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Breast(pump) feeding

Where do I start? Okay, If breast feeding is considered blessing for the babies then breast (pump) feeding is a blessing for the mommies.  I managed to feed my baby exclusively with breast milk for first four months though I had to return to work in less than three months and all the credit goes to the breast pump. Let me share my recent first hand experience of breast (pump) feeding. Hope this helps at least one of the clueless newbie mommy out there.

My journey of BF started two days after giving birth to my baby as the colostrum took its own time to find its way out. Why should the it worry about my baby’s hunger? I patiently (not really) waited for the prestigious highly hyped colostrum buddy to peep out and then there was no stop. Engorgement has become my frequent visitor even if I am delayed by one minute in the two hour feeding routine. Not willing to befriend Ms.Engorge I started the pumping saga. I pumped once or twice a day and built up my freezer stash. Little did I know the benefit of freezer stash at that time. My family didn’t really like the idea of storing the milk in freezer. Amma’s mantra was “if you have more then feed him often” but I didn’t budge and took my stand for once.  I fed him only when he was in need and stored all the excess milk ignoring those stares.

This is the calculation from my personal experience. This may not be true for all babies. It is only my personal experience and I have not done any research or study around it. Enough said let’s get into the details now.

The baby’s intake will be their age+2 ounces roughly for every two hours. So, newborn will intake 2 ounces in 1st month, 3 ounces in 2nd month, 4 ounces in 3rd month and so on.  Mother’s milk production will be more than required in initial months so saving them for later is the wiser choice. My lactation consultant asked me to always remember the 5-5-5 rule for milk storage. Milk can be stored for 5 hours in room temperature, 5 days in fridge and 5 months in freezer.

During first month mostly I fed my baby as I was still recuperating from the surgery. Then, I started to have a pattern. Like once or twice a day I will pump, save 2 to 3 ounces for next feed and the rest in freezer. This way I was able to save at least 4 to 6 ounces every day. By the time I was ready to start work I had enough in freezer to feed my baby for 3 days.

During the first day of work my baby lived on the freezer stash. Imagine 8 hours being away from the baby for the first time. That’s the day I, rather my family,  realized the power of saving milk. At work I pumped for the next day. Store them in a cooler pack until I get home and then kept it in refrigerator. At nights I was feeding. The routine was set.

Another personal experience is that the more you feed the more is the milk production as doctors say breast milk production is directly proportional to your baby’s need. Your brain gets signaled and the production increases under normal circumstances if you don’t have any other medical problems. You would have noticed the let down just before feeding or when your baby cries in hunger. This connection is beyond explanation but I have felt it. So, I choose to store Friday’s pumped milk for following Monday and feed my baby on weekends. This setup worked great for another one month. The contentment of this setup was beyond words.

Amma used to say that milk is not enough for my baby but I kept my cool as long as he is fed based on my calculation and he was gaining weight as expected every month. That is at fourth month he was fed around 6 ounces every time he showed signs of hunger. My doctor also confirmed that around 24 to 26 ounces per day is good enough for a four month old.  Also, babies usually gain 1kg every month for initial few months. I have experienced this for both my kids.

Once four months were over, we slowly introduced him to supplement (Enfamil) and at five months we started with solids as per my doctor’s advice. I could have continued pumping for as long as I want but as other priorities came up and due to other practical reasons I slowly reduced my pumping routine and now (at six months) feeding him only at nights. Hope to continue with the nighttime feed as long as possible.

And that sums up my Breast(pump) feeding saga. Please share your experience too..

Oh by the way I used Medela electric double pump and it worked great for me.

Good luck to all the new and expecting mommies..

P.S: This post might have lot of figures but I guess if you are feeding or have recently done that you should be able to relate to it more easily. Others, don’t worry if the figures are refusing to get into your mind. You can always revisit this place when you are about to start the BF phase.

Cross-posted at IMC – http://www.indianmomsconnect.com/2013/07/18/breastpump-feeding

Zentangle and Third grade Art

Thanks to Deepika of D Diaries. It is her post that triggered me to introduce Adi to the beautiful art of Zentangle.  Once in a blue moon day when we were left with nothing to do I grabbed the paper and pencil and sat with the girl to show her the art of zentangling. She liked it and came up with her art by squeezing her right brain for some creative juice.

She named her art as  “Singing ghost”. I felt the title is apt for the picture. What do you think?

Do you see those musical notes next to so called head?

zentangle-singing-ghost

And this is my attempt:

zentangle-yourstruly

As every year tradition I have created a page for all her artwork in third grade. It includes the work done at classroom, home and the art class. Click here to see them.

I gave up clearing my Feedly reader. The unread count is 400+ at the moment. I am randomly picking up specific blogs and reading them on a day. So, don’t be surprised if you are bombarded with comments from me on a single day. 

 

My-oh-my!!!!

There she asked last evening “Amma is it true that once you grow older your pee turns into blood and you have to use pads to save your dress???”

It took me few seconds to respond but I am glad I handled it quite well instead of goofing up. It was totally an unexpected moment. I took a deep breath and said “Yes, its true though you may get it only for 3 to 4 days a month and its called menstruation”. With that we moved on to our own work. One of her schoolmate was the source for her.

Note to self and fellow mommies:

1. Don’t worry about how to initiate the talks rather prepare yourself to handle the questions at unexpected moment.

2. It makes it easier to talk about it as science and more importantly in not-a-big-deal tone.

3. Acknowledge and keep the talk brief. No matter what you do, the moment they raise the question give full attention to them and respond to all their questions briefly.

4. If you are not able to respond at that moment simply say “Yes, what you have heard is true but shall we talk about it after a while? Then, remember to talk about it when both are involved in some task like while folding clothes together or chatting in general. The child should be in a state of mind to ask more questions. Probably start with some general talk and then move on to the specific topic. Check with them if they want to talk about it before proceeding. Maintain the casual tone throughout the talk.

5. Don’t explain in detail unless they are ready to listen.

There could be better ways to handle this but these are my first hand experience. Hope this helps someone someday…

Adi doesn’t want me to kiss her in public and says “don’t embarrass me” if I call her by cute names or act weird in public.  I am missing those days when simple yet weird acts like a swift dance move, a jump here and there, saying “yo-yo in rap style” made my girl laugh. Today they embarrass her. I don’t want my little girl to grow up so fast!!!!! I am not ready to accept her as a grown up yet.

IS THERE A WAY TO PAUSE THE TIME ONLY FOR MY GIRL?????

P.S: I am behind by few days on clearing my reader and responding to comments. Will get to it soon.  I will also make a separate post on the fruit themed party. Thank you all for the birthday wishes to Adi…

Tower power

That’s the science project assigned to Adi by her class teacher. This is her first science experiment. Every week two kids from the class were selected to present their project and this week was Adi’s turn. There was no chance to squeeze our brain as the topic was given and step by step procedure was also explained in the Science textbook. Can it get any better? Though we would have had some fun if there was some thinking and creativity.

With this project all she had to do was to record her observation and execute the experiment in the class.  She bought home the textbook and scoring sheet last weekend and since then our discussion has started on how to present the project. The scoring sheet had categories defined with ratings from 4 to 1 (highest to least). The girl was targeting to get 4 in all categories so worked hard on the presentation.

The project was to explain why water towers are constructed high in cities. How does the height help in flow of water through pipes to homes and businesses?

We bought a big poster board and decided to have sections like question, hypothesis, materials used, method/procedure, results and conclusion. She had to explain the details for each section in writing. I helped her with the outline of the board and sentence formation for each section. Rest all was taken care by her.  It was she who decided to use different color construction paper for each section and to use a white sheet on the construction paper to write the details. We also decided to make a water tower with newspaper and stick it on the board as a model.

That’s the girl at work. She had worked on this poster board for more than 7 hours perfecting every detail.

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Poster board – end product. Apologies for the poor quality picture.

It was her idea to cut out the wiggly papers and write title in bubble letters. The sheets are

green – materials used
blue – question
purple – hypothesis
orange – method/procedures
yellow – result
pink (last one) – conclusion.

She first wrote the details in pencil, corrected the mistakes and then traced the words with markers. She even had to redo some of the papers and did them with no fuss.

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Next, she had to execute the experiement at class. The execution procedure was to place a baking pan in a flat table, connect a transparent flexible plastic tube to a funnel, request a friend to hold the funnel and tube, pour water through funnel, raise and lower the funnel to show the water flow in the tube. As the funnel is raised higher the water will flow faster and squirt out of the tube into the pan. This explains why water towers are constructed higher. It is to have faster flow of water through the pipes.

I didn’t think much through this and was prepared to just buy all the materials but M came up with this brilliant (!!) idea of using a bottle instead of funnel. That way she can close the cap and handle the bottle with water and tube by herself and it will be less messier also. It becomes simpler, fill the bottle with water, have the tube connected via the bottle cap and just invert the bottle whenever you want the water to flow through the pipe. We loved the idea and that’s what exactly she did. M bought the plastic tube from Home Depot and helped to fix the tube to the bottle cap.

That’s the girl trying out the experiment at home.

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We had dry run of the complete presentation at home and she did well. We also gave her idea to involve her classmates in the experiment by inviting them to try it by themselves. They can raise and lower the bottle to see the water flow in the pipe. Looks like she did so and all her classmates volunteered to try their hands.  I think her teacher was impressed with the class participation and guess what’s the score? Adi managed to get 4 for all categories and scored 100.

Scoring sheet:

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My contribution was minuscule to this project and all the credit goes to M and Adi for his planning and her execution. If she had used funnel then the execution would have got messier and her classmates would not have tried it as that involves more than one person’s help like one to hold the funnel and tube and another to pour the water et all.

On a different note, she did well on all subjects in review exam.

Kudos to the daddy-daughter duo.. I was happy as I got a topic for the marathon :)  Talk about priorities :)

 

Exploring Indian Mythology

After all that reading of Indian mythology children books about Ganesha, Krishna, Shiva and drawing the representation of some of the Indian god the little girl now has some questions that I am struggling to answer with enough justification.

1. Why is God’s skin in blue color generally?

2. Why do each artist draw the same God in different way and different colors?

3. Who is Vishnu’s wife? Why does he have different wife in different avatars?

4. Why do God’s have many wives?

5. Why did Kamsa kill all the kids if only the 8th kid of Vasudeva and Devaki is a threat to him?

6. Why do you put that white and red stuff (she is referring to Vibhuthi and Kumkum) in your forehead after praying to God amma?

7. Will whatever we pray to God really happen for sure?

Saving the best for the last

8. Is God real amma?

Can someone help me plueezzzzeeee?

 

Just for laugh

The girl is not disappointing me ever since I started writing this section. Today it was again M’s turn

She was getting ready to read for the 6 hour reading program and the ritual is one of us have to press “Start” in the stopwatch of my iTouch exactly when she starts reading. You see, she doesn’t want to press Start and then start to read as that means she is cheating for that one second. Today, as it is supposed to be M’s turn he volunteered to press Start.

Adi said she would say “Go” when ready and he has to press Start. He was all ready with the stopwatch screen and the index finger very close to the Start button and all that. The girl sat next to him, opened the first page of the book, looked at both of us and said “Cupcake”. By this time M pressed Start. Then, she was teasing him as why did he press start when she didn’t say “Go”.  She was like “Appa don’t you know how a “Go” sounds like?”

The look on his face cracked me up totally :D :D :D

 

Dory laying eggs

Looking at the way we are taking care of Dory (the fighter fish) our neighbors gave us a choice to keep Dory with ourselves but I didn’t want to take up the long term commitment at this stage so the deal is that we will keep it as long as Adi wants to.

Over to the conversation

Adi: Amma, how nice would it be if Dory lays eggs and we get more fishes?
Amma: No pappa, it will not happen unless it mates (wondering self if she know what mate means)
Adi: Yeah, you are correct. It has to mate to lay eggs and runs away.
Amma: A big sigh of relief!!!!!!!
Adi: bounces back in few seconds.. But, amma what should it do to mate?
Amma: It needs a male fish.
Adi: And then, what happens?
Amma: Pappa, you may not understand it now. I will explain the details to you when you are ten years old okie?
Adi: But, is it true for all creatures? Should male and female mate to lay eggs or have babies?
Amma: Yes !!!!!
Adi: Okay then, I may not understand about the fish mate but at least explain to me about what happens with humans. Please, please, please, pretty please
Amma: *rolling eyes heavily*  Okay, the male has sperms and that has to get into the female’s body and meet the eggs in her ovary to conceive a baby. Clear?
Adi: Yes, I understand but how does the thing get into female’s body?
Amma: To understand that you have to be ten years old pappa. Can we please continue this topic when you are old enough to understand?
Adi: **shrugs her shoulder** and moves on with a swift “Okie”
Amma: Holds on to the nearest chair to save herself from passing out…

there were other questions also like

“Do we have to be married to have a baby?”

“Is that’s why you married Appa, to have me?”

“But, why should you marry him for that, why can’t you guys just live together?”

I hope she forgets all those questions that I keep procrastinating as ten years old thingie.. Not that I don’t want to discuss. I will definitely discuss all these topics with her but when it is appropriate and I have prepared myself better.

This time, did I do a fair job when the questions were shot out of the blue? What do you guys think? How should we handle such questions? What is the appropriate age to discuss?

Indian school syllabuses

ETA: Just now read LLT’s latest post. What a coincidence.. Sailing in the same boat as her :( 

I have been analyzing about the school syllabuses followed at India for a while now. No, there is no concrete plan about R2I yet but isn’t it better to analyze ahead.

So far it looks like there are IB, IGCSE, ICSE, CBSE, Matric and state board syllabuses.

I am interested in knowing more about the pros and cons of CBSE vs ICSE vs IGCSE syllabuses.  Below are the details I have collated so far.

CBSE

1. Helps if the child plans to take standardized entrance exams for professional courses at India as the exam patterns are based on CBSE syllabus.
2. Relatively easy.
3. Conceptual learning is not as intensive as other syllabuses.
4. Focus on English is comparatively less.
5. Less expensive
6. More focus on second language (Hindi, French)

ICSE and IGCSE

I couldn’t clearly identify the difference between these syllabuses except that IGCSE follows the curriculum set by Cambridge university at UK – http://www.cie.org.uk/

1.  Internationally recognized. I guess child will be able to pursue under grad outside India without preliminary exams.
2. Relatively tough with more projects and practical/conceptual learning.
3. The curriculum is 1 or 2 grades higher than CBSE. Like whatever an IGCSE child learns in 6th grade will be learned by a CBSE child in 7th or 8th grade.
4. Focus on second language depends on the school.
5. English standard is high.
6. Easier to switch to CBSE later as curriculum is less challenging in CBSE.
7. Expensive.

I am now at an even more confused state with all these analysis.  I understand that its better to consider other factors too like

1. distance of school from home (keep it as minimum as possible)
2. school atmosphere (should be friendly and encouraging to the child)
3. parents vs teachers communication (should not be restricted)

As LLT rightly said “How can I decide about the 10th or 12th grade now when I have no clue about how the primary education is going to be? when I have no clue about what stream the child will develop interest upon?”

Looks like its not very easy to switch schools often at India (owe it to the so called capitation and other non-refundable hefty fees). After all we are not millionaires or billionaires :(

So, assume you have few schools in your list that you are happy with based on above factors but each of them is following different syllabus. Which syllabus would you choose? Your suggestions please..

Help me to save some hair :( :(