Bombay Aloo

bombay aloo.JPG

“What is that?”,were my thoughts when I saw it on the menu in the UK. In 21 years that I spent growing up in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), I never came across a dish named so. But when I ate it, I knew instantly what it was!

Bombay Aloo will mean different things to different people and just like any curry, every family will have their own version.

Here is my dad’s version. Bombay Aloo served in England tastes closest to what my dad used to make.

Serves 2 – 3

Ingredients:

5 diced potatoes

1 1/2 tsp turmeric

2 1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 tbsp oil

Salt and Sugar to taste

Coriander to garnish

Method:

Boil the potatoes. I used the pressure cooker. Two whistles and then I let it rest.

In a pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. Once they pop, add the drained potatoes. Add all the spices and gently fry until everything is mixed. Don’t mix too much, you risk mushing up the potatoes. Cook until potatoes turn slightly golden and spices loose its raw smell. Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve hot!

How To Replace Dairy?

Oatly

As a breastfeeding mother, this topic of eliminating dairy from our diet resonates at a very personal level.

Ever since I started nursing my baby, I developed an aversion to dairy. I could not for the life of me express my milk without feeling extreme discomfort and unease. The idea made me squirm. So to think of a cow with her udders attached to a machine sucking milk out of her which is originally meant for her calves became simply unacceptable for me.

Cow’s milk is for calves, just like my milk is for my baby. My milk is not for my dogs or cats. Humans are the only species in this entire world that consumes milk from another species long after their body has no need for any dairy consumption whatsoever.

A well balanced wholefood or plant based diet will make sure that you get your daily calcium intake without having to consume any form of milk at all. And the long-standing belief that milk is a vital source of much-needed calcium has also been widely debunked. (For a wide ranging review of some of the debate around this, see this piece in the Guardian).

Indeed, worse, Colin Campbell, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, claims that: “cows’ milk protein may be the single most significant chemical carcinogen to which humans are exposed”.

My daughter suffered from very bad eczema and stomach upset. Ever since I took dairy out of her diet, her eczema and tummy have resolved themselves and never come back.

Why? I suspect lactose intolerance, which numerous studies have found to be incredibly widespread. Lactose is the sugar in milk, and it needs to be broken down by the enzyme lactase that lives in our intestines and bowels. “If the lactose we absorb is greater than our lactase capacity, undigested lactose travels to the large intestine, where it ferments, producing gas, carbon dioxide and lactic acid. The result? Bloating, cramps, diarrhoea and farts.”

Did you know that a stunning 75% of Indians are lactose intolerant?! Uncle keeps farting? Get him on hemp milk instead!

Anyhow, so how to transition into a non-dairy lifestyle. It is easy!

There are so many plant based milk available

Soy Milk

Almond Milk

Oat Milk

Hemp Milk

Coconut Milk

Hazelnut Milk

……and many more

Nutritional Info Comparison

Soy Milk (per serving of 250 ml)                         Cow’s milk (per serving of 250 ml)

Calcium          : 300 mg                                               Calcium          : 300 mg

Protein            : 8.5 g                                                    Protein           : 8 g

Fat                    : 4.8 g                                                    Fat                   : 9 g

Saturated Fat : 0.8 g                                                    Saturated Fat :  5.7 g

Total Carbs     : 0.8 g                                                    Total Carbs     : 11.7 g

Sugars             : 0.3 g                                                    Sugars              : 11.7 g

Vitamin B12   : 1.0 ug                                                 Vitamin B12    : 1.0 ug

How can I get enough Calcium?

As you can see in the nutritional facts above that plant-based milk and cow’s milk have the same amounts of calcium in it. (If you are on a vegan diet you’ll need less calcium per day)

I do understand that plant-based milk can either be difficult to get hold of in some places or a bit expensive. Worry not, because there are so many food items that can provide you with sufficient amount of calcium in a day.

Brown or White Bread (Calcium is added to bread by law in the UK)

Chia Seeds

Kale

Spinach

Broccoli

White Beans

Black Eyed Peas

Almonds

Dried Figs

Seaweed

Sesame Seed (Tahini)

Tofu

Oranges

Tip: I drink two big glasses of green smoothie a day on top of a balanced diet. That ensures I get my daily dose of iron, calcium and other nutrients that I may have missed out.

But I Can’t Live Without Cheese? 

Sure. You won’t live long with cheese either. Cheese is full of saturated fat and salt. So if you are health conscious, cheese shouldn’t be your favourite.

Anyhow, there are a lot of plant-based cheeses available in the market now. There are also a lot of Youtube videos on how to make your own cheese. Cashew being the main ingredient but I make my cheeses with almonds too (watch this space for some tasty recipes!)

Supplementing

I don’t supplement but I have nothing against supplementing either. If in doubt, always supplement yourself with an over the counter stuff. Just make sure you don’t overdose on calcium. It can have bad effects on your kidneys.

I am not a huge supporter of taking pills. I try to consume a well-balanced diet so if possible, do you research and try and eat healthy. Do not concentrate too much on one nutrient. If you eat a wholesome diet, you are bound to get a whole range of nutrients than one.

Confessions 

You must have a heard a lot of vegans promote the idea that non-dairy products are as good as the dairy products. Some even claim that one can’t tell the difference.

Even though that might be true in some cases, in my experience, it isn’t true in most cases.

Non-dairy products do not taste like dairy. Plant based dairy can replicate the texture, the look and the nutrition but not necessarily the taste.

Non -dairy does not taste bad, it tastes different and a slow transition would be best. I started off with sweetened milk to develop a taste for soy milk. Once I got used to the texture and all, I switched on to the unsweetened milk. Trial and error baby, trial and error!

It takes time to get used to non-dairy products. But the way I think about it is that my taste is not bigger than my desire to be compassionate and healthy. Infact, after almost a year of not consuming dairy, I could not tolerate a kiss from my husband who was in the middle of eating dairy ice-cream! It’s all a matter of habit. Your tastebuds will evolve.

Non-dairy options are healthier than dairy in most cases because of it’s added vitamins and minerals. Infact most fortified dairy products have added vitamin D, which is important for effective calcium absorption, especially if you come from a cold country like me.

Don’t have to be a vegan to try non-dairy! Start incorporating non-dairy slowly into your diet rather than taking it out completely if you are not into absolutism.

Let me know your experience with non-dairy? 

 

Raising A Bilingual Baby

IMG_0641

I grew up speaking four different languages and I understood atleast six languages in India. Everybody in my country is pretty much multilingual. You learn English in school, Hindi is our national language spoken quite widely by people, Marathi is our state language again spoken by the people of the state and taught in school very extensively and then if you happen to have a different mother tongue which I did, Bengali, you would learn that from errmm your mother!

So you see why it is so important for me that my child is atleast bilingual. I failed at it with Reuben and Irene. That is because they were proficient in Korean and I was not. I was trying to teach them English when they came to England because that was a priority at the time. And by the time I realised that it would be nice if they could speak my language, they were quite a bit older and I was relatively younger and unprepared for the challenge.

With baby Ro, I had nine whole months to decide and prepare myself for the challenge ahead. You see in India it is easy to pick up languages because you hear all these languages around you all the time but here English is so widely spoken and you yourself are so used to speaking in English that when you have to speak to somebody who is not capable of reciprocating in the same language as you, it is difficult to even talk in your own language, let alone speak with the intention of teaching it to somebody else.

However, I have chosen to teach my baby my mother tongue, and I have no idea whether he will eventually learn my language or not, that fear will live with me until he can speak properly in both English and my mother tongue, Bengali.

At present, Roshan understands a lot of what I say and sometimes will respond more to words spoken in Bengali than in English but at 14 months whatever he says is nothing more than babbles and sometimes plain gibberish. He calls his father “baba” and then refers to our dog Rustle as “Bubba”. Now we can differentiate what he means because we put his gibberish into context but how much of it is language is a mystery.

I have read no books and have no friends in a similar situation as mine who could inspire me. I am doing everything by instinct and trial and error. It is definitely a challenge but we are plodding along slowly. Here are some of the ways in which I try to teach my baby to be bilingual:

One Parent, One language

I try and speak to Roshan in Bengali. The idea is that one parent speaks to the baby in one language exclusively. Slowly the child associate that parent with the language and starts engaging in the language he associates that parent with.

For me , exclusivity is difficult because of my other two children. When there is nobody home, I speak to Roshan in Bengali but when the kids or Ed is home, I am speaking in English majority of the time and end up communicating with Roshan in English.

One thing I have started doing though is, as soon as I speak to Roshan in English, I then very quickly translate it into bengali in the hope that he picks up the language.

Reading books

This one is my favourite and quite difficult. Ideally, I’d buy books in bengali for Roshan but it is very difficult to get hold of in the UK. So I try to translate any book that we have into bengali for him.

Singing songs

I sing a lot to Roshan. And eventhough I don’t know a lot of bengali songs myself, I sometimes make up songs in my language. We have a bathtime song, poo-time song and even nappy change song. Words keep changing because, well I make it as I go along.

Skyping family

I skype my mother, practically everyday. My mother lives in a joint family and everybody tries to come and speak to Roshan. Everybody speaks to him in Bengali. I try to create a sense of community for my baby in those 20 minutes of skype time.

Watching films and listening to music

We don’t watch a lot of tv but every now and again I try and put on music videos that are in bengali. Roshan enjoys hindi songs more though.

I also try and put on bengali songs for him whilst we are playing, eating or just lounging. Again, Roshan prefers his dad’s hip hop more!

Selective Response

Roshan is too young for this. But the idea is when he can start talking, I am going to insist that he speaks to me in bengali if he wants to get a response. Initially I will translate his request into bengali and ask him to repeat it just how we teach our children to say “please’ and “thank you”. In time, he will develop an association and understand that if he wants mummy’s attention he needs to speak in bengali.

I think this one might seem a bit brutal but is essential because baby will try to avoid speaking in the language he finds hard to come up with words in. In order to encourage him this method will come handy.

Translate and repeat

As mentioned above, as a parent you might have to translate and make them repeat. Children are going to find it very hard to learn a language that they are not listening to around them. It will be especially difficult to find certain words and they’d be tempted to use the words in a language that they are used to listening to more. In order to help them find words more easily this method will be helpful.

I already do it with Roshan. I ask him to repeat words and phrases after me and eventhough he can’t quite speak the words he has mastered the art of mimicking the tone of the words or phrases, which I think is a step forward already.

Patience & Persevere

Please be patient. I have no experience but I think as a parent if I persevere, baby Ro will activate his subconscious and learn the language eventually.

There might be a phase where baby Ro might only reciprocate in English and that might be an excuse for me to stop speaking to him in Bengali. But if I persevere and carry on speaking to him in Bengali he might get over his phase and start speaking to me in my language.

I have seen some children do that. Some children speak in English in public out of embarrassment to their parents whilst the parents still carry o Hunn speaking in some native language. Same children, go home and speak very eloquently in their mother tongue.  

Have you raised a bilingual child? Do you have any tips for me?

 

Lullabum AIO Plus by SuperBottoms Review

IMG_0709

Ever heard someone say, “living childhood through your children?”

With Lullabum by Superbottoms you can do just that. Lullabum is covered with motifs and songs from your favourite bollywood songs for children.

Now who doesn’t love a fluff bum? I do. And to have a fluff bum covered in memories of childhood makes my heart go all warm and fuzzy.

What’s more? Some of the songs on the Lullabum are the songs Baby Ro absolutely loves as well. So you can only imagine my excitement when I received a package from Superbottoms!

IMG_9858

Speaking of which, let’s just take a moment to appreciate this beautiful packaging. In todays times when it is very difficult to get away from plastic packaging, it was a pleasant experience to have received a paper package.

IMG_0906

We received a Lullabum All-in-one Plus nappy from Superbottoms. These nappies are meant to last from about 5 kgs to 17 kgs (babies are usually potty trained by then) which makes it extremely economical in the long run.

IMG_0904

Lullabum came with one detached organic cotton bamboo insert/soaker and it also had an attached organic cotton bamboo lining soaker with a suede lining on top that goes against the baby’s skin wicking away the wetness, thereby keeping the baby dry. The good thing about suede is that it keeps the baby dry without wicking away the natural oils from baby’s skin. This helps prevent rashes and irritation. I really liked the feel of suede.

So the detached soaker snaps onto the popper provided just under the attached soaker. There is also a pocket available to insert any extra soakers if you baby is a heavy wetter. These nappies are meant to last 4 to 5 hours at daytime and about 10 hours at night time.

Like all cloth nappies, absorbency improves with use. I only washed Lullabum once before use and I had no problem for 4 hours. We even had an explosive poo-nami once and I was impressed with it’s hold. There was no leak whatsoever.

dav

dav

The fit of this nappy can be as snug as you prefer. I have been a velcro nappy user to be honest. Lullabum is my first nappy with poppers. The reason I avoid poppers is because my baby is a wriggler and I have to be as quick as possible before he manages to get out of my various body lock tactics. Having said that, I am impressed with the fit you can achieve with poppers. I had to play around a bit to get the right fit. But with a few adjustments and a couple of trial and error, we got the perfect fit. I also had a fear of poppers popping if that makes sense. But even with my 14 month old trying his level best to pull the nappy off, he could not and that was a triumph in itself. His expression of loss was priceless!

IMG_0911

Another impressive feature of this nappy is it’s narrow crotch width. Narrow crotch makes for an excellent trim fit. It is less bulky and prevents the soakers or inserts from bunching up in between the legs. Now I have heard that narrow crotches and less bulky nappies automatically equate to less absorbency but this was not the case with Lullabum in my experience! So this nappy is perfect for leggings, tights and jeans kind off outfit!

dav

Lullabum has soon become one of our favourites from our stash of nappies. It is my go to nappy for travel purposes. We took it to the woods with us over the weekend and 4 hours went by, we forgot about nappy changing yet Lullabum kept Ro absolutely dry and comfortable. It is compact and less bulky to carry. The design is so bright and colourful that I can pair the nappy with just a top/tshirt and we are good to go. We like to wear it just on it’s own though as you can see!

In terms of cons, I actually do not have any real qualms about this nappy. Having said that my heart did sink a little when I saw a stain on it after the poo-nami. All my other nappies have a microfibre layer that goes against the baby’s skin and microfibre’s do not stain, period! But seems like suede does! But nothing that couldn’t be sunned out. I hung up the washed nappy to dry in the sunshine for 24 hours and voila, Lullabum was as good as new, soft and fresh with no stain in sight!

In terms of cost, like any cloth nappy Lullabum is a bit dear at Rs. 780 i.e £10 + shipping. Having said that, cloth nappies are expensive to buy but they are very economical in the long run. I have known family and friends who have used the same set of cloth nappies for their four to five children. If you don’t plan to have more children, you can always resell them. Cloth nappies keep their value and resell really well. You are sure to get half of the money back in the end. Lullabum with it’s cute desi print and brilliant performance is sure to sell well.

Superbottoms are available only in India and Amazon US at the moment. Shipping to other countries is available on request which can be made via email. Superbottoms is also working on it’s website to make global shipping options available online. So watch this space for updates.

IMG_0918

Last but not the least, Superbottoms sent me an unexpected surprise Superbag as well. This particular one is called Purple Love. Anybody who knows me will know how much I love elephants, so it was such a brilliant coincident that of all the amazing prints, Pallavi chose this particular one for me.

This bag has two compartments and a two hooks to hang it up somewhere. The bag is huge and I carry it with me all the time. I use the front pocket for pooey nappies and the big big for pee filled nappies. It is perfect way to compartmentalise the nappies. This bag can be used for so much more than just nappies. This bag is staying with me for life, I can tell you that!

I am so pleased to see another mommy all the way in India, making an effort to reduce our footprint in this world by making these amazing ecofriendly nappies, thereby making the future of our children cleaner and healthier. Please support small businesses that are trying to make a difference. Bring a change to your life and the life around you. Choose Cloth!

P.S: These products were sent to me by Superbottoms for a review. Although it is a sponsored post, all the opinions stated are my own and honest!

 

 

 

 

Vegan Korean Udon Noodles

My husband’s friends are visiting us from American soon. His friend’s wife is Korean, who apparently cooks really well. Not only that, she apparently is really good at presenting her food, which is NOT my strongest points. Koreans are really big on meat and I want to introduce them to my vegan diet with something they are familiar with. So I came up with this recipe as an experiment and it turned out to be pretty scrumptious.

Before I begin, let me introduce you to Gochujang. It is THE ingredient to have if you want to cook delicious korean meals. Gochujang is a korean chilli paste which is very hot, with a fair amount of saltiness.

picture from google images

I hope you like the recipe:

Serves 4-5 people

Ingredients:

1 bag of stir fry mix (vegetables)

1 Pepper, sliced

1 onion, sliced

10 to 12 cloves of garlic, minced

200-300grams of mushrooms (I used a variety of exotic kinds sold in tesco)

a handful of spring onions chopped into couple of inches long strips

750 gms of Udon Noodles (I used the already cooked kind)

1 1/5 tbsp of Gochujang

2 tbsp of Tamari (or soy sauce)

3 tsp of sesame oil

400 gms of firm tofu

half a cup of water

1 tsp coconut sugar/maple syrup (or regular)

1 tbsp of rapeseed oil

Method: 

First things first, make the sauce. In a bowl, mix gochujang, sesame oil, tamari, water and sugar. Mix well and set aside.

Next, prep the tofu. I simply press the tofu in between two chopping board with couple of heavy books on top of the chopping board to drain out excess water. Then cut them into bite sized pieces and simply fry them in very hot oil. The trick is to have the oil very hot, shallow fry it and don’t rush to turn them over. If you are hasty, you will find your tofu stick to the pan. Fry them and set them aside.

Now in a wok, heat some oil. Add the onions, mushrooms and garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the stir fry mix. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the noodles along with the sauce. Let the noodles cook and soak up some of the sauce. After about 5 minutes, add the tofu pieces, peppers and the spring onions. Cook for another 5 minutes or until most of the juices are absorbed. Don’t overcook the noodles, even if there’s plenty of sauce. A bit of extra sauce is better than soggy veggies and noodles.

Serve hot and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds.

Tips: Sprinkle some crushed seaweed, it will add an earthy flavour and more crunch.

 

Breastfeeding For A Year & Counting…

breastfeeding

Copyrights @LouiseGibbens

As a kid, I was breastfed for 7 to 8 years! It was the best bonding experience I shared with my mother. My mum and I are still very close and I have not seen a doctor for more than once in 20 years! Therefore, when it came to my baby, my decision to breastfeed was pretty straightforward.

Baby Ro was born at home. Soon after his birth, we had skin to skin and we let Ro latch on when he was ready. He was ready within the first few minutes to be honest. I struggled initially, more in terms of handling as I was overwhelmed by it all, but luckily Ro came all ready with a perfect latch. He knew exactly what to do. And thus began our beautiful journey of breastfeeding.

 

First few days……

Eventhough, baby Ro had a perfect latch and my breastfeeding journey was seemingly easy and straightforward, it wasn’t completely pain free. Baby Ro was very tiny at birth and so was his latch. Smaller latch meant a lot of cuts and recurring blebs on my nipples. They were very painful. I took pain killers. I felt like I failed myself. After having given birth without any pain relief, not even gas & air, I succumbed to the pain of breastfeeding.

I wanted to enjoy breastfeeding. I hated the fact that I was fearing the pain as the time for his next feed was approaching. If a pain killer would help me achieve a positive experience without causing any harm to my baby, why shouldn’t I take it!  In about 6 weeks, my milk supply was properly established and so was Ro’s latch. My nipples were sore free and breastfeeding was as joyous as I had hoped.

Breastfeeding in public

There was nothing in the world that would stop me from feeding my baby. Because of the support system I have in my family and amongst my friends, I was pretty confident about feeding in public. I was always slightly worried about people making snide remarks at me but I was prepared to ignore it and not let that have any effect on me. To my surprise, no one ever said anything. Infact, I received a lot of love and praises from people.

I still breastfeed in public and plan to feed him into his toddlerhood.

Breastfeeding and baby weight

Ro was a mere 2.5 kgs at birth which isn’t an alarmingly low weight for Indians, but according to UK standards, he was pretty small. Luckily, I established breastfeeding right after birth, but I was told that if he did not gain weight, we will have to talk. I seriously did not want to give him formula unless absolutely necessary.

Roshan wasn’t gaining tons but he was gaining at a steady pace. That gave me hope and instilled my faith in my milk supply. I had a great support system in my mum, my husband , my doula and my friend who is also a breastfeeding peer supporter. They all helped me stay focussed.

After couple of months, I started receiving some pressure from relatives back home to give him some formula to make him chubby. I, very politely, ignored their advice and carried on.

Roshan kept gaining weight slowly but steadily. He has never been a chubby baby and I do not particularly desire him to be. Yet, Ro is one of the happiest, noisiest and most awake/alert baby around the block.

Feeding routine

There is no routine. I feed on demand and that is what I did when he was born. He sometimes fed every 2 hours, on somedays every 30 minutes; sometimes he fed for an hour whilst some other times he fed for 10 mins. There was no routine or expectations. We chose to simply respond to every cue by breastfeeding. We may not understand what is wrong with the baby or why is he crying, but breastfeeding happens to be the right answer to most worries. So use it to your benefit!

Tips:

Breastfeeding can be demanding but it does not have to be so tiresome. It is so much more rewarding and enjoyable. Those little moments when they shove their fingers into your mouth, or giggle whilst still breastfeeding or look straight into your eyes or stroke your chin or fiddle with your necklace; all those moments are priceless! Trust me!

Here are some handy tips that will help you enjoy your breastfeeding journey:

Water: Drink a lot of water. Dehydration can have some really serious problems. It can not only have an effect on your supply, but also have an impact on your mood. Headaches, muscle aches, grumpiness, insomnia or overly emotional behaviours are often signs of lack of water. So please mama’s, drink a lot of water to boost your supply and energy levels!

Skin to skin: Skin to skin is so important, not only for warmth and to maintain body temperatures but also milk supply. The closer the baby is to your skin, the more responsive your body becomes to the cue of making more milk.

Babywearing: It helps achieve the closeness, calmness and skin to skin required to produce or establish milk supply.

Oats: This may not apply to all, but till date, a bowl of porridge really fills me up (I mean my boob). I can tell oats helps me with my milk supply a lot. So, if ever feeling unsure of the supply, eat a bowl of porridge before going for the formula.

Sleep on the boob: This one is frowned upon by many people. There is a culture of putting the baby down as soon as they fall asleep on the boob. No, please let them just have the boob in their mouth unless they let go completely. The motion of sucking is not a waste of time, there is a lot of communication going on between the baby’s saliva and your nipples. When the saliva comes in contact with the areola, it sends a very important message to your body. It exposes your body to all the bacteria the baby has come in contact with, and if the baby has come in contact with any bad bacteria, this saliva sends a message to your body to make milk rich in enzymes and antibodies needed to fight the germs  and infection the baby is infested with. Therefore, the baby gets rid of the germs before it even has a chance to make him fall ill. Don’t you think it is amazing?

I have spent hours and still do, sitting on the sofa with him in my arms, sucking on my nipples, clearly not drinking but fast asleep. It is the best time to read a book or a good excuse to just sit down and chill out.

The aim of this article is not to make non-breastfeeding mommy’s feel bad. I understand that breastfeeding is a very personal choice and it may not be for everyone. The number of women who can actually not produce milk is about 2% I think, and in those cases formula is probably your best option. If in doubt about your supply, please seek the right kind of help. If you produce breastmilk, you are more likely to produce enough for your baby (some women established proper supply a bit later but they do eventually). So any aunt telling you to feed your baby formula because the baby is too thin should not be taken seriously before you have met some lactation consultants. 

 

 

Babywearing, Society and Soul Slings

IMG_0135

“Babywearing” is one of the best ways to carry your baby, in my opinion.

I knew I wanted to babywear even before I was pregnant. I loved the idea of being able to hold my baby so close to me without tiring myself out – and while keeping my arms free.

When I was pregnant, I also went shopping for a buggy, but couldn’t find a single buggy that felt small, light and comfortable enough. (I also couldn’t imagine making my dogs heel alongside a buggy. And as I walk dogs for a living, folding a buggy in and out of the car numerous times per day on my dog walks would have been really inconvenient).

Wearing Baby Ro

I wore baby Ro from week one of his life. He was very tiny at birth and so it was not easy to wear him without swallowing him up in fabric, but we started off with a kanga wrap, caboo, homemade saree wraps and finally moved onto full buckle slings.

Bonding

If mothers choose to breastfeed and co-sleep bonding’s not usually a problem. But babywearing is an added bonus – and also makes it extremely easy for fathers and grandparents to bond with the baby.

Magic Sleep Dust

Once you find the right kind of sling, you will know that some of them are blessed with a magic sleep dust. As soon as you pop your baby in, he/she will cosy up and go to sleep.

Skin-to-skin:

Babywearing makes getting skin-to-skin time so much easier. In summer, when Ro would get fussy, the only thing that would calm him down would be some skin-to-skin and with chores to do, I couldn’t just lock myself up in a bedroom topless giving Ro cuddles. That is when wraps came handy. I have answered the door topless with just a baby snuggled up in a wrap. No one ever realised!

Love Hormone:

Cuddles are good for us. It helps the babies to regulate their stress levels. Babywearing lowers the blood pressure, soothes the baby easily and releases the love hormone called Oxytocin. Oxytocin makes both baby and mama feel happy and connected, making motherhood an even better experience.

Hands – Free:

I have two bigger children and two dogs, plus my dog walking business to look after. I need my hands free. With a sling, I was able to go back to my school run routine as soon as my baby-mooning period was over and I started my work immediately after a 40 day long hiatus. I could take care of chores while the baby slept in the sling. And these days he looks around, chatters away, and even eats a snack whilst in the sling.

Breastfeeding on the go:

Yes, you can breastfeed on the go when you babywear. It takes a bit of practice but with the right sling and the correct technique, it is easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Society

soul slings

Once seen as entirely natural, babywearing was pushed aside by the advent of the pram (alongside Victorian mores) and came to be seen as a preserve of the poor and the indigenous. It’s now come full circle,thankfully.

When I expressed my desire to wear my baby, I was mocked by some of my Indian friends because as a child we grew up seeing beggars or street vendors carrying their infants in a sling made out of scrap piece of cloth. Even though strollers weren’t such a big thing in India (partly due to the lack of space), babywearing wasn’t a go-to option either.

Detachment parenting, cry it out methods, supernanny and stroller companies all curbed babywearing. But attachment parenting and acceptance of instinctual parenting have paved the way for its return.

I think babywearing helps raise babies into secure and confident beings They say that babies who are raised with attachment parenting as an ethos, are less likely to succumb to substance abuse. I think that is amazing!

There are several myths about babywearing in our society that are genuinely untrue:

  1. Babies will get spoilt: Not true. Babies who are carried a lot, are less fussy, less needy and more confident. Babies who are carried have lesser reason to act out to get your attention.
  2. You will mess up your back: No you won’t. An ergonomically designed sling/wrap will help achieve a better posture if anything else and distribute baby weight across your torso and hips!
  3. Too big to be carried: Honestly, let the care-taker decide!
  4. You will delay crawling and walking: Not True! I carry my baby a lot. Probably 5 to 7 hours a day. Bonkers right? It has not prevented him from crawling at 10 months. His neck and trunk muscles developed strong enough to sit up at an appropriate age and crawl at the right time and at 12 months, he is already walking holding on to things.

 

Soul Slings Review:

IMG_9052

I have tried various slings and wraps to carry Baby Ro. It took me a while to find the right one and just when I found the one I thought I loved, Soul Slings sent me their Full Buckle SSC and I fell in love all over again.

Fabric:

Soul Slings full buckle carriers are made from woven cotton wraps. So they are very soft and they simply mould into your baby’s body perfectly.

IMG_0138

Light and Airy:

This was such a selling point for me. Most carriers available in the UK are very warming which is great for winter months but not so much during heat waves. As a dog walker, if the weather gets even slightly warm, it is easy to get hot. This is when a Soul full buckle feels perfectly breathable compared to the western makes, which can be slightly bulky.

Breastfeeding Friendly:

It is super simple to feed in Soul carriers. There’s an adjustment panel on both chest straps to lower the baby, to reach to an optimum position to feed without putting pressure on your shoulders and back. The hood helps in maintaining some privacy too.

back carry

Back Carry:

In 11 months of babywearing Roshan, I truly never managed to carry him on my back. I always found it difficult for some reason with my other carriers. Maybe it was just that he was small and I was less confident or maybe it was the carrier. All I know is that Soul full buckles made it easy. The lightness of the carrier and the smooth glide of the adjustment buckles made it very easy to back carry Ro. It is super quick to do a back carry with this sling, which is essential because Ro starts fussing if I take too long to achieve the optimum position and comfort.

IMG_20170502_150517_571

Design:

The one I have is called the Topaz Jacquard Full Buckle. They have some amazing prints but I like their geometric patterns; the colour adds just the right amount of vibrancy and is nicely unisex.

The one they sent me is also quite versatile in terms of colour coding with your own outfit. It was one of the things we’d consider when spending on a carrier.

Ergonomics:

The soul carriers are made very ergonomically for both baby and the wearer. The babies achieve a good M-position in the carrier with their knees higher than their hips which is crucial for their optimum hip development.

The padded should straps provides comfort to the carrier and the waist belt helps distribute the weight across the body, thereby taking away pressure from the shoulders.

Sizing:

Soul Slings full buckles, in my experience, comes a bit bigger. They have a lot of give. The standard carrier is from 7kgs up. A lot of babies achieve 7kg by the age of 6 months but my Ro is a small baby. He was only 7.5 kgs, when he was 11 months old. So although he could only start using the standard Soul sling at 11 months, it has so much space for him to grow, I don’t think we would need the toddler size one (which is great).

IMG_0128

Easy to wash:

I found it super easy to wash the carrier. When you have a baby that enjoys his snacks on the go, your carrier ends up with all sort of sticky things on it. To wash it, I simply fastened all the buckles and popped it in a pillow case. I washed it on a gentle 30 degrees wash for an hour and air dried it. Ok, no I dried it on my electric dryer (as it rains a lot in England). But it was dry and ready to go overnight. Clean and fresh as a daisy.

Price: 

My sling costs Rs. 5,750 INR which is about £70 GBP. A standard full buckle costs anywhere from £60 to £120. So I think it is appropriately priced especially for me as I won’t need a toddler size at all. It is total value for money and a babywearing win!

IMG_0140

My only minor gripe is that the carrier doesn’t have a pocket – but I know that Soul Slings have started incorporating that into their latest design. 

All in all I love Soul Slings. It is my favourite so far. I highly recommend it. I think, Indian companies have nailed the art of making slings better than western countries in so many ways, it makes me proud.