Mar 21, 2012

Tips for moms-to-be

This post has been lingering in my mind for quite sometime now. Better late than never. 2011 had given me a lot of insights into motherhood and childcare. Though many of the moms-to-be and new moms might be aware of these, I want to share some of my learnings which might be of help to some of you. Please note I'm not a medical practitioner and so I would highly recommend you consult with your doctor.

Even before the stick confirms the happy "news", taking folic acid supplements is essential. Eating healthy, keeping stress levels low and taking adequate rest are required while you are planning to conceive. One very important point which I found quite difficult to practice while pregnant was to drink adequate water (3-4 litres per day). If you don't have this habit, it's better to start early.

I had severe nausea during my first trimester and the taste of food was sickening. I started taking lemon juice an hour before lunch and dinner and it reduced the discomfort to a great extent. A glass of buttermilk also helps. Since having a full meal is nearly impossible, it's better to munch on something every 2 hours.

Once the nausea reduces, it's time to focus more on eating nutritious foods. Include a lot of protein in your diet in the form of pulses and sprouts. Raw sprouts may cause indigestion and gas problems. So it's better to steam them for 5 minutes before consuming them. I'm not really a salad person. I'm used to eating cooked vegetables. But the dietician advises that one must include 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits in a day. So I would add raw veggies such as cucumbers, lettuce, capsicums, tomatoes and onions in my sandwiches.

I also started to include a lot of greens, especially spinach (palak) and fenugreek (methi). The gourd vegetables such as ridge gourd, bottle gourd and snake gourd doesn't give a heavy feeling to your stomach. So I usually cook them with lentils for lunch. Occasional binging on cravings should be fine. I used to have cravings for sweets and chaat items but I ensured I didn't eat too much of such foods.

As far as exercise is concerned, walking for 20-30 minutes everyday is advised by my doctor. But I didn't follow it religiously. I used to walk inside my home after lunch and dinner for around 15 min. Other than this, grocery shopping every week gave me a few more opportunities to walk. I kept myself active at home, with cooking and other household chores. So I guess all these compensated for my lack of doing pre-natal exercises.

Once you start your third trimester, it's better to start planning for the new arrival. The list of things I purchased before my little one arrived are:

   * cotton shirts/tops (for day wear)
   * bodysuits (for night wear)
   * sleepsuits (didn't find them useful as it didn't fit my daughter. Better to buy bodysuits and put on socks to cover the feet)
   * cotton nappies
   * diapers
   * blanket (it was winter when my daughter arrived)
   * sweater
   * caps
   * socks
   * swaddling sheets
   * feeding bottle (just in case of emergency)
   * towels
   * baby soap
   * rubber sheet

Things that I purchased immediately after she was born (wish I had purchased them earlier) are :

   * mosquito net
   * bucket and a mug (better to have a separate one for the baby)
   * baby lotion
   * baby shampoo
   * soap case
   * dustbin with a lid (for disposing the used diaper)
   * cloth drying stand (for drying the washed cotton nappies)

I had arranged a maid to give bath and massage to my baby. Since you might be recovering from your delivery, it's better if someone more experienced can handle the delicate newborn and give bath everyday. Once you feel comfortable holding your baby, you can bathe him/her yourself.

If you are planning to place your baby in a crib, spend time before hand to buy a good quality one. We decided to co-sleep with the baby since it's convenient for night feeds and my daughter feels secure. We tried the traditional cloth cradle but she didn't like it at all.

I hope these tips were helpful for anxious new moms. If you have any other queries, feel free to post them in the comments and I will be glad to answer them.

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