The Most Important Family Decision I Made to Protect the Future of My Child !

There are many child-related issues that keep me awake at night. Guilt trips of leaving my son behind while on a work trip, my toddler’s hunger strikes in the evening or even failure to understand the reason why my son was too cranky on a particular day. But lately, the importance of naming a guardian for my child in my will and deciding on a prospect had been on my mind a lot.

Making a will is something that has been on the top of my to-do list since the birth of our son, but I have been putting off for more than a year.  Of course no one likes to face their own mortality. However, it is imperative that we are prepared for the unpredictable.  So finally last weekend my husband and I finished making our wills and appointing a guardian in case something were to happen to us.

My life changed when I lost my dad at 14 years of age. I have seen my mom run around for paper work, settling accounts, finding documents and figuring out everything on her own. Fortunately the entire financial bit was in place due to the proper planning of my parents and we had nothing to worry.

 

Yet, I still cannot forget my mom’s face and her words to my aunt 19 years back at our home in Mumbai “What would have happened to my children if I was also gone?”

 

The loss of a parent had taught me from a very young age that there is nothing guaranteed in life. And after becoming a parent myself I want to take all the right steps possible to ensure a secure future for my child /children.

Creating a will is crucial even if you don’t have a lot of money or property to pass along because it is where you designate a guardian for your minor child. In the absence of a will naming a guardian, a court will appoint one, and he or she could be the last person you would ever have chosen. If something were to happen to both the parents, and no official guardians have been appointed, the children could end up in foster care while the court appoints a guardian of its choosing.

Note below are the questions I had before starting the process of creating a will. I thought this might help my readers too if they plan to make their own wills. I am not a legal expert and this information is limited to my research of the country and state I live in. I encourage you to look up online or consult with an attorney in the country or state you reside to understand the legalities and your options.

What is a will?

A last will and testament is a legal document that lets you, the testator (the person making the will), designate individuals or charities to receive your property and possessions when you pass away. A last will also allows you to name a guardian to care for minor children. The main purpose of a will is to ensure that the testator’s wishes, and not the default laws of the state, will be followed upon the testator’s death

What happens if you die without a will?

Dying without making a will mean you’ll have no say over who receives your property. State laws will decide. In some states, only 1/2 of one’s assets go to the surviving spouse. Depending on your situation, the rest would go to your children, parents or close relatives. If you have minor children, a judge will decide who cares for them, and the situation may not be ideal.

Remember laws vary from state to state and not all states will automatically place children with a family member, even if they are a grandparent, aunt or uncle. Judges weigh placement based on the best interests of the children. Your kids might have a close and loving relationship with your parents, but if your parents are elderly, the court might decide they’re not up to caring for them, especially if they’re very young (LegalZoom.com).

What is the cost of making a will?

Honestly when I heard about the potential price of failing to make a will, and putting my child’s future in jeopardy, I immediately made one in a period of few days without really caring about the cost. However, the cost of any legal endeavor depends on whether you decide to handle it yourself or use the services of an attorney. You can access free templates online or pay for something more complex, or you could pay an attorney to do it all for you. Whether you use an attorney to draft your will or do it yourself, costs will depend on the complexity of your estate

How does a family pick the right guardian?

Appointing guardians who could offer our children the support and love they would need in a horrible situation is the most important decision in the will making process. It can be also be very emotional and political decision.

I and my husband used a website www.legalzoom.com to create a will. It was very effective and fast. We also consulted our family and friends for more information regarding the will making process. (not sponsored)

You can look at more detailed information here –

  1. Baby Center
  2. Wiki How

In the end I would like to say that the decision of safeguarding our children after we are gone is a crucial one, and one that I dread to think of. Who will be my child’s guardian is too important a decision to leave in the hands of someone who doesn’t know me, or my child, or the values that are important to me. We know our children better than anyone. We are in the best position to make the decisions that will affect their lives.

Arushi (2)

EASY & FUN SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS

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A blast of sunshine and a bit of a breeze go a long way!!

The temperature’s rising and playing inside seems ideal. Also school’s out of session which means a lot of activities, games, crafts need to be planned to do indoors. I decided to round-up some ideas for toddler activities that can be done during the summer, indoors and out, any time of the day.

These fun activities involve lots of hands-on exploration and can be shared with older children, too! I will continue to share more ideas on my Instagram feed and stories.

Outdoor

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1.Hit the swimming pool: We introduced our child to the water when he was 6 month. Join a class or play in the pool get the kid comfortable in the water — not learning to swim. Get a float, throw a ball and show them to splash. Keep your baby sage in your arms at all time

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2.Let’s Feed the Birds: Kids of any age can enjoy this activity, head to the park in the evenings with some break and get ready for endless entertainment and lot of giggles. Vir is wearing the Lark Adventurewear Onesie , that is the first and only Infant activewear for adventurous babies.

diy-chalk-2 by Project Nuresery3. Sidewalk chalk is one of those playtime staples that offer endless amounts of entertainment without requiring anything fancy. (Image Credit : Project Nursery)

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4. Find the Painted rock in your Neighborhood:  

A new trend has been gaining popularity among kids which is also adding a lot of fun to your regular scavenger hunt. Kids are finding rocks, taking them home to paint, and then putting them back out into the world for others to find. The goal is to brighten up the world around us while spreading some much-needed joy.

Soap Bubbles 5. Bubble and GIANT Bubbles: The best thing about bubbles is that you don’t have to buy a special bubbles solution. It’s easy to make your own bubble solution. DIY Bubble solution: 6 cups water, 2 cups dishwashing liquid, 3/4 cup light corn syrup. Mix all ingredients together in a large container of. Shake everything up and let sit for a few hours. Pour into empty bubbles containers or dishes and go wild with your bubble wands!!

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6.Head to the Beach: A day at the beach sounds like the perfect way to spend a Summer day. Just don’t forget the sunscreen and beach essentials you need.

7.A water fountain or a Splash Pad helps keep the kids cool. Check out which parks have splash pad accessibility in your city.  You can also make your own DIY sprinkler

Homemade Sprinkler ~ Made with Recycled Materials

Image credit : HousingForest.com

8.Go Visit : Family outings to the ZOO, Children’s museum, Library, Aquarium , Botanical Gardens or a visit to the Flea Market are all great ways to spend a weekend.

 

Indoor Fun

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  1. Create a Tape Race Track in House: Just when it is too hot outside staying indoors seems ideal. I found this very cool race track inspo for you all. Try it .

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  1. Fishing in the pool: Great activity for toddler for color recognition and on hand-eye coordination and fine motor control (by manipulating the net).All you need is baby pool, foam toys that you can make or store bought boy toys.

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11. Mess Free safe Finger Painting: Colors and more colors are always fun. Check out my previous post to make your own DIY safe finger paints. Ideal for babies over 6 months  Click here.

12. Other Sensory Play Activities like

Playdough, Water beds, Sand castles, playing with rice, beans or cornmeal or playing with those arts and crafts poms poms.

Summer days are really long, with these activities you can kill some time and keep them busy.

Here’s to summer fun with your little one!

arushi

Meal Ideas and Recipes For Babies & Toddlers! Free Meal Plan Printable Included.

Each child develops so uniquely and just because they are late at hitting a milestone doesn’t necessarily means it is a cause of alarm. As a new mom I had too many questions related to my son hitting his milestones, but I have realized in this 1 year, that we need to be patient and not stress about it.

img_1106Eating solids for the first time is a huge milestone for every baby. As parents, we love to know that our babies are getting lots of nutrition and calories so they can grow big and healthy. I was nervous about feeding solids in the beginning and was worried whether  my son would eat well, consume enough milk etc. But this was a temporary phase, since I religiously followed a routine of introducing solids daily.  We started first with introducing fruits, veggies and later cereal. Most pediatricians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend introducing solid foods to babies when they are between ages 4 and 6 months. Vir was able to sit up around this age with support, and was showing interest in the foods he saw us eating. I realized it’s probably a good time to venture into feeding him solid food. Since my son was exclusively breast fed for 6 months, we waited until he turned 6 months to start solids.

I tried the Baby Led weaning approach right from the start. Baby Led Weaning is a method of introducing solid foods that leaves it up to your baby to decide what, when and how much to eat.  While not necessarily a “hands off” approach, Baby Led Weaning does advocate allowing your baby to make all food choices for him or herself. You can read more about it here.

What I liked about it that there were no purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veggie combo just eating wholesome food. Note : I followed the Four day rule , to make sure that my son is not allergic to any food items. Read more about it here 

Note Milk is a child’s most important food in the first year of life and is still very important in the next few years. Children under 12 months of age should have breast milk or formula for their main drinks.

I am sharing below with you a list of Food items I introduced to my son.

6-8 months+

  • Baby cereal – Rice cereal, Oatmeal cereal and wheat cereal. Mixed with breast milk or formula . After my son got used to it , I added mashed bananas or stewed apples for flavor
  • Fruits– To avoid choking I gave my son small pieces of banana, steamed apples and pears as finger food. My son hated avocadoes, it is great fruit for weight gain.
  • Veggies: Steamed and boiled sweet potatoes and carrots chunks as finger food.
  • Egg yolk only upto 8 months. I used to scramble it in butter. My son didn’t like the egg yellow boiled.

Note: Meat, chicken can also be given as it is rich in iron. I haven’t yet introduced it as I don’t eat it myself neither grew up eating it. However I am not opposed to my son eating meat. (Leaving that to my husband as he is non vegetarian

8-10 months+

My son didn’t have any teeth until he was 10 months, however the gums were strong enough to mash small pieces of food. I wanted to introduce new textures and real food so I prepared below simple meals for him and also introduced other new foods. All of the food items above are also a part of his diet.

  • Toast with butter/hummus/peanut butter /cheese – Toast is my son’s favorite food. He was sucking small pieces and enjoying the new texture at 8 months and now he chews and eats it.
  • Full fat cheese singles is his favorite snack; I also offer it between toast. I make Paneer (cottage cheese) at home from organic whole milk. I mixed small pieces of paneer with banana or apple to add flavor to it .
  • Multigrain Roti (flatbread) made at home with multigrain flour, some ghee or butter. You can dip it in milk/formula to make the texture softer.
  • Rice with Veggies– Rice mixed with carrots, potatoes and spinach cooked in ghee and butter with no salt and only some turmeric.
  • Fruits– Apart from banana, apples and pears I also I introduced at this time strawberries ,blueberries , mango, peaches and kiwi. You can soften hard fruits by steaming or boiling it. We have stayed away from grapes as they can choke.
  • Yogurt– My son was not a huge fan of yogurt at the beginning, so later I started mixing it up with bananas, strawberries and also added very little sugar to get him used to the texture.

10 -12 months + Food recipes

Apart from all the above food, I also started making healthy meals to get him used to real food and interested in new flavors. I post a lot of videos on my Instagram stories of him enjoying his meal. And lately a lot of moms reached out to me for recipes of the food my son has been eating. Here I sharing  some quick and easy to make recipes.

  • img_8761-1Pancakes – This is by far the simplest and most preferred food. I simply add Half Banana (you can even substitute it with sweet potatoes) , 1 egg, 2 -3 tbsp multigrain flour (you can substitute it with wheat ,or oatmeal cereal or flour) and mix it all together. Spread it on the pan with some butter and it ready in no time. Easy to chew and also makes great ready to go meal.
  • Rice, Lentil and veggie Mush (Khichdi)– Wash and soak the rice and dal in water for half an hour. Drain the water. In a pressure cooker, add the Rice, Dal, Garlic, onions, spinach, carrot and potatoes. Add 3 cups of water. Pressure cook till 3 whistles (one on high and 2 on medium).After the steam is released, add ghee or butter and serve. I give this everyday for dinner as it is an extremely nutritious meal
  • Veggie Paratha or flatbread- For ease and convenience I add mashed and boiled potatoes, spinach and sometimes carrot to the flour directly and add in some water to make it in a dough. Roll it in small and thin circles and heat it on the pan until it is slightly brown and serve it with ghee or butter in small pieces. You can add some salt too.
  • Fruit Bars with oatmeal-1/2 ripe banana, mashed. approx 3 to 4 tbsp rolled oats, 2 tbsp raisns. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F, 180 deg C. Grind the oats in a food processor OR leave them just as they are. The final texture of your fruity bars depends on whether or not you ground the oats – leaving them whole, of course, provides more texture than grinding them. Stir the oats into the mashed banana. The amount of oats you need depends on the size of the banana – you need to achieve a ‘doughy’ texture that you can shape with your hands. Stir in the raisins. Form the mixture into ‘bars’ then place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cook for around 10 to 15 minutes until firm and lightly golden.Cool and serve. Freeze leftover bars for up to one month.
  • img_8623Oatmeal ,banana , Peanut butter muffins – This is another easy and ready to go recipe my son loves. It makes a great snack item too. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside. Place 1 cup oats in a medium bowl and add 1 cup milk. Allow the oats to soak while you prepare the rest of the muffins. In a separate large bowl, mix together the 1 cup flour,1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt and cinnamon. Some applesauce,1 tbsp peanut butter, 2 egg and 1 tbsp vanilla to the bowl with the soaked oats and stir to combine. Add and combine all the ingredients. The batter will be very runny. Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes, until done. These are just barely sweet and great for little ones. If you want them to be sweeter, try adding sugar or maple syrup.  Extras can be stored on the counter for 3 days, in the fridge for up to 5 days.

I hope this post is helpful for moms who are starting on the journey to give solids to their babies. Please reach out to me if you have any questions. Also if you can comment and share some recipes that worked for your baby, it will be extremely helpful for me and the readers.

For your convenience I have made a Meal plan print out listing out Carbs, Proteins and Veggies/Fruits options that can be given to kids. Click on below link.

Toddler Meal Plan Print Out

Love

arushi

 

 

How I Prepared For My Boy’s Cake Smash Photo Shoot

 

 

oatmeal cookies (2)I can’t believe my son is already a year old ! How did this happen? Where did all the time go ? It was only yesterday when we brought our tiny guy home and now all of a sudden he is a toddler. Time flew by so fast and I guess it was also because the first year is full of trails and treasures.

If I could just freeze time, I would continue to gaze in his eyes , nibble his toes, kiss his chubby cheeks and just keep listening him giggle. My heart melts thinking how fast time will slip and my child will outgrow my arms and lap in the coming years.

First birthday is a momentous occasion in any child and parent’s life. This is such a huge milestone for our family too and it warranted for a special photo shoot, so that we can savor it now and reminisce about later (like during the tumultuous teenage years)

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One my favorite captures by Brianne Hardcastle Photography 

Nothing quite says beautiful mess like first birthday cake smash photography. But when you decide to go the DIY route, the results tend to be less beautiful and more mess. I am sharing on the blog few tips on how I prepared for my son’s outdoor cake smash photo shoot. I am not sure who was more excited for the cake smash session me or my son. That excitement make its pretty easy to go overboard with props, but i wanted to keep it simple.

Photography: Hiring a good photographer ensures great results.It may not always be the most ideal option to spend money on a professional, but really and truly, paying for a service makes SUCH a huge difference. I am so glad our pictures from the cake smash session have come out so beautiful. Thanks to the talented Brianne Hardcastle who was committed to capture the best moments. Check out her FB Page for more details.

Location: We wanted to shoot outdoors as it was in tune with our theme and also excellent for good lighting and for that we choose the Bayou Bend Park in Houston.

Keeping Props Simple: An outdoor shoot saved us from all the expensive background decorations and detailing. I used item that were available at my home.

  • The Teepee was the main prop that was central to the entire theme. My son’s lovely Teepee is from – Tnees Teepees. They have a wonderful collection of modern and stylish teepees for boys and girls that look great in any room. I also used a white rug and a cushion under it .
  • Cake: Of Course a cake is the highlight of the cake smash photo shoot, you can use different colors according to your theme. I didn’t want to spend too much on it either, so I went for a simple white butter cream chocolate cake.
  • DIY Cake Topper: Since the cake was very plain and simple , I added some fun to it by making a cake topper with paper straws. I used a craft thread and cut paper triangles and wrote ONE with a sharpie on it and glued them. You can also buy some really nice cake toppers online.
  • DIY Chalkboard first birthday sign– The details of your child’s first year can be forgotten over time, but with a stunning Chalkboard First Birthday sign, you can cherish them forever! I made this chalkboard with some inspiration from Pinterest. Took me an hour to work on it. You can also get one professionally down from etsy and print it .
  • A huge Balloon can cover a lot of space for pictures and also add a pop of color. I used a white one as it went with our theme. This is a 36 inch balloon.
  • Fabric banner: The only main decorative piece I really splurged on was the fabric banner that I got from Etsy (displayed on the teepee). It can also be used as a garland or even a high chair decorative piece. I also used it for decorating Vir’s high chair at his birthday party at our home.
  • Outfit: My sister got Vir his cake smash outfit , she bought it from amazon . There are some great shops on etsy to you can buy cute cake smash outfits . Note its really hard to get something unique for boys.

Color coordinate:  I stuck to a low a key background with white , black and natural green for keeping the pictures neat and bright. Start with one item that you would like to coordinate in the session then, add in colours that coordinate or complement that item.

 

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All these beautiful moments are captured by Houston Based Photographer Brianne Hardcastle. Click here more info

Timings for the cake session is very essential : You want it to be stress and fuss free. I planned the session in the evening after my son’s nap time. The weather was great too. (And yes, it’s perfectly fine if the cake smash photos aren’t done on their actual birthday.)

Get the baby to dig in: Our son was shy to dig in the cake after he touched the frosting. He was weirded out by the sticky texture. I got our dog to join the party and also put my finger in the cake to excite him about the process.

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I had to frame this !! He won’t stay so little anymore

Post session Clean up : This is one thing I completely forgot about, while rushing for the shoot from our home. You need to have paper towels handy, plastic/paper bags to throw away the mess. And a spare change of clothes for the kid after the session is over.

The first birthday cake of our child was a huge milestone for us. And so for that reason I took a break from taking a few cell phone photos and completely avoided the plastic highchair cake smash experience. This was truly a momentous celebration and I hope these tips can help you prepare for your big occasion.

You can see his birthday party video at our home on my Instagram page

#letthembelittle

Love

arushi

How I Am Working To Build A Lifetime Bond Between My Child & My Dog 

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Our sweet little scruffy terrier (Rio) was competing for attention once his little human brother (Vir) arrived to be a part of his pack. Rio was so sad for the first few weeks that he wouldn’t even look at Vir nor accept sitting next to him. We knew from there on that Rio needed time and space to realize that his baby brother will be his new playmate very soon and so we laid out the groundwork to build a loving relationship between both our babies.

In my previous post When Our Fur Baby Met Our Son I spoke about our relationship with Rio and how we introduced him to our new born. I also discussed how he reacted with the presence of a baby in the house in the initial months. Fast forward 6 months, today Rio and Vir have come close to forging a friendship. Getting them off to a good start took some work! And in this post I will be discussing about how it was all worth it.

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Vir loves Rio, he is obsessed with him. Even before he could really start looking at books, stories, movies, music and toys with imaginary critters in it, Vir built a fondness for animals. He is always mesmerized by Rio’s presence in the house and follows him everywhere smiling and babbling. I believe this fondness also led, Vir to crawl faster than expected. Our high on energy 10 month old is always looking forward to touch Rio, pull his fur or bite his tail. It is amusing to watch his excitement when he sees Rio play tug with us. And honestly it is very entertaining to watch them run around like cat and mouse in the living room

On the other hand our 6 year lazy furbaby is a calm and obedient dog; he is very gentle with Vir and has never shown any sign of aggression. That is one of the biggest reasons why Vir is so comfortable around him. We never have to worry about him pulling Rio’s tail or playing with his favorite chew toy when we are out of sight for a second. Rio has realized that there are three food sources at home now mom, daddy and baby and he couldn’t have been happier. There is a lot of baby food now flying around the house courtesy Vir and there is always someone to catch and clean the floor courtesy Rio. His presence is often a calming source for our kid especially when there is too much crying involved. I just have to command Rio to “Roll”, “Twist” and “Woof” and my inconsolable baby just forgets he was crying. (While Rio is showered with treats)

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Begging for food from his brother

Its true kids love their pets; these creatures large or small teach, delight and offer a special kind of companionship.  If you see my amusing Instagram stories, you know how both of them play around the house, compete for attention when daddy is back from work and laze on the couch or bed looking at story books.

 Vir is still young to understand his boundaries with the dog, and we are glad that Rio can handle the exciting little monster rushing behind him. I know over time both my babies will learn to respect each other and there is a good chance they will be best of pals. But this loving scenario is only possible by doing your best to foster a relationship between them.

Below I am sharing few of my Tips and Tricks on how we worked on our child and dog’s relationship. I hope this helps all parents who are either planning to get a dog for their children or are looking for some advice on how to handle their dog when their new baby comes home.

Our Preparations for Rio in the earlier months

  • We started to socialize Rio with kids at the park so his fear of them goes away. Often kids tried to pet him but he would run away. But, with time his fear ran away.
  • While I was pregnant I started to say the word “Baby” to Rio so he gets used to it. I often pointed towards my tummy and asked him to put his paws on my belly.
  • When I returned home with Vir for the first time, I first met Rio and greeted him for 10 minutes until he was relaxed. Post that I took Vir in my arms and allowed Rio to smell his feet.
  • We included Rio in our day to day activities with Vir, from going on walks together, to allowing him to sit between me and my husband while I was holding the baby. This way we habituated Rio to our new born’s routines, smell and our new habits
  • As mentioned earlier we kept a close watch on Rio when he was in the same room as Vir. We never left him alone with the baby especially for the first month.
  • To avoid jealousy and dullness, we ensured to have some playtime with Rio whenever we could. We also got him new toys and gave him more treats  and ensured to take him out for longer walks so he stayed exercised and stress free
  • I ensured that Rio still had his space as before. He was sleeping with us in our bed as always. (Vir slept in the crib next to our bed) He was allowed in the nursery and if there was no room on the couch for him or anywhere next to us, we would let him find his own space. I didn’t want to confuse him and at the same time didn’t want him to lose his discipline around the house.

Once Vir started getting mobile

  • I kept a watch out for any signs of aggression from Rio, especially when Vir is around trying to chase him.
  • I always reward him with treats for all positive reactions and firmly say “NO” in case there is any unwanted behavior.
  • When Vir started to sit we use to leave a treat on Vir’s lap or make him hold it out for Rio. This truly helped develop a bond between them as Rio was happy to realize the baby is also a food source
  • At least once a week we take Rio for his outing with the family in the car to a dog park, coffee shop or even at our friend’s place so that he feels loved and secured.

We had success in training Rio to respect the baby, his toys, his food and his space. Yet I have more work to do with Vir, to teach him to respect animals. Our son is too young to understand this concept, but we ensure that he doesn’t hurt Rio by poking him or hitting him. In time I look forward to teaching Vir to stroke Rio gently and explain that Rio’s tail is not a toy to pull. Once Vir starts to walk and carry tiny objects in his hand, I want him to start caring for Rio by offering him water and food in his bowl.

I am aware that the learning process involved for both Rio and Vir in building a friendship and lifetime bond will take some time. But the thought of Vir and Rio playing with a ball or strolling at the park together while enjoying each other’s companionship melts my heart  and makes this wait tad bit harder.

In the mean time I plan to give my dog and the kid the best chance for a successful relationship by taking deliberate steps to create a kid-loving dog and develop empathy and respect in Vir.

arushi

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First few moments with 3 day old Vir

DIY Finger Paint Activity for Babies on HOLI.

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As a new mom I am always excited to celebrate Vir’s Firsts, whether they are milestones or festivals.

“Holi”the festival of colors is being celebrated this year on March 12th.  It is significant in Hindu culture as it marks the arrival of Spring.The festival breathes an atmosphere of social merriment. People bury their hatchets with a warm embrace and throw their worries to the wind. In India, every nook and corner presents a colorful sight. Young and old alike are covered with colors (red, green, yellow, blue, pink, orange, violet, and more). I have always loved playing Holi, and wanted to celebrate it with my son this year.

However, celebrating Holi with a 9 month old can be slightly different, we have to adjust to their age and temperament to make the experience a truly enjoyable and memorable one. These days life is a blur of early morning snuggles and taking several pictures of Vir’s antics. And of course I wanted to capture Vir’s first Holi too, but  in the most simplest of ways .

I have read that finger painting can be a very good sensory activity for the child’s development and so I took this occasion to introduce colors and finger paints to Vir. He is at an age where he likes to sneak those fingers in his mouth and for that reason I wanted to make my own paints which are edible and toxic free. 

This is by far one of the most simple activity made with 2 simple ingredients from your kitchen

 

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You will need:

Greek Yogurt & Food Coloring

I mixed the yogurt with a drop of the food coloring together to create these finger paints!

We use the bath tub as our canvas. However you can also use a shower curtain for keeping the activity mess free while cleaning it up easily.

Make sure you throw away the remaining paint once it is done. I won’t recommend saving it.

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Let the colors of Holi spread the message of peace and happiness.Wish you all a very Happy Holi !!!

Love

arushi

 

 

A Pediatrican’s advice on caring for your child’s health while travelling to a new country

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As a new parent we have so many questions and fears about travelling with our children for the first time. After travelling with my son to India on a 30 hour one way journey for a 2 week vacation, I now know that vacation or travel plans are not as easy as they were pre baby.  And while there are tons of tips on how to get there, there is not much advice for how to manage once you arrive.

In my last post How I survived a Long Haul flight with a Lap Baby I discussed my inflight experience/nightmare and shared some tips. And now, in this post we will be discussing on concerns related to our children’s health once you arrive to your destination.

Infants are at high risk for many food related and waterborne illnesses. This is not because they are travelling to India or any other country. It is simply because their immune systems are not developed. This post discuses some of the practical issues faced by us on our trip to India. I reached out to Dr. Abha Sharma a General Pediatrician and an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to talk more in details about precautions and measures parents can take while travelling to a new country with their child.

Dr. Abha practices and resides in Southern California with her Husband and 2 year old Daughter. I am very thankful that she was able to take out some time from her busy schedule to attend to this list of questions and give us advice on how to prepare ourselves and manage our kids while travelling overseas. Follow her journey on Instagram @healthymamadoc for some great tips and advice on healthy and nutritious meals.

My hope here is to help all my readers with vital information of caring for their child’s health while travelling abroad .

What is a good age to make a long distance travel?

Newborn babies and young infants have developing immune systems and are more susceptible to becoming ill from diseases spread by cough and sneeze.  I usually recommend that parents wait until their baby is at least 2 months old to travel – waiting till 6 months is ideal. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strictly cautions against travelling with a newborn younger than 48 hours old; most airlines prohibit babies younger than 2 weeks old to travel without a Physician’s clearance.

What medications do your recommend to carry, to avoid catching cold and flu in flight.

It has been thought that secondary to recirculated air and limited ventilation in a confined area over a long duration of time, airline passengers have a potentially higher risk of infectious diseases. But, the good news is that one study by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that because the spread of infection is usually by direct contact, the risk is no different than that if you were travelling by train or bus.

If you have an older infant or toddler and are travelling by plane, make sure you carry non toxic sanitizing wipes with you. Germ laden surfaces such as the tray table and arms rests should be wiped down frequently – your little one may want to lick and chew on these repeatedly!

Most OTC Cough and Cold Medications are labeled for use in children above age 6, secondary to the potential for serious side effects and overdose.  Sticking with your little one’s regular diet, keeping them hydrated, and nursing them if you breastfeed, will help prevent illness and help them cope should they come down with the sniffles inflight.

Three items that I would definitely recommend parents take with them when they travel is a Rectal Thermometer, Fever Reducing Medication, and Powdered Packets of Oral Rehydration Solution (i.e. Pedialyte).  For fever, stick with Acetaminophen (Tylenol) prior to 6 months of age, and after they cross 6 months you can use Ibuprofen (Motrin) as well. Consult with your child’s Physician regarding safe dosing of these medications.

Is giving Benadryl recommended to help the baby sleep?

It is not recommended to give Diphenhydramine (commonly marketed as Benadryl) to children for the purposes of the side effect of drowsiness.  Diphenhydramine has the potential to cause several side effects in children, the most serious being overdose and allergic reaction.

What precautions are a must when a child is taken to a different country for the first time? (Vir was on formula and even though we carried bottled formula and took good care of sanitizing bottles he caught a fever and had diarrhea. He lost weight and wasn’t eating properly.)

Strict attention should be paid to hand washing and cleaning bottles, pacifiers, teething rings, and toys that fall to the floor or are handled by others.  The water used to clean these items should be drinkable water.

Parents should be particularly careful to wash hands well after diaper changes, especially for infants with diarrhea, to avoid spreading infection to themselves and other family members. When  handwashing facilities are not easily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing ≥60% alcohol) can be used; hands should be then washed with warm water and soap for 15 seconds as soon as possible.  Hands that have visible soiling are preferably washed right away.

 

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Dr. Abha Sharma with her beautiful family.

Is it important to get the child vaccinated for travel like for Malaria? At what age do you recommend it?

Malaria is a disease contracted from mosquito bite in an area endemic to this disease. To prevent transmission, the first step is to identify if you are travelling to an area with a recent outbreak. The website Cdc.gov/travel and your Pediatrician or Family Physician are great resources to assist you in this. Your Physician will determine if it is recommended for your child to take medication to prevent transmission of this disease.

General preventive measures include:

  • Wearing lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and wearing socks.
  • Mosquito repellents used on skin can also be applied to clothing; it must be reapplied after laundering.
  • Apply lotion, liquid, or spray repellent to all exposed areas of skin; reapply frequently.
  • Avoid the outdoors from dusk till dawn, as this is the peak time for mosquitos to bite

Which fruits or vegetables should be avoided in a new country? Do your recommend and food we should carry? ( I carried liquid formula bottle, cereal and snacks but ran out of it and switched to Indian Nan Pro formula which I mixed with bottled water)

Don’t offer your child food from street vendors, and stay away from food prepared and served in unclean conditions. Raw or under cooked meat should be avoided. All raw fruit and vegetables should be washed, peeled and cut by you before offering it to your child.

Safe beverages include bottled carbonated water, boiled water, and water treated with chlorine or iodine.

If your infant or toddler is formula fed, I do recommend packing more powdered formula than you anticipate you will need. The constitution of formulas abroad may not be the same as the one you regularly use. Additionally, pack plenty of dry snacks that you normally keep at home; if your child is picky they may not like what is available locally.

How to handle breast feeding strikes while travelling? My son stopped breast feeding completely in India. I tried to feed him in the night. Once we were back in US, it took him over 2 weeks to get back to his normal feeding schedule.

A nursing strike during or after travel is not an uncommon issue – you can maintain your milk supply AND eventually get your baby back to the breast. During the strike, pump or hand express the milk at the same frequency as you would breastfeed. This helps maintain the supply and prevent infection; this expressed milk can be fed to your baby.

To help get your baby back on the breast:

  • Nurse the baby during the night or while napping –  babies who refuse to nurse when they are awake will most often nurse when they are sleepy.
  • Switch up the position you use to nurse.
  • Rock your baby or walk around while nursing.
  • Nurse in a quiet, darkened room.
  • Maintain skin to skin contact when nursing
  • Keep the baby close to you in a sling or carrier in between nursing attempts.

How long do infants, toddlers generally take to get over jet lag? What is the best way to help overcome jet lag? Vir took over 10 days to get over jet lag .

 In general, count one day for each time zone crossed to give you a rough estimate of how long it may take your little one to recover from jet lag.  Of course, direction of travel impacts recovery time – eastbound travel, i.e. from the New York to London, may be prolonged in comparison to your westbound return trip.  In order to reduce jet lag, adjust your child’s sleep schedule 2-3 days before departure (Some sleep medicine experts recommend doing this upto 4 weeks prior to the trip).  After arrival, encourage your child to be active outside or in brightly lit areas during daylight hours to promote adjustment.  When returning back from a trip, the same applies – make a trip to the park as soon as you can after reaching back home.

Any other recommendations you will like to give to new parents travelling long distances with babies for the first time ?

Discuss your travel plans with your doctor at least 4-6 weeks prior to your trip, so as to allow any preventive medications that are prescribed to be effective.

Review your child’s immunizations with your doctor, and make sure he/she is up to date with the recommended immunizations necessary for their age.  Other immunizations, including those providing protection against Typhoid fever, Bacterial Meningitis, and Japanese Encephalitis, may be recommended depending on your destination.

Ear pain can be an issue for infants and children during the plane’s descent and landing Pressure in the middle ear can be equalized by swallowing or chewing.  You can nurse your little one, offer them a bottle to drink from, or for your toddler, a chewy snack.

Lastly, if you plan on using your child’s car seat on the plane, make sure it is approved for use. Children weighing between 22 lbs and 44 lbs can use an approved restraint system called the CARES Child Safety Device.

I definitely learnt a lot from this interview with Dr Abha. I am SO glad that she was kind enough to accept my email and request to collaborate on this post. Thank you once again Dr Abha for your advice!!!

We both hope that this post truly helps all the new parents and parents to be, who are excited to travel with their new born babies. Good luck and safe travels!!

You can also follow Dr Abha at her social media accounts on other Twitter and Pinterest.

Check out the  Healthy Travel Packing List by CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) 

arushi