrastination. 

If you are struggling to start the workouts – you are not alone. I am there in the boat too and I desperately want to go back to my workout routine. Somehow, things are not falling into place or I am waiting for too long for them to fall in place. 😉 To start the workouts, the best way is

  • To identify which time suits you the best.
  • Start with your favourite workout
    • Walking is the best thing to do when you want to start the workout
    • Home workout videos
      • I love home workout videos, generally they are the best when you stay in a unpredictable weather
        • I already have enlisted number of home videos in my this post
    • Run
      • Participate in any of the upcoming marathons to get the workout.
      • Some people need constant motivation like some challenges or marathons to be regular with their workout
    • Hobbies
      • Is there any class that you started last year and have stopped going?
      • Zumba, Aerobics, Bharatnatyam, Kathak? Start it all over again to get in your dose of endorphins.
    • Yoga
      • If you have been practising Yoga, this is the time to start it all over again but in case you would like to start, you have some wonderful help on you tube. Will detail out in the next post.
    • Cycling
      • Cycling is my best friend. You can start weekend rides with your friends and join any facebook group for cycling. They take longer rides on weekends. Workout with fun is the new name of Cycling

Most of us, including me suffer the new age issue called “Meal Planning”. Especially after marriage my meal planning prowess has grown multifolds. After a baby it has gone to a whole new level. If you would like to be food conscious, these 17 days can make or break your new year in terms of food.

You must be knowing that it takes 21 days to make a habit, we already have 17 in our hands. Men and Women both can do meal planning and it is a super easy stuff. 

With only 17 in hands..we have a lot of accomplish without procrastination..so are you game?

 

Seemolanghan – Going the Extra Mile

Dasara is on the 10 th day of Navratri. It is to mark the victory of Goddess Durga over Demon Mahishasura. In Maharashtra, we do Seemolanghan on this day. In olden times, we used to follow the ritual of crossing the territory of the village or town in the north-east direction. Being in the vast city like Chennai I can only imagine crossing the city and coming back in the evening on time.

Seemolanghan is a sandhi ( combination) of Marathi word Seema meaning Limit and Ulanghan meaning crossing.

In modern times, we should actually work towards crossing our limits not physically but mentally in terms of efforts, in terms of patience, in terms of restraint.

Pushing the limits – Knowing who you are

As we meet so many people across the world throughout our lives, we find different behaviors. No two people are same. But as a human being there is something familiar in all of them. They are all capable of going an extra mile, crossing the boundaries.

Be it acid attack survivors, cancer survivors, or the girl who has been termed as the world’s most ugly girl in the world. Be it the Army men or the Mumbai Dabbawalas who are on time every time. Be it Paralympians or be it any Successful Sports Person. Pushing the limits is something common in all of them.

They have successfully crossed the limits, and have made their mark ahead of that limit. Here, there is a magic of human effort and spirit.

The question remains, whether these people already knew to push the limits? How do they know what they should do? But there are so many constraints to achieve something extraordinary?

Nothing extraordinary can be achieved without crossing the boundaries. Comfort zone is the killer of success. You might be successful at the current place where you are but why not push a little more and see what happens. Why not take risks and give it a 110% of your effort.

The best thing about possibilities is that they are endless.

While you enter the risk zone, you would find it extremely tough to even survive, but there is where you will understand who you are.

Understanding your limits is the first step towards crossing it, so this Seemolanghan let us first identify what our limits are.

How far we can actually go. And then there would be a chance that you can successfully perform Seemolanghan.

This Vijayadashami, may you find yourself and your inner peace. And instead of traveling across the city, hope you go deep inside yourself and perform Seemolanghan.

 

Have you heard of Shankarpale – Indian Biscuits..

Have you heard of Shankarpale – Indian Biscuits..

These were never my favorite things to eat. I have never cherished eating Shankarpale. First thing about them was their different name (Shankar in Marathi Means – Shiva ) and Pale means small vessel so there was no connection between Shiva and the Small Vessel and the sweet.

I was never enthusiastic about the whole thing because may be Aaji or Aai used to make it mostly during Diwali and it was just one of the savouries that they used to make so my attention was diverted to other tasty things like Chakli ( Murukku), Chivda, my favorite for 35 years 🙂 I think I was born to love Flattened Rice and all the recipes made out of it. More on my love of flattened rice later. So, this odd named savoury called Shankarpale were never in my list of favourites until somebody presented me with a very crunchy, mushy and sweet version of it.

I was spellbound to eat those small pieces of a wonderful snack which could be relished with a cup of tea or coffee especially in the afternoon. Post meal 2-3 hours is the time to eat something which you can munch on. It can be puffed rice, chivda or my newfound love Shankarpale.

Instead of giving into those sugar laden donuts, tea cakes, biscuits, it is better to savour 3-4 Shankarpale, I realized it late and felt that this is the most sustainable snack I can ever have. We can also replace maida to wheat flour in due course to make it better. But deep frying should never be avoided ( I mean baking something which needs to be deep fried takes the whole concept and nutrition out of it ) Instead of eating 10 we can munch on 5 but the Shankarpale need to be deep fried.

Me and Shrilekha were brought up in a Orthodox Brahmin household where FOOD was EVERYTHING. It was nutrition but more than that Food was a Soother. My mom was a fantastic cook, she was naturally good at making everything. I do not think she has learnt any recipe from anybody. It was her quest of providing her children and her family authentic and nutritious food which made all her recipes special.

As I remember, she was discovering a different way to make the Shankarpale more crispy, ultimately she did and we were excited to have her new version of small biscuits. She even made it with cumin and salt, for people who wanted cracker type Shankarpale.

Why I am reminiscing all this is because yesterday I was making Shankarpale for Joshi Caterers and I slowly slipped into the past. The whole process of making the dough, rolling it, making it into perfect square and frying it was therapeutic.

Mom used to make all snacks either pre lunch/dinner (main cooking ) or post lunch/dinner when there is no disturbance of serving other things. I used to call this as her “Udyog” means business. 🙂

As per her guidelines, I completed everything yesterday and started making Shankarpale post dinner, till around 9 PM. How was it? If you ask, it was heavenly.

With food I have strange equation, now a day, more than eating food, I have started enjoying the process of making. My sincere confession is that I never enjoyed cooking, I am still very reluctant enjoying it but yesterday was different.

In childhood one just eats whatever is served with a bit of tantrum, during teens one can chose what is to be eaten but with very less knowledge about food, during twenties we realize the process behind cooking and most of us try to survive, in thirties, we have a choice whether to eat a lot or make people relish the food made by you..I have chosen the later. 🙂

P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter. This is my first post.

Freedom from Unhealthy Habit – Hum Fit to India Fit

Freedom is subjective in every aspect of our life. As we go ahead and make vows to make ourselves fit along with many celebrities on the eve of Independence Day, we need to really identify what is that one unhealthy habit which is taking toll on our body. Identifying that first will help us take further steps towards fitness. What is the definition of unhealthy? Well, anything which is not in coordination with your body is unhealthy. Today, we are going to emphasize on sitting. As per the new norms “Sitting is the new smoking”. Knowingly or unknowingly we sit a lot throughout the day. While commuting in the car or the bus, while at the office, while dining at the restaurant, while at home watching TV and so on.

An average human being spends around 7 hours of sitting during the day which is way above the guidelines specified by World Health Organization.

Sedentary lifestyle has been told to be the root cause of many health related problems. Sitting is considered as bad, but sitting with bad posture makes it even worse. I have seen people in mid 30s having severe back problems. This is primarily due to prolonged and wrong sitting posture.

What can you do about it?

Move every thirty minutes from your place to another place if you are working at the office. Take short breaks in between work so that you have necessary break from prolonged sitting posture. You can also have fitbit telling you to complete 250 steps every hour so that you don’t remain sedentary throughout the day.

Bad sitting posture can be improved by getting a proper ergonomic chair. If that is not possible, see to that your back is straight while sitting and you are not exerting pressure on your tailbone. Generally, prolonged sitting makes us spread our legs on a stool or a chair. This changes the sitting posture exerting pressure on the vertebral column.

If you are working from home, sitting on the floor with back straight helps. Sitting on the floor and getting up every hour for short breaks may also help strengthen the joints. We sit on tables, chairs, sofas, car and most of us have completely forgotten how it is to sit down and get up without holding any object for support. There was a challenge on internet sometime before which prompted many people to get up from floor without any support.

Get a standing desk. This is my absolutely favourite. Getting standing desk is very comfortable solution to prolonged sitting. Get a desk with proper height so that you can effortlessly carry on your workday with it.

Instead of doing all these workarounds it is always better to move often and reduce the risks related to sedentary lifestyle. Freedom from something as unnatural as sitting ( on sofa, in the car, on a chair) is necessary today. We are born to be active and we should be throughout our lives. That is the real definition of freedom for the human body.

This blog post is for the independence blog train by UK and Sarah

How much screen time is too much? Ask you phone

How much screen time is too much? Ask you phone

Little Ms.K is fond of devices, gadgets and all kind of technology. Every gadget that we got home, was first used by her to the fullest. But slowly, she was getting into a habit of using gadgets like all of us do. As a mom, I was terribly worried about the screen time that she used to spend. I have always emphasized on child lead weaning for anything, and this time I was determined that she should get the control of switching off the gadget off by herself. As a 7-year-old, little Ms. K has now weaned herself from all the gadgets which is a relief.

We as parents should also try and use self-lead weaning from these devices. They are very helpful for people in every walk of life but when it becomes an addiction it is harmful for sure.

Recently Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has spoken about how Apple is working on introducing some features in iOS12 which may help all adults and teens keep an eye on how much mobile phones they are using in a day which I would say is a great tool.

What are the things which you will be able to do with iOS12’s manage screen time feature:

Activity report for total time spent in different apps, usage across all the categories of apps.

Apple Screen Time Displayed Categorically

Apple Bed Time The enhanced Do Not Disturb Feature

The Do Not Disturb feature has always been there in iOS devices but now there would be dimming of display and no display of notification till the prompted time.

You can now get your notifications delivered quietly 🙂 group them

Facebook

Get the notifications delivered quietly

 

iOS12

Get suggestions from Siri on which notifications to be kept and which can be managed.

  • You get to see how your screen time is divided across all apps.
  • Choose your downtime with the apps, with the downtime the apps will have a badge stating that they are not allowed to be used during that time.
  • Parents can set up time for children’s usage.  

In the recent interview, Apple CEO, Tim Cook says that they have always kept their users as their priority while designing the ultimate technological experience. Hope the new feature helps us keep the phones at bay 🙂

Disclaimer: All the images are downloaded from

https://www.apple.com/in/newsroom/2018/06/ios-12-introduces-new-features-to-reduce-interruptions-and-manage-screen-time/

The article is inspired from

https://www.apple.com/in/newsroom/2018/06/ios-12-introduces-new-features-to-reduce-interruptions-and-manage-screen-time/

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/05/616980803/transcript-apple-ceo-tim-cook-on-screen-time-controls-working-with-china