Plato had said the most correct thing ever – ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. I see it holding true in my own case. After moving to Andamans, I learnt to invent solutions of my problems out of necessity and out of lack of availability of resources. One such lesson is – naturopathy.
My idea of naturopathy is – combining Ayurveda with ‘what works best for you’!
|Pahal on Radhanagar Beach|
Pahal was just 6 months old when I came to Andamans to settle down here for a period of three years or more. Within a month of our arrival, I faced the biggest challenge for myself – to keep her healthy and disease free as there was not a single Paediatrician in my entire district!
|On the deck where she caught the allergy!|
I called up home, spoke to my maa and she advised me to give steam to her. I boiled water in a pan, covered myself and her in a towel wrapped around the pan and we took steam. After repeating it for few times in a day, Pahal was better. Next day, we left for our home without seeing the neighbouring island.
Now she was 8 months old and she just weighed around 4 kgs or maybe less. Everyone who saw her exclaimed on her facial features and innocent face with sharp eyes but never left without commenting that ‘she was too thin’. Her low weight got onto my nerves and I decided to do something about it. Again, my maa came to rescue and she recommended ‘lal tail’.
She reminisced, ‘I massaged all the kids in my family with the lal tail. You must use that as well. It has been in our family for many decades.’ I immediately bought a bottle of the tail, began giving a massage of the oil to Pahal twice a day and finally by the time Pahal was 11 months old, not only she was walking on her own, she had also got her normal weight.
|Pahal with my late granny who taught me the importance of holistic health. Can you believe my granny was over 85 when this photo was clicked?|
In 2011 I went to my relative’s place and left Pahal for a few hours there. In my absence, the relative’s son offered a full packet of some packed chilli potato chips to Pahal and she ate it full. Imagine a year old baby who had never had spicy food before, now chewed down an entire packet of potato chips. As a result, she got a really bad stomach infection and she went critically ill for more than a week.
|From L-R (1st row): Nariyal Laddoos; Raw Papaya Cake; Cucumber Soup; 2nd row: Jaggery-Rice Flakes Laddoos; Dates Burfi; Lemon Posset|
I read about Ayurveda and how we all can inculcate it in our daily life for a holistic development and growth. Also, I learnt to read the labels of processed and packaged food. I learnt the difference between chemically derived and naturally derived foods along with learning about synthetic foods and flavours.
Being a nature-loving mom, I couldn’t swallow the thought of introducing my kid to chemicals that only harm in the long run. I couldn’t imagine turning her into a girl who needs two tea spoons of a colored and flavored syrup for every sneeze and cough.
As she turned two years old, I now faced the most daunting of all challenges – potty training. Blame it on my laziness or on Andaman’s high chlorine water or the lack of pure fresh fruits, Pahal won’t just pass stool in time. If she did, it would be rock hard. Her every poop caused her a stream of tears that in turn made me feel miserable as well as guilty for not being an active and conscious mom who exactly knew how to train her baby.
As I watched her straining her bottom to pass the stool while holding onto a support wall or a corner of the bed to pass it, I sometimes thought maybe Sigmund Freud was right when he professed that kids enjoy holding their stool because they like to control it. But even this theory didn’t help because when she strained herself to this extent, she often complained of pain in her bottom.
I tried everything for Pahal from rasin water to honey to fenugreek seeds to jaggery and from allopathic laxatives to homeopathy drops. Nothing worked. Everything would stop working after two days.
Situation became so grave that we stopped going out of station fearing travel might only worsen her problem. After grappling with this and trying out different solutions for many months in a row, I decided to try the most basic thing – a glass of warm water!
|Pahal in one of those stressful moments|
Every morning I gave a glass of warm water to Pahal as soon as she got up. Within a week’s time, she not only began to pass poop easily, she even got into a routine. Now she drinks the glass of water and within two hours, she poops and now she does it in the toilet on the toilet seat.
Pahal is three years old. I have come to understand her body well and I take cues from all the signs that her body gives – a sneeze, dry cough, warm palms, running nose or just plain laziness. I now know what my daughter needs and when. And this is only possible because of Ayurveda.
There is no playschool in our area. Forget that, there is no school for such young children in my place. So, I send her to aanganwadi every day for two hours where she plays with the fellow kids and on her return, I engage her in some creative activities to give a boost to her neurones.
|Pahal’s different hobbies!|
From my experience of more than 3 years of being a mom and having faced several difficult situations of parenting and from being a forced self-appointed doctor, I can now give you my ten golden rules that I religiously follow for Pahal. These have helped me so far and I hope I continue to live by these for as long as we can.
1. Begin the day with a glass of warm water. This not only helps to keep the body toxin free, like I said above, it also helps in softening the stool.
2. Give as much as healthy, home made food. Let the baby be in the nature’s care as much as possible. After all, mother nature is the best teacher.
|From L-R: Pahal playing on a beach; holding a baby bird in her palm; her first visit to garden – she was 6 months old|
3. Inculcate discipline in the baby from a young age. This helps in setting a tone for the body. Pahal goes to sleep every night by 8:30 to 9 pm and gets up anytime from 7 am to 7:30 am.
4. Learn to read the signs of the body. Whenever I hear Pahal sneezing, I give her a concoction of ginger juice, honey and basil juice. This has been my holy grail cough and cold remedy.
5. Weekly massages are a must. Every week Pahal gets a weekly massage with Olive oil.
|Thanks to Dabur Lal Tail, Pahal made her first solo move when she had not even completed 6 months!|
6. If you want dark, black hair for your daughter, apply a mix of castor oil and coconut oil every night. I use home made body butter for Pahal. I made it using Shea butter and Cocoa butter. It is the best body butter!
|Home made body butter; I and Pahal use it daily|
7. Let the baby have her own body clock. We all have a body clock and we should function as per our clock. I never force Pahal to get up. If someday she wants to sleep longer, I let her sleep.
8. Mental stimulation is as important for the baby as the physical development. Start developing a hobby of the baby. Pahal loves painting and photography.
9. Playing with the father is the best ‘extra dose’ for any baby.
|Pahal playing with her mum and daddy|
10. Nothing beats mother’s love and a tight mother’s hug when it comes to a baby’s overall growth. Each morning, Pahal gets 10 kisses from me and I get two kisses from her in return. These kisses keep both of us in good shape.
Last but not the least, remember every parent is a good parent in his/her own ways. And there is no rule for parenting. The way every child is unique, every parent is unique too!
It is the right mix of the choices that determines the overall health of the baby. A little of nature with a pinch of Ayurveda wisdom added with loads of your love goes a long way in baby’s health.
P.S. All pictures are mine and are copyrighted.