My Shona,

It's birthday time! Yours and mine. For truly, so much of me was born with you today, two years ago. Two years. Already! Where did they go?

It seems like only yesterday when I first saw you. A little, tiny cherub . .. all mine! As you cried out, so did I. Tears of overwhelming happiness and joy that I'd never known before.

And look at you now. Such a bundle of energy you are today. I do miss my little baby sometimes whom I could snuggle and cuddle any time. But the toddler that has replaced him is no less precious.

Be it that naughty gleam in your eyes or the way you pose for a picture, you have your own ways of doing everything. Your dadda and I think aloud almost every day that we'll spoil you to bits with all this pampering, but then you deserve it all and so much more.

You've taught us so much in these years, lessons of love and patience, of giving and caring. Every day is a new day with you and every moment is a little surprise. 

You're growing up into a fine little boy. You surprise us with your attention to detail and your fantastic memory. Every time I see you throwing a wrapper nowhere else but in a dustbin, washing your hands before a meal or offering what you're having to others around, I give a little pat on my back. For every good thing you do, is a reflection of the upbringing we are giving you.

You are curious. You are very inquisitive. And you are very sensitive and caring too. You know where mumma keeps her migraine pills and would rush to get it the moment you know mumma isn't feeling well. You'll get the bottle of water along too. And it's these little things that I wouldn't ever want to fade away in you.

As you grow, you'll become more independent, and while the selfish human in me would want to hold you closer, the mother in me will let you loose. To go on and explore the world and to make it brighter with your very presence, just like you've made ours.

Yes, I'm scared to let you on all by yourself, for I can not, and neither do I know how to, make the world a safer place for you. But together, we'll prepare to make you ready to be on your own, little by little, step by step. No, you needn't do great things. Just do the right things every time and follow your heart, for there's nothing that cannot be moved by passion and hard work. Put your heart to things and everything else will follow.

Grow up to be a good human being, no matter which profession you choose. Be sensible and be kind. Wipe the tears around and bring happiness everywhere. And always be the little sunshine that you are, lighting up everyone's lives with your smile and big heart.

Love and lots more of love,
Your proud mumma
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So, I'm now a full time mother who works part time! When it comes to spending time in front of your system in office, hours fly by effortlessly most of the days, with colleagues and the boss ensuring you've enough to keep yourself occupied. But now, with no deadlines to meet or endless meetings and conference calls, days fly by even faster!

Yeah, it's my little toddler who keeps me in my toes (literally!) and wouldn't budge till he's not given his due attention. At times, it's difficult to match up with that level of energy. After all, I'm not getting any younger by the day. But there are some things they keep him busy for a few precious minutes, while I catch my breath.

If you're looking for ways to occupy your toddler for hours, be warned. Anything as 'long' as 20 minutes is considered phenomenal here. For toddlers have the attention span of a squirrel. Yeah, you know what I mean :)

A card of bindis - This by far is my son's favourite. He loves bindis and can play with them several times a day. I've kept a card of it aside and usually put back whatever is still usable from his face, legs and even the sheets!

A basket filled with random objects - Which toddler doesn't love exploring? And the more assorted the objects, the better.

Empty boxes and bottles - Cap, uncap, open, close, check, repeat!

Books - I keep a few books at an accessible distance for him and change them every couple of days. He picks one whenever he feels like to read and can now sit in a place for as long as 20 minutes while we read a book and look at the pictures.

Crayons and a doodle pad - When I first got him a set of crayons, people said it was too early. But he has loved them since the first time. He can now hold a crayon and make dots and lines and even attempts a circle :)

Shape sorting board - This is his latest fancy. He'd take out each shape and try to fit them back on the board. Another activity that we can do sitting in one place!

So, here are a few of the many things we do to make our days fun and interesting. C'mon mommies! Share your fun and engaging play time activities too.

For more on my journey as a mother, click here.

During pregnancy, we read all sorts of things about the 9 months and the journey after that. I was no different. I was monitoring every change in my body and comparing it with the texts and the Internet, all of which helped me become more confident and prepared.

Amid all this, there was one thing that I read but didn't give much thought to. I considered it very natural and nothing to be fretted about really. It was during my second trimester, I was on a call with a relative and she suggested that I could leave the baby with someone when I go for shopping or even a vacation. I responded saying it wouldn't be possible as I'd be breastfeeding. The reply that came from the other end was, "How will you breastfeed when you won't have enough milk?"

That comment infuriated me. Naturally! But it also got me preparing for the worst scenario - what if I didn't have enough milk? And then, there were many things that I learned which I didn't know till then.

I learned that I had to be assertive and tell people at the hospital that I WANT to breastfeed exclusively.

I had to let those around me know that I'll make enough milk to satiate my baby and do not need anyone to measure it for me.

I had to get away from all kinds of negative people and thoughts that would affect my breastfeeding journey or make it stressful.

Was all of this easy?


Of course, everyone around had their own views and experiences. What annoyed me the most was when people would question me whether I was giving my son top feed or not.

No, I didn't and why would I do that either?

The replies I'd get were infuriating and amusing at the same time.

"You'll get some rest while someone else feeds the baby with dabba wala doodh! (formula)"

"You'll able to go out, without having to worry about feeding your baby."

"The baby will not be clingy and get used to being away from you."

The reasons they gave were endless.

But all my well-meaning well wishers realised, sooner or later, that this woman will not budge. And she's better left alone.

I was sure that I'll exclusively breastfeed my baby till 6 months.

Was it easy? No. 

But it wasn't that difficult either. It did mean a whole lot of life changing decisions.

It meant that I be confined to my room for months with a newborn, trying to understand his feeding pattern, if not really predict.

It meant that every time my baby cried, eyebrows raised questioning if 'I was making enough milk'.

It meant learning time management better and taking a shower in 2 minutes, or better yet, postponing it endlessly to the next break between nursing sessions.

It meant sleepless nights with my baby latched on, while trying to adjust innumerable pillows to soothe a very aching back.

It meant waking up with pains and aches in your body and then sitting through another feeding session with your groggy self.

It meant restricting your outings or going to only those places where I could feed my baby.

It also meant meeting only those people who would understand that you cannot have a coffee without a nursing and a diaper change break.

It meant getting down to almost zero social interaction with minimal social outings.

Above everything, it meant being there physically and whole heartedly for your little one, at every time of day or night.

To say that breastfeeding has been a very smooth journey, would not be entirely correct. We had our issues latching initially. But yes, it's been the most fulfilling one. To know that I'm able to provide my little one with the best that I can, despite all odds.

I still wake up with an aching back every morning. Breastfeeding is a blessing I'm thankful for every morning and night. For when my son wouldn't eat, would be teething or would be ill, it still nourishes him and comforts both of us. While the health benefits of breastfeeding are innumerable, so is the inner satisfaction you get when you know you're providing your baby with the nourishment that only a mother can.

It has changed me. Yes. I've slowed down. No longer I'm multi tasking or juggling with several things at once. Even now, as we sit down for nursing, I'm reminded of how beautiful my life has become when those innocent eyes look into mine and give a smile that just the two of us share.

If given a choice, I would not change a thing about this phase of my life. It's beautiful and breastfeeding has made it even fulfilling. No, nursing isn't easier than giving your baby formula. Both are difficult, but then, raising a child is not easy either :)

So, here's to all beautiful mommies out there. Take pride in your breastfeeding journey and encourage every mother to do it for her baby.

Happy Breastfeeding Week, Mommies :)

To read more about my journey as a mother, head over to Being a Maa
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The first food that our paediatrician advised when Prabir completed 6 months was Cerelac. I didn't find anything wrong with that either as that's what I've seen most babies in the family eat.

We went to the store and bought a flavour that we thought our son would like. And the first day, I held the spoon near his mouth, he rejected it outright. I kept at it and tried for 3 days until I kept the box of Cerelac away for good.

I then started with suji (semolina) porridge, and dal and rice, and introduced fruits and veggies gradually. When he didn't eat as much as I would have liked him to, which happened almost every time, I fretted and worried. When he demanded to breastfeed soon after having some solids, I blamed myself for not giving him enough to eat as he was clearly hungry.

Nothing and no one helped either. I was told to let him watch the television to make him eat. Or may be distract him with toys, which I confess I have done. There would be a whole lot of toys with us as we started a meal and each one was a mission. After all, mumma had to ensure that the sonny eats as much as 'she' would like him to.

It was in his 8th month that I bumped into a group on Facebook. How that happened I barely remember, but it was no less than a miracle. I read all about baby led weaning (blw) and was determined that it was the right approach for my baby and me.

To know how this approach helped me and my little one, go on to Being a Maa, the place where this mumma writes about her journey as a mother.