5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Holi at Home With Your Kids. Free Holi Banner Included

Among the many festivals we celebrate, HOLI has always been my favorite since childhood. This year I am so excited about being able to share my love for Holi with my son . Although he is very young to understand the culture and its essence in our lives, I cannot wait for him to sprinkle colored powder on me and enjoy the water balloons and water pistol battles with his friends and siblings in the years to come.

Simply defined HOLI is the celebration of the vibrancy of spring, fertility, love and the triumph of good over evil. The festival is usually celebrated in March and signals the coming of spring in India. It’s the start of new hopes and relationships, signified through the burst of colors everywhere. Holi is also about warmer weather, sweet delicacies and of course, special Holi crafts and activities for kids.

In this post I am sharing some fun ideas to enjoy the festival of colors with some easy to do colorful play for toddlers. Also, I made this

PRINT THIS BANNER FOR 

Pre and  Post Holi picture memories. 

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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE HOLI BANNER by thesnazzymom.com

I got the print out from Office depot on four A4 sheets. You can get them laminated so that they are sturdy and can be reused later. Note you will have to cut them into circles and can use tape to attach them to a thread. I used white wool.

DIY,  TWO INGREDIENT EDIBLE PAINT FOR BABIES.

Last year during Holi, our son was only 7 months old. We celebrated the festival with him with these simple and safe DIY water colors in our bath tub. It’s a great activity for babies and note the paints are edible too.

Click here for the post and make your own paints

 FLOWER HOLI

We also played Holi outside with some rose petals. Our son  wasn’t interested earlier but later tried to throw the rose petals and joined in the fun. Playing with rose petals will also make great photo opportunities with your baby. Try it out and let me know.

RAINBOW FOAM BUBBLES PARTY

rainbow soap

Picture by Funathomewithkids.com

Rainbow Foam bubbles is a great sensory activity for kids to play and learn colors and celebrate Holi in a fun and easy way.  Note this will be good for older kids as younger kids might eat the foam and the soap could also get in their eyes.

Click here for the post and learn to make the colored foam bubbles.

COLORED TOASTS FOR TREATS

toast

Picture by HelloWonderful.co

Rainbow toasts is a must try! You can remove the sprinkles and just get your little one to eat his/her toast when they are fussy. It is also a great kids party snack idea and healthier than cake, cookies or donuts. The frosting is actually cream cheese and not frosting!

Click here for full recipe.

FUNFETTI MALAI KULFI IN EDIBLE SPRINKLE BOWLS

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Picture by LoveLaughMirch.com

A modern and colorful take on traditional malai kulfi. This frozen desert is a staple on Indian festivals and this twist of sprinkles will add some more fun to your Holi celebrations ! Also a great way to involve older kids in the festivities of making fun, delicious and colorful dessert while making memories. Check out this latest blog post on making this delicious desert . Sprinkle some colors on my Kulfi !!

I wish you a fun filled HOLI with your friends and family and these ideas can add to the celebration !!

HAPPY HOLI !! XOXO

Arushi (2)

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How My Toddler is Learning Basic Life Skills Through Age Appropriate Chores

Homemadeburgers

Few months back I observed my little guy wanted to lend a hand in our daily home chores. He insisted on holding the mop or putting the clothes in the washing machine to feeding our pet. I thought it would just be a temporary phase and he would soon be bored of it. However, to my surprise my 20-month-old loves to be busy with these daily tasks and now it has become more of a daily fun routine for us. ( #momwin )

There are many benefits of house chore for kids. First and foremost, it is some Help after all !

But one of the main benefits is that giving my son his own special chores has made him more confident of his still developing skills. He feels valued and appreciated with the plenty of praise we offer him after he completed his chore. Also, he can concentrate longer and his sense of coordination has improved too. I have also used this opportunity to teach him the concept of responsibility from an early age by reminding him about the tasks he need to complete like cleaning up after play and feeding our pet a treat after a walk.

Before I share my list of chores I want to say that we should take the advantage of our child’s desire to imitate whatever we as parent work on at home. Children are natural imitators they learn everything by watching us. Therefore, it is so important to allow them to watch you work from the time they are born. Modeling how work should be done and assisting your child can be tough. Sometimes it can even be painful. But by asking them to leave you alone when you are doing a chore, might send an idea that they are not good enough or they don’t need to help, since mom will do everything for them.

I have realized young children love to feel useful and want to help around the house. I had read somewhere that

“Allowing them to help, even when it makes it harder for us, encourages this aspect of their nature. When we discourage them from helping, we eliminate this natural tendency.”

This left an impact on me and I worked with my son on this thought.

Below are few steps I recommend to engage your kid or toddler in your household chores. You can also make a chore chart for older kids. At the end of this post I have one image that you can save or Pin.

Simply invite and allow your child to help. If your child is not interested… no problem. No pushing, forcing, or shaming. The kid will usually find something else to do, which is a win win situation.

Using kind works like please, thank you, very good … etc. matters. As all our kids want is to be like us and to please us

Guide your child on what he or she is doing. Help them help you.

Unless there is a safety issue, allow your child struggle and figure things out on their own whenever possible. Don’t help your child unless they absolutely need it.

And always praise their effort not their ability. I try to use phrased like “Thankyou Vir, you are doing a great job. I really appreciate the help” I know he will not understand all of it now, but he knows he is being appreciated and will associate the words as positive reinforcement.

Below are a few home chores ideas we introduced to our son in past few months-

  1. Toys Clean Up – Once my son is done playing with his mega blocks or the plastic dinner wear in my kitchen’s pantry closet, I start repeating “Clean Up, Let’s Clean Up” and picking up the blocks, toys and putting them in their place. He follows along and once it’s all done we clap!
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My little Helper ! Time to unload the dishwasher

  1. Unload the Dish washer – I take out all the sharp knives and dangerous items, then ask my toddler to pass me the plates , spoons, spatulas from the dishwasher and sort them too. This way he is also learning the different kitchen items
  2. Sweep Up– With the swiffer and small broom, our son likes to brush up old cereal pieces and make a pile. He has seen me using our handheld vacuum cleaner and is also now reaching to hold it and to clean up the dirt we collected.
  3. Helping with laundry–I ask my son to get his dirty clothes from his laundry bin and place them one by one in the washing machine. Post which I put in the detergent and let him finally slam the door shut and press the button of the washing cycle.  It’s obvious he likes the slamming most.
  4. Cleaning the high chair – I spray with water he wipes down the table Or vica-versa.
  5. Putting books away– We do a lot of reading in our family and mainly I like to read on the couch or the bed, so by the end of the day, there are usually several piles of books scattered around the house. He helps collect the books and bring them back to the right shelves or baskets.
  6. Throwing diapers and plastic wrappers– This is simple and self-explanatory. Also, now my son has started getting me all plastic wrappers and any bits and pieces of paper on the floor to throw away in the trash. Yesterday I saw him open the trash and throw his juice box after he was done.
  7. Watering the house plant – We recently started to do this. He likes to pour water and balance the cup so the water doesn’t spill. I give him a small plastic cup to water our house plant. This way he knows to care for the plant too.
  8. Fill the Pet’s dish– My son loves his furry brother “Rio”, he cares for him a lot and loves to share his toys and food with him every day. Once we are back from our daily walks he offers Rio a bone and fills in a fist full of kibbles in his dish for dinner.
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Too much fun with the Swiffer

Home life is one of the developmental domains of childhood along with language (reading), math, science, art, music, gross motor, fine motor, sensory, and social-emotional learning. The primary lesson of home life is learning how to help around the house and learn to become independent. Are you raising a Helper? Do share your thoughts in the comment below.

Arushi (2)

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Airplane Busy Bag Must Haves + Tips on Flying Internationally with a Baby or Toddler

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A recent pic from our Portugal travel diaries. (Pena Palace,Sintra)

Me and my husband love to embrace adventure and explore new places. The idea of exploring this big beautiful world with our toddler is exciting.  Yes it takes a lot of work, time, patience and planning and no doubt it gets difficult sometimes too. But, then anything difficult has the opportunity to help you grow. I have realized after travelling to 4 countries and total of 6 destinations this year with my son,  that each trip comes with new challenges and learnings.

In this post I will be sharing all the different techniques l learned from our past travels for not just surviving but thriving with a growing toddler on our travels.

In April we travelled to Switzerland & Amsterdam for 2 weeks,(Post here with our travel pics and more tips) Our son was 10 months old at that time . His major food source was formula, he was crawling and standing with support and was understanding just a few words. This is a good age to travel as they sleeping comfortably in the stroller.

My learnings from that trip was –

  1. Always carry at least 2 days worth of formula or milk in the carryon luggage, to avoid shopping for your baby’s food in a foreign land (with packaging in foreign language) since they are chances your baggage can be delayed
  2. Try to take only red eye flights so your baby can sleep in your lap and not be awake throughout your ten hour journey
  3. Every country is not baby bathroom friendly (We faced this issue in Amsterdam). It was almost impossible to find a restroom that had a changing table in the city.

In July we travelled to Los Cabos, Mexico (Our Vacay pics are here ) for a 3 day getaway when our son was 13 months, almost walking,  drinking cow’s milk and eating real food.

My learnings from this trip was-

  1. Always carry extra food on the flight or places you visit at your destination -like bread, cheese, fruit or any other snacks, as you will run out of them especially if your kid throws everything on the floor. Be prepared if you have a picky eater at this age.
  2. Plan your day trips around the kid’s nap schedule so they can be happy when you plan to step out, since a tired kid and cranky kid can cause stress if you are miles or hours away from your hotel.

In September we travelled to Seattle for a 4 day trip, where Vir was walking, eating well and understanding many words and communicating with us.

My learnings from this trip was

  1. Even though kids are tiny and can fit in your lap easily, it is a good choice to get their own seat for more comfort. (I carried a pillow with me on the flight on which our son comfortably laid across me and my husband )
  2. Once they learn to walk, it will be hard to have them seated in a stroller for long periods of time, so be prepared to carry them in a baby/toddler carrier or in your arms half of the time when you are sightseeing or shopping.
  3. The best way to keep them excited about visiting new locations is to allow them to explore it by running around in a safe place and burn all that energy. Once they are tired they eat peacefully and want to sit in the stroller.

 Post these travels I started to plan ahead of time on what I need to do for our recent vacation to Portugal. We were now aware of all possible scenarios   – covering in flight entertainment, meal preps at destinations, planning the day trip around the toddler’s schedule, dealing with jetlag , expected crankiness  and meltdowns at public spaces etc.

However my biggest concern this time around was to handle the 14 hour journey with an extremely active and energetic 18 month toddler.  Unfortunately we didn’t get a red eye flight from Houston to Lisbon and for that reason I worked on my BUSY BAG solution to keep my little guy occupied with the least amount of screen time possible.

Below are the items I used in the busy bag that was a huge success in keeping my little one entertained.  Honestly, I was so happy my tricks worked and we had a smooth journey.  Also as expected my son didn’t sleep the entire flight, which means I had to keep him engaged for over 14 hours.

15 Dinner Ideas for You and Your DadToys

I only pack items that are small and can be sorted, stacked, or otherwise moved from place to place. My son’s favorite are his pull back Cars from My B toys  (good for play at the airport ) Finger puppets, legos , a musical remote,  wooden activity board were a huge hit too. The buckle toywas a new toy we introduced on the plane, it’s great for learning basic skills and kept Vir busy for over 15 minutes.

Books

Small board books with flaps are great to engage also try getting new books so it keeps them interested , I really like this Water coloring On the Go book

Craft Play

Play Dough is low mess and easy to pack , my son tries to eat it but he enjoys cutting it and pressing it too. You can also get felt activity books.

Games

Flashcards are fun and also cheap, easy to find at the dollar store or at Target dollar bin, I never feel sad about losing half the cards by the end of the trip). (They’re great for quizzing her on words and sounds, and making piles to stack and counting the cards as we put them back in the box (that’s a game, right?)

SNACKS

Anything bite-sized is perfect for little fingers…plus, it stretches out the snacking time twice as long. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY SNACKS. I probably pack twice as many snacks as toys, because snacks double as entertainment. When it doubt, get out the snacks. I always carry the Oat bars from Happy Baby, raisins, fruit, cheerios , yogurt and for long haul flights even get homemade pasta, veggie sandwich or  veggie muffins(Recipe here)  and very importantly Horizon organic low fat milk. Always carry extra milk and yes these packs are allowed in flight in carry on luggage along with any other baby food.

Random Things like

Glow stick was very helpful to divert his attention if he was cranky and great play when it got dark on the flight. Stickers are fun to carry too.

Screen time (And yes the ace in your bag of tricks when everything fails )

Let’s face it. As much as I try to avoid giving our toddler the tablet, it’s going to happen on travel days. We expect a lot out of our little guy and we definitely push our limits of what a little body can handle, so I find that bending the rules and treating him to the Amazon Fire HD tablet and his favorite snacks is the least we can do to help ease the stress for everyone involved.

Downloads Shows  from  Amazon Prime or Netflix, Little Baby Bum, Super Simple Songs, Word Party, and Sesame Street are a few of our favorites.

Fun and educational Apps like Peekaboo Barn, PBS kids, Happy Valley Friends and Sago Mini Truck and Diggers are few of our favorites.

I completely forgot to carry headphones for my kid , so definitely going to carry them on our trips moving  forward .

Here is more information and tips on travelling with kids.

A pediatrician’s advice on caring for your child’s health while travelling

How I survived a long haul flight with a lap child

How I prepare to leave my Breastfed baby for a work trip

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Vir wanted to stand for sometime and play on his ping board in the flight

Hope this post was helpful, please do share any tricks or tips you have on travelling with kids. Please feel free to leave me your questions and I will get back to them as early as I can .

XOXO

Arushi (2)

 

 

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)

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

 

 

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