Saturday, June 30, 2007

My baby's diet : 7th month

I reintroduced NaN this month. The switch over of NaN formula from Stage 1 to Stage 2 happened as Lil General completed 6 months. NaN 2 is the follow up infant formula. I slightly increased the quantity of formula too based on this article in baby center on how much milk a 6 month old baby needs. With the monsoon setting in, I have discontinued butter milk and coconut water. Instead, I have switched over to dal water. The routine gets disturbed with the introduction of solid foods. Most days, it works as per the pre-determined schedule (worked out based on his sleep and bowel movement pattern) and then there are days when I can't go by the clock. Especially when he gets sick, he gets a lot cranky or if the food hasn't suited him well. Anyways, here it is.

6:30 a.m. - Mother's feed

8:00 a.m. - 120/150 ml of NaN - stage 2

10:00 a.m. - Pureed 3/4ths or a full carrot or half mashed apple. Made at home.

11:00 a.m. - 25 ml water or coconut water.

12:00 noon - 4-5 scoops of Nestum Rice or Nestum Rice-Ragi (Stage 1) or 2 scoops of Easum. I give this on alternate days for a change in taste. I mix this with either water or butter milk or dal if it is Nestum. Easum has dal in it already, so I mix that in water. A little water after the feed.
Mother's feed if needed in between.

4:30 p.m. - 120 ml of NaN stage 2 or Ragi kanji in water/formula.

6:30 p.m. - Mashed Banana or biscuit in water. (alternate days again) This feed is only if he is very hungry else it is mother's feed.

7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Based on if the 6:30 p.m. feed happened or not, dinner can be anytime between 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. - It is 4-5 scoops of Nestum Rice mixed in water.

11:00 p.m. - 90 ml to 120 ml of NaN stage 2.

This diet gets its protein from dals or Easum. Carbohydrates from Rice cereal and calcium from formula.

Friday, June 29, 2007

If in doubt, ask mom

Thank you Graham Bell, for inventing the telephone. And thanks to the deregulation in telecom industry that has brought about considerable fall in the prices of the STD and ISD calls. This enables me to be in constant touch with Mom.

If Lil General so much as sneezes or does a green potty 5 times or anything that he hasn't done before, the next thing I know I am talking to mom. Lil General measures only 70 cm in length...but huge enough to send jitters down my body anytime. A huge responsibility and a job assigned without any prior experience or training, yet you have to come out with flying colors all the time. No room for mistakes, only guidance available.

It has taken me a month to figure things out on my own, what to feed him, what not to, work out a schedule and if I am doing it right. With parents living abroad, I realised it is not always easy and feasible to get in touch with them at unearthly hours. So I found a new savior - the Internet that has answers to most of my questions such as "is it OK to give milk to a kid who has fever?" or "is it alright to give coconut water when it is raining? or "is it OK to bathe the kid if it is raining?". A lot of questions swim in my head all the time. Sometimes I am convinced by what I read and sometimes I don't and there are times when I feel very confident. Sometimes knowledge is power and sometimes ignorance is bliss. When I don't get convincing answers on the net, I reflect on experiences or ask mom and when nothing works, my instinct does.

There are still moments when I am overpowered by self doubt and decide after preparing the feed, that it might not suit him. Yea, welcome to the world of cautious parenting.

I am sure all the moms talk to moms frequently but how much I am not sure, atleast with their first kids. If you are amongst those know-it-all mom who does everything by yourself, I admire you and would like to hear from you.

In India, it is customary to use white clothes under the rubber mat and to wrap, for the baby. I don't know if there is any rationale behind it. One, it appears neat and clean and second, sometimes it helped me to spot quickly if any insects had crept onto the bed like a small red ant once (yea, the pesticide treatment /turmeric didn't work much with red ants). In the first 8 weeks, you would use on an average about 30-40 clothes in a day - assuming you are not using diapers or nappy pads and only cloth nappies. It is not a good idea to place the baby directly under the rubber mat because rubber generates a lot of heat which is not good for the kid. Here are some ideas to get your white clothes ready before the baby is born:

  1. Generally in the south, old folks such as grandfather or father wear dhotis at home. If the dhotis are clean and white and not used too many times, then you can cut them into roughly 2.5*2.5 ft size pieces. The idea behind using used ones is it is soft on the baby's skin as compared to the new ones.

  2. you can buy mull or cotton cloth and get the corners stitched by a tailor. Roughly a meter of cloth would give about 4 pieces. So you do the math of how many meters you would need.

Last Sunday's Times Life carried a good article on why you should store umbilical cord blood if you can afford it. This is a great Way of creating awareness. Very little people in urban India are aware that this is possible in India through an organisation called LifeCell. The Seniol and I were aware of this last year itself through their ads that appear regularly in Femina. But I repent now for not taking timely action and storing the cord blood with LifeCell for Lil General. In the last few months of pregnancy, every one is worried about how it will go and working out the logistics that this was totally missed. What could have been a better life long gift for the baby? So if you can afford it, please plan it and do so. You'd rather not do the same mistake that we did. Here is the article that appeared in the Times :

Move over Nintendos and Playstations… the latest gift the rich and famous are giving their little ones is a cord blood bank account. Indrani Rajkhowa Banerjee
on a facility which involves storing baby cells from the umbilical cord

WHAT IF at 18 you were to suddenly discover that you have diabetes or some equally dreadful health condition? Your world comes crashing down. But your mom doesn't seem too perturbed or worked up. She simply rings up the family doctor and tells you that the blood stored from your umbilical cord for the past 18 years will nix all your medical woes. Unbelievable?
Well, it's happening in India, a trend that is surely making its presence felt, specially amongst the affluent ones.
The latest gift celebs and upwardly mobile parents are giving their little bundles of joy is signing on for facilities that store their umbilical cord blood. Though this service comes for a hefty price tag, which may be considered steep for most Indians, parents who have gone for it say it's similar to taking out a life insurance policy for the child.
Second-time pregnant Priya Dutt, MP and daughter of the late actor-politician, Sunil Dutt, swears by the decision she took for her first born. So do actors Madhavan and Raveena Tandon and cricketers Ajit Agarkar and Nayan Mongia. For the uninitiated, cord-blood banking involves harvesting stem cells from the placenta and umbilical cord, normally discarded after the baby is born. The baby cells from the umbilical cord are stored to be used at a later date to treat diseases, including cancer, Parkinson's, diabetes and so on.
Call it a legacy that parents and grandparents are leaving behind for a privileged few, but certain incidents that Dr V R Chandramouli, CEO of Life Cell, a pioneer in this field in India, narrates, will make you choose this facility over the Rs 75,000 Fisher Price layette for your yet-to-be born. Here's a case study:
It was a moment of joy when Julie and Jonathan Henderson found out that Julie was pregnant with their second child. But their joy was short-lived as around the same time they discovered that their twoyear-old son Nicolas had Tcell lymphoma. After Nicolas' chemotherapy failed to work, the Hendersons’ doctor tried a relatively new transplant procedure using stem cells taken from the umbilical cord blood of their just born baby, Nathaniel. Today, Nicolas is a happy, energetic fouryear-old, who is in remission. He and his baby brother Nathaniel share a special bond.
"Cord blood is more like a biological future health insurance for the newborn baby and its future offspring and siblings. And with 21 million births a year, stem cells from cord blood, which is discarded everyday in all maternity hospitals as a bio-medial waste, can be a precious source giving renewed hope to many," says Chandramouli.
"What's Rs 75,000, if it ensures cure for deadly diseases that might harm my child in the future?" asks Madhavan. "We never shy away from buying the most expensive toys or clothes for our babies. In fact, do we bang our heads before we do all the investments for their life, education or marriage? No, we don't. Then why not something for their health?"
Proud mama Raveena couldn't agree more. She's at peace that she took the decision for her daughter Rashaa. Priya, who has decided to book an umbilical cord blood account for her unborn second baby, feels "It's the greatest gift you could give to your child."
The process for storing and preserving the cord blood is hassle-free. "From our first contact to the sample collection, the process was efficient, prompt and professional," says Ajit. In the case of Madhavan, his family, other than his wife, didn't even get to know about it. "It was a painless process where they take a little bit of blood and it's over." Other than having deep pockets, you'll also have to be intelligent and brave enough to shake the age-old taboo (if some long-lost aunt declares it ominous for the baby) and assert just the way Raveena does: "I've g i f t e d Ra s h a a something extremely precious — health and happiness for life."

Kids until 1 year old are prone to fall ill frequently and there might be times when you would have to give drops, syrups and tablets in water. There were too many such instances for me ever since LG was born. His medicine cabinet was full, the first two months and things got better slowly only to grow worse during teething and the move to Pune.

Until LG was 12 weeks old, I was a happy mom when it came to his medicine eating habit. The most non-fussiest kid on that account - so many drops and syrups without the slightest oon. It all changed at 6 months. He has grown older and understands the difference between food and what is not food. Knows that something that follows a little while after food is not normal. This has given way to he becoming very aggressive and suspective even while I am feeding him normal food that his first reaction is to resist the spoon or turn the bowl upside down. The first spoon has become so much of a struggle that it takes me over 10 minutes to get him to taste and process that it is not bad food.

From a totally non fussy eater who used to finish a carrot or half a apple within 10 mins it takes me over 20 mins and dramatics now.

Some tips that helped me to make my kid have medicine and food:

  1. If you get the slightest inkling as your kid grows older that he/she is averse to medicine but not to food, then mix it with food (if it is a tablet). I don't know if there is any harm in mixing food with medicine. I usually do it only in the last 2 spoons of cereal or with 25 ml water in a bottle.

  2. Make it a total non-event by singing to him casually and placing him on my lap and feed the syrup with a spoon when he is smiling and pretend as though nothing happened. Yea, I know what you are thinking, he is not that dumb but I act like the dumb schmuck.

  3. My local medical shop guy suggested Doctors here generally advise in giving syrups through the top part of the disposable syringe (with the needle removed, ofcourse). And let your kid chew on it. However, from my experience this was a bad one.

  4. Wait a good 30 minutes after feeding before you give medicine so that your kid does not puke.

  5. I play his favorite music or let him fiddle with his rattle or ask the seniol to do his famous jig during the tablet sessions.

Ever since LG was introduced to formula at 8 weeks, I have been constantly reminded at every opportunity that breast feeding is the best and sufficient for kids until the age of 6 months. And if at all, there has to be a supplement, then it is best prepared at home after 6 months rather than putting him on baby cereal or formula which apparently have adverse effects later in life. I don't have any reports that can back that claim now. There is no denying that mother's milk is the best but I had no choice and had to resort to a combination feeding - 8-10 times my feed and 2 times formula.

Now that LG is over 6 months, I introduced him to cow's milk on Doctor's advice - Chitale being the product recommended in Pune, India. But I was in for a shock last night. Read all about it on my other blog - Dairy Milk adulteration in India. I would rather stick to Formula milk until an year and then start giving milk, which ever I feel is not adulterated. With most foods being adulterated these days, I guess baby cereals and formula are safer than caustic soda mixed milk or carrots with red colour in them.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The great fall

Friday, the 15th of June, 2007. 7:00 p.m. Lil General was very cranky that evening just after we got back from our evening walk. It was quite humid inside so I tucked him on the bed in the bedroom and built the usual fortress of pillows while he slept. The family was chatting in the drawing room while I was checking my mails the first time that day. It was 8:03 p.m. and a sudden shrill cry came from the bedroom. It was not the "environment check" cry. LG usually cries for 30 seconds after waking up every time from his sleep to see if the environment is the same as it was when he went to sleep. If I don't appear in his radar, then starts the crying.

The next thing I know The Seniol is darting across the hallway into our long corrdior that leads to the bedrooms. He says, "Shit" that I can hear far away. I didn't need to know any more. I knew what had happened, something that I had been fearing for days and warning the family. But the faith in Lil General was so high or should I say everyone underestimated his capability.

Lil General found a gap through the pillows and found his way onto the floor. Bang, he had hit his head on the floor and the poor baby was crying out of pain. The Seniol comforted him but he didn't stop and then passed him onto me. I comforted him and then after 5 minutes he stopped crying but was still sobbing out of pain. We did aquick check to see if there were no prominent injuries like bleeding through the nose or swollen legs or wrists.

Each one of us was heartbroken. With so many of us around - 4 adults, we couldn't keep an eye on a small baby and prevent a small accident. No one played the blame game. It was partially my fault because I let me guard down and didn't build the fortress with so much care as The Seniol does. Should I say The Seniol is good enough to have done a PhD on analysing LG's strength on how far he can go and how hard he can push the pillows etc. The Seniol always puts 2 small pillows underneath the bigger ones so that they are difficult to push. I hadn't done that.

Worried if everything was ok, we took him to the Doctor that night. On teh surface, it appeared things were under control. LG smiled and rolled on his back within a few minutes after the falling off.

Some questions that the Doc asked us to see if there is anything to be worried.

  1. From what height did he fall?

  2. Did he vomit?

  3. Is he feeding well?

  4. Does anything appear abnormal?

  5. Is there any swelling of the arms or legs?

Over the days, we were advised to see if he gets fussier, sleepier etc. He was prescribed painkiller - Ibugesic plus.

I am still worried and have decided it is better to place the mattress on the floor than risk leaving him alone on the bed.

On a lighter note, LG was trying to fly when he hadn't learned to walk yet - the friendly neighbourhood spiderman that he is.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Do you let your infant watch TV?

Last evening, I was out for a walk with a friend who has a 18 month old daughter. She casually remarked that the kid watches TV a lot. I was surprised to learn that she wasn't aware too much TV is harmful to the kids. Reports such as TV, Infants, and Common Sense and It's Official:
TV Linked to Attention Deficit
support the theory that kids should not be allowed to watch excessive television under the age of 2 years, if possible not at all.

There is no doubt that TV is the best possible babysitter for naughty and restless kids. If the mom has to get an work done, then all she needs to is just switch on the TV. I have to confess I tried the trick just once in these past 6 months in a desperate attempt to feed him when I had started on Formula.

I perceive TV viewing as a family culture. Some families wake up and go to bed with their television sets. I have never been a big watcher except for a few shows such as FRIENDS, American Idol and NDTV's Hot Property. On the other hand, The Seniol can watch endlessly for hours at a stretch. Things changed with LG's arrival. With the LG Live entertainment channel on, I had requested everyone in the family not to turn on TV while LG was in the room and it wasn't difficult. Its been over 3 weeks now since we tuned in.

Call me a control freak or whatever but I believe TV is a bad thing this early and not good for the eyes. And I have not run out of things or patience to keep him engaged yet. I will probably let him watch 30-60 minutes of cartoon or NGC as he grows a little older.

Lucky are those kids who have loving and caring paternal and maternal grandparents. For them seeing their grandson or granddaughter grow is like seeing their own children grow again minus the night outs :) The pleasure is immense if it is the first grandchild for both of them. They just can't seem to have enough. Every trip out of home guarantees something for LG - even if it is 2 times a day. It is sometimes too overwhelming for them to see their son/daughter assume the new role of a parent and in their anxiety of whether we can do a good job, advices come in plenty.

I wouldn't want to undermine all the support I have got from both sets of grandparents. LG's sneeze is enough to get them on their feet and would go to any length to ensure he is fine at all times. That still makes me wonder how families do it without the support of anyone - I'm amazed and hats off to them.

I am a first time parent just as my parents or in-laws were once upon a time. Sometimes, I think I should stop trying because it is next to impossible to please both sets of grandparents. There is always something that wasn't done right or I didn't take enough care of him because of which he got his green watery stools or a cold. And I am sure this is no exception and that it happens in every Indian household. One sickness and the grandparents are jumping on their feet checking when the next flight ticket is available. Its a fever for Pete's sake and if you can go down the memory lane, I am sure we had it too while you were busy with your jobs and our moms had to manage too. The grandpas in particular are very protective these days. I don't know if it comes out of guilt that they didn't have so much of time at hand then in raising us and want to compensate for all that now. This is no accusation, it comes out of love for their grandson. But the point is there is only so much a mother can do. She can't sit day in day out next to the baby to watch if he has picked up a dirt and put it in his mouth. There might be times when the parent's body cries for rest and the baby would have slept in a wet bed. When you are on your toes from 6 a.m. and you are longing to take a break at 7:00 p.m. and if the baby decides to roll over 6 pillows and fall off the bed, you can't be blamed.

Everyone understands that sometimes a mother knows what is best for her kid. Wouldn't it be nice to let her manage things than shower her with all the advice in the world. The thought is appreciated but the list of to-dos can be tiring to a physically drained person.

We grew up fine. And so would your grandchild. so grandparents, relax and enjoy the ride.

Apologies for the foul language but I couldn't come up with a better choice of words for LG's actions. LG wakes up at 4:00 a.m. every morning to kick The Seniol's butt. If that doesn't work, he rolls over to my side and starts hitting me. This afternoon, The Seniol returned early from work to spend "quality time" (we all know what that means, don't we :) ) with his son. As he lay by his side trying to bond, LG pushed himself away doing his favorite trick which is to roll on his back and forth to the far end of the bed. Just when his missile was ready to fire (I had given him some breathing time after changing his nappy jut a few mins back), he rolled back towards his dad, pulled that innocent face of his and fired straight on The Seniol's arms, much to the latter's surprise. The Seniol's frown was met with a naughty smile.

A close relative is 5 months older than me. Her mom loved comparing every milestone of hers with was always a competition at home and somehow she was deemed better than me in everything that we did - socialising, studies, profession etc etc. It bloated their egos and made them feel good by repeating it over and over again. As a kid it did not matter to me, then in my tweens I wondered why this happened,in my teens it irritated me until I finally learnt how to ignore it in my twenties. But it took me more than 2 decades and patience of my mother to listen to the stories all the time. I have nothing against any of them, sometimes it is all so circumstantial.

A generation has passed. We had our kids in 2006 and as destiny would have it, they were again born a couple of months apart, with mine being younger than my cousin's. History repeats itself. The comparison continues. My cousin has a sweet little daughter. Every milestone of hers like turning, teething is the breaking news in the family. When my son got his teeth when he was 5 months and 4 days old, I mentioned it casually to them to which I was told,"Oh yes, she got it a few days back." The cousin's kid was 8 months old then." Now 3 months difference is a long time in infancy. But I chose rather not to respond.

I often see a lot of moms exchanging their kids' milestones given an opportunity - on e-mail, phone, a walk in the park. Has he done that yet? Oh this late, my kid did that when he was ..months/years old? Not yet potty trained? Not yet weaned and so on? I choose not to ask any of my friends who all have kids of the same age as to what their achievements are. Every kid is unique and let us grow them like kids. The Seniol said, "They are not doggies. Don't train them on everything." Comparison, the mother of all evils never ends.

A cut in his finger. The broad smile on his face gave into wailing and tears. The barely 6 month old baby suffered from pain when his dad accidentally cut his finger with a nail clipper instead of his nail on the left thumb.

This was LG's first wound and I certainly didn't feel good about it. While he writhed in pain, I SCREAMED at The Seniol knowing fully well it wasn't his mistake and who would do something like intentionally to a kid. I was angry at myself for asking him to cut LG's nails. His nails had grown long enough that he was not only scratching himself but my face and The Seniol's as well. I had been postponing his clipping for a couple of days now as he had been sleeping light and today while feeding it seemed like an opportune moment. Anyways, it was all over after 5 mins of action packed drama, race to the kitchen to fetch ice, applying antiseptic, LG turning his face away from The Seniol for 30 mins out of fear every time he approached him and clinging to me. The boy was smart enough to suck his right finger through the rest of the day instead of his favorite left thumb.

It helps to always stick to the rules. These have been my rules for how to trim a kid's nails:

  1. I have been trimming his nails once a week and sometimes more than once ever since he was born. LG was born with full grown nails - one distinctive feature I remember.Toe nails don't grow that fast so it is once in 3 weeks. I was advised to just pull of the nails after the kid's bath as they are soft. But I've never done that.

  2. I always use baby scissors. Feeling confident over the past few weeks, I've been using nail clippers too.

  3. For the first 2 months, I used to cut when he was fast asleep which was usually 15-20 mins after he went to sleep. Later on, it is during feeding. Distracting him like The Seniol making his favorite sound has helped.

  4. Golden rule : Never entrust the kid's father with an activity he is not confident about doing. Fathers are OK carrying and comforting the baby. But when it comes to preparing the formula or feeding or bathing or cutting nails, it is best done by moms

Saturday, June 02, 2007

New posts

More backdated posts published ...

How to remain upbeat through your pregnancy
Week 22 : Martial Art kicks
The 4 p.m. snack
Week 21 : The wardrobe makeover : Transition to maternity wear

Nusobee is a lactose free and sucrose free formula that tastes like yuck. In my case since LG started on a combination diet from 8 weeks, he was initially put on Nusobee as he was still too young to take a lactose formula. Its a different story that he made crappy faces every time he had Nusobee and I had to ultimately switch him over to NaN.

I understand kids can become lactose intolerant at any point in time resulting in diarrhea episodes. Personally, I have experienced it the 2 times I have fed him Lactogen. Lactogen doesn't suit him at all. Both Lactogen and Nan are from Nestle. I didn't find any difference in taste between the two, I don't know if kids can. Nan - Stage 1 is not easily available everywhere, which is why I fed him Lactogen on those 2 occasions.

Whenever there has been a diarrhea episode, the first advice from LG's Paed has been to stop the Lactose formula - be it Nan or Lactogen.