“ME” Time – Every Mom Deserves It !


This year, my life has been wrapped around my pregnancy in the first half and with the newborn for the latter half. As a new mom, I don’t have time or energy to think about anything that does not directly impact my child’s life. I am constantly ensuring that everything runs smoothly and I am able to maintain a proper work -life balance.

If you are a busy mom like me, you know how difficult it can be to find time for yourself. We are constantly ensuring that everyone is taken care of and are left with very little time for ourselves. Feeling burned out, exhausted, and also craving things that YOU love to do most.

I honestly feel we MOMs need to pencil in some “ME” Time for ourselves. And I stress that one should not feel guilty for taking time for yourself. It’s important to schedule time for yourself on a regular basis so that you can feel refreshed and energized to be on top of our game.

The key here is to tap into things that make you feel most rejuvenated, and  yes few might need more time or may cost more. {I say to myself I deserve it 🙂 }

“Me” Time could be anything, from a decadent dinner date, to a relaxing evening at home with a good book or simply doing nothing. The biggest challenge most moms face is insisting on ‘me’ time,” says Laura Stack, author of The Exhaustion Cure. “If you wait to give yourself time until all your work is done, you’ll never get to play.”

That is why I am listing my some things that I do just for me

  1. Stay Active: These days for me it is impossible to finish work and go out for a workout. Timing everything between mine and baby’s schedule well enough to get some sun is not simple anymore. So I recommend staying active at work or home by taking regular walks throughout the day especially if there is too much stress. If I can’t walk enough in the day or have no energy to workout, I make sure to get out for at least a 30 min stroll around the neighborhood with Vir in the stroller while listening to some peppy music. It helps clear the mind.

 

  1. Take a Bubble Bath: This is truly a relaxing and rejuvenating experience if you can take out some time from mom duty. I recommend treating yourself with some aroma therapy oils, bath bombs and candles. I have been shopping for more of these lately than makeup or beauty products.

 

  1. Get your favorite drink and read up: The best time to lounge and snuggle in a comfy blanket is when your children are sleeping. I can have coffee anytime of the day and with the chill in the weather these days I am also sipping on some soup. If you know me well I don’t read too many books, but I do love flipping through articles on magazines and journals on my ipad or just happily pinning. Ever since I started the blog I am also writing down my thoughts and working on new posts for all my readers.

 

  1. Go out with your friends: A girl’s night out or grabbing a drink at a pub with your family friends can be a great way to start a weekend. You can get a sitter for sometime if you are going with your husband or put him on daddy duty for the evening- while you dress up snazzy, put some heels and mascara!! It is very important to socialize and feel good about these moments.

 

  1. Don’t forget a Spa/massage day : I got a monthly massage membership at a local spa and this has been by far my most rewarding expense. An hour of deep tissue massage can do wonders as it takes away your stress and gives relief to those aching back and neck muscles.

 

Don’t forget to check in yourself this Holiday season !! Lets Treat Ourselves too.

Please do share what are your favorite ways to pamper yourself , or how you like to spend your “Me” Time. 

How I Prepared to Leave My Breastfed Baby for a Work Trip


In my previous emotional post I wrote about my anxiety and fears as a new mom, who was leaving behind her 5 month baby for a work trip for the very first time. It was an emotionally challenging experience and physical one too, as I am exclusively breastfeeding Vir. I couldn’t have left my house without a plan for my family and support of my husband.  As new parents we want to make sure we are doing everything right and at the same time hoping that things go smoothly.

Every mom has to leave the nest sooner or later and to get through this difficult time, I am sharing the list of things I did before getting on the plane:

  1. Introduce care giver ahead of time: I am working from home and of course to be most productive I need to be able to focus without distractions. After my family left, we got a nanny to manage Vir during my work hours. This worked well for us, as by the time I left for work to another city, Vir and my nanny had gotten used to each other. It is hard to trust someone else with your baby other than family, but having a good caregiver can be very comforting.
  2. Enlist a Trusted Relative or Friend: Thankfully my husband could take an off on one of the days in my absence at home and manage Vir. However, I am thankful to have a close set of friends whom I can trust Vir with. It is ideal to have someone living close to your home, just in case.
  3. Maintain sufficient supply of milk in the freezer: Vir is being exclusively breast fed and my biggest worry was running out of the frozen milk. I was short of 7-8 bags as per my calculation and so I made a plan to start pumping after every feeding to increase supply in 1 breast. I pumped only one side, so that I don’t run out of milk on the other. This worked perfectly and I was able to store milk and also give Vir his full feed. Also, I was eating more food that helped in lactation and drinking lots of water.
  4. Leaving behind Mom’s scent: I wore my husband’s T-shirt to bed for 3 days before I left, so that my scent could be transferred to it. In my absence Deep wore the same T shirt to soothe Vir and put him to sleep every night.This strategy also worked for us very well while we were crib training Vir and making him sleep in his nursery. I would leave my t-shirt on the side of his crib, so that he felt that I was around. Note: this might work for younger babies only.
  5. Setting up security cameras or a nanny cam: We bought a security camera for the house through which I could see Vir when I wanted. I could monitor the daily activities live on my cell phone from anywhere. Not only did it give me a sense of relief but I also felt involved. These days baby monitors and security cameras have great features. Ours has a mic function through which I could talk to Deep if he needed something and also see the entire day’s recording. (We have the new Logitech Circle camera)
  6. Make a List of Things related to the baby: A list with all information that is essential for the baby like feeding and nap routines, allergies , medication, place for baby gear and supplies, important phone numbers ,etc etc. This can be very handy for the care giver or your husband. I had emailed it and also printed it and left it on the refrigerator.
  7. Packing your Pumping bag: Even though you might have a temporary break from the baby but that doesn’t mean you get a break from breastfeeding. Our body continues to prepare the milk and that means you can’t forget to carry the breast pump, nursing pads, bottles and the freezing pack. I was pumping daily in the morning and at night, at the restaurants and at the airports. I can do an entire blog post on it, and honestly I hadn’t realized it would be such a complicated affair until this trip. I was able to bring back only 2 bottles of milk from the trip as I had to dump the rest. (TIP: If you don’t have an ice pack, take zip lock bags and put the bottles in it with ice to keep the milk chilled. Also if you have a milk bank close enough to where you are and if time allows you can donate it there. Sadly I couldn’t. Try to carry a manual breast pump too if you want to pump anywhere and not be stuck to a plug.)

I hope these tips come in handy if and when you plan to travel without your baby. There are a lot of things about Motherhood I am still discovering and I hope to share my experiences with all my readers.

Planning ahead of time is key to our sanity!

You can also check my post Tips on Travelling with the baby. (Our short trip to New York)

 

 

 

 

10 Baby Products That Make Motherhood Easier!

 

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Here comes the Baby and so does more stuff then we dreamed of.  Before Vir was here, I did a lot of research on the products we needed for the baby. While I was pregnant I turned to my trusted friends who have already been there and done that and also referred to  the online resources.

I wanted to make sure we get only the stuff we will use and not go overboard. It’s super easy to get sucked into all of the fancy gear and adorable toys directed towards that newborn stage. Whether it were essentials items for the baby, the nursery or for me as a new mom , I had a spread sheet for everything with several columns and rows listing out all details of the products in my must have list. It is almost like a ritual for me that before I make any purchases, I always go online to check reviews from multiple sources, compare products, and find any deals or discounts and post that check out any order as we hate to make returns. (It’s definitely a time-consuming task).

In the short time since I’ve become a Mom, I’ve learned about so many products that I’ve found to be Life Savers or some that are straight up useless. We are so thankful to our lovely friends and family for gifting us most of the baby gear I registered for my shower. I used Baby List for my registry as everything I wanted was at 1 location. Apart from the baby gear from all different websites and stores, you can also register for a Doula, a diaper service  and even homemade meals.

Below I am sharing a list of my most loved Baby products that have made a huge difference in my life recently with little V . Most of these products are not your regular baby registry picks, but products that made Motherhood more effortless for me one step at a time.

1.Silicone Place Mats : I bought this for Vir as I know feeding a baby can be a real messy adventure. These mats are great as they stick easily to most of the surfaces so that they don’t get  ripped out and thrown by your little one, plus it’s sized perfectly for fruit and cereal. I like the Ezpz happy mat.

mini_mats_on_white_food_clean_coral__60444-1453865533-1280-8002.Teal Baby Bamboo Sleeping Bag – I would always swaddle up Vir to make him sleep, but I guess some babies just hate being wrapped up. He would always pull his hands out and kick open the swaddle and I would be wrapping him all over again. Thankfully I came across the Teal Bee bamboo sleeping bag for babies made using natural thermal regulation bamboo, working to keep the baby warmer in winter and cool in summer. Vir loves it and sleep so well.

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3.ORB Bottle Warmer– If you are a pumping mama and store or freeze the milk, the ORB bottle warmer will save so much hassle. It steam heats bottles and baby food without hotspots and is BPA free. Also its very light and portable to carry while you are travelling. Plus it looks cute and can fit  all size bottles.

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4.Car seat handle cushion cover – If you don’t have upper arm strength like me, you will have a hard time lifting the car seat with your inner arm. I looked up online to help me with this issue and came across Itzy Ritzy car seat handle cushion cover which has thick foam padding for comfort and universally fits to all types of car seats.

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5.Baby Carrier for Mom and Dad: Baby carriers are definitely a staple of life with a new born, as your hands are free and the baby is cozy and secure. For longer trips and especially when baby is 5 months over Baby Bjorn is a great carrier to have. It looks great, is sturdy and has a waist belt for support. Also the babies hand and legs are free.  But when I am out with the baby at a park, grocery store or running an errand,  I prefer the Baby K’tan . It is made of 100% cotton and has good stretch too. The material is very soft and cozy for an infant and the best part is it is very light and easy to carry in your diaper bag.

6.Tote Savvy –Tote Organizer: I don’t feel like carrying my diaper bag everywhere, I miss my cute and light totes. I came across  Tote Savvy , it offers the best of both worlds by combining the inner lining of a diaper bag with any handbag. Also it is available in 2 sizes. Its expensive, but it makes sense if you want to be organized and search for your lip stick and car keys in the diaper bag.

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7.Skip Hop Bath Kneeler: Trust me it is so much better to kneel on this cushioned surface especially if your knees hurt. I prefer kneeling to sitting while giving Vir a bath in our bath tub. The bath kneeler doesn’t skid and is washable too. I had registered for the Skip Hop Moby Bath set on my baby registry  and I love it.

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8.Dr Brown’s Bottles – Vir was very gassy  for the first few months and I was looking at all possible solutions to reduce his gassiness. Glad to have found the Dr Brown’s bottles they come with a Infant paced Feeding Valve which helps decrease air intake and helps burping with non squeeze method. They are BPA Free too.

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9. Baby ear protection ear muff or Baby Headphones– There are some events, concerts, games that you just can’t miss and if you are worried about your child’s hearing, I highly recommend getting noise cancelling earphones or ear muffs. We recently attended a concert with 4 month baby Vir and he slept through the entire concert with his headphones on for 3 hours. These ear muffs/ noise cancelling head phones are your best bet if you have a light sleeper or if your baby is sensitive to noise. I wished I had them while flying to New York for the first time with the baby. These headphones are easy to wear and have foam filling cushions that can fit to every child and are available in different sizes and color options. I am glad they make these. We have the Walker’s ear phones for babies.

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10.Squeeze packs of baby food– Vir will be very soon starting solid foods and I am looking forward to make some homemade healthy and nutritious purees. I will like to avoid as much store bought squeeze foods as I can as they are so freaking expensive.  I really liked the concept of  Foodii Squeeze Snack Filling and Feeding System as they are so convenient, compact, easy and also BPA free. You can bulk them up and store it for mess free meals on the go.

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I hope this blog post has helped you find something you need . I will appreciate if you can reply or comment below with your favorite baby products which worked well for you and the baby. .(You can catch us on Instagram )

 

Tips for Traveling with a baby. (Our short trip to New York)

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Vir enjoying the breeze and views on the boat tour to Statue of Liberty! Highly recommend it

We just returned from our trip to New York City and I couldn’t wait to share some pictures with you! Mostly though, I wanted to share our experience of traveling for the first time with the baby. Travel is definitely not the same anymore, yet we discovered that even New York City is a friendlier place when you have a baby with you.

It had been almost 8 months since I visited my colleagues and friends on the East Coast, as I was busy preparing for the arrival of baby Vir. This gave me an opportunity to plan a work trip cum mini-vacation to New York City.  The last time I was in a flight, I was 5 months pregnant, flying to India for my brother’s wedding all excited and thrilled. Even though I was excited to meet my friends and colleagues, I was nervous as I was going to be travelling with a 3 month baby. Images from my past flight experiences with crying and howling babies in the plane flashed in front of me, reminding me how much I dreaded sitting next to a crying baby. I know first hand that the city can be intimidating to come with a baby as everything is spread out, you have to walk a lot and you aren’t sure what is baby friendly. It was nerve-racking thinking about issues like, baby fussiness on the plane, judging stares from strangers, changing diapers at a germy roadside bathroom or moving around in NYC with a stroller. Now there is no denying that a vacation with a baby is tougher than a vacation with just grownups, but in our case, the mini vacay turned out to be quite a pleasant experience.

I did a lot of research online, consulted many mom friends for travel advice and got a ‘go ahead’ from the pediatrician before I made the travel plans. The main bases one needs to cover are Eating , Sleeping and Getting Around. A well fed, rested and comfortable baby is usually less fussy or a happy one. “Babies can be surprisingly good travelers,” says Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers and Preschool-Age Children. “The major advantage is that they’re not very mobile yet.”

My first advice is  Don’t over pack : I allowed myself plenty of time to pack the diaper bag. I thought through every possible scenario and packed all that stuff that I needed. In fact I shared my diaper bag pic on my instagram to get more input from all my mom followers. (You can also catch my daily updates there ) With an infant I think you need more stuff, yet I tried to leave as much behind as I could. I made sure I had minimum 3 days supply of clothing so that there was enough time to do laundry if needed. We didn’t over-pack diapers and wipes as it is easily available everywhere. But I made sure to carry at least 6 diapers in my diaper bag, allotting one per hour for travel time. I carried 4 pieces of Vir’s favorite Pacifier as they always tend to disappear and I was sure I would lose them, which I course I did! (I was too late in buying pacifier clips, highly recommend buying them) A solid supply of wipes and cleaning cloths are a must, as you never know of diaper blow out and spit ups, plus I used wipes to clean every surface close to the baby in NYC. TipI also made a small travel pouch with Vir’s bath and medicine supplies that I will need on all my trips, it is good to have it ready.  In big baby gear items we carried the boppy pillow, car seat, a caddy stroller and the baby carrier. You can also rent these items (babysaway.com, rentittoday.com) but since it was my first time, I didn’t want to take any chances.

 

Hungry Baby is Grumpy Baby: As I am exclusively breast feeding, I made sure to carry my nursing scarf, an extra supply of pumped frozen milk packs ,my Madela breast pump, storage bottles and a cold pack to carry the frozen milk. I nursed Vir during takeoff and landing to avoid the ear pain due to cabin pressure change in the flight. Babies have narrower Eustachian tubes, and changes in cabin pressure during take-off and landing can cause ear pain for them. Swallowing helps relieve the pressure, and that can come in the form of nursing, a bottle, or a pacifier. While travelling around the city I always made sure Vir was fed before we left the hotel. I also carried some pumped milk and my nursing scarf every time, as you never know when duty calls.

 

Nap Time is essential for your Sanity : We booked the flight around Vir’s naptime and it totally worked, as he was cheerful in the morning flight and slept easily on the return night flight. I highly recommend carrying a pillow, as it makes it so much easier to feed, carry and lay the baby in your lap. Maintaining Vir’s nap times and sleeping routines daily was important to have a happy baby join us for our day trips. We made sure Vir was well rested before we left the hotel. And to avoid any fussiness we took short breaks every 2 hours to sit, feed and put him back to sleep. Of course we knew that there will be several breaks for changing diapers, stretching and wiggling so we planned our trips accordingly. Tip -I had made a list of stores and places convenient for feeding and diaper changing in the city.

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He was great during the flights !

Getting Around : The best bet to travel with a baby is in a car. However I wanted to gain the City mom experience and traveled in trains, cabs and even a boat with Vir. One of my biggest concerns was maneuvering the stroller around the crowded tourist spots, stores and restaurants. Thankfully we carried our small caddy stroller, as it was perfect for squeezing through the tight lanes of the shopping stores and light enough to carry. Baby wearing also worked out perfectly for us. I love wearing Vir in our babybjorn and it was extremely convenient during our day and night trips. We wore him mostly at crowded places like Times Square, Rockefeller center, Madison Avenue etc. Tip -I practiced wearing Vir much prior to our trip, to get him used to the feeling and to see if he would be comfortable in the carrier. At the same time I wanted to train my back with the carrier. So far, Vir loves being worn and it has definitely been fun carrying him around. Honestly, with some practice and a comfortable baby carrier it can feel like a breeze.

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I walked almost 3 hours around the city wearing Vir !

Adjusting our Mind set : I was mentally prepared that most of the things won’t go as planned. There will be delays and it might take twice as long for activities that would have been way faster without a baby. Planning ahead of time and adjusting and readjusting your day trips will be the key to a stress free trip. Also flexibility is key to a fun and relaxed trip. Make sure to follow your baby’s cues on your day out.

This was a memorable trip as it was Vir’s first time travelling in a plane, train, boat and cabs. I never wanted to give the excuse that I couldn’t travel because of the baby. I believed that it was a silly excuse and didn’t ever want my baby to hold us back from life experiences; I want him to experience them with us. Looking forward to our adventures with our little one.

Remember, Happy Baby =Happy Parents.

For more travel advice on travelling in a flight with a baby you can refer to Mommypoints.Boardingare.com they have some great tips and links for reference.

You can also check out mommyppopins.com for Things to do in NYC with an infant.

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So glad to have Mom on this trip with us !

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Date night at a Rooftop Bar overlooking the Empire State Building!

 

 

 

When Our Fur Baby Met our Son! 

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Rio warming up to 3 month old Vir

I am a mother of two. One is an adorable 3 month old who loves to smile and squeal.The other is a 5 year old terrier, who loves to chase squirrels and cuddle. One is our baby Vir and the other is our “fur baby” Rio !

Hell yes my dog is my baby!! I feed him, bathe him, walk him, play with him, take him to his vet appointments, buy him treats and toys, dress him up for Halloween, protect him from danger (stray cats in our neighborhood are vicious!), worry about him all night if he is ill, comfort him when he is scared, take family pictures with him, miss him when I am traveling, scold him when he is naughty and most importantly, love him with all my heart as I am his MOM. No wonder I didn’t refrain from celebrating Motherhood as a Dog Mom for the past 5 years.  Oprah’s quote – “Biology is the least of what makes… someone a mother” has stuck with me all this time.

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Rio when he was a puppy

The feeling of maternal love and the sensibilities of a mother first came to me when we adopted Rio from a local shelter here in Houston, when he was just 4 weeks, back in 2011. He just didn’t walk into our house with his tiny paws; he walked straight into our hearts.
We knew we were ready for this commitment of loving and caring for him for the rest of his life. His dark brown eyes and constant need for cuddle and kisses filled my heart with immeasurable love and an immediate need to protect and treasure him! For us Rio isn’t a domesticated animal but our first child. And I don’t mind saying that Rio trained me to be a better mom, since I made those classic first born child mistakes with him.

 

I believe it is the little things that shape our relationships in life, and my relationship with Rio is no different. Everything I do for him results in love and gratitude. His unconditional love, boundless energy, unrestrained affection and loyalty make us smile even in the worst of days! The mere mention of “Let’s go” makes him jump with joy. Watching him stick his head out of the car window just cracks me up every time. And the best part of the day is coming home to a wagging tail.

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Our pregnancy announcement photo shoot at home

When we found out that we were pregnant we were excited that our pack was going to grow! From flooding hormones to slight differences in routine, it is more than likely that Rio picked up on changes even before I started sporting a bump. He would sit and stare at me and follow me everywhere in the house, especially when I was suffering from nausea. (He would always be standing outside the bathroom). Rio also started camping at my feet in the bed and liked laying his head next to my belly when we watched TV. Things would sometimes get weird when he would chew up my underwear while I was gone. Now that I think about it, maybe he was acting out or feeling neglected. But he was definitely picking up something. They say a dog can tell that you are pregnant “Although it hasn’t been scientifically explored, it’s within the realm of reason,” Jennie K. Willis, an applied animal behaviorist, told Animal Planet.

Some people believe that it can be dangerous to bring a baby into a home with a dog. However, according to all the dog parents and owners between our family and friends; ‘Dogs have been loyal, loving and protective family members for them’. We were quite confident that Rio would be a good dog around Vir. As he prefers the company of human friends over dogs and is most excited when our friends come over (I think he is convinced that they are his buddies and are there to visit him). Yet, we often wondered how Rio would react when he would see Vir for the first time. Would he be scared, friendly, excited, indifferent or jealous? We researched online on how to introduce your baby for the first time to your dog, read online forums and checked out the cute videos recorded by awesome dog parents.  Please look up dog adoption and training guide for more information and tips on dog and baby relationship.

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Rio meets Vir for the 1st time

As newborn baby Vir entered his house for the first time, Rio waited anxiously at the door the entire day. I walked in first, hugged him and let him know that I missed him too. Once his initial excitement had died down a bit, we moved to the living room to introduce Vir to Rio. I remember he was excited, anxious, nervous all at same time and started to whimper as we walked into the house carrying Vir. We sat down on the couch and Rio immediately jumped next to me (still whimpering) and was bewildered to see Vir for the first time. He kept licking me and Deep and then very slowly, came close to Vir and sniffed him. Their introduction was priceless. Rio was extremely curious, but above all he was gentle towards his baby brother. It was a very emotional moment for all of us; I wasn’t prepared to see Rio whimpering like that for almost five to ten minutes after we got in the house. I was in tearsLet me tell you, Rio has grown extremely needy since the baby has got here and is comp

eting for our attention by acting cute.  Sometimes it seems he is trying too hard as he tries to play on his back or rub his face on the carpet or just constantly wag his tail while staring at us. He is slowly getting used to the fact that this new human is here to stay.I wished the two would have hit it off as BFFs right from the start, but it seems we will have to wait a bit longer. Rio still maintains his distance from Vir and avoids getting too close to him unless I call him to sit or sleep next to him. He does not show much affection towards Vir, but at the same time thankfully he isn’t jealous of him. (I think, he thinks of him as a mischievous tiny human, who has not only taken his spot on the sofa but is constantly pooping, and peeing all day!!) ( You can follow their journey on my Instagram account)

IMG_6687We are working on creating that special bond between them. We make sure to include Rio in all our daily activities and keep the same routine as earlier. Rio knows that the baby comes above him in the pack order as he is  aware of his boundaries of where he is allowed in the house and that the baby’s stuff is not his to chew or play. (Rio avoids everything but chews on his diapers when we are gone, I don’t know why he does it, but we are dealing with this phase right now). We call Rio every day to come and sniff the baby and also give him treats when he licks Vir’s feet to associate with space and respect. Its now a rule in the house to play with Rio first and then hold the baby, especially when our guests come over, as he would jump in between to get all the attention first. (jealous one)

My relationship with Rio made me realize dogs are nothing like humans; they can go through hell, yet forgive easily. This kind of love is one of the best things in life to experience as he filled a space in my heart that I never knew existed. It is an amazing feeling to be licked on your face when you are stressed or rubbed by a wet nose when you are lonely. No matter how crappy your day is, there is always a happy face waiting for you to get home.

I am thankful for my Dog for all the paw prints on my floor, for all the slobbery kisses on my face and for the fur on my clothes… for there will come a day when there is too much room in my bed.

“Parenthood requires Love not DNA”- unknown 

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Pregnancy photoshoot at home. (Photo credit: My dear husband)

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Catching a nap on the bump

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My Post-Baby Weight Loss Journey

 

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After a good run ! 10 weeks postpartum

I am three months and 1 week postpartum and you might wonder why I am already talking about weight loss. I have been struggling to write this post and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit this to the blog. Yet, I am posting it and I have decided to do so because it will not only motivate me to continue to work towards my “goal” but also give me a chance to celebrate my progress so far.

Will I ever get back to my pre-pregnancy physique? When will I hit my goal? How long will it take me to fit in my jeans? Will I have to continue buying bigger size clothes? Ahh!! .….all the questions pop up in my head as I step into my closet. No matter how many clothes are hanging in your closet, there are always those days when you feel you have nothing to wear. It’s all there but it’s all wrong and then you want to shop. I’ve faced this almost every day for last five months. Earlier I was so big that I could survive only in my maternity clothes and now, when I am neither 9 months pregnant nor my original size, I am in this no man’s land with only a handful of stuff I can fit in.

To fulfill my goal and stick to this weight loss journey I am putting a stop to buying any bigger size dresses or jeans or shirts. I think that this will encourage me to stick to my workout routine and healthy lifestyle to get back in shape and not fall off the wagon.

Pre- Pregnancy

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Last year Aug 2015, hiking Whistler Mountain, Vancouver

I feel I have always struggled with weight. I’ve always been the tall and athletic body type and never close to the slim shape. I played basketball and represented my school, college and state at competitions for almost 7 years. My love for sports directed me towards a healthier lifestyle and maintaining a workout regime so far. But my love for chocolates and cakes would wash away all that hard work and I would end up at the same weight rather than losing it! Post college I started getting comfortable with this theory and worked out so that I could indulge in my favorite food. I always enjoyed cardio and high energy activities like jogging, swimming, kickboxing etc . I have never been a big fan of dieting or staying on a controlled diet or eating clean. Right before pregnancy I was 150 pounds (68 kgs), a few pounds over what I envision my ideal weight to be, but I was working my butt off to maintain it. (Thanks to my metabolism which dipped like the oil prices last year, as I turned 30)

Pregnancy

When one is a pregnant you get a license to pack on the pounds!! Now since I have been pregnant let me tell you this is a load of bull….. I was obsessed with my weight gain (some of you might relate to it, except for a lone few who can rise above the weight gain issue). I stepped on the scale every day, I wanted to make sure I stick to the healthy weight gain between 25-35 pounds; in fact my target was to gain under 30 pounds. I was eating healthy, eating more green vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk, multigrain bread; cheese etc. (Bought mostly organic food) Also made healthy smoothies with Greek yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, hemp seeds, spinach etc as staple ingredients. I ensured that I was having high nutrition snacks like dry fruits and nutritive bars daily.

 

As I wanted to be in the healthy weight gain spectrum, start first trimester I was running 3 miles, four times a week and swimming occasionally. Second trimester my energy started getting low and I began to walk 3 miles and do some weight training. Fast forward to third trimester I joined yoga and even with back pain issues I made it a point to go for a 2-3 mile walk daily with my fur baby Rio. Deep also accompanied me to keep me going.

Yet I gained 43 pounds!! I couldn’t believe it. Moreover, my yoga class was torturous; To make matter worse, where I live, pregnancy seems so competitive ! Somehow everyone manages to stay slim and gain weight just around their belly.

No matter how crazy the weight gain issue makes us, most doctors agree that we should keep check on our pregnancy weight gain, as many studies show it can lower risks of pre- eclampsia, gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications.

Now 3 months Postpartum

After baby Vir’s arrival in May 2016, I was looking forward to lose the weight so that I could feel like myself again.  I wanted to live the lifestyle of my goal as I couldn’t believe that I had gained 43 pounds after working out almost every day and not falling for those ghee loaded “laddos” and sweets lying in my refrigerator. Within 3 weeks post delivery I had lost 15 pounds. Of course, Vir was 7 pounds of those.

I read success stories online of women bouncing back to their pre-pregnancy weight  in 4 months just by ‘breast feeding’. Also some stories mentioning that the ‘last 10 pounds will be the hardest to lose’ and  how the ‘wider hips and bigger breasts are here to stay’. These anecdotes helped me prepare mentally as to what I should work towards to achieve my goals and at the same time be realistic about them!

I believe its important to have your energy levels back; as life of a new mom is very demanding. I didn’t want to lie down and rest while my family manages things at home. The C section made mobility hard for me but I wanted to be up and working. For me getting my body back was also finding and developing my inner strength. Post my 6 week check up and getting thumbs up on starting my workout regimen from my doctor, I ensured that I got at least 4 days of workout weekly and started with 2 mile brisk walks around my neighborhood. The first few days of walking 2 miles were hard. My belly would hurt if I tried to jog,  but gradually it started getting better. To kick start my workouts Deep bought me a Polar A 360 fitness tracker which helps me keep a tab on my daily steps, workouts and weekly fitness reports. It also buzzes every 50 mins prompting me to walk if I have been sitting for that long. I highly recommend getting a fitness tracker.

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Walking Rio while wearing Vir in Baby K’tan , 8 weeks postpartum.

2 months postpartum, I had lost a total of 22 pounds. Even after that I was somewhat horrified to discover that I still had a belly and looked 5 months pregnant.

I am 3 months postpartum as I write this post and have lost a total of 30 pounds !! 🙂

I still have 13 pounds more to go ! To reach my goal my fitness plan includes 3 miles for at least 4 days a week in the evening as its super hot here in Houston. Rio and Deep are my workout buddies and sometimes when the weather is good, Vir also join us in his jogger. (Highly recommend a getting a jogger so you can start going on long walk/runs with your baby. Great way to unwind and the babies seem to love it). Honestly, the new game Pokemon Go is also making my workouts more fun and has somewhat helped me maintain my 3 mile run and not cheat on my workouts. (I am very competitive when it comes to gaming and Deep is currently leading).  I also do 1 minute planks 5 times everyday to strengthen my core muscles and tighten the belly.

Since I am a breast feeding mama, I am not working on curbing my diet or following a restricted meal plan.  I eat 6 small meals a day. Milk and fruits is a must daily and as I am a vegetarian, cottage cheese, pulses, beans and green veggies is what I live on. Yes I am chocoholic and I can’t do without 1-2 small pieces of dark chocolate daily and  my homemade healthy popsicles . However now I have moved on to chocolate chips which are used in baking to work on my cravings and eat less calories. I also indulge in cupcakes and frozen yogurt on weekends.  No soda, no junk and no processed food for me!!

“Be gentle with yourself and accept the changes of your body” says my Mom and I think she is right;  I don’t want to lose steam too fast by focusing on my weight loss.  My plan is to include different types of routines like weight training, yoga, rowing , home exercises in my regimen than simply running. I am building my endurance and my back and leg muscles groups so as to join Kayla Fitness BBG program by next month. For me it isn’t about a skinny body, but more of a healthier and stronger body. (you can see my workout updates on my Instagram page. Do follow!!!)

My hope here is not to get frustrated but to stay motivated and keep reminding myself that I have created a fabulous tiny human being, who adores me! The best advice I want to share is “Let’s not obsess over how we LOOK but how we FEEL !!! ”

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3 months Postpartum !! I finally feel I can run 3 miles at a go 🙂

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Multitasking  !!  (This pic is from when I was 10 weeks postpartum)

 

An Expectant Dad Chronicles

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Arushi is 4 weeks pregnant! At our friends wedding in Houston

Let me begin with saying that it was not just my wife who was expecting. The two of us were working on this life project together. I didn’t know how to handle every hormonal situation, but just being there, listening, talking, comforting, caring and loving her; made me feel more involved, we were a Team!

We had been trying for just a couple of weeks. So when Arushi told me that she was pregnant, my response was “you’re kidding me! Already!” rather than an emotional and more appropriate “Oh my God, we’re having a baby!”.

Even though it was a planned pregnancy, that doesn’t mean that I was prepared for fatherhood! I thought I’d have more time… I’d do my research, read books on parenting, and seek the wisdom of the more experienced. Now the clock had started ticking.

Arushi had her list of things she needed to do and I had mine…I sifted through Amazon looking for the best books for pregnancy and gain knowledge, after all my reading material had a new theme. ‘Origins’ by Annie Murphy Paul, ‘Brain Rules for Baby’ by John Medina and ‘Be Prepared- a Practical Handbook for New Dads’ were the 3 books that I read to get prepared for what was coming. The app Ovia was another indispensable tool that kept me informed on the progress of pregnancy and provided me with a window into what was going on with my wife- mentally & physically. (The app’s weekly updates would have this fascinating comparison of the size of the growing baby with a fruit or vegetable). We both shared so much in this phase – Good food choices, healthy habits, baby’s weekly development etc. Honestly, this gave me a sense of being part of the pregnancy.

First few weeks flew by fast, informing family & close friends. Then came the morning sickness. No one warns you about the morning sickness! Don’t fall for the innocuous sounding name. It gives you a false impression of something like a mild nausea in the morning. It lasts all day long, everyday for a month and can be quite extreme. Needless to say, Arushi wasn’t in a good mood during this phase. And I learned very quickly, never argue with a hungry pregnant woman.

The morning sickness eventually subsided. We had barely let out a sigh of relief when Arushi started experiencing Sciatica pain. I received daily critical feedback regarding my back massage skills for that period. Bought new massager, tried yoga, off-the-shelf pain medication. Only thing that ended up being somewhat effective was professional massage. The pain thankfully went away after about 3 weeks. So, advice for husbands- if you are not good at massage, surprise her by taking a massage class. She’ll appreciate it a lot. I also got to practice my photography skills as Arushi wanted to document her bump. Easiest way to earn some brownie points!

It’s a baby boy! We found out in the 8th week itself. It was a surprise for me to know the gender so early in the pregnancy (through non-invasive prenatal test). The news all of a sudden made me realize the huge responsibility that I was about to take on. Now, apart from being a good father, I needed to be a role model for a tiny man. Just like my father had been for me.

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My Favorite from the maternity photo shoot.

Second trimester went much smoothly. It was also an exciting time as we got to see the baby for the first time during the ultrasound. Trust me, it was quiet something to be able to see a fetus grow and move inside the tummy. It was a transcendental moment. We had read how important it is for overall health of the baby that the mom stays active. That inevitably meant that I had to stay active. I would typically work out a couple of days a week. But now, Arushi was dragging me to the gym or the park, everyday. At first I complained a bit, but then I figured, if I wanted to run around with my kids 10 years from now, I could use the exercise.

The third trimester was when the baby weight gain accelerated. And with that, Arushi’s attempts to stay within the healthy weight-gain spectrum also intensified. I tried to comfort her anxiety about weight by pointing out articles mentioning that every woman has a different weight gain curve, and just because she had gained weight rapidly during past few months didn’t mean that she’ll continue to gain weight at the same pace.

Our weekly activities and projects started as the final weeks started getting close. We started buying stuff for the baby. My DIY nursery project of putting together the crib, nursing chair, dresser and decorating the nursery was in full swing. We had our maternity photo shoot. Our friends threw us an amazing baby shower and we ended up with more baby stuff than we could’ve asked for. We also did the hospital tour. Being familiar with the inside of the hospital, definitely made us feel more comfortable when we eventually went there for delivery. We read more stuff on the internet and flipped through a couple of handed down parenting books. We also watched a few videos online, as we agreed on not doing Lamaze classes or any other parenting classes.

Our hospital was 10 miles from our home. I was antsy about what we would do if it baby decides to come during rush hour traffic. And of course, that is exactly what happened. I got the call at work from Arushi at 4:00 pm saying that she thought she was having contractions. It took me 35 minutes to get home and then it took us another 50 minutes to get to the hospital! Arushi was surprisingly calm and asked me to relax and kept saying she was fine throughout the drive.

An experienced friend of mine had given me a simple piece of advice -” trust your doctors & just follow their instructions.” And that is exactly what we did. After around 6 hours in labor Arushi finally got the epidural. The nurse informed us that based on her progress, the baby would come sometime in the morning. “Cool! I can amuse myself by reading my baby’s horoscope.” As I looked up for the date online, it occurred to me. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th! “Oh crap! We are going to have a Friday the 13th baby! Can’t we do something to get him out in the next one hour?” Of course the nurse said no. But, for those of us not suffering from triskaidekaphobia, you’ve got to agree- it’s a pretty cool day to be born on! For the rest of you… stop being silly.

“It’s time to push, Deep!” Arushi said excitedly while waking me up at 4:30 am. The nurse started to get the things ready for the delivery and within 5 minutes, Arushi was pushing, with me on her side holding her hand. I was truly amazed at how brave she was at that moment, shivering and pushing and focusing, all at the same time. She pushed for an hour but as she was running a fever and the baby’s heart rate was climbing, the doctor made the call to do a C-Section. We knew ahead that this could be a possibility. We were now faced with a situation that we had hoped wouldn’t arise. Again, I just followed the simple advice and put my trust in the doctors & nurses. After all, we were at one the best women’s health hospitals in the nation.

Arushi was wheeled away to the surgery room while I was dressed up in scrubs and asked to join later. In what felt like an eternity, a nurse came to get me. This was the first time I’d ever been in a surgery room. It was very busy, with everyone very focused. That’s one thing that the movies definitely get right. Arushi was on the operating table, wide awake and there was an opaque blue curtain across her waist blocking the view below. Boy was I glad for that curtain! I had been quite calm through the entire labor. But I don’t think I could have handled seeing her being operated on or seeing her in any kind of pain there.

About 10 minutes later, at 7:05 am on Friday the 13th, I heard the cries of my baby. I instinctively knew that he was going to be alright, even though the doctors had informed us that he would need to be taken immediately to the NICU for monitoring. No baby bawling with a lung strength like that had could possibly have anything wrong with him (he still likes to give us displays of that lung strength every now and then). He was quickly wrapped up and the nurse handed Arushi the baby. It is a beautiful sight to behold. A mother’s first expression as she holds her baby for the very first time. Soon, the baby & I were immediately escorted to the NICU while Arushi was being stitched back. By the time I could gather my feelings and realize what was going on, this little 7 pound human, our son, baby Vir was placed in my arms.

I was a changed person- for the better. I was now a father.

 

By – Deepanshu

 

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When Vir was getting his measurements I got his footprints !

 

P.S – I am currently reading ‘Baby Sense’ by Megan Faure and Ann Richardson and refer to ‘Baby 411’ for all the wisdom, advice and answers we seek as new parents.

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Hey you!

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Can’t believe my first Father’s Day with 4 week old baby Vir !