Anupama writes a letter to her 18-years old daughter. Read what she has to say.
You are a new mother, in India but a citizen of the world and with cultures and geographical distances leveled by the Internet. How do you sift through the flood of information and find something relevant to parenting in your country? From cloth diapering and weaning from breastfeeding, here are 3 inclusive trends for the modern Indian mommy.
When does one lose the “new mom” tag I wonder? Is it when your child takes her first bite of solid food? Or is it when she hesitantly takes her first independent step? Or is it when she utters her first meaningful word? Is it when the first little teeth pops out? Or do you automatically go from “new mom” to “just mom” when she gets promoted to toddler from baby?
If all or any of the above are true then I am no longer a new mom. However, certainly I haven’t stopped feeling like one yet! There is simply so much that I do not know in this weird and wonderful experience that is parenthood; every day seems to be an opportunity to learn a little more, to grow a little more – not only for my baby but also for me.
Motherhood has added a whole new set of words, acronyms and phrases to my dictionary. Being a member of umpteen social media mommy groups has introduced me to an extensive variety of parents with diverse parenting approaches and mind-sets. Some rely on age-old and traditional practices, some demand scientific evidence and detailed proof before making any parenting choice, while still some others embrace the old ways but add a modern and more relevant twist to them.
As a besotted new mom I too have spent countless hours reading up, discussing and sharing parenting ideas with other young parents. From what I have seen, heard and experienced, here are the 3 top trends that seem to be popular with modern Indian mothers today. Let me also stress that I am no parenting expert and by no means am I saying that these are the best practices to be followed by every parent on the planet.
Of course, all mothers want to do their best for their children and I am not saying that everybody should strictly follow these practises. They might work for some and might not work for others depending on your situation and beliefs. Always do what is best for you and your child. I am merely highlighting three favourite trends of the young Indian parent brigade.
This falls under the category of old practices reborn with a new twist. While baby-wearing is relatively common abroad – and indeed in a few regions of India – it seems that it has truly come of age now. To the uninitiated, baby-wearing refers to the practice of literally wearing your baby close to your body while you go about your day.
There are different types of carriers available – Ring slings, Wraps, Mei-Tais, Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs) – to name a few. Each have their own pros and cons and it is advisable to try on the carriers before making the final choice, as what suits one might not be comfortable or easy to use for another. While many such carriers are imported, two really good Indian manufacturers of SSCs are Anmol and Cookiie Pie Co. They are both run by Indian mompreneurs, who swear by baby wearing!
Wearing my baby!
Personally, I started off my baby-wearing journey with a woven wrap and then moved onto a Cookiie Pie SSC, and I must say that I love it! Baby wearing comes in handy especially for moms (and dads) who live in a nuclear setup and therefore do not have people to help out. One of the main challenges of mommyhood is managing to run errands and do your household chores with a baby begging for your attention.
Baby wearing solves this problem in a jiffy! However, do note that it is not advisable to cook while baby wearing as it can be a potential fire hazard. If you need more information and help with baby wearing, please check out Babywearing India, a Facebook support group. They organize regular meetups for fellow baby-wearing mummas and they even have a library of different baby carriers which you can try out to see which suits you and your baby the best.
Almost every mother would agree that one of the commonest worries among mothers happens to be the eating habits of babies and toddlers. The WHO recommends 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. After that, the task of starting complementary solids seems like a daunting task to many mothers.
While traditional weaning methods advocate feeding baby purees as a first step, baby led weaning is an approach that encourages caregivers to do away with purees and other mashed food. Instead, babies are offered small bite-sized pieces of food for self-feeding. Admittedly, this approach involves a lot of mess, since babies are obviously still mastering their motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Not only that, babies simply love to play around with the offered food! Any sort of distraction, cajoling, threatening or force-feeding is strictly prohibited.
All set to eat my myself!
As the term itself suggests, parents are asked to follow the hunger cues of the child and to trust that the child will eat if and when hungry without the parents having to resort to any persuasion. It is also very important that baby is supervised at meal times as there is an element of risk involved in case baby chokes on pieces of food.
Baby-led weaning is said to help the child learn to regulate their appetites and to make them independent and self-sufficient It aims to make mealtimes pleasant, stress-free and enjoyable for both the child as well as the caregivers.
Interested but unsure where and how to start? Check out Baby-Led Weaning India group on Facebook for some golden guidance from experienced mommies. There are also a number of books available based on the baby-led weaning schol of thought; My Child Won’t Eat by renowned pediatrician Carlos Gonzalez is a popular one.
Back in the day when I was a wee little baby, my mom says that she primarily used only cloth nappies for us kids. Slowly, disposable diapers started gaining popularity for their ease of use as well as for the minimal washing, maintenance and clean-up involved. The quality of disposable diapers have really improved over time and with the increase in demand, they have become much more affordable as well as available at least to the urban population. While there is no denying that disposable diapers do make life easier, one also needs to consider the amount of waste that we would generate if we solely rely on disposables alone. Plus, many babies have a tendency to develop diaper rashes no matter how much care you take, the brand or how often you change the diapers. Plus, a baby can go through a whole lot of diapers and the cost can all add up eventually.
Keeping these points in mind, a number of moms are turning to cloth diapers these days, Cloth diapers tread a line between disposables and the traditional Indian cloth nappies. They do not stay dry for as long as disposables do; on the other hand, they are reusable and, although they are a bit on the expensive side, in the long run the costs incurred might actually be less. Cloth diapers also save everything from your mattresses, rugs and cushions as opposed to cloth nappies! As an additional bonus, they come in pretty vibrant, cool and catchy prints too! Imported cloth diapers are easily available online or you could also check out Cloth Diaper Shop for some less expensive – but equally good – alternatives. There are different types and models of cloth diapers available in the market today. If you are new to cloth diapering and find yourself a bit lost, fret not! There is a support group for cloth diapering as well on Facebook! Cloth Diapering India is a closed Facebook group to help you out with cloth diapers!
Are you a new parent as well? Do you follow any of these trends? Do let me know!
Image via Shutterstock.
Anne John plays with words for a living and would probably do the same even
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