Making Parenting a Game for Two!

 

Motherhood has been completely usurping parenting discussions since the beginning of time. Step aside lady, there is another human we need to  talk about- THE FATHER. It still takes a village to raise a child you know, of all the adults therein, two are very important (yes two, not just one)- you and the FATHER!

Welcome to modern day parenting. Every parent, regardless of gender has a big role to play in raising the child. Moms and Dads should share and work as a team to parent their child.

What side of this story have we already heard. The one where the onus of childcare is left upon the Mom. The one where the mother has been wrongfully over-burdened by societal pressures, the excuse of ‘our culture’, ‘humarey yahaan aise (nahi) hota hai’ and stigma.  But there is more to it.

Apart from the external factors, some introspection of our mommyness is also important. Time to ask:  How do mothers view the parenting skills of the father? Do we know why fathers can not do as much as women? How do we help dads rise to the occasion?

Dad-skills are the most meme-fied parts of parenting ever.  (Some of them are truly hilarious) But hey! how did you feel when your parenting skills were doubted and questioned? What did you want the most when you were taking your baby steps into motherhood? Come, you know this one go ahead say it…. that is right … empathy, motivation and appreciation (did you say- vodka and coffee? i hear you mate!)

How many mommas out there feel that the dads cannot do some bit of parenting as well as us? Many, including me. We have been doing these baby tasks so frequently and systematically; we just feel no one else can do it as well as us. He cannot hold the child as safely as you. He cannot comfort the baby like you, he will not do a good job of applying the barrier cream while diapering, she will definitely fuss if he feeds, there is noway she is going to sleep on his shoulder…..and so on.

I will acknowledge the fact that a lot of parenting gyaan, could be with the mother. You know why? there is far more literature available on mommying than on daddying. Also, your child is biologically more dependent on the mum – for food and nutrition. There are certain natural elements that fall into place for the moms. Besides, there will always be a lot of older moms around you passing their experiences and advice to you. You need to share that with your partner and let him in on the centuries worth of knowledge and wisdom.

WHY DOES HE NOT VOLUNTARILY WANT TO DO IT?– Some guys just become hands on dads, like some women just become moms, natural process. period. Others need to work on it. This is because of what he may have experienced, seen around him or just assumed about it all in general. Accusing him of being an @$$ about it is not going to get you anywhere. You have to take into account the social realities that we are trying to move ahead from.

So, here is the important bit, How do you encourage the partner to share equal parenting responsibilities in the early days?

  1. Don’t delegate, divide. – instead of feeding the baby yourself and asking your husband to fetch you a face cloth, or bathing the baby and asking your husband to bring you the towel, why not step away from the boss-mom mode and divide the tasks equally. You do the bathing, he does the feeding for example. Often this division happens naturally, but you can also sit and chalk it out.
  2. It is not my-way or the highway – understand that you both will have different methods of doing the same tasks, you might feel yours is better but do not impose that. Similarly accommodate lapses.  The dad is also as well-meaning and concerned as you are. Accidents or mistakes do happen, work together and move on. Switch off from the blame-game.
  3. Involve dads in a balance of chores, don’t keep all the boring stuff for yourself and leave him in charge of stuff like playtime and fun outings. Share the load.
  4. Actively promote alone-time. The father-child bond is very special. Leave them alone from time to time to build that bond, which will make all the above points much more enjoyable. But also be alone, together and get some couple time to de-stress. (Your marriage and love for each other does not have to be shelved just because you are a parent.)
  5. Communicate. Nobody is a mindreader!! He is not going to know that you are having a tough momma day, until you open your mouth and say so. You might feel that he should know, but with all that is going on, you guys might not necessarily be on the same page. So, use words and do not forget your pleases and thank yous. You would want your child to say them too after all, isn’t it?

Equal parenting is tough! but it is definitely better than killing yourself slowly with the mommy grind. You will be surprised by how much you are actually missing out unknowingly because you are so busy getting the behind-the-scenes stuff done.

Don’t get me wrong, all moms are superwomen who are irreplaceable. Dads are uber-cool too, no matter what form of parenting works for you. But try this!!

We are toddler parents, this is from our experience and some research to articulate what worked for us. If you want to do some more reading. Click on these articles:- 

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_obstacles_to_father_involvementand_how_to_overcome_them

https://www.care.com/c/stories/4723/equal-parenting-11-ways-to-create-an-equal-h/

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/relationships/parenting/The-rise-of-Alpha-Dads/articleshow/52795134.cms

Benefits of Folic Acid Supplements During Pregnancy

When I found out that we were pregnant, my first worry (and one that I carried out throughout my pregnancy) was that I didn’t start taking my Folic Acid supplements soon enough.  Back then, I didn’t know much about its importance except that it helps prevent neurological disorders in the growing baby. It was only when I got my pregnancy reading material in place that I realised how much it helps during pregnancy.

Why take  Folic Acid Supplements? 

Folic Acid is basically a type of Vitamin B.  As our body does not produce this vitamin, we need to acquire it through our diet or other supplements.  It is found in leafy vegetables, legumes and eggs.

Our current urban lifestyle that includes an increased intake of processed foods, chemically treated vegetables and many lifestyle disorders make it a little difficult to gain the required amount of folic acid through natural sources.

No matter how  balanced natural and organic you keep your diet, you can never be sure of the amount of folic acid you are getting. To avoid such nutritional uncertainties, doctors often prescribe folic acid supplements (along with iron and calcium) to pregnant women.

What are the Benefits of Folic Acid Supplements? 

Many call folic acid the ‘superhero’ of pregnancy. Here is why:

  1. Helps make more Red Blood Cells
  2.  Helps with the synthesis and development of DNA and RNA
  3. Aids rapid cell division and growth
  4. Prevents the fetus from developing congenital deformities
  5. Essential for the development of the spinal cord of the fetus
  6. Prevents Neural Tube Abnormalities in the growing fetus
  7.  Reduces the chances for  facial clefts 

How much folic Acid does a pregnant woman need?

Women who have a history of genetic disorders in their family, often need more folic acid intake than others. Similarly the to-be mother’s physical health condition can also influence the amount of folic acid prescribed. Generally speaking,  around 400 micrograms of folic acid is prescribed commonly during pregnancy.

Folic acid intake is focused upon before pregnancy (when you start planning a family) and during early pregnancy.  The truth though is, that it is important even in the last trimester, particularly among Indian women.

So a consistent and doctor approved dosage of folic acid is important for a healthy pregnancy.

Folic Acid and Facial Clefts 

A lot is said about the other benefits of Folic Acid, but even though nearly 35000 children are born with Cleft palates every year ] ; very little is spoken about this to expectant parents and the public in general.

What causes clefting in the fetus is not clearly known because a very complex genetic and environmental (mother’s health included) factors influence its presence/absence. However, what is known is that a good amount of folic acid intake regularly that takes into account your personal and family medical history and physical health is one of the ways to minimise its occurance.

Cleft lips or cleft palates can be diagnosed early and most often surgically reversed to a great extent during infancy.

What goes unnoticed by many is that basic information on this is unavailable to most. Our nationwide Diagnostic Abilities are limited, especially in rural areas. Even today there is a lot of stigma and myth associated with this condition.

I was shocked to find that orofacial clefting (a split or opening in the lip and/or roof of the mouth) is not even covered under the Right of Persons with Physical Disabilities Act of 2016. This comes as a shocker when one knows that cleft affects a person’s speaking abilities. In children it makes it difficult for them to take food properly, particularly in the early days of their lives.

The role of non-governmental organisations in the field of prevention of such birth conditions among children ranges from generating awareness to generating the resources to combat them.  You can read more about one such programme that is setting an example for us all here.

To know more do visit :

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https://www.facebook.com/Anamayaindopacific/

A lot of development and growth happens for the baby during your early pregnancy. The process of their development inside you is so complex that it is easy to feel overwhelmed or even scared for the life growing inside you.

While everything is never always in your control; there are many easy steps to take care of yourself and the baby, and the easiest one among them is to speak to your doctor and make sure you take enough folic acid before and during your pregnancy.

Did you find this article useful? Share your thoughts below.

 

Recipe : Broken Wheat (Dalia) Pakoras

Broken Wheat or Daliya is a great ingredient for your kid’s menu. It is easy to cook, packed with proteins, fibre and B-Vitamins along with a generous quantity of other minerals. So, it is more than just the weight loss/diabetes controlling food it is in the adult world; it can be a much loved part of your child’s meal plans that caters to many needs of the growing child.

Common recipes for children that include dalia include:

These are the recipes that are most popular among parents. But what if I told you that there is more that can be done with this amazing grain?

Weekends somehow make my toddler hungrier than usual. We end up breaking our main meals into more mini-meals this time of the week to avoid unhealthy snacking. This weekend, while de-cluttering our kitchen cupboards, my help and I  found 2 extra packets of broken wheat! (yep..not 1 but 2) .. I was feeling super guilty as 1 of those packets was close to expiring and food wastage just doesn’t agree with me.  So I quickly googled some recipes and found this treasure from Archana’s Kitchen  . (click  to view the original recipe that blew our mind away!!) . Unrelated byte: we share our first names!! 

Here is what we actually ended up making based on that recipe:

Ingredients 

  • 500 gms of Dalia
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1/4 of a cup of gram flour
  • 1 tsp jeera powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp carrom seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp asafoetida (optional)
  • salt as per taste
  • oil/ghee for frying

 

Preparation 

  • Wash the dalia generously 3-4 times and keep it aside
  • Finely chop all the vegetables you use
  • Heat oil/ghee in a thick bottomed kadhai/ any deep bottomed pan should do or even a paniyaram appa maker.

 

Method

  • Put the washed dahliya with some salt in a pressure cooker for about 3 whistles
  • Let the pressure escape naturally, check if the water has been used up completely, if not cook for some more time without the cooker’s lid until its mushy and thick in consistency.
  • Transfer the cooked dalia into a big mixing bowl and let it cool.
  • Add the Onions and chillies
  • Mix all the masalas into the gram flour and add that to the dalia mix and stir well. Make sure the resulting batter is thick in consistancy.
  • Make small pakora patties out of the batter and fry them in the oil/ghee until it turns golden brown.
  • Once you drain the excess oil/ghee break the 1st pakora in to 2 pieces to check, the insides will be soft but the outer layers will be crispy.  Once you have an understanding of the cooking time of your dalia mix and the right amount of soft/crisp you want you can plan your frying time and make pakoras in batches of 4.

Notes:

  • If you are shallow frying, make small flattened cutlet like pakoras, they will cook easier and soak less oil.

This is not an everyday food (because of the oil), think of it more like a healthy preservative-free but also filling snack for your littles!

Thank you Archana’s Kitchen for this lovely idea. Hope our readers’ll try this recipe out and don’t forget to let us know if you do!!

 

Regards

A.

 

 

 

8 Stimulating Activities for 3 month Old Babies

There is a lot of information available online about activities and games that you can play with toddlers and pre-schoolers, but what about our tiny learners? Did you know that your little baby’s early development, depends to a great extent on the kind of stimulation they get from their environment.

What all a baby can do by the age of 3 months will deserve a post to itself. There is also a rather wide range of what is normal or acceptable state of development at this stage. Vaguely speaking,  by now, they are on their way to identifyng some people, tracking objects with their eyes, grabbing things and hold them for a while and will now initiate communication with you through coos, gurgles and smiles instead of always waiting for you to make some sound first.

Physically, they will be strengthening their neck and gaining some upper body strength too;that is, they can hold the weight of their chest and neck on their arms when lying on their tummy.

It is also likely that some sort of schedule is in place and you are settling into your new role as a parent, which makes it an ideal time to start making a conscious effort towards the development of your child.

Before we get into our recommended activities for little ones, here is an important insight into the significance of this phase. There is a very interesting theory by renowned child psychiatrist Margaret Mahler on early child development. She notes that the new born child is very detached from the rest of the world and rather self absorbed. In the next stage, the child feels that he/she and the mother are 1 unit. She says that till this stage the baby lives in a shell, with a barrier separating them and their mother from the rest of the world.

It is later around 3-4 months that they start exploring the world around them,  with the mother or primary caregiver as a point of orientation. She calls this phase as ‘hatching’ (to mean hatching out of the shell),  where the baby starts to be more interested in the outside world, and starts to understand/relate to other human connections.  Fascinating, isn’t it?

When we had a 3 months old around, we found that our baby was alert for a longer period of time. So, we always had some activities at hand to make the most out of her time awake.  It began with our obsession to video tape our little one’s waking hours for our family spread across the length of the country. We did different things to make the videos fun to tape and see.

Here are some ideas for you to make the most out of this phase with your little one. 

  1.  Place A toy on Baby’s Chest

Place a small toy that is not too heavy on the baby’s chest. This can hold the baby’s attention for a long time. They will be busy patting, tugging and grabbing at the object you place on their chest. A sensory ball, a soft rattle, plush toy are all good options to try.

kelly-sikkema-711697-unsplash

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

(Note:Expect babies to take the toy to the mouth, this is natural. Do not discourage the baby from doing this. You will just end up putting a lot of effort and never succeed!! Save the energy guys!! Alternatively, focus on keeping the toys clean and free of germs by washing or sterlising often.)

2. Hang some toys from their cribs 

Another way to enhance your child’s early sensory experience would be to hang some toys over their crib, bassinet or just off the back-rest of your bed (if you are co-sleeping)
The muscle movement of reaching out to grab the toys that are hanging, the hand-eye coordination they will need to get to that toy and the love to see colourful bright coloured things are all good for the baby.  A wind-up musical toy, colourful plush toys or a cot mobile would be great to try.

 

3. Tummy Time 

Now is a good time to give your baby some tummy time,  this helps them gain strength in the neck, back and trunk. It also helps with symptoms of gas and bloating in babies. It is also said to help baby through their early milestones like rolling over and crawling. At first this could be a little uneasy for the baby. So we started with tummy time on mommy’s chest first.  When you do give them tummy time in the initial days, you can roll a towel into a bolster and place it under their chest. Once they know what to expect, they get used to it and actually have a ton of fun. Try to keep a small mirror, a musical toy or yourself at their level to make tummy time more fun.

4. Peek-a-boo 

Oldest trick in the box! But, did you know why it is so popular? It teaches children that even when something is not visible, it is still exists. This is called Object Permanence. Get your baby’s attention, then keep your hands on our face, and then bring it down and excitedly say peekaboo! You can put a scarf or dupatta on your baby’s head and then remove it and say ‘there you are’ with just as much excitement.. their reaction to this will surely make this a hit with you!

Image result for peek a boo

image from: bebezclub

5.  Dance and Music 

I used to love dancing in front of our baby when she was tiny.  I would add her names to action songs and just move around. The exercise was good for me and she gave me all sorts of curious expressions. Did you know that one of the 1st words children associate meaning to is their name? Try dancing WITH your littles too. Make sure to not include any jerky movements and to take a break every minute or so, to ensure it is not too much stimulation for the baby.  Just some light moves with the baby in your arms can be fun!

 

6.  Talk to the Baby 

This is the least hyped activity of all. Talk to your baby, keep changing the expressions on your face. At this stage, babies are very curious about faces and different expressions will surely interest them while also motivating them to imitate you. Talk to your little one and wait for them to respond. Try this and see what happens.

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7.  Tracking Objects 

If you move a rattle around, your baby will learn to follow its movement. Start with a sound making toy and then you can try with other quiet but colourful objects too. This is one of the first things they learn and enjoy doing once they settle into their new world.

8. Play Gym

We started using a play gym at this stage. Play Gyms are great for baby’s sensory experience as well as motor skills development.  It also saved us from purchasing more toys as it was an all-in-one ideal  prepared playtime environment for the kiddo.

Depending on your choice, you can choose to buy toys or opt to make them at home. (A post on DIY Toys for babies less than 6 months will be coming up soon). The important bit though, is that you spend quality time with the baby. Planning activities with the little one means that you go beyond placing toys strategically to keep them engaged. You are also letting them benefit from your company and presence.  So, let those chores wait, and prioritise this fun time with the baby.

Try these activities if you have a pair of tiny feet at home, feel free to share your favorite activities from your early days with your child.

 

Eager to hear from you.

MommyM

 

10 Important Parenting Quotes

What does one need motivational quotes for? I used to wonder. But when we became parents…we realised sometimes the written word is all the motivation you can hope to get.

So much of what we understand about our role as parents is borrowed from the brainwork of others, isn’t it? The essence of what they think, can be found in certain ‘quotable quotes’. In an attempt to curate the thoughts that have helped shape our parenting style, we are putting together this post with some easy to understand but deeply meaningful quotes by brainy people.

Dont forget to click on the names of the people who have been quoted if you want to know more about them and the context that they come from!!

At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents. Jane D. Hull

Parents are the bones on which children cut their teeth. Peter Ustinov

At every step the child should be allowed to meet the real experience of life; the thorns should never be plucked from his roses. Ellen Key

Parenting is no sport for perfectionists. Andrew Solomon

All children will do things that you may not want them to. That’s part of parenting. Carl Hart

The uncertainty of parenting can bring up feelings in us that range from frustration to terror. Brene Brown

I love to read books that focus on parenting topics because there are so many different ways to do things. I find these books offer a lot of great opinions on many different subjects. Kourtney Kardashian

There’s nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, in trying to bend every child to match a one-size-fits-all notion of what it means to be a boy or girl of a specific age. Better to set a few parameters and then go with the flow. Call it ‘jazz parenting.’ Ezekiel Emanuel

There’s no one right way to be a person, we’re all just doing our best. So the same thing should apply to parenting and raising your children and the things you go through. Busy Philipps

Parenting is not just about you and your kid; it’s also about whomever you’re parenting your child with. So there is a kind of ‘awareness’ involved for everybody. It’s all about the way you interact with your child and participate in your child’s life. Anna Getty

What are your favorite parenting mantras?