How can husbands help during the breast feeding phase

Any pregnancy, be it normal or complicated, is tough. Keeping the mother’s.biological and psychological adjustments aside, the ladies have to adjust to changes in lifestyle as well as giving up quite a few things that they may enjoy. In such a scenario it is up to the man to step in and make sure that the mother- to- be is comfortable and has all that she needs.

Post the delivery the situation escalates as now the mum needs more support hands-on as well as emotionally. My wife had a complicated pregnancy and c-sec delivery and I know first-hand how breastfeeding can become that much more complicated.

Traditional roles have placed Dads as the providers and mothers as the nurturers. However, one of the things fathers have to remember at all times is that they are equally responsible in conception and birth of a child. While the mother does the hard work of carrying the baby for nine months and then delivering the child, Dads too have contributed in creating a living being and, therefore, they too must take responsibility for bringing up the child.

And this is a demanding life-long journey. The first of which begins in feeding the baby numerous times a day and at odd hours. Here is where as fathers we can play a significant role to ensure that the stress on the mother is reduced and the important task of breast feeding the baby is not impacted in any way. Breast feeding goes a long way in building immunity and has numerous other benefits which have been articulated by the medical profession.

Sleeping in another room basis the excuse that the child waking up in the middle of the night and will disturb your sleep is hardly valid as it is the same for the mother. While there may be work pressure to deal with, picking up the baby in the night if it cries can only help in reducing the stress on the mother. Yes, in the initial few months, the child may wake up for a feed, but there are ways around that as well and other times too when the husband can easily assist. Having the mother express her milk and you taking the charge in the night is one such way.

When my son was born, I was on late night shift and had set up a schedule with my wife where she would express and leave a bottle ready so I could take the early evening feeding and she could sleep longer, this also gave me exclusive bonding time with my little angle. This arrangement also meant that I could take the little fellow for evening walks and not be worried about the feed and giving the wife much needed rest and recovery.

The first couple of months for new parents and first-time mothers can be fairly chaotic, with well-wishers and closet experts sharing varying opinions.

However, in all the chaos and excitement which accompanies a birth, one crucial aspect for the sake for the baby is for the mother to breast feed as long as possible and for this the husband and the eco system in the house has to be supportive

I am doing my bit as a dad and husband, are you?

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Rise and Shine – waking them in the morning is not a cake walk

Driven by school timings, kids generally do not have the luxury of sleeping in late. Yes, vacations and weekends do provide them an opportunity stay a-bed a little longer, but primarily they are bound by the clock and have to get into a routine of sleeping and waking up on time.

While making them hit the sack has its own challenges, we have found waking up in the morning the bigger of the twobattles.

Here are some effective tools we have managed to deploy in our favour:

• Gently nudging the child to wake up and snuggling/tickling

• Putting on the music in the morning works wonders most kids are fond of music and are likely to rise from their slumber

• Switching off the fan / air conditioner or removing the quilt /blanket depending upon which geography you are in. Yes, does sound mean but the response is fairly quick and fast.

• Last and a little extreme is to splash some water on them (again a may seem a little harsh, but do keep in mind that the little angle is also a superb actor and is probably only pretending to snuggle in to avoid leaving a warm and comfortable bed)

While, it is natural for us to take it easy on a Friday eve as there is no pressure of morning alarms the next day, avoiding a late bedtime ensures that routines are not alarmingly disrupted. Sticking to the daily schedule with only a slight variance will mean that the entire weekend can be fruitful and meaningfully deployed for catch up on studies and other outdoor excursions and, if nothing else, just bonding time with the family.

Please do remember that any of the above mentioned techniques can also be deployed by the children over the weekends when you are trying to catch up on your sleep. So if you do feel a splash of water rudely awakening you from your dreams there is no retort available as it is fairly tit for tat scenario

Learning spellings is still relevant for kids

Are competitions like Spelling B likely to lose their lustre in the coming years? Probably no, but the way technology is changing life around us, they may come under a serious threat.

Case in point, the auto correct or the intuitive features in most smart phones and tablets today. The minute the kids become older and start sharing or using these devices to communicate with friends and family through text, mails or other apps available in the technological world you’ll discover that 8 year olds are very adept and nimble in figuring out that through this feature they don’t have to concentrate and get the correct spelling. To me this is one of the few instances where technology can be defeating.

While we cannot wish technology away, here are some recommended steps:
1. Switch off the auto spell or intuitive feature in the phones / tablets
2. Encourage the child to spell out the word aloud before they punch it in
3. Reading is a must as it strengthens word formation. Encourage them to read out loud as they pick up reading. It helps in correcting the pronunciation as well.
4. Popular games like ATLAS played with the spelling version. Various renditions of ATLAS can be created depending upon interest. For example Atlas around car models works wonderfully well with boys.
5. Games like Name / Place / Animal / Thing to be played with a piece of pen and paper and extra marks for correct spellings

Critics may question the need for correct spellings as well as the need for traditional writing and a good penmanship, but then again, these are basic fundamentals which we have to help get the child right.

The points above can definitely aid in learning even though there will be a push back after a couple of attempts.

Meals together an absolute must

Family that eats together stays together is possibly an age old adage which may not be prevalent or has lost some of its lustre in todays, fast paced, hyper competitive and technology influenced lifestyle that most of us lead.
Reminiscing about my day growing up, wherein, my siblings and I would take turns in setting the table, cutting the salad and generally helping around the meals process and then sitting down together as a family to enjoy the meal over light banter. Conversations, sharing the day’s highlights, etc., were possibly a small family ritual every day of the week.
During school days we would return home in time for lunch and would sit down with mum and discuss how school was and in the evenings, dinner was always with the entire family sitting down for a meal. Television, the only distraction during our growing up years, was strictly switched off during dinner time, irrespective of what was being telecast at that time, not that we had too many options other than our state run TV channel.
Unfortunately, today on account of erratic work schedules, pressure of ensuring the children’s time lines are not upset specially during school week, diet plans and set meal timings, etc. have seen a breakdown of this ritual, in my household at least. A pity, but something which through a focused and determined approach can bring the train back on its tracks.
One may argue, that today, a number of schools are day boarding, as a result the child usually comes home late afternoon and hence lunch together is out of the question. Thereby, leaving dinner as the only meal during the week which the family can eat together. This too at times, on account of work or other social commitments during the week, may not be possible. Weekends off course are different and I feel all attempts should be made to ensure that the family eats together.
Eating together can also teach the children that doing things together, be it a meal, is important. It may also encourage them to try and eat all that’s on the table as they see the parents eating it as well and last not the least it also can be a great stress buster to have undivided, quality time with your loved and dear ones.