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“Annaprashan ” The first Food ceremony

Image source: FreeFoodPhotos.com

6 months passed by and it looked like a thing of yesterday when we were all excited yet nervous about the delivery, anxiously waiting each day if it will happen today; and after the birth, as the 6 months mark approached it hit me that my baby was about to move a little further from me, beginning the solid food journey. The selfish mother in me was a little sad, seeing time fly out of my hands, it was just 6 months and I could already imagine him 6, 16 and 26 years old an independent young boy!!



I consider myself blessed as my breastfeeding journey has been smooth ever since the first moment we were born (baby A and the mommy me) and baby was put on my breast. I have read and heard horrid breastfeeding stories and struggles of new moms. My heart goes out to all the mommies who have or are struggling with breast-feeding; and the only advice I have is to tell them to hang in there; you have come this far, it too shall pass. Just don’t give up and give in to the various suggestions of all the well-intentioned aunties, those who ask you to start solids sooner than 6 months and those who tell you that your supply isn’t enough (well-intentioned, well they sure are)

The first-food ceremony in many parts of India is called Annaprashan (feeding ceremony where “anna” meaning grains or food). We had a pooja at home that was followed by feeding the baby and then a ritual wherein we keep different articles like book, pen, currency notes, a bit of soil, knife etc on a tray. The baby is expected to touch one of these, and the first thing that the baby puts his hand on is symbolic of what his future will be. It’s a funny ritual that only adds amusement to the ceremony. A initially held the entire tray; today’s babies you see, they want it all. Later he picked up a book and a pen.

A day before A’s annaprashan, I prepared date syrup to be used in the kheer that we planned to feed him as his first food; I wanted to avoid sugar completely hence date syrup. The memory of annaprashan is not a pleasant one for me as it left A with an upset stomach for almost 3 weeks, and it totally sapped me off emotionally and physically. Apparently, A was fed a bit of sweet from the market and that’s what I suspect did trouble to his tiny immature system. Well it could also be because of those few drops of kheer or little water that was offered.

Kheer
The first food of our baby

Soon after he completed 6 months and got back to his normal healthy self, I started off with solids for him. Steamed and mashed apple being the first thing, followed by banana, moong dal khichdi, avocado and naachni/ragi porridge. 

In the first month of feeding (7th month) we followed 1 meal a day and increased one meal each month; by the time we were 10 months old we had 4-5 meals schedule which included 3 major meals and 2 snacks/fruits. 
Other dishes that were offered during first few months:-
1. Nachni/ragi pancakes (egg/ eggless both)
2. Oats idli
3. Moongdal cheela
4. Beetroot parantha
5. Homemade potato fries (for snacks)
6. Homemade sweet potato fries (for snacks)
7. Makhana/lotus seeds fried in ghee (for snacks)
8. Ragi porridge
9. Khichdi
10. Porridge from homemade cereal powder mix.
11. Oats porridge
12. Oats pancake
13. Steamed broccoli florets
14. Steamed beetroot
15. Sautéed paneer (cottage cheese)

As you go about feeding solids to the baby, remember to not reduce or stop the breastmilk or formula. Formula/breastmilk should ideally remain the primary source of nutrition till the baby is 1 year. Go slow and do not worry about how little the baby is consuming, keep a check on pee and poo and that the baby is active and happy; that’s all that matters.

Happy feeding and happy weaning

Click here to see things to keep in mind while starting solids

Also do let me know in comments, how the first-food ceremonies are held in your culture?

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The Poo-Pee keeper (An introduction to cloth diapering)

My initial days of motherhood were only spent on feeding and changing nappies/diapers,burping the baby A and when i say “only” i do mean only.  I felt like an overtired cow who frequently got showered at with baby’s pee ( luckily baby A didn’t poop that often).
It was this that asked me to look for more options other than traditional langots and modern disposable diapers which may leave your baby with rashes, earth more polluted and you with a hole in your pocket. I googled for more options in nappies, but didn’t find much help, tried using cloth liners etc. But to no avail, only until i bumped on a post about cloth diapers and then there was no looking back. I discovered this wonderful world of cloth diapering and was amazed to see so many new age mommies addicted to the colourful lot of fluffs. But why would you really want to make diapering so complex, when there are so many good brands of modern disposable diapers available to keep your baby dry and happy? 
Well the pros of cloth-diapering outnumber the cons giving you reasons enough to switch to CDs.
#1. Cloth diapers are economical:- initially it may look like an expensive choice but in longer run it will prove to be an investment which certainly is cheaper than disposable diapers.

#2. They make this earth a cleaner place by not adding to sanitary waste. How disposable diapers add up to the pollution is non-debatable; and this should be a good enough reason for environment conscious parents to switch to CDs.

#3. Skin friendly; since its just the cloth it is safer and better for your baby’s skin.

#4. They serve more than one purpose; yes, you read it right! the cloth diapers (covers) can be used as swimming diapers; these diapers save you from buying bloomers/underwears that you would otherwise buy to cover disposable diapers.  

#5. They are bright, beautiful & colourful making you want for more as your little one’s bum get smarter/cooler and cuter. ( well that’s why perhaps some brands are SMARTBOTTOMS,BUMGENIUS etc)


As a new mom who learnt through trial and error I will just give my two cents to help others with smoother diapering experience. In the beginning it may look like a mammoth of a task to choose from the whole range of diapers ( they come at a price and you must think before plunging in). Before spending a fortune, it is best to try out different options to check what works best for you and your baby. Some common kinds of cloth diapers are:

1. Prefolds: the traditional grandma’s diapering choice. These are rectangular shaped diapers that are folded lengthwise in three sections and secured with snappy/ velcro or safety pin. I have personally never used flats or prefolds, but there are moms who swear by their goodness. Firstly they are real cheap, you can customise them to your baby’s shape and need and they need much less care.
prefolds
image source: osocozy website
2. Covers: These are PUL covers that restrict the leak. One needs to put an insert in the cover. Few of my first CDs were covers. They are good because you don’t have to keep changing the whole diaper; esp. in places that see heavy monsoon as these reduce the laundry pile, because you can just change the insert if the cover is intact and poop-free.
Covers

3. Pocket diapers .Pocket diapers are my first diapers and half of my stash consists of pocket diapers. These mainly consist of a water proof outer layer, another stay dry layer, and a pocket opening where inserts/soakers are put. Most of these pocket diapers are lined in either fleece or suede cloth to have the baby feel dry because the urine is absorbed by the insert that is inside the pocket.
Pocket Diaper

4. AIO- This stands for “All in one” these are diapers with attached/sewn soaker and these leave you free of the hassle of fixing the inserts. Though convenient to change, AIOs can be slightly expensive as compared to other CDs.
All In One

5. AI2- these are all in two diapers with a main soaker and a mini soaker. these could be just used as covers or with your choice and no. of soakers. Most of them have pockets as well, so the soakers can either be inserted or snapped on; the shell can be reused if the inserts are snapped in. These are extremely easy to use and cost effective.

All in 2

My stash has a combination of  all the above types except pre-folds and these are Indian, Singaporean and American Brands (thanks to Baby A’s Aunt and daddy’s job that requires him to travel all across the globe) I have been using these diapers depending upon hours I need to diaper my baby (I give a lot of diaper free time) and some I prefer for outdoors while others for the night diapering. I came to make these decisions after a lot of trial and I am still learning.

Hope you found it helpful for your cloth-diapering journey; more about prepping, cleaning, maintaining and folding the cloth diapers Here.

Happy diapering 🙂