Pic courtesy : Quickmeme
I can still feel the excitement and anxiety of the day I was getting admitted in the hospital eagerly waiting for Baby V to arrive. Weeks of planning had gone into it and I would be happy to share the packing essentials for the big day.
- Photo ID, Insurance Info, Hospital Forms – First and foremost, important stuff to be filed in organized folders and kept ready at least a month before the due date. Insurance formalities can be a real pain if not managed properly.
- Cell phone and charger – You will need it to answer to all the wishes you get J
- Comfortable night gown – If you are someone like me who is used to wearing PJs and shorts, let me tell you that is not an option. Even mums who have been used to wearing sarees and salwar suits, you might like to choose comfort for a while J
- Headband – However trivial it may sound, it is an essential. Post my CSec I was asked to lie down without a pillow for straight 20 hours. I had taken just one clutcher which poked me all night through until the time I had to borrow a headband from someone else.
- Maternity Bra – Feeding a baby every now and then is no easy job. The only thing which can make things better for you is convenience. There are plenty of options in the maternity shopping section which can be explored.
- Hipster panties – CSec mommies will have to be extra careful with the stitches and avoid any friction on the incision. Hence, it is highly advisable to wear plus size panties which go all the way up to your upper abdomen.
- Breastfeeding cover – Indian friends and relatives do not hesitate to drop in generously once the baby is born. After all, our culture is such that we always rejoice and mourn together. For a new mom, it can get really hard and embarrassing to manage the crowd while she is still coming to terms with feeding a baby. So a good cover is a must (there are tons available which can be worn later in many different ways). P.S I still wear mine as a kaftan and sometimes roll it up as a scarf.
- Nursing Pads – Not everybody would need it right away but being prepared for leak protection will save you a lot of trouble.
- Adult Diapers – Heavy bleeding in the first few days comes as quite a shock to most moms but it’s all normal. Generally, recommend adult diapers which can manage heavy bleeding unlike the usual sanitary pads.
- Nipple creams – Sore nipples are going to be your friends for the next few months, applying good quality nipple creams could relieve some bit of pain.
- Toiletries and personal items: The must haves for every woman – Toothbrush, hairbrush, toothpaste, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lotion, contact lens case and solution. Travel size packs recommended as they are easy to carry.
- Comfortable loose maternity clothes and flat slippers for the discharge day- I had swollen feet for the most of my maternity. While it magically disappeared just after the baby was out but I would still recommend very comfortable slippers/shoes as you are yet to gain complete stability and control over your body post-delivery.
- Food – Your doctor will best prescribe what diet you should be following post procedure. Also, Indian moms tend to carry Shatavari and other Ayurvedic supplements for lactation supply, make sure your doctor is aware and okay with it.
Soon, I shall come up with a packing list for the Indian baby to arrive.
This winter has been very tough for me as far as V’s health was concerned. We struggled for nights with blocked nose, persistent cough and sore throat. I had to do an extensive research on how to deal with baby’s cough and cold , how to boost immunity and how to get rid of recurring flu. While I was not successful in the initial attempts, I learnt a lot through the failed attempts. One of the biggest myths that burst for me was that babies/kids should be kept indoors to avoid any kind of health issue. Contrary to this popular belief, there are in fact hundreds of benefits for kids who play outside regularly, it is also advised that kids should spend more than 3 hours outdoors each day. Some of the reasons why you should let your child spend time outside are listed below –
- Confinement breeds diseases: While rest is extremely important for the sick and we are perennially worried about our kids catching cold when they step out, the reality is virus is easy to catch in closed environments. In open areas, there are lesser chances of kids catching the virus and in open air.
- Emotional and social competencies: Outdoor play has brain-boosting benefits for kids, starting in infancy. It strengthens the language and communication interactions among children who play together in the park. The more they socialize, the faster their learning is.
- Vitamin D Levels : Vitamin D has several health benefits like strengthening bone health which is a key parameter for growth in kids. Since, most of our kids have minimum exposure to sun these days, we try to supplement through food and tablets but sunlight is the most natural and effective way of receiving Vitamin D. Ofcourse, the precautionary measures must be taken for children who get sun burns easily.
- Channelize energy and increase curiosity: Kids come with a huge amount of energy which has to be channelized in a productive way. Kids who are confident about their physical abilities tend to be more positive about their lives in general. When they are exposed to newer things, their curiosity levels rise up, their tendency to ask questions increases and all of this contributes to the overall energy levels of a child.
- Increased attention span : Green outdoor settings always appear to reduce Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms amongst children, that includes the exposure they get to natural settings through different outdoor activities.
- Concept of leadership and team work – Outdoor play is extremely important to the social development of children particularly for building self-confidence. In addition to it, children also get more empathetic through social play, and they develop more skills for coping with conflict. Group activities also help develop team skills and leadership/moderation skills at a very early age.
- Boosting creativity: Sensory inputs help boost creativity and imagination. It also helps with quick learning – we all know we learn to do by doing and there is no substitute to experience. So, if you touch the sand, you would understand the concept of coarse and fine and there is no other way to explain it by seeing or reading. Hence, we must encourage our kids to step out and enjoy the sun, grass and wide skies.
I would be so happy to receive inputs from other moms who are willing to share their experiences and tricks which have worked for them.
‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ is an ancient line that comes from the Hindu Scriptures which speaks about how a guest is equivalent to God. While this is practiced widely in India, we got to experience the flavor of it in our Paris Trip where we decided to stay with the host family through a popular home stay website. While the option is far more economic compared to a hotel stay, the experience is unmatched. In most occasions, you will find the hosts being extremely enthusiastic about letting out their place. They won’t behave like they are just temporary landlords who are handing over their keys to you. They are in the true spirit, cultural ambassadors proud of the place they’re from, sharing their homes and offering a unique experience in the city you have come visiting. We as a couple had a ball in not just Paris but different cities of UK and Europe staying in various apartments where we met extremely generous and fun loving hosts. We have been picking up our learning from each of the experiences.Here are few pictures from the home stay at Paris.
A reading corner is my favorite, everywhere I go!
Let me just share my top 7 points on being a good host and why you should consider hosting your space to guests –
- How to be accepting – No matter how different your cultures and languages might be, there is always something common to strike a chord with and this is a great platform to explore that. Similarly, you also learn to respect each others’ differences, either way it is a great way to improve the quality of accepting people around you.
- How to respect individual space – When you are letting out your house to strangers, you have to place hundred percent trust on them and it is not easy. So, that itself is a huge task to complete before you step out to become a host. As guests in our homestays, we felt completely at home particularly in the magnificent modern apartment of Paris only for the reason that the hosts gave us our space all through the day yet made sure to join us during the meals as one big family.
- How to be a cultural ambassador – As hosts, you can be an instant favorite if you give useful recommendations like the local pubs, the nearby restaurants, the must see places and the ones that can be skipped, the opera, the theatre and the list goes on. Funnily, it improves your knowledge of the culture of your locale.Hence, it is always wise to write to the guest beforehand and understand their interest and purpose of travel.
- How to exchange values – Hosting guests provides you with the opportunity to learn about a new country’s cultural and family values as much as it provides them with the same opportunity. Understanding other’s cultures teaches you to understand more about people’s personalities and attitudes towards many different aspects of life.
- How to make awesome food – I know it sounds funny but I have heard people say that some of the best foods they have had in their lives are with the host families they have stayed with. In our experience, the hosts would leave a generous spread of breakfast at the table every morning but they loved to cook food for supper every evening. We took this opportunity to introduce few Indian dishes to them and they absolutely loved it(minus the spices). Interestingly, one of them was Spanish, so it was a brilliant concoction of Indian, French and Spanish food that we had every evening.
- How to build professional network – Foreign language is a great plus for your resume if you are ready to take up an international assignment, this is a wonderful opportunity to grow your professional network .
- How to be passionate about simple joys of life – Hosting is possibly the most natural thing that comes to human beings, after all you must have hosted someone at some point of life – be it friends or family. Hosting a stranger can be a really rewarding experience if you leverage on this unique opportunity of making a new friend, getting to know about a new culture and possibly open a channel to your next travel to the guest’s city.
Picture from a busy locale just outside the apartment, from fruits to flowers to pubs – everything a stone’s throw away!
The next time you think about letting out your space to a stranger, think from a positive perspective!
Follow me on Instagram by clicking on the link below-