Monday, March 22, 2010

Preparing Ragi Powder at Home

We get readymade powders available in the market but for the ones like me who want to get it done by hand or have ample of time to do it.. the procedure is

**Take Ragi/Millets.
**Soak them in water in the morning.
**By night drain all the water and put them in a cotton cloth and tie a knot.
**Early next morning when they have sprouted, dry them.. not under direct sun though.
Do not let it excess sprout, around 9 a.m. in the night to next morning around 8 should be fine.
**Since it is not sun dried, the drying procedure takes around 3 to 4 days.
**When the sprouted ragi is totally dry without any moisture.
**Make it into a powder and sieve it and store it in an airtight container.
**Do not use wet spoons to remove the contents.

Ting Tong.. Home-made Raagi powder ready

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tonsils in Kids -- Dr. Sanjay

• Tonsils are part of immune system of body. There are three sets of tonsils in the back of mouth; adenoids are also one of them.
• The main functions of these tonsils are like an army soldier, whenever anything unhygienic comes into the mouth, they fight with that first. While doing this, i.e. trying to prevent infection, they them self get injured i.e. they get infected and enlarged. So, by suffering them self, they prevent the infection to spread to rest of body.
• These tonsils grow until puberty (10-12 years), than begins to shrink in the following years. These tonsils are very important as a protective mechanism for children, because they are more likely to eat things which are unhygienic. After 12 years, they regress because our other immune mechanisms become more active to prevent infections.

You will be surprised to know, if they are so protective, why we need to remove them. Yes, sometimes we need to remove them, mainly because of mechanical problems which occur because of their enlargement. So there are 2 clear cut indications for its removal before 12 years:
I) When tonsils are enlarged so much that they obstruct breathing and swallowing both.
II) When throat infections are sooo much that these enlarged tonsils them self are posing risk for more infections (in such cases removal of these tonsils may be help full).
So, tonsillectomy will be advisable in a child who:
-- have developed at least 7 “significant” episodes of throat infection in 1 year.
-- Or atleast 5 “significant” infections every year from last 2 years.
-- Or atleast 3 “significant” infections every year from last 3 years.
Significant infection means : associated with high grade fever every time, with enlarged lymph nodes in throat, tonsils coved with pus like coating called exudates every time.

Every child who meets these criteria also need not go for surgery. Many children will improve spontaneously without surgery sooner or later. So, the decision about surgery should be individualized.
Recent evidence also suggests, that those children who are not frequently having significant tonsillitis if undergoes surgery, it won’t help in reducing chances of throat infection. So, surgery should be done only in those cases, where things are really worse.
So, prevention of throat infection in this age is more important.

(Infection may be contacted from persons, who are infected. If you find someone infected, keep distance from him/her and take precautions to avoid infection. Pollution and crowded places again increases risk of infection)
(Includes two major diets, 2 times milk, one fruit a day)
(Cos these organism multiply very fast when cold temp, so it will worsen the situation)

1. No scientific evidence to suggest that curd or fruits like mausambi increase risk of tonsillitis (Infect fruits contain good amount of Vit C, which is needed for good immunity)
2. Fruits as such are better than juices, cos they contain lot of fibres, which are good.
3. Chocolates, nuts, cream biscuits can’t cause infection, why we avoid them, cos, when children eat them often they get contaminated, and by contamination risk of infection increases.
Hope many things are clarified.

Preventing Cough and Cold it Toddlers and pre-school kids

Let me try to share my thoughts/ observations/ experience with you which I have faced with my son (who is now 3 1/2 years old) since last 1 1/ 2 years that he started going to Pre-school.

First thing - you may want to check the hygiene factors at the school.

How far they are following it in terms of checking the kids - and if any infections they have before entering to the school / class.

If there is not much cold/ cough/ running nose for the other kids, their parents might not be having any other option expect sending them to the school; in these cases, the school must allow them and to play separately. This rarely happens anywhere.

And, the other points like, how the teachers/ care takers are taking care of the (Sick) kids when they have cold or cough. They are suppose to either wear gloves when they touch them / or wash their hands immediately. So, the spread of the cold and cough would be less.

At the same time, even the kids can be given mask to wear as to prevent the spread of the cold among other kids. (here, if the kids are very small, it's going to be tough time for the kids /for the care takers too to keep the mask on always :-P)

In addition, you may want to check with the school as what kind of drinking water is given and about the food given to your kid. (If he is taking school food). Some foods/ or cold / chilled drinks might cause cold or cough to the kids if taken on regular basis.

Please don't forget to even check the washrooms and the cleanliness maintained there. It does matter a lot.

Is the school/ class is closed and with full Aircon. If so, is it split A/c or central A/c. How much is the room temperature is maintained. Please check.

Yes - I was told by my Paed that pre-school and child care going kids do get these kind of episodes (cold / cough/ running nose / fever / soar throat/phlegm) 12-15 times in a year. Most of the times, it would be because of some viral infection; which would go between 5-7 days.

Assuming that your kid's weight and height and other growth factors are normal as per the age, then try to re-visit his diet which you give him at home.

You can include the following.
Citrus fruits
Vitamin C Syrup
Seeds (Pumpkin etc., )

Avoid giving him chilled drinks / foods WHEN he is having any signs of cold/ soar throat or cough.

If you cannot wait for some more time, probably, you may want to check with your Pead if he suggest for any allergic tests to be done for your kid. I am not sure, it would be done for such a small kid.

Probably, you can keep a note of the food given at home and collect the menu from the school. And check, when these symptoms are persisting .. I mean after which food, he is getting these attacks.

Some Alternative medicines can be used.
Cardlivor capsules
Septlin Tonic (Himalaya Product)
It would be good to check with your Pead before using these medicines.

You may want to reduce the rice content and include whole grains in his food. Like Cereal/ lentils / vegetables/ whole fruits/ whole grain bread / dry fruits / Dhalia (Broken wheat)/ Oats / Raagi etc.,

I was told by my Ayurved Doctor to give less quantity of rice to my son as it may be one of root cause for persistent cough and cold and soar throat.

Nothing should be given in excess. Plan his diet ahead and can follow the same in the week ahead.

It would be trail and error always with the kids. We would really not knowing unless it is given to the kid and proved safe and they like it :-P

I am sure you must have already trained your kid about Hand wash. This is another important factor to prevent these kind of episodes.

As suggested by our co-mums, please cover him properly while he is going to school and while at home when he is having cough and cold and really the weather is cold out side.

Massage him with eucalyptus oil.

Steam would be good to loosen the phlegm if he has any - (it would be good to apply Ghee/ Vaseline on his nostrils before giving the steam) but, please take care about the hot vapor. Please keep it far and face it before the kid)

You can use, Tulasi (holi basil) ginger, honey mix (little) to the kid 2-3 time as per the severity.

All these are to reduce the symptoms of the cold/cough etc.,

Pinch of turmeric with little ghee and sugar in the warm milk before the bed is good for cough and cold. If the cough is wet cough, make sure to dilute the milk.

Hope it would be of some help to you..

Yes - it is a passing phase. It is just 2 months that he started going to the school. He needs ( in the sense any kid) time to get adjust with the school and environment.

Over period of time, after several episodes, he would build self immunity to withstand
these symptoms.

Courtesy: Ratna @ Indian Parenting.

Monday, March 15, 2010

One Side Preference In Breast Feeding

Infants, especially newborns, may have periods of preferring one breast to the other. You may notice your baby fussing, pulling away, or simply refusing to suck from one breast.

A newborn may struggle to latch on to one breast over the other because of breast engorgement, a difference in the nipple, or poor latch-on technique. An older baby may reject one breast because it has a low milk supply or flow compared to the other breast. You can end up with a low milk supply in one breast if your baby only nurses from one side each feeding and you sometimes forget to switch to the other breast for the next feeding or you frequently begin nursing on the same breast. This is why it's important to remember to alternate breasts at each feeding.

What you can do:

Try to gently and persistently encourage him to nurse at the less-preferred breast by always offering the shunned breast first, when he's hungriest.

Always feed from one side at a time for 20-30 minutes and next time from other breast (the milk which comes late after 10-15 minutes ie. Hind milk is full of fat, for that you need to feed longer).

May be you can take help of some lactation consultant or even your pediatrician.
These rashes doesn’t seem to have any association with milk.

Fear in Children

All children have fears at some point in their life and it is usually considered to be a normal part of development. These fears are only abnormal if they are persistent or keep the child overly preoccupied with the subject that is feared, so that it interferes with normal activities, if the child cannot be reassured or distracted away from the fear (becoming a phobia), or if it is an irrational fear.
Toddlers normally have simple fears of separation, noises, falling, animals and insects, using the potty, bathing and bedtime. In children of all ages, fears may also increase during times of stress or after some triggering event.
Some children are more fearful of things, even common things, than others and this is usually a function of his type of temperament. Also, children who have parents that are very anxious or fearful, or who tend to overreact to things, often have children who have the same reactions in similar situations.
Some tips on dealing with your child's fears include:
• Respect your child's feelings and fears. It is not helpful to try and ignore the things that he is afraid of.
• Ask him why he is afraid and then talk about it. This can be especially helpful if there was a triggering event.
• Don't be overprotective and let him avoid all of the things that he is afraid of, but you also don't want to try and force your child into doing something he is afraid to do.
• Don't overreact, so that your extra attention reinforces your child's reactions.
• Give your child support as he learns to master his fears. Try to explain reality with your examples.
• Remind him of other things or times in the past that he was afraid of, and for which he is no longer has fears.
• Again, reassure and comfort your child as you help him to face his fears.
In your case, to be that looks normal to me. Just follow these instructions, probably she will be better. Anytime if you feel, things are getting over, no harm in involving a good child psychologist. That will surely help.

Dr. Sanjay Verma @ Indian Parenting

Curious Kids.. Sexual Awareness..

It’s important for us parents to know first what is normal, and then only we can understand what is abnormal for a particular child. You see, when child grows, we asses two things one is growth and second is development. Growth is measured by weight, height etc, and development is assessed in 4 quadrants ie. motor, fine motor, language and social.

What you are talking now is related to social part of it. Normally a child of 3 years knows about his/her gender, whether male or female, and during that only he develops this curiosity to know his/her body parts, for which he/she was unaware till now.

Commonly the common questions raised by these small children are like:
i. Curious about where babies come from?
ii. May explore other children’s and adult’s bodies out of curiosity.
iii. By age four, children may show significant attachment to the opposite-sex parents.
iv. Children begin to have a sense of modesty and of the differences between private and public behaviours.
v. For some children, genital touching increases, especially when they are tired or upset.

So, one thing is sure that these are normal behaviour for his age. And these erections are off course normal for his age. Ok, now how to handle this as a mother. You have to prepare your own answers to his questions, but the bottom line is don’t give much attention to that, so he doesn’t feel that something interesting is there in this, so all are concerned(which will further increase his curiosity). Just behave normally with your casual answers, and I am sure gradually he will understand this, that this is just like any other body part of mine. Sexual development in a child depends on two things : one is the biological factors and second is the social and cultural factors, second factor is more important for children more than 6 years, then of course we need to see, what all our children are watching on tv, net and in surroundings, cos everything will affect their future behavior.

Courtesy: Dr. Sanjay Verma @ Indian Parenting.


Children often feel tingling sensations in teeth during teething, so they feel like putting everything in mouth. That causes irritability and restlessness sometimes. Because of that they are likely to put unhygienic things in mouth, which can lead to GI infections and loosemotions. So, what you can do, WASH HER HANDS ATLEAST 4-5 TIMES PER DAYS, cos you cant stop her from putting things in mouth, its difficult.

Dr. Sanjay Verma @ Indian Parenting.

Nipple Confusion, Feeding Difficulties, Gaining Weight

Gaining Weight
Actually a newborn baby gains more as you said, only in the initial few weeks then speed of weight gain gradually decrease. What we say, if the birth weight doubles by 5 months and triples by one year, it’s absolutely normal. With that the weight seems to be normal. One more thing you said, she passes urine 4-5 times a day, that’s another clue to tell her feeding is adequate, and so you need not worry for that.

Irritable Behavior
You see sometimes these small children have what we call “nipple confusion” when thy are getting both breast feeds and bottle feeds. You yourself see, how difficult is to extract milk from breast, you really have to suck with enough force and from bottle its simple, just press, and milk comes out. So, these small children may get confused, how much force to apply when sucking nipple or breast. So, it may happen initially, but gradually they learn to identify them.

Establishing Breast Feed
I understand sometimes it’s really painful and difficult to breastfeed esp. after difficult labour or LSCS.. But you must understand one more thing, that’s its only the initial part of child’s life, when he/she learns this art of feeding, the most crucial phase. In most cases these children get proper attachment to breast and start taking feeds, once established its great. Only in some cases problem comes, where the role of doctors or supports comes, and i agree family has a very important role to play in supporting your views regarding willingness to feed.

No nerve can cause hindrance to breast feeding, as it depends mainly on sucking though nipple, which is the main stimulus to produce oxytocin and breast milk productions to feed.
You will be surprised to know that even eating behavior of mother doesn’t have anything to do with milk production.

Even if mother not eating enough, if child is sucking, milk will come (that’s another thing that mother will deplete her stores, if she don’t eat enough). All those galactogauges have nothing to do in breast milk production.

Some of these things will be surprising for you to know, but its true, women can feed even 3 children together, if they suck breast well. But proper counseling and continuous support have major role to play. I have seen many ladies who couldn’t feed their first child, but when proper counseling and support was given, they could produce so much breast milk, which was more then enough for their second child. But our caregivers, mostly doesn’t give that importance to all that. I have seen succeeding re trails for breast feeding if done withing 8 weeks, usually doesn’t help after 2-3 months, after that time, difficult to re-establish feeding.
So, at this stage, what you are doing is fine, keep trying giving breast milk as much as you can, if you can get help of some counselor's help there it will be great. Rest you give formula milk as you are giving, no harm in that.

Keep a record of his growth parameters, if they are doing good, don’t worry. Things will improve with time.

Dr. Sanjay Verma @ Indian Parenting.

Lack of Breast Milk, Formula Feed

Breast milk production has nothing to do with your dietary habits. It just depends manily on one factor that how much your feed. (just like as much you exercise, your muscles will built accordingly). Its very imp to establish proper attachment and breast feeding esp in the initial part of it, when baby is just 1-2 days old. But in most of centers we never give importence to that, cos it needs continous support from hospital staff and home too. Believe me in all our books, nowhere it is written that there is some defect in breast milk production, its always our fault for not able to establish it. IF GOD HAS GIVEN YOU BABY, HE IS KIND ENOUGH TO GIVE MILK TOO, but we are not able to establish it. Because of that only you are landing to a situation where you have to breast pump and then feed, which is never considered a good habits, and obviously, one day breast milk was going to stop, because of insufficient suckling at breast.
I still feel, you must discuss with your doctor there, may be they can help in re-establishing breast feed again, though its diffiucult for a 3-4 month old child.

what you do if you dont have an option of breast feeding UNFORTUNATELY :

It has been seen that some children tolerate animal milk well, and some children dont tolerate that well, for no clear known reasons.
But its safer to give formula milk (power milk), because of simple reason that' its more like human milk compared to animal milk, (cows or buffalo's), doesn matter much.
so being on safer side, give formula milk (eg. NAN 1), atleast for first one year.
But if your child tolerate animal milk or any milk, just give it undiluted, if tolerate, its fine. Goat's milk is never advisable it is deficient in folic acid.

Dal ka pani and other weaning food's advisable only after 6 months.

You know that no replacement of BREAST MILK.
give it as much you can, still try, and rest options i have mentioned.


How we prepare powder milk ?
Its is basically an animal milk only, which is dried and changed into powder form after adding or romoving some elements from it with an aim to bring it to a composition nearing human breast milk.

so, what to choose ?
studies has shown that a full term baby can digest any type of milk, whether it is cows or buffalo's, so no harm in giving that (but this is not coparable to breast milk, which is having exactly the same composition which your baby requires).

so this discussion brings two imp points :
1. you baby can digest any type of milk, so no need to dilute it if its a full term baby.
2. If growth parameters are fine, continue same milk which you are giving, and concentrate on improving his diet with other weaning food, esp after 6 months of age.

so, constipation need not be because of this milk, this may be because of some other reason, so dont dilute it, give it if his weight gain is adequate.

Dr. Sanjay Verma @ Indian Parenting.

From Sree's Kitchen -- midmeal snacks


Cooked/steamed apple is easy on baby's tummy but once the baby is nearing 12 months we can go easy on cooking it and give it directly.. any fruit ingested directly is the best form is what i personally feel.

I keep giving it in various forms so that she doesnt get bored.. after months of eating it regularly she kind of got bored and when I tried this she is happy and me too 'cos An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

***Peel the apple, shred in very finely and give it with a spoon.
alternatively we can add a drop of honey or a teaspoonful of date syrup to give it a different taste.

***Peel the apple, shred it.. cook it in half cup of milk, add a little sugar or sugar chips and a little cardamom for that flavor.

***Cut the apple into thin slices and hand it to the baby, if the baby is young and there is a choking hazard, nibbler is the best option.

Soups -- Store Bought.

Maggi and Knorr now offer no added MSG soups which are tasty...
I prepare soups at home but the instant soups are good once in a while too.

I use one packet for 4 times...
a scoop of powder, a cup of water and half cup of milk... cook it to your desired consistency and can add corriander if you like.. yummy for tummy and easy to make.

Cereals -- Store Bought

***Fruit loops can be given directly or soaked in milk..
***Corn flakes soaked in milk/formula topped with date syrup or just like that.
***Oat cereals soaked in milk.

The cereals are the ones we use for our breakfast, apart from the Indian breakfast, it is good.

Curd Raita
A little curd without the top layer, a pinch of salt, grated keera, grated and cooked carrot/beetroot.

Curd and Banana
Mash the banana with a little curd, add a little sugar.

Cheese Sticks
A friend of mine got them from US and they are a great snack too, yet to find them in India though, do let me know if you happen to find.

French Fries
Fresh not frozen potato fries fried and oil taken out with tissue, good finger foods.

Bread Toast
Toast the bread with a little ghee, cut them into tiny squares, diamonds, hearts and give them to the kid. After introducing egg we can dip the bread pieces in the beaten egg mix and give them like French toast by adding a little sugar and milk or bread omlette by adding a pinch of salt and corriander.

The shredding/grating can be done with any fruit after the kid can tolerate the mashed fruit texture well without problems.. see how kid likes it and go about experimenting and do let me know a few of them too :).

From Shruthi's Kitchen -- Home made baby food

1. This is for babies who are just starting solids:-

I wash dal and rice (3/4 - 1 cup proportion)and dry them on cloth overnight - separately
When thoroughly dry, I roast them on medium -separately
Cool them.
Grind each separately. Make it granular like Sooji.
Mix both and store in container.

When u need to cook them. Take a spoonful add water. I add little Hing (asafoedita) as it helps digestion. Pressure cook. When cooked I serve it with homemade ghee.
I put vegetables any one - spinach, carrots, beans chopped as fine as possible.

My baby has this everyday for lunch. She loves it.

2. Pancakes

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional as per the stir ins)
1-1/4 cups fat-free milk
1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Stir-ins (optional)
· 1 medium-size ripe banana, mashed, and pinch of ground nutmeg
· 1 cup of pureed strawberries
· 3/4 cup finely chopped apple, 1/4 cup chopped nuts and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
· Or to make it uthapam style you can also add finely chopped onions tomatoes and grated carrot
· Or make it your style uthapam

In large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder and salt; mix well. In medium bowl, combine milk, egg and oil; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not overmix) Add one of the stir-in options, if desired; mix gently.
Heat a tava over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the tava. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter into hot tava. Turn when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Turn only once.

3. Oats Soup

oil or butter 1 tsp
oats 1 cup
finely chopped onion 1/2 cup
green chillies slit 1 (or you can avoid if your kid does not have chilli)
cilantro leaves finelychopped 1/2 tsp
veggies as per choice grated 1cup
milk 1 cup
water 1 cup
salt to taste
pepper powder to taste
corn flour 1 spoon

In a pan add oil and fry the onions and green chilies then add in the veggies cook for a min.
Then add in the oats and fry for 1-2 mins and water and cook for 3 mins. Mix the corn flour with ½ a cup of milk and add to the pan and cook till it thickens and then add the remaining milk.
Garnish with coriander leaves and salt and pepper to taste and serve.

4. Finger food for 1 year old - Cheeselings

250gms maida (plain flour),
4 cheese cubes or 100gms grated cheese,
Salt and pepper to taste,
Vanaspati or oil for frying.

Melt cheese with the double boiler method (given below).
Then combine with flour, salt and pepper and knead a tight dough. Then divide it into small portions.. Roll each portion to form a thin flat round (like chapati) and cut small cubes. Heat vanaspati or oil in a kadhai (wok) and fry these cheeselings on a low flame till they turn light brown.

Double Boiler Method:
Heat water in a flat utensil. Place cheese in another small utensil which can be inserted in the utensil filled with water. When the water boils, place the container with cheese into it and then let it be till the cheese melts.

To make this snack healthy try these:
1. Replace maida with whole wheat flour.
2. Try baking the cheeselings instead of frying them.

Recipes tried and also gathered from friends..

Shruthi Sunil.

Sleeping Through The Night

Sleeping "Through the Night"
You have probably heard that babies should start "sleeping through the night" at about 2 to 4 months of age. What you must understand is that, for a new baby, a five-hour stretch is a full night. Many (but nowhere near all) babies at this age can sleep uninterrupted from midnight to 5 a.m. (Not that they always do.) A far cry from what you may have thought "sleeping through the night" meant!
What's more, while the scientific definition of "sleeping through the night" is five hours, most of us wouldn't consider that anywhere near a full night's sleep for ourselves. Also, some of these sleep-through-the-nighters will suddenly begin waking more frequently, and it's often a full year or even two until your little one will settle into a mature, all-night, every night sleep pattern.

Some More Links


Letting the Baby Cry It Out.

1) For sopping night time nurisng, I would say 6 months is a good time to stop night time. By then their tummy size increases and they can drink lot more and retain. Also since we introduce solids, their tummy will be heavy and will not need any more milk in the night. The method I followed was let dad do the bad deed. So I would let my hubby sleep between the kid and me. Since there is no milk smell near the dad, the baby just cries a while and then goes back to sleep. The first few days will be bad but you just have to be strong willed and then they will come down to almost zero. If you just cant see the baby cry, sleeping in the adjacent room with someone sleeping close by and letting him cry out would help.

Sleeptime Routine:
This also totally depends on the mom. Follow a daily routine like talking to the baby about sleep time, putting some lullaby songs, singing them yourself, putting the mobile on etc. Prepare your baby to bed( apply lotion, change the diaper, put in sleeping bag, etc.) put them in the crib. Then turn of the light and make sure you tell them that you are still around. If you have a rocking chair, move it next to the crib and sit there peacefully.

If the baby cries, just tell her "Amma is right here, please go to bed". I've seen even 3 months baby sleeping on their own. It might take sometime because small babies memory span wont be long, so they may forget that it is routine but as they grow big, they remember and know that is a routine.

Believe me it feels like heaven. You will enjoy a lot.

Courtesy: Lavanya.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Usage of Walkers -- Myths and Facts

Baby Walkers for babies, in one form or another, have been around for over 2 centuries. Their popularity stems from the fact that they are very convenient for the parent as they allow the child to be mobile without the parent having to carry them around. Parents have also viewed these devices as an excellent way to keep their kids occupied, busy, and out of their hair.

But the question is whether they are good or bad for our kids?

Whether to use them or not? Are they safe?

You must be aware that these baby walkers were banned in Canada in 2004, later also by US, though rules were relaxed later. Reason being risk of accidents due to fall esp. from stairs.
Later the baby walker industry has come up with more safe walkers with those having broad base, to decrease risk of fall.

Still most pediatricians feel, they are actually not helpful in child development as such. Although; using walker cannot cause bowing or any developmental delay. But when used carelessly, they can cause serious injuries, so why to use them?

Nowadays, parents are continuing their transition from baby walkers to more stationary activities that allows child to practice and improve their motor skills without the hazards inherent in baby walkers.

So, choice is yours, if you can watch him all the time, so that he doesn’t fall, then you use the one with broad base, use it carefully, otherwise forget.

Dr. Sanjay -- Indian Parenting.

Hiring A Nanny

1. Ask them about their past experience and ask for a reference, so that you can call them and find out aboutt the Nanny.
2. I would suggest to hire a Nanny, who is referenced by a friend/relative etc
3. Try to find out if she knows about any play groups, so that she can take ur kid for an hr or so during the day time. Of course taking the baby out depends on the age of your baby and weather etc.
4. Try to hire someone who is a registered Nanny with the state. I heard we can even do a background check on the Nanny. Every State has some service which provides info regarding this. Try to Google about this.
5. After you hire a Nanny, try to work from home for couple of days and see how she is handling the baby.
6. If you ask me, Nannies who are over 30/40 years are more patient than the younger ones, as most of them have kids of their own and they know how to handle the kids. This is what I observed at my daughter's daycare.
7. has many forums on this topic. Try to go over them, u will get a much better idea.

Happy Hunting. I know how imp it is to decide and finalize on a child care.

Courtesy: Pushpa Ram.

don't want to be a bearer of negative energy regarding Nannies, But I would personally believe in sending the baby to a day care than have Nanny at home.

Two reasons:
1) Your baby is under the care of one person and is under the mercy of her mood. If you have more than one, if the baby cries, the care givers can switch and not get frustrated. There are times when we being moms can get frustrated with babies and they are after all care givers.

2) You are leaving behind your baby and your home. So anything can happen at any time with both your baby and home. You don't want to open doors for someone who is you or your family.

Nanny works best when you can work from home and she takes care of the baby. Most of the nannies also cook for you. So you could use them for your advantage.

Courtesy: Lavanya.

Ragi Recipe For Infants

Boil milk on low flame. Since the quantity is small, we can go for cow's/buffaloes milk.
Mix ragi with little milk without lumps.
After the milk comes to boil, mix the raagi mixed milk in the milk and bring it to the consistency required.
Add sugar/jaggery/sugar chips (your choice).
Put some ghee.
Turn off the stove.

Feed it warm.

Courtesy: Praneetha.

It can be started early for the infants as early as 6 months after introducing solids, don't start with this only introduce it when the kid is used to eating semisolid foods.

Ragi and Whole milk is a bit too heavy on the baby's tummy so use it on your discretion and let the baby guide you.

Cradle Ceremony

awesome cradle deco, the swans are holding the cradle.

One of the very first ceremonies for the baby is cradle ceremony or "uyyala" in Telugu. As per our tradition we do it on 11th or 21st day checking out for auspicious time and date without Rahu Kalam or Durmuhurtam.

These days kids are put in a cradle the moment they are born in the hospitals but officially we have a little ceremony in which the elders in the family put the kid in the cradle and swing it three times.

Procedure 1
First clean the cradle, apply turmeric and vermilion (pasupu kumkum) and decorate it with flowers or whatever and place taamboolam in the four corners of the swing, (beetle leaves, nut, 2 bananas, 1 rs/- coin with a flower), place the baby in the cradle with or without the priest chanting mantras the kid is put in and the eldest member in the family swings the cradle 3 times followed by akshintalu and blessing the kid and the rest of the family follows.. as simple as that.

It can be done at home or in a temple. People at my place do it mostly near a Nagendra Swamy Temple. I personally got it done on 21st day and preferred the temple, there was a cradle there already, got the pooja done and came home.

Some people combine this with purudu on 11th day.. Purudu is bathing the mother, giving her headbath and stuff like that. In most families, the mother and the kid are just given sponge bath until then and the actual bath happens on that particular day. However, with hygiene being the primary concern, we are allowed to bathe on day 2 itself even with the stitches on, so it just remains a ceremony these days.

Procedure 2
Some people do it along with naming ceremony on 21st day.
First they do the naming ceremony with parents whispering the kid's name in her ears and then going for the cradle ceremony.
Place Taamboolam in four corners of the cradle, place the baby in the cradle and swing it thrice, done by all elders in the family.

After the ceremony the mother is taken to a well and do pooja to the well and the mother of the baby is made to draw 3 buckets of water the well into 3 small pots and any girl who is married and planning to have kids is asked to dip hands in water and put water hand prints.

Courtesy: Lakshmi Kalyani.

Waiting for more!!

Pic Courtesy: Shruthi Sunil.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Store-Bought Baby Food Review -- India

It is always a great idea to prepare fresh food to feed the little ones; however, we need to depend on store-brought food in the initial days.


Go with your doctor's advise and make sure you shift from stage 1 to stage 2 after the first 6 months. Try to stick to the same formula if the kid is drinking it well. Unless there is any allergy or severe adverse affect, do not ever change the formula without consulting the doctor. Formula has a base, either lactose or soy/lecithin. If the baby is allergic to lactose, the doctor would suggest soy/lecithin based formula. Alternately, the doctor may suggest lactose-free in case of extreme diarrhea to go easy on the tummy.

A few available in the market are Farex, Lactogen, Lactodex, Nan, etc. Price between 180 to 250 rs/-.

The imported formulas like Similac, Enfamil etc. too are available but by and large there is no much difference in their constitution other than maybe the new added DHA which again is available in the Indian brands. There is a huge price variance though, so think about it and go for them. I personally have not noticed much difference going through the ingredient list, would like to know a few more reviews on this though 'cos I haven't tried to switch between Local and imported stuff.

We have a wide variety of baby cereals in the market and Cerelac dominates everything else. It has a wide variety, it comes in with milk powder, so we need not add milk to it. Farex is good too but has limited variety is not as easily available in the stores as the others. Nestle, Easum, First Foods, etc. are a few brands that I could locate in the store but mostly use Farex and Cerelac for varieties not available in Farex.

It is okay to use both brands at the same time.. just make sure you dont mix them both at the same time. Like say Farex for morning and Cerelac for evening should be fine as opposed to 1 scoop of Farex and 1 scoop of Cerelac in the morning :). Cost being anywhere from 110 to 125 rs/-.

The imported brands like Gerber are also available costing around 475 rs/- and above. Same as above.

Canned Solid Foods
Gerber/Heinz are the bottled foods available in various flavors in a few select stores, but the price is too much 110 rs/- or more for each bottle. I would say, go for the fresh food when you can. If you are based in India, then there is no point trying it out. However, for those who are used to the canned foods staying abroad and on a visit here, they can still get them here but at the price mentioned above, you need to figure out if it is worth carrying it all the way or just buy a few down here 'cos there is absolutely nothing that you get there and not here.. phew, the baby food market is huge as is the other baby product range.

It is of mention that MSG is not advised in kid's below a year and pregnant woman, so be cautious when you buy soups. Knorr and Maggi now offer no added MSG soups in wide varieties, so maybe they can be used if you are pressed for time and the kid needs a change.

Introducing Solids -- My Way 2

The main concern at the time of starting solid, semi-solid food is..

What should I feed my kid?
Check out the first post HERE.

how much should i feed my kid?
Well, to begin with just a little scoop of whatever it is.. say mashed banana, cereal, rice, etc. and go gradually go about increasing it.

Some kids might take an instant liking to what is being fed and some might be very resistant varies from kid to kid. Some might take to it with joy, bored of drinking the same milk/formula day in and day out and that is indeed a blessing. The doctor asks to start very little but if the kid is taking it well and demands for more, do not ration it out. Like start with one scoop is fine but you dont have to give just 1 scoop on day 2 and 3 also because you were told to give just a scoop, let the kid guide you with cues.. do not overfeed but do give them enough.

Some kids have a little resistance to shift from breast/bottle to spoon/finger.. gulping down liquids is easier than solids, so the change in consistency is also a major factor.

What should be the consistency of the cereal/first food??
to begin with very liquidy, semi solid consistency and then go about with the recommended quantity on the cereal pack.

How often do I introduce new foods?
Give a gap of about 3 to 4 days between introducing each new item and monitor for any signs of allergy and go about. Check out the brands available and the doctor's recommendations and go about.

Do I give the kid water?
Yes, with the solids you need to give some water; however, not very much.. just a spoonful or so.

How do I feed the kid?
Upright or semi reclined would be an apt position. However, if starting in 4th month or so, then if the kid is not able to lift up his neck then on the legs but head as much elevated as possible with support.

What if the kid is rejecting the food outright?
Try gradually do not rush, do not force feed. If the cereal you are giving right now is not appealing to their taste buds, go for different flavors available in the market. Always begin with stage-1 no matter when you are introducing them.

Stuffing Food: The biggest problem when I introduced food was how do I feed the kid, when do i give water, between the food or after the food. How should I give the food, as the kid gulps it down immediately rather than chewing how fast should I be feeding. When the kid was very small she used to eat happily because it was a change from routine milk but as time passed, feeding was a big issue. She would open her mouth only for a few times and my task was to push in as much as possible in those few open times.. phew, so I felt like I stuffed up the kid in that little time she gives me. Then came a time when I had to forcefully open her mouth and stuff the food and make her sit up right and give her some time to gulp it down and repeat the action :((... sigh!!! and then when she got sick she completely stopped food for a while which gave me panic attacks, but that is a phase, as long as the kid is in her normal behavior pattern with just the same energy levels it is not an area of concern, make sure the kid is well hydrated and fed at least small amounts every once in a while and wait for the kid to get back to normal :(.

Tips: Variety of colorful bowls, spoons, sippers, stories, funny faces, songs, etc. would be of some use during the food sessions.

But I would say, let the feeding sessions be the happy times for self and the kiddo, give the kid what she likes, how much she likes, give them variety, eat along with them, make meal sessions pleasant ones. When the kid is force fed, stuffed beyond what she would happily eat, they would gradually get averse to feeding sessions. See to it that the kid is fed enough but dont try for more. It is but natural that we want our kids to stuff in a lot of nutritious food but they just cant take beyond what they can, realize that and just take it a little light :).

Water: Do not give a sip of water after each morsel of food, a few morsels a spoon of water and after finishing the entire bowl of food or complete meal session a little bit of water.. just a little, too much of water immediately after meal makes them throw up a little at times, so a little water and then maybe after a few minutes or so, how much ever the kid wants to drink.

Activity: Another important thing is do not let the kid sleep on tummy or carry the kid so that the tummy is exerted immediately after meal. If possible let the kid play for a while or if sleeping let them sleep on their back first and then sleep as they want to.

TV/Computer: I would personally say avoid showing TV/computer while eating the food. It makes our task easier in the beginning but as they say, we need to focus on food when we eat. It is one habit I personally would like to inculcate in the kid, no TV/computer when eating period. Meal time should be happy time, family time, together time and a sacred time :) 'cos we are what we eat.

Routine: Also, it is better to have a routine from the outset and not allow the kids to have a bite from each and every one's plate at home. like a morsel from dad's plate, a morsel from mom's, brother's etc. Mealtimes are strictly mealtimes, no mid-meal meals from others. Eating from other's plates will cause eating irregularities at the time of their personal mealtimes, personal experience, so just avoid that. Eat together and feed from your plate, but do not feed your meals after she is done with her meals..

Will my baby be able to digest the food, wont it be strong on her belly..
Do not stuff her up and go a little easy and everything should just be fine. You can give gripe water to aid in digestion. You can give Ajwain (vaamu) in her food. Like boil a few flakes of Ajwain in water and give them to drink or put some Ajwain in the rice/dal mix at the time of cooking or if the baby is a little older, fry vaamu in ghee and grind it with a pinch of salt and give it in the first two morsels to the kid.. supposedly too good for digestion.

Teaching feeding or weaning your child depends on the principle that you are trying to make her understand the taste of different things, which she was not aware of earlier. So, that can’t be done at one time, you need to give things repeatedly. Once she eats that, with time, she will understand the taste. Force-feeding is not the right thing to do. Though I understand, for some children, accepting new taste is not easy, so what I advise, while playing with her or while diverting attention and feeding, you introduce these new things. Involve more people in this. You and she both must enjoy this feeding time. Its upto you how you make this more relaxing and enjoyable. Feeding your child can’t be taken lightly; of course it’s an important part of your daily schedule. Try your own ways to do it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Feeding Starter Kit -- Spoons

When we start feeding the obvious questions would be on what type of food, how much, etc. but also the vital questions would include bowls, spoons, forks, bibs, highchairs and all the feeding starter kit in my terminology.

Like I said earlier, I personally prefer using silver stuff for the kid, but as the kid grows up and starts throwing tantrums or get into a playful mode or when you are into self-eat teaching mode you cannot trust the silver spoon, 'cos the kid might injure self in the process. As long as the kid is calm and quiet, silver/gold spoon is good but once there is resistance, you will always have that nagging fear whatif that tight mouth grip on the spoon injures the baby flesh in the mouth.. :((...

The solution is the soft-tip spoons, ensure the it is made of nontoxic plastic and color dyes and you are good to go, there are some models which turn white when in contact with hot food, good you not even touch to see if the food is hot and the quantity that it holds is also tiny and you will surely not overstuff the kid with each morsel. I personally picked up 2 models to try out. The traditional spoon and the flat round spoon, the first one for starters and the second one for self-feed trials.

I still go for silver spoon when the kid is non-fussy eating mood and this one when I know there is going to be a fight :(. So, when the kid eats these days it is mom feeding with one and the kid trying out with her own.. phew, the feeding woes.. why do I have a feeling that it is just the beginning and in front there is crocodile festival???? Thank God for the bibs otherwise I would be hunting down for a new dress after every feed or just feed the kid naked.. phew!!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Yummy For Baby Tummy by Mummy...

Hehe.. nice title naa :).. anyways jokes apart..

One simple starter soup recipe which the kid liked in spite of her fever, maybe due to a different taste or maybe it was appealing to look at :).. whatever it is, it went in and that is what makes it the best dish..

Carrot - 1 large
Tomato - 1 medium size
Coriander and curry leaves - very finely chopped
Pepper Powder
A pinch of salt
A cup of milk
An uncut green chilli
1 garlic pod

Cook the carrots and tomatoes separately in the pressure cooker, without water.
Peel the tomato.
mash them well or grind them.
Take some ghee or butter, fry the garlic pod, curry leaves and add the paste.
pour some water (the water drained from the veggies) and cook it well.
Put in an uncut chilli so that the flavor goes in without the mirchi.
Add some salt and freshly ground pepper powder very little.
add about a half cup of milk
cook for a while
check out the consistency
remove the green chilli from the mix.
add some corriander

Cool it down and serve it lukewarm...

I tried it on the kiddo following Aswini's recipe giving it my touch and it did turn out well and the kid liked it a lot.. must say 'cos the one refusing to eat anything ate about 4 to 5 spoonfuls.. so try it out for the little tummies... too good and nutritious.

Fever in Infants

One thing that is a nightmare to me is fever. The first time, the kid's body was a little warm, I was like RUN to the doctor.. then I was told that the kid's bodies are tiny and their metabolic rates, core body temperature, heartbeat and respirations are a little higher than adults and that is no cause of a concern and I am also assured that it is considered fever if and if the kid is running a temperature of above 100 degrees FH. Well, something new to me. I was considering since the kids are tiny everything should be in smaller proportions but this is a total reversal, but must agree as it comes from the doctor.

So, the first thing you do is take the temperature reliably, that is through the armpit reading which is more accurate than the forehead or ear thermometer readings.. Rectal one is the accurate but handling it is a little tricky and the already fussy kid might not allow that, so the best option is under the armpit. Clean the thermometer with an alcohol wipe or a disinfectant wipe and take the temperature from there. In some kids like mine, the head and the neck areas might be really really hot whereas the extremities, that is hands and feet are extremely cold (another reason I had a panic attack earlier on). It is perfectly normal.

Things to Do
Do not cry, do not panic, do not rush the kid.
Take control of emotions, take the temperature through a reliable instrument.
Keep cleaning the kid's body with cold water wipes. The kid wont allow it, might cry out a lot but do not give up, the only thing to bring down the temperature instantly is wiping it cold, the first external thing we need to do is cold cloth wipe.
Give acetaminophen drops (Calpol/Tylenol/Motrin) whatever the brand name is up to 4 to 6 (max) times in 24 hours in the dosage prescribed as per the baby's weight by the pediatrician. DO NOT OVERDOSE THE KID.
Do not bundle up the kid, put them in loose cotton clothes that do not stuff them up.
Allow a lot of air.

It is very vital to get the temperature down. If the temperature is around 102 or close to it, the primary task is to get it down ASAP. Never mind if you have to take the kid out in cool breeze in the middle of the night, cold cloth wipes, even cold cloth wrapping around head, anything to get it down, but again we should not overdo anything.. learn and do it per discretion.

Some people tend to rub oil on the baby's body and head at the time of fever.. DO NOT APPLY OIL ON BODY OR HEAD when the kid has fever.


Keep hydrating the kid, push in even a little sip of water/Pedialyte say a spoonful at a time.

Diet wise they might not be wanting to put anything in the mouth, do not force them.. try and make something that is palatable and appealing to their taste buds like a soup or something different than the routine. Avoid giving cold beverages. If it is accompanied by cold, give them a little warm water so that is soothing to the throat.

Give the medication on time. If in spite of everything the fever continues after 24 hours that is around 100 you need to visit a doc. However, if it is a little higher and above 101 or near 102 or so for more than an hour, better go to the hospital. If the kid also vomits and is keeping nothing down, then Pedialyte is the immediate rescue and take the kid to the hospital or ER.

Usually, fever when controlled or worked on instantly without delay is not a big concern. However, the key is not to let it go overboard. High fever for too long might lead to febrile seizures. No reason to panic but not something to relax about as well.

Home remedies:
Apply sandal paste on the forehead, it acts as a coolant. Better if you can get the natural one from sandal stick.. (saana meeda arageesina gandham).

However, if the kid is getting frequent fevers, we need to determine whether it is bacterial or viral in nature and go about it.

Dr. Sanjay's Inputs

Children below 5 years usually have weak immunity comparable to us, adults, so they commonly have these features of upper resp tract infections, which are mostly viral. Most of these infections are seasonal esp. when whether is changing. Most of these infections are not serious type like pneumonia, purulent ear discharge, meningitis, skin infections, diarrhea, cos if somebody has such serious infections recurrently then we are concerned about some congenital form of immunodeficiency. So, I feel, you shouldn’t worry, these things are bound to improve with age. Just avoid visits to crowed places, continue maintaining good hygiene. Try to keep fruits in his diet almost daily along with other essential part of diet.

One thing you must remember, fever off and on in changing weather is not uncommon. These are usually different illnesses, usually viral infections. Unless there are serious bacterial infections, in form of pneumonia, meningitis, skin infection, we usually don’t suspect any congenital immunodeficiencies. But if any fever which persists longer it’s a matter of concern. If that happens, you must do a regular 6 hour temp charting, and then discuss with your doctor. Don’t worry, as age improves, no. of seasonal infections too decreases.

Since the kid tends to dehydrate faster with such high temperatures, the focus should be on pushing in more liquids.