Category Archives: Pratibha Pal

How to Choose a Breast Pump

Breast pumps are used when women need to store the feed for the baby. Breast pumps are ideal for the women who are ready to get back to work. Storing the milk ensures that the baby is not denied of the mother’s milk. There are other reasons why a breast pump can be used, for ex. if a mom is under medication that is incompatible with breastfeeding,  an increase in the milk production or an occasional separation.

Basic Types of Breast Pumps

There are a variety of breast pumps available in the market. It is recommended that you try it out well before you return to work or leave your baby at the day-care

Breast pumps fall in three categories:

Manual Pumps

Manual breast pumps come with a pump piston or a squeeze handle that allows you to create a suction to empty the milk from your breast. Manual breast pumps are lightweight, and are easy to carry around. These also work quietly allowing you to express milk discreetly anywhere, anytime.

Since a manual pump empties only one breast at a time and involves the use of both the hands, some moms can find this very tiring and time consuming. There are new models available in the market that need occasional compressions on the handle after achieving let-down. Manual breast pumps are best suited for women who need to use this pump occasionally

Battery-Operated Pumps

Most battery operated pumps are hand held. This pump is ideal for the mom who needs to use this occasionally. While the pumps in this are portable, it could generally take a little longer to express milk. Batteries in this pump need to be changed constantly which can be costly.

Electric Pumps

Electric breast pumps come with single or  double pumping capabilities. If you are a full time working mom, it is a good idea to invest in a double  electronic pump. These allow milk to be expressed from both the breasts at a faster rate. Most of the newer designs are easy to use and also give options to store the milk.  There are single  electronic breast pumps that are available in the market which are a less-expensive alternative. These are better suited for a mom who works from the home.

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10 Reasons A Working Mum Should Feel Proud of Herself

As a mother, you have the world’s toughest, and best job – crazy at each step, yet the most satisfying feeling ever! While becoming a mother takes you to an altogether new phase of life, for many women, holding on to the identity of being a woman, an individual, is important too. And whether you have chosen to be a stay-at-home full-time mom, whether you are working from home, or going out of home to work, when it comes to your little one, only YOU know what’s best!

Of course there are the occasional  moments when we are filled with guilt – on leaving baby behind, on not being able to give as much time to baby as mums who have chosen to be full-time moms do, on not being there to see every little thing that baby does, or using up the hours at home working, rather than playing with little one. And yes, its perfectly normal to sometimes go through these guilt pangs. But MUMS, did you know that there are many more reasons for you to feel proud, rather than feel guilty? Of course there are many many reasons, but here, we share with you the top 10 reasons why you should feel proud on being a working mummy!

1. Multitasker: Managing the home, the baby, kitchen, hubby, family, pets, school projects, vaccination routine, shopping, sleep time, breakfast, PTMs, activity classes, office presentation, client call, house help – do we need say more?????!!!!!!

2. Efficiently manages time: With so much to manage and only those many hours in the day, of course you have no other choice but to manage your time as best as you can! Whether it is getting up earlier than you would prefer and finishing up the chores, or giving up that leisure time to finish that office presentation, when it comes to managing time efficiently, you are quite a juggler!

3. Makes the most of the time spent with baby: While everyone tells you there’s nothing like spending quality time rather than quantity time, who would know this better than you? For all those hours spent on the laptop or in office, you are more than ready to compensate by making sure the hours you spend with baby are the most precious. Play, rhymes, giggles, hugs and all those amazing moments that only a mommy and baby can share – you give it all to your little one.

4. Happy mom makes a happy family: It’s the truth moms – if mommy isn’t happy, no one’s happy! So get rid of the guilt and understand that if what you are doing makes you happy, it will only translate to more happiness for your baby and the family. So go on and smile!

5. Understands the details of the meeting as much as understands baby’s sign language: Youknow what’s important in that office meeting, and you know best what your baby is trying to say with all those signs. With a complete understanding of both the corporate world as well as the mommy world, you’re surely on top in both respects!

6. Building the country’s economy and being financially independent: Not only are you playing a role in the country’s economy, you also get yourself in a position where you are financially independent and have the freedom to save and plan for the future. You can choose to help your partner in managing the family finances, while having the luxury of spending on yourself without feeling guilty or taking away from the family savings.

7. Asset to family and asset to company: There can be no bigger confidence-booster than the fact that you are both an asset to your company as well as to your family.

8. Teaching your child the importance of routine: With so much to manage and plan, you wouldn’t be able to function properly without a set routine, isn’t it? And if you are following one everyday, chances are, your little one will soon understand and appreciate the same too. 

9. Your children find another identity for you beside being their mum: Of course you are a mum, and most likely, playing mommy is what you enjoy doing the most. But as your little one sees you play more roles than that of a mum, they will soon understand that as much as mommy will forever be mommy and best friend for them, she has another very special identity too.

10.Helping your child learn the meaning and importance of independence: Just like your baby will pick up habits like following a routine and becoming disciplined, similarly, you are teaching your little one the importance of being independent.

Mums, you may be busy with your work, but if those few hours you spend with your little one are happy and fun, there is no reason for you to feel guilty, especially after the reasons we gave you above. Love yourself for what you do, appreciate and be proud of yourself, and yes, you’ll always be your little one’s best friend too!

 

 

Daycare Vs Nanny

With a larger segment of nuclear families around, a new mom when getting back to work has limited options. She can either choose to work from home, a culture that is not widely accepted as yet in our country, When a new mom needs to get back to work, she then needs to choose between a day care or a stay-at-home maid.

Here is what we think are the important factors that will help you choose the right option:
With a Daycare – The Pro’s

  • If you look at its cost, it is certainly cheaper than having a stay at home nanny
  • There are more adults to look after the children, so you can be assured of good adult supervision.
  • Your child will interact with other children as well, thus helping them to socialize.
  • You maintain your privacy. You do not have to open up your home to anyone.

With a daycare – The Con’s

  • Children are more prone to sicknesses in a daycare because you cannot monitor the well being of the other children in the daycare.
  • There won’t be adequate individual attention given to the kids in the daycare because the child teacher ratio is not 1:1.
  • Getting your child ready everyday for the daycare can be a task in itself!
  • Be prepared to take days off when your child falls ill because a daycare  will not take in ill children

 
With a nanny – The Pro’s

  • With a nanny at home you are assured of a one-on-one care for your little one.
  • Your little one is being looked after in a comfortable and a familiar environment, your home.
  • This is a convenient option for parents as they do not have to dress up their kids and get them ready as they would need to do for a day care.
  • Since the baby is at home, it is less susceptible to any kinds of illnesses.
  • A stay at home nanny allows parents to not compromise on their work schedules.
  • A nanny is in a better position to instill the values or rules you want to set for your child.

With a nanny – The con’s

  • Cost! A stay at home nanny can be at least twice as expensive in comparison to a day care. And if you go through an agency, most agencies also charge a premium for getting a nanny.
  • Finding a nanny can sometimes be challenging. You may need to go through many nannies till you find the right one who suits your family.
  • You can get ready for the lack of privacy when you have a stay at home nanny!
  • We’ve all heard the hushed tales of the abusive nanny at some point of time. While this maynot hold true for everyone, many families feel the risk is just too high to trust someone with their child.
  • Even if you have hired her as a nanny, there are loads of things that you will need to look into – providing benefits, paid vacations, sick leaves etc. All these things are important of you want to keep your employee happy!

Now that we have listed the pros and cons for you, we hope that the choosing is a lot easier!

Creating a schedule for your little one

As a mom who is ready to get back to work, one of the questions at the back of your mind would be, “How will I manage the erratic schedules?” When it comes to scheduling, you will be amazed to see how quickly a baby can adapt to the changes that you make. The most important aspect is that you stick to the changes you make and not slack because that could confuse the baby.

Why do you need a schedule?

Having a schedule is one of the best approaches a parent can take when their babies have a very unpredictable natural schedule. Being up all nights and sleeping through the day can cause quite a bit of fatigue for the new mom. The next question moms may have is, “How soon can I start creating a schedule for my baby?”

Well, the only answer is start as early as you can. Did you know that you can start creating a schedule for a baby as young as two months old? Start with the basics of making your baby sleep and waking them at scheduled intervals. You can also choose to feed the baby at the designated time. The intent of a schedule is not to discipline your little one, but to have a predictable pattern that allows you to also do your work.

Look for cues

If you feel that your schedule is not working, then look for cues from your baby. Make a note of the time when your baby is generally sleepy or hungry and try and create a schedule around those times. There are two types of schedules that are advised, parent-led schedules and baby-led schedules. While the former type of schedule is apt for working women, the latter one is more suited for stay at home moms.

Establish a good day and night routine

When your baby wakes up in the morning, pull back the curtains and let the lights filter in making it a nice bright and cheery atmosphere. Feed your baby and indulge in a bit of playing followed by a massage and a bath. Most babies like to take another feed post the bathing and then sleep.

For the nights, have dimmed lights and soft music in the background that can help your baby relax. Give your baby a massage to relax and follow it up with a warm bath if you can.

Create a schedule for yourself

When your baby is up in the morning and has had his initial fill of milk, take the time that you manage to plug in your chores and get ready for work. If you are dropping your child at the daycare, it would be good if you can plan and get organized the previous day. Have the dry foods packed and ready in the diaper bag. Get that stack of diapers ready too along with the wipes and other accessories.

Stick to the schedule you create, don’t play with the timings to suit your convenience. Disruptions in the schedule can confuse your little one. If you leave your baby at the day care or a nanny, then share the schedule with them and request them to follow the same schedule so that your baby gets adjusted to it well.

Creating a schedule

When a new mom needs to get back to work, one of the things that she worries about is adjusting to an erratic schedule. On some nights your baby will behave and on nights that he is up and about, she is likely to be bleary eyed at work. One way to keep this is in control is by creating a schedule.  Early introduction of good habits can help your child lead a well-disciplined life. Because babies do not know how to do things on their own, it is easier for the parents to step in and create a schedule for them.

Where to Begin

The most important criteria to keep in mind while creating a schedule is that you need to make two of them – one for the morning and one for the night. Oh, and one for yourself too! If you get your child to sleep at a particular time every night, you can get him to wake up at the same time every morning. This will make way to create a healthy eating and sleeping pattern for the day. Developing a night routine can begin as early as two months. By the time a baby is two months old, he might learn to sleep through the night or sleep for long hours at a stretch before crying for a feed.

Setting a routine for the night

A few things can induce sleep in babies;  a warm bath, a gentle bedtime massage, comfortable clothes, a good feed and a soothing environment. Try the Johnsons and Johnsons Bedtime range that works effectively to relax babies and make them sleep well.  At times, your baby might sleep off while nursing. It is fine as long as it does not develop into a habit. Tuck in your baby and lie next to him or rock him gently to sleep.

Setting a routine for the morning

A baby who has had a good night’s sleep is likely to wake up cheerful the next morning.  It becomes easier for the mom to get him to nurse and play for sometime before offering him his breakfast. Bathe  your baby and get him ready before you go to work. If you are dropping your baby at the daycare then try and make him sleep so that he can sleep a while at the daycare.

Creating a schedule for yourself

When your baby is up in the morning and has had his initial fill of milk, take the time that you manage to plug in your chores and get ready for work. If you are dropping your child at the daycare, it would be good if you can plan and get organized the previous day. Have the dry foods packed and ready in the diaper bag. Get that stack of diapers ready too along with the wipes and other accessories.

You can expect changes in the schedule as your baby is growing. Tweak around the schedules and make the appropriate changes. When the babies grow older, they sleep lesser, so take them out to a park in the evening or a walk to tire them out so that they can sleep after an early dinner. It is a good habit to let them to sleep early and get up early!

Getting back to work as a new mommy

Most of the times when new moms have to get back to work, they would have a million questions swimming in their head, ranging from “How will my baby manage?” to  “Where will I leave my baby?” and lots more! While some moms can afford the luxury of either staying back and taking a sabbatical from work, there are others who have the convenience of working from home. But, what about that section of moms, who just need to get back to work?

We’ve listed some top tips that will help you moms adjust well when you get back to work.

Practice Your New Routine

When you are getting back to work post the delivery, it is bound to take time to get the right balance in your new roles. If you can manage to practice a routine for at least a month before you are due to start work, it will make things easier to handle and also your transition to a working mom will be easier. The trick is to get your daily routine efficient and well organized. If you are planning to leave your little one at the day care, start dropping your baby a week early so that the both of adjust to the new routine. Get used to parting with your baby.

Stop feeling guilty

There is a reason you have chosen to work. Rather than feeling guilty, look at the reason for getting back to work as something positive. Look at it at way of you saving up for your child’s education or contributing to your family’s income. Once you are positive, then you are able to better perform as a mom and an employee.

Stand by your choice

When I started work, I was innundated with lots of advice about how I was missing out on the childhood of my twin boys and why I should be at home. I pointed out to people that I was at work just the duration my kids were at the playgroup. But well, you get the drift? I learnt an important lesson here, don’t engage in a debate with people who have made other choices and I avoided interacting with people who made me feel guilty. Instead I chose to interact with moms like me so that I could manage my life better!

Choose a good daycare 

Some offices provide a daycare that helps reduce the tensions! You can just pop by duringluch to see how your kid is doing. For those, who don’t have such facilities, they need to choose between a day care and a nanny. If you are opting for a day care, there are somethings that you will need to keep in mind! We suggest that you read our article on Tips to choose a good daycare. Another good option would be also to get your kid ready for the daycare. If your child is older, you could consider taking them to the daycare and familiarising them with the surroundings. This way, they will not feel lost when you leave them at the day care.

Limit the distractions and make conscious choices

When you are at home with the kids, stop glancing at the blackberry or the laptop for new mails! Park that work for the time after you’ve tucked your kids to bed. Avoid working at home and spend some time with your spouse to unwind after a hard days work. When at office concentrate at the chores that you need to accomplish. Avoid distractions that will make you less productive.

Seek a balance

No, don’t try to be the supermom. Be happy. Get your kids and your family to be happy! That is a balance. If you are overworked, ask your spouse to pitch in! Do things together as a family that is more important to create a balance than anything else. And most important, get some “ME” time. It is important for you to unwind and relax too. Sleep well and get enough rest to be able to play the dual role od a mom and a working mom to perfection.

I realize that there will be days when things don’t go as you wanted. You need to just hang in there and be sure about what you want and what your priorities are. If the balance gets tough, try opting for flexi hours or choose to work from home for a few days if your office allows you to. At the end of the day, it is important to get the balance right to be able to work efficiently and of course be happy!

Tips every working mom should know

Most working moms need to get back to work post their delivery. Most of them go through the emotional trauma of having left an infant back at home or a day care and constant thoughts about how their child is being taken care of. We know, that managing a baby, home and work is no mean task and that is precisely why you as a mom need to work smarter and better. Listed are a couple of tips that can help you manage your personal and professional life better.

1. Ask your spouse/partner to pitch in

You contribute as much as your partner does, so there is nothing wrong in asking your partner to help with the child care chores. While you bathe the child and get him/her ready, ask your partner to get the breakfast/lunch etc ready or do roles that the both of you are comfortable with. Since my better half cannot cook to save his life, he has the chore of getting the kids ready for school while I get the lunch boxes packed and ready.

2. Be present when present

This is an interesting concept that is being taught in most family therapies and sessions. Set aside a family time and do not indulge in any office work at that time. If needed, switch off those blackberries and laptops. If you got back at 6, set 6 -8 as the family time and catch up on any work post the time your kids go to sleep. Try doing this for a week and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is. This took me a month to accomplish, but I do it now. When your kids are young, spend as much time as you can with them. Yet another quote that I saved by a mom was rightly said “These are the moments that you will cherish and not forget, and they will last for years to come! Nobody remembers how clean your house was.”

Click here to read more about how to spend quality time with your kids as a working parent.

3.Take care of yourself

As a parent, you need to take care of yourself too. You need to be happy emotionally, spiritually and physically. Get enough rest to keep yourself rejuvenated and recharged at all times. Eat well and ensure that you get the right amount of calories to get through the day.

4.Don’t worry about being perfect

Stop worrying about being that perfect mom to raise that perfect child. What is more important is that you are a good role model to your child. If you as a parent are kind, thoughtful and forgiving, then you are on the right track. Please remember that it is OK to make mistakes.  When my kids were in the crawling stage, I spent endless hours placing that cushion back in its place or picking up the trail of toys just to ensure that my house looked clean.
An interesting quote by a mom that I saved during one of my searches on the internet is so apt here, “Kids are designed to be raised by humans, not saints. Do your best, but cut yourself some slack. And by all means, cut your partner some slack, too.”  Trust me, whenever I am in the introspection mode about my abilities as a parent, I need to read this and I feel a lot better.

5. Get the right nanny

As a working mom you need help, be it in the form of a stay at home nanny or leaving your child at the daycare where they will be looked after in your absence. If you are a mom to a toddler who needs to be left home, then ensure that the nanny or the caretaker is aware of all the responsibilities she has. It is also important that you have childproofed your house to ensure that there are no accidents in your absence.

Click here to read more about child safety tips for working moms
6. Be in touch with other working moms

These moms are most likely to be your pillar of strength too. When you interact with people who are in a similar situation as you, there are amazing ideas, tips and tricks that you can get on how to tackle situations and things. Whether it was weaning my boys off the feeding bottle or making them diaper free, I more often than not checked with my friends on how they tackled these milestones. It gave me a better idea on how to handle things.

And yes, as I wrap up, let me add my mantra as a mommy “Follow your mom instincts too, sometimes they work better than the advices doled out in parenting books!”

Vegetable Cutlets

As a mom to twins, my eternal quest is to get my boys eat the same things at the same time. While one of them loves the pastas and fruits, the other one loves to eat french toasts, boiled eggs and salads. This recipe is what I borrowed from my friend, her son loves it and she guaranteed that my sons would love it too! She was right! And here is the recipe.

What I use:

1 cup of chopped veggies – I use carrots, cabbage, cauliflower chopped finely and boiled in the microwave till it is soft. (You can also give it two whistles in a pressure cooker)

You can also add a cup of chopped spinach.

2 boiled potatoes – Mashed
butter – 2 tsps
ginger – 1/2 tsp grated
1 – 2 tbsp maida
salt and pepper according to taste
chat masala – optional (1/2 tsp)
juice of half a lime

Method:

Veg CutletsOnce the veggies are boiled, mash them well. Heat a saucepan or a kadhai and add butter to it. When its warm
add the ginger and saute for less than a minute. Add the mashed veggies and cook it till the water is absorbed. Add salt and pepper. Add the mashed potatoes and mix it well. Add chat masala and squeeze the juice of half a lime.

Just when you are about to take off the mixture from the gas, add the maida and mix it well. You can cool this and shape them as cutlets or in a mould and saute it.

Tip : A friend of mine makes small bite sized balls from this mixture and dips it in a whisked egg, rolls in it bread crumbs and fries it for her 3 year old. You can try this as a variant too.

Serve hot with tomato sauce.

Guest Post by Pratibha Pal

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