DOs and DON’Ts of cooking food for baby

When your child shows signs of chewing or moving the food around the mouth, that is your cue to move to textured food.

(This first appeared on The Standard Newspaper on 5 February 2017)

Do clean the utensils and foods thoroughly –  Children are more prone to bacteria. Therefore, preparing their food requires great care. Wash your hands and the utensils thoroughly before cooking.

Do pay attention to nutrition – plan to prepare one food from different food groups in a day – vitamins, protein, starch,etc  to make meals nutritious. Shorter cooking time will also help in maintaining the nutrients in a food.

Do offer textured food – don’t get stuck on blended food. When your child shows signs of chewing or moving the food around the mouth, that is your cue to move to textured food. You can start by mashing with a fork. They will train their throats and finally join you in the table.

Don’t warm food in the microwave – warming baby food in the microwave, can make some spots hotter and hence dangerous. Instead use hot water or a bottle warmer.

Don’t go overboard – as much as it is good to get their taste buds exercise with different foods, don’t overwhelm them with so many varieties at once. Try not to mix more than three kinds of food at once.

Don’t force them to eat foods they don’t like – Forcing them to eat or saying ‘One last bite!’ 5 times might make them dislike meal time. If you notice resistance, don’t force it but try again  later. It is also good to taste the food before feeding. If you don’t like the taste, neither will they do.

TIP – Give your child a spoon to hold on to while you are feeding. It will help in keeping their hands busy instead of wrestling with your hands. Once they get the gist of it, they can start to scoop some food and feed themselves. But make sure they won’t hurt themselves with it.

Bonding with baby – For Fathers

If the baby is bottle fed, fathers can take up that by holding them close to themselves like a mother would while breastfeeding.

(This first appeared on The Standard Newspaper on )

 

I take pity on new fathers. The committed fathers. They are usually very much involved and invested with the pregnancy journey. From counting baby kicks to massaging your swollen feet, from recording baby’s heartbeat at the doctor’s visit to throwing out his favorite cologne because all of a sudden you don’t like it anymore. But once the baby arrives, she/he starts running the show. All the excitement of the new baby, visitors, mother in law staying over,….usually pushes them to the corner to be forgotten for a while.

Fortunately, there are a couple of things fathers can do to help them bond with the baby and make them part of the everyday routine.

Feeding/burping

If the baby is bottle fed, fathers can take up that by holding them close to themselves like a mother would while breastfeeding. For breastfed babies, fathers can either bottle feed the expressed milk or take on the burping challenge. Your baby will get used to your smell in the process.

Diaper changing

This might not always be pleasing especially changing a soiled diaper but this can also serve as a bonding activity while giving mommy a break.

Bathing together

You can bathe the baby together. You will need help in the first few days anyway.

Playing

Fathers can be very playful and keep the baby engaged by making silly faces and noises. Keeping eye contact and smiling to the baby can help create that bond.

Massaging

It can relax both the baby and father. The gentle stroking of the baby’s body with hands will create some of that skin to skin contact while soothing the baby.

Bonding with the baby is not something that comes in a day. You will not know when it will happen but it will  come with time and dedication and it will  be intense.

 

Baby Led Weaning

It is a way of introducing solid foods to children by offering finger foods to them instead of spoon feeding. It gives the child the freedom of choosing what to eat rather than the parent deciding what to feed.

(This first appeared on The Standard Newspaper on January 15, 2017)

What is it?

It is a  way of introducing solid foods to children by offering finger foods to them instead of spoon feeding. It gives the child the freedom of choosing what to eat rather than the parent deciding what to feed. The child is simply given variety of foods to nibble on keeping in mind safety and nutrition.

Advantages

The child gets to experiment with different tastes and decide on the quantity of food she/he will take. Researches have shown that this will help in preventing picky eating habit and weight related issues in the future. Baby lead weaning also helps the child to develop the skills of using hands, hand-eye coordination and chewing.

Disadvantages

If you can get used to the mess your child will create, there is a risk of choking if you don’t take precaution while preparing the solid foods. There is also the problem of less digestion, which means you have to still top up with breast milk/formula.

If you are going with child led weaning, consider these points.

  • Prepare the food in strips so the child can grab and eat (finger foods). It is also advisable to give them spoons for non finger foods like cereals.
  • Always have a bottle of water nearby.
  • Always have someone around during feeding time.
  • Offer variety of foods but start with soft fruits and vegetables
  • You can opt to mix spoon feeding and baby led weaning to make sure they are getting enough solid foods

 

Taking care of baby’s dry skin

Most babies are prone to different skin conditions and dry skin is among the most common ones. It is simply cracked, flaky and usually itchy skin which can be very irritating to your child as well as yourself.

(This first appeared on The Standard Newspaper on January 15, 2017)

Most babies are prone to different skin conditions and dry skin is among the most common ones. It is simply cracked, flaky and usually itchy skin which can be very irritating to your child as well as yourself. It is usually caused by dry and cold weather and becomes even more tricky when your child has sensitive skin. Fortunately, there are some simple tips you can follow to prevent and treat dry skin at home.

  • Use mild skin moisturizer – apply a mild moisturizer of your choice right after bath time while the skin is still damp and several times throughout the day. (A mixture of shea butter, coconut oil, lavender/almond oil worked for my baby’s dry skin.)
  • Short baths – keep bath time short, despite your child’s love of splashing water. Long baths tend to dry out the natural moisture the skin has.
  • Bundle them up – dress your child in warm clothes, hand mittens and hats during cold weather.
  • Keep them hydrated – applying and re-applying moisturizer is useless if a baby is dehydrated. If your child is above six months old, you can offer water and juice to keep them hydrated. Breastmilk should be enough for younger children unless your doctor advises otherwise.
  • Use gentle detergents – avoid using perfumed cloth detergents as they may contribute to skin dryness.
  • Humidify the house – you can easily boil aromatic leaves or oils in water at a corner to keep the air moist. This will avoid the dry air and keep our child’s skin moisturized.

Consult your doctor if the dryness persists despite following these tips.

Did you wash our hands?

Last year, a mother from U.K took to Facebook to share her daughter’s near death experience after contracting herpes from a well meaning visitor’s kiss. Children below 6 months old do not have a strong immune system and that exposes them to germs that cause illness.

(This first appeared on The Standard Newspaper on Jan 1, 2017)

You are likely to visit family and friends with your small baby in this festive season. Once you are among people, you might be panicking about the numerous hands holding and touching her despite the fun going on around you. If you are one of those mama bears, you will not be reserved to speak your mind and ask people to wash their hands before they touch or hold her but if you are quiet and reserved, you will be suffering in silence trying to be polite.

But is there a reason to worry?

Last year, a mother from U.K took to Facebook to share her daughter’s near death experience after contracting herpes from a well meaning visitor’s kiss. Children below 6 months old do not have a strong immune system and that exposes them to germs that cause illness. Washing hands before holding a child and preparing food or after a diaper change is one of the simplest ways of keeping your child safe from illness.

Unfortunately, this habit is overlooked when you are out and about for many reasons. One reason being people don’t think they carry germs because they don’t show any signs of illness. Therefore, your precaution might be ignored by pushy(but well meaning) relatives to hold and kiss the child without washing hands. Follow these three tips to help you in this difficult situation.

  • Have a basic hygiene rule – the Do’s and Don’ts when handling your baby. It can include when and how to wash hands or what to do when having sick visitors. The rules must apply to you and anyone around the baby.
  • Be assertive – stress on the need of washing hands in an authoritative but reasonable manner.
  • Prepare a hand sanitizer – This is helpful when you are traveling. The alcohol based sanitizers are more effective.

It is good to be extra cautious but don’t take it overboard as babies develop their immunity in the process of getting sick.

Embracing your post-baby body

You might have prepared your mind for the transformation your body goes through while hosting your munchkin for 9 months but your body post giving birth will have a few surprises for you.

(This first appeared on The Standard Newspaper on Jan 8, 2017)

You might have prepared your mind for the transformation your body goes through while hosting your munchkin for 9 months but your body post giving birth will have a few surprises for you. Some women are fortunate enough to not go through much of these changes but many do. Here are the most common changes your body might experience after giving birth.

Bleeding – whether you had a vaginal delivery or a C-section you will experience a vaginal discharge called lochia. Your uterus will shade it’s lining in the form of blood, sometimes blood clots too, mucus and uterine tissue. Some women have heavy discharge for a few days while some go through it for four to six weeks.

Loss of bladder control – Due to the weight your pelvic muscles have been carrying during pregnancy, they might become weak and hence make you lose control of your bladder. You might notice that you are not able to hold your urine as you were used to or lose control of our bladder when you are smiling or coughing.

Constipation – because of the hormonal changes and the medication you might be on after giving birth, it might be difficult to have a bowel movement.

Swelling of hands and feet – your body was retaining water to prepare itself for D-Day and the swelling might be seen  on your feet, hands and face. It will take a few days for your body to shed the extra water.

Our bodies are as different as our faces and characters. You might experience some,all or none of these. It is perfectly normal for your body to go through changes but be sure to consult your doctor should any of them worry you.