Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Diarrhea is something which drains out all the energy from an individual and more so in an infant. If the kid is passing stool say about 10 times a day in normal regular consistency and color also it is not an issue if it is his/her routine but if suddenly out of the blue there is an increase in frequency, pain with stool, watery/liquidy stool, say around 20 or so at a stretch then it is the cause of concern and the kid needs to be taken to the doctor immediately. I have never had the problem with diarrhea until very recently. When the kiddo started with the problem, my initial reaction was ohh okay she is teething, the gums are hard and that is why.. but then when the frequency increased to alarming proportions to the point where just water was being forced out, I was panicky.

The first thing the hospital staff told me to do was
It is common to have diarrhea while teething dont rush to the hospital until and unless absolutely must.
**Stop giving milk, fruits, juice.
**make the kid drink ORS packs available specially for kids or give a pinch of salt and a palmful of sugar in a glass of boiled and cooled water over a period of time.
**To feed the kid rice, boiled vegetables, etc.
**To give saggubiyyam jaava (sago) prepared in water and sugar.
**To give annam ganji (water while cooking rice), pappu teta (water after boiling daal)
**To give diluted buttermilk in pinch of salt and sugar as mentioned above.
** To basically keep hydrating the kid before I take her to the hospital or before the diarrhea subsides.
**To start with Pedialyte. (my kid was totally adamant about drinking it, so I had to mix formula with that and feed her. :(.)

One very essential thing to keep in mind is hygiene and cleaning up the baby thoroughly and wiping clean and dry immediately. If we are using diapers, we need to keep changing them very often and also apply coconut oil or some cream to avoid rashes. It is very common to have rashes during that period as the skin becomes sensitive. Keep the area dry and the kid comfortable.

If in spite of all these precautions, the problem does not get subsided, only then did the doctor go ahead with medical intervention by prescribing some medicine. It is not advisable to go for medicine just like that for kids and we need to exercise caution before subjecting them to medicines.

The doctor further advised me to go easy on Farex supplement that I was feeding her and asked me to go for Easum which is easily digestible for the tummy.
BRAT diet

B- Banana
R - Rice
A - Apple Sauce
T - Toast Bread

Home Remedies
***Nutmeg paste helps with diarrhea
***raw banana ..
just steam cooked raw banana with a pinch of salt is a very good stool binder
***one or two tea spoons of onion juice[ grated and pressed] works like magic....and avoid giving it to very sall babies...but on older kids and adults it works like magic.
***eat at least half cup of pomegranate seeds along with the white tails...if using for kids give them juice....if the child accepts give plain juice or else add a tsp of sugar. It not only controls motions but also regains taste(which is usually lost during dysentery).

Saggubiyyam jaava
Take sago and soak them for a while, then pour a tumbler full of water and boil them until the sago is totally mashed and in fact dissolves in the mix, add some sugar, cool it and keep giving it when the kid is hungry.

There will also be lack of appetite or maybe a lot of hunger whatever varying from kid to kid, if the kid is insisting on milk only and not eating/drinking any of the above, then instead of the regular milk/formula go for lactose-free stuff. Also, if breast-feeding, the mother should avoid dairy products.

In India, my doc prescribed NuSobee Casein instead of the routine formula.

Also of note,
the problem with diarrhea is that it just not end immediately after it is cured, we need to bring back the kid to normal feeding routine and give back the essential nutrients to the tiny body again before they are absolutely fine and this does not mean that you overfeed them, moderate, clean, and timed nutrition intake is what is needed.

Some kids might not be able to take in normal milk even after they are done with the diarrhea because their body might not be producing enough stuff to absorb the lactose in the milk, so if the kid feels bloated, is gassy, and is fussy after starting back the normal milk, talk to your doctor and if possible stick on to lactose-free milk/formula for a little while after getting back to normal as their little tummies would still be lactose-intolerant.

Also, go a little easy on diary products immediately after the diarrhea bout.

The kid also might not be able to tolerate what she used to tolerate earlier like the same amount of feeds, so start back the normal feedings gradually and do not expect them to eat as they used to earlier to the diarrhea episode and go easy of strong and spicy foods if they are already introduced in the diet.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How Much Is Too Much

I had this problem and maybe a lot of moms have it still too... as to how much should the baby be fed and is the baby getting enough... no matter how much reassurance the doctor, the near and dear would give, a mom would still be worried as to the intake of the baby. If the baby is breast-fed then becomes more concerning 'cos we would not really know the intake. The simple answer is DONT WORRY, THE BABY WILL LET YOU KNOW

***If the baby is sleeping well, being non fussy, getting enough rest, she is feeding fine.
***If the baby is hungry and not getting enough, she will surely let you know bringing the roof down, so do not worry.
***If the baby is sleeping midway through feeding, keep trying after some time when she wakes up.
***If the baby is gaining adequate weight, then there is absolutely no issue at all... (I do not have a digital scale to weigh the baby, so I use mine. Like I take my weight first and then take the weight again with the baby, deduct the previous one and get the rough weight of the kiddo).. we do not know the exact to the point value but it would surely give an idea if is fluctuating too much.

The rough feeding guidelines in the sheet my doc gave me are (alternatively, you will find the nutrition guidelines on the formula pack that you are using for the baby).
0 to 1 week 2 oz --- 7 to 8 times a day.
1 to 2 weeks 3 oz --- 6 to 7 times a day.
3 to 4 weeks 4 oz --- 6 to 7 times a day.
1 to 2 months 5 oz --- 5 to 6 times a day.
2 to 4 months 6 oz --- 5 to 6 times a day.
******* (around 4th month most of us start the baby on solid feeds which means that there is less of drinking milk and some times they might even stop milk completely for a day or two), so we need to ensure that the baby is receiving adequate nutrition in any which way. If the baby is not receiving milk in the day, try feeding her at night or compensate it with mixing the milk in the foods/cereal she is eating, maybe we can give milkshakes/mix fruit pulp with milk, any way to get some milk in :).).
4 to 6 months 7 oz --- 4 to 5 times a day.
7 to 12 months 8 oz -- 4 times.

This should be more than enough and this counting would be easier if the baby is bottle-fed or fed expressed breast milk. However, if the baby is taking more, there is absolutely no issue about it. It depends on the baby's capacity, her metabolism, her body needs and all that. The feed times also might vary.. Initially I was asked to feed the baby every 2 hours or so about an ounce or so as much as she could drink but since the kid was too sleepy, she would drink more at a lengthy interval, which was also fine as per the doctor.

If the baby is not latching and for some reason, we are feeding expressed milk, it should be fine. The color and consistency wary from time to time from watery to white depending on the let down. The initial flow would be watery and then get thicker with the time and as the baby sucks or as we keep expressing. So, even if it is watery and looks pale yellow or watery, there is absolutely no need to worry.

Also, if the baby is drinking more, there is no need to worry about sugar levels, fat levels or anything.. it is just fine. Just imagine if the baby were breastfeeding we would not know how much is being fed, it could be more than we can imagine or want to give. It would depend on the milk letdown and the sucking speed and style of the baby, so there is no way to strictly say okay this is it, we need to stop it here or there is no way to say okay my baby is not taking enough.

Similarly, if the baby is drinking less also, it is not issue of concern as long as she is adequately hydrated, having sufficient wet/dry diapers, and gaining weight.

My baby was mostly bottle-fed, expressed milk fed, and some times she used to latch and basically a half and half breast milk and formula kid, so the only way I could know as to whether she was feeding well was through the number of wet and dry diapers. If the baby is peeing well and pees more than 10 times in a day, then there is no problem. Usually, exclusively breast-fed babies do not have a problem with constipation and it is quite normal to poo with each feed which, I am told by my doctor, is absolutely normal and healthy.

However, the bottle-fed babies are more prone to constipation and pebble-like stool or green colored stool because the formula could be iron-fortified and all that.

When bottle feeding, we need to make sure that each scoop filled is roughly the same amount that is specified for the scoop level.. like for example, I use Farex Infant 2 Formula which says 4.5 g per scoop which needs to be diluted with 1 oz or 30 mL of water. So, if I am preparing the formula, the scoop just needs to be filled and leveled with a knife lightly and should not be stuffed. Over-stuffing the scoop also can be one of the reasons to constipation as the baby is not getting enough of water for the feed.

Net-net, the thing is that there is no specific guide rule that the baby should be fed this much or that much, the baby's body and she herself will give us ample of cues to know that. Ensure that the baby's nutritional needs are met and the only way, we can know it as of now in the newborn stage is the number of diapers and the weight gain.

Dont think too much and enjoy the bonding time!!!

Potty Training

I guess one of the trickiest things in parenting is potty training and may the most toughest too.. since the kids do not have bladder control nor can they let us know when they feel uncomfortable, it is up to us to keep that in mind and take care of them.

There is this question/debate as to when to start the kid on training and I would say the Indian way is the best, as soon as the baby is standing on her feet or able to balance herself on feet when we prop her up.. In my case, 7 months. The baby is sitting up on her own and can stand a little when I give her my hand support. So, I decided to put her to training gradually with tips from my friends. Thank you Jaya, my buddy from office who helps me a great deal in everything I am unsure of... This would work out well for babies in India, am not aware as to how you can put it to practice abroad.

The procedure I am practicing as of now is

***As and when she wakes up, make sure to pick her up and make her stand in the bathroom and then she pees.. :).. sounds simple, but we might need to take some time to sit patiently until she does that, but once she gets in to the habit, it is really easy. So, after each nap and sleep, repeat the same. Maybe some prompting like making sounds like iiissss would be given as a cue and taking that cue, they would just pee.

***Similarly, by around 6 to 7 months, we would be aware of the time pattern of poop and make them sit on the trainer. Like say early morning after waking up is the time or say after each feed or twice a day or after a large meal (whatever it be, depending on the kid), then prop her up in the trainer and keep talking to her or playing with her on the trainer. It might take some time but eventually they would find it comfortable and it becomes a routine. Seems to be painstaking at the outset but if we start early, we would be like saving ourselves a lot of headache later on. But make sure that the kid is sitting up, balancing herself completely on her own before we head to this potty training.

***Also, if we closely observe the kid's face during poop times, there would be some change like maybe staring into space, making faces with irritation, making sounds (mukkadam) or maybe just fidgeting uncomfortably.. some cue or the other would be given if you just observe the kid closely, we can be aware of the facial feelings/moans etc and then set about bringing out the trainer initially.

Accidents do happen like they might have a sudden urge and all but by and large, regulating and establishing a routine earlier on saves us a lot of training tension later on.

The types of trainers are showing in the picture above.. one is sitting upright like in a chair and the other is sitting on the piggy back, we can choose whatever is comfortable for the baby.

I personally prefer the chair-like one as it has an engaging game rod to keep her from getting up as well as good support to sit when we are waiting for it to happen :). Also, the detachable bowl with a lid is very easy to clean up rather than the piggy back style which needs complete cleaning. Since it takes a lot of time initially to get used to, keeping them sitting in piggy back style wouldnt just work :(( as the kid just wants to get up, roll over, or play games out of boredom.

The chair-like trainer costs about 200 to 250 rs/-, is made of plastic which is easy on the baby's bottom as well as easy to wash and clean, is strong to carry up to 15 kgs (say around 2-year-olds can also use it).

Tip: Just pour a little water in the bottom vessel so that is easier to clean and flush..

Good luck and happy training!!!!

by the way, the problem with my method currently is... the kid pees whenever propped up with hands under her shoulders without any motivation ;), hope this is just the starting trouble.

Edited to Add:

Courtesy: Lavanya.

The model above is easy to clean and more specifically useful for boys as it has a cup - Pee deflector.

In this process of potty training however the baby needs to undergo a 2-step transition, like learn it once in the trainer and then in the actual commode/Indian Style whatever. Especially if the training is started after the baby is walking around or sitting up on her/his own, it would be a great idea to use this one.

However, if it is early training session like mine, the trainer is the best, considering the kid is just about learning to sit or stand. An adult commode certainly is not a good idea 'cos a moment of distraction/lapse could mean a fall from height on a hard floor.

PS:- However, the downside to early training is that as the kid grows and starts walking around and learning stuff, he might just forget it.. so make sure that you do not take a break from these habits.. like using the potty regularly no matter what even if the kid is sick.. just do not give him/her a one off chance, if he/she gets used to doing it anywhere, it is really tough to get it back on track.

Reflux vs Spit-up vs Vomiting

Mild reflux (bringing back milk up after ingesting/drinking the milk), I am told by my physician, is very common in newborns and infants. If the baby is spitting up just a little at the time of burping it is absolutely fine, she is just bringing up the excess milk that has not reached her digestive track and that is perfectly alright and in fact that is the reason you burp your kid, to remove the excess gas/air bubbles ingested during the feeding either by breast or by bottle. It usually sets itself right by the time the baby is 3 to 6 months of age and would slowly fall in place. He also told me that spitting up about 10% of what is ingested on an average is not an issue of concern at all. Sreya used to throw up through her nose and mouth at times while feeding and as a new mom throwing up through nose was the most terrible thing to witness, not knowing what to do, what would happen and seeing helplessly as the baby is near-choking, in tears, and crying. But if you are alone at that time, crying with the baby wont work and we need to be more practical, so just get a grip on yourself and burp the kid definitely each and every time after a feed, even if it is taking a lot of time, trying various methods, get the kid burped. It would help if we burp the kid in between the feed and burp after completing as well if the baby is good at feeding.

Throwing up a little, might also mean that the baby is being overfed and during the burping the baby is bringing up the excess feed, so not an issue of concern.

If the baby is bottle-fed, make sure the bottle is sterilized and the bottle as well as the nipple are clean and sterile, ensure the feeds are prepared hygienically, warm water, clean hands, clean scoop, clean bottle and nipple along with a clean burp cloth. If possible, do not reuse the same burp cloth for the next feed.

Also, keep the baby' s head elevated all the time while sleeping.. this is very essential and my doc always insisted on elevation all the time to keep away from reflux and touchwood, it might have worked 'cos luckily as an infant Sreya never had serious reflux issues.

In spite of all this, if the kid is throwing up violently, mind you not spitting up but throwing up, like a projectile vomit, say up to about a foot or more, then it is of concern and can be called reflux and let the doctor know and get the kid on medication if need be.

If the kid is bottle-fed, maybe changing the formula would work if we notice excessive throwing up than normal, but do this after consulting the physician.

If breast-fed, then the mother avoiding the dairy products during feeding period might be of great help, check it out before trying anything else.

So, in short the symptoms can be varying from moderate to severe degree of
  • spitting up
  • throwing up violently in a projectile manner up to about a distance of about a feet or more.
  • coughing up during feeds
  • poor feeding habits
  • blood in the stools
  • mucousy vomit
  • irritability and fussiness throughout the feeding and even after wards...
If the above symptoms are noticed after every feed, then it is a concern, rest is all normal.. so please do not worry first-time moms and spare yourself the tension..

Happy feeding!!!

A tip by Padma
try tummy time for 5 mins after each feeding apart from burping, it helps. But be sure you are there to monitor when the baby is on tummy. 5 weeks ee kada chala chinnadi.. so oka vela moham meda padina... roll over to her back

Washing Baby Car Seat

Normal cleaning agent mixed with water in a bucket. Take a cloth and dip in the water solution and rub it on the car seat or soak a sponge in the water and clean the surface. dry in the sun.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Toy Ideas

The train, top, rattles, and the nested toys..

I used to love my childhood toys, the lakka pidatalu I used to call them, the cooking set, the touch of color. Those were the toys from Etikoppaka. A wonderful place. I once heard about an organization which collects unused or used and stored-away toys for children in orphanages, slums, etc. and felt okay, why do we need to do that.. why dont we gather books, clothes, or money and get them educated. How wrong was I ? When I see the glow in my daughter's eyes when she sees or plays with a toy, when I see the school kids come play with my daughter wholeheartedly with her toys and feel really really grateful for that, I realize why. That is CHILDHOOD, the joy, the unadulterated happiness that comes with small pleasures, toys, that is... I have decided that I would go ahead and give away all the kid's toys once she grows up keeping just a couple of them for keepsake.

Toy selection is a huge task, but the traditional wooden toys made out of non-toxic tree dyes, and vegetable dyes are the ones that I prefer for the kiddo apart from the whole range of educational toys from Fisher-Price or Funskool.

On one hand, it would be like encouraging the handicrafts of India and on the other, it is good for her to chew on or play with which she does most of the times and yeah they are washable too..

I got her first rattle from Kalanjali, a bit too expensive is what I felt later on when I got the same from the local exhibition the other day for another kid... the rattle that cost me 150 at Kalanjali, cost me just 25 in the exhibition. Was there any difference, minimal if any. So, I would say, do visit those handicraft exhibitions and help the craftsman rather than feed the already rich mall owners.

Also, I personally prefer wooden/cloth toys rather than the plastic ones.. green parenting :).. but you can ask me what is green about cutting down the trees and making them into toys... point!! BUT I would rather have my kid lick/suck/bite on non-toxic dye toys than the plastic ones, which can cause lead poisoning or something like that.

The nested Indian dolls... the set of 6 nested in each other, love this one..

I remember playing with mud, sand, pebbles when I was a kid storing them in each doll :). However, for the LO I take out the last 3 and give the remaining set, 'cos I am a little scared she might choke on them. It is very much affordable too 150/- I would say is a steal for the amount of work put in for this one... and yes, the train cost me 180/-, the long rattle 25/-, and the round rattle was from Kalaanjali that cost me 150/-... and guess what the tiny toy in the first pic is, it is a top :) at 10/-. How lucky LO is, I remember the days when I used to make a top or get one made by my granny used black clay and a broom stick stem (cheepuru pulla).. but yeah, the joy of a hand-made top is altogether different :).

PS: Originally posted in my personal blog, I paste it here 'cos it might be a reference material :).

Stuff given in US hospitals...

Ikkada US lo most of the hospitals lo below things free gaa istharu. But you need to ask them before leaving hospital after delivery.

Receiving blankets
Nipple shield
Overnight-extra heavy pads and panties (ask for extra)
Douche( sitz bath over the bowel)
Spray bottle
baby nose bulb
diaper bag
extra diapers and wipes for baby
Baby Thermometer
dress for baby
baby heal cream after blood drawn
manual breast pump

0.5% Hyrdocortisone cream or lanolin nipple cream
Applying the above cream from around 1-month before delivery supposedly lessens nipple soreness after delivery...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Baby-Mom Bag To Carry On an Outing

The Contents of my diaper bag when going out..

Diapers: Carry at least one for an hour or more depending on the time you are going to stay out. Personally suggest carry more than needed in case of emergencies.

Nappy Changing Pad:
This is very useful to avoid slipups during diaper change and also on unclean surfaces.

Very helpful to clean up the baby when changing the diapers.. not just the baby wipes, if you can keep disinfectant wipes for yourself, in a small travel pack, it would be great.

Burp clothes/bibs/clean cotton clothes -- To wipe the baby's face and mouth when feeding.

A change of dress for the baby.. In fact, a couple or more dresses would be best.

If in winter, keep a sweater, muffler/cap, socks, mittens hand in case you might stay back a little late in the evening.

If the baby is bottle feeding, then carry enough bottles and formula/milk sufficient for the feeds.. Also, a flask full of warm water just about right temperature to use for mixing the formula.
-- Clean the bottles immediately after the feed, if possible with warm/hot water so that you can re-use in case you stay longer than expected.

If the baby is on solids -- small containers to carry the food, the bowl, spoon, glass, or sipper.

Water bottle -- boiled and cooled drinking water or mineral water/nursery water whatever you use for the baby.

Pacifier if the baby uses one.

The baby's pediatrician's number, medical record book ( if in India), a phone book with all the numbers handy or a mobile with the numbers stored.

Do not forget to carry at least a couple of toys, a comfort object like a blanket or whatever.. and also keep something to keep the kid occupied like a book to read, a soother to chew on.. :).

A small blanket/throw/rug --
for the times when you want to put the child on ground to play.

A change of dress for you. -- In case the baby spits on you or vomits.

Also, keep a few plastic covers/an extra bag to carry the soiled/used clothes.

Mosquito Protection For Infants

For Indian kids especially kids growing up in villages, mosquitoes are a part and parcel of life. Especially in the times of harvesting and all, all the mosquitoes in the farms and fields land up in our houses come evening, actually the menace would be there whole day around.. so we just need to close all the doors and windows or at least the mesh doors/windows to curb their entry into the house. I personally use sambarni poga in the house in the evening. In spite of taking a lot of care, some clever ones manage to settle inside, so for those these days we have mosquito bats, I use All-Out liquid, take out all the lights in the house, put on all the fans, put saambrani poga and after 5 minutes open all the doors, switch on the lights outside in the varendah and in the yard... believe me, all the mosquitoes will vanish within 15 minutes.. then close the doors and enjoy a mosquito free night.

Phew.. there are certain creams like odomos and all available in the Indian market but my doctor and I personally am against it cos the tends to put hands legs and whatever they can into their mouths, so there is a lot bigger problem than mosquitoes.. the toxic ointment ingestion :(. The best advise is put them in full sleeves, long pants, socks, monkey caps if it is winter and put them in mosquito nets... doma teralu in telugu...

I personally avoid Jet coils as well because I kind of choke on the fumes from the coil, so don't want the kid to be exposed either..

However, for kids from US who have never been exposed to a mosquitoes ever, first visit to India during this mosquito season might be a problem... so here go suggestions from a few moms..

The mosquito repellent 's name is "NATRAPEL". It can be found in TOYSRUS or BABIESRUS. In all the other stores it can be found only in summer.

Any other insect repellent can also be used like "OFF" and "CUTTER". But dont spray it on the baby's or the kid's body directly, instead spray it on the baby's clothes and so it everytime you change the clothes.

Milk - Calcium Requirement in Kids


Toddlers should have 500 milligrams of calcium a day. This requirement is easily met if your child gets the recommended two servings of dairy foods every day. An important part of a toddler’s diet, milk provides calcium and vitamin D to help build strong bones. Children under age 2 should have whole milk to help provide the dietary fats they need for normal growth and brain development. After age 2, most kids can switch to low-fat or non-fat milk, although you should discuss this decision with your child’s doctor.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thumb Sucking

Is thumb sucking common in infants...

Seems to be so. Even Sreya tried it initially.. in fact started out with the whole fist, then each finger and finally the thumb but thankfully nothing more than a couple of days or more than a week.. My brother had this thumb sucking and I still remember my mom being fed up with trying to get him to stop doing that just burnt his finger with a burnt spoon :((((... vaata pettesindi. Did he stop?? Yes, he did but in sleep, with the blanket covered from top to toe, he still used to put the thumb in the mouth until he was more than 12 years old or so. So, I had kind of panicked when Sreya started doing so.

People used to say thumb sucking would lead to bad teeth, elevated teeth (ettu pallu), etc., but his teeth are just fine and poor me had to get braces because there were lots of gaps in the teeth. :). He He, there I digress again.

So, a recent discussion in the forum and the discussion with my doctor lead to the following findings.

Infants, really really young say 2 or 3 months old or so start thumb sucking and that is perfectly fine. Usually, they let go off it when they are rolling over, crawling and walking. It is a cause of concern only if they are continuing it after say about 10 months or so.

My doctor told me that it might be a sign of insecurity or because of too many changes all of a sudden and all that, but my kid had started at an age when she could possible know nothing about her surroundings other than her milk bottle or me. So, the question of insecurity is ruled out and what I did was pull it out immediately and engage her alternatively and thank fully it did work. But the doctor asked me not overdo the pulling out stuff as that might lead to an adamant streak in them.. just try to take it out and if you notice that they are doing it just to be sure their point wins, give it up and try something else.

So, moms dont worry if they start this young, just dont get worked up, but discourage doing that as much as possible. It might just be one of their new games of the week or the fortnight and they will just give it up as they had started. If they still do suck after numerous attempts, don't panic until they are walking or crawling.. I guess maybe once they do that they would automatically give it up in search of new explorations. Check out if it is hunger that is making them do it, see to it that they are adequately fed. If he/she is doing it to seek comfort and missing you from your sudden disappearances or so. Or just doing it to explore his/her body. if none of these, just maybe boredom is what is prompting them to do that right now ;) and they would gradually stop it out of their own volition.

Keep a watch but don't get way too panicked!!

Indian Store-Bought Diaper Review

We need to buy only a small pack of each brand to check out the fit, fabric, and elastic of that particular brand to the infant.

The diapers are available depending on the weight of the baby, so check it out and buy what is needed. Usually the weight and frame of the body are both proportionate so they would usually fit. We need to ensure that they are not too tight or not too loose. Tight is not good for skin, loose means leaks which defies the purpose of diapers in the first place.

After snapping the diaper on, put a finger near the leg folds and feel if the baby is uncomfortable and if it is snugly fit.

Each brand also has types of diapers again.. like Huggies Care, Huggies Dry, Huggies Ultra, etc.. depending on the number of wettings each diaper would support, like 4 wettings, 6 wettings, 8 wettings, with rough calculation of around 40 mL for each wetting. The price also varies with the wetting-support capacity.

I personally prefer 4 wetting and frequent changing of diapers because with each wetting a gel would form and the weight of it increases, the diaper bulges with each wetting, and it is not good that the kid remains in it for so long.. rather than going for costly long-lasting diaper, i would go for cheaper less wetting diapers and change frequently.

The brands I have tried so far are Huggies, Pampers, and Wipro Baby Soft both Indian made and from Dubai.

Huggies and Pampers is a good fit for my baby who is of tiny frame.. she is a long and lean baby.

Wipro baby soft is a real cloth-feel diaper of the three above but I am not satisfied with the fit, so that leaves me with pampers and Huggies.. I am not comfortable with pampers elastic lining which kind of presses on the baby's skin, so I am making do with Huggies. With growing sizes, I vary my diaper choices too.. So, check out and see what is good for your baby's skin and comfort and of course yours too.

Good luck!!

Nappies to Chaddies to Diapers

As a newborn, in the initial days of life, kids tend to pass stools which are dark and tarry and sticky frequently, possibly with every feed or even more and struggle to pass the stool or pass the urine as the canals are not yet strong enough, so straining with toilet and stool is not a problem if it is not really high in magnitude.

In fact, the number of wet and dry diapers is also an indication as to whether the baby is feeding alright and enough and hydrated enough. So, I personally used to keep a log of stool and toilet frequency along with feeds and spit-ups/vomitings if any. Since I was taking care of the baby kind of all alone right from the birth, keeping a tab of it all would make me understand the routine and establish a pattern as to feeding and all and any minor change in it would ring up alarm bells and I used to ensure everything was alright. Back then people around me in the village used to make fun of me, call me military general and the effort of a log a futile one but honestly to each his own. I personally found it useful. I knew exactly how many times my baby would pass stool along with its color and consistency, how many times she would pee with its color and quantity, how many times and what quantities she was fed, what amount did she spit up. Believe me, it helped me a great deal and gradually I won confidence that OHKAY I can manage the baby well... anyways, I digress.. back to the point of the post.

Prior to the birth I had collected a lot of old used very soft cotton sarees from elders in the family, my late grandfather's panchelu came in really handy, and got some langotis stitched by my aunty with soft cloth, some store-bought cloth langotis, Velcro langotis, washed them really well, dried in hot sun, neatly folded and kept for future use.

Initially, I used to throw away the cloth langotis after each use for a couple of days, then from 4th day of life onwards, I used to get them washed and recycle them. The hospital staff were strictly against the use of store-bought diapers in the newborn asking us not to use in the hospital and if need be and personal choice be, use at home. The explanation given to me was that they do not want the newborn skin exposed to diaper material and all that which was fine with me.

So, LO has never used diapers in the first 2 months of life. Even the doctor visit was with cloth nappies and a holding sheet in lots of clothes.

She used to wake up after peeing and move a little or utter a moan and go back to sleep, I would get up and clean her up and change the cloth.

From 3rd month, I used to use diapers for doctor visits and on nights when she was fussy during the day and I felt that she needed complete break-less sleep like the days of vaccination, etc.

It was easy up to that point, because the kid hardly used to move from her place but as time passes and the kid rolls over the area of movement is high and a lot more things in periphery would get wet, her blankets, my blanket, bed sheet, pillows, my clothes, her clothes and what not, even the toys on the bedside, so then came the time and an urgent need to use diapers at night.

After 3 months of life, I bought a couple of dozens of underwear/cotton knickers for her and used instead of langotis at a price of around 100 to 110 rs/- per dozen. I would suggest 2 dozens or more because you need more than a dozen in a day and there are days when the previous days chaddies are not yet dry :(.

After she has completed 6 months of life, now I use diapers at night, put her in one after her late-night feed and take it out after she wakes up in the morning.

This in one tiny way, would be my contribution to green parenting... but of course it is possible only because of the place and the help system that I happen to get here in the village.

As a newborn kid tends to pee and poop round-the-clock but once there is a routine set in the initial couple of months or so, or at the max by 3 to 4 months, the poop sessions during the night will be stopped, so then we can move from nappies to diapers for whole night. Diapers are made to absorb wetness, so no issues with water/pee but poop is definitely uncomfortable.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Diaper Days

The type of cloth diapers that I prefer, the ones with Velcro rather than the one with tie-on threads.. the first variety is complete cloth.. and the second is the type with polythene lining where we insert a cloth sheet in the loop and keep changing just the sheet..

It has been my conscious decision to use cloth diapers rather than the store-bought ones which are easy to manage but costly for the purse. Seriously, what made me go for the diapers, the price, the green parenting, what??? I must say both but to be honest, initially it was 50-50 but as time passed it came on to 75-25. For me, it was/is/will be like money going down the drain.. err.. piss and poop.

If we stay abroad where it is very cold, no place to dry the diapers, no place to store the stinking ones before cleaning, or no help to do the cleaning stuff and all, there is NO CHOICE. We have to go with the diapers but here, the place where I live, the village has ample of help in that aspect. The washerwoman, yeah we still have the concept in our village and her family has been doing it for us from generations and this is the last generation into the washing occupation, does all the washing, drying, and folding stuff which relieves me of a huge load. How can even begin to thank her and would remain deeply indebted for all that she does. Yes, I pay her but no I cant actually pay her enough for all that she does.

Up to the age of 6 months, I must say I have used just about 6 diapers that too for the doctor visit and nothing else.. it is always the cloth diapers, home-stitched langotis, store-bought langotis, and now chaddis or the knickers.

First 3 to 4 months was a cakewalk with help, frequency was more but the smell wasnt there but as and when she was introduced to solids, the stink factor came in.

I just have separate buckets for each type of cloth.. the toilet clothes, the potty clothes, the bibs and cloths to clean her mouth and body, the chaddis and finally the dresses she had to change during the day. I throw them all in their designated locations. Early in the morning, I soak them all in their own buckets with detergent and around 9 to 10 a.m., the lady washes them dries them under hot sun and in the evening she comes, folds them and arranges them in the racks separately. THANK YOU MA'M.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Vaccination and Fever

When the vaccine is administered, either due to the process of immunization or due to the pain of the needle prick, the kid might develop mild to moderate degree of fever which is very natural. There is a popular myth that one should get fever in order for the vaccine to be effective. No, it is absolutely fine even if the kid does not have fever and it is also absolutely fine if the kid has low-grade fever. Just ensure that you monitor the baby for fever or any signs of pain all the time. A fever below 100 is normal. However if is consistently above 100 not dropping even with wet-cloth wipes, then better consult the doctor.

Administer Calpol/Tylenol (check about the latest recall before you administer) drops immediately after the vaccine.. yes, they are the fever drops but also used for pain control. If the child still suffers from fever despite of giving Calpol drops 3 times a day, wet-cloth wipes, etc. then it is a case of concern.

One of the main reasons to ensure fever control with or without vaccination is that some kids tend to develop high temperatures and in extremely rare cases it might give way to febrile seizures.. so fever control in a kid is absolutely must. It is easy to control, but once it goes out of hand, then starts aggressive medical intervention. So, better be safe than sorry.

Also, once the vaccine is administered ensure that you keep holding the needle-pricked area for a while and then rub it mildly thereafter. Also, keep checking if there is swelling or redness in that area and if the swelling continues, do hot-water compresses.. if the redness and swelling persists beyond a couple of days and the kid is in very severe pain, just call the doctor or take the kid. However, simple and constant care and monitoring will not let things go far, so be alert and cautious the day of vaccine administration and keep a watchful eye.

It is advised not to give the kid anything including water or milk for 30 minutes to an hour after the vaccine, so better ensure that the kid is well-fed, non fussy by the time of the appointment. Do not overdo with giving fever drops/syrup until it is an absolute must. If it is just a low-grade fever of say 99, see if it still persists after a nap or some time and only then go for the medicine.

Usually for the first vaccine the kid might just cry a little while at the time of the prick but just forget it later on, it is only at the later stages when they realize pain that they tend to cry for a longer time. My personal experience says that first time the parents cry more than the kid and from the next on both of them get used to it :).

Good luck and yeah, the moms/dads out there do not cry, easy to say.. i did cry and the doctor still jokes that I had flooded his office on Sreya's first vaccination :). dont wince, dont cry, just take care of the baby. :).


Polio -- this is the one word which kind of changed the dimension of my life. Born a healthy child and supposedly infected by it after being administered the drops at the age of 6 months, the trauma I had to go through to get my kid immunized with it is unspeakable and cannot be expressed.

Though, the final report is that my leg problem is not polio, it is the muscle wastage because of some nerve damage due to incorrect needle prick rather than anything.. the term still scares the hell out of me... limping for life, termed handicapped by many, looked down upon unnecessarily, it is the one word that kind of describes my existence, survival or whatever.

So, when it was time for Sreya to be put through this ordeal, one can only imagine as to what all the thought process went into it... so, the doctor seeing me scared the hell out of my wits gave me whole lot of reassurance and helped me out in a lot of ways treating and preparing me mentally before treating Sreya for which I would be eternally thankful to him. He assured me that it was not VAPP (vaccine-associated poliomyelitis paralysis) that I have and however, he suggested me an option for my fear, IPV, God-send for the paranoid me.

Eradicating that very deadly polio is very very important for our future generations and in almost all the developing countries OPV (oral polio vaccine) is widely distributed and administered free of cost and it is ensured that the message is reached far and wide and every single kid benefits from this. However, IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) is something like a dead-virus vaccine in layman terms which eliminates even the remotest possibility of VAPP... How???

How does a vaccine work.. in layman terminology is an effective method of containing infectious diseases.. the bug (bacteria/virus) either killed or inactivated in the form of vaccine is introduced into the body and the body cells fight against it and develop an immunity towards that particular agent (as far as I can gather). So, in very remote cases, there is a possibility that the induced bug acts up and the vaccine becomes the source of infection, very very very minimal, but still there is a possibility. IPV is thus an inactivated form of the vaccine which contains all the three serum types of the vaccine which eliminates even that remotest possibility.

Then, how come it is not available to all the people.. because of the incremental cost of producing the vaccine. OPV is easy to administer, even a layman can do that, just giving the drops and like they say something is better than nothing and since polio is almost eradicated, it is just a post-eradication measure, the mass polio vaccination, that is. It is also believed my some people that once complete eradication of the disease is declared OPV may be the only mode of acquiring the disease (an assumption at this point). So, IPV at any rate is better than OPV.

However, there is something called secondary immunization following exposure to the same or closely related say, we exposed the kid to polio vaccine and then we need follow that exposure with secondary immunization just to be sure. So, my pediatrician says it is always a good idea to take the kid to OPV camps when they are announced just to ensure the secondary immunization.

I did extensive reading on this, brain-picked my pediatrician and finally went ahead with IPV.. a simple choice for many parents but a crucial one just for me because of my problem.

So, done with IPV for the kid, I would just follow it through with OPV at the designated time at a designated place.

Good luck with vaccines guys!!!

For more reading on the same..

check the link.

Vaccination Schedule -- India.

At Birth
BCG -- This vaccine site should bulge or come up as a mark within a month of its administration, the typical teeka maccha for Indian kids. We need to inform the doctor if the site does not show any change after a month or so.
OPV0 -- oral polio vaccine
Hepatitis B1

(got it done 3rd day of life)

6 Weeks
Hepatitis B2

(Got the combo vaccine Pentaxim which was supposedly the fever-less vaccine with IPV HIB, TT and all put together for 5 diseases -- It was purely personal choice, please follow your doctor's advise).. so it was just 2 needle pricks for her, instead of 4 or 3 on both the thighs.


10 Weeks

(Got the combo vaccine Pentaxim which was supposedly the fever-less vaccine with IPV HIB, TT and all put together for 5 diseases -- It was purely personal choice, please follow your doctor's advise).. so it was just 1 needle prick for her, instead of 3 on both the thighs..

14 Weeks

Hepatitis B3
(Got the combo vaccine Pentaxim which was supposedly the fever-less vaccine with IPV HIB, TT and all put together for 5 diseases -- It was purely personal choice, please follow your doctor's advise).. so it was just 2 needle pricks for her, instead of 4 or 3 on both the thighs.

9 Months

1 Year
Chicken Pox
Hepatitis A first dose (optional).

15-18 Months
DPT wB1/DPT aB1 (booster dose)
HIB B1 (booster dose)
MMR -- Measels/mumps/rubella
Hepatitis A 2nd dose (optional)

2 years
Typhoid 1st dose

5 years
Typhoid 2nd dose

10 Years
TT 3rd Booster

15 Years

TT 4th Booster

Also, there are some optional vaccines
ROTARIX between 2 to 6 months... 2 doses (liquid drops). Got this done.
Varicella vaccine -- less than 15 months of age
Hepatitis A
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine -- greater than 6 months of age.
Prevenar -- consult doctor for dosages

Different doctors have different approaches and treatment, so consult and discuss with your pediatrician and get his/her opinion before going ahead with any choice. Some conservative physicians do not prefer the combination vaccines and some do not inform all the parents because of the price factor as they are slightly on the expensive side for the fear of an allegation of minting money and let us know only if we can afford it.

Combination or single, all of them have the same effect.. claiming fever-less and painless and all is secondary, the fact is that the child gets immunized properly.

First Aid Box and Emergency Meds -- India

Back in India, we get medicines in the medical hall as and when we want to just by showing the prescription or even over-the-counter.. no specific restrictions.

The number of drops to be given and the brand name given varies from doctor to doctor. The number of drops to be administered is critical and varies from kid to kid based on the kid's weight, so just make sure you get yourself updated with the doctor as to how much of what drug should be administered.


So, I would list out the contents of Sreya's medicine kit..
  1. Cotton.
  2. Vicks VapoRub (when the kid is a little older say 3 months or so)
  3. Vaseline (in case of constipation/touch the tip of an earbud with vaseline and insert in the bottom when the baby is struggling to pass the stool). DO NOT OVERDO THIS.
  4. Fever/pain drops.
  5. Saline nasal drops for cold.
  6. Drops for Cough -- if the cough persists, we need to see the doctor immediately to be treated with antibiotics, so better be very cautious not to expose them to cough and cold.
  7. Drops for Vomiting -- slight spitting is normal, spit while burping is normal.. if they vomit more than 10% of what is fed to them continuously, then we need to inform the doctor.
  8. Drops for diarrhea -- it is normal to pass stool after each feed especially when breast-feeding and so do not worry about the number of times unless it is really really watery and way too many times.
  9. Oral rehydration salts in case of excess vomiting/diarrhea.
  10. Drops for Tummy ache/colic -- if the baby folds her legs, stiffens the body in pain, or winces in pain when the tummy is touched it is stomach pain.
  11. Drops for earache.
  12. Drops for eyes -- when the eyes are tearing and crusting, clean the eyes with cotton balls dipped in clean drinking water very gently and mildly.
  13. Syrup for constipation/tight stool -- It is normal for kids not to poop for more than a day, so no worries if it doesnt happen every single day and the baby has no crankiness or hard tummy.. in fact, my doc says it is okay up to 3 days to go without stool and only then it is a problem. So, if it goes beyond that or if the baby is really straining hard and unable to bring out the stool, then go for these drops.
  14. Fudic cream -- When Sreya had some skin tear at the ear because of her ear rings, the doctor suggested this. She asked to avoid powder like Nebasulf because it tends to form a layer and tighten on the skin and tough to get it out and that creams are a better option for infant.. external application only.
  15. Earbuds -- only for external clearing of the ear.. never inside the canal.
I also have Zinda Tilismat which is a Unani medicine to apply on her chest and back and the nose if she has cold which works wonders.. I personally take it internally as well but for Sreya, strictly topical application.

Some doctors also give vitamin drops..
My doc gave me Zincovit and Sunzyme, the digestive enzyme drops.
Iron drops can be done away with because the kids can have severe constipation issues with them unless absolutely necessary and doctor says it is a must.