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To Husband mahendra

From Wife Rashmi


Issued in Public Interest by

Written and Compiled by

Swagata Yadavar

Copy Edited By

Priyanka Parab

Pooja Biraia

Geetai Nivangune

Book and Design Conception

Mahavir Chopra


K S Sankar

Contributing Doctors

Dr. Geetanjali Shah, M D (Pediatrician)

Dr. Sudhir Sane, M D DCH (Pediatrician, Neonatologist)

Dr. Sangeeta Pikale , (Gynecologist)

Copyright © 2010 Medimanage Health Services Pvt. Ltd.

All rights reserved under Indian Copyright Act.

1. Coping with Motherhood 6

2. How to prepare your Home for your newborn 9
3. How to select a Doctor for your Baby? 12
4. Caring for your Premature Baby 15
5. Feeding the Baby 18

6. Baby Hygiene 27
7. Friends, Family and the Baby 31
8. Thumb Sucking 35
9. Keep your Baby smiling in all weathers! 37
10. Diapering your Baby 41
11. Why is my Baby crying!? 47

12. Baby massage- A Gift for both Parents and Babies 50

13. Danger signs in Babies 54
14. Bonding tips for the New Father 56

15. Baby, Sleep like a Baby… 60

16. Teething Issues at Hand 64
17. Foods for your Baby 66

18. Travelling with your Baby 71

19. Solving the Vaccination Woes 75
20. Dealing with Common Illnesses of the Baby 79

21. Stimulating the Baby 85

22. Traditional vs. Modern approach to Baby care 88
23. Baby’s Development Milestones 93
24. Mommy’s Health 100

The best foreword for this book probably is verily what it brought rolling down
my cheeks as I read it – a drop of tear.

Like the parenthood is the most natural human instinct, the tear drop is the
most natural expression of any human instinct.

I was wondering what brought about this drop of tear – only to realize this tiny
tear drop contained in it an ocean of emotions.

Sublime love and compassion that is typical of parenthood; Care so supreme

that one would offer one’s own self at the altar for the wellbeing of the one
that is cared for.

Empathy tempered with insights – the mother instinctively understands what

pains and troubles the child – The book provides the insights to temper the
empathy with – so that the anxious mother does not go overboard.

Awe at the almost superhuman ability to multitask during the period of rearing
the newborn – I have come across many a mother wondering aloud, looking
back at those demanding days of rearing their infant – Honest to God I do not
know where I got the ability to manage those days. This book offers valuable
wisdom to make those arduous days a little less arduous.

Gratitude – Some worthy has said ‘every child born is a proof that God has still
not lost faith in humanity’. The emotion of gratitude that I find in my tear drop
is that sense of gratitude to all the mothers and motherhood at large that
indeed holds humanity together and makes togetherness human.

As I was getting tossed around these and several other similar waves of
emotion, the tear drop suddenly chose to demonstrate another innate
character it possesses – of being a natural prism. And made my reflections
move from me the receiver to the givers of this book –

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

This reflection led to the realization that it is these very values that drive
Medimanage. I see it manifest in the very effort of bringing out this book. I see
unwritten but clearly visible in between every two lines of this book – We care,
that we help you care for the one you care for the most in this entire universe –
your newborn. Empathy in all that Medimanage does ‐ in understanding the
pain areas ‐ tempered with invaluable insights they provide. And the integrated
process driven approach that make arduous situations that much less arduous
for all those concerned.

My heartfelt congratulations to the entire content team of,

lead ably from the front by Mahavir Chopra, and to the entire Medimanage
leadership on crossing this new milestone. I have been observing with pride the
steady enhancement of the quality and relevance in the contributions of the
entire content team of Swagata Yadavar, verily the
compiler/composer/author of this compendium deserves special mention here
for her demonstrated dedication and devotion, and for her steadfast adherence
to timelines. She is one person who is always willing to walk the extra mile in
pursuit of perfection, and what you have in the following pages is the outcome
of such pursuit.

So, the blessed lot of parents‐to‐be and brand‐new‐parents, parents and

brothers and sisters and other relatives and friends of such blessed lot – each of
you have some take away in this compendium. I am sure you will find the
authentic content of this compendium to be of immense use to you. I am
equally sure will continue to come up with more such
authentic India relevant compendiums.

‐K S Sankar


Coping with motherhood

is the sleep for others and so on. There is no

Along with the euphoria after the announcement
manufacturer’s manual that comes with the baby,
that you are expecting, you find that your heart
you just have to take things the way they come
flutters whenever you think about the baby. and do whatever seems right to you, with due
Don’t worry! It’s just your apprehension about consultation of the doctor. Don’t let the
becoming a mother. This being your first time you disproving remarks of others dampen your
are not really sure of how well you can deal with confidence; as in the end you are the mother and
the pregnancy, about how you will be reacting to no one knows your baby the way you do! Do what
the labor pains and the biggest question of all, will comes to you naturally and what works well for
you be a good mother or not! your baby.

As you face these fears, you are given nothing but Sense of humor
guidelines and more guidelines! Everybody talks
If there were an eligibility requirement for being a
about what you should eat, what you should avoid
mother, having a sense of humor would be placed
along with what to do and what not to when
at the top. The reason being, having a baby and
pregnant! There are solutions for everything from
caring for the baby is no mean task! It is a road full
backaches to swollen legs that come with
of ups and downs and having a sense of humor
pregnancy but none for soothing the nerves of a
soon‐ to ‐be mother. We understand what you are
going through, and here is our sincere effort at
trying to make you feel better.

There is no right way or wrong way

You mother can tell you of a thousand ways to do

things in the right way, when it comes to the baby
as they worked for her! But don’t think that those
are the only ways to do it! Each baby is different,
as every mother is. For some mothers the crying
part of caring for babies is the difficult one, while it

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

will be of a great help if you are to make it through come and assist you in some of chores. When
the first year without any breakdowns! they are at home, relax, catch on some sleep

Imagine this scenario, it is 3 am at night and the and do something for yourself. This time alone

third time your baby cries for a feed or you are will rejuvenate you and energize you enough to

ready to go out and have finished dressing him in a handle motherhood once again!

very cute outfit, when he decides to spit up milk Be Open and Patient
on it. Just like these incidents, there will be several
There will be times when you are unsure of what
more moments that will leave you as a mother
you are doing. There will also be countless other
completely exhausted, frustrated and on the verge
times when you think, whatever you are doing is
of tears! This is where you will require a sense of
wrong! But don’t you worry, like most others
humor to laugh about such incidences with the
you will learn on the job. Experience is what
baby, as there is nothing you can do about them!
teaches you the best, along with the maternal
Ask for help instinct that everyone talks about. After all,

‘When in doubt ask for help’. This saying can be even the best of us fail sometimes; we just learn

modified for mothers, into, ‘whenever from the mistakes and do it again properly the

overwhelmed‐ ask for help!’ Women in general next time round!

have their hands full with household as well as the Let go….
workplace chores, plus they are better at multi‐
When your baby is young, most of the time will
tasking than men, but still there is a limit as to how
be spent in caring for the baby. By the end of
much they can handle.
the day you will be exhausted with no energy
Whenever you find it difficult to take any more left to do anything else but to fall on your bed
strain, call for help. The reason you need to do and slip into an exhausted sleep! So, you may
that is an overstressed and unhappy mom is not in find that the dishes will lie unwashed, the house
the best shape to care for the baby. You can ask will be filled with diapers and toys etc. in short
either your spouse, mom, in laws or your friends to the house won’t be exactly visitor friendly.

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

If the sight of your house is making you don’t fret over it as after a few months you will
sigh. Don’t! It is, but natural that taking care be able to manage both your baby and the
of the baby will take over as your number household duties wonderfully!
one priority leading you to overlook your Motherhood is a journey to be enjoyed with a
household duties. Accept that the house heart open, a mind full of enthusiasm and a
will be messy for few months! Let go and smiling face….Bon Voyage!

How to prepare your home for
your newborn

• With a source for the sunlight to seep in

The news of pregnancy brings joy, fear, excitem‐
• Clean with no paint peeling off and no leakages
ent and nervousness for the ‘would be parents’.
While some of us are nervous because we know • Generally warm

that our life won’t be same after the arrival of the Dr. Geetanjali Shah, Pediatrician, stresses the
baby, others are excited by the very thought of the importance of sunlight “Sunlight is important for
imminent arrival of tiny feet. Whatever the feeling babies, we keep all babies in sunlight after
maybe, it is accompanied by the acceptance of a delivery to prevent occurrence of physiological
responsibility that rests on our shoulders, the jaundice. Later when the chances of jaundice are
responsibility of taking care of a little human less, we still keep them in for the benefit of
being! vitamin D. From whichever rooms are available,

There is an awful lot to learn and know about you have to select the right one.”

pregnancy and we often find ourselves feeling If the room where the baby is kept is not sunny,
overwhelmed by the myriad information on you can keep him in a spot at home where he
Parental Dos and Don’ts. With so much to think receives sunlight to benefit from it.
and fret about, the practical issue of how to Dr. Geetanjali also advices the parents to carry
prepare your home for the newborn is forgotten. out pest control at least 3 months before the
Here are our tips on how to prepare your home for
your newborn.

Most women in India spend their last stages of
pregnancy, in their parent’s home. It is also this
home, which the baby is most likely to arrive from
the hospital room. The room that baby should stay
in, should be‐

• Well ventilated

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

arrival of the baby, if they are considering doing hinges, springs and routinely maintain the
it. furniture.

Decorating it Cribs‐ Generally popularized by the west, they

offer space, comfort and keep the babies safe.
Decorating a room for the baby brings in all sorts
They have adjustable bed height and some can
of ideas from rainbows to fairies and cartoon
be converted to a toddler bed after the baby
characters. You can let your imagination run free
grows up.
in this room, but think about these things too, as
you go about decorating your baby’s room‐ Cradles‐ The traditional Indian choice to keep
the baby, these come in handy to sway and help
Color‐ Select a color that is neutral and bright.
the baby fall asleep. You can hang various toys
The color should suit both a boy and a girl‐ like
from the cradle that produce music which can
hues of yellow, peach etc. Make sure that the
help to soothe the baby when he is crying or
paint used is lead free.
Dr. Geetanjali Shah however says that, “though
Mosquito net‐ The last thing you want is for
we color the walls of the baby’s room in pastel
your baby to be bitten by ruthless mosquitoes
colors and keep colorful soft toys in their room,
and to have their skin covered in mosquito bites.
these colors don’t work much! The colors that
A mosquito net is thus an essential that you
babies can see are white, black and red. If you
must invest in.
keep toys of these colors and have formations of
these colors painted on the wall, these help Safety
stimulate the baby’s brain.” Your home which seems perfectly safe might be
Furniture filled with sharp edges, exposed sockets and

All furniture that you buy must be splinter free, other unknown hazards for the baby. The first

with smooth edges and of a solid construction. few months will be worry free as your baby

You should also need to check for exposed cannot crawl and thus will be safe from any
accidents, however it would be a wise move to

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

start baby proofing your home early on. that prevent your baby from opening the

The trick lies in looking at your home furniture and door and going out

appliances from your baby’s perspective. Take a • Stairs inside the house, need to be fixed with
tour of the house crawling and look at things that mesh gates
may interest you like open sockets, tiny objects
• The buttons on TVs and other electrical
lying on the floor and so on. Here are the common
devices should be covered by plastic shields
things you can do to baby proof your home.
• Windows need to be fixed with grills and
• Cover electrical sockets with plastic and
rubber outlet covers
You must have by now realized; parenting does
• Lock all your cabinets and drawers that are
not start from the moment when you bring the
within the baby’s reach
baby home but long before it, since the time you
• Pad all the sharp edges in your furniture or plan your baby. It is about changing your
smoothen it to avoid injury to the baby priorities or rather choosing the right things as

• Doorknobs can be fixed with doorknob covers priorities. Hope you have started doing that, and
Happy Parenting!

How to select a doctor
for your baby?

university may suggest proper validation.

The first step in choosing the right doctor for
• The range of charges the doctor levies per
your baby is starting early! You should start
visit. Sometimes your friends may suggest
looking for the doctor from the time you are
very good doctors, who charge really high
pregnant and make a decision as you near the
fees which might not suit your pockets! So
end of your pregnancy which should ideally be
look for other equally good but less expensive
around the 8 month mark. The next question
that pops up is what to look for in your baby’s
doctor? Here are some tips to give you a head • You should select a doctor that practices

start in choosing the right doctor for your baby. near your home. You cannot take a sick child
and travel for 2 hours just to see the doctor!
Where to start
• How experienced is the doctor? If he is
You need to start by asking your close friends
experienced, is he also in touch with latest
and relatives for any good pediatrician that they
research and treatments? If the doctor is
can refer. You can also take suggestions from
quite new to the profession, he must have a
your Family doctor and your gynecologist;
doctors are known to suggest the name of their
own friends and sometimes relatives too, so it
won’t necessa ri l y be an u nbi a sed
recommendation. Once you get a few names in,
you can start your research.

What to look for

• You can start from the very basics, like

which university has the doctor completed
the specialties form. A well known

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

good reference for you to choose him. schedules, co‐ sleeping, vaccinations, single
parenting, day care system and alternative
The Doctors Clinic
In the Western countries, there is a concept of
• Check if the opinions of the doctor match
interviewing the doctor before you select him to
up with your own views of parenting. It is
as pediatrician for your baby. You can follow a
always better to have a doctor who feels
similar routine for your baby by visiting the
like you do on most topics rather than have
doctor’s clinic regularly or by just paying a visit to
arguments during the visits.
his clinic with your friend. Once at the doctor’s
clinic, keep an eye for certain things such as. • Some doctors tend to overmedicate the kid
which has a negative impact on the child’s
• Notice the waiting area of the clinic‐ Is it well
health‐ so ask the doctor whether he
furnished? is it child proofed? are there things
believes in herbal or any other form of
to entertain the child with? Is there room
remedy or does he depend on antibiotics
large enough for many babies or is it
• Ask him if you can call on his personal
• Observe how the staff reacts to your visit;
phone number and does he always
are they friendly with other parents? Do they
entertain the call. You can also ask if he
take questions on phone, does the doctor
responds to e‐mails.
himself speak or does the staff answer on his
part? • After your talk with him, make a list of
certain things such as during the talk did he
• Ask other parents in the waiting room about
listen intently to what you were saying? Did
their experience with the doctor, whether
he seem to rush through it or was he
they are happy with him.
patient? From his demeanor, you will get an
The Doctor himself idea of how he is with kids and how
When you get an opportunity to meet the doctor receptive he is when it comes to the baby’s
himself, do consider these points. parents.

• What are his opinions on breastfeeding, baby After a careful analysis of all these factors, make

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

a well thought of decision. After the selection, seem to gel well, talk to him about it. See if you
inform him about your decision and contact him can resolve the issue before you change doctors,
after the delivery for the first checkup. In the as having the same doctor helps in diagnosis and
first year, there will be at least 6 periodic better treatment of baby’s illness.
checkups wherein the doctor will gauge your To ensure that your child’s health is in safe
baby’s growth. If, you find that in spite of your hands, choose your doctor carefully.
careful considerations you and your doctor don’t

Caring for your Premature Baby

medicines. This will be especially useful at

Generally parents of a new born baby do not
times, when there would be someone else
spend more time in the hospital than required –
taking care of your baby.
which is the approximately the first few days after
• When you are buying diapers, look out for
the baby is born but parents with premature
special diapers that are made for premature
babies have to spend not only days but weeks in
babies. Do the same for their clothes too
the neonatal intensive care unit! Seeing their
however do not buy too many clothes as
extremely tiny babies attached to needles and
your baby will soon outgrow them.
tubes till the babies gain enough weight ‐ 1.8 Kg or
4 lbs and are strong enough to breathe on their • Remember to wash your hands before you
own properly. Only when the doctors are certain touch your premature baby.
of the baby’s development will they give their • Sterilize the baby’s bottles by keeping them
consent for the baby to be taken home. in boiling water, as premature babies are
Along with the happiness associated with their more susceptible to infections as compared
baby coming home, the parents are also bound to to normal babies.
be anxious about the health of the baby when he is • Your baby’s diet sometimes needs to be
at home. Here are some tips to help parents of supplemented with vitamins, so ask your
premature babies to care for them. doctor if your baby needs them.
• Always keep the baby in your room so that you
can keep an eye on him.

• Listen to the baby’s breathing to check for any


• Premature babies cannot warm themselves as

compared to other normal babies; these babies
need to be kept warm at all times.

• Make a list of all the medications that are

needed to be administered to the baby, along
with the timings for the administration of the

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

• Though full term babies start solid foods at 4 Breastfeeding

months of age, a premature baby needs to
Premature babies need more nourishment and
start solids later. Generally doctors
the best way to ensure this is to feed them with
recommend starting solids after the baby’s
breast milk. Premature babies, who are breast
weight comes to 5.9 to 6.8 Kg.
fed, develop better and faster than those
Development milestones premature babies who were bottle fed.

If you find that your premature baby is not Premature babies have little tummies so they

reaching the developmental milestones need to be fed frequently‐every 2 hours. These

prescribed for his age, don’t worry. A Premature babies tire easily too, and sleep through their

baby’s age, though he is born early, should be feedings so you need to wake them at night to

calculated from his gestational age which is feed them.

called the corrected age. For example, a 5 Mothers should select a comfortable position for
month old premature baby, who is born two breastfeeding the baby like holding him close to
months preterm, is actually only 3 months old as the chest while keeping the neck supported. It is
per as the corrected age. And if you want to found that premature babies are most
gauge his growth, remember to use the comfortable in the Football hold (see Football
corrected age. hold in the chapter ‘Feeding your baby’ page
Since a premature baby doesn’t have the rooting
Premature babies are vaccinated in line with a
reflex mastered yet, you have to help him by
full term baby’s schedule when their weight (1.5
placing him on the nipple with the areola into
Kg) is suitable for vaccinations. The only
the mouth. Compress your breast lightly with
difference is that these babies do not receive the
your fingers to make it easier for him to latch on
Hepatitis B vaccine at birth as other babies do.
Instead the premature babies receive the
vaccine only after they start weighing in at least You will observe that your baby does not start

1.95 Kg. feeding right from the start and that he is just
suckling in a motion. You should allow the baby

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

to do that, as suckling stimulates the breasts to term peers in sleeping through the night.
produce more milk and makes it easier for the Normal babies take about 6 months time to
baby to get it. start sleeping through the night; premature
Premature babies take more time to feed as they babies, however take more than 6 months to
are not good at sucking. So even if your baby start sleeping through the night, which means
stops feeding for a while, wait for a few minutes to that the parents of these babies have to remain
see whether he has really finished feeding or not. awake in the night for longer periods of time.
Be patient with breast feedings as sometimes it Also do not allow the baby sleep on his back as
takes about an hour or so for a premature baby to premature babies are more likely to suffer from
fill up his tummy. SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as
Sleeping compared to normally born babies.

Premature babies spend the early few weeks of There are differences between a premature

their life in the NICU so they have more problems baby and term baby but only for a while. After

in understanding the difference between Day and their second birthday, you will find that his

Night and tend to take more time than their full growth and development is normal after a
while. So relax!

Feeding the baby

infections and urinary tract infection etc.

Feeding the baby be it through breast
away from the baby.
feeding or through a bottle is a rich
• Convenience food: Breast milk is
emotional experience for the mother. It is
available to the baby, be it night or day,
heartening to watch the baby and the
as it does not have to be heated or
mother bond in this special way. This article
prepared! If the mother is going to be
will tell you the right technique and method
away for a while, breast milk can be
for feeding to make it easy for both you and
pumped into a bottle and preserved for
the baby.
later feeds.
Why Breast feed?
• Baby ‐ Mother bonding: Breastfeeding
• It is custom made: Breast milk has at is an amazing way of boosting the bond
least 100 compounds that cow’s milk between a mother and her child. This is
does not have. The composition of the the time when the child maintains an eye
breast milk changes according to the ‐contact with the mother; he cozies up
needs of the baby. It is different in the with the mother and shares a strong
first month as compared to the third; bonding which lasts for a lifetime.
also it is different in the morning than
• Quicker recovery for mother:
the afternoon and different even at the
Breastfeeding releases a range of
beginning of the session.
hormones within the mother’s body that
• Easy to digest: A newborn’s tummy is help her get back in shape. It not only
not equipped to handle the kind of fat
and protein, which is present in the
cow’s milk. Thus, breastfed babies are
less likely to suffer from gas and bowel

• Boosts immunity: Breast milk has a

healthy dose of antibodies that boost
the infant’s immunity and keeps the
general illnesses like cold, fever, ear

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

heals the uterus but also helps in burning estrogen and progesterone go down and
up to 300 calories per session. prolactin levels go up, which stimulates the
mother’s mammary glands to produce milk.
Understanding Breastfeeding
However, the baby is the one who actually,
regulates the milk flow. As the baby suckles the
Understanding the mechanism of how lactation
breast, prolactin ups the milk production in the
works, will help you understand the right way to
breast feed your baby.
Need based
Colostrum, the first feed: Mothers are advised to
Breast milk as mentioned earlier, changes its
breastfeed their babies as soon as possible,
properties according to the need of the baby.
preferably just after the delivery ‐ generally within
The breast milk at the start of the feeding
an hour. Even though this may seem tough for the
session is the foremilk or the ‘thirst quencher’
mother who has just overcome her labor pain, she
which is diluted and low in fat. And as the
should do it as immediate breastfeeding is
session progress, the breast begins to produce
essential for good health of both the mother and
hind milk that is high in protein, calories and fat.
the child.
Note: When the feeding session is a shorter one
During the first feed, you will observe a yellowish
or if you change breasts too soon while feeding
colored thick liquid is all that comes out, that too
the baby, he will only get the foremilk and miss
in a very small amount about a teaspoonful. This is
out on the more nutritious hind milk. Hind Milk
the precious Colostrum, that has antibodies which
helps the baby gain weight and shorter feeding
protect your baby from infections and this small
sessions in which he is deprived of hind milk can
quantity filled with protein, vitamins and minerals
result in him being underweight.
proves to be just enough to for the newborn’s
immature digestive system. Colostrum is To know when to change your breast, press your

produced in mother’s body for few days after breast and if it is softer than it was before the

delivery. feed, then you can offer the second breast to

your baby.
The Production

As the baby is pushed out of the body, the body

Position, position, position
quickly starts producing milk. The levels of

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Breast feeding is as much an emotional Position your baby in a semi‐sitting

experience as it is a physical one for you, so position facing you, with the legs of the
make sure you and your baby are comfortable. baby under your arm. Remember to use a
Choose a quiet corner to maintain focus, which pillow to bring your baby to the height of
is required at least at the start. the breast, cup your breast with the

For mothers who are ready, but clueless, as to opposite arm and hold the baby’s neck with

how to place the baby, here are the options: the arm on the same side of the breast that
is nursing.
• Crossover hold: Rest the baby, on the
pillow placed on your lap so that he is at • Side lying position: This is a good position

your breast height. Now support his head when you are nursing in the middle of the

and neck by holding him just below the night or if you are resting. Lie on your side

neck, with the arm that is opposite to the with your head on a pillow and position your

breast you are nursing from. Use the other baby on his side facing you. Make sure that

hand to support your breast. his mouth is in line with the nipple. You can
use a pillow to hold the baby close.
• Cradle hold: In the classic breast feeding
position, the baby’s head lies in the bend of A Proper Latch
the elbow of the arm of the same side of the Many problems that are associated with breast
body as the breast you are using. This is a feeding can be solved if mothers use the correct
favorite position because the mother can way to latch and position the baby for breast
support the baby when the baby is too little feeding.
to support his neck.
• Not just the nipple‐ the correct latch
• Football hold: The football position is great includes the nipple as well as the areola or
for heavy chested mothers and for mothers the dark area surrounding the nipple. Breast
who have undergone a Caesarian section milk will only flow once the baby’s gum
and want to avoid having the baby rest on squeeze the areola.
their abdomen. It is also a good position to
• Make sure the baby sucks the right part,
place an underweight and premature baby.
sometimes in his eagerness to get to the

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

milk your baby may end up sucking on There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to
another part of the breast which leads to sore breastfeeding. As long as the positioning of the
breast tissue. baby is right, there is no need to limit the baby’s

Here is the right way: feed; you however need to ensure that your
baby feeds from both the breasts and that he is
1. Tickle the baby’s lips with the nipple, so that the
baby opens his mouth really wide. Another way
is to direct the nipple towards the nose and • Your baby will have his own pattern for

then down to his upper lip. This also prevents feeding – some babies like to feed for as

the baby’s lower lip from getting pressed. long as 45 minutes while others like to be
fed for only 15 minutes. The average
2. Once the baby opens his mouth wide enough,
nursing time for babies is 20‐30 minutes.
get him close to your breast. Do not push your
breast in the baby’s mouth, let him take the • Ideally one breast should empty at each

initiative. Keep a hold on your breast until the feeding, so that your baby gets the hind

baby gets a firm grasp. milk at least from one breast.

3. Once the baby’s chin and the tip of the nose are • Sometimes babies drift off to sleep while

touching your breast, the latch is proper. Check still being nursed and wake up to be nursed

that the lips of the baby are turned outwards with your second breast. In order to
and not tucked in. If you feel that your breast is remember which of your breasts were

blocking his breathing, press your breast and nursed, tuck a nursing pad or fasten a pin on

elevate him a little. that bra cup.

4. Once the feeding is done and your baby still How many times?

seems to hold onto your breast, unlatch with As a newborn, your baby will feed eight to ten
care. Break the suction by putting your finger times a day, which means you are nursing every
into the corner of his mouth and gently pushing two hours. This does not mean that your baby
his gums till the suction is released. feeds as per the clock as some babies feed little

Duration by little all the time, while other babies like their
meals long. As the baby grows older, he will

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Breast feeding in Public

have to be fed less frequently.
Though there seems to be nothing embarrassing
How to know if your baby is getting enough
about feeding, the very thought of
breastfeeding in public does not go down with
Though babies generally make sure that they
some women. Here are tips if you feel the same
get enough milk, here are some signs that tell if
• Dress ‘feed friendly’ ‐Saris and Punjabi suits
he is not being fed enough.
with front buttons are good outfit choices
You’re baby is not getting enough milk if he is,
for women who are breastfeeding.
• Having less than 5 large, mustardy bowel
• Choose a quite spot‐ When it is time for the
movements a day
feed, sit in a quiet place away from much
• Urinating less than 8‐10 times a day attention and feed your baby.
• Having yellow smelly urine, with urate • Cover it up‐Carry along a cloth that you can
crystals of red color in it which give the drape over when you are breast feeding.
diaper a reddish tinge
• Don’t wait‐ When you are outside and know
• hardly gulping when he nurses that it’s your baby’s feeding time; do not

• very cranky and fussy most of the time wait for your baby to wail in order to feed
him. Feeding beforehand, will avoid the
Not all of these behaviors are caused due to less
panic and the loud wails that may garner
milk supply, but if you find you baby is showing
more attention.
all these signs and is cranky and underweight,
then he is not getting enough milk.

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Why Formula milk?

How to choose a Formula?
• If you are uncomfortable: Even mothers
There are different types of Formula that you
who seem averse to breast feeding are
can choose from. Though nothing can match up
advised to give it a try for a period of at
to the properties of breast milk, there are
least 6 weeks, if they still feel
different formulas that add protein,
uncomfortable then formula milk is a good
carbohydrates, fats and vitamins almost like
alternative. Do not breastfeed if you are not
those found in breast milk. The options are:
comfortable as babies can detect the
Cow based formula: Cow based formula is
mother’s uneasiness. A bottle given
considered to be the best formula for babies;
lovingly to your baby is better than a
hence a majority of formulas are made of these.
grudging breast offered!
Cow’s milk is made suitable for the baby when
• Fills the tummy for long: Formula milk
lactose is added to protein and butter fat is
prepared from a cow’s milk takes longer to
replaced by vegetable oil.
digest than breast milk, hence the feeding
Soy based formula: This is usually considered if
sessions are extended for a long time. Thus,
the baby has an allergy to cow’s milk or if the
giving more free time to the mom.
parents are vegan and only want vegetarian
• Dad’s help: When the baby has to be
options for the baby. Soy formula does not
bottle fed, dad can play an active role in
make for such a good formula as it is quite
feeding and take the burden off the mother
different from breast milk.
for some time. This also presents the father
Special formulas: These are designed for
with a good opportunity to bond with his
special needs of some babies. Some are lactose
free for lactose intolerant babies while some are
• Fewer restrictions: When the mother is not
designed for babies suffering from metabolic
breast feeding she is free to take any kind
disorders where the babies cannot metabolize a
of medication, use birth control and eat
kind of amino acid found in proteins. These are
anything she wants.
generally recommended by the doctor for
• Easier to measure: Because the mother special babies. There are other formulas that are
gives the bottle to the baby she knows how organic for the babies of health conscious
much milk her baby has taken and if parents.
whether he is getting enough.

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Your doctor is the best person to tell you what • You don’t need to sterilize the bottle and
kind of formula comes close to the real thing it’s nipple as simple washing is enough.
and which one is advisable for your baby. The Some doctors recommend submerging the
special formulas should only be given when bottle and the nipple in boiled water.
recommended by a doctor.
• Check the instructions given by the
Different forms manufacturer before you start and do

Ready to eat: These formulas are already mixed exactly as mentioned. Too strong and not

with water and packed in bottles of different strong enough Formula can affect the

sizes. These are very easy to use but heavy on baby’s health.

the wallet. • You don’t necessarily need to warm the

Ready to pour: These need to be poured into bottle before the feed; the baby will like it
the bottle of your choice. These formulas are at room temperature too. To give your baby
less expensive than the ready to eat versions but warm milk; keep the bottle in a bowl of
the remaining liquid after use, needs to be water. Check the temperature of the bottle
preserved properly. repeatedly before you feed it to the baby.

Powder: The least expensive option is powder. • After you are done with the feeding, throw
It requires more time and work from the away the formula that is left, because
parent’s side. You need to mix the powder with improper preserving it can lead to the
the right amount of water as specified. growth of bacteria.

The Correct Way • For storing the liquid Formula, do as per the
instructions given, but don’t use the
Keeping it safe:
Formula that has been frozen but shows
• Wash your hands before you start the
white streaks.
process of preparing the formula.
• You can store prepared bottles of Formula
• Boil the water needed to be mixed with the
in the refrigerator. When travelling, you can
formula. Let it cool before you mix it with
take the Formula in an insulated box.
the Formula.

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Bottle feeding your Baby baby swallows air it will lead to bloating.

• Emotional bonding: For parents who have • Check the flow: if the Formula is flowing

decided to feed their baby only Formula, you out of the baby’s mouth all the time, then

need to remember that feeding is not all the flow is too fast for the baby to swallow

about the physical need but it is also an properly and if the baby seems frustrated

emotional need, so you need to have an with the nipple, then it is too slow. Tighten

alternate skin to skin and eye to eye contact the cap or change the nipple accordingly.

like the one you would have developed

naturally while breastfeeding your baby. • Skin to skin: Babies like physical contact
and when they are fed with skin to skin

• Signal‐ milk is coming: Stroke the baby’s contact it has a positive impact on the baby.

cheek with the finger or the nipple of the So even if you are bottle feeding, you can

bottle so that the baby opens his mouth. Then do so with the baby laid on your chest.

place the nipple between the lips so that he

starts sucking. • Change arms: Holding the baby on one arm
for a long time leads to sore arms, so

• Start slow: Your baby won’t be that keen on change the arm often.

the milk for the first few days after birth, he

will just have a little. • Let him decide: Stop when the baby has
had enough and begins rejecting the bottle;

• Don’t just leave it there: Do not leave the do not force him to complete the bottle as

bottle in the baby’s mouth unattended. It can your baby can tell know when it is full.

cause choking and also does not fulfill the

emotional needs of the baby. Be there with • Sucking pleasure: A breast fed baby is

your baby when you are bottle feeding. likely to remain on the breasts for long
sucking, bottle fed baby will miss out on this

• Don’t let air in: Tilt the bottle so that the part and feel dissatisfied. You can give him

nipple is always filled with the Formula. If the

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

a pacifier for a while after feeding to avoid • Just hold the baby on the shoulder with his

the dissatisfaction. bottom supported with one hand and rub

his back with your free hand.
• You can also place your baby face down on
Your work is not over just with feeding your
your lap with his head on one leg and his
baby, burping him is also important. The
tummy on another leg; you can then pat or
purpose of burping your baby is to remove the
rub his back to burp him.
air that your baby sucks in along with the milk.
This is an important part of the feeding process • Another way of doing this is by placing your

because air in the tummy causes discomfort to baby on your lap and rubbing his back with

the baby. his face leaning forwards supported at the

back. Take care to see that his head does
Here is the way to do it‐
not flop backwards.

Baby hygiene

with him. Doing this will calm your baby.

“How difficult can it be to bathe a baby?” you had
Temperature: When you are bathing the baby,
thought but when you come to actually doing it is
make sure that the temperature is comfortable
when you realize that it is no easy task; the baby
for him. The temperature of the room should be
doesn’t like to be undressed and is wary of the
between 240 C to 270 C that is considered
water at first. You also realize that supporting the
comfortable for the baby. Heat water at a
baby’s neck while cleaning his body in not as
normal range and check it by dipping your
simple as it seems.
elbow in it, let the water be warm yet
Relax; we give you tips that will make bath times comfortable for the baby.
easier for you. We also give you guidelines on the
You will need,
other slippery topics like cleaning the baby’s
umbilical stump, trimming his nails and taking • Baby Soap and Shampoo
care of this oral hygiene, so read on….
• 2 soft clean clothes for a sponge bath
• Sterile cotton wool balls for cleaning
Time: Any time of the day can be the right time to the eyes
give a bathe a baby! But the time before he sleeps
• Towel preferably with a hood
seems to work the best as it soothes the baby and
is more practical as the baby is more likely to stay
clean after that. Do not bathe the baby just after a
meal as he is likely to spit the food out.

Mood: The worst thing you can do during bath

times is be flustered and inattentive. Your baby
can sense whether you are confident or nervous
through your touch and will react accordingly
during bath times. So it becomes imperative that
you show, that you know what you are doing and
by confidently holding him and singing or talking

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

• Clean nappy and clothing on his head and gently pour water and rub
with the cloth. Do not forget to dry his head
• Ointment or cream for nappy rash
with the towel before proceeding further.
• Warm water • Face: There is no need to use soap for the

• A baby tub for a bubble bath baby’s face, just move your wet hands over
his face. For his eyes, use a sterile, cotton
Sponge bath wool ball and moist it in warm water and
Until the umbilical cord (and Circumcision gently clean the eyes in an outwards
wound if present) is healed, water baths will be a motion. For the ears, just wipe the external
no‐ no for the baby, a sponge bath is all that side of the ear, do not use ear buds.
your baby will have to contend with! • Neck and Chest: Clean this area carefully,
Keep all the apparatus ready before you start. especially the folds of skin where sweat and
Get the baby ready, remove all his clothing dirt can accumulate.
except the diaper and cover him in a loose • Arms: Extend the baby’s arms so that you
towel. Since babies can easily catch cold and can get to the creases of the elbows. To
feel uncomfortable being completely bare clean his hands, press his fists gently so that
always cover him in a towel and just expose the he opens his fist. Use soap for this area as it
part you want to clean. Do not remove his is most exposed to dust and germs. After
diaper until it is the time to wash his bottom. cleaning it, wipe it dry before the baby puts
You need to start from the cleanest part of the his fingers back into his mouth.
body to the dirtiest, i.e. from the head to
• Back: Place the baby on his back and begin
the diaper area.
cleaning his back especially his neck folds.
• Head: You don’t need to wash the baby’s There is no need to apply soap as the baby’s
head everyday with shampoo , shampooing back isn’t exposed much. Dry it and cover
it once or twice in a week and a daily rinsing the upper body if the temperature is cold.
with water is generally enough. While
• Legs: Extend the legs and wipe carefully,
washing the head, maintain a careful hold

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

get to the area at the back of his knees and With your free hand, wash the baby from the
dry. cleanest to the dirtiest area in the same way as
in the sponge bath.
• Diaper area: There is no special care that
needs to be taken for circumcised penis, just Oral hygiene
soap and water applied externally after the
You need to start taking care of the baby’s oral
wound heals is enough. Otherwise it is
hygiene even before his first tooth appears.
important to clean all the creases without
retracting the foreskin. For girls, wash from After feedings, wipe your baby’s gum with your
front to the back with soap and water and finger wrapped in gauze to remove any food
pour water over all the parts. residue and to prevent plaque buildup. After the
first teeth come in, use a baby toothbrush and
After washing the bottom, dry it and apply cream
with pea sized toothpaste on it clean his teeth
or ointment if needed.
and tongue.
Baby bath
Nail trimmings
Once the umbilical cord stump falls off, you can
For their size, newborns have an amazing nail
give your baby a full fledged bath. All kids have a
growth, their finger nails need to be trimmed
different reaction to being in water, some consider
every week and toe nails every 2 weeks. The
it to be similar to the womb and enjoy it and
best time to trim these is after a bath when they
others are tearful and wary of the water.
are asleep. You need a baby‐sized nail clippers
The things required are the same as a sponge or blunt‐nosed scissors to trim his nails.
bath. Once you have everything ready, undress Remember not to cut too close to his finger.
the baby and gently slip him into the bath tub,
talking to the baby in soothing words, hold him Ear care
firmly as he is expected to be startled at first. Hold
Clean the entrance to the baby’s ear but don’t
the baby in a semi reclining position with the neck touch the insides of his ear canal. Clean the
supported with your hands until he is old enough external part of the baby with a cotton wool
to support his neck.
ball. Don’t try the swab or with a finger.

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Nose care push the matter deep inside the nose or worse
scratch the membrane.
Generally, the nose cleans itself through the
mucus but if you find that your baby has a cold Umbilical cord care
you can use an infant nasal aspirator. It has a Keep the stump of the umbilical cord clean and
special rubber suction bulb to remove the dry until it falls off. The cord usually falls off in a
excess mucus from the baby’s nose, all you have few weeks time. Clean the cord at each diaper
to do is squeeze the bulb at the end of the change to help it dry out and to prevent
syringe first, then insert the pointed tip gently infection. Wipe the area around the cord with a
into baby’s nose and slowly release the bulb. If cotton swab dipped in alcohol and then squeeze.
the secretions are thick, your doctor may Make sure you fold the diaper below the navel
recommend that you liquefy them with saline area to keep the cord from being soaked with
nose drops meant for babies. Do not use cotton urine. If you notice pus or redness at the base of
swabs, tissues or your fingers to remove any the cord, or if baby cries when you touch it, call
material from inside his nose as you may just your pediatrician.

Friends, Family and the Baby

Your little one‐ The focus of all attention

• Watch his hands: Babies usually put their
Do you remember the time, when you announced
fingers in their mouths, so you have to be
the news of your pregnancy to your family and careful of visitors or strangers coming in
friends? Do you remember them being almost and touching his hands. If they do,
more elated than you? Giddily happy at the discreetly and almost immediately wash the
prospect of a little baby that will soon enter the baby’s hands or wipe them with soft tissues
world! Their fussing over you, pampering you which won’t harm his skin.
along with the gradual changes in your body such
• Blame the doctor‐ When you can’t be
as the belly growing bigger and your face glowing,
honest, blame the doctor! Tell the visitors
certainly made you feel special and above all
that the doctor has asked you to restrict the
handling of the baby.
But now that the baby is born, this elated bunch of
• Away from rashes: If any one of the visitors
well wishers simply refuses to leave your baby
or relatives are suffering from skin
alone and you are worried about germs passing
infection, rashes or open sores, ask them to
from then onto the baby…
avoid direct skin contact with the baby.
But there’s no need to worry as we give you
• No smokers: If any of your close relatives
ways to keep the baby safe and yet not hurt
are smokers politely tell them not to kiss or
friends and family’s feelings too,
touch the baby after they have smoked.
• It’s temporary: Your child is very sensitive to
all possible kinds of germs and infections for
the first few months of his life, a safe bet
would be to say till around the first 2 months.
After this period, he must be allowed in
normal environment to boost his immunity.

• Make them wash their hands: You can

politely ask the visitors to wash their hands
and legs before they touch the baby.

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Even though the smoker does not smoke in play, sing and laugh with the baby, as you do the
the presence of the baby, the tobacco cleaning and changing.
particles remain on his body which can be Most of the time, you are grateful for their
harmful for the baby. presence for their experience and help with
• Flu blues: Ensure that visitors with flu avoid chores, lightens the burden over your head. The
close contact with the baby; they must not only problem is the clash of ideas, as you find
sneeze around the baby and if they do, they that your mother‐in‐law does not trust the
must use a handkerchief. When it is the modern nappies, your mother frowns upon the
mother who is suffering from a cold and has very idea of baby food being given to her
to breast feed her child, she must grandchild and sometimes they even disagree
remember to wash her hands before with your very instincts!
touching her baby. How to tell them what you feel?
Remember, a good social circle where the baby • Talk to them about the differences of
is loved and cared for is more important for the opinion, if needed take the help of your
baby’s development; the risk of catching the spouse. Discuss how parenting today is
germs is real only for the first few months. Later different from that of your childhood. Tell
the contact with germs will only boost the them how advanced research has brought
immunity and keep the baby healthy in future. forth different techniques today.

• Take the help of the Pediatrician in case of

Grandparents and Babies unsafe practices like –dhuri, kajal etc( Read
Modern vs. Traditional approach to
Grandparents love to dote on their
Parenting page no.89) and make them
grandchildren. As the first time round, with their
realize that for the safety of the baby these
own kids all they got to do was the difficult part‐
practices need to change.
changing the diapers, feeding and soothing the
baby. And now the second time round when • When their advice becomes more like
they aren’t really needed to do the changing and interference, you need to handle it more
cleaning, they have all the time in the world to tactfully. If you tell them your basic

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

parenting rules such as‐ what time the baby spend more time with the first born and let
needs to sleep, what is the correct time to them know that they are still loved and
massage the baby, what foods to offer to the nothing will change that.
baby etc. and let them do the execution, you • Give them time: Mothers will be totally
will find that they are more than happy to engrossed with the newborn in the early
oblige! days after the delivery, leaving the older
Older sibling and the Baby sibling on the sidelines. Mothers need to
consciously spend time alone with the older
When the second one’s coming the first one is
sibling perhaps when the baby is sleeping or
bound to feel left out, less loved and jealous, too!
when the spouse is looking after the baby,
The pregnancy part they can handle but having to
to make sure that the older sibling get his/
share their parents with another might prove
her share of attention too.
difficult for them. The parent’s lap has to be
shared and so are the hugs and kisses along with • Involve them: When older siblings are
the toys and sometimes the room. Suddenly they involved in the baby’s chores they will not
are the older one and are expected to behave feel left out. Ask them to do simple things
responsibly! Some measures taken by the parents such as getting you the diaper when you
can help the older kid deal with their siblings in a want to change the baby’s diaper, making
positive way, the bed and reading stories to the baby.
Remember not to let them do more than
• Be Honest and open‐ You must start
they should at their age, remember they are
preparing your older child for the arrival of a
kids too.
sibling, right from the time you are about to
show the signs of your pregnancy. You must Also Remember‐

tell them that a new member of the family is • Never leave your baby alone with a kid less
coming and is growing inside mummy. than 5 years of age

• More Daddy time‐Anticipating that the • Do not let the older child, hold the baby on
mother won’t be able participate as actively as their own.
before, daddies can take over! Fathers must
• Explain to the older child early on, how

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

delicate small babies are. Make sure they • Get him used to babies by inviting friends
understand that babies are not toys and over who have babies. Let your pet smell
they cannot pull and push the baby around. and see the baby from a distance and
When your firstborns are secure about your love observe their reaction.
and affection, they are less likely to feel • Take a baby doll and pretend that it is the
threatened and will be more like the bhaiya or baby for some days, talk to it, nurse it and
the didi you want them to be! treat the dog as you would if the real baby
Dealing with Pet’s Jealousy was home‐ no loud barking, no coming too
close or licking the baby and no fussing.
Pets have been your babies before you had
human ones! The arrival of the baby may bring • If the pet has a habit of sleeping with you

feelings of jealousy among your pets (dogs and and if you intend on keeping the baby in

cats). You need to prepare your pet for the baby your room, the dog has to sleep elsewhere!

before the actual delivery, only then can you Make the change at least a month before,

expect cooperation from them. so that the pet does not hold it against the
• Get your dog used to obedience training.
Get him to stay at your orders. Don’t worry; With time your pet is likely to adjust to the new

you won’t be curbing his personality in the born and treat it with their trademark style; with

process! By obedience training, you are just love and lots of affection!

channelizing his energy in a better way.

Thumb Sucking

Your little angel is sleeping soundlessly on the How to deal with it?

bed, quite cozy in the blankets! Surely, a • Allow the baby to stay at the breast after

priceless image, when suddenly the baby’s the feeding is over. The last 5‐6 minutes of

thumb appears out of nowhere and he begins the feeding are when the baby is just

sucking on his thumb; you have a powerful urge sucking for comfort. If the baby still sucks on

to remove the thumb that instant. But, stop and the thumb after breastfeeding, then allow

relax! Thumb sucking is a very common habit him to feed at one breast and use the other

found in almost all babies. Sometimes one for sucking.

sonography images show that the baby is • Older babies who are bottle fed will find the
sucking his thumb even in the womb. Here is sucking experience of the bottle
why babies take up thumb sucking and how you unsatisfactory and may take up the habit of
can deal with it. thumb sucking. To deal with this situation,

Babies have an instinct to suck, when they
realize that the thumb provides for an excellent
sucking option, they gladly indulge in it! Thus
thumb sucking soothes and comforts the baby.

Sometimes thumb sucking may just be a sign

that the baby is hungry and it also stops after
the baby is fed. If this is the cause, increase the
frequency of the feeding.

It is also seen that breastfed babies are less

likely to thumb suck as compared to the bottle
fed babies, since their need to suck is being
fulfilled at the mother’s breast itself!

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

the parents can reduce the flow of milk from pulling out the thumb from his mouth,
the bottle, so that the baby can be satisfied by which will make him more stressed than he
the feeding as well as the sucking part. already is.

• You may find that giving the baby a pacifier • Most kids stop thumb sucking on their own
will be a better option than allowing it to by the first or the second year when they
thumb suck, because the habit of sucking the spend time with their peer group.
pacifier is easy to break and the baby is likely
Buck teeth?
to discontinue it himself as compared to the
Most parents are worried that their thumb
habit of thumb sucking.
sucking baby will end up having buck teeth and
• The right time to break the habit of a pacifier
is destined to be laughed at for life. But these
is when the baby is around the three month
are just baseless fears of worried parents; thumb
mark. At this age, babies have a small
sucking in the first few years will not result in
attention span and quickly forget the habit.
buck teeth for life. The reason being, teeth
• When thumb sucking as a habit is carried over before 6 years of age are milk teeth and will fall
the first few months, it begins to become a off to make way for a completely new set of
way of dealing with stress, for the baby. So teeth. But if the habit stays beyond 6 years of
when you find your baby thumb sucking, age then you need to take some steps to stop
especially if he’s starting again after having your baby from thumb sucking.
stopped for a few days, it may be due to
Now that you know the truth behind thumb
sucking, go back and enjoy seeing your little
• Try to distract the baby whenever he tries to angel sleep!
thumb suck. You should do it without actually

Keep your baby smiling in all

• In summers, let your baby wear loose

A change of season and you have plenty of
fitting, light colored clothing when he is
people with running noses, headaches, fevers
and colds. The common cause we hear is the
• When outside of the home, the baby should
weather. We find our immunity so weak that
be wearing light weight caps and hats that
any change in the weather reflects badly on our
protect his head without overheating it.
health. Imagine if we as adults struggle to adjust
to different weather conditions! How will our • The summer clothes of your baby must be
little, delicate babies fare? absorbent, and should let the air circulate.

Your only solution to ensure the health and • On hot sweaty nights, your baby can sleep
safety of your baby in changing weather in diapers alone.
conditions is to keep him covered as much as • Damp clothes must be changed at once and
possible. In fact it is observed that parents pile prickly heat powder must be applied onto
on layers upon layers of clothes on their baby in your baby’s skin
attempts to ‘protect him’ even when it is not
Fans and air conditioners:
cold. Learn more about the effect of changing
When indoors, keep the temperature cool with
climatic conditions on the health of your baby
ACs and fans. Just make sure that your baby is
and keep him safe and healthy.

Your baby is crying. He is fed, clothed, his diaper
changed. Why can he be crying? ‐ It is hot and
sunny outside, the temperature soaring as the
day goes on and you are wearing light cotton
clothes while the baby is sweating it out in two
layers of clothes!

Babies do not need to be kept covered all the

time. When the temperature is hot; they need to
be dressed accordingly.

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

not directly under the flow of the fan or the AC minutes before an exposure to sunlight.
and that the temperature of the AC does not go • Protect the nose, lips and ears by making
below 220 C. the baby wear hats with rims, as these parts
If the hands and legs of your baby seem cold then are most susceptible to the sun.
he is not chilly, he is just perspiring. His head, neck • In the hot weather, take the baby out only
and underarms will tell you if they are really warm
in the mornings or late afternoons as the
or cold. temperature at other hours of the day will
Fluids be extremely hot for the baby.

When you find the temperature soaring, Heatstroke

remember to hydrate your baby. Since babies Babies are not only sensitive to cold
loose so much of water through their urine, they temperature but also to excessive heat.
constantly require replacement of the fluids. Excessive heat can be very dangerous for babies
Babies less than 6 months who are breastfed as their body’s temperature regulation systems
generally get all the fluids through breast milk and aren’t functional and they find it difficult to cool
hence do not need additional water unless it is themselves effectively.
recommended by the doctor. Formula fed babies
Symptoms to look out for:
can also be given water between the feedings if
the doctor suggests. You can give older babies • Skin that is hot and dry

fruit juices and water in cups but extra sweetened • Very high fever
and fizzy drinks must be avoided.
• Diarrhea
Being in the Sun
• Lethargy
• Babies are prone to sunburn as they have a
• Loss of consciousness
relatively thin and delicate skin. You need to
Rainy season
apply sunscreen with adequate SPF
protection (of at least 15). Apply sunscreen to After the heat of the summer, lashing monsoons
a patch of his skin first, to make sure that follow bringing along, humidity and waterborne
there is no allergic reaction to the sunscreen. diseases like Jaundice, Diphtheria, Cholera and
Apply sunscreen every two hours and 15

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Gastroenteritis. • All the baby foods that are given to the baby

Here is what you can do to protect your baby need to be prepared fresh.

in monsoons: • There is an increased risk of mosquitoes

• Due to the humidity during monsoons, causing malaria and dengue in monsoon so

babies wet the diapers repeatedly; you will make sure that your baby sleeps under a

have to check for these more regularly to mosquito net.

prevent infections and fevers. Winter Control

• Because the baby urinates frequently in the Winters brings cold winds, chilly mornings and
rainy season, make up for the fluid lost with are the perfect time for you to cover your baby
frequent feedings. with woolens, mittens, coats, socks and monkey
• Humidity can lead to many fungal and skin caps. It is very important to cover the baby
infections on the baby’s skin; one thing that adequately in winters because infants under 6
you may need to do is to keep your baby months have a greater ratio of body surface to
warm and dry. body weight and also because they can’t shiver
to generate heat yet.
• Extra precaution must be taken by those
parents whose babies suffer from asthmatic • Even in a slightly cool weather, babies need
attacks. to wear a hat to prevent the loss of precious
body heat through the head.
• If the baby is suffering from loose motions
you might need to give Oral Rehydration • You need to cover your baby’s neck with
Solution to provide the glucose and scarves but do not cover the nose of the
electrolytes that are lost by the baby as per baby.
the doctor’s advice. Another way to provide • The baby should have had a meal or a snack
fluids is through juices and coconut water. before venturing out, as the chilly weather
• All the vegetables and fruits need to be can lead to rapid burning of calories.
washed well before being offered to the • To check if the baby is too cold, touch his
baby. neck, head and the underarms; if these
seem cold it indicates that the baby needs

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more layers of clothes. care of his skin. Here is how you can,

• If the weather is chilly and dry, apply a • A well hydrated baby will have supple skin,
moisturizing cream on the baby’s skin before so make sure that the baby gets adequate
venturing out with him. water.

• When indoors, make sure that the baby is not • A good moisturizing cream meant for
too wrapped up in clothes and if he is hot babies, needs to be applied over his skin.
inside, reduce some layers to make him • Bath time should be cut down as water and
comfortable. soap dry up your baby’s skin.
Skin care With these precautions you can be sure that
The cold dry air in winters is sure to dry out the your baby will be smiling be it the summer,
baby’s soft and smooth skin. You need to take winter or the rain.

Diapering your Baby

It was the right time; he was engrossed in his thing you need to know about your baby’s dia‐
newest favorite toy when you decided to do it! pers.
As discreetly as possible, but just as you were
There are two options available to parents when
lifting his legs, he gauged your movements
it comes to choosing a diaper for their baby ‐ the
and showed his disapproval through his cries
traditional cloth diaper or the disposable one.
and kicks. Yes, we are talking about changing
There are also pros and cons that come with
the diaper ‐ the one chore that nobody really
each variety of the diaper and the things to con‐
enjoys; the baby does not like being in contact
sider when choosing a diaper for your baby are ‐
with the cool air outside and you don’t like
affordability, convenience and whether it suits
your baby’s discomfort along with the fact
your baby’s skin.
that you will get your hands and sometimes
We give you a comparison between the two to
even your face dirty, in the process. Whatever
help you decide better.
the case is, you need to do it; here is every‐

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Disposable Diapers

Benefits Drawbacks

• They stay dry for a longer time and are

• They are convenient changed less frequently, both of which

can lead to a diaper rash on your
baby’s bottom.
• They save time
• The super absorbency makes it diffi‐
cult to calculate the amount urinated
• They are easier to change and dispose by the baby. This in turn makes it diffi‐
cult to know if the quantity of milk
consumed by the baby is sufficient.
• They are more absorbent and less likely to
leak. • Babies get used to disposable diapers
which lead to a difficulty in potty train‐
ing them as they grow older.

Cloth Diapers

Benefits Drawbacks
• Less expensive
• Frequent diaper changes which means a • They are not adequately sanitized
very less chance of your baby develop‐ which increases the chances of a nappy
ing a diaper rash rash for the baby.

• These make it easier to know the • Require a lot of work, as they need to
amount of urine passed by your baby, be washed and cleaned regularly.
which in turn helps you to know whether • Cause frequent leaks.
the feed was enough or not, for the

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Types of cloth diapers:

frequently than facing the diaper rash.
Cloth diapers have undergone a lot of change
The Diaper size: You need to choose a diaper
since the days of the langoti. Today there are
taking into consideration the size of your baby.
various styles of the cloth diapers to match those
A size too small, can cause discomfort for the
of the disposable variety.
baby, while a bigger size will lead to leaks. Even
The types available are: for the disposable diapers you need to check the

• All‐In‐Ones – These are the most convenient actual size of the diaper along with the size

types of cloth diapers which require no mentioned on the pack, to judge if it will fit your

folding, no fastening and no diaper cover. baby or not.

These have a built‐in waterproof shell and are The place: Select a place which is clean, has a
fitted with Velcro or snaps. smooth surface and is at a suitable height for

• Covers and wraps with flats and pre‐folds: you. Spread a waterproof cloth over the surface

These provide a waterproof outer layer and where you change the baby’s diapers, to prevent

are used with most types of cloth diapers. stains on the surface.

These are generally fastened over the What will you need?
absorbent cloth layer with snaps or hook‐and‐
A fresh diaper, a change of clothes if the diaper
loop tabs. Pre‐folds are simple pieces of cloth,
has leaked; ointment or cream for the diaper
typically cotton that act as the absorbent
rash, cotton balls and warm water to clean
when you fold it to fit your baby. They’re used
babies less than a month old and a dry cloth,
with a cover and include squares and pre‐fold
towel or baby wipes to clean older babies.
diapers, with a center strip that is several
Make sure you have some toy that distracts the
layers thick.
baby while you are changing the diaper, or you
How to change Diapers?
can even sing and talk to him while you are at it.
In the early days diapers needed to be changed Remember: Make sure you have everything at
almost every hour when the baby is awake. hand when you start diapering your baby, so
Though the process of changing the diaper is a that you do not have to leave him unattended
tedious one, it is better to change the diaper even for an instant, while his diapers are being

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changed. legs, slide the diaper half way in, then bring
the front side up, put out the tabs and then
Process of Changing the Diaper:
bring the tabs together .
• Wash your hands before you begin.
• For Cloth Diapers: For those with a
• Keep one hand on the baby to prevent him
separate cover, the pre fold diaper needs to
from rolling off the surface.
be folded to fit the size of the baby, for
• Unfasten the diaper but don’t remove it yet. small sized babies fold along the longer side
First check if it is soiled by stool, then clean of the cloth to increase the absorbency and
the area as much as you can with the diaper decrease the size. For older babies, fold
itself and then slide the clean diaper below the along the smaller side of the cloth, to have
baby. Hold a cloth over the front side of your sufficient front and back cover.
baby boy, as boys tend to spray urine as soon
• First slide the cover in, then put in the pre‐
as the diaper is removed.
fold diaper and close the Velcro tabs.
• Use baby wipes or a cloth to clean the bottom
• Remember to clean your hands with a
of the baby. Pay more attention to skin folds
sanitizer after diapering your baby.
and genitals as these areas are more prone to
bacterial growth which leads to a diaper rash.
Here are some tips to keep in mind
• For baby girls, wipe from the front to back so when using diapers:
that there is a less chance of infection. For
baby boys, clean from back to front as there
• If you are using safety pins to hold the
may be some dirt under the foreskin, but do
diaper, use over sized ones and keep your
not pull on the foreskin.
finger between the pin and the baby’s skin
• After cleaning the area, make sure that the as you are attaching it.
area is dry before you apply an ointment for a
rash or before putting a new diaper on. • Remember to empty the contents in the

• For Disposable Diapers: Now, lift the baby’s toilet before tossing the diaper in a diaper

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bag or a diaper pail which is a plastic dust bin clean it as baby’s have a delicate skin;
specially designed for keeping soiled diapers. similarly don’t use soap every time you
clean. Using mild baby soap once a day is
• For cloth diapers, you can spray the diaper enough.
with water and sprinkle some baking soda on
• Use a cloth diaper, only after you sanitize it
it to get rid of the odor before washing. Also
completely by soaking it in boiling water
remember to keep the diaper away from
with 120 ml of vinegar.
other laundry items.
Ways to treat diaper rash:

• Wash the diapers with a mild detergent in hot • If the baby has developed a diaper rash,
water and give a double rinse each time you change his diapers more frequently. You
wash. will have to change the diapers also at night
to prevent the rash aggravating.
The Devil called as Diaper Rash
• Reduce the baby’s intake of liquid, so he
It is common to find red rashes around the diaper
urinates less frequently.
area of the baby; these are nothing but‐ ‘Diaper
rashes’. A Diaper rash affects more than 35% of • Keep your baby’s bottom open and let him

babies. It occurs when the nappy area is exposed remain on cotton blankets for some time.

to high moisture, various chemicals, frequent Babies can also be allowed to sleep with

rubbing and low air flow and when that the area bare bottoms.

develops openings; they are attacked by germs • Change the type of diaper if you find that
found in stool and urine. the baby’s skin reacts badly to the diaper

Here is what you can do to prevent Diaper you use.

rashes: • For the Diaper rash apply an ointment that

• Check the Diaper and change it regularly, contains zinc oxide on his dry bottoms

especially if it is soiled by stool. • Don’t use powder on the diaper rash but

• Let the diaper area dry completely before sprinkling a little corn flour helps.

putting a new clean diaper on it. If the baby’s rash shows no sign of improvement

• Don’t scrub the area with too much force to within 3 days, consult your pediatrician.

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What does the poop tell you? to mustard green Stool‐ These are the
Any pediatrician will tell you that to know if the stools that a breastfeeding baby will pass on
baby is okay, look not only at his face but also at a day to day basis.
his poop. Sounds weird? It is true. The color and • Slightly formed; light brownish to bright
texture of the baby’s stool can tell you about how yellow to dark green Stool‐ The formula
he is doing and feeling. Here is what the poop tells fed babies pass these kind of stools.
• Frequent, watery, greener than usual
• Sticky, tar‐like, black or dark green Stool‐ Stool‐ This stool signals diarrhea.
Parents are alarmed that their newborn is
• Hard, pellet‐ like; mucous or blood
excreting this frightening looking stool. But
streaked Stool‐ The painful arrival of this
there is no reason to panic, as this is nothing
stool signals constipation.
but meconium‐ this stuff consists of the many
• Black stool‐ It is the result of iron
materials that the baby ingested when it was
inside the womb like bile, mucus, epithelial
cells. • Red streaked Stool‐ It means rectal fissure
or milk allergy.
• Grainy, greenish yellow or brown Stool‐ This
type of stool appears after few days of birth as • Mucousy; green or light brown Stool‐ It
the meconium makes way for a normal stool. can be a result of a viral infection or a
stomach infection.
• Seedy, curdy, creamy or lumpy; light yellow

Why is my Baby crying!?

others. Shower as much love and attention

All you hear is that noise, your baby’s smile
on your baby as you can, don’t worry it
suddenly contorts to a frown, the brow creases,
won’t spoil him ‐instead it will make your
the lip quivers and gradually the cry gets loud
baby feel safe and will also make him less
enough to wake up the entire building. So, just
what is it with your baby’s cries, which make you
• Tired‐ Babies generally seem to become
so nervous and restless? His cry urges you to hug
cranky towards the evening. It is simply
him at that very instant, and sometimes this
because they are tired. Even when your
works, but, many times, even after holding,
baby is highly stimulated due to more than
feeding and distracting, the cry continues.
usual activity at home i.e. too many people
At such times, most first time parents are stumped
holding him and talking to him, he will cry,
as to just what are the various reasons that make
to show that he has had enough. A cry that
their baby cry…
is whiny, nasal and that continues for a long
We give you possible reasons why your baby time shows that your baby is tired.
may be going full vocal:
• Cold or hot‐ Babies hate it when they have
• Hunger‐ The most common reason why to change their nappies and lie uncovered
babies cry is hunger. The cries for hunger are or when they are taking a bath. Babies like
generally short and sharp. Hunger cries are to remain warm and snuggled in a blanket,
preceded by cues like lip smacking and finger

• Boredom‐ Sometimes your baby may cry just

because he is bored. This cry starts as a “coo”
then turns into a “fuss” and finally loud bursts
of crying alternate with soft whimpers.

• Craving affection‐ Babies like the feeling of

being held, cuddled, and being spoken to.
Some babies need more affection than

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

but if you wrap them in way too many layers, What you can do‐
your baby will let you know by crying. Ensure • Swaddling or keeping the baby wrapped in
that you add only one more layer of clothing a blanket or cloth seems to help
than the number of layers you are wearing.
• Colicky babies tend to have gastronomical
• Diaper’s wet: Babies feel uncomfortable with problems so burp them frequently
soiled diapers, and will keep on crying until
• Sometimes modification in the breast
they are cleaned and dried properly. While
feeding mother’s diet (elimination of milk,
checking for the wet diaper, also look out for
beans, cabbage, spices and coffee) also
diaper rash.
• Illness: If your baby is really not feeling well,
• Try soothing a colicky baby by singing him a
he will give a weak nasal cry. Others signs for
lullaby and creating a soothing atmosphere
illness are refusal to feed and lethargy.
• Relax, sometimes anxiety and tension in
• Colic: Attention all parents! If your baby
parents can also cause colic in babies
seems to cry often, even though he is fed, has
your complete attention and even after his Tips for mothers

diaper has been changed, then he might be a For mothers whose babies suffer from colic,
colic baby. ‘stress’ seems to be an understatement. The
incessant crying that can go up to 3 hours a day
More about Colic Babies‐
is enough to drive anyone mad;
• Colic condition starts in babies from the 3rd
Here are some tips for you:
week and continues till 3 months. Colicky
babies are known to cry for no apparent • Take a break‐ When you have done

reason for a longer period of time than normal everything to soothe your baby and nothing

babies. About 1 in 4 babies has colic. Dealing works, then it’s advisable to take deep

with colicky babies is very difficult since no breaths and just keep your calm. Try to

amount of soothing can get them to stop distract yourself by doing something else

crying. other than just watching your baby cry.

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

your fault. Similarly you should also not

• Ask for help‐ For you to keep your wits about
blame your baby for crying too, as he is
you; you need to have a few moments of
merely expressing himself.
peace. You must ask your spouse or friend to
Crying is only a way in which your baby can
mind your baby for some time, so that you
communicate with you. If the reason your baby
can relax.
cries, baffles you in the start, don’t worry! As
• Don’t blame yourself or the baby‐ If you
with experience you will be able to tell what
think it is your inexperience or bad parenting
your baby requires and you will also be able to
that is causing colic in your baby, relax, it’s not
soothe him better and faster.

Baby massage- A Gift for both
Parents and Babies

smell of the oil and her soothing voice speaking

Baby massages have become a tricky subject to
to the baby.
deal with in many households! What with the older
Furthermore, touch is a very important mode of
generation believing that massages are vital for
communication between the mother and child
the baby’s development, as opposed to the baby’s
in the first few months of the baby’s growth as it
parents who may not be entirely convinced of its
communicates the mother’s love to the child.
benefits. To top this confusion within the
Plus touch has such remarkable effect that it is
household, are some doctors who themselves are
even known as touch therapy!
against the very practice of massaging the baby!
The reason for their opposition is not the practice For the Baby‐

itself but the other practices around it like Research by The Touch Research institute at
applying kajal, instilling oil in the baby’s ears and Miami University has proven what our
nose along with the fear of the masseuse applying grandmothers have been saying since ages!
too much pressure on the baby. Massaging improves circulation, boosts

Baby massage if done in the right way will not only immunity, stimulates digestion, aids sleep,
foster baby’s growth and development but also improves growth, reduces stress and helps
give the mother and baby an incredible bonding during diarrhea and constipation in babies. It

experience. Even though in India, we have older

women who specialize in giving these massages,
you can massage your baby yourself at least once
a day to get all the benefits that it can give.

Why are massages great for the Baby

and you?
Multi sensory experience‐

During the development of the fetus, the senses of

sound, touch and smell are amongst the quickest
to develop. These senses are well stimulated
during a massage, as there is the mother’s touch,

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

also shows that babies who are massaged have are said to be more beneficial for the babies

more chances of gaining normal weight than than the commercially available baby oils, even

others. babies are known to react well to natural oils.

For Mothers‐ Another consideration, when choosing an oil to

massage your baby is whether your baby is
According to Dr. Geetanjali Shah, pediatrician and
allergic to the oil. To check, apply a few drops of
co‐author of Garbhasanskar (a book on pre natal
oil on your baby’s wrist for a period of 24 hours;
and post natal care) massaging a baby enhances
if there is no reaction, then you can opt for that
the mother’s maternal instinct which in turn
causes an increase in her milk secretion.
When to start: You can start 10‐15 days after
For Fathers‐
birth. The duration of massage should be 10
Massaging your baby in the evening when your
minutes when the baby is very young and can
baby is cranky and restless gives you an
gradually extend to 20 minutes as he grows
opportunity to bond with the baby and gives the
mother a much needed break. The massage in the
Preparation: Babies don’t like to stay
evening needs to be light is known to soothe the
uncovered for long so make sure you keep
cranky mood, that babies are known to be in‐
everything ready like the massage oil, extra
usually at the end of the day!
towels, fresh clothes etc. Pour oil in an open
It also helps the parents gain confidence in their
vessel to save time. Soften your hand texture by
parenting skills, as their touch and baby’s response
using a moisturizer, remove jewelry from your
gives them instant feedback about their skills.
finger so that it does not irritate the baby. You
How to do it? can also heat the oil a bit, especially in winters
to increase the benefits. Uncover your baby
Oils: The oils that are generally used for massage
only after you are ready with all this.
are edible or plant extract oils like coconut,
sesame or til, mustard, almond and olive. The Time: Choose such a time for the massage,
choice of the oil depends on the season, as til and when your baby is not too tired but is active and
mustard oils are preferred during the winter while receptive or has just had his nap. Also make
coconut oil is preferred in summers. Natural oils sure that the baby is not massaged immediately

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

after being fed. Generally we, in India, massage massaging him. Hum a lullaby and call out its
the baby just before giving them a bath, so that name, it will reassure and soothe the baby.
the excess oil is drained off their bodies. But do ‐Feet: According to Reflexology, all organs have
leave a gap of time between massage and the pressure points represented in the sole of the
bath so that the baby isn’t too stimulated! If the foot. Thus a massage of the baby’s foot is
baby is cranky in the evening, a massage will help important. Start by massaging the baby’s sole
calm him down and also put him to sleep. in circular motions and gently stretch each toe.
Pressure: Even though your baby looks very tiny Use your thumb to rub from the baby’s heel
and fragile, you cannot be way too gentle, as a towards his toe.
massage done with less pressure will serve very ‐Legs: Start from the ankle and calves and
little purpose. To know how much pressure to continue to stroke upwards towards knees and
apply, close your eyes and press your fingers on thighs.
your eyelids until you experience discomfort, this
‐Stomach: Stomach massage is good for
is the pressure that you need to use. Even if it is
getting rid of gas and helps in improving
difficult at first to know how much pressure to
movement in babies. Massage the stomach in
apply while massaging, with time and your baby’s
circular motions, proceeding in a clockwise
response you will become better at it.
direction as you go.
The traditional way of giving the massage is
Another movement is to keep the palm below
sitting with legs stretched in front of you and the
the navel and sweep your fingers in an arc on
baby lying on your legs with his head away from
the stomach from right to left.
you. You can also spread a mat on the floor, keep
To get rid of gas, stroke the baby with your
the baby on its back and start massaging him.
thumbs. Start from the right side of the groin
Generally you start from the feet and then
move your thumb upwards and then move
proceed towards the stomach, the torso followed
them across towards the left side of the groin.
by the arms, hands and finally his face. After this
This movement is in line with the movement of
you turn the baby over and gently massage the
the bowel and hence is effective in expelling
back and finish by exercising his arms and legs.
Maintain eye contact with the baby while
‐Chest: Use gentle force from the middle of the

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

chest and move your palms outwards as you go. the baby and maintaining the contact. If you

‐Arms, hands: Starting from the armpits of the end it suddenly, the baby may start crying.

baby, squeeze and gently twist the arms moving Massages have long been a part of baby rearing
towards the hands. Be careful near the elbows, routine in India. Scientific research has just
massage the top of the hands and roll each finger confirmed what we always knew! There are
between the baby’s thumb and the fingers. innumerable reasons why you must massage

‐Head: The baby’s skull is soft for the first few your baby, so do not miss out on this wonderful

months; so you need to be careful while tool. Massage provides an opportunity for the

massaging it. Place your hand on the forehead baby and the one who is massaging to

and work gently towards the base of the cranium. communicate and bond. Hence parents and

Pour some oil on the top of the baby’s head and grandparents should make full use of it.

gently move your hand in circular motions. Some precautions to take‐

While massaging the face, stroke the eyebrows, • Do not massage immediately after feeding
the eyelids, the cheeks and the baby’s nose. or if the baby is not keeping well.
Gently massage his ear lobe too. • Exercise caution whilst massaging, around
‐Back: Turn the baby on his back gently and start areas on the baby’s body where there are
massaging slowly in a circular motion, massage rashes, bites or where the baby has been
his head first followed by the neck, arms and legs. vaccinated.
Do not massage the spinal cord; just place your
• Stop massaging when the baby shows signs
hand over it for the baby to feel the warmth.
of discomfort.
When you want to end the massage, do so by
• Be gentle when massaging his spine and
gently rubbing oil on your hands while talking to
near the neck.

Danger signs in Babies

! Lethargy: One sure sign that your baby is

As a first‐time parent, you make sure that your
unwell is when his behavior is totally different
baby is under your constant observation at all
from everyday. If he is listless, cries weakly and
times, and every small you tend to get alarmed by
refuses his feed, he might be suffering from an
something as small as the sound of your baby’s
burp. We worry incessantly that there might be
! Breathing difficultly: If you notice that your
something wrong with the baby. To this, Dr.
child has a fast rapid breathing movement for
Geetanjali Shah, Pediatrician and co‐ author of the
more than a minute and has a bluish coloration
bestselling book on pregnancy, Garbhasanskar
of his lips, your baby might be ill.
says, “Mothers and fathers have a natural instinct
which tells them if something is wrong with their ! High Fever: Fever generally means that the

baby. It is just that, we don’t recognize it and body is fighting infection. Fever, itself should

hence we are scared often even when there is not be a cause for worry, but you should look for
nothing wrong. a possible cause for the infection. For babies
running a temperature above 100.50 F medical
Danger signs for Newborns:
attention is needed. Dr. Geetanjali says, “Most
! Vomiting: All babies tend to throw up a little milk
newborn babies have fevers because of
after feeding which is normal, but if your child is
dehydration due to taking less feed. In this case,
vomiting excessively and if there is blood in his
Crocin does not help so we tell parents to
vomit, you should consult a pediatrician.
increase the fluids. If the fever does not subside
! Jaundice: All babies have a yellow tinge and mild
jaundice during the initial week after birth due to
the liver having not developed fully. But it is rarely
from the first day itself so notify the doctor if it is
present. To check if your baby is suffering from
jaundice, press the sole of the feet gently and
release. Then observe whether the color that
returns, is pink or yellow.

! Delayed passage of Urine: If your baby has

passed urine less than 6 times in day, it is a danger

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

then they have to get the baby for examination.” advises parents to try massaging the

! Excessive Weight loss: Newborns lose 8‐10% of tummy and keeping the baby on her/his

their weight in the initial week of their birth. Most tummy. Consult your doctor if the problem

of this weight is gained back in another week. If persists.

the weight loss is more than 10% then it is a • If your baby’s tummy is bloated: Gas
danger sign. problems in babies especially breastfed
babies are common because they suck lot
of air along with milk. Another reason can
! Blood or mucus in the stool: Blood or mucus in
be the diet of the breastfeeding mother
the stool is a sign of danger. Please consult your
which produces gas. Generally, burping the
pediatrician immediately in such cases.
baby after feeding them prevents this
Don’t worry if‐
• If the stools seem loose: You might be
• Your child hasn’t passed stool for a day‐ Dr. hassled if the baby has loose stool but Dr.
Geetanjali says “Not passing stool is very Geetanjali says that “there is no reason to
common in babies. A baby can pass stools 10 worry if the stool is watery but wrangled
times in a day or once in 5 days. So there is a up.” She says that breast fed babies
wide spectrum and hence parents need not generally have loose stools. But if there is a
worry if babies don’t pass stools every day.” bad odor to the stool accompanied by fever
She says that if the baby is gaining weight and and abdominal pain, then you should seek
urinating every day then he is normal. If the medical attention for your baby.
baby is very restless then Dr. Geetanjali

Bonding tips for the New

and that you need your rest now, think

The news of your partner’s pregnancy has bought
about the mother. Think how she has a 24/7
insurmountable joy not only to you, but also to
job with, no lunch or even tea breaks for
your family and friends. Everyone is gushing over
that matter plus she hardly gets a day off
the soon‐to‐be mother, pampering her and so on.
from her job i.e caring for your baby. So,
Even the written material found on pregnancies
don’t give those excuses of being tired and
usually talks about the almost sacred bond
help your wife.
between the mother and the baby, about breast
• ‘Why is he crying at night?’‐ Again, you
feeding, impending motherhood and so on. With
have worked hard all day and require a
so much attention being concentrated on the
good night’s sleep to refill your energy
mother, the poor father’s are bound to feel left
reserves for the next day and ‘waaah’ goes
the baby! Now, rather than cribbing about
While some fathers feel left out, others are
the noise, accept that a newborn will cry at
uncomfortable about holding their fragile, new
anytime in the night. Take turns with your
born children in their hands and thus end up
showing very little inclination to help when the
little one cries or is distressed!

The first few months after the baby is born are the
most difficult, and occasionally the mother is
found at the end of her wits, it is in such situations
that a father can step in and take care of the baby,
letting the mother catch her breath.

First, some change of attitude, please!

Don’t say ‐

• ‘I work the whole day, I am tired’‐ When you

feel that your day has been busy and tiring

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wife in soothing him, if he is found to be after a day’s play, you are bound to feel that
crying in the night. you have missed spending time with your

• ‘It can’t be that hard’‐ When your wife tells baby. But all is not lost; when you volunteer

you that it has been a long day, all you need to to massage the baby all by yourself in the

do is listen to her and empathize. If you take evening you will not only spend quality time

this opportunity to criticize her parenting bonding with your baby but also reduce the

techniques, all you will be doing is baby’s irritability and help him fall sleep.

demoralizing her all the more. Try shouldering • Burping: Dr. Geetanjali Shah, Pediatrician
some of her burden. says “Fathers can’t help much with feeding

• ‘I am bad at this’‐ That’s not a nice attitude to part but they can definitely help with

start with! You must embrace parenthood burping.” For burping you need to hold the

with openness and loads of patience. If you baby upright and pat his back gently for

seem to struggle at start, just relax as with about 10 minutes after feeding. Plus, the

time you will learn what works and what mother is often exhausted after the feeding

doesn’t. session which takes about 20‐30 minutes;

help coming from the father’s quarter is
Here are some ways to help Daddy make his
quite valuable in such situations.
• Bathing: As much as you can help out
• Feeding through the bottle: When it comes
during baby massages, you can also
to feeding the baby through a bottle, you
volunteer to give a daily bath to your baby.
know that both you and your wife stand
New‐born babies needn’t be bathed every
equal ! All you need to do is, hold the baby in
day, as a sponge bath is considered enough.
your arms comfortably and feed him through
An older baby however needs a proper bath
the bottle or use a spoon and bowl to feed the
everyday, which gives another chance for
milk in his mouth gently.
the two of you to bond and have fun
• Baby Massage: When you return from office together. Remember to collect all the
and see that your baby is cranky and tired accessories, check the water temperature

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and use tear less soap and shampoo for the bottom’s wet, dads start looking for an exit
bath. strategy, but the process of changing

• Going for walks: You come home from work diapers doesn’t have to be so difficult. You

and instead of seeing your wife’s smiling face must maintain eye contact, talk to them,

you see an exhausted face staring back at you, make silly faces and see this as any other

the reason being she’s had a difficult day with time to bond with your baby. Changing

your baby! To help her out you can take the diapers will also earn you brownie points

baby outside (don’t forget the diaper) for from the spouse!

some time and give your spouse some much • Helping out at night: When you find your
needed moments of peace and quiet. Babies baby wailing out loud in the middle of the
too will like it as they love to look at the night, don’t crib but take hold of the
surroundings and imbibe things around them, situation! You and your wife can work up a
remember not to take him to very noisy areas; system in which you both take turns at
a stroll in the park or a round or two in the soothing the baby. It provides for a golden
locality works just fine. opportunity to be with the baby alone. In

• Playing: Mommies like to cuddle and hold such times, just rocking the baby along with

the babies while daddies like to be more gentle talking and singing will help calm

playful. They like to throw the babies up in the your baby down. What’s more, you will also

air, give their limbs gentle exercise and be able to see the serene face of the baby as

support the child on their shoulders and he falls asleep! And the sight of your baby

generally be involved in a more physical play falling asleep in your arms is something that

with the baby, plus babies love this kind of no father in the entire world would want to

interaction. Don’t worry, this will not hurt the miss.

child unless you are too rough. • Go skin‐to‐skin: Newborn babies are

• Changing Diapers: All fathers cringe at the comforted by the touch, voice and smell of

thought of changing the diaper. Spending the parent. Studies show that just holding

time with the baby sounds fine but once the your baby skin to skin against you is enough

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to stimulate him. When you are trying to get interpersonal relations with others and have
the baby to sleep try doing it on your bare lesser issues trusting others as they grow
chest, this will not only help the baby fall up. Research also shows that daddy’s
asleep quickly but you will love the interaction with the baby is as important as
experience, too. a mother’s interaction with the baby.

Daddies, you are parents too… For the First time anxious father, worried about

• Studies have shown that babies and toddlers, whether he will be able to do anything right;

whose fathers were involved in caring for here is tip‐ go with the flow, be open, and be

them in an active way by playing, talking and spontaneous. Help out your wife and trust us

spending time with them have better and your very own parental instincts, you will
do fine!

Baby, Sleep like a Baby…

Night snacks, wet diapers

Remember those very first days in the hospital
After an exhausting day, everyone deserves a
after the delivery‐ Where you would constantly
good night’s sleep. But parents of newborn
wish that your little one would wake up from his
babies do not get it (though they deserve it
deep sleep, so you could spend more time with
more) as babies wake up many times at night ‐
him? But now just a few days after being bought
either because they are hungry or their diapers
back home, you find that he is altering your
are wet. And both of these are good reasons for
sleeping schedule with his own erratic sleeping
a baby to cry. Metabolically, breast fed babies
schedule! He sleeps all day long when you are
need to feed every 2 ‐3 hours, until they are at
feeling fresh and energetic, and prefers to wail out
least 3 months of age, while bottle fed babies
aloud for his feed in the middle of the night, when
need to feed less often ‐ every 4 hours.
all you want to do is sleep. Before you turn into a
zombie due to your lack of sleep, here are some A wet diaper can cause discomfort to the child
tips to understand your baby’s sleeping pattern and could even lead to a diaper rash. A diaper

and help him to sleep better. change just before sleeping and a diaper with a
thicker soft pad may help prevent the
No magic number
discomfort experienced by the baby.
Though an average baby is supposed to sleep for
16 hours a day in the first month, there are a few
babies who only sleep for 12 hours a day, with a lot
of naps during the daytime, while some other
babies sleep for 22 hours a day! This shows that
there is a huge spectrum with no standard for the
number of hours that a baby must sleep. The baby
instinctively sleeps when he should and wakes
when he feels like he’s had enough sleep or for
other reasons like he is hungry or wet.

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Day‐ night mix up efforts should be made to put him off back

Babies cannot grasp the concept of days and to sleep.

nights in the early months after their birth; this is Always a light sleeper
the reason why we find them wide awake at 2 am If you have observed your baby at night, you will
in the night and sleepy in the afternoons. Babies see that he tends to toss and turn and make
learn to adjust their body’s internal clock in time, sounds and even smile. This is because your
but you can help them to do it‐ baby spends most of his sleeping time in the
• When your baby is napping in the afternoon, REM or Rapid Eye Movement Sleep when the
do not make efforts to darken the lights in the brain is active and the baby is actually dreaming.
room or keep his surroundings extra quite. So don’t worry if your baby just cries softly and
Exposure to the natural day will help your moves around while sleeping.
baby develop ability to discern day and night Danger of SIDS
early on. If your baby is not in deep sleep, you
Babies naturally prefer to be sleeping on their
can wake your baby by holding him upright,
tummy as it supports their arms and legs and
burping him and even just gently touching his
gives a comfortable feeling like that of being in
chin. When he is awake you can stimulate him
the womb, even their tummy feels better when
by either talking or playing with him.
they lie this way. But research has shown that
• However take care not to overdo this as a
babies who sleep on their tummy stand the risk
baby should not be deprived of his required
of becoming prone to Sudden Infant Death
sleep quota and a tired baby will sleep less
Syndrome or SIDS which is responsible for the
soundly than a well rested baby.
death of many babies without any explainable
• At nights, make the atmosphere more sleep medical condition. To make sleeping on the
friendly by putting the baby to sleep in a much back easier for the baby, train the baby since the
quieter atmosphere. You can help him fall very beginning. Swaddling – wrapping the baby
asleep by either singing him a lullaby or by in soft material ‐ also contributes towards his
just rocking him to sleep and keeping the comfort while he is sleeping on his back.
room dark. Even when the baby wakes up at
Shh! baby is sleeping…
night, the interaction should be less and more

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Some parents can go to great lengths to prevent drowsy but not sleepy yet, and can fall asleep all
their baby from waking up from his sleep; they by himself. Remember you need to condition
switch off their mobiles, talk in whispers and your baby in such a way that he learns to fall
create a ‘no sound zone’ around the baby, only to asleep on his own, so that he can fall asleep by
find the noise of a honking car waking up their himself.
baby. Keeping the environment around the baby Letting them cry for a while
very quiet is not recommended, as the baby gets
You cannot always rush to soothe your baby
molded to sleep only in perfect silence which is
whenever he cries at night; your baby has to
difficult to achieve regularly in normal daily life.
learn to soothe himself back to sleep, at some
Also babies are capable of sleeping in normal
point of time. After the baby is 6 months old or
surroundings when the phone rings, people talk
older, you can start weaning him away from all
and vehicles move around, so do not over sensitize
midnight feedings and gradually make the baby
them early on.
fall back asleep on his own.
Sleep routine
Here are the different approaches –
Once your baby is older (about six to seven
• One method is to gradually reduce the
months) and does not need to be fed during the
number of times you go to soothe the baby
nights, you can start a nightly routine that
back to sleep whenever he starts crying.
encourages more sleep and fewer occasions of
Start by reducing the number of times you
waking up at night. Start a nightly routine with a
rush to soothe the baby immediately and in
massage, a bath, changing into nightwear, a night
case you do go to soothe him, remember to
time book reading session, saying ‘good night’
go at least a few minutes after the baby has
followed by lights out. If the baby awakens at
started crying. After a few days, stop going
night, you should soothe him without feeding.
to the baby altogether.
This job can be easily done by the father and your
baby is also not likely to demand feed from him. • You can feed the baby before he sleeps and
then put him to bed awake, yet drowsy.
Put baby to bed awake
Your baby will soothe himself and fall
Another concept that helps the baby to sleep
asleep. Even when the baby wakes up at
better is when the baby is put in the crib or the
night you should soothe him without
cradle while he is still awake. This way the baby is

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picking him up just by rubbing his back, approach you select and stick to it for so that
patting him and talking to him. the method works.

There is no ‘one’ way or method that works for all, All the parents of infants have to live through
you choose whichever method suits you and your sleepless nights early on and as time passes by,
baby to sleep. Another thing to remember is that babies and parents can get into a routine and
you have to be consistent with whichever say ‘Yes’ to a good night’ sleep.

Teething Issues at Hand
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as the body treats the first tooth as a foreign

Now that your baby has grown up (read‐about
object and reacts accordingly.
five to six months old), caring for him is now
Irritability: Babies appear to be irritable and
easier. He now seems to sleep peacefully through
cranky as the process of teething brings with it,
the night, feeds regularly and has an active social
low intensity but constant pain for the baby.
life (read – wherein he interacts with doting
grandparents and excited relatives while being Biting: Teething brings with it, an urge in

passed on from one set of arms to another). babies, to keep chewing onto something. This is
because the counter pressure that chewing
But when this peace is interrupted with his
brings, helps in relieving the pain under the
crankiness, loud cries in the night, avoidance of
feeds and random chewing (on anything he can
get his hands on), it is time to know that your baby Refusal to feed: When babies are teething, they

has begun teething. Teething generally begins usually refuse feed, as feeding creates a suction

around the fifth or the sixth month and brings that worsens the pain associated with teething.

along with it, issues of its own. This is the reason your baby will want to feed
one instant and refuse feed, the other instant.
The ‘Tooth Fairy’ often brings along with it, loose
motions, fever, irritability and pain for a baby. But Diarrhea: Though there is no scientific backing

some babies are lucky enough, to not have any

problems with teething at all.

Mentioned below, are the symptoms associated

with teething in babies ‐

Drooling: Teething stimulates drooling, so there

is also saliva dripping out of your baby’s mouth.

Face rash: Due to constant contact with saliva, the

skin near the mouth becomes dry, thereby leading
to the appearance of rashes on the face.

Pain: There is inflammation seen over the gums,

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to teething causing diarrhea, there are instances under pain when he undergoes the process of
of babies suffering from loose motions during this teething. To relieve his pain, run your fingers
period. over his gums. This gentle rubbing would create

Low fever: Though fever is not directly linked with a counter pressure and would relieve some of his

teething, some babies are seen suffering from pain.

fever during their teething days. At such times, Offer a Cold drink: Here we mean something
parents must treat it as they would treat a low cold to drink and not a soft drink! The cool
grade fever unless the fever lasts for more than sensation of a liquid will help in soothing your
three days. baby’s gums. Also, it will take care of his fluid

Here is what parents can do to help their baby intake.

get over the teething phase smoothly, Cool options: Once you have introduced your

Chew this: Babies try to get their gums on baby to solid foods, you can offer him cold foods

anything and everything they can that includes that will soothe his gums like cool apple puree,

remotes, table edges and even your finger as the cold yoghurt or cool soft fruit pieces.

counter pressure such chewing brings relieves Take care of other symptoms: Loose stools and
their discomfort. But, most of these places the mild fever often occur during the process
baby bites on aren’t amongst the most hygienic teething in babies and can be ignored for a
and safe places for your baby as they harbor while. But if loose motions last for 2 bowel
plenty of germs. movements and if the fever is higher than 101.50

Instead, you can give your baby a teething ring F, then there may be reason for concern.

that is commonly available, or a carrot with its Teething remains a problem, only till the time of
narrow end chopped off, so that the narrowsharp the arrival of your baby’s first tooth. After that
end does not hurt the insides of the baby’s mouth the baby’s body gets accustomed to the
or an ice cube or pieces of fruits wrapped inside a sensation. So if the teething process seems
clean soft cloth. difficult to you, have patience, soon it will be

Rub their gums: Your baby will be cranky and over and your baby will give you a sparkling
tooth smile!

Foods for your Baby

Breast milk provides all the nutrition required by your Pediatrician.

your baby and Formula milk provides almost all Here are the early foods to offer your baby:

the nutrition needed until your baby turns 4‐6 4‐6 Rice cereal, (oat cereal if
months old. After this, you may begin to months rice doesn’t suit the baby)
6 Apple puree, Bananas,
introduce him to solid foods. The strategy is ‘be
months Pears, Peas, Carrots,
prepared and be slow’. Be prepared for the spills Squash and Other cereals
and meltdowns on the table and be slow, so that 7‐8 Chicken, Egg, Fish (only if
months parents are non vegetarian)
he can digest all that you feed him. Now that he 9 Yogurt, Beans, cheese
has started with the intake of solid foods, don’t go months
overboard by introducing him to a buffet!

Though, in India it is believed that starting foods ‘First Food’ Options

when the baby reaches the age of 4 months is Rice: In the past, rice had always been
okay, there is a strong opinion against it by WHO, considered as the ideal first food option for
as well as by UNICEF, both of which say that babies because it is gluten free, easy to digest,
infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first comes in a fine consistency, has fewer chances
six months to be able to reach optimal growth and of allergic reactions, keeps the baby with a
development. After six months, an infant is
physiologically and developmentally ready for
new foods, textures and modes of feeding.

If you are thinking of starting solids before your

baby turns six months old, it is advisable to consult

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

feeling of fullness and aids sleep. thinning. Offer foods at room temperature

Today however, there are different opinions as to or slightly warmer.

whether rice should or should not be concerned as • When feeding your baby, make sure he is
a baby’s first food option with increasing cases of awake and hungry but not starving. You can
babies reacting unfavorably to rice, as a result feed him a little formula or breast milk
there are other options that are being considered before starting other foods.
• When you are feeding solids to your baby
Fruits: Solid foods for many babies start with for the first time, make the texture of the
mashed sweet fruits, like, finely mashed bananas food very smooth and try feeding only a few
or apple puree. However many experts are of the teaspoons till your baby gets the hang of
opinion that starting a baby’s intake of solid foods eating solids.
with sweet options, makes him reject non
Foods to avoid for the first Year:
sweetened foods like vegetables and cereals.
• Honey‐ Honey is known to contain spores
Here are some guidelines you must keep in
of a particular breed of bacteria that are
mind, before you feed your baby:
known to cause health problems in babies
• Always consult a doctor before introducing less than a year old.
new food items to your baby.
• Citrus foods‐ These are highly acidic and
• Check if your baby is ready for solid foods, if can cause diaper rash in babies in their first
he is able to sit upright, if he shows interest in year.
food, and if the tongue thrust reflex (when
• Egg white– Egg whites are known to cause
solid food put into the mouth is thrown back
allergic reactions in babies if given early on.
by the tongue) has gone?
• Cow’s milk (For some babies) ‐ Some
• Once you offer a new food to your baby wait
babies cannot digest cow’s milk well. If you
for at least 3 days before introducing new
find your baby having diarrhea and an upset
food item. This way you can check for possible
stomach, keep him off cow’s milk for some
food allergies.
time and consult your doctor, who may
• Remember to offer foods that are suggest alternatives.
smoothened in texture by pureeing or
Here are some recipes you can use to prepare

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Baby Foods: (For 6‐8 month old babies) After removing the skin and seeds, boil the

Mashed banana vegetables in just little water (to preserve the

vitamins), then push the boiled food through a
Mash a banana and soften it by mixing it with
sieve or a tea filter or blend it in a blender.
breast milk or formula milk to tender it. You can
When your baby has just started solids, make a
also later offer your baby mashed banana without
paste having a smooth consistency by adding a
mixing it with milk. Other seasonal fruits like
little water or breast milk or formula milk and as
chickoos, papayas, and mangoes can also be
he becomes more accustomed to solids, make
simply be mashed and offered to baby. Papaya is
the consistency thicker.
known to help relieve constipation in babies.
Apple puree
Pumpkin is high in nutrients like Vitamin A, beta
Cut an apple into pieces, remove the seeds and
carotene, iron and potassium. Pumpkin is also a
the bark and boil in adequate water. Let the liquid
good source of fiber and is low on fats. All of
cool and mash the apple with a blender or with
this makes Pumpkin nutritious for babies.
hands. Initially start with half an apple and then try
Remember: Never over boil pumpkin, lest it
the entire piece.
loses all its nutrients.
Strained water
Some Indian recipes for your baby:
In order to provide your baby with the vitamins
and nutrients that are lost during the process of (Remember‐ Do not unnecessarily add salt and

preparation of food, care must be taken to not sugar to your baby’s foods. Jaggery is

discard the excess water that remains after boiling preferred than sugar to be added in kheer and

vegetables and fruits and after cooking dal. It is sheera but adding salt should be avoided. Your

advisable to feed this water to your baby or to use baby gets enough sodium from vegetables.)

it for thinning the consistency of the vegetables Nachni Kheer

and cereals that you feed your baby. Finger Millet or Nachni cereal is easily available
Puree of veggies in Indian market and is a well‐known baby food.

Puree of vegetables including, broccoli, green Nachni is a great source of protein and is also

peas, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot and rich in calcium and iron as compared to other

cauliflower can be given as early foods to babies. cereals. Also, because of its high nutritional

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

value, nachni kheer is the first food which is given and use it whenever needed.
to a baby after 6 months. For one bowl: Boil water and add 2 to 3
Both Nachni cereal and nachni flour are easily tablespoons of moong dal and rice powder to it.
available in any Indian kitchen. Take a few nachni Stir well, and then remove from the flame, let it
cereals and roast them on low flame, then grind cool down to room temperature and serve. Rice
them in a grinder to make fine flour. You can keep is a great source of carbohydrates and moong
this flour in stock, as it has a very long shelf life. dal is very nutritious and easy to digest. This

For one bowl of kheer: Take 2 to 3 tablespoons of makes Moong dal and Rice Phej, the best food

nachni flour. Boil water for 5 minutes and then add for growing babies.

this flour to the water and stir continuously. Suji Kheer

Stirring continuously is very important so that Suji kheer is an excellent combination of fats,
clots don’t get formed. Once the mixture turns carbohydrates and protein – all of which are
semi solid, add little milk, 1 teaspoon of ghee, a necessary for your baby’s growth. Suji Kheer is
pinch of salt and little jaggery to give it a sweet quick to prepare and at the same time, it is
taste. Cool it for 5 minutes and your healthy healthy for your baby.
nachni kheer is ready for your baby’s
To make one bowl of suji kheer, take 2 to 3
tablespoons of suji and roast it in ghee. Soon the
It is advisable to start with a small quantity. Don’t colour of the roasted suji will change to
expect your kid to finish it in one go. Nachni kheer brownish red. Then add milk and sugar to it, to
is filling and hence keeps the baby satiated for a make it into a thick paste.
very long time.
Moong Dal and Rice Phej
Dalia or broken wheat is a healthy food option
Both, Moong dal and rice are also very easy to find for babies as it is made from whole wheat. Also,
in the Indian kitchen. To make Moong Dal and as it is easy to digest and quick to prepare, Dalia
Rice Phej, you need to roast moong dal and rice on can be a regular part of your baby’s diet.
a pan and then grind them together to make a fine
Start with equal quantities of wheat Dalia and
powder. The ratio for preparing the mixture is, half
lentil. Add Dalia to boiling water and cook it for
cup of moong dal to one cup of rice. You can
some time until it is half‐cooked. Then add
prepare this flour and keep it for days together

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

lentil to it, until both are well‐cooked. You can

thus, the quantity wasted is less.
add a pinch of salt and ghee to taste. You can also
cook it with vegetables like potatoes, onions, peas • The strained variety of packaged baby

and any other green vegetables. foods has a smooth texture which suits a
baby who has newly been introduced to
Non vegetarian options
packaged baby foods.
A month after your baby has started the intake of
The Problem:
solids; you can introduce him to non vegetarian
food. You can start with soups and stews of Your baby gets so used to packaged foods that

chicken. You can also blend boiled chicken with he no longer accepts the homemade variety

other vegetables and spices, to add taste. When which, in comparison to packaged food, is not

offering an egg to your baby, remember to give perfectly textured.

only the yolk and not the egg white for at least a Here is what parents can do,
year. • When buying packaged baby food, check
Packaged Baby Food the pack for the specified age of babies who
can consume the contents.
In the early days of weaning, when you remain
busy dishing out a variety of food options for your • Many parents start their baby’s initiation
baby and he in turn remains busy rejecting your into solids, through packaged foods
offers, there is every chance that you might feel supplemented by homemade foods. And
like giving up on your efforts and buying packaged when babies get used to eating thick

foods to feed him. textured foods, parents offer them only

homemade food gradually tapering off
Here is all you need to know about packaged baby
packaged food.
• You can keep packaged baby food as an
• Packaged foods are convenient, time saving
option to homemade food, only when you
options compared to homemade foods.
and your baby are travelling or when you
• Now‐a‐days packaged foods do not contain
both are away from home or when there is a
any added salt, sugar or fillers. (Please check
sense of emergency and you do not have
the cover of the packet to confirm)
time to prepare your baby’s food at home.
• Packaged foods can be stored at home and

Travelling with your Baby

becomes difficult to carry.

You realize that parenting is a full time job quite
Also look for a bag made of moisture resistant
literally when you find it impossible to do the
material like nylon or vinyl with compartments
things you did earlier without a second thought.
to keep dirty diapers away from the bottle and
These things include, having lunch in a restaurant,
the food. Remember to keep the bag well
catching up for a movie with friends in a nearby
stocked with fresh stuff in case of last minute
theatre, talking on the phone without a thousand
thoughts running in your head et al. But now, even
something as mundane as going to the bathroom, These are the things that you need to carry:
needs to be coordinated with your baby’s nap Diapers: A baby with a soiled nappy tends to get
timings. cranky and irritable, which in turn spoils your
Even with your life turned upside down, you have outing. So, always keep a bunch of extra diapers
to do the things you always did, like travelling. handy with you. Never underestimate the

This article makes sure that your travel with the number of diapers your baby will need and

baby remains smooth and safe. always carry extra.

If you are to travel with your baby, make sure you Diaper changing mat‐ You must carry a cloth, a

plan the trip well as your baby’s comfort and

happiness take a priority over everything else,

For a short trip‐

Changing bag: Now what should a changing bag

If your baby is bottle feeding, you need a separate

insulated bottle holding area. You will also need to
consider the size and carrying comfort. The size
should be big enough to carry more than one
nappy and a bottle, but not too big that it

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

and tissues to clean up the mess! Also keep the

towel or a waterproof pad to provide for a clean,
finger foods like fruits and biscuits ready, to
safe surface to change your baby’s diapers.
keep your baby occupied and fed during the
Baby wipes: These are tissues which you can use journey.
to wipe your baby’s bottom when changing his
Snack for you‐ While you take care of your
diapers and to wipe your hand after you have
baby’s needs, remember to take care of your
changed his diaper.
own health too. If you are a breast feeding
Plastic bags or Zip lock bags: Carry plastic bags mother, you need to carry something nutritious
or zip locks, which can serve as dumping bags for to keep up your energy levels. Fruits, whole
dirty diapers and soiled clothes. wheat biscuits, cakes and nuts work well in such
Formula: If you are going to be away till your cases.
baby’s next feed, carry along a bottle of water in Now you know why mothers carrying their little
which you mix the powdered formula. And ones, have big bags!
remember, Formula prepared at home should be
For a longer trip
kept in an insulated container.
Along with the things mentioned above, you
Baby’s shoulder cloth ‐ Babies like to feed but
also need to carry the ones mentioned below,
also tend to spit out the last meal. Hence, it is
always better to carry along a cloth to be draped Extra layer of clothing‐ Carry an extra layer of
on to prevent smelly shoulders and messy dresses. clothing for your baby, when away from home.
This helps in preventing your baby from cold
Change of Clothes‐ You would need to keep
and fever.
changing your baby’s clothes in case your baby’s
brand new clothes get spoilt due to baby poop, Toys‐ When there is a long journey involved,
baby spit or even due to the solid foods he has you should have entertainment planned
been newly introduced to. because you don’t want a cranky baby while
travelling. So take along his favorite toys,
Snack for your baby‐ If your baby has been
favorite blanket, maybe a favorite audio – video
introduced to solids, you can carry a snack along
CD he loves as well as the book he loves being
for him. Carry something that needs neither
read to.
refrigeration nor heating. Remember to also carry
along a spoon, a bib to tie around the baby’s neck Sunscreen‐ Not only does your child need

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

protection from cold, but also from the sun. Do baby’s health. If he okays the trip, ask for some
carry along light cotton clothing and hats to cover medicines for common cold and cough that are
him from sun, and apply sunscreen to his body, to recommended for babies. You must also be
prevent him from sunburns. aware of the temperature at the place you are

Medical kit‐ Travelling involves the chances of heading to, as you would need to pack your

sickness and accidents. Keep the baby’s medical baby’s bag accordingly.

kit ready with medicines for cold, fever, loose Follow the routine
motions etc. Learn about the basic first aid kit Do not change your baby’s routine much before
meant for kids, before you start your journey. you start your journey. This includes, not
Pacifier‐ Keeping your baby happy means keeping shifting from breastfeeding to bottles or
his pacifier close to him; even though you think it weaning the child before the journey begins. Let
is high time he learns to sleep without the pacifier. your baby continue with his normal routine so as
In a place and surroundings that are alien, the to feel secure when in unfamiliar surroundings .
familiar pacifier can reassure the baby, so let him
Modes of travel
have it.
Be it the car, plane or train travel; look for
Baby care products ‐ Carry along, the oils, baby
options to keep your baby happy. Here are
creams, diapers, soaps, shampoos and diaper rash
some tips‐
cream along with many sets of clothes.
Car travel: Before you decide to go on a trip in a
Some tips‐
car with your baby, invest in an infant seat in
Time it well your car. The infant seat makes sure that the
In order to have a smooth journey with your baby baby remains safe and secure during the
onboard, time your journey as per your baby’s journey. This way the mother is less hassled.
schedule. And take into account various factors Remember to adjust the belts according to the
like, modes of transport, the time taken for the size of your baby and make sure he is
journey etc. If it will be a long journey, time it comfortable. If your baby is soothed by a
according to your baby’s nap timings. particular song, bring the CD along to help him

Take medical precautions calm down when he cries.

Before planning to go on a long journey with your Take frequent breaks (about every 2 hours) and

baby, talk to a doctor and let him examine your let your baby out, so that he gets fresh air. Drive

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slower than the usual speed and take care around means a hot and sweaty journey. So dress your
bad roads and avoid sudden jerks, as these can baby in loose cottons and use a wet cloth to
startle the baby, leading him into a crying fit. keep his temperature down. It is advisable to
Air travel: Babies below 2 years of age do not take the baby by bus only if it is a night journey.
require a separate ticket but you can still opt for Train Travel: Travelling in the train is better
one, if having your baby constantly on your lap than travelling in the car or in the bus, given the
proves to be uncomfortable. Moreover, a separate benefits of a smooth ride and space available in
seat for your baby will give you enough space to the train. But the chances of your baby taking in
be able to change his diapers, feed him and allow dirt and grime is more in the train, especially if
him to move around. If opting for a single seat, opt he touches the window grill or the seat covers
for one near the engine so that the noise of your etc. So make sure you frequently clean his hands
baby’s cries, does not disturb the other passengers and keep an eye on what goes into his mouth.
and the aisle seat so that you can move easily if
If you are travelling in sleeper class, the upper
you need to, without disturbing your neighboring
berth should be ruled out due to the chance of
passenger. Cover your baby’s ears with soft cotton
the baby falling down, when he turns or moves.
when the plane takes off as the pressure change
Opt for a lower berth and spread a clean sheet
can affect his ear drums.
on the seat on which you are seated. Let your
Bus Travel: Not a comfortable ride for you and
baby lie on the sheet. Create a barrier with
your baby. Your baby may not like to be held in
pillows, so that he does not fall. Keep him
one position for long and may soon get bored.
covered, so that he remains protected from the
Also, the seats in a bus are positioned closer,
cold wind outside. Keep the windows shut and
allowing very little leg space and room for
swaddle your baby.
movement for your baby. Unless you have a
Travelling with a baby may not seem to be an
window seat, the journey in the bus may be a long,
arduous one, for both, you as well as your baby. easy task, but it is not an impossible task either.
All you need to do is to plan ahead and keep
A bus journey, unless taken at night, generally
your cool.

Solving the Vaccination

Vaccines for your baby

The very idea of someone jabbing a needle in
Certain vaccines, which can prevent your baby
your baby’s delicate arm, is enough to give many
from falling prey to serious ailments later on in
parents nightmares! Now add to this idea, your
life, are mandatory. These vaccines must be
baby’s inconsolable crying and subsequent fever
administered when your baby reaches a certain
and suddenly you’ll realize why many parents
age, so that the vaccine is most effective.
don’t look forward to vaccinations for their babies.
Government of India has made it mandatory for
While vaccinations are vital for protecting your
parents to get their babies vaccinated against
baby against harmful diseases and for keeping him
various serious ailments including Diphtheria,
healthy and fit, many parents lose their keenness
Polio , Tuberculosis etc.
on getting their baby vaccinated after hearing
The names of essential vaccinations and the
stories of serious illnesses following vaccinations!
diseases, for which they are administered to
This is why it is very important for you to be aware
babies, are given below:
of the correct precautions to be taken before and
Government of India has made it mandatory for
after the vaccination of your baby.
parents to give vaccinations like DPT for
Why Vaccinations?
Diphtheria, Pertussis (whooping cough)
Vaccination functions on a basic, general premise
mentally for dealing with your baby’s cries and
that, if a person suffers from a particular disease
his body produces antibodies which fight that
disease, thereby making his system immune to
that particular disease for his entire life.
During vaccination, a person’s body is injected
with weakened or dead disease spreading
microorganisms which are harmless to his body.
His body then reacts to the injection by producing
antibodies that fight the disease and strengthen
his immunity against that disease. This way, in his
entire life, the person never suffers from that
particular disease for which he has received the

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Vaccination Schedule
Age of the child Government Schedule IAP Schedule
At Birth
BCG(Against Tuberculosis) BCG,
OPV (Against Polio) This dose of
vaccine at birth is called the zero OPV
dose. HB (Against hepatitis B)

6 weeks OPV (first dose) OPV (first dose)

DPT (Triple vaccine against DPT (first dose)

Diphtheria, Pertussis and Teta‐
nus) HB (2nd dose)

10 weeks OPV ( second dose)

OPV (second dose)
DPT (second dose)
DPT(second Dose)

14 weeks OPV (third dose) OPV (third dose)

DPT (third does) DPT (third dose)

6‐9 months ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ HB ( third dose)

9 months Measles Measles

15‐18 months OPV (fourth dose) OPV (fourth dose)

DPT (fourth dose) DPT (fourth dose)

MMR (vaccine against Measles,

Mumps and German Measles
5 years DT (fifth dose) (only for diphthe‐ OPV (fifth dose)
ria and tetanus)
DPT (fifth dose)
10 years TT (against tetanus) TT

16 years TT TT

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Tetanus, BCG for Tuberculosis, OPV for Polio. sometimes vaccines are not administered if
Along with these vaccines, Indian Academy of the baby is unwell.
Pediatricians has updated the list by including • Inform your Pediatrician about any sort of
HBV vaccine for Hepatitis B and MMR vaccine for allergy your baby may have especially egg
Measles, Mumps and Rubella or German measles. allergy.
As a new mother of an infant, you will be provided • Also, inform the medical professional if your
with a vaccine schedule after being discharged baby suffers from fits and seizures.
from the hospital post delivery. You may also refer
• Check the expiry date of the vaccine
to the chart given below indicating the schedule to
before it is administered, as expired
be followed for vaccination of your baby.
vaccines can be harmful for your baby
Some tips for your Vaccination trip:
Side effects of Vaccination:
• Prepare yourself mentally for dealing with
your baby’s cries and also take along his • Generally children develop slight fever after

favorite toy for distracting his attention from vaccinations and pediatricians prescribe

the jab of a needle. half a teaspoon Paracetemol to treat the

• You will have to hold your baby in your arms
to get the vaccine administered onto him. If • After a measles injection there are chances

you aren’t comfortable seeing your baby cry, of rashes appearing on your baby’s skin, but

ask your spouse or relative to accompany you this is normal.

so that either of them can hold your baby • If your baby experiences allergic reactions,
while the vaccine gets administered. high fever and loss of consciousness after

• Vaccinations are generally given by a getting vaccinated you should consult a

registered Pediatrician, but you can also take doctor.

your baby to a government hospital for Some common myths about Vaccines:
vaccinating him. Vaccines themselves cause many ailments
• Inform the medical professional who is to All vaccines are thoroughly tested before being
administer the vaccine, about any fever or introduced for administration. There are very
illness baby may have at that time because few known side effects of vaccines and these are

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

easily overshadowed by the kind of protection receives the complete course.

vaccines offer against serious ailments like If your baby misses even one shot of a
meningitis, diphtheria and whooping cough, all particular vaccine, it’s pointless vaccinating
of which can be fatal for kids. the next time
My baby is well protected, and so he doesn’t This is not true. Even though it is recommended,
need to be vaccinated that you follow the given schedule, your baby
Germs are present everywhere ‐ water, air, soil ‐ can be vaccinated, even though he has missed
and many children as well as adults are known one shot. It is important that your baby gets the
to carry them. You may feel that you can protect shot, albeit late, than not get it at all. Go to your
your child against germs but unless he is doctor at the earliest and inform him about the
vaccinated, there is no guarantee that he will vaccine your baby missed.
not fall prey to serious ailments. When you compare the pain vaccination brings
One vaccine in a series gives the baby enough to your baby, as against the benefits it provides,
protection you will realize the importance of that jab in

Researchers have found that skipping vaccines your baby’s arm. So the next time when you

puts your child under a risk of contracting hear rumors pertaining to vaccination, you know

diseases. Hence, if a series of injections have what to do with those‐ Ignore the rumors and

been recommended for your baby, make sure he get your child vaccinated for sure!

Dealing with Common
Illnesses of the Baby

80‐90% of the time, fever in newborns gets

Every time your precious little angel has a cold or
cured without the help of medications, hence
a nasal congestion, you don’t have to switch to
don’t rush your baby to the doctor each time he
panic mode and rush him to the doctor! You can
has fever. Also, doctors don’t recommend
easily reduce the number of medications
applying cold pads to the baby unless the fever
prescribed to your baby by replacing them with
is higher than 1020 F.
some equally effective home remedies. Dr. Sudhir
What you can do:
Sane, Pediatrician, however, says “A baby less
than 3 months old should not normally suffer from Keep baby cool‐ When your baby has fever

any disease, but if you find that he is not well, do rather than bundling him up in blankets, it is

not try the home remedies as he is still too young advisable to remove the extra layers of cloth to

to be fed anything other than breast milk.” cool down his body temperature. Unless his
body loses his body heat it can lead to
Mentioned below are some of the possible health
overheating and heatstroke. To ensure that the
problems your baby may suffer from and the ways
in which you can provide treatment

Whenever your mother would touch your
forehead and find it hot, she would get worried
and would ask you to strictly lie on the bed, eat
nothing but boring soups and curd rice. Similar
feelings occupy your mind when you find your
baby suffering from fever.

Contrary to popular perception, the occurrence of

fever in your baby is in fact, a sign showing that his
body is fighting against infections, rather than
being a victim to the bad viruses

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

baby loses body heat, switch on the fan or the AC age is having fever of more than 102.60F.
in the room your baby sleeps, but it is advisable to • The baby is having difficulty breathing
keep your baby out of the direct air flow.
• The baby is crying inconsolably and for
Increase fluid intakes– Older babies that are
weaned must be given juices along with oral
• The baby is having fever after being in the
dehydration fluids, clear soups etc, while younger
sun (this can point to sunstroke)
babies, must be breast fed regularly so that they
get their daily quota of fluids. • The baby exhibits signs of dehydration

Medication to reduce Fever‐ For babies less than • The baby is cranky, lethargic, sleepy and

2‐6 months of age, having fever of 100.20 or more sensitive to light unlike his normal happy‐go

(102.60 for babies older than 6 months) you can ‐lucky self

give paracetamol drops or medications as Common cold

prescribed by your doctor. If the temperature still
Common cold is one of the most common
does not drop, contact your pediatrician.
ailment babies suffer from. The main reason for
Sponging‐ Sponge your baby only if the this is that their bodies are still in the developing
temperature does not drop even after an hour of stage and the immunities are not completely
administering the medication. Use lukewarm formed.
water for sponging the baby. Take 3 cloths for
Symptoms: Runny nose, sneezing, nasal
sponging and spread out a waterproof material on
congestion and sometime dry cough, fever,
the ground. Cover your baby with a towel and then
itchy throat, fatigue and loss of appetite.
alternately dip two cloths into water and place
Duration: Common cold Generally lasts for 3‐10
them on his forehead and keep the third cloth for
days but may last longer in babies.
rubbing over the baby’s neck, face, stomach,
under arms and groin. Continue to do this for 20 What you can do:

minutes to 1 hour until the temperature drops. • For nasal congestion, instill saline drops
Call the doctor if, that are available as OTC drugs into the
baby’s nostrils so that the hard mucus
• A baby less than 2 months old has fever over
softens, and it can drip out of the nose or
100.20 and if a baby more than 2 months of

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

can be swallowed by the baby which later Call the doctor if,
comes out with stool. The cold is accompanied with a fever of more
• You need to moisten the air in the room to than 101.40 F and if the fever lasts for more than
help your baby who is suffering from cold, 2 days. Also, if dry cough interferes with the
breathe easier. Keep a steam vaporizer open baby’s sleep. The general rule is, as Dr. Sane
in the room or keep a hot bowl of water open explains, “if the baby seems lethargic and weak
in the room, but keep it out of the baby’s or, if he seems more cranky than usual and if the
reach. baby is unlike his normal self then call the

• Make the baby sleep with an elevation doctor, otherwise if the baby is playful, you can

provided by a pillow kept under the mattress treat him at home.”

as it helps to make breathing easy for the Constipation

The problem of constipation is mostly seen in
• Applying Vaseline under the nose can help in bottle fed babies than breast fed babies. The
reducing the redness caused due to your reason being, movements of formula milk are
constant wiping of your baby’s nose but make generally hard and difficult to expel.
sure that the baby does not inhale the
Symptoms: Infrequent bowel movements with
stools that are hard to pass, blood in the stool,
• Do not give cough drops or any antibiotics to irritability and gastric distress.
your baby unless the doctor recommends.
Causes: Illness, lack of fiber in the diet, a slow
• Increase your baby’s intake of fluids, so as to digestive system, insufficient activity in the anal
compensate for the fluids that are lost fissure.
because of a runny nose and breathing Duration: Can be chronic or can be an
through the mouth.
occasional occurrence.
• Colds generally pass on through the hands What you can do:
hence parents should take proper care to
• Exercise the baby by moving his legs and
wash hands properly before they touch the
hands in a cyclic manner.

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

• For babies who have started the intake of before switching your options.
solids, increase the consumption of fruits and • Increase fluid intake to compensate for the
vegetables, while that of dairy products, lost fluids and give your baby 60 ml of fluids
should be reduced. every hour.
Call the doctor if: There are frequent constipation • Continue feeding older babies solid foods
bouts or if there is a presence of blood in the stool. like mashed bananas, rice porridge and
Diarrhea potatoes.

Diarrhea is another problem seen mostly in bottle • If the baby is vomiting, stop all solids until

fed babies and to a lesser extent in breast fed vomiting stops. Till that time, give clear

babies. This is because breast milk has a substance fluids including oral rehydration fluids or

that kills the organisms that cause diarrhea. juices.

Symptoms: Liquidy stools, runny stools, mucus in • Reduce the intake of dairy products, other

stool, blood in the stool, vomiting, increased than bottle fed milk and breast milk, until

volume and frequency of the stools. diarrhea is controlled.

Causes: Infection, teething, consumption of too Ear‐ache

many fruits, sensitivity to a particular food item in
Babies often fall prey to infections of the ear.
the diet, antibiotics.
Here are a few ways in which parents can deal
Duration: From few hours to some days. with the problem.

What you can do: Symptoms: Pain in the ear that worsens at

• Continue with either breast milk or formula night, baby pulling and rubbing his ears, crying

milk as before but if the problem persists, when sucking on breasts, slight fever, fatigue,

then it may be due to temporary intolerance runny nose and congestion, sometimes nausea

of milk, hence a better option would be to and vomiting.

switch to soy milk. Do consult the doctor Cause: Infection and even allergy.

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Duration: Few days. Usually regular ear infection or the food pipe in the throat. In babies the
cases get cured within a week’s time. muscles that close the opening which keeps the

What you can do: food from entering in the esophagus, do not
work well. The food then reaches the esophagus
• Consult the doctor as ear infections need
where its acidic content irritates the lining of the
antibiotics and treating ear infections at home
esophagus, prompting the ‘spitting up’ of food.
is not recommended.
When could GER occur: From the time the
• You need to watch your baby and look for
baby is 2 weeks old and stays till the baby
symptoms of ear‐ache.
becomes one or two years old.
• When it becomes necessary to administer
What can you do:
antibiotics to your baby, complete the full
• GER generally does not require treatments
prescribed dose for 5 ‐10 days so that the
through medication, there are alternate
infection does not occur again.
ways to reduce the impact.
• To give the baby temporary relief from pain,
• Breastfeed the baby in small quantities at
hold a warm compress or a heating pad or a
regular intervals and don’t overfeed.
bottle filled with warm water close to his ears.
• Avoid feeding acidic and fatty foods to the
Gastro esophageal Reflux (GER)
baby, as these are difficult to digest.
GER is a common problem occurring in more than
• Once the baby is in a position to consume
half of the babies when they are less than 3
solid foods, feed him with foods that have a
months of age. GER is also the cause behind the
thicker consistency as these are less likely
‘spit ups’ that occurs in babies less than a year old.
to be thrown up.
Symptoms: Excessive spitting or vomiting,
• Medications that neutralize the stomach’s
extremely forceful vomiting, erratic feeding
acidic content can be helpful to the baby.
pattern, slow weight gain, poor sleep habits,
Give only if prescribed by the doctor.
excessive drooling, choking and frequent burping.
Ways to prevent GER:
Cause: GER occurs in babies, when partially
digested food is thrown back into the esophagus • Breast milk helps to prevent GER as it is
easy to digest, and keeps the acid level in

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

the stomach low. • UTI cannot be completely cured by home

• When you are breastfeeding, avoid the intake remedies. It does require doctor’s

of caffeine in your diet. consultation especially, when the baby

suffers from an unexplained fever.
• Burp your baby frequently.
• The doctor will prescribe antibiotics for
• Keep the baby in an upright position for 2‐3
treating the infection. Increasing the baby’s
hours, after he has been fed.
fluid intake will also help in treating the
• Pacifier helps in preventing GER, so let the
baby have it, after he has been fed.
• The best way to treat the UTI infection is to
• Don’t jostle the baby and don’t bathe him
prevent it from occurring in the first place!
immediately after he has been fed.
Here are some ways to prevent UTI from
Urinary Tract infection attacking your baby,

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are caused by an • When changing a nappy, clean your baby

infection that occurs in the urinary tract of from front to back.

kidneys, ureters, bladders and urethra of the baby. • Make sure the baby consumes enough
Generally, an unexplained fever is the only fluids to wash out unwanted bacteria.
symptom of UTI. UTI can cause serious damage in
• Avoid bubble baths and perfumed soaps
children less than 2 years of age, hence proper
that irritate the genitals, especially in baby
diagnosis and treatment are essential.
Symptoms: Unexplained fever, crying, irritability,
You can try these home remedies when the
stomach or back pain, cloudy urine, frequent
symptoms are minor and the baby otherwise
urination, vomiting and diarrhea.
seems well; however if the condition prolongs or
Cause: UTI happens when bacteria begin to grow worsens then consult your doctor immediately.
in the baby’s urinary tract.

What you can do:

Stimulating the Baby

immediate surroundings, and cannot

As a parent, wouldn’t you want your child to be
differentiate between colors either.
gifted with many talents and qualities? Who
Babies can identify with a human face more
doesn’t want a kid as smart as Einstein, who can
easily, than they can relate to cartoons and
speak 5 languages, is mathematically gifted and
colors. About 15 days after his birth your baby
who can sing? If you want your kid to as be as
will be able to identify the outline of your face.
talented use the early months to stimulate his
Even just‐born babies love to see any design
mind‐ show him pictures, talk to him, play with
that is similar to a human face. Hence, it is
him; babies can understand more than we give
advisable to stimulate your baby’s senses by
them credit for.
sticking pictures of human faces near his crib or
Your baby is constantly in the process of learning.
Even at times when he may seem to be simply
Since red, white and black are the only colors
staring at the ceiling, his mind remains active and
that babies are able to identify in their early
stores information in order to be able to retrieve it
months, parents must prepare charts with
later for his understanding. It is found that 55% of
contrasting images in these three colors and
your baby’s learning ability is developed within the
stick the charts on to your baby’s crib. There are
first 4 years of his life. Your baby is born with a
also books available which are specially
fully developed neuron system. After birth, the
process of making connections between the
different neurons start and it is this potential that
you should tap into.

Visual stimulation

You must have decorated your baby’s room with

various cartoon characters, colorful patterns and
expensive furnishings. But if you thought your
baby would be able to notice your efforts and
appreciate them with a smile, think again!
Because a baby can barely see beyond his

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designed to stimulate babies’ brains. language or play CDS or cassettes in many

languages, he will be able to grasp these
Auditory stimulation
languages fast and easy. Also, if your little one is
A baby’s auditory senses develop inside the
being exposed to different genres of music‐
mother’s uterus as he keeps listening to his
from Classical and Jazz, to Indian folk and
mother’s voice and to the many sounds that form
Bollywood, ‐ he will develop a discerning ear for
a part of the mother’s immediate environment.
good music that will remain with him as he
This means that when a baby is born, he is already
grows up.
able to identify his parents’ voice, from the rest of
the family.. In order to be able to stimulate your
baby through auditory senses, it is important that A soothing touch, a gentle pat, a loving caress‐
you keep talking to him constantly. A research all work towards the emotional and mental
shows that those babies, whose parents talk to development of your baby. Research has shown
them regularly, are able to speak 300 words more that skin‐to‐skin contact between the parent
than their peers by the age of 2. and the baby helps in strengthening the bond

And if you are wondering as to what you should between them in the early days after the baby’s

talk to your baby about, here are some tips: Talk birth. Activities like massages, rocking, cuddling

to your baby about what you are doing, point out and tickling the baby, help in stimulating the

at the various things around him and name them, vestibular centre in the baby’s brain which in

call him by his name, sing songs to him and so on. turn helps in maintaining balance and ability to

This kind of active stimulation is very important move. Touch also breeds familiarity in the

than the passive stimulation offered by DVDs and baby’s mind and helps in preventing childhood

CDs. phobias.

The latter can be used to supplement active For stimulating your baby’s sense of touch,

stimulation in the baby. Overall, it is the provide him with objects of different textures

participation of the parents in baby’s development including soft, hard, smooth, rough and

and their constant involvement in their lives that granular. As he touches each object, name it

stimulates the baby most. aloud for him to be able to hear. Make sure that
all objects are clean and safe for your baby and
When you speak to your baby in more than one
make sure he doesn’t put them into his mouth.

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Smell: Your baby’s sense of smell can best him. Hold a ball and let him reach towards it.
develop naturally, without any need of a conscious Remember, you need to be gentle with him and
effort from your side. As your baby comes in challenge him within the limits of his capacities.
contact with different smells at home, for instance Read to him‐ Reading stories to your baby will
the smell of milk – which he seems to like, while help in teaching him many things and will also
the smell of his own poop – which he does not like, help in keeping his mind calm and occupied.
he will keep learning.
Name things‐ Whenever you see new objects,
Other than stimulating your baby’s senses you point those to your baby and name them. He
also need to respond to his needs so that he feels will remember some of these words later when
loved and cared for. You need to respond to his he starts talking and this will leave you amazed.
cries indicating hunger and irritation, you need to
Peek‐a‐boo‐ This age‐old method of
cuddle him and play with him, entertain him and
entertaining a child, also serves as an
distract him. Through these gestures of love and
educational purpose for your baby. By way of
care, you are actually laying the foundation of
peek‐a‐boo, babies learn that, object
trust and love in the mind of your child. This way
permanence that is ‘if the object is not seen
your baby gets enough confidence to express
doesn’t mean that it is gone’ phenomenon.
himself without inhibitions and to venture and
If you notice, most of the ways of
learn new things.
stimulating babies mentioned in this article can
These are other things you can do: be easily done at home There is a lot of
Take him out‐ When your child remains at home stimulation that happens in a baby’s mind, when
for a long time, he gets acquainted with all the he interacts with you and with the environment
objects present around him and there remains around him; the trick lies in identifying and
nothing new that can stimulate his mind and body. channelizing the stimulation further.
If you take him to a park, his mind will be Stimulations should be fun for both, you as well
stimulated by the newness of the place and by the as your baby. You must constantly encourage
many other things which would attract his little him and applaud when he does well, but never
mind. push him into doing something; he is not in the

Challenge him‐To help your baby grow, challenge mood of doing at that time.

Traditional vs. Modern
approach to Baby care

benefits of swaddling the baby.

“Let the baby cry for a while, a little crying
Swaddling, as per science, makes the baby feel
doesn’t hurt anyone” this is what you find your
secured and reminds him of the cocoon like
mother‐ in‐ law telling you, each time you think of
environment of his mother’s womb. The warmth
soothing your crying baby. There are times when
that results by way of swaddling helps the baby,
you have placed your baby lying on his back and
until his own temperature regulation
come back to see that your mother has placed him
mechanism matures. Moreover, swaddling as a
on the belly which is now considered a taboo due
method also prevents the baby waking up due
to the risk of SIDS (see baby sleep like a baby page
to his own movements in his sleep. It also
ensures that the baby lies on his back reducing
With new research coming in, the way we care for
the risk for SIDS. In India, swaddling helps in
the baby is undergoing a lot of change. These
protecting the baby from mosquito bites, as the
changes don’t easily go well with the older
entire body except the face, remains covered.
generation as they are staunch believers in the
You can swaddle your baby until he is 3 months
“this is how it was done since ages” argument and
old after which your baby finds it to be too
as a result there seems to be a struggle to come up
with a method that is acceptable to you both.

This article is just about that, about the traditional

practices that are being followed since ages and
why some of them should be stopped while some
need to be followed even today.

Swaddling, Verdict: Good

Our mothers and grandmothers believed that
tying the baby in a cloth in the initial days post
birth soothes the baby and he tends to cry less.
And modern science too, concurs with this
traditional) belief and also confirms the various

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

restrictive and learns to roll over. Remember to Remember: Do not wear your slings when you
swaddle your baby only if your baby likes it. are cooking, exercising, jogging or driving.

Carrying babies through slings and Applying Kajal, Verdict: Bad

carriers, Verdict: Good If you are an Indian, most of your own baby

‘If you cannot carry your work to where your baby pictures had your eyes covered with Kajal. It is

is, carry your baby to where your work is’ – this time that you prevent your child from having

was the golden rule which many women in the similar pictures!

ancient times followed. The age‐old trend of the A popular notion behind the application of kajal
mother carrying the baby with slings has come to babies is, to keep the baby away from those
back and everyone is raving about its benefits. with evil intentions. Besides, there are still many

The slings keep the baby close to the mother and who believe in the medicinal property of the

due to this continuous contact with the mother, black kohl.

the baby develops a sense of security which he Since ancient times the application of kajal to
finds soothing. The slings also allow the mother to babies has been considered as a remedy against
have both her hands free as the baby is tied to her some common eye ailments like corneal ulcer,
front body, thereby enabling her to do her work conjunctivitis, and trachoma. This is because
and keep a watch on the baby at the same time. compounds like copper sulphate and zinc,
Slings are highly beneficial for those babies who present in kajal were considered to be beneficial
need to be constantly cuddled and carried. for treating eye problems. But, since there are

But, along with the advantages, slings also have better treatments available today, the ritual of

certain drawbacks: First, overuse of slings, can be application of kajal to babies has become

restrictive for the baby. Second if you are carrying obsolete.

you baby in a sling, in hot climate, your baby In fact, application of kajal to babies can cause
would feel very hot and uncomfortable. Third, if them harm as there is no way to ascertain if the
you become even a bit careless when bending finger of the person applying it is clean or if the
down, your baby can slide down onto the ground, sterility of the kajal is maintained. Further,
which can be very dangerous. doctors say that applying kajal can lead to eye

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

allergies, glaucoma, conjunctivitis and other eye off evil spirits, while there is alternate reason
infections. that piercing the ear stimulates point for vision

If it is difficult to give up the practice in its entirety, according to acupuncture.

the best way out is to apply the kajal mark Ear piercing is generally done within days of the
anywhere on your baby’s body, anywhere except birth, sometimes during the namkaran
around his eyes. ceremony. Parents think that when the skin is
very young there is no pain and therefore
Baby Massage, Verdict: Very good
piercing should be done as soon as possible.
Massage is one among the many practices that
Doctors on the other hand think that it should
India has given to the world. Every mother and
only be done around the 6 month mark, when
grandmother will tell you the kind of joy that
the tetanus (DPT) vaccinations are administered
massaging a baby brings, along with its associated
to avoid infection. Also as the baby is older he is
health benefits for the baby. Research conducted
in a better shape to tolerate the pain.
by The Touch Research Institute of Miami
Parents must also take care of the place from
University proves that massages are good for
where they pierce the ears. Parents should avoid
baby’s immunity, digestion, growth, stress
going to any other jeweler or ‘massagewalli’ to
reduction and sleep and also help in fighting
pierce their baby’s ears. It is advisable that
diarrhea and constipation in babies.
parents opt for a clean and hygienic place. Even
Moreover, the loving touch of the mother’s hands
the instrument that will be used to do the
along with the songs she sings to her baby during
piercing has to be selected with care. The gun
the massage helps in soothing the baby to a good
shot is a popular choice but there are several
sleep. It also helps to create a bond between the
parts of the gun that cannot be sterilized. A
mother and her baby.
sterilized needle can be used for this purpose.
Remember: Parents must ensure that the
Things to remember:
massage is done gently and without causing too
• Ensure that only a doctor or an experienced
much stress to the baby.
piercer does the job.
Ear Piercing, Verdict: Must be done with Care
• Choose a time when it is less crowded and
In India, all babies, be they girls or boys, get their
carry a toy to distract the baby.
ears pierced. It is believed that pierced ear wards

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• Make sure that the piercer washes his hands around the 4 month mark. The new hair that
with antiseptic solution and wears gloves comes may be thicker or curlier or even a new
while doing it. color! But whether you shave, trim, or brush his

• Ensure that the practitioner pierces at the hair a hundred strokes a day won't affect how it

centre of the lobe avoiding the nerve and the grows in. For some babies there is a delay in hair

cartilage. growth but shaving their head isn’t anyway

going to help.
• Don’t let the practitioner mark on the ear lobe
Here are some tips when you decide to shave
before piercing as there are chances of
your baby’s head
infection due to the dye in the ink.
• Shave the baby’s head only after 6‐9
• Choose studs with a screw on the back and
months of birth.
thin gold wire for your baby.
• Make sure that the barber’s equipment is
• Look out for signs of infection like swelling,
redness and pain and consult a doctor if any
occurs. • Wash the head before you shave it with
lukewarm water.

• After the shaving, apply ointment or Aloe

Shaving off the hair, Verdict: Must be
Vera gel on the nicks and cuts on his head.
done with Care
You can also apply turmeric and
‘Shaving the hair while they are babies will lead to sandalwood paste on the head to fight
great texture and thickness of hair in children’‐ this infection and keep the shaved area cool.
is what we say when we shave the baby’s hair.
Though there is no evidence to prove it, the
parents still firmly believe in it. The only change
Tying a Black thread, Verdict: Bad
that shaving brings is that all of the hair grow Tying a black thread around the neck, hand and
uniformly which gives it an appearance of being the waist is an old tradition among us to ward
thick. off evil spirits. But it ends up doing more harm

Also it is common for babies to lose some or even to the baby than good! Sometimes the baby

all of the hair that they were born with, usually might just pull on the thread, which may lead to

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

strangulation. Also if he puts the thread in the then try to remove it with an ear bud, you may
mouth which has been dyed, it can be toxic to the end up scratching and hurting the baby’s ear
baby. If you tie the thread too tight around the drums which will affect his hearing. Sometimes
baby’s neck, it may hamper the blood circulation. the oils themselves cause infections!

The thread remains wet for a long time after If it is the dirt in the ear that you are worried
taking bath and remains in close contact with the about, ask your pediatrician about it.
baby’s body, which increases the chances of You shouldn’t pour oil in the baby’s navel
fungal infection. especially when the umbilical stump is still
If you still want to tie the thread, tie it loosely linked to the navel as dirt particles containing
around the ankle not the wrist or the waist. germs stick to the oil which may cause
infections. You must take care of the stump and
Putting oil in the ear and navel, Verdict: observe it carefully for any signs of pus or blood
and consult the doctor if you find any. If the
stump seems to be partially separated do not
Earlier, putting oil in the ear was believed to
pull it apart. Be patient and let it fall off on its
soften the ear wax so that it can be cleaned easily.
It was believed that the ear wax hindered hearing.
With these scientific reasons behind following or
Doctors today believe that ear wax, in fact helps to
discarding a ritual made clear, you easily
protect the ear against air, moisture, bacteria and
convince your elders about them, after all they
water. If you try to soften the wax with oil and
also want the best for the baby!

Baby’s Development

Each baby is unique and develops at his own pace. • Lift the head by 900while lying on the
Some may start walking early while some are early belly
talkers. So parents remember, do not compare • Hold the head steady when upright.
your baby with other babies as each of them
• Bring the hands together.
develop differently. Here is the development chart
indicating the development milestones for your • Smile spontaneously.

baby. Unless your baby is off track on most counts 2nd Month
you have no reason to worry.
As time passes by, you find yourself getting
1st Month increasingly better at baby care and now you
Even after one month, your baby still feels like a have learnt all the tricks that can help in
newcomer in the house amongst all of you. He has soothing your baby’s cries in no time. And by
just mastered the art of breastfeeding and the art the second month, the bond between you two,
of sleeping in his cradle. Here are the other things has become so strong that he recognizes you
he is expected to accomplish by this time… and even smiles and coos in your presence.

Most babies will be able to‐ Most babies will be able to,

• Lift the head for a few seconds while lying on

the belly.

• See and focus on the faces of people who

greet them.

Some babies will be able to,

• Lift the head by 450 while lying on the belly.

• Make other sounds like ‘cooing’.

Very few babies will be able to,

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• Express startle, cry or stop crying in Some babies will be able to,
response to a bell • Laugh out aloud
• Respond with a smile • Lift the head up to 900 while lying on the
Some babies will be able to, belly

• Make sounds other than crying, like Very few babies will be able to,
cooing • Squeak when delighted
• 0
Lift the head to 45 while lying on the • Bring both the hands together
• Smile spontaneously
Very few babies will be able to,
• Roll over to either side
• Hold the head steady when upright
• Bear some weight on the legs when held
• Stay on the stomach, with chest raised and upright
supported by arms
• Reach for an object kept at a short distance
• Roll over to one or the other way
4th Month
• Pay attention to objects as small as a raisin.
Your baby seems to be like an angel this month.
Babies must be kept away from small objects
He seems to be all smiles when you are close to
as much as possible.
him, he cries less and even sleeps peacefully
• Reach for an object at a distance
through the night. He seems cheerful and
• Laugh out loud, or squeal happy, and both of you seem to have a gala time

3rd Month in each other’s company.

A thorough medical checkup for your baby ‐ Most babies will be able to,

scheduled during the third month ‐ should help in • Lift their head up to 900 while lying on their
clearing all your doubts pertaining to his tummy
upbringing , care and his development milestones. • Laugh out aloud
Most babies will be able to, • Follow the movement of an object in an
• 0
Lift the head up to 45 while lying on the belly arc, i.e. above the head at 15 cm for 1800

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Some babies will be able to, as much as possible.

• Stay on the belly with the chest raised, • Reach for an object kept at a short distance
supported by their arms • Smile spontaneously
• Pay attention to objects as small as a raisin. • Respond with a smile
Babies must be kept away from small objects
Some babies will be able to,
as much as possible.
• Roll over to either side one way
• Reach for an object kept at a short distance
• Bear some weight on the legs when are held
Very few babies will be able to,
• Object, if the toy is taken away
• Turn in the direction of the voice of a person
• Turn in the direction of the voice of a person calling out to them
calling out to them
• Sit without support
• Sit without support
Very few babies will be able to,
5th Month
• Pull themselves up to the standing position
By the 5 month, your baby seems to be much from the ‘sitting’ position
stronger and active. He is now able to go and get
• Stand, holding onto someone or something
his toy from a distance, he even tries to crawl and
• Object, if the toy is taken away
is able to notice small things that seem interesting
to him, including fallen food pieces, tiny insects • Make an effort to get hold of a toy that

etc. Your baby’s increased activity also means that seems to them to be out of reach
you need to be more careful and alert. 6th Month
Most babies will be able to, It’s the sixth month, and there are already some
• Hold the head steady when upright signs of teeth in your little one, and he has now

• Stay on the belly with the chest raised, begun with his mischieves too. He has started to

supported by their arms pull and push in order to be able to get his toys,
and has even begun surprising you by making
• Pay attention to objects as small as a raisin.
different sounds.
Babies must be kept away from small objects

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Most babies will be able to, Most babies will be able to,

• Say ‘ah‐goo ‘or similar sounding notes • Try to feed themselves with the help of a

• Some babies will be able to, spoon

• Bear some weight on their legs when they are • Make a razzing sound

held upright • Coo or babble when they are happy

• Sit without support • Smile often while interacting with people

• Turn in the direction of the voice of a person Some babies will be able to,
calling out to them • Sit without support
• Make an effort to get hold of a toy that seems • Object, if their toy is taken away from them
to them to be out of reach
• Make an effort to get hold of a toy that
• Babble, by combining vowels and consonants seems to them to be out of reach
such as ga‐ga‐ga, ba‐ba‐ba, ma‐ma‐ma and
• Look for an object dropped in front of them
• Turn in the direction of the voice of a person
Very few babies will be able to,
calling out to them
• Creep or crawl
Very few babies will be able to,
• Pull themselves up to the standing position
• Play peek‐a‐boo
from the ‘sitting’ position
• Babble by combining vowels and
• Pick up tiny objects
consonants such as ga‐ga‐ga, ba‐ba‐ba, ma
7 Month ‐ma‐ma and da‐da‐da.

By the seventh month, you see your baby • Creep or crawl

becoming independent; he wants to feed himself
• Stand, even after holding onto someone or
now, ‐ doesn’t matter, that the table cloth and his
own clothes are also being fed in the process, ‐ and
• Walk, taking the support of the furniture at
he is also getting better at expressing himself by
cooing and smiling at the world!

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

• Pull up to standing position from the ‘sitting’ ‘sitting position’

position • Say “mama” or “dada” discriminately
8 Month • Stand alone momentarily

The eighth month has brought about a lot of • Understand a ‘No’

changes in your baby ‐ the once quiet and meek
9th Month
infant has turned into a mischief making and a
never tiring tot who can now crawl and get his tiny By now, your baby has gained some useful social

fingers onto almost anything he comes across. skills. He is entertaining everyone around him by

With so much of novelty around him, your baby mimicking the sounds he hears and doing things

sure is making the most of now. that get him attention.

Most babies will be able to, Most babies will be able to,

• Bear some of theibody’s weight on their legs • Make an effort to get hold of a toy that

when they are held upright seems to them to be out of reach

• Try feeding themselves with the help of a • Look for an object dropped in front of them

spoon Some babies will be able to,

• Turn in the direction of the voice of a person • Creep or crawl

calling out to them • Get into a ‘sitting’ position while lying on
• Look for an object dropped in front of them their stomach

Some babies will be able to, • Object, if their toy is taken away from them

• Stand holding onto someone or something • Stand, holding onto someone or something

• Play peek‐a‐boo • Say “mama” or “dada” discriminately

• Get into a ‘sitting position’ while lying on the • Play peek‐a‐boo

belly Very few babies will be able to,
Very few babies will be able to, • Say “mama” or “dada” discriminately
• Creep or crawl • Play with a ball
• Pull up to the standing position from the

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

• Pick up a tiny object with the help of the tips • Understand a ‘No’
of the their thumb and forefinger Very few babies will be able to,
• Stand well, without support • Say “mama” or “dada” discriminately
• Respond to a one step command with • Play ball
gestures (“Give that to me” said with hand
• Stand alone well without support
• Drink from a cup independently
10th Month
• Talk in gibberish
Your baby is getting smarter by the 10th month,
• Respond to a one step command with
but he is also getting thinner and losing his rate of
gestures (“Give that to me” said, with hand
growth. He continues to leave no stone unturned
in exploring your house. When you tell him
something, he listens and understands but has no 11th Month
intention of obeying. No wonder, they say, Your baby has now turned into a rebel; he resists
‘Parenting is difficult’. the diaper change, the rice cereal and the
Most babies will be able to, afternoon nap. At this point, he hates to be

• Stand by holding onto someone or something confined and makes sure that you know it. His
latest, favorite activity is to keep pointing at
• Pull up to the standing position from the
different things and he keeps doing this all the
‘sitting’ position
• Object, if their toy is taken away from them
Most babies will be able to,
• Play peek‐a‐boo
• Get into a ‘sitting position’ while lying
• Say “mama” or “dada” discriminately on their from stomach
Some babies will be able to, • Understand a ‘No’
• Get into a ‘sitting position’ while lying on their Some babies will be able to,
• Walk by taking the support of the home
• Pick up a tiny object with the help of the tips furniture
of the their thumb and forefinger
• Point or gesture to ensure that their needs

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

are met with. Some babies will be able to,

Very few babies will be able to, • Drink from a cup independently

• Say “mama” or “dada” discriminately • Pick up a tiny object with the help of the

• Play ball tips of the their thumb and forefinger

• Stand alone well without support • (Many babies don’t reach this stage till 15
• Drink from a cup independently
• Stand alone momentarily (many don’t reach
• Talk in gibberish
this stage till 13 months)
• Respond to a one step command with
• Say “mama” or “dada” discriminately (most
gestures (“Give that to me” said with hand
babies say at least one of these words
before 14 months)
12 Month
• Say anyone word other than mama or dada
Your baby completes one year this month and he (many babies won’t say their first word till
also embarks on another milestone, which is 14 months or later)
‘Walking’. He starts with a few unsteady steps ‐
Very few babies will be able to,
holding on to someone or something for support ‐
• Play ball ( roll back ball to you) (many won’t
but is sure on his way to walking independently.
do this till 16 months)
Celebrate the year by taking a note of the many
things you learnt and all that you had to deal with. • Stand alone well ( many don’t get to this

Oh! What a year it has been! It seems just point till 14 months)
yesterday that you brought your baby into the • Use gibberish ( some don’t talk like this till
house from the hospital…. 15 months)
Most babies will be able to, • Walk well ( most babies won’t walk well till
• Walk holding on to the furniture 13 months)

• Point or gesture to be able to get their needs • Respond to a one step command with
fulfilled gestures (some take up to 16 months to
reach this stage).

Mommy’s Health

tenderness and pain near your breast area.

This is an article that is dedicated only to you the
Relax! These problems are a part of the process
first‐time mother. Are you surprised that a baby
of engorgement of breasts – which happens
care book has an entire chapter about the mother?
during breastfeeding. In simple words,
You shouldn’t be, because a mother’s health is
engorgement of breasts means that your
most affected by the physical and emotional
breasts get filled with milk and there is more
upheavals that accompany pregnancy and child
blood rushing to the area. In some women,
birth. But after a few days of fussing over the
engorgement may be seen to a greater extent
mother, everybody else focuses on the baby and
and it is more during the first pregnancy than
no one more than the mother herself! We would
like to remind all the mothers out there, that their
Engorgement is often a temporary
health is as important as the baby’s. Think about
phenomenon, and it diminishes gradually as the
this: if the mother is unwell, has diet and sleep
milk production and supply gets regulated. The
issues, can she take care of the baby? If she is on
swelling and pain in the breasts, does not last
medication, can she breastfeed her child? A big
for more than 2 days.
No. And now that you are convinced, read on to
know how you can take care of your health and Here are some tips that can help you deal with
how your husband too can help you remain fit and
Problems associated with Breast

As a first‐time mother, there are a number of

problems you face after child birth which can keep
you off the joy of breast feeding your baby. For
instance, you often notice that your breasts
enlarge in size and sometimes the increase is
almost twice the normal size, and you also sense

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

the discomfort: drips and even sprays out from the breasts,

• Feed your baby regularly – The more you thereby spoiling your clothes.

breast feed your baby, the less are the • But, don’t worry. This process of leakage of
chances for your breasts to swell. Regular milk from the breasts – known as ‘Let
breast feeding is necessary to make sure that Down’ ‐ is a physical process that takes
the increase in the supply of milk is met with place even when you think about your baby.
adequate outflow of the same. This in turn is ‘Let Down’ is more frequent in the early
essential for your breasts to return to their days after childbirth, it gradually decreases
normal size. with time, once the rhythm in demand and

• Warm up– If the milk does not flow out supply of milk is established.

smoothly, then try to soften the areola by way Here are tips to help you deal with deal with
of heat. This can start the flow. Another this uncomfortable and embarrassing
option for a smooth flow of milk, is to problem,
massage the breast that you are nursing your • Nursing pads placed in the bras help in
baby with. absorbing the leaks. Do not opt for nursing
• Cool it – The other ways of reducing breast pads which are lined with plastic, opt
engorgements are – to use ice packs, to keep instead, for those, that are made from
chilled cabbage leaves on the breasts, or to 100% cotton. These maintain the airflow
use specially designed cooling bra inserts and which are easy on your nipples. Both
when you are not feeding the baby. washable and disposable varieties are
• Position – It is important to keep changing
the position from Cradle to Football hold (see • To keep your bed sheet from stains of wet
breast feeding positions page no.20) in order milk, place extra nursing pads and place a
to ensure that the milk is being taken by the large towel on the bed when you sleep.
baby in a uniform manner. • Wear dark clothes with big prints so that
• Leaking breasts‐ One of your most common the stains remain hidden.
routines as a new mother would be to keep • Do not pump milk as doing so will only
changing clothes ‐ yours as well as your baby’s increase the leaking.
– most of the times in a day . This is because
Sore Nipples
during the early days of nursing, milk leaks,

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

Some mothers are known to suffer from the • Make sure you wash your nipple with water
problem of ‘sore nipples’ ‐ which occurs if the only and not with any type of soap, alcohol
position of the baby during breastfeeding is not or tincture as your baby will be in direct
correct or if the baby has a vigorous suck. If you contact with your nipple and consume what
suffer from ‘sore nipples’, breastfeeding may seem is applied on it.
difficult to you, but you will find that as time
Diet for the Mother
passes, the breast tissue toughens up to the
After delivery you feel like getting back in shape
challenge of breast feeding, and you no longer
and eating what you want to, without any
face any problem. Here are some beneficial tips
restrictions. Though there is nothing wrong in
that can help,
feeling this way, remember that you are still
• Check the position of the baby and check if
breastfeeding at this point and whatever you
the latch is right (for proper latching
eat in turn becomes your baby’s food too.
technique, read Feeding your baby page
Hence, the more balanced and nutritious food
no.20 )
you eat, the healthier will be the milk that
• After you are done with feeding, expose your becomes your baby’s food.
nipple to air. Another option is to wear breast
Right diet is also important for those mothers
who aren’t breast feeding, because taking care
• Do not keep the wet nursing pads for long, as of your baby and looking after him for his every
these can cause irritation to the nipples small need, is physically exhausting. So, it is not
• The cracks on the nipple can be healed by time yet, to go binging or to opt for extreme
applying lanolin cream. Products that contain diets, you still need to watch not only what goes
petroleum jelly, like Vaseline, must not be in your baby’s mouth but also what goes into
used. your mouth.

• Placing wet tea bags on the sore nipples helps Here is a list of essential nutrients that make
in healing. up the diet of a feeding mother:

• It is advisable to relax for about 15 minutes Protein

before you start feeding, as this will ease the • Eggs, meat, fish and chicken
flow of milk and the baby will not have to suck
• Milk, curd and Indian cottage cheese

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

(paneer). khus kheer (good for milk production) etc.

• Nuts and seeds ‐ almonds, cashew nuts, Vitamins and Iron supplements
peanuts, etc. The doctor may recommend vitamin and iron
• Pulses and legumes ‐ green gram, soybean, supplements to a new mother, if her diet is
red gram, Bengal gram, etc. insufficient in essential nutrients, even after she

Calcium has had nutrient‐rich foods listed above.

• Dairy products ‐ milk, paneer and curd, which Sex after Pregnancy
are the major sources of calcium. In the life of a couple, the birth of a baby means

• Sesame seeds, Soya beans, Pulses and Ragi. abundant joy and happiness on the one hand
and tiredness, exhaustion and no‐time‐for‐sex
• Vegetables like okra and cabbage and green
on the other. This is more in case of mothers, as
leafy vegetables like spinach and methi
the female hormones incline the new mother
more towards baby care than towards sex. And
Vitamin C
if you too have been giving all your love and
• Oranges, strawberries, mangoes, guavas, attention to your baby, your partner may feel
tomatoes. ignored and the intimacy and love between you

• Green leafy vegetables. too may suffer in the process. Hence, it is

advisable and safe for both of you to resume
Iron rich food
your sex life after six weeks of delivery.
• Green leafy vegetables.
Here are tips by which you can safely get ‘sex’
• Ragi and other cereals .
back into your lives:
• Meat, chicken and fish.
Matters of the Mind
• Legumes (beans).
• Take it as it goes: Your body has
• Nuts and dry fruits . undergone a complete change since the

Traditional foods time you have been pregnant, and it will

take some time for your sex life to get back
All new mothers are advised to have a variety of
in shape. So, have patience and keep trying.
traditional homemade foods. These include, Methi
Ladoo (rich in iron), Dink Ladoo (rich in collagen), • Its’ Okay: Some women find it odd to have
rotis made of jowar and bajra (rich in iron), khus sex in the same room as the one in which

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care

their baby sleeps or even in the next room. relax. Forget about all your worries and
But this feeling of awkwardness must change chores and simply shut your mind and relax.
and women must look at themselves not just • Exercise: Many mothers notice the change
as mothers, but also as loving partners. There in their bodies post childbirth. Kegel
are also women who get uncomfortable with exercises help in toning the pelvic muscles
the idea of having sex after childbirth, yet, do while other exercises help get the body
not gather enough courage to refuse their back in shape (See Postpartum exercises
partners. This kind of approach leads to later in this chapter)
feelings of resentment between the partners.
• Try different positions: The standard
• Intimacy not sex: Sometimes, a loving touch, sexual position may not be too feasible for a
a cuddle, a candle light dinner or even mother post child birth, and for such times,
something as simple as, volunteering to ‘woman‐on‐ top’ and ‘side‐to–side’
soothe the baby’s cries if you are a husband, positions.
can bring back the spark in a couple’s life.
Birth Control
Love and intimacy need not always have
sexual connotations. Before you look at each other with love, we
would like to introduce this topic upfront. Yes,
Matters of the body:
we are asking you to start thinking about birth
• Lubricate : Pregnancy foll owed by
control unless you don’t mind having another
breastfeeding and hormonal changes make
baby this early.
the vagina dry. This in turn makes sex painful
If you think that you don’t need to take birth
for mothers. As a mother, it is advisable that
control measures until you have weaned your
you use lubricating products until the
baby, you are wrong. Though it is true that most
secretions start.
women don’t get their menstrual periods until at
• Indulge in foreplay: Only when you give
least 6 months after the delivery there are
yourself time to warm up, will you be able to
exceptions. Chances of conception without
give the kind of sexual performance in bed
periods cannot be ruled out. So it is better not
that meet you and your partner’s
to take chances and to talk to your gynecologist
expectations. Don’t rush, take it slow.
about the various birth control options available.
• Massage: Take a massage or a shower to after 6 weeks of childbirth.

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Baby Blues eyes indicating a lack of sleep, disheveled hair

t has set in and you can’t seem to stop it. All the for effect, and a creased forehead that is

happiness that you imagined you will experience brought about by bouts of bad temper, you

after childbirth just evaporated in thin air and all definitely aren’t painting a happy picture of

that you are left with, is a feeling of a loss of motherhood. As a new mother, you have been

control and of dismay. These may be the kind of sleeping so little, that you feel drowsy

thoughts that go about in the mind of a mother throughout the day. Here are some tips that will

who suffers from baby blues. Baby Blues set in keep you on your feet, even with your meager

after pregnancy in about 60 percent of women, hours of sleep ‐

but if the symptoms don’t go away in sometime • Take turns: Which one do you think is
then it may be a case of Postnatal Depression or better, one groggy sleep deprived parent or
PND. two groggy sleep deprived parents? After a

Some symptoms of Baby Blues‐Excessive crying, few months when your baby does not need

lack of sleep, eating problems, persistent sadness, to be fed at night both of you can choose to

lack of concern for the baby and memory loss. do the night duty on alternate days. This
way, at least one of you can get some
Many women are seen to suffer from Post natal
decent sleep and can be a better parent
depression however they are not comfortable
during the day.
discussing it as they feel having such feelings is
wrong and inappropriate. It is important for • Shift the burden: if taking turns doesn’t

mothers to understand that PND is not the suit you, you can take shifts in one night

mother’s fault and does not reflect a mother’s itself. It can work this way‐ The mother

parenting skills. Also family members should look sleeps for few hours, say from 10 – 2 am,

out for these symptoms and consult a doctor as while the father takes care of the baby and

PND is easily curable. But it is important to bring then after 2am, the mother takes charge,

the problem into light, else, it can hurt the mother and the father sleeps from 2 – 6am.

as well as the baby. • Sleep with your baby: This option works

Sleep and You for those parents who have their baby sleep
with them so that whenever the baby cries,
It’s just a month into motherhood, and you already
the mother can nurse him on the bed itself,
resemble a zombie! With dark circles under your
after which both the parents can drift off to

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straining any part of your body 8 times. that leaves an impression on the mother’s mind

Abdominal muscles: These are the muscles that forever; but also leaves an indelible mark on the

stretched as they sheltered your baby for nine mother’s pelvic muscles. They become loose

months but now even as the baby is out of your and can lead to incontinence in some women.

womb these muscles seem to be sagging and Kegel exercises are recommended for relief.

bloated. You can do these exercises whilst sitting, lying

Exercise for abdominal muscles: down or standing.‐All you have to do is, tighten
your pelvic muscles as if you are stopping your
• Sit on a chair with the spine erect, now take a
stream of urine. You have to tighten them for
deep breath and extend the stomach muscles
five seconds a time, four to five times in a row.
as much as you can, slowly take your stomach
Start by doing 2‐3 contractions at first and then
in to the maximum. Do this 5 times.
stay longer and try more contractions each time.
• For this exercise, sit on a chair as mentioned
General: You can also try other low intensity
above, this time while you extend your
workouts like walking, swimming and yoga to
stomach, do not take in the abdomen fully,
help regain the physique as well as the muscle
bring it halfway, hold it for a second and then
strength as before.
bring it fully in.
Now that you know how to take care of your
• Lie on the stomach and take in the muscles
baby and your own health, have a happy
and hold as much as you can.
parenting experience!
Pelvic muscles: Childbirth is a life‐altering event

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sleep. Most babies also get calmer when they Postpartum Exercises
are in close contact with their parents.
Many mothers find themselves looking
• Sleep again after feed: Many babies have the pregnant even after their delivery due to their
tendency to wake up early in the morning to bloated tummies, fat thighs and still larger
feed and sleep right back after the feeding; breasts! This is bound to make any woman
leaving the mother tired and sleepless. If you unhappy. So now to get back in shape, you have
feed your baby in your bed, you might as well dutifully cut down on your diet. But unless you
catch on some sleep after feeding, as the baby re‐strengthen the areas which were affected by
drifts off to sleep, so that you feel rejuvenated pregnancy, you can never truly go back to the
once you are up. shape you were in before getting pregnant.
• Take naps: Sleep when the baby sleeps, this Before you set out to work on your body,
way you can catch up with your lost zzz’s. remember, exercises are to be resumed only
Though this may not always be possible, try after 6 weeks of delivery as the muscles are too
as much as you can, to opt for a good nap weak to undergo any vigorous form of exercise
during the day, in between housecleaning and before that time. Also if yours was a
other chores. complicated delivery, consult your doctor before
• Beware of Sleep Deniers: Avoid Caffeine, you start any kind of exercise.
alcohol and high starchy foods as they can Yoga for you
interfere with your sleep and leave you feeling
Back under control: Backaches become a part
even more sleep‐deprived.
of life during pregnancy but sometimes the ache
• Fake it: Even after you have tried your best if remains even after delivery and gets worse as
nothing works, understand that you need to you keep bending down to pick up your baby.
accept ‘less sleep’ as a part of motherhood. To
Here is an exercise for your spine: Begin on all
feel good and fresh, take showers, wear new
fours with the neck at ease. Inhale and lift your
sets of clothes, exercise in the morning and
neck keeping the back straight or arching
have a positive attitude. Soon your body will
slightly. Now, exhale and bend your neck,
adjust to the routine of motherhood and you
tighten the abdominal muscles and tuck in the
will be in a better position to deal with lesser
neck and head. Do this exercise without
hours of sleep.

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Baby Song
At first you didn't lift your head;
You didn't know to smile.
The time before you knew my voice
Seemed such a long, long while.
I couldn't wait for you to roll,
And then to sit and clap.
And now you're off and crawling,
Not helpless in my lap.
Why didn't someone tell me
How fast a baby grows,
That every little baby stage
Soon comes, but sooner goes.
So I'll enjoy the fleeting time
Before you learn to walk.
and treasure every tiny noise
Before you learn to talk.
For soon you'll learn to walk,
Then run,
And talk and sing a song,
And never be my babe again.
The babe's forever gone.
Little baby, take your time,
For while you are tiny, you are mine.

- Diane Woolley

The Great Indian GUIDE for Postnatal Care



• What to Expect: the first year by Heidi Murkoff

& Sandee Hathaway
• Garbhasanskar in Pregnancy by Dr. Geetanjali
Shah and Dr. Vikram Shah