Category Archives: Pregnancy and Parenting

Part-time jobs and being a mom

Moms vs careers- Choose one option

 It’s been almost a year since I gave up a regular part-time job opportunity though it was five days a week (a job that I loved doing but things changed). Never mind, let’s not get into the reasons, I quit but the last eleven months has been a roller-coaster ride emotionally and financially. Yes in literal sense. Having all the time to spend as much as I can with my child is a huge bonus that was lost in the last official job, but the joy of seeing a fixed remuneration entering your bank account every month is lost now.

I would be lying if I say that sometimes I do not get depressed. But the only thing that has kept me sane is my family around me and truly some editors who have encouraged me to write some of my ideas and some new topics as suggested by them.

Some websites suggest freelance writing is a great option to be in, to look after family and have a professional tag. But darlings, if you want to be a freelance writer; be prepared to be extremely patient in seeing your story appear -lucky if it appears soon or wait for months.

Of course be also ready to  face innumerable rejections – before a new editor feels this something worthy.

Sometimes the story has already been done or you don’t know if the editor liked the topic or the copy –there comes no reply and you would be embarrassed to send more than two mails asking if they received the copy or not.

Over the last one year past colleagues at media and other organizations have chosen to ignore me, while others sympathize with me thinking I have lost out on everything, even when I say that I am doing fine. There are others who are so stressed juggling work, home, children, bills that they do not have any time for themselves and every time I am on phone with them –they say they envy me.. Don’t know what I should call this state-happy but in a dilemma of course.

I came across this article on the web yesterday. I could relate to it regarding lack of good part-time opportunities for women …should I say mothers who want to look after families and work.

It is not an uncommon topic for many moms that I see in front of the school gate where they discuss if the education and earlier work experience was meant to look after children and educate them. Many didn’t want to go in for full-time work roles and leave out children at least in early ages with assisted nannies or day care centers. So what’s the solution? I would say not sure at the moment, better to go with what makes you happy and what keeps peace at home.

While I have been scouting for part-time work hours, I am given this look at the interviewer’s desk as though I have asked a priceless and impossible commodity. I had written some days ago too when a particular school didn’t want moms (parent) to be working ones but most definitely wanted them to be stay-at-home educated women.

When surfing on the net on similar topics, I was surprised to see the above article that women in other parts of the developed world too have similar dilemmas.

I have just submitted an article of being happy. Until that gets published and later too, let’s hope I find a balance of being positive of finding a job I want in the hours that I want.

Would also like to mention two more articles that I read in recent times that got me thinking:

The woman leader in the above mentioned article says “do not say things like family will be first”….

I had a colleague in one of my earlier organizations, who seemed very aggressive on her career goals and was ready to allocate long hours for the company. She is smart, intelligent, shrewd and also had grown up children. But when I got to know her little more, she said she had never really quit her full-time work even when her babies were infants.

It would be impossible for me to do it right now(guess do not have the aggressive heart),  though I send my child to day-care.  And I have seen the difference in myself (emotionally) of spending little longer hours than earlier (of course various other factors have added to this situation).

I am less stressed (most parts of the day); do more outdoor picnics with him, cook more for him (if at all that sounds like an added incentives for being a stay-at-home mother). But have to admit that I do get conscious of savings and think of getting in a full-time work responsibility once in a while.

I also read one more article where Bangalore moms are turning into entrepreneurs as they are finding lesser and lesser opportunities that match their experience and earlier pay scales. It is not just talent but long committed work hours that organizations are looking for and until this issue gets resolved where women (moms) can take up jobs that are emotionally satisfying and well-paying, more and more moms will choose to be stay-at-home moms for a long time or choose less paying jobs (something better than nothing-to keep them busy mentally and get some paypack than nothing at all)  .

There are also moms who feel the meagre work responsibilities do not match their talent and experience.

Again it makes me think when moms  discuss this with me say they are no longer in an age and stage where people may really employ them and they might as well start something of their own. That’s nice until it really comes true.

I discovered that I loved writing and share my thoughts through the written word almost a decade ago. The world of writing has made me more open-minded, know what is good for me, understand myself as a person, know my strong likes and dislikes in people and situations and most importantly given a professional status. It didn’t matter if I can or not churn out the most brilliant piece anyone has read, many have said I am touching untouched topics and I really can connect with women –I know that for a fact.

Thank you -the written world for me to share this with you.

At least it has given me a space to share what most urban Indian moms are facing (talking of those who want to do work and take care of children –not of them who are choosing to be solely stay @ home moms and have no desire to go back to work ever again).

Who knows I might soon do something in the future, that will make me work closely with working moms or stay-at-home moms or children ( they are a very important part of most mothers  life).

Thanks for reading. Let’s see if I have different take on this topic by the end of 2014. Share your comments too when you read it.

Sharing one more link that I found it very interesting-

A Saturday mid morning at Gambolla


After frantic search on the net- to take my child to an interesting place and a new one in Bangalore, I discovered about Gambolla on Madras Bank Road( parallel road to Museum road and opposite St. Joseph’s Boys School).

It took little time and patience to search for this quiet place tucked away in the bustling neighborhood of M.G road and alike. I

I was not sure what to expect at Gambolla and I just wanted D -my child to try being there.

I was informed by the lady over there on the charges and I decided to try spending an hour over there.

D really liked I guess the centre as there were puzzles, story books and building blocks. In an hour he spent the time there with the child-minder(if I can call the lady who was attending to D), he didn’t really bother what I was doing.

Not sure how many times he would enjoy more being there, but yes will go back on some other weekend.

It was of course a happy experience for me …to see him happy.

Tagging a pic too of him taken there.

Yes since the last one month, have been noticing quite a few articles on activity centres for kids. Guess moms want places other than public parks and kid zones in malls, where their child will be attended, gets to engage meaningfully and not get bored.

Suddenly I also observe many such activity centres in Bangalore. Probably part of necessity and convenience.

Spending a weekend in Bangalore with a kid

Engaging children right through holidays is not an easy task  for a urban mom in Bangalore.

I know for sure that many want to skip the television box in their homes from getting glued by children and find alternate time -consuming and meaningful activities ; but are lost on what to do.

I have been browsing since morning on what to do this weekend with a child and not really spend too much time (money and time) at the malls.

I thought of listing a few to remind me once in a while to do them and hopefully they will be of use to some other mom too.

1) Leave home early and plan to stick to  half-a-day trip at  Cubbon Park or Lalbagh

2) Travel by select option of public transport (Volvo bus ) to other part of the city just for a long bus journey. I have found this fun sometimes and engaging enough to keep my little one quiet for quite some time during the journey.

3) Go to a book store and try to accumulate a few things to be done activity sheets beforehand and use them in holidays.

4) Again travel using another select public transport -Metro Train to and fro -again just for fun.

5) If you are game, go to Mysore or Ranganthittu bird sanctuary on a day-trip( the first one can be done with a bus or train -the latter one -it’s advisable  to have your own transport).

6) Likewise if you have a car then drive down to Nandi Hills

7) If you are a single mother then go for more home bound options like trying to get your kid to a activity centre that particular weekend . There are enough activity centres in Bangalore and indoor play areas in many locations in Bangalore that are conducting activities to engage children. If you are lucky you may find something age appropriate the weekend you are in a dilemma.

8) Spend time with your child in a bookstore in the kid’s section. In the age of mobiles, ipads and more it is even now valuable to teach kids the value of reading from a hand held paper story book. Buy something that suits your budget and your kid’s interest.

9) This one was my favourite as a kid- My dad would take me often to see the lit Vidhana Soudha in the night but now it stays as a concrete structure and away from people. Maybe just to show where the Vidhana Soudha is and the High Court is, kids can be taken as a single trip.


Working through the baby bump

Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma, Nov 2, 2013:

It is often a dilemma when working women become aware that they are pregnant and they wonder ‘what next’? The dilemma of what would happen if they informed at their work place haunts them. They fear that a pregnancy might hamper their career, promotion, treatment by colleagues, and the likes… True. It’s not very simple being a pregnant working colleague. But it isn’t too complicated either. 

Initial stages

It would not be possible to expect all pregnant women to perform with the same zeal and energy as prior to pregnancy. If possible talk to your boss on a ‘role change’. It is recommended that you go for a lesser demanding role at your office, if it is a possibility. Talk to your seniors and find out what best can be done considering that you want to be committed to the work and also want to take care of yourself in every possible manner, in this situation.

 The announcement

It is easier perhaps not to inform others on pregnancy but not after the third month when colleagues can figure out the growing belly. It is advised you inform your boss first on your new change and slowly to other colleagues. This will also make them win your trust in sharing an important announcement of your life and will enable them to show some extra care (hopefully) towards you. If you have colleagues who carry an indifferent attitude, then it is better to be poised and carry on with work as you normally would.

Promotion and opportunity?

It could be that you are worried about the promotion that you were due to get from the company and you find out you have gotten pregnant. If you decide to go ahead with the pregnancy then be confident and announce your pregnancy to your colleagues. Be prepared to answer questions on what you intend to do post pregnancy. Chart out a plan on your career path before you talk to your seniors about your pregnancy. If you want to take a few months off, then be assertive and confident about your choice. There are career experts who say ‘Opportunities are enormous and you can always come back when you feel confident to come back and sure that your baby is under trusted care’.

Eating at work

If you are continuing to be working full-time until your second trimester or until the end of pregnancy there is a lot of attention required to be paid for what diet you will be having during the nine months. It is easy to binge on several foods but the choice you need to make is to be healthy for yourself and the baby. Be sure to have regular meal times, and adequate amount of water intake. Avoid unnecessary cups of beverages that contain caffeine and try to keep off binging on sweets and crisps.  Have a good healthy breakfast with a mid-morning snack of a fruit and dry fruits for munchies. Ensure your lunch is well-balanced before having to work again for a few hours in a day.

Posture at work

It is very essential that you have adequate back support with a pillow or a very comfortable chair that takes care of your back. You may want to have a small side stool to be able to stretch your legs and keep them on, especially during the second trimester. Move around every hour to avoid swollen feet and leg cramps. Do not hesitate from taking the support of walls or railings while walking. Swallow your pride, mommy! Health and safety first.

Maternity leave benefits

Organizations differ in the maternity leave extended to the women employees. Due to increased awareness on retaining their women employees, companies now are offering various benefits with understanding attitude, leaves and better recovery time post child-birth before women can come back to work. Discuss regarding this with your employer and see what benefits you are entitled to. You don’t have to feel weird; it’s your right as an employee!

Understand your body 

Do not go overboard. It is possible that you have heard of others who have worked until the last week of the pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby. But you need not prove it to anyone! The most important concern for you is to take care of yourself and your baby without exerting yourself too much. You may have monetary issues, due to which, you cannot avoid taking a sabbatical or request for an early break from work.

You need to know your limits very well in such cases. Request a small cut in the number of work hours you put in. If your employer is understanding enough, (s)he will certainly make that small allowance for you.

This article was published in the She page of Living supplement of Deccan Herald on November 2nd 2013

Chilling it out with your Daddy Cool


Many new-age moms would want to thank their men for being the hands-on father to their children. The men of today love to take the role of dad quite seriously, almost everyday and not just on select occasions. The new-age dad is young at heart and in tune with his child’s needs. He dons this role with a lot of preparedness right from the time his wife is pregnant. 

From accompanying the would-be-mother to her regular antenatal visits to witnessing the birthing of his child, the modern dad is getting rooted with deep attachment towards family. Routine activities like dropping or picking the child from school, taking the child to hobby classes, participating in household decisions, monitoring the child’s academic progress are all part of the new-age dad. A little observation in public spaces like in malls, theaters, parks, and one can see that it is no more only momma’s domain with kids. Dads are happily seen roaming around with their kids. Thankfully, the modern dad is nothing like his old-school ‘Sunday Uncle’ counterpart.

Dads who, until two decades ago, were shy to even discuss children among peers are a thing of the past. Today being known as the family man who is concerned and shows this concern in public domain only adds to his appeal. Even a few celebrity dads do not avoid arc lights when seen in company with family, particularly with kids. Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Arjun Rampal, Mahesh Bhupathi, David Beckham, Tom Cruise are comfortable to be seen as doting dads, on social media platforms.

 Walk into any pre-school or a paediatrician’s clinic, and you are bound to observe a lot of fathers comforting their little ones. The alpha male is willing to walk that extra mile to make sure his child is well taken care of. It’s the display of unabashed attitude of family persona that the previous generation rarely wore on their sleeve, especially fathers. The shift has come, thanks to new-age thinking and understanding of relationships from a woman’s and child’s point of view.
Corporate maternity hospitals and baby products manufacturers too persuade men to be with women during pregnancy and the baby’s infant years. And those fathers who are not in this league feel immense guilt, and rightly so!

Says Vikas S, an entrepreneur and dad to four-year-old, “Society norms and expectations have changed and so has parenting. It’s true that on some occasions I have felt like my absence at work will affect by business. Like during the waiting periods at my son’s doctor’s clinic. But I do know that my presence during those immunization visits had made him feel less anxious – he knows daddy’s around.”

Ashwin N K, an IT professional and father to a pre-schooler says, “Women too are happy if their men are around during the initial years of the kid’s childhood. Be it for doctor visits, helping them survey schools for the child, getting the child ready for school, holding an infant when the mother finishes her dinner peacefully at a restaurant.

These are also occasions that help dads develop a bond with the child. Also, fathers of the previous generation never really spent much time with their children, partly due to economic reasons. Thankfully, today the modern urban dad’s situation is much better, and hence the affordability of time for children has shot up.”

Of course, when the women of today are seeking partners who are more emotionally supportive and not just financial providers, it becomes imperative that men develop the familial warmth in them. With women switching over easily between professional and personal roles as a modern wife and mother since the last decade, men do not want to be left behind. Employers too understand that fathers need to be with family, often, if not always. Understanding employers even have HR policies that offer the option of working from home if required. They know that increase in family time means a lot to the employee.

Says Rajiv Gunja, a system administrator for a contracting company, and father to eight-year-old son and one-year old toddler, “In my opinion, not one parent can be held as primarily responsible source for up-bringing of children. Marriage is a union of two people and is a compromise. If one cannot do something, the other should pick it up. I know a lot of Indian husbands who have taken up cooking and other household chores, because their wives are working too and come home later than they do. Although, I am seeing more of it in younger generations than in mine. But I too took up this change. Since my wife travels a longer distance for work than I do and comes home later, I usually cook in the weekdays and let her cook in the weekends. I even chose a job closer to home, so one of us can be flexible.”

A father in the movie ‘What to expect when you’re expecting’ says, “We are exhausted but are happy.” For a child grows more wholesomely when (s)he can get inputs and shelter from both parents. Perhaps this should draw some support from at least a few, if not all, old-school fathers who are yet to learn to be “dads”.

This article was published in the Living supplement of Deccan Herald on August 24th 2013.

Breastfeeding: Some useful tips and insights

Some women in urban areas, including Bangalore, aren’t just willing to continue with breastfeeding babies for long. Why? Are their fears valid, or solvable? Here’s an insight into the issue.

The world recently observed breastfeeding week, to spread awareness on the importance of breastfeeding babies. In Bangalore too there were several awareness campaigns, seminars, rallies, advertisements and related promotions.

The government has for sometime been campaigning aggressively on malnutrition and importance of breastfeeding through a series of advertisements with film actor Aamir Khan as the ambassador. Experts however are pointing to a declining graph among educated women on the willingness to breastfeed their babies even for first six months.

Why unwillingness to feed the baby?

Breastfeeding a baby brings its own set of ‘problems’ which many new moms find tough to deal with. Not able to dress up as they want to, need to maintain nutritious diet besides the need to shed weight, problem of leaking milk, the stress of work that makes it tough to reach home at a fixed time etc. are some problems that bother new mothers.

However, all these problems can be overcome with some tactical planning and personal care, provided the new mom has the willpower to continue with breastfeeding the baby.

Dr. Asha Benakappa, a paediatrician and lactation consultant, says: “Breastfeeding is a skill. It needs to be learnt quickly by a new mother. A mother needs to be firm on the decision to breastfeed as long as she can. At least for first six months, a baby needs to be fed exclusively by breast milk. Unfortunately very few educated mothers are encouraged or show the willingness to breastfeed their babies.

Mother is the only one who can ensure the well-being of a newborn. File pic.

Not enough milk?

Many of these women want ease and convenience in feeding patterns. Again many are under this myth of ‘I do not have enough milk.’ Dr.Asha says that if a newborn, except for the first three days after birth, urinates at least six times a day, it means the baby is getting sufficient milk.

Says Dr. Anitha K. Mohan, Consultant Obstetrician at Fortis hospital, Bannerghatta road: “Lack of milk supply in the new mother should be judged by the specialist and not by relatives or by the mother herself. Breastfeeding is not only easy but also the best nutrition for a newborn baby. While there are enough advertisements promoting breast feeding, many urban women do not know the technique. This has to be seriously thought about and addressed by experts.”

Dr. Ravneet Joshi, paediatric and lactation consultant at Manipal hospitals says: “Fortunately in my professional life, I have come across educated young women who want to do their best for the child. The concern of not having enough milk in the mother is related to control of demand. So if a mother nurses often, she will have enough milk supply. She can prevent other problems too if the breast milk is getting drained in adequate quantity.”

Encouraging working women to breastfeed, Dr. Ravneet adds, “Working women should start practicing expressing milk and storing it to feed the baby at least 15 days before they begin work. Increase night-time feeds to have good milk production. However as many would be aware, direct breastfeeding is anytime better than expressed milk as it keeps the mother and baby in close contact.”

What increases breast milk supply?

Try these tips!

  1. There are natural vegetables that induce more milk supply. Various melons including Bottle Guard or Lauki, green leaf vegetables like Sabbasige soppu (Dil – Anethum graveolens) help in milk production, without any odour or side-effect.
  2. If you are a working mother and want to breastfeed your child, time your liquid intake in such a way that milk is produced at the time when you are ready to feed. This means lesser liquid intake during day time.
  3. More liquid intake means more milk. Drinking milk enriches breast milk with more nutrients and calcium.
  4. It is natural that one breast produces more milk, while the other has less. Don’t worry about this.
  5. When breasts are hardened, a hot pack (very hot water inside a rubber bag) carefully given by placing cloth on the skin, helps express extra milk and helps you become normal. If you bear the pain and do nothing, it will lead to fever, lumps and serious medical conditions.
  6. There are lanolin-based creams available in medicals, to treat sore nipples

In her book written on the subject, ‘Breastfeeding-the basic instinct,’ Dr. Asha Benakappa says, “Adequate nutrition, frequent suckling and emotional support are the physiological ways to increase milk production.”

Ginger, garlic, mint, jaggery, dates may be a good diet to be incorporated in the mother’s food plan. however, doctors caution on relying only on foods to encourage mothers. Dr. Asha says a mother should never be made to feel that she will not be able to lactate or that her milk will not be good unless she consumes a particular food.

Breast milk flows naturally from a woman’s body soon after childbirth.  Women need to accept the breast milk it as the only diet to feed their babies and avoid formula milk.

You are working. How can you breastfeed baby?

Dr. Anitha advises, “Some foods like garlic, methi (fenugreek) and oats help mothers to produce more milk. Working professionals too must breastfeed their babies. Women must avail of special leave or flexible work hours to facilitate at least 6 months of exclusive breast feeding. Expressed breast milk is the next best option to direct breastfeeding and must be taught to all mothers. Once breast milk is expressed, it can be kept at room temperature for six hours. This can be given to the baby with a spoon, without heating it or adding anything.”

Says Poornima Sharma, a mother to a three-month old infant, “There is a huge lack of awareness on how to help the baby latch on, hardened breasts and other concerns among new mothers. The consulting obstetrician can play a good role in guiding and counselling new mothers. I could not breastfeed my first baby in the beginning, but I was counseled and encouraged by my doctor. Thankfully, now I do not have any problem in breastfeeding my baby.”

On primary concerns among new mothers during the breastfeeding phase, Dr. Anitha says, “Sore nipples happen because of poor “latch-on” technique. If larger part of the areola (dark area around  the nipple) is in the baby’s mouth during breast feeding, baby gets enough milk and sore nipples do not happen. After breastfeeding, the mother can apply a drop of her breast milk on the sore nipples and allow them to air dry.  This helps healing the soreness.”

A few tips for a cherished breastfeeding phase

  • Have an early check-up at your hospital post-delivery to clear doubts with the concerned obstetrician or lactation consultant. It is advisable to solve problems at this stage like sore nipples, engorgement of breasts, inability to feed from the second breast and so on.
  • Make sure to give the baby -colostrum (first milk) produced by the lactating mother. This should be initiated soon after childbirth or if it is a caesarean delivery, as soon as possible.
  • Regular expression of breast milk (every three hours) will prevent leaking and maintain milk production.
  • Mood swings, hormonal changes are natural during post delivery stage– do not give up breastfeeding due to these reasons.
  • Talk to other mothers who have delivered recently and find out how you can cope with the challenges the new phase brings.
  • Once a baby is on bottle feed, it is difficult to get the baby to switch to breast feeding, so be careful before you take the decision.
  • Plan your career to get back to work after a year of baby’s age or try work-from-home option. Discuss your maternity leave well in advance with the employer to have clarity on the issue.
  • Feeding expressed milk can be done with a palada/a cup or through a spoon. Do not feed expressed milk using a bottle as it can cause nipple confusion with babies.
  • When trying to break away from the feeding baby, insert a finger in its mouth and then separate yourself, in order to avoid a sore nipple and cranky baby.
  • Lactating mothers can use breast pads to prevent milk stains from showing. One can use folded handkerchiefs or absorbent materials inside the bra and change them often.
  • Do not hurry on introducing other foods in the baby’s diet. Talk to your paediatrician when to wean the baby.
  • Avoid giving a pacifier if possible to the baby.
  • Prevent engorged breasts with regular nursing and get it treated soon through immediate remedies as advised by your doctor.
  • Doctors worldwide these days are discouraging feeding cow’s milk to babies below one year, as it leads to respiratory problems in the baby and mucus production.

Mother’s milk is the best

Lactation consultant at Cloudnine, Ruth Patterson says: “One doesn’t find a rural mother taking help of an obstetrician or lactation consultant for breast feeding. It is something she has always seen and grown up with. Urban women are educated but they have no time, patience, have huge disposable incomes so they easily give in to bottle feeding. For working women, expressed milk option is the best one to ensure the baby is on a right diet.”

Breastfeeding has a number of advantages for the baby and the mother. Fewer incidences of breast and cervical cancer have been found in women who breastfeed babies until one year or longer. Due to natural method of calories being shed out, new mothers are able to lose weight easily in breastfeeding phase when combined with regular exercise.

Babies who are breastfed are healthier, have lesser digestion problems and better immunity. Experts say women right from early pregnancy should read books on post delivery and have practical idea of taking care of a little one who is going to be completely dependent on the mother. Lactation experts advise mothers to breastfeed 12 to 14 times a day as per demand of the baby. Finally they have a word of advice- Do not fret of losing some sleep for a few months.

Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma lives in Bangalore and loves reading and writing on society and changing lifestyles.
This article was published on Citizen Matters home page website on August 12th 2013.

What to look for in a maternity hospital?

How do you select the hospital in which you welcome your baby? What to pack for the hospital stay? What care should be taken?

You have endured the tension those nine months could cause, and experienced the joy that lies in the anticipation of becoming a new parent. However, have you chosen the right place to welcome the young one?

Yes, it is important. Choosing a hospital where the would-be-mom is comfortable is of utmost importance and should be planned in advance.

While some of the would-be-moms choose to be with one hospital right through their pregnancy, there are a few who end up delivering at a different hospital with a different obstetrician, as they change doctors or hospitals towards the end of the pregnancy.

Reasons for this vary. It can be due to factors like complications that can arise during pregnancy where a specialised obstetrician at another hospital needs to be consulted; or due to women spending the last trimester at their maternal home and choosing a hospital nearby for delivery.

Treating a newborn with care is essential, for which the hospital should be equipped. Pic: Nagachandrika Bhat

What to look for while choosing a hospital

In any case, choose a hospital that has a team equipped to handle birth of a baby efficiently. Examine all facilities required to deliver a healthy baby with no complications. This is important, as the would-be mom has to be healthy and has to be in a safe environment.

Giving birth to a baby is a time-tested natural process. It is therefore important to choose a hospital or an obstetrician who believes in encouraging women to go through natural deliveries, unless a medical condition dictates a caesarean delivery.

Says Dr. Fatima Poonawala of Alfa Clinic, “A good hospital or a good doctor’s credit in case of deliveries lies in facilitating natural deliveries for moms-to-be in a safe environment so that the mother and the baby can be safe. One needs to have a check on the credentials of the obstetrician, how long the obstetrician has been practicing and availability of the doctor in one or two hospitals. Also it is advisable to see an obstetrician with a birth plan and discuss fears, concerns or any apprehensions during one’s consultations to be comfortable on the final delivery process.”

Poonam Bhandari, a mom to one-year-old Jia, says, “It is of immense value to have the comfort level with the gynaecologist you will be seeing through your pregnancy. I was looking at a hospital that adhered to basic cleanliness, had NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) as I knew I will be having a premature baby and a doctor who could patiently listen and understand my concerns.”

According to Dr. Anu Sridhar, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, “Good maternity hospitals should have maternity set-up in the form of fully functional labour unit with trained staff and doctors specialised in Obstetrics. It also requires 24-hour anesthesiologist, pediatricians, OT and blood bank. “

Yoga during pregnancy
Says Vaishnavi S, yoga expert at Rangadurai hospital, Basavanagudi: “Women should understand that they need to be fit during pregnancy and yoga plays an important role in helping would-be-mothers in pre-natal and post-natal care. The body becomes more flexible to adapt various positions in labour and again helps mothers to get back into shape post-delivery. Again problems like excessive bleeding, loss of bladder control can be addressed through yoga.”

A few pointers to consider when choosing a maternity hospital

Your comfort with your Obstetrician: In your first few meetings with your obstetrician and gynaecologist, you will be able to gauge if your doctor has time and patience to answer your questions calmly. Obviously you want to be with an obstetrician who can make you feel comfortable about your pregnancy, help you build that trust and give the assurance he or she will be with you to handle any concern during pregnancy.

Credentials of the obstetrician and ability to handle complex deliveries: It is essential to choose a hospital and a doctor who has a philosophy and attitude towards birthing that matches with yours. If yours is a normal pregnancy with no other ailments like overweight, diabetes etc., then you have more options on choice of hospital ranging from basic to luxury ones. However if you have any ailment, it is advisable to approach an obstetrician who has experience in handling complex pregnancies, regardless of other facilities like AC rooms and other pampering which is optional for moms-to-be who want to cherish this phase.

Transparent attitude: Again it is important for your obstetrician to be open and talk to you about all stages during your pregnancy. Even in the case of a complication, your obstetrician should be able to take you through with confidence and ensure the best is done regarding the pregnancy and baby.

Availability of NICU and adult ICU at the hospital: Most deliveries happen without requiring the baby to be placed in Neo-natal Intensive Care Units (NICU). However if you do not want the last–minute shift in transfer of baby or mother for a critic condition (which is rare, but can happen) then you can choose a hospital that has both NICU and adult ICU at the hospital.

Proximity to your home: Choose a hospital that is near to your home, as right through the pregnancy there would be many check-ups and routine tests. Shorter the distance, easier it would be for you. However according to Dr. Fatima, the distance does not really matter regarding birth of a child as long as one is taken care under a good obstetrician.

Feedback from various sources: Make it a point to obtain feedback on the doctor, nursing team and hospital in general from various sources like relatives or friends, online feedback etc. and then decide.

Hospital Care during night hours, holidays and emergencies: It is very important for a would-be mother to consider emergencies, and check if there would be sufficient staff during odd hours. Also discuss with your doctor during the later stages of pregnancy – how soon can she be with you when the labour pain begins, so that you know your lead time before your doctor takes charge of your delivery.

Other added factors that can help you make the final choice

  • Availability of a pediatrician at the hospital.
  • Fitness programs like aerobics, yoga which can help in smooth pregnancy phase and even in post-natal care.
  • Courteousness of staff like the reception and at the general attitude and approach of nursing towards moms-to-be.
  • Cleanliness, hygiene maintained at operation theatres, NICU, and Labour Recovery Room- the room where you will spend the three days with your baby. You may not choose a fancy boutique hospital but do check on hygiene and basic facilities that can help you go through the birthing process smoothly.
  • Availability of Lactation Consultant, Nutritionist and a Physiotherapist at the hospital
  • Whether you want your partner to be with you in the labour room and does your hospital support that opinion.
  • Availability of 24X7 hot water. Traditionally a new mom is not supposed to touch cold water. Bangalore is known for its cold weather, so hot water is a must for both baby and the new mom.

To wrap up, choose a hospital where you feel as a gut-feeling that you and your baby will be taken care well at the hospital. Good Luck to step into happy motherhood.

What to pack for the D-day?

(Do check with your hospital what essentials do they provide to moms-to-be. There are quite a few hospitals now, who provide a lot of essentials along with additional pampering.)

For the Mother-to-be

Pyjamas and Slippers: A two piece pyjamas or a night gown that has front buttons to aid breast feeding.

Underwear-Medium to Large size: You can buy cotton underwear-not the fancy ones about 6-8 of them and if you are buying inexpensive ones, you can always dispose them as they can get a bit messy with leaks. There are also disposable underwears available for this purpose, which come in a set of 6-8.

Sanitary pads: Pick about 8-9 for each day. Go in for normal sanitary pads and not the ultra-thins or tampons. Some hospitals provide maternal sanitary pads meant for the occasion, which are also available in medical shops.

Toiletries: You can take soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, a hair band to keep hair off the face and a few bands to tie the hair. Avoid using deodorant during your stay in the hospital and in the initial days of breast-feeding. Even babies like mom’s body smell than anything else.

Maternity bras: It is a natural phenomenon that you will be leaking milk, so buy appropriate maternity bras – about 6 of them for your three-to-four days stay at the hospital, and later. Take a stole/shawl or a nursing wrap if it would make you feel comfortable during breast feeding.

Clothes to go back home: Most luxury hospitals offer gowns for the new mother and a wrap for the baby. You can however opt to take your own set of clothes including three sets of front –button tops and pyjamas and a comfortable outfit to go home with the baby. You can even carry along an outfit in your packing bag for professional photo-session that are done in many high-end hospitals.

For the Baby

Nappies: It is better to have a rather large reserve of nappies when it comes to your newborn essentials. Keep a few cloth nappies as keeping the baby constantly in disposable nappies can cause irritation to the baby’s skin.

Baby wipes and powder: It is best to use cotton wool and water for a newborn due to its sensitive skin, but a few wipes can be handy as well.

Jumpsuits: Grow suits or jumpsuits of newborn size are a good option as they cover the entire body of the baby. An additional wrap or two can be taken with the set of clothes to make the baby feel comfortable when held by mom or others.

Bottles: If you plan to bottle–feed as a top-up or due to a medical condition where you cannot breast-feed, carry sterilized bottles–around four of them. However do note, that breast milk is ‘the’ healthy food you can give to your baby for the next six months

Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma lives in Bangalore and loves reading and writing on society and changing lifestyles.
This article was posted on Citizen Matters website on August 2nd 2013

The Royal ‘Arrival’

Glamour revolving offspring of celebrities are seen on an increasing high wave of late. Yesterday I couldn’t believe it when I read in the tabloid section of the leading paper at home screaming its lungs out ” Aamir and Kiran Rao enroll their son Azad at a Montessori school”. As normal intelligent and educated parents, any one would enroll their child in a Montessori or a playschool according to the child’s age. A lead story was made on this in the newspaper. Another extremely followed celebrity -Shah Rukh’s decision to go for a surrogate baby too came with its news -positive and negative including the couple finding out the sex of the child prior to its birth. For me them having a third baby is purely their decision and I need not know further on which diet he had, or school he went and so on.

Another recent incident was when a journalist friend called me to find out if I knew of hospitals that encourage hypno birth as apparently Kate Middleton was planning a birth of this kind. I said last I had heard of water births and not this one. She was not too pleased with my answer as I do write on pregnancy and parenting. Anyway to brush up, did read upon it to answer any further questions from anyone else.

It amazes me how people are so intrigued by the lives of children belonging to celebrities world-wide. Perhaps it is as interesting , if not less as much as their spouses. Yes divorces and more importantly, settlement payment makes for flashy news as much as celebrities professional lives.

So coming back to the topic, hold on and wait as the world this week is waiting for the royal arrival of the Duchess of Cambridge. This will be a another added story how we will celebrate ‘the arrival’. Yes over 180 photojournalists are stationed 24×7 to capture moments that needs to be showcased the world.

Wish we just allow the celebrities to lead their personal lives little more privately and be bothered only of their role on screen if an actor or respect the position rather than want to lap up everything associated with their lives.



The answers might be out there

Trends Bringing up children is not rocket science. However given the all-knowing Internet is just a click away, parents are checking online resources for answers and reassurance, writes RESHMA KRISHNAMURTHY SHARMA

Keep it simpleWith some help from family, friends and the netPhoto: Sandeep saxena

Until a few years ago, parenting was considered a natural progression of motherhood. Parents, didn’t have to look too far for advice about how to bring up their children—as it was readily available from parents and friendly-neighbourhood aunties.

However, now with nuclear families becoming the norm rather than exception, parents are increasingly relying on advice online or from books. Mums-to-be go on an overdrive to gather information as soon as they get to know they are pregnant. This continues into the parenting phase as well where it is shared with fathers too.

Parents have a host of options from books, videos and websites provide information for the initial years of parenting, and information-hungry parents are waiting to devour it. If these are not enough, there are parenting workshops conducted by pre-schools and maternity hospitals. So has parenting become tougher over the years?

Says Swati Popat Vats, a parenting expert and head of a pre-school chain, “Parenting has changed in the last few years. There are many reasons including nuclear families, working moms and single-parent families.People require support in their day-to-day parenting decisions. Thanks to the internet, parents are on facebook, google and other websites. Conflicting advice leads to a lot of confusion. Parents need to be guided on guilt-free and instinctive parenting. Not to forget, earlier a dedicated member of the family was focused on bringing up the children whereas today parenting is a part of the many duties that parents perform.”

Grandparents are not completely ruled out of the proceedings. Says Lavanya Raghuram, a HR professional and mother of an eight-year-old Puja, “There are enough issues to be tackled right from toddler age to pre-teens and way beyond regarding children. Once in a while, I go to a websites or internet forums and talk to friends or colleagues who have children of a similar age. My parents are just a phone call away and I take their advice occasionally as they do not belong to this generation.”

Rashmi Patel, an entrepreneur and a mom of a two-year-old begs to differ. “I think parenting is a personal discovery for every individual. Though I have read a lot of pregnancy books, I go by instinct on handling every-day issues with my child.”

Swati says: “Materialistic parenting is a growing trend across the country in urban sectors. Many parents think they can substitute their time and attention with toys and gifts. Also incorrect lifestyle habits, too much focus on keeping the child busy and lack of physical exercise is adding to the burden. Earlier children had it much easier as they had references of uniform standards and practices. Today, with parents raising children in multiple value-based environments; it is making things difficult for children to conform to a particular lifestyle or habit.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Yesheswini Kamaraju says, “Children today are exposed to a great deal more of technology. Parents need to be in tune with this as well. Unlike the earlier authoritative style, today the focus is on communication, regardless of the age of the child. Parents, can go by inherent parenting rules unless an issue comes up where a reference is required and there are enough available.” Parenting has undergone tremendous changes. But change is about progress and the sooner one adapts to the changes, the better it is for all concerned.

The article has appeared in the Hindu Metro Plus in Bangalore edition on June 11th 2013 . Link to the original write-up is here-



Public spaces in Bangalore that matter for kids and parents

Wow, it is no longer imperative to go to a mall and spend unnecessarily for your child’s play time. Thanks to BBMP’s efforts in namma Bengaluru, suddenly there’s a spurt of public spaces converted into parks, gardens and specifically safe and clean kid’s play areas. This is meant for children under the age of five though you can spot a lot older kids prancing around merrily on most evenings.

Among the malls, the one that I did notice to have substantiate space and value for money was the Forum in Koramangala with regards to its children’s play area. Even now when I take my little one once in a while to this mall, he enjoys his time there. The others like Meenakshi or the Orion have so called kids play areas but either they are too constrained in space or they charge exorbitantly for half an hour.

South Bangalore and many other areas are witnessing hordes of parents gathering in these mini parks every evening. It is quite a happy scene to notice the unmindful glances on a child’s face who is perhaps sitting on a swing for the first time or the 1000th time and is just enjoying the time out there. It is relaxing to see parents -both moms and dads and even grandparents trying to get their little ones have a good time and in turn have a stress-free hour or two in the evening.

When I was in my childhood, I didn’t have these constructed spaces though there was lot more greenery and open grounds in Bangalore. It is coming back as a circle where parents and kids are enjoying open spaces, more greenery than claustrophobic malls though they are air-conditioned and give that premium look. But hey, one cannot live in these premium space everyday right? So  let’s leave such outings for occasional visits and utilize happy evenings in more open spaces where nature greets you wholeheartedly.

Will try and put up a pic of one or two parks shortly.