FAQ : Pregnancy, Birth, Child-Care

When I found out I was pregnant, I started my search to find the best doctors in the area for me. I was very lucky to have found my amazing doctors, who I could openly talk to and ask questions. However, like so many of you, I had another full time doctor, that was available for all my questions. You guessed that right, it was the almighty ‘Google’. I researched quite a lot for all sorts of questions around pregnancy, child birth and postpartum. I would go through multiple blog posts and try to find an answer that fit my need the most. While it was great to see so many websites and blogs that contained volumes of answers, it was time consuming and frustrating (esp. during the early and later stages of pregnancy) to have to parse through all the information out there. I wanted a central place where women or men could go to have their common questions answered. So I thought why not do that for you guys and make your journey a bit easier. I have done the research so that hopefully you don’t have to do much.

Note : the following responses are based on my personal experiences only. You should consult your doctor for any medical advice. 
  1. Is is safe to workout when trying to conceive? Can I workout during pregnancy?
    • Yes, if you have been active all your life, then there’s no need to stop working out when trying to conceive or during pregnancy. You may not want to start something drastic like joining crossfit or running a marathon but staying active is recommended. You should also remember that, during pregnancy, there are a lot of hormonal changes. You may feel tired, nauseous and fatigued and as a result may not have the same amount of energy to exercise (at all). I want you to know, that it’s ok if you cannot workout. Don’t pressure yourself into being the ‘super fit’ pregnant woman/mom. If you can continue to exercise, great, if not, focus on what you eat. Walking daily (30-45 min) is one of the best exercises during pregnancy and postpartum. Listen to your body and do what feels right to you!
  2. Can I drink alcohol during pregnancy?
    • Simple answer, just don’t. My perspective is that if you’ve committed to bringing a happy, healthy baby into this world, do what you can to not introduce anything ‘risky’ to your pregnancy. You can never know a 100% the health of the baby but at least you can do your part to keeping the pregnancy healthy and safe. Different parts of the world has different believes when it comes to alcohol and there are ‘recommendations’ and ‘suggested limits’ but I’d rather just avoid the temptation all together.
  3. Can I drink coffee during pregnancy?
    • Similar to alcohol, if I can do without coffee that would probably be the best. I particularly don’t care much for coffee mostly because it gets me super hyper, jittery and I get palpitations so….safe to say I didn’t care much when I couldn’t drink coffee. Now, wine on the other hand…honestly, I missed it quite a bit but it wasn’t an essential for me 🙂
  4. Is it safe (ok) to have sex during pregnancy? Can you have sex during pregnancy
    • Yes! It is completely natural and safe to have sex during pregnancy. The baby in its mother’s womb is protected by the amniotic fluid and having sex will not impact the baby. The baby will not get poked (lol). However, if you have complications with the pregnancy then your doctor may advise against it. Have that conversation with your doctor. Especially, have this conversation with each other (spouse) to see what they are feeling about this particular matter. It is also normal to have as much of a sexual drive during and throughout the pregnancy and postpartum. Those hormones I tell you, so unpredictable but if the concern is safety, you’re in the safe zone! Just do what feels right and comfortable.
  5. Is eating Fenugreek during pregnancy bad?
    • There are a few misconceptions about eating Fenugreek during pregnancy. Yes, fenugreek is considered as a ‘uterine stimulant’ and it can/has been used to aid and induce labor during late stages of pregnancy. However, that is a medical dosage fenugreek and not what is used in general cooking for meals. In some cultures, Fenugreek is used in everyday cooking and I can see how that can arise some hesitation. Everything in moderation is ok but if you don’t feel comfortable consuming it, you can avoid it. Although, keep in mind that if you do go to Indian restaurants, you probably should check about Fenugreek usage in their food :). On the other hand, Fenugreek is considered very good for postpartum, especially to help with milk supply. You will notice that almost all of the lactation supplements contain fenugreek as the key ingredient.
  6. How do I start by baby registry? What do I need for a newborn?
    • Baby registry can be as easy as you want to make it or as complicated and time consuming if you wish to go that route. Each and every day there are new innovative products coming out in the market and it’s quite tempting to want to get your hands on them. However, sometimes simple is best, esp. during the newborn stage. All baby needs is to be fed, changed and put to sleep and a couple of onsies, diaper, wipes and burp towels :). For detailed baby registry visit Baby Shower Gift Registry.
  7. When can I start my baby on solid food? What kind of food do I start with?
    • Doctors recommend starting solid food after baby turns 6 months. If the baby is teething you can start giving teething wafers that readily available in the market. The melt as soon as you bite them so there’s no risk of chocking. However, always advised to be with your child when they are eating. In some cultures, babies get weaned into eating ‘solids’ between 4-6 months. Moong daal is what we started our LO on, it was the consistency of chicken stock. We then tried, pureed sweet potatoes, mashed avocado, rice and lentil puree, etc. for 2-3 months. It takes anywhere from 1-2 weeks for a flavor profile to be built so if you baby refuses a particular food on Day 1, don’t give up. We have not introduced spicy food to her but she has had food with spices i.e. everything we eat she now eats. That just makes everyone’s life easier. Some people try baby led weaning, if you have done your research and feel comfortable with it, def give it a try. It is so much easier than having to prep pureed food 🙂
  8. What are some good books to read for pregnancy?
    • The 2 books that we read were Cherish the First Six Weeks and Dude You’re Gonna be a DAD! I highly recommend Cherish the First Six Weeks because I didn’t read the other one 😉 My husband said he liked the second one. The first is a real good one if you know that you want to have a more structured and disciplined life (that’s the best way I could put it). I enjoy my sleep and sanity and while we didn’t necessarily practice the suggestions of this book within the first six weeks, we started after my daughter was 4 months old. It was a game changer! Since then she has been on a routine minus the growth spurt and sleep regression. More on these two topics on my next post.
  9. When should I start sleep training? What method should I use?
    • I don’t think there’s a right answer for this. In my experience, it all depends on when you think you are ready and your baby is ready. Definitely don’t recommend doing anything drastic until the baby is at least 4 months old. Sleep training is really difficult, emotionally on the parent. You end up feeling guilty and crying and giving up. But you just gotta push through it. I’ll repeat this again, I love my sanity and if getting enough sleep and being well rested will keep me sane then I will do anything for it. So, we tried sleep training when she was 6 months old then again after she was 10 months old because of sleep regression (which is ugh so tiring). We also did not necessarily follow any method. I’ll right more on sleep training in a longer post 🙂
  10. What are some good websites to reference for pregnancy, child birth, breastfeeding, parenting, etc.
    • I really liked KellyMom.com because it really covers everything under the sun. However, this should only be used as a reference and not as the Bible ;). Each child is different and everyone has a different journey so I would say you are the best judge for your needs as well as your child’s needs. Go with your instincts, you’ll learn to trust each other (your partner) more this way.
  11. When do babies have growth spurts?
    • Most commonly, growth spurts occur during the first 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months. Again, it depends on your child and note that they don’t last for 2 weeks or months. You will notice that your baby wants to either nurse more, is extra cranky or crying excessively, these are signs of growth spurt. This is the timing of growth spurt. Also note that during toddler years as your baby continues their brain and other developments they will have growth spurts mostly resulting in sleep regression.
  12. How long does growth spurt last?
    • Growth spurt can last anywhere from 2-3 days to a week. I have personally witnessed this with my daughter through each of her growth spurts. It is frustrating and testing times for sure. The good thing is that you know it is only temporary but until it lasts you will have to sleep a little less and plan your days accordingly 😉

Transitioning to Daycare

Can you really prepare to send your child to a daycare?

Transitions are never easy and no one prepares you for them!

Last week, we started our baby, who is 17 months old now, at a home day care. It was probably one of the hardest things I have felt since breastfeeding. Only that it didn’t hurt me physically but did emotionally. The months before leading to this day, as I spent my mornings and afternoons taking care of my little bug, I would look forward to this day. I planned for how I would spend my free time, all the places I would go, all the blogging I would get done. However, on the day we were to drop her off at the daycare, it felt like I had a huge lump that started in my stomach, went through my heart and stayed in my throat. I realized that my baby may be ready for this change but I surely hadn’t prepared myself for it.

I woke up early on Monday (the week of July 4th), got a few things done and waited for my baby to wake up. She called out my name and I went in to get her with a bottle of milk in my hand. Halfway through her bottle of milk she pauses, takes the bottle out of her mouth, and goes ‘so gook’. She says and does the quirkiest things that makes all of us smile and laugh at the same time. After she was done with her bottle, I talked to her about the exciting day that lied ahead of her. All the friends she would make, the activities she would be doing and the yummy food she’ll be trying. As I talked to her about these things an uneasiness took over me, a realization that I wasn’t going to be the one feeding her, changing her or even putting her down for her naps. My baby would be taken care of by someone else for most part of the day and my heart just ached. Every time I think about it I feel the ache and a sudden sense of guilt takes over me. Guilt of not being there with my child, guilt of not having her here with me, by me at all times and the guilt of freeing time and space for myself. I know I should not be feeling this way, but this is motherhood. There are a lot of self-imposed guilts that we live with.

We dropped her off at the daycare. She was lost in this new environment, unfamiliar faces, unfamiliar toys, everything was new. Just as she was lost, so were we. My husband and I felt heaviness in our hearts. We waited about 20 minutes before messaging, the sweetest day care teacher, Miss K, how our baby was coping. We got a few pictures; she was already exploring the play room with her new friends. I felt a sense of relief knowing she was doing ok. We continued to get more updates throughout the day and were so happy to know that she was ok with this new change. However, my husband and I did not know what to do with our time. It was as if we just did not know a life without our daughter. We had so much time in our hands, a lot of chores to do, yet we had nothing to do. We lied down, scrolling through her pictures and videos, talking all about her and checking our watches to see if it was time to go pick her up. Remember all the free time I was excited about? Well, this did not feel that exciting. We made every effort to make sure that we prepared our daughter to be comfortable and at ease at the daycare so that she wouldn’t have separation anxiety, we did not even realize that it was something we would be going through. I imagine, this happens to a lot of parents and that’s ok. It’s ok to feel sad, it’s ok to be anxious, it’s ok to worry about your children because these emotions are your love being manifested to your little one. You don’t need to fill up all your time, being engaged, doing something to keep yourself occupied. You can instead stay with the feeling you have, know what it means and thank these feelings for being there because they are helping you grow and prepare for yet another phase of life.

That week, my husband and I spent a lot of time talking about priorities, what we wanted from life, for our children, and most of all for ourselves. We went to the movies, went out for lunches and chilled, just the two of us, which felt refreshing for our relationship as well.

The second and third days were particularly harder as she would grab on to us, crying, and did not want us to leave her there. I cried a little each time she did L. The guilty feeling kept creeping through my being. She also cried when we picked her up from the daycare, but the cry didn’t last long as she knew she was going home with mumma and pops. She knew she was going HOME. She got particularly cranky, throwing tantrums the first week and first day of the first two weeks. We have never seen her cry as much as she does now (she’s always been a happy baby) but that’s because she’s going through so many changes, she’s dealing with new people and new environment and that is tiring (emotionally). We talk to her to understand why she’s crying and what she wants. We give into certain things, like watching songs for 15 minutes but still work with her to explain that throwing tantrums is not ok. When we are home, we try to spend as much time with her as possible because she gets tired and wants to go to sleep early. We hardly get 2 hours with her. However, we know that she is in good hands, she’s learning about social settings, making friends, appreciating flowers and jumping and she’s happy. Knowing that she is happy where she spends most of her days, while we are working, is literally the only thing a parent could ask for.

It’s so important to make a child feel that their experiences are meaningful and important; whether it’s spending time at home or at daycare. For me, I don’t want her to associate daycare as a negative experience or a punishment. It’s not a place she goes to when she misbehaves. If the patterns she experiences in the day care are replicated at home, she will adjust to the change a lot easier than having two to adjust to two different lifestyles.

Update: it’s week 3 and our daughter looks forward to her play time at the daycare. She enjoys her friends, her teacher and is learning new things everyday. We get a big hug when we drop her off and a huge smile during pick up. This is bitter sweet moment. Like I said, no one prepared you for the transition 🙂

For all the moms and dads out there: I know so many parents living in the US need to send their kids to daycare at such early ages, some as early as 3 months. I can’t imagine how hard it is but also as a parent no age seems like a good age for your child to be away from you. We are all doing our best to raise our kids, give them the best life and live a life that matters for ourselves. Whatever you are doing is for the best of your children based on your circumstances. Every parent and child have a different path and a journey and no two journeys are similar. So, you do what is right for you, without worrying about judgements and guilt. You know the best for your family. Enjoy your time as a family, as a couple and as individuals, we all deserve it.

Please feel free to share your experiences: What were some of the things you did to prepare for daycare/pre-school/kindergarten and deal with your emotions?