~ 78 weeks to my 'Tees' (30th) ~
Now, ever since turning a mother myself, I've received a lot of advice and suggestions (despite being a doctor) and judgmental looks even, on how to look after and raise my child - I've also read quite a bit, and come across so many, many articles and books on child-rearing and parenting - it's often overwhelming! Now, add to this, having to witness so many other parents, while being a child-doctor (although temporarily!) - all, I really want to say, is "Calm Down!" Using this blog post to answer some of the oft asked questions - even if this helps one other parent, I'll be glad. Each one, reach one ...
There are mothers, who wish to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months (and continue longer) some who can't and stress about it, some who couldn't care and start with the bottle, some who keep trying anyways - well, Mama, all I want to say is you're doing your best and no one is going to judge you - so please do whatever is comfortable/convenient/feasible - you've every right to choose what's best for you and your baby. In the campaign of "Breast is best", there is no sense in losing one's sanity. Although I must add, if you keep at it, the supply gets better and auto-sustains - hence if it isn't hampering your mental peace, do carry on. You've got this! There is a huge business on baby bottles and each claiming it's just like the real thing (read boob) but nothing really compares alright and so, don't fall into this trap - just get any that's pocket friendly and make sure you sterilise them right, and keep your baby well fed! Tada!
On the topic of bathing, some choose to give oil massages - and then follows the debate on which oil is best; follow that by should the baby bathe in a tub or on your lap (like our mothers and grandmothers bathed us!)? Again, I'd like to stress that most important is to be confident and strong in your grasp of your baby - and making sure the temperature of the water isn't too hot for the babies' skin. Rest, is immaterial. Of course, if there's evidence that any soap/shampoo is taken off shelves for fear of being carcinogenic, you'd prudently avoid those right?
Back to the topic of foods - There are some who start solid foods earlier, some wait until they turn 6 months - and then starts the what to feed quiz! It varies across cultures and hence, there really is no right or wrong. I was from South India and hence chose ragi porridge and then rice and dhaal, with mashed vegetables; I was also influenced by what's available readily at the place I live - so avocadoes featured as the little one's breakfast often. Also, we used bottled fruit purees and baby rice on our travels - super convenient and safe! Once, he was a tad bit older, he just ate whatever we ate - and the number of bags we had to carry reduced drastically - yaay!
Many parents choose to co-sleep with their infant (I prefered it as it was easy with the night-feeds); some choose a side-cot or even making their baby sleep in a different room right from the start - again, whatever suits you and your family, is recommended. There is no one right way. What's most important is the safety of your infant. So while, there are parents who actually buy oxygen saturation monitoring devices to check on the baby through the night, fearing 'SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)', I don't think most of the families, in rural India, would even be aware of it, leave alone being able to afford such a device!
When is the right time to travel with your baby? Again, I waited until he turned about 3 months - only because then my husband and I were more confident and accustomed to handling the baby given that the baby had neck control and was not just a floppy little blob of flesh :D Again, more important is to make sure you carry extra supplies, including any common medicines as well as are aware of health care services at the place you're traveling to (God forbid you need to visit one!)
Anyway, there are a zillion other topics and choices that once has to decide on at each phase of parenting and it's quite impossible to cover all of those! Infact the foremost decision is whether to even become a parent or not. The number of couples these days, choosing to go the DINK (Double Income No Kids) way is phenomenal. And yet, there are couples, who still want to have kids and experience the joy (and pain) of parenthood. Take, for example, a couple-friend of ours, who finally chose to adopt a little girl and give her a beautiful, secure life. I'm so proud and happy for them - and so I couldn't help but make and pick up a lot of little gifts, which I packed and sent with PranMaz on his surprise trip to partake in the celebration.
So while I spent the week, witnessing the many kinds of parents I crossed paths with - it ended with a high indeed - to witness a couple-friend's family grow, and their home thus, being filled with a little baby's coos and babbles (and cries of course) - unbound happiness and smiles! Wishing them all the very best!!