What does your morning routine look like? Do your kids jump out of bed, finish up their bath, eat their breakfast and go catch the school bus on time? Or do you have to spend most of the morning shouting at them to wake up and dragging their sleepy, grumpy selves through the morning routine, only to miss the school bus? How many times have you had to take a rickshaw or cab to drop your kids to school, simply because they could not wake up on time?
Sarayu came to us with this issue. Her kids are slow and sleepy in the mornings and can barely raise their arms to brush their teeth! This led to an atmosphere of nagging and complaining, as Sarayu tried to nudge her kids into moving faster, and her kids felt antagonised by the same!
SOS Mom Noopur Agarwal says, “Earlier I too faced the same problem with my elder daughter. She was always feeling sleepy in the morning and it was a difficult task to wake her up. Then I started making her sleep early, no matter if we went out or were travelling. I would make her sleep by 10 or 10:30 pm to make sure she gets enough rest. In the morning I would keep alarm a few minutes earlier and don’t wake her up instantly. I’d then give her a good morning peck and while I prepared for her bath I would keep talking to her about the day. She would then listen to my voice and wake right up!”
Noopur gives some great advice indeed. And here are some quick tips to help your kids wake up on time:
1. Handover the morning wake-up responsibilities to your child. Sit down with your child and have a discussion about getting up in the morning. Tell them it is now up to them to make sure they wake up and get ready in time to catch the school bus. Leave it up to them to change their habits or else they will have to face the consequences of missing the bus and going to school late!
2. Make bedtime a priority with no compromises. Institute an earlier bedtime for your kids and ensure you and your kids follow it religiously. They may rebel against the earlier bedtime at first, but once again handover the responsibility to them. Tell them that if they learn how to wake up on time and get ready, you will allow them to have a later bedtime again.
We thank all the SOS mom who came to Ketaki’s rescue: Noopur Agarwal.
Your little angel has a new best friend – her imaginary friend! They are inseparable and play all their games together. But suddenly her fun buddy has started acting bad! Melvin came to us with this issue!
His 4 year old daughter Avni has imaginary friend called Neha. While they usually get along well and play in peace, sometimes Avni starts crying because she claims Neha has slapped her! Melvin is understandably upset and came to our SOS Moms for help!
Many a times you hear of kids claiming that their “imaginary friend did it” when they break something or play a prank. This is because children sometimes use their “friends” to try out naughty behaviour and see what it’s like to be bad or reckless while avoiding the consequences.
However, if your kids’ imaginary friends suddenly take on a violent persona, and seem to harm your kids rather than household objects, it could be a sign of something going wrong in your child’s eyes.
For example, if Avni is crying because her imaginary friend has hit her, it could be her way of telling you that a friend at preschool has hit her. This is not a rule, of course! We advice that you speak to her calmly and clearly and ask why “Neha” is suddenly being mean to her. It is also important that Avni meet a pediatrician or a psychiatrist to help diagnose the root of the problem.
Here’s what our SOS Moms had to say:
Noopur Agarwal, “This seems to be a serious problem, please consult a child psychiatric ASAP! Imaginary friends should not get violent with their real life buddies!”
Nithya Prasad, “I had a friend with similar problem in childhood. But he is fine now. Definitely consult a psychologist. But don’t be very apprehensive. Stay calm when you speak to Avni about it as she will be able to sense your fear. Take care!”
Neetu Vishal Sharda, “I think u should consult a reputed psychiatrist. Don’t get me wrong but I think this is not common. And don’t waste your time thinking about it – do it as soon as possible. It is always better to be safe than sorry!”
We hope our Mommy advice has helped Melvin out! We thank all the SOS moms who came to Melvin’s rescue:
Noopur Agarwal, Nithya Prasad, Neetu Vishal Sharda.
You’ve tucked your child into bed, after a long day juggling work, family and the infinite pressures of parenthood. You kiss your son goodnight, turn off the light and head off to snuggle into the comfort of your own bed. And suddenly, you hear it. The steady “thump, thump, thump” coming from your son’s room!
What would you do if your son or daughter started banging their head repeatedly? A worried mom came to us with this very query. Her son bangs his head on the floor, on surfaces, on walls and she’s quite at her wits end! Scolding him or banning him from doing so has never worked, and she asks if anyone has a solution for her!
Mariyam Sufi J A says, “Even my baby does this..actually loves doing this! He bangs his head to the walls, chairs, sofa, bed, mattress…to just anything! It’s quite a common occurance in children and you should not worry about it. He will grow out of it soon!”
Almost 20% of babies go through the head banging phase, banging their heads on surfaces on purpose. When your precious baby suddenly bangs his head on the wall, it will surely look scary and disturbing! But it’s usually nothing to worry about as in most cases, babies under 3 years cannot even generate enough force to injure themselves.
Head banging is just a normal part of a baby or toddler’s behavior. Sometimes when babies feel angry and frustrated, they don’t know how to deal with these emotions and use head banging to relieve stress. Some doctors even group head banging into the same category as thumb-sucking – a self soothing technique to calm themselves down.
However, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how often your child bangs his head and how intensely he does it, and report this to your doctor. Most pediatricians advise parents not to interfere when your child’s banging his head. Kids don’t intentionally hurt themselves and should stop if it becomes painful. Most children under 3 can’t generate enough force to seriously injure themselves anyway.
While head-banging can be a symptom of developmental issues, it’s usually only a problem if it continues beyond age 4 and occurs along with other troubling behaviors, such as repetitive motions (like hand-flapping and rocking), developmental delays, and a lack of social interaction with parents and peers. If your child is otherwise healthy and happy, there’s probably no reason to be concerned.
We hope our Mommy advice has helped this Worried Mom out. We hope her son grows out of his habit soon!
Thank you Mariyam Sufi J A, for coming to the worried mom’s rescue!
Sweets, diyas, presents and lanterns! But Diwali wouldn’t be complete without it’s most important tradition – firecrackers! But firecrackers come with drawbacks of their own! Sparks, excessive smoke and pollutants from your favourite patakas can harm not only you, but also the baby in your belly!
Mommy-to-be Soumya came to us wondering whether the loud noises of her Diwali firecrackers can have an adverse effect on her unborn baby.
While your baby will certainly suffer if you are frequently exposed to loud noises during pregnancy, there is no indication that exposure to occasional loud noises, like firecrackers during Diwali, will cause harm to the baby in your womb.
However, doctors recommend that pregnant women steer clear of over-exuberant celebrations as they could tire them out. Muffling the ears with cotton balls or ear muffs can prevent ear damage and tinnitus – the ringing you feel in your ears after exposure to loud noises.
FirstCry mommy Swati Thakur came to Soumya’s aid. She says, “I celebrated Diwali when I was 5 months pregnant. We burst firecrackers, but not too much. I highly recommend you avoid the ones with loud sounds.”
Neha Gaurav says, “My Gynecologist advised me to stay at home, and keep away from loud noises. However that advice was more to do with pollution as both the smoke in the air and the noise can adversely affect the foetus.”
We hope our Mommy advice has helped Soumya out! We hope she finds a way to celebrate Diwali to the fullest – but in a safe and secure way!
We thank all the SOS moms who came to Soumya’s rescue:
Neha Gaurav, Swati Thakur.
When your kids become old enough (and responsible enough) for an allowance, a parent is faced with two choices – should the allowance be handed over unconditionally or should the kids perform some chores in return.
Akriti came to us with this query. Should she pay her children to help our with chores at home? Will this help them learn the value of money?
Our star contributer Noopur Agarwal advises, “While it’s important to teach children the value of money, it is not right to pay them for doing small things. If you will start paying them for every chore, they will loose their innocence and will become money minded like us grownups!”
This is a line of thought that is generally agreed upon by most parents – and even some financial experts! Finance gurus say that if the kids learn that by working they get paid, on the flip side they will also learn that they can refuse to work on the grounds that they don’t want money! What’s more if they save their “earnings”, they may even realise that they have enough of their allowance to last them for a few days – and hence flat out refuse to do chores!
On the whole there are three major reasons why you should never pay your kids for their chores:
1. It sends the wrong message!
If kids are being paid to complete chores, they will no longer feel the need to do any chores “for free”. What’s more, they will learn to demand payment for any small favour or request. It takes away from the sense of achievement and moral obligation of caring for the home and doing what’s best for the whole family.
2. It could lead to a sense of entitlement!
When a child is paid for her work, she no longer thinks of his family as a cohesive unit – she will start thinking of herself first! Your goal is to foster an environment of family teamwork and not “every man for himself”.
3. They will ask for a raise!
Don’t you start resenting your boss when he doesn’t give you a raise despite how much work he sees you putting in day in and day out? Well now, is that a situation you want happening with your kids? Just imagine: “Mommy, I did more dishes this week than last week – so I deserve more money!” Now isn’t that a situation you want to avoid?
We hope our Mommy advice has helped Akriti find a solution. There are many other ways to present your kids with an allowance, and payment in return for services is not always the right decision!
We thank the SOS mom who came to Anamika’s rescue: Noopur Agarwal.
“Give that back!” “Hey! Stop touching me!” “I’m gonna complain to Mom!” “MOM, he took my stuff!” “DAD, he won’t stay on his side of the car!”
Sound familiar? Isn’t it awful when your young boys, instead of being best friends, can never seem to stop fighting?
Anamika came to us with this exact problem. Her two sons, aged 8 and 11 years old can are always bickering and sometimes their fights even escalate to the point where it gets physical! Anamika is quite perplexed about why her beloved boys are fighting so much, and worries about what she can do to fix the situation!
Noopur Agarwal advises, “Yeah it’s a big problem for every mom. Siblings are born to fight over silly things! But if it’s getting too much to handle then I think if you try to sit them both together and try to talk about the issues between them, then they can sort out their differences to some bit. You can tell them to talk out their issues in a mature way.”
Apoorva Gokhale says, “Sometimes pre-teen boys have a difficult time handling frustration – that’s why they start shouting and fighting so easily! You know what they say – prevention is better than cure! So teach your boys how to walk away from fights before they even begin! For example you can teach them to take deep breaths and count to ten, before talking about anything that makes them angry!”
Anshu Anjali gives some very sage advice – to simply stay out of their fights! She says, “It may be tricky at first to stay out of your kids’ fights, but over time, you’ll love the freedom you get when you take a backseat. Make sure you let your kids know in advance that you’ll be staying out of their fights. Tell them, ‘You guys are old enough now to work out your own disagreements. From now on, I won’t be getting involved. I know you’ll be able to figure out solutions together.’ And pretty soon, they’ll have learnt to sort out their own issues!”
We hope our Mommy advice has helped Anamika find a solution. We hope she and her sons find a way to peacefully and happily solve their problems – without any more fights!
We thank all the SOS moms who came to Anamika’s rescue:
Anshu Anjali, Apoorva Gokhale, Noopur Agarwal.
“Mommy, my tooth is loose!”
Every Mom with a 5-6 year old expects to hear this statement! But what happens when your little one’s teeth are still rock steady? When all of your daughters friends have begun losing milk teeth, and your angel’s teeth are still in place – should you be worried?
Mom Anita came to us worried about her daughter’s dental health. Her precocious 6 year old’s milk teeth show no signs of making way for permanent teeth! When all of her friends are proudly showing off gaps in their smiles, she is the odd one out! Anita is worried that her daughter isn’t developing the way she should and asked the FirstCry Mommies for their help!
Priyanka Pareek says that it is completely normal for a child to retain her milk teeth at 6 years of age! The general rule is that the younger your child is when her teeth come in, the earlier they will fall out! Some children lose their first tooth as early as 4 years of age or even as late as 7 years.
Noopur Agarwal agrees. She says, “Don’t worry at all my daughter is about to be 7 and her first teeth just fell out a few days ago!” There is probably nothing wrong – as some kids even reach the age of 8 years before losing a tooth!
Kaveri Arora Wadhwa advices that Anita should definitely consult both the pediatrician and the dentist – since the issue has her so worried! Get an X-ray done at the dentist’s to make sure there are no underlying problems!
Robe Samarth Gaonkar says, “You have to worry if her teeth are damaged in any way. Tooth decay is more important than worrying about something like baby teeth not falling out, which is not so important in the long run.”
Dooradarsini Sonita meanwhile recommends a healthy dose of calcium to ensure better tooth health!
We thank all the SOS moms who came to Anita’s rescue:
Priyanka Pareek, Noopur Agarwal, Kaveri Arora Wadhwa, Robe Samarth Gaonkar, Dooradarsini Sonita.
Back-talk, eye-rolling, disrespectful huffs and puffs – if you are Mommy to a teenager, then these are probably very familiar experiences for you! It seems like almost over night, the preteen that thought you were Super Mom turns into a stranger who hates doing what their told and never seem to listen to you at all!
Disrespect can be very frustrating – and it leaves all moms wondering if they were ever THAT bad when they were kids! If you ask your mom, you probably were! There are many reasons why girls can become rebellious in their teens. Hormonal changes can play havoc on their emotions, they might suddenly feel the need to establish their independent identity – one that their mom can’t dictate, they could be imitating badly behaved peers, or they may simply be seeking attention!
Mom Ketaki came to us with a query about how her loving daughter has turned into a rebellious teen who answers every question with a resounding “NO!” Ketaki has started losing her patience and shouting at her daughter, which in turn makes her feel guilty and wish things were okay between her and her princess again!
Shweta Bhardwaj is of the opinion that her daughter is going through a phase when her body and emotions are affected by hormonal changes. She says, “Your daughter must be in a confused state and considers herself as grown up. You should treat her like an adult but with softness in your tone. Be friendly and motivate her to share her feelings with you.”
Pratibha Gautam thinks that Ketaki should give her daughter the freedom she desires – if only for a few days! She says, “Ask why she is behaving this way. Talk to her like a friend, and respect and support her even when she acts out. Give her some freedom for a few days – this way she will know you trust her and stop behaving badly after a few days.”
Pushpita Baruah says, “Support her even if she is wrong but when you get a moment alone with your daughter, talk to her in a friendly way to make her understand where she is going wrong. This is the age when children never listen if you tell them to do something in front of others. They feel as though you are commanding them and they resist your requests. Have some quality time with your daughter, and connect with her again!”
Dias Anissia has, perhaps, the best idea of all! Love her more and more, no matter how badly she behaves! She says, “Hug her more often! Start the morning with a soft hug and call her by a sweet nickname that she loved as a child! Ask for her help. Say that you want to finish some work, but you don’t know how and ask her to help you out. Take her advice and that evening, when she returns home from school, tell her the idea she gave you worked – with hugs and kisses as toppings! When she feels you are a good listener, she will be very comfortable talking to you!”
We hope our Mommy advice has helped Ketaki find a solution. We hope she and her daughter find a way to peacefully and happily get through the terrifying teenage years!
We thank all the SOS moms who came to Ketaki’s rescue:
Shweta Bhardwaj, Pratibha Gautam, Puspita Baruah, Dias Anissia.
When a baby is born, the new mom, dad and the close circle of relatives’ worlds shrink down to the baby’s movements, his goos and gaws, his appearance and inevitably the colour of his skin. Babies grow every second and rapid changes keep occurring in their bodies at cellular levels. Hence the change in the colour of the baby’s skin.
However, the baby’s skin colour is predetermined by his genes at the time of his birth and there is pretty much nothing a parent can do to change their baby’s skin colour. There are, however, temporary factors like health and environmental factors that can cause a change in the baby’s skin colour.
The baby’s complexion also depends on how many weeks old the baby is during birth. A premature baby will have a thinner skin rendering him a reddish complexion (read blood), some babies turn bluish when crying, some are born with hair that may or may not eventually fall off. A newborn’s skin colour may also change because he wasn’t born with sufficient pigments and may subsequently grow darker with increasing exposure to sun light.
New mom Kalyani came to us with a query about how her little one’s skin grew darker after a few days of birth and our SOS moms have their suggestions (and opinions) on the same.
Prerna Sharma and Shwetha Bhardwaj reccommend a coconut oil massage before the baby’s bath time. Nirupama Joseph recommends the same but with olive oil.
Chetana Suvarna Ganatra says, “We do not have the concept of slapping sunscreen on newborns which is such a shame. Considering the country’s geographical positioning, the climate is usually sunny and very warm. The tender skin of the baby needs to be protected with sunscreens all the time, even when indoors. Hope it helps.”
Anjana Saravanan and Nirupine Shetty all recommend besan (gram flour) during the baby’s bath time. Deea D Kshatriya adds a twist, “Mix besan with milk or malai, make a smooth paste and gently massage your baby before giving bath. It helps.” Jyoti Kapil Chawla suggests mixing milk to the bathing water as besan could get stuck to the baby’s skin if not washed off properly.
Namrata Lad Sharma has a whole new take on the subject, “Babies keep changing their colour due to more of RBC in their blood. Also due to exposure to the environment and decrease in birth weight as water goes off from the body. Complexion totally depends on the genes, there’s nothing you can do to change the complexion before or after birth. You can apply coconut oil for massage, it will smoothen the skin, do not worry about the complexion and enjoy the motherhood!”
Noopur Agarwal also adds, “ Babies often tend to change skin colour after birth and again go back to original colour after few months so there is nothing to worry about, but if you can still massage her with malai daily before bath, it could bring about a little change.”
With all the solid advice we hope Kalyani has found her solution. But, we also cannot but agree with moms like Brittany Zachariah who think doesn’t matter what colour your child’s skin is.
We thank all the SOS moms who came to Kalyani’s rescue:
Brittany Zachariah, Noopur Aggarwal, Namrata Lad Sharma, Anjana Saravanan, Nirupine Shetty, Chetana Suvarna, Prerna Sharama and Shwetha Bharadwaj.
It’s night time and your baby has had a long day. He has played with his teddy bear, laughed with his Daddy and made a mess on the floor with all that he could lay his hands on. After so much activity, sleep time should be smooth sailing, right? Well, Moms know better! The problem of babies crying into the night is not a new one but definitely very distressing for moms.
When Rakhi was upset about her baby crying for hours every night, our SOS Moms not only helped allay her fears but also gave splendid solutions to her problem.
Mom Neha Gaurav perfectly identifies the possible reasons your baby could be crying at night (and yes, there are several!): “Generally during initial months some babies cries due to colic pain, reason of which is still not known. However there could be various other reasons also which makes them uncomfortable like hunger, overclothing, temperature difference of environment.” If the problem is colic pain, Neha suggests that drops like colicaid and neopeptine can work. Else, tried and tested solutions like rocking your baby, cuddling, or a good body massage before sleep time can do wonders.
While sleep time crying is normal in babies, there may sometimes be a need for medical advice. Shipra Vishwanath says that if nothing seems to be working, you may try either gripe water or 3-5 drops of “badishep arka”. She recommends administering this solution upto 3-4 times every day.
Did you know that the wrong clothing could also be a reason behind your baby’s crying? Chetana Suvarna Ganatra suggests moms to keep a check on whether their baby is getting over or under dressed. She corrects the common but erroneous perception that babies have to be in a warm condition, even if the current climate is already too warm. The little ones need to be dressed comfortably or else they are sure to get moody.
Sometimes, the trick behind a peaceful sleep-time for baby is very simple: let your baby sleep on their stomach! Mom Sandhya Lal has this interesting idea: “Sing a song that will soothe little one down. Or try and talk to the baby when she/he is sleeping on your stomach. Has always worked with both my babies.” After all, Mom’s comforting words can never fail!
So the next time you are worried about your baby crying, remember that she is still trying to come to terms with the BIG world. From over-stimulus to hunger to random moods, there are plenty of usually harmless reasons behind the crying. Just use the handy solutions given by our SOS Moms and remember, there’s nothing that Mommy cannot put right!
A big thank you to all the wonderful mommies who helped Rakhi out:
Shipra Vishwanath, Sandhya Lal, Chetana Suvarna Ganatra, Neha Gaurav
It comes as a shock to many parents when they first learn that their toddler has been hitting others. Most times, toddlers start displaying aggressive behaviour when they are exposed to a new environment (read: playschools). This is a common problem and parents need not stress over it.
Your toddler is still struggling with his linguistic skills and cannot properly communicate what he wishes to. This is also the stage when your little one is learning to be independent and begins making decisions of his own. All of this combines with the impulse to try and control the others make children of this age get physical. A little hitting and biting is completely normal for a toddler, but parents should not ignore this behaviour. Parents should let their toddler know that aggressive behaviour is unacceptable through different ways.
Apoorva came to us with the same problem, recently her 2.7 year old tot has developed the habit of hitting his peers at his school and she is looking out for help. Our SOS Moms gave their two cents to Apoorva on this issue.
Deepti Pathak advices Apoorva to simply stay calm, “Wait for another six months. Your problem is very common”, whereas Rekha Meena observes, “I just can’t understand why today kids develop the habit of hitting others. I’m a mother of 2 kids and both of them are very disciplined. When they misbehave initially, stop them immediately so they come to know what is wrong and right. Mother is the first teacher.”
Harsha Rajiv on the other hand has a logic we parents often overlook, “Usually when a kid gets hurt, elders in the house to console the kid say ‘Wait I’ll hit this thing that hurt you’ and thinking the kid will stop crying. This is really bad. Do divert the attention of kid saying something else, I tell my kid to stop crying so the magical fairy can come. I think problem is if the kid doesn’t like something he hits, even if it is a person. You have to convey a message to the kid with the support of teacher saying that hitting hurts. You have to keep trying to make him understand, don’t give up.”
Bhuvaneshwari Narayanan says, “It may be a reflection of what your kid sees around him. Home environment, wordy duels between parents, cartoons exhibiting hitting behaviours or may be he is hit by either of the parents or elders at home when he troubles you. We have to start talking to the kid who exhibits such rude behaviour. Even if you shout at him or punish him, it is not going to help. Don’t hit him back, instead take time to spend more time with him. Whenever he is cranky give him something to eat. Again don’t feed him with foods loaded with sugar. Give him homemade food. Take him to a park, play area and indulge in physical playing. This will calm him down. Especially swinging him in a swing for 20 minutes minimum daily would definitely calm his aggression.”
Toddlers can be a handful to their parents. With all the energy and enthusiasm toddlers possess, it can be difficult to deal with them. But no parent should take their kid’s aggressive behaviour lightly, parents should explain to their children the consequences of hitting immediately. Sending quality time and a few measures can solve this problem once and for all.
We thank all the moms who came to Apoorva’s rescue:
Bhuvaneshwari Narayanan, Harsha Rajiv, Deepti Pathak, Rekha Meena, Robe Samarth Gaonkar and Rajnideep Sandhu.
Constipation is a very common concern among the moms of toddlers. Some of the common causes of constipation in toddlers are toilet anxiety, dehydration and diet. Swati’s two and half your old child has the problem and she came to SOS moms for their advice on the same. Let’s take a look at what our SOS moms have to say to Swati.
Moms Noopur Agarwal, Sowjanaya Kumar, Tanuja Karunakar, Anita Rankar, Shaveta Rahajan, Ritu Mishra Tripathi Sahrvani Aneel, Leena Parikh, Ameena Sayeed, Deepshikha Das, Sakshi Batra, Tanushree Ganguli and Sayonee Mishra all agree that Swati’s little one should be given ripe bananas and papaya in different forms to ease his problem. Both banana and papaya are rich in fibre and can help with constipation. These two fruits can also be given in the form of milk shakes, juice and any other form to make them seem less boring to your active bub.
Also moms like Tanushree Ganguli, Jyoti Kapil, Mridula Shirwali, agree that spinach and greens will help Swati’s child to a great extent.
Moms Sneha Satam, Sathya Ramu, Srividya Mushunuru suggest Swati to feed that the child should be fed black raisins soaked in water every morning. Chetana Suvarana Ganatara suggests that a porridge made of oats and prunes (packed with fibre) will help. Shanti Gupta says dried figs soaked in water overnight will also work wonders.
Preeti Khanna and Manasi Joshi suggest that the little one should be given milk with two drops of ghee in it. Milk may cause constipation but milk with ghee has a reverse impact. Sweta Bharadwaj, Sonia Sonu pipe in with their suggestion of feeding the tot with curd regularly.
Diana Samuel says, “Try 1/2 tsp honey in 1/2 tsp warm water on empty stomach in the morning. It worked for my child when she had severe constipation. Note: water must be warm not too hot nor cold. Give him lots of warm water throughout the day. Hope it might help.” Harsha Rajiv suggests, “ Water intake should be increased. Fruit juice, fresh fruits in puree form is also effective. Fibrous food like palak and other greens in soup can be given. Also Palak kichdi, carrot soup, carrot milkshake etc work. Do include greens in your baby’s diet at least once a week.
Other SOS moms also agree that Swati’s little one should be given warm water throughout the day in equal intervals. Also the child should be made to sit on his potty seat everyday even if he doesn’t pass stool to build a habit. Constipation can be easily resolved with a few key changes in diet and momma’s care of course!
We thank all the SOS moms who rushed in to aid Swati with her problem:
Tanushree Ganguli, Jyoti Kapil, Mridula Shirwali, Noopur Agarwal, Sowjanaya Kumar, Tanuja Karunakar, Anita Rankar, Shaveta Rahajan, Ritu Mishra Tripathi, Sahrvani Aneel, Leena Parikh, Ameena Sayeed, Deepshikha Das, Sakshi Batra, Tanushree Ganguli and Sayonee Mishra, Sneha Satam, Sathya Ramu, Srividya Mushunuru, Harsha Rajiv, Diana Samuel, Pratibha Gautam, Swati Agarwal, Shama Mittal, Nausheen Sharieff, Amrita Singh, Sarika Singh, Dia Bijlani, Namrata Mandowara, Chetna Ganatara, Bindiya Yadav, Sakshi Batra, Simpy Jalan and Reema Verma.
It is crazy to go back to work after maternity leaves. Like, the last time your coworkers saw you, you had a happy baby bump,but now, you’re all flat out, dark circles and all. We feel you fellow mommas, we know what it is leave your baby and fight off the guilt that is steadily creeping up your throat. One major worrying factor for all new moms returning to work is – How Do I Store my Breast Milk? After all, your little cherub needs it and it is the best gift you can give your child.
Now, the women who want/need to work, take a minute to bless science, because science has given you this wondrous, wow worthy thing called the breast pump. These little gifts from technology lets mothers pump their milk out and store it for their baby’s care takers to feed the little one whenever necessary.
One such new mom Veena is returning to work and she came running to us to ask us how she should store her breast milk and our unfailing SOS moms have come to our rescue.
Anisha Rodrigues Pinto hurried in to help Veena, “Well if you are starting work you can always start combining breast and bottle milk ( i.e. more times breast milks and fewer times bottle milk( supplement). But as you mentioned you want to know about breast milk, which is the best to give your baby. Here is what I know. Well, expressing of breast milk can be done in three ways: 1) hand, 2) using a hand pump (available on firstcry.com), 3) using an electrical pump (available on firstcry.com). If you get heavy milk supply it will be quite easy for you to express by hand specially in the morning. However if you find it difficult ask help from doctor or experienced people to teach you or show you in either of the above 3 ways mentioned. At times expressing by hand can also take a long time in this case the pumps are helpful. You must express your milk in sterilised bottle (available on firstcry.com), which can then be capped and stored in the fridge. Don’t keep it longer than 24 hours. See that it’s frozen as soon as possible. Melt frozen milk and use at once. Never refreeze. You can also keep it in fridge for 5 to 6 hours (in case u get a break and can rush home and get back to work).”
Sonal Maner shared her experience of returning to work when her daughter was just three months old, “Use an electric breast pump to extract milk and store in special sterilised bags in d freezer. Use Medela breast pump and bags, they are the best. You can store milk in the freezer for up to 3 moths after extracting, remove from freezer 45 mins before feed time and keep the bag/bottle in hot water so it can warm up. Do not open d bag/bottle until the baby is ready to be fed. I joined work wen my daughter was just 3 months and used to feed her extracted breast milk until she was 1.5 yrs.” Medela Breast Pumps on FirstCry.com are available here.”
Neha Gaurav puts in her useful tips, “You can use manual breast pump instead of electric one. After extracting milk you can keep it at room temp (27 degrees) for 4 to 6 hours in the refrigerator (towards the corner of tray) for 24 hrs in sterilised bottles only. After taking out the milk from refrigerator , keep the bottle in a pan of warm water for few minutes so that it comes to room temp. But make sure u do not bring the milk in direct contact of heat (gas flame)”.
Noopur Agarwal also reminded us to instruct the care taker, “With an automatic breast pump you can extract all the milk in morning before going to office, then store the milk in sterilised baby bottles and refrigerate them. Tell the person who will be feeding the baby to take out the bottle half an hour before feeding the baby”.
Radhika Varun Soni also reiterated the best method to store breast milk, “You can use breast pump of your choice n refrigerate the milk in sterilized bottle and warm the bottle in hot water just minutes before he is to be fed.”
A lot of advice comes in the way of new moms, but the best ones are from peers who have been mothers themselves. Being a working mom can bring whole host of challenges, but it is also a really satisfying role to play.
We would also like to extend our thanks to the moms who came to Veena’s rescue:
Sonal Maner, Noopur Agarwal, Radhika Varun Soni and Neha Gaurav.
For about the first two or three months, a newborn’s eyes tend to drift, wander and appear squint. This squint in newborn happens when the baby is tired or is trying to focus on something very close. However, by four months, babies develop a more-mature eye-hand coordination and depth perception. Thus, the off-kilter gaze, that’s the cause of botheration for many new-parents, is put an end to.
Doctors are of the opinion that newborn squint of eye is a perfectly normal and common newborn characteristic. Most of the times than not, eyes of a newborn are not crossed, but appear to be crossed. This evasive condition happens because some babies are born with extra folds of skin along the inner corners of their eyes, which gives them the cross-eyed appearance.
Besides, there is a phenomenon known as ‘pseudoesotropia’, in which the baby looks cross-eyed because of the optical illusion caused by their flat nasal bridge. Have a look at your nose and compare it with that of your baby – you’ll find yours to be bigger and more defined. You may ask, why is the nasal bridge of a baby flat? To make breastfeeding easier!
As always, we have SOS Moms helping you out with their share of experience.
At the outset, we have Parul Sharma Khatri, who says, “All kids are born that way. Usually, baby eye squint gets resolved within 2 months completely when the eye muscles develop.”
Next, we have Anisha Rodrigues E Pinto, proposing her take, “Hi, at first even I thought the same for my baby. Then, later I read many books and I came to know that it passes off with time. To be out of tension, just get her eyes checked at your next visit to the doctor. Well, you have to be worried only if even by 3 or 4 months your baby does not move her eyes at a moving object kept in front of her face. For a newborn, please relax no need to worry, it will pass off with time.”
Third, Chetana Suvarna Ganatra suggests, “It is very common in newborns to squint. I noticed that at times when my baby kept staring at something particular, her eyes would squint. I simply used to gently shut her eyes for a minute to shift attention. Hope this helps! However, I would also recommend you see a paediatric if it happens regularly.”
Rajnideep Sandhu has a unique way of dealing with squint of eye in newborn. She says, “It happens. You just have to keep one thing in mind that don’t let your baby see straight. Let the baby see more sideways and blink again and again or change the direction for another view. Good luck!”
So to say, don’t worry too much about your newborn’s squint eyes. Remember, most of the time this condition will straighten out by maximum six months of age without treatment. Here’s to your baby’s beautiful baby blues!
Lastly, we extend our thanks to the below mentioned SOS Moms as well for helping Mahek overcome her distress.
Shweta Srivastava, Vinu Gowtham Rao, Shipra Chaubey, Reema Monga Verma, Shilpi Saha, Paulami Shome Roy, Surbhi Sharma, Neetu Vishal Sharda, Robe Samarth Gaonkar, S Hashim Ali Khan, Rajni Kashvi Jaiswal, Asma Kapoor, Pooja Mishra, Grace Dcruz, Shraddha Upadhyay Desai, Naga Deepthi Vedagiri, Vidya Patel, Kamal Mahi, Madhusmita Mishra, Kiran Bobade Chatur, Ramya Shree, Vibha Sharrma, Vividha Aggarwal, Wenencia Savio Fernandes, Ritu Bhargava Sud
Roshini, a worried mom of a 17-month old toddler, says, “My daughter was a thumbsucker since the beginning -literally. Tucked away in my memories book is an ultrasound image of her’s sucking her thumb to glory in the womb. Now, a year and a half later, she’s still not ready to let it go.”
The answer to Roshini’s and other numerous moms’ problem is rather straightforward. Thumb sucking is a very common reflex that kids engage in when they face a stressful situation. They do this to calm down, fall asleep or just to feel good. It makes them feel safe and comfortable. Also, most of the times, sucking thumb is considered harmless in terms of a child’s growth and speech development.
Paediatricians from all over are of the consensus that as the kid crosses the two year age mark, they start developing other coping skills beyond thumb or finger sucking. They also purport that as long as the child stops the thumb sucking habit by the time he develops his permanent teeth, there would be minimal or no impact on his mouth and jaw.”
One of our SOS Moms, Vandana Anand, mom of 2 kids, says, “Help your kid in resolving his thumb sucking problem and leave it to his will. Don’t force! Give enough love and your baby will leave sucking his thumb”.
Another SOS Mom, Rajnideep Sandhu, doubles up with Vandana Anand and says, “The main thing is when children don’t get the proper attention, they develop such habits. So, just check if your child wants to say something to you, it’s usually a big deal for them!”
We also have Meghna Kattimani who puts forth a different perspective to the problem.
She says, “Identify the triggers – If your kid sucks his thumb in response to stress, identify that triggering factor and provide comfort in other ways — such as a hug or reassuring words. You might also try giving your kid a pillow or stuffed animal to squeeze.”
Lastly, Urvashi Patole proposes, “Maybe you can put a little garlic or any bitter tasting edible on your kid’s thumb. Very soon he will stop sucking his thumb. However, adopt this method only when your kid has become a preschooler (3-5 yrs), but still continues to have this problem.”
So you see Roshini, forcing is not the solution! In most cases, the kid automatically gives up the habit as he grows. There’s no urgency to kick the habit this early, i.e. Before the child turns three.
‘Temporary Stuttering’ is very common in kids between the ages 2 to 5. It normally affects two in every 20 kids. For many kids, it is just a part of learning the use of new words while putting them together to form sentences. It is usually seen that this stuttering and stammering phase outgrows with time and rarely persists into adulthood.
Let’s first understand the reason behind why kids stammer and stutter. Experts believe that a variety of factors are responsible for this speech disorder to happen, genetics being the major causative aspect. It is seen that 60% of kids who stammer are bound to have either of the parents or a close family member who stammered in their childhood.
Besides genetics, some neurological factors are also responsible for the stuttering and stammering in kids. Research says that kids who stammer process language differently; as in there seems to be a problem with the way language is transmitted through their brains. However, they are not able to pinpoint why this occurs.
This time around too, our SOS Moms come to your rescue –
First, we have Anubhuti Seth Mehn, who says, “If your daughter is old enough to go to a play school, do that. Kids tend to pick up things with other kids at a faster pace. Or every evening make it a point to take her to a park where she can find other kids to play with. She’ll build her diction there.”
Another SOS Mom, Priyanka Tamhane says, “It’s always better to take a speech therapist’s expert advise. The doctor will actually guide you if it’s a worrisome thing and will accordingly advise what needs to be done.”
Mum, Shabnam Desai, proposes, “If it is the righttime then you should admit her in a play school. It helps to develop the language of a child. Secondly, there are cases where kids stammer due to stress and anxiety. It may be due to some reasons she cannot express what she wants to say. So please try to comfort her and talk to her, things will be better. Do not make her conscious about her stammering, that will make the matter worst. If she is older, then you should consult a speech therapist.”
Anisha Rodrigues E Pinto suggests, “First don’t make her feel uncomfortable or aware of her speech as wrong. Second, it’s better to take advice from a speech therapist. Third, keep talking to her and don’t focus on correcting. Fourth, let her socialise more often.”
Lastly, we have Bizns Bizns, who says, “Please try homeopathy, works without side effects.”
Also, there seems to be a connection between the kid stuttering and stammering and hefeeling tired, pressured, excited or upset. It also happens because their vocabulary is limited, i.e. They think faster than they can talk. So, don’t point out her stuttering and stammering, and don’t interrupt, it can worsen the condition, because it’ll hamper the kid’s self-confidence. And that’s the last thing we want to happen!
By the age of two, children become independent enough to be walking on their own. As they develop this skill, is also when they regress and suddenly become clingy. They just want to be carried everywhere and throw tantrums when denied. It is at this point that the kid is torn between his independent impulses and the very compelling desire to be attached to the parent.
This is a difficult phase for the parents as well, because every sentence that the kid speaks begins with ‘mom’ or ‘dad’. Every waking moment of theirs is spent carrying the clingy toddler until their biceps burn. To make things worse, in some cases, the other parent is not even allowed to help.
Research suggests that periodic clinginess is normal, and it’s a sign that you and your child have a healthy relationship. However, the kid’s waffling between the two extremes of independence and dependence is very taxing for both, the kid, and the parents. They are befuddled if they should give the kid a pat on the back and tell him to man up, or if they should simply accept the whole scenario as it is.
Again, we bring to you our SOS Moms whose suggestions are based on experience–
At the outset, we have Shabnam Desai, who suggests, “If you are a working mother, maybe the baby is missing you too much. Try to spend more time with your little one. Maybe the baby is afraid about something. Look around for signs if something is going wrong when certain people are coming near the baby, and not only people also check out the toys. Some kids are not comfortable with certain toys, especially soft toys because of the fur. Try to comfort the baby and please keep your cool or matters can get worse. Check whether the baby is teething or any other ailments and consult the doctor”.
Next, Rajni Kashvi Jaiswal adds, “Because maybe now herecognises you as his parents, he has become clingy suddenly.”
Mums, Jyot Kaur, Neha Singh, Shruti Singhal Garg and Sneha Agrawal collectively assert that teething may be the reason the kid has suddenly turned clingy. They suggest the use of ‘Calcarea Phosphorica’ as a solution for teething problem in toddlers. However, this needs to be done only after consulting a paediatric doctor.
Lastly, Chetana Suvarna Ganatra blames the kid’s clingy behaviour to separation anxiety he may be going through.
A tip from our end; try to make walking fun for him and don’t scold the kid. Remember, the kid has shorter legs, so he/she will take more time to cross the same distance. Also, keep the outings on foot brief and have a stroller ready as a backup plan.