We Are Back + Exciting Announcement

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Hello Readers,

Hope you all are doing super well. :)

A lot has happened since I blogged last. And I can’t wait to share some exciting news with you all.

As you may have already noticed there wasn’t much happening here on the blog for two reasons. 1) I wanted to give myself a good break from blogging because of Ramadan, so I could give my one hundred percent to my family. 2) I have been thinking for quite a few months about starting my own YouTube Channel, The Mommy Blog TV, so I spent a good amount of time researching and figuring out things on my own.  I wanted to share with you a few videos of things I have loved, had questions about, some fun things going on with my family and so much more.

And one month fast forward, I have uploaded four videos on my channel, made loads to mistakes, learnt from them. And I will keep continuing it. So I would love for you all to go check it out and subscribe to my channel if you want to see more videos.

And as of The Mommy Blog, have no fear, it’s my first love and will remain the same forever. So be sure to check back every now and then because I have loads of exciting things lined up. So until next time. Take care :)

Simple Things I Learnt From My Delivery – The Labor Room

The mommy blog delivery

This post is second in the series on posts I have written on Simple Things I Learnt From My Delivery. Read the first post {here}.

Every woman goes through her fair share of ‘lessons learnt’ during her pregnancy and delivery. During the 38 weeks of being an expectant mother, I faced:

  • Morning (read all day) sickness
  • Lack of stamina and exercise due to this constant eckiness
  • Miserably failing my glucose tests (to the extent I had monitor my sugar 6 times a day everyday)
  • Eventually going for morning walks in the freezing cold (and nearly having my toes fall off due to the chill)
  • Spotting and bleeding for no particular reason (my heart of course stopped each time this happened).
  • Everything coupled with the usual backaches, heart burns & constant wanting to pee.

If my pregnancy was tough, the recovery, postpartum even tougher. The only thing that went smooth was the delivery itself, something which I had been dreading since the day I got pregnant.

I was induced on midnight of 15th Feb 2015, second capsule given at 3 AM, that when I started dilating. However my contractions were still weak and I remember telling my hubby “I don’t know if I’m getting gas or if is it the real deal”.

By 6 AM, when I got 3rd dose, contractions started coming hard this time. And while the nurses prepped me, the frequency and intensity amplified by ten times. I yelled Epidural around 8 AM and finally peace prevailed in my labor room. My doctor came to check me and said I wouldn’t deliver before the afternoon, so I cheekily asked for a snack as well as took a nap. Got a rude awakening by one of the nurses around 10 AM who said I was going into labor, I could feel a pressure as versus the previous pain. At 11:51 AM, with one massive push, I had my baby in my arms…just like that :)

So here are some of the things I tell my pregnant friends not to worry about in the Labor room.

 1) The Machines:

 From the minute you walk into the hospital, there will some gadget or the other that will be attached to you. Some as simple as the weight and BP machine, which you are already familiar with. And then there are those that you may have only seen in the movies or on some episode of the TV series ER. Don’t panic, these are constantly monitoring a) Your heart rate, b) Baby’s Heart rate, c) Contractions – frequency and intensity. These are not just hooked up to your body in your room, but also being monitored from the nurse’s station outside. A cool thing which I was not aware of, is that almost all these machines have volume control! Incase any of the constant beeping is troubling you, they CAN be hushed up.

 2) Your Privacy:

Well, be prepared to have your modesty fly out of the window. Rest assured, everyone in that room has a ‘job’ to do, including YOU. Follow the instructions of your medical staff and just give in. Don’t sit and worry about who can see what. If anything bothers you, speak up.

 3) Walk:

 I took the wheelchair from my room to the labor room, made me feel like ‘the movies’. Realised it was a big mistake as I reached my destination. The head nurse bellowed at me “Are you sick? Why are you in a wheelchair? Walk!!”.

She also came back to shame me when I was yelling through the intense contractions, “Why are you lying down? Get up and walk around”. I can guarantee you, her pearls of wisdom made me bear the pain till the point that I could. Nothing feels better than walking and swaying and sometimes sitting on the exercise ball. So on the day, when the pain hits the roof, ask your attending nurse and walk.

4) Epidural:

 If you are open to taking an epidural, please request for one when you think you can no longer bear the pain. For some the pain is quite manageable and they go medication free. Then there are people like me who yell their lungs out and ask for epidural shamelessly. This reminds me, its ‘ok’ to yell your lungs out.

5) Skin-On-Skin:

Regardless of the way you deliver i.e. normal or through a cesarean, make sure your baby is brought to you immediately for a skin-on-skin. Your newborn bonds through touch and smell, and her senses are tuned in to respond to your unique smell and the feel of your bare skin. This experience also helps your baby transition from the fetus to a newborn. Try your best to breastfeed at that point. Some benefits of breastfeeding and information on Colostrum can be found {here}

Stay tuned for my experiences post delivery :)

Ramadan Series: 3 Easy Tip For A Well Stocked Freezer

ramadan tips The Mommy Blog

The holy time of the year is just around the corner – Ramadan! And when that realization hits us, we try our best to try and prepare our selves for this month and get the most out of the blessed days. Alas, we forget one main concern: food.

It’s not so much forgotten as being unprepared for. We remember it as the month of being deprived during the day and feasting at night. However, with all our spiritual aims and goals of maximum ibadah (worship) during Ramadan, precious hours spent in the kitchen can drain us physically and emotionally.

This is going to be our first Ramadan away from India and as a of family of four. And two little girls under four years of age. I had to plan a lot of things beforehand. I started planning for Ramadan, 3 weeks prior.  And I have been meaning to do a blog post for all my Muslim mommy friends so they could make use of it.

And only yesterday, I shared a picture of my freezer on my Instagram, and from then on, I have been receiving a lot of emails and messages on how-tos, which is why I just sat down to quickly jot everything down for you to read and make the best use. :D

Thank you all for your emails and messages, I feel so loved :)

And in this post I will quickly you give heads up on how and what to stock in your freezer, before Ramadan begins.

1.  Start by listing everything you need: 

Sit down peacefully and think of what fruits and vegetables you will need very often, those that go in pretty much every dish. For example onions and celery. Put these on the top, so you don’t forget them later.

Next think of the vegetables that you want to stock on and if you have kids, see what they like and quickly make a note of them.

If you have decided to freeze them, then you will need freezer bags or vacuum sealing bags, if you can find them. I used regular zip-lock bags and a straw to draw out the air from the bags, works just fine.

You will also need a clean towel or tissue papers to pat dry the veggies before freezing (depends on the type of vegetable).

2.  Pick fresh fruits & vegetables: 

Start by selecting the most freshest of the fruits and vegetables, you can find at the grocery store. If possible head to the farmer’s market and pick them up at the earliest ( when they are just out of the farm).

Avoid vegetables and fruits with blemish or marks. They generally won’t last you long.

If you don’t have time, ask someone close to pick them up for you, your husband or help. I couldn’t go out myself, so husband got everything for us. Yes he does better grocery shopping than I do! *sigh*

3.  Start prepping the fruits & vegetables:

Freezing is a process that lets you store fruits and vegetables without losing their nutritional benefits, over time, provided they are frozen properly. Now by ‘properly’ I mean that not every vegetable can just be chopped and popped in to the freezer, that way they won’t last you over a week.

So here’s the list of things I have frozen so far and the method I followed:

Freezing onions & capsicum:

  1. Selected fresh and blemish-free onions.
  2. Peel, wash and chop them into 1/2 inch slices.
  3. Spread it flat on a tray and pop the tray in to the freezer for at least 2 hours.
  4. Once all the pieces turn into solid, divide them into meal size portions.
  5. Put them into the zip-lock bags, draw the air out of the bags, with straw and seal.
  6. Then immediately put them back into the freezer.

Freezing carrots, corn. beetroots, beans and cabbage:

  1. Select fresh and blemish-free vegetables.
  2. Clean, wash and chop them into desired sizes (preferably small).
  3. Heat a large pot of water and start bringing it to boil.
  4. Once the water is boiling, put the vegetables in it.
  5. Grab your watch and keep an eye on it. You don’t want to cook the vegetables.
  6. When the water starts boiling again, turn off the heat.
  7. Quickly scoop the pieces of vegetables from hot water, and put them into ice cold water to avoid the vegetables getting cooked further (with their own heat).
  8. Drain the water.
  9. Pat them dry and store in the zip-lock bags.

Tips:

  • Keep an eye on your watch. So you don’t boil the vegetables for more than 2 minutes. Or they will get mushy.
  • Always try to keep the boiling time same as the cooling time. For example if you are boiling for 1 minute, then let then stay in ice cold water for 1 minute.
  • Boiling will kill all the enzymes and cooling then down will lock the nutrients in it. That way they will remain fresh for a longer period of time.

Freezing chicken for sandwich: 

  1. Wash and boil boneless (you can also use boned) chicken in salt and whole black pepper for 20-25 minutes until its cooked.
  2. Remove the chicken and let it cool a little.
  3. Shred it in to pieces using two forks (it’s easier that way).
  4. Divided into meal size portions and freeze int zip-lock bags.

I mix mayonnaise with shredded chicken. Spread it on a slice of bread. Top it off with slices of cucumbers and tomatoes for a super quick kids breakfast.

These frozen fruits and vegetables can be stored at least up to 6 months. Many people claim to be saving theirs for a year. But I can only talk from my experience, I had frozen beans in March and used the last batch only yesterday. And trust me when I say this I couldn’t find any noticeable difference, in the taste.

So these are all that I have frozen so far. I also plan on freeze a bunch of fruits soon. Let me know how you are prepping for Ramadan this year. I would love to hear it for you. Also please leave a comment down below and tell me if you found these tips useful for Ramadan :)

 

6 Best YouTube Channels You Should Not Miss

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I have to admit it, that every day I spend a good amount of time, watching YouTube videos, a lot of them actually. And I have been doing this for over two years now. And over time I have developed such amazing connect with these lovely vloggers and their channels that I thought it would be nice to share with you all and tell you how amazing they are.

I mostly follow a bunch of mommy/parenting channels and a few makeup/beauty channels, these are the subjects I have always held my attention. And in this post I will talk about six of my favourite and best YouTube Channels you should probably not miss.

1.  What’s Up Mom’s:

The Mommy Blog

Image Courtesy: blog.laurelandwolf.com/nursery-design-for-whats-up-moms/

This is probably the first on my list, for two reasons. This was the first YouTube channel that I ever started following. Second, I love the rapport between these young moms and their dedication to work. This channel was started by Elle, a mom of two. Now it’s a group of three moms who make it all happen. Meg shares kitchen tips, easy recipes. Brooke’s beautiful DIY projects and Elle does vlogs and tips videos. You should check out Elle’s Gangnam Style Parody. Their first video I ever watched, I remember husband showed it to me and we  both had a good laugh. That’s when I started following this channel.

2.  I’m A Mommy:

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Image Courtesy: www.facebook.com/ImAMommyof1

This amazing channel is by Michelle, a mother to 2 toddlers and a newborn. I have been following her for a long time now. And the reason I love her channel is because she’s so real and just herself. She’s one super mom I completely adore. Plus she always patient with answering all the questions posted by her followers (me included ;) ). I love her hauls and monthly favourites videos most.

3.  It’s Judy’s Life:

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Image Courtesy: http://its-judys-life.tumblr.com/

Judy is a mom to a pre-schooler and twin girls. I started following her last year and have completely fallen in love with her vlogs. The way Benji, her husband is always helping her film the videos and backing her up every time/place is so remarkable. I mean we all need a strong support system. Don’t we?

4.  I Love Being a Mommy:

Elizabeth Rebecca, a sweet mom to two kids started this channel about a year ago. And I have started following her recently. I love the way she making her videos. They are just so beautiful to watch. Like really beautiful. I have to admit that I keep watching her videos over and over again just because I love all those subtle colours and music in her videos.

5.  Amanda Muse:

Amanda, is also a mother of two and a beauty enthusiast. I love her vlogs for her simplicity and uniqueness. I’m not comparing here. But then it’s so refreshing to find something new and exciting every time you watch her vlogs. Plus she’s such an energetic mother.

6.  Daily Bumps

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Image Courtesy: http://channelpages.com/dailyBUMPS

This is another channel I have started following recently. Daily Bumps is by Missy and Bryan, parents to a toddler and expecting their second child very soon. I love how lively their vlogs are. And the constant connect between this vlogy couple. They put up one video every single day, which itself says a lot about their teamwork and dedication.

It’s so inspiring to see how all these wonderful moms and dads manage YouTube, rare kids and still have a life. I’m completely addicted to these vlog channels and can’t wait to see their next videos.

And if you are like me and would love to watch some wonderful parenting vlogs every day/week, then go on and subscribe to these channels. And let me know your favourite mommy YouTube channel. I would love to subscribe to them :)

* This list is purely based on my personal preference and is not a proven one. I was not paid to do this post. 

 

3 Simple Things I learnt From My Delivery – Pregnancy

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So here’s what happened when I got pregnant – I also found out that I wasn’t in for the ride alone. Not only was a very close friend of mine expecting a baby around the same time as me, but also an ex colleague, a friend from college, one from Post Grad., one of my cousins, a hubby’s friend, alongwith our very own Duchess of Cambridge Kate, and a few other celebrities from the Indian cinema and Hollywood who were all pregnant. Suddenly, it seemed the whole universe had conspired to get pregnant together :)

Mostly all of us were going to be First Time Mums (FTM), and just like that, we were all facing a million doubts, a billion emotions, and only a few gazillion questions that we all thought will never get answered. Somehow, signing up with different pregnancy websites and support groups didn’t seem enough. We needed real experiences, with first hand stories.

For me, the biggest fear was not knowing. And out of all the ‘not knowings’, the biggest was of what I was going to face in the delivery room. I was about to spend the next 40 weeks of my life worrying myself sick about that one day. And no matter how much everyone told me that I will ‘forget everything when I see my baby’, it did not convince me enough to think about it any less.

Not to mention that I had also made the grave mistake of watching all kinds of birthing videos, and jumping chapters on my books to read what happens during labor. I had now managed to completely freak myself out.

I promised all the friends delivering after me that I’ll answer ALL their questions. Worrying is not good for anyone pregnant. Especially someone like me who already faced excessive hair fall and a face full of zits thanks to the lovely hormonal changes! No one needs to add on to the list of things to worry about. So here are a few directives I doled out; to ensure my fellow FTMs did not face the same predicaments.

Each week I will endeavor to elaborate each directive and bring more clarity. If you have sailed in a similar ‘worry’ boat as me, I am quite sure you will find my observations interesting:

1.  Get the right Obstetrician/Gynecologist  –

We went to the ‘first available’ on the day. Learnt my lesson. She was anything but nice. I can handle ‘not nice but super efficient’. Can not handle ‘not nice and also pretty inefficient’. Made appointment with another, and then another. Sounds crazy, but we actually went window shopping for the right doctor. I eventually had to decide between – a sterling hospital but ‘okayish’ doctor OR a perfect doc in a not so refined hospital. I then decided to go to my hometown to deliver. Again scouted around and finally found the right match…good doc (check) and a great hospital (double check).

2.  Firmly request your doctor for a Normal Delivery –

Birth via cesareans is fast becoming a money making racket across the globe. Normal is best for you and your baby. Most of the c-sections being performed are for avoidable reasons and not so complicated medical conditions, and only because higher costs are incurred when one gets the c-section done. Here’s an extremely thought provoking read about the steep rise of cesareans in India. {Here}

3.  Ask questions to your doctor –

One of my previous doctors had told me “stop reading stuff on the internet”. That sounded the alarm bells right there! It is MY body and I have the full right to not only question what you are doing, but also be fully informed on the effects, side effects, consequences for getting it done as well as the drawbacks if I choose not to get it done. On any given day we never question our doctors, just go with the flow. But in our case, there is another life involved.

Thank you very much, but I WILL read up AND question you. Buckle up. It’s not that I don’t trust the doctor, but you will be surprised the number of times their sentence has changed from “you need to get this done” to “it’s your choice as its not mandatory by WHO standards”, whenever I questioned the necessity.

Please make yourself aware and take informed decisions. Come back again to know my labour and birth story:)

 

7 Useful Lessons On Baby Led Weaning ~ Our Inside Story

babyled weaning The Mommy Blog India

While trolling Facebook (side effects of breastfeeding!), I stumbled upon this unique concept of ‘Baby Led Weaning‘. My baby was only four-months-old at that time and hence the entire thought of feeding the baby was new to me. While the pediatrician was quite sure of me exclusively breastfeeding till 6 months, I still wanted to be in the know.

Cut to 6 months, the ‘annaprashan’ was a simple affair with baby tasting homemade rice kheer from various family members, under mama’s watchful and super nervous eye.
Baby led weaningIndia The Mommy Blog

Day 2: Brain racking, over researching has led me to believe that banana is safe to begin with. Done! But BLW argues that the baby should be allowed to ‘explore’ textures. “Food till one, is for fun”, apparently. Uhh, not so much when you’re maid-less. Who’s going to clean the mess, d-uh!

What followed was mashed / steamed fruits and veggies for a week, moved to lumpy stuff and within a month to proper bites (much to the chagrin of my ever doting father, still!).

We’re now 16 months old and feed ourselves, leaving people aghast at the adult sized bites.

Lessons learnt:

Here are the few things I learned along the way.

1. Trust your baby:

For me that was always rule no. 1. Even though uptil 8 months I was spoon feeding him, I never ever force fed him. He used to make the decision of his own accord whether it was 2 bites or 2 idlis. Babies have an inbuilt survival system that will not let them go hungry!

2. No sugar, no salt:

The best(est) part about introducing food to a baby is the beautifully clean palate that they have. You can mold it any which way. However, it has been scientifically proven too, that the NSNS should be applied till the baby turns one. In short, all food, whether fruit or pulse have their own levels of sodium and sugars in them. No need to increase for baby. This way the baby gets the ‘natural’ of food.

3. Three-Day-Rule:

Call it mother’s instinct or what have you, but I had complete faith in this rule too, atleast till the first few months. While introducing new food to the baby- offer a small bite the first day and gauge his / her bodily reactions the whole day. Next day offer a bit more. And the third day offer a normal sized bite. Once you are sure about there being no allergic reactions, continue to offer as you would.

4. Take it slow: 

Your baby has a whole life ahead of him to taste and experiment. If he doesn’t like something, take a break. Try again after a week or even 10 days. Agreed babies have a clean palate, but they also have preferences.

Baby Led Weaning India The mommy blog

5. Be watchful:

Always always keep an eye on the baby whether your feeding him by spoon or baby led. And always know the difference between gagging and choking (yes, they are different).Try to learn the basics on how to handle the baby in times on choking and gagging, if need be.

6. Do your due diligence:

Be thorough with your research. There are a lot of naysayers, for example, to introducing eggs in the first year. My baby tasted egg yolk at 7 months, but that was also because we had no history of allergies in the family. Similarly, for nuts. Refer Note 3 and 4.

7. Experiment, experiment, experiment:

Do not fear to tread an untrodden path. Babies love new foods, it’s all to do with a whole new world beyond breast milk and formula. Smoothies have been a favourite in our kitchen, so much that he recognizes his cups, the blender et al.

I did finally throw caution to the winds and let him self-feed at 8 months onward, and now at 16 months he thoroughly enjoys munching on chicken legs and pastas or or what have you. He loves his bitter gourd as much as he loves mango seed (more for me, yay!) and I attribute it ALL to a clean palate.

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What are you following with your baby?? Traditional or babyled weaning?? Share your story with us in the comments below.

 

Cloth Diaper Review ~ Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Cover

The Mommy Blog Cloth Diapers

Until few months ago, I never thought I would manage to get myself a Thirsties diaper cover. Given that they weren’t available in India plus I was never interested in trying any, other than Flip covers, since they were working great for us. And though a cloth diaper addict, I definitely knew that I did not need any more additions to my stash.

However, I did recently went on and purchased a Thirsties Duo Wrap diaper cover from a new local online vendor, Totscart, who stocks international brands. Because I wanted to test it out on my daughters. And I have to say that though I still love our beloved Flip covers, I am fairly impressed with this newest addition to my cloth diaper collection.

Thirsties Duo Wrap diaper covers are a one-size cover available in two sizes. Size 1 fits younger babies between 2.8 to 8 kilos approximately (6 and 18 pounds). And Size 2 fits older babies between 8 to 18 kilos (18 and 40 pounds). Since my daughters weigh over 11 kilos, I chose the Size 2.

Although I am generally not crazy about needing to buy two sizes of diapers, I do like that Thirsties Duo Wraps would fit a baby starting from an average newborn to a fairly large toddler.

Talking about the design, the Thirsties Duo Wrap features two rows of three torso snaps. Thus, the cover converts into small, medium, and large sizes.

Thirsties Duo Wraps feature a single row of two snaps. But it lacks crossover hip snaps. However, since my daughters are already so big, I have no need for crossover hip snaps at the moment.

The Mommy Blog CLoth Diapers

Thirsties Duo Wraps can also be used over prefolds and other fitted diapers. During the day, it’s prefolds for us. The Little Thing fits into the large size with a tri-folded Osocozy prefold, without leaving any marks on her. I haven’t tried it for night-time yet. So I won’t be talking about it at the moment.

Thirsties review india

Thirsties Duo Wrap cloth diaper covers are a great bargain for the price. I love the double leg gussets and I think that I can use this diaper cover on my daughter at night with a fairly thick fitted diaper. The leg gussets contain poop very beautifully.

However I am not entirely thrilled about the dual sizing, but I do understand the appeal of parents with tiny newborns and larger toddlers. And the waist elastic does an excellent job of holding inserts or prefolds in place once the diaper is on the baby.

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I have heard very good reviews of the thristies hemp prefolds.  They were amazing, they say!  I will be adding a bunch of those to our stash in the near future. These covers come in both hook n loop (velcro) and snap closures. We prefer the snaps now that our girls are older or they will like try and take the diaper off! Who said kids are a breeze to handle??

Thirsties Duo Wrap is my favorite diaper to direct new cloth diapering parents, too. Whether you use prefolds with diaper fasteners (a must for containing newborn poo) or just tri-fold them and lay them in, you can get multiple wears out of each cover before it needs washing.  This makes for a very cost effective stash.

So if you are new to cloth or just looking for something that is simple and works on a smaller budget, this is definitely the way to go.

If you have any questions about cloth diapering India, feel free to comment below. I would love to help you out. And if you like this post, do give me a thumbs up on Facebook. :)

The review is based on my experience and is not a proven one. I was not paid to write this review, the product was bought by me for my personal use. All opinions and images are my own.