Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Tag: AtoZBloggingChallenge2017 (page 1 of 4)

Cloth Diapers 101 – Types

Hey there! I know I’ve kept you waiting a long time since my last post on #ClothDiapers. Well, life and Mommying happened as they say. Have you ever noticed how just as you plan to do something major on your blog or in your personal sphere, things are thrown out of gear by a new baby growth spurt or teething or just general mood off? Well, that’s what happened here too. But we have kind of defeated that and here I am to talk about Cloth Diapers.

There are many kinds of people. Book people. Coffee People. Horror Movie people.

And then there are Cloth Diaper kind of people. Even within that, there are the pre-folds people, flats people, pockets people and whatever suits them kind of diaper type of people. There are also people who want to try it all (Me!). Bottomline is that cloth diapers are not a one size fits all solution. A lot depends on the individual’s comfort and convenience and baby’s needs too. But let’s make an attempt here to simplify it and tell you, realistically, about the kinds of cloth diapers that you will most likely use and want to have in your stash. So here goes…

This post shows you the various types of cloth diapers out there –
  1. Flats
  2. Prefolds
  3. Pocket Diapers
  4. Cover Diapers
  5. All-in-one Diapers

flats, flat diapers, flat nappies, square cloth, nappies, nappy cloth, modern cloth diapers, advanced cloth diapers, superbottoms, cloth diapering india, cloth diapers india, cloth diaper shopsFlat diapers come close to the traditional nappies we were diapered in. They are square pieces of cloth that can be folded in various ways to hold baby pee/poo. They most usually need pins and other fasteners like a Snappi or Boingo to hold them in place.

Most commonly available as Flour Sack Towels (FSTs), birdseye cotton, muslin, Terry. (In order of pic above, starting with the bottom printed cloth)

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Various ways of using flat diapers

Pros:
  • Economical
  • Endless possibilities: use them folded/ shaped in various ways to customize absorbency for girl or boy babies
  • Easy to use – simply pad fold to give multi-layers. Easy to clean too.
  • Dry very fast as they are thin & can be opened up
  • Can be made out of any absorbent cloth, even old clothes/ bed sheets/ towels from around the house.
  • Can be put to various uses around the house once you are done diapering.
Cons:
  • Can be a hassle to use – folding them can be a pain during emergencies
  • Low absorbency when used on its own – won’t last more than an hour or so if used on its own.
  • Not waterproof – will need the addition of a waterproof cover
  • Baby will feel the wetness – these don’t give a stay dry feel.
  • You will need a ton of these.

The best way to use these:

By far the simplest and easiest way to use a flat diaper is to pad fold it and use with a waterproof cover like a cover diaper or a pocket diaper. You can also combine multiple flats to add absorbency.

My Brand Recommendation: 

  • TinyCare Muslin Flats (come in various sizes).
  • Mothercare Muslin Cloth.

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Prefolds are multi layered, stitched rectangular pieces. They are stitched such that the centre panel has more layers of absorbency than the sides.

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Like flats, pre-folds also can be used in various ways. They can be wrapped around the baby like a traditional nappy and held in place with a fastener or simply pad folded.

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Pros:
  • Usually made of very absorbent, natural fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, bamboo. This makes them hold a lot of liquid.
  • Makes for an economical method of diapering.
  • The pre-folds can be put to multiple uses once you are done diapering.
  • Can be used for day or even night-time diapering.
Cons:
  • Usually require a lot of pre-use prepping to bring them up to full absorbency.
  • Shrink upon prepping
  • Need fasteners to hold them in place
  • Not waterproof – will need the addition of a waterproof cover
  • Baby will feel the wetness – these don’t give a stay dry feel.

The best way to use these:

By far the simplest and easiest way to use a pre-fold diaper is to pad fold it and use with a waterproof cover like a cover diaper or a pocket diaper.

My Brand Recommendation: 

  • OsoCozy Organic Unbleached Cotton Prefolds

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Pocket diapers are by far the most popular type of cloth diapers used in the world. It consists of a waterproof shell and a stay-dry fabric lined inner. It has a pocket like opening on one side or both and allows you to stuff an insert of soaker pad inside. The most commonly used insert in a pocket diaper is micro fibre which is a synthetic fabric. However, inserts can be made of various materials – natural fabrics like bamboo cotton, hemp, organic cotton or synthetic like charcoal bamboo, bamboo rayon etc. They all have their own set of pros and cons and it greatly depends on the care giver’s preference as much as it does on baby’s comfort.

Pocket Diapers also give the user the freedom to actually use anything inside the pocket. You can use ready to use inserts or any other material pad folded to fit into the pocket. You can even add multiple inserts inside the pocket so as to make it last longer. When its time to change the diaper you have to replace the entire system – insert and diaper shell.

When it’s time to change the diaper you have to replace the entire system – insert and diaper shell. Thus a pocket diaper lasts only for 2 hours on average with the regular stuffing. Addition of a booster may increase its holding capacity.

Pros:
  • Versatile – can be used with a variety of inserts stuffed into the pocket. The essence of the pocket diaper is the stay dry inner layer and so anything that you use inside the pocket is fine. Baby will get a stay dry feel.
  • The pocket diaper itself does not require any prep. One wash and you are good to use.
  • Dries fast after wash even in the Indian monsoon
  • Value for money – usually the most affordable amongst all the diapers available

Cons:

  • Cannot be reused. Have to change the entire diapering system if soiled or full
  • Can sometimes seem bulky, especially if you are stuffing multiple inserts inside it.
  • Can sometimes be a hassle when you have a fidgety baby on hand and you need to stuff the diaper with the insert. A good idea to counter this is to keep the insert stuffed into the pocket while storing.

The best way to use these:

Stuff the insert inside the pocket and store them until use. This will save time.  You can also add a trim natural fibre booster inside the pocket in addition to a regular insert in order to increase the time the pocket will last for.

My Brand Recommendation: 

  • Superbottoms Pocket Diapers

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After having cloth diapered for a 1.5 years and using virtually all types and the most advanced types of cloth diapers I am drawn back to the simplest of all – cover style cloth diapers.

Cover Diapers essentially refers to the water proof shell only. But they provide a great deal of versatility in terms of what you can use inside the covers. Pictured above are a few of the options – Pre-folds, Terry cloth shaped into a nappy, pad folded flats, or special inserts meant for cover diapers. Cover diaper inserts need to be customized to have a stay dry layer on top, especially in the case of microfibre or natural fabric inserts.  These materials are not meant to be used next to baby’s skin (MF) or don’t have an inherent stay dry quality.

I love the Cover diaper and Soaker system from Superbottoms The soakers have a special feature which means they can be snapped into the shell to keep them in place. The material is high-quality microfibre which usually lasts me around 3 to 4 hours on its own.

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Superbottoms Cover Diapers – newborn & regular sized.

The best part about a cover diapering system is that you can simply replace the soaker/insert once full, wipe down or air dry the shell (unless soiled with poop) and add another fresh soaker. Basically, you get to reuse the shell (cover) over and over until it needs a wash. This makes it a very economical cloth diapering system.

Pros:
  • Versatile – can use anything inside the covers, specific cover diaper inserts or home made nappies.
  • Gives multi-uses as the cover can be reused by replacing the soaker/ insert
  • Dries in a jiffy even after a full wash cycle.
  • You will need only a few sets of the cover diapers and can just keep buying the inserts, if you intend to diaper using this system.
Cons:
  • You need special inserts if you prefer to give baby a stay dry feel. (But mostly they come with the cover diapering system.)
  • Using cloth diaper inserts inside a cover can lead to bunching, shifts and leaks as not all inserts have snaps to hold them in place.

The best way to use these:

Use soakers with snaps which will help keep them in place inside the cover. While replacing the soaker, wipe it down with a cloth dampened in hot water and air dry it for a while, before reusing it.

My Brand Recommendation: 

  • Superbottoms Cover Diaper & stay dry soakers

The All-in-one diaper is the one that comes closest to a disposable diaper, in the sense that it can be just fastened onto baby without the need to add any other inserts/ soakers. It usually also lasts much longer than most diapers.

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All-in-ones as the name suggest contain all the diapering parts – waterproof shell and absorbent insert built into the cloth diapers system. You just put the entire diaper on and are good to go.  As such they are convenient and less hassle. Most All-in-one type diapers are made of very absorbent materials and so will last for a much longer duration. This makes them a favourite for night time diapering. You can also add more absorbency to these diapers to increase their hold time.

There are various types of All-in-one diapers. But these are the most common:

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Left: The absorbent part is stitched into the inner shell of the diaper. (TotsBots)

Centre: Flap style inserts (Superbottoms Plus)

Right: Snake style insert which can be folded as per your preference.  (Smart Bottoms 3.1 )

All-in-one diapers are a big favourite with people who prefer less complicated diapering. It is a wear and go kind of system. This also makes it easy to be carried on vacations or while out of the house.

Pros:

  • Simple and easy to use.
  • Usually have great capacity so can be used for longer durations. This makes them great for baby naps, local travels or even vacations
  • Less number of spare parts – great when travelling out of home.

Cons:

  • More absorbent also means thicker and so these diapers tend to be a little bulky
  • They also take more time to dry
  • Tend to be expensive
  • Some All-in-one diapers still need you to add extra absorbency.

The best way to use these:

Buy All-in-one diapers which are trim and promise to hold long hours. This way you can get away without adding any additional boosters/ inserts.

My Brand Recommendation: 


The Hybrid or All-in-Two diapering system gives the user a little more freedom with its usage.

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Typically a hybrid or AI2 diapering system consists of a waterproof cloth diaper shell or cover and an insert for the absorbency. The cloth diaperer has the option of using either the special snap on reusable cloth inserts that are designed for the shell or disposable, biodegradable inserts. One can actually even get away with using other insert types like flats, pre-folds etc within the shell.

Technically any cover diaper/ shell + customized insert diapering system also works under the same principle as a hybrid/ AI2. You can use any insert within the shell – customised reusable, own inserts or even disposable inserts.

Pros:

  • Gives greater flexibility to the user.
  • Is convenient especially when traveling out of the house – the insert can be discarded if using a disposable one.

Cons:

  • The shell usually has a mesh or suede inner which can get messy to clean when soiled
  • The shell is not reusable unlike a cover diaper (which comes close to the shell + customised insert/ soaker system)
  • Some shells offer the use of only the specific inserts which can be snapped on. One cannot use any other inserts with the system.

The best way to use these:

They are great for travels when you have no access to a wash and clean facility. You can simply dump the insert without feeling too guilty for harming the environment.

My Brand Recommendation: 

  • Grovia Hybrid diapers

Have you entered the big, beautiful world of cloth diapers? Which type of cloth diapers did you start with and what are your favourite types? What is the one element of cloth diapers that you struggle with?

Z is for Zeba

For today’s final post for the #AtoZBloggingChallenge Z is for Zeba.

Let me introduce you to Zeba. She is a 20 something woman, who manages her own home and mine. She is the reason I am here everyday, with some amount of sanity and energy left in me to blog and to allow me to pee/ poop/ bathe/ have one cup of coffee in peace. Zeba is our nanny. She minds babyT in the day time. To me she is a big savior who has allowed me to bring in some degree of normalcy to my life.  Continue reading

X is for Xylophone

My life is a last minute affair. The entire #AtoZBloggingChallenge has been a last minute affair. I try and look for a word over days and hours and finally around 10 pm a flash of brilliance goes off in my brain (well according to me anyway.) and I have a word which I love and feel so excited to write about. Today’s word is such…

After poring over geeky lists of words beginning with X and getting some scary ideas for blog posts (Xeniatrophobia – the hatred for foreign Doctors. Innocent Dr (Mrs.) Singh from my childhood in the UK was going to get a mention.) I had almost relented my fate and went to clear up babyT’s play room for the night, when my eyes fell upon this Xylophone. (Fanfare went off in my head, really, you had to be me to know it.) 

Every house that has a new baby has a Xylophone or two. And of course babies are meant to hit, whack, throw and poke the crap out of it.. they of course cannot play it, unless they are the late Mr. Brahms incarnate. Does your Xylophone really get the due that it is born to do? Well, some of us do… one of my favourite Mommy Bloggers BeingMammaBear has made it her mission to play her lovely daughter MissS meaningful songs on the Xylophone and I make it a point to listen to all her Instagram stories of her playing the Xylo. So i hunt those headphones, plug them in and listen to her soulfully tippytapping nursery rhymes on the Xylophone.

I could play only one song on the Xylophone, up until now that is. But nonetheless here is the one song that I ever learnt to play when I was a wee lass and one that I have kept close to my heart till now.  Its “Are you Sleeping, Brother John?” or “Freres Jacques, Dormez vous?”

So I am a total tone deaf person. My husband is a guitar player (not his day job) but I have imbibed zero music sense. I am however great at memorizing numbers .. I know phone numbers of my friends from school and all the car number plates in the apartment complex I lived in when I was 12. Sounds like some Beautiful Mind kind of shizz doesn’t it? No, it just means I am an introvert who was happier doing numbers than running amok with friends. So what I did was write down numbers on the Xylophone keys from 1 onwards and then did some research online (google baba ki jai ho) and some quick trial and error to figure these songs out.

Number the keys 1 to 8 and then try these

Are you Sleeping

Are you Sleeping, Are you Sleeping?
1 2 3 1, 1 2 3 1
Brother John, Brother John 
3 4 5, 3 4 5
Morning Bells are ringing, Morning bells are ringing 
5 6 5 4 3 1, 5 6 5 4 3 1
Ding Ding Dong, Ding Ding Dong, Ding Ding Dong
5 1 1 , 5 1 1, 5 1 1

Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star

Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star
1 1 5 5 6 6 5
How I wonder what you are?
4 4 3 3 2 2 1
Up above the world so high
5 5 4 4 3 3 2
Like a diamond in the sky
5 5 4 4 3 3 2
Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star
1 1 5 5 6 6 5
How I wonder what you are?
4 4 3 3 2 2 1

Row Row Row your boat

Row row row your boat
1 1 1 2 3
Gently Down the stream
3 2 3 4 5
Merrily merrily merrily merrily Life is but a dream
8 8 8 5 5 5 3 3 3 1 1 1 5 4 3 2 1

So easy no? Try a few songs and tell me how it went?

If you do read and understand music you can use this key. But I am sure you already knew that. 🙂

(Source: http://www.letsplaykidsmusic.com/fun-music-theory-do-re-mi/ )

 

W is for “Who Says Woof?”

When I started the #AtoZBloggingChallenge I knew what the letter W would stand for.. our favourite book by our favourite children’s author John Butler of course.

W is for Who Says Woof

I buy most of babyT’s books preloved and my favourite store is Eat Play Read.  I first chanced upon the book Who Says Woof? during an online book stocking here in September last year. I grabbed it because the cover page looked cute.

When the book arrived and I began reading it to babyT, he had just turned 9 months then, I was amazed how quickly he was picking up the sounds of the animals in them. His favourite was “Who says Baa?” He kept repeating Baa Baa Baa all day long. Once when we were out on the road, he saw a cow on the road (this is India. 🙂 and said Mooo I had hit the home-run, the book was teaching him something.  He also loved looking at the pictures. And as with most babies I was made to read that book to him twenty five times in a day… 

What I loved about this book?

  • Has beautiful illustration by John Butler. He is an illustrator and author of children’s books, most of which are about animals and their little families.
  • I like the fact that he keeps the design theme constant in all of his books. So the bears look the same in all the books. Its like a collection of related books. Very collectible.
  • The words are few in this particular book. (There are other books for older children with longer sentences too.)
  • It helps to build a guessing game with your baby… Who says Woof? Turn the page. A dog says Woof. & Who says Miaow? Turn the page. A cat says Miaow.

    Who says Miaow.

  • It taught babyT all that he knows about animals and the sounds that they make. His favourite animal is now the Miaow Cat.

    We knew all these by 10 months. 🙂 <3

We then fell in love so much with the book and John Butler’s illustrations that we went on a mission to find more of his books. Some were bought from Eat Play Read and some from Amazon.

The new additions

Our current favourite among these is Can you growl like a bear? 

After all the cute little domestic and gentle animals from Who says Woof? this book talks about the ones that live in the jungles – bear, chimp, elephant, wolf and some more. BabyT loves imitating the noises that these animals and birds make in the book. “Can you roar like a leopard..?” 

How gorgeous are the illustrations again? This particular page reminds me of a warm sunny day in summer spent wandering aimlessly in a park in London. <3

I don’t know how but this book somehow succeeds to make me yawn by the time we get to the last page. All the animals are going about their business, making the respective noises that they do and soon day turns to night, the wolf howls at the moon (babyT and I love to throw up our head and go Howwwwllll), the panda mommy and her little baby panda snuggle up for the night and soon…

This could work very well as a bedtime story.

This reminds me today is #TellaStoryDay and is celebrated in the USA and UK. I love how apt today’s title is to the event. On #TellaStoryDay people are encouraged to tell a story, not just read books, but share a personal story with your loved ones or on social media. And that is just what I am doing, telling you about my love affair with these baby books and how much they are loved and enjoyed in our home. 🙂

 

V is for Vacations with Babies

V for Vacations.

If you are anything like me, then you would have stressed and fussed and lost sleep over your first vacation with baby in tow. We went on our first vacation with #BabyT when he was 9 months old, and the whole idea was to celebrate my birthday in a fun & relaxed way. How wrong was I?

For an entire week before our first vacation, I was suffering from stress migraines, babyT was being his fussiest best and I had also fallen prey to the pre-vacation anthem “I have nothing to wear”, “nothing fits” and “Oh my God, I need some spa & parlour treatments, like now!” It was a nightmare.

But… my baby surprised me and taught me a very valuable lesson. That I need to let go and learn to “chill mom” Yes my 9 month old taught me how to enjoy a vacation. I came back with a list of why it actually makes total sense to travel with a baby. Here is why I completely urge you to pack your bags and leave right now with baby on board.

  1. Babies enjoy holidays – we were so skeptical and anxious about whether babyT will sleep in a new bed and if he will be comfortable in a new room. However the moment we entered our hotel room, he got so excited to see the nicely made bed and the crisp sheets that he leaned towards the bed and insisted we put him on it. He then spent the next 10 minutes rolling around on the bed and we breathed a sigh of relief. He loved the big french windows, the spic and span bathroom and the ride up the elevator to the room. It was so cute to see him marvel at all the sights and sounds at the hotel we stayed at.
  2. Younger babies are fuss free – if they are still breastfeeding then it is an epic win. If they are on formula it is still a win, you can mix it up on the go. But most importantly you don’t have to order special food and then struggle to feed them. Even if they are on solid foods, fruits are available anywhere in the world, require no cooking  and so can be offered to baby any time and any place. We went to Goa on our first holiday (obviously had to go to Goa) and even dared to give him fish fry and he loved it. He ate all types of fish. We also learnt here that our baby is a restaurant lover, who got super excited whenever we went to a new restaurant and wanted to try everything that was on our plates. We gave him fish fry, rice and daal freely. We did not carry any baby food from home with us.
  3. Babies have no to-do and to-see list while on holiday –  This is the best part, that they have no agendas and you don’t have to revolve your holiday around their plans. You will anyway visit restaurants, beaches or go shopping and babies love being a part of all these environments.
    While they are young, they are still too tiny to enjoy stuff like noisy theme parks or even understand places like zoos or aquariums, so we saved all this for future holidays and just did what we wanted to in Goa.
  4. You can still carry them around – Tiny babies who have not yet sprouted legs, can be carried around in baby carriers. They won’t always agree to being carried once they are walking and exploring.

    This was one of our favourite moments from vacation – we were walking back from the Candolim beach and entered a cafe to grab a cold drink. Daddy grabbed the guitar at the cafe while babyT caught up with his evening nap in his Anmol baby carrier.

    But babywearing is a blessing and I cannot imagine my life at home or outside with a carrier or two in tow. I never leave home without my baby carrier now. I don’t think I know how to carry a baby in my empty arms. 🙂

Having said that, as a parent one cannot help but be all fussy and worried about baby’s comfort while traveling on vacations. But with some careful planning vacations with babies can turn out to be quite enjoyable for you and the little tykes. 🙂

Where to go with babies?

  • Staycations – you don’t really need to go far and wide in order to catch a break. A staycation at a nice hotel in your city can hit the spot quite well
  • Visit family and friends in other cities, towns or even countries – there is nothing like the comfort of a close friend or relative’s house in a new place. You have access to all facilities like a well stocked up kitchen, laundry and the support of other people to mind baby while you take a breather.
  • Hotels  with their own restaurants, pools and entertainment facilities– these are the best because you don’t really have to leave the hotel premises to eat or spend some time at the gym or getting a spa service done.

As for the actual travel, packing and vacation itself, good planning is definitely needed to ensure the holiday is stress-free and enjoyable for all of you. To help with this I enlisted the help of a fellow mommy, Charu Sharma, who first traveled with her baby when he was just 1.5 months old, internationally mind you and then bitten by the travel bug,  she kept travelling with her little one and seems to have perfected the art of vacationing with baby.

Charu & her son on holiday

Here’s what she has to say to help with flight journeys, (the parts in brackets have been added by me to add on to what Charu has to say.)

  • While booking tickets, keep in mind your baby’s nap and sleep (and maybe even poop times). If possible avoid travelling in those hours.
  • If you have to take early morning flight, always dress up the baby in comfortable and warm clothes at night before going to bed teamed with a bulletproof night time diaper. (yes we are cloth diapering moms, and yes cloth diapers do last the entire night and some more) so that you can just carry them away while they are asleep and change them when they are awake.
  • Carry a spare sweatshirt for unpredictable AC temperature. (Its easy to take off layers of clothes if it gets warm, but difficult to find warm clothes if it is too cold. )
  • Always carry along a few favorite snacks. Try and keep a few options with you. When babies are being fussy, something edible usually does the trick. She adds that roasted makhanas were a saviour on a 2hours flight as her son kept munching on these throughout.
  • (I loved this one!) Charu says she hides her son’s favorite toy 2-3 days before their scheduled travel date, and this item appears magically inflight when his tantrums are about to begin. She also is planning to get one of those magnetic doodle boards for the next travel and confides in me that the grand reveal will happen mid air. (this woman is genius I tell you.)
  • Pack a small and well planned and well memorized diaper bag. Toddlers don’t give you time to hunt down anything in your bag. Charu uses small wet bags (What is a wet bag you ask? Check my blog post here) to store stuff. It is a bonus knowing exactly what needs to go with you to the baby room if they need a diaper change mid air.
  • Most importantly reach the airport well before those last 45 minutes. Inquire about the baby care room, if you need one. Charu recommends to always feed as well as change the diaper just before boarding. If the airline you have chosen to fly with does not allow you to do web check in with infants, it is best to go early and pick a seat according to your preference.
  • Gate check in the stroller at the aircraft’s gate and if required ask for assistance for storing the hand baggage in storage bin at the aircraft gate itself. Walking down those narrow pathways with a baby and a hand baggage can be little difficult. Airline staff are generally very helpful and one just needs to ask.
  • Priority check in and boarding: If the airlines is not offering, ask for it, specially if you are traveling alone. A calm mommy = a calm baby.
  • If nothing works and your baby is howling and crying despite all your efforts to calm him down, you need to keep calm and not worry too much about those dirty looks (even the sympathetic ones in that particular moment is not looked forward to). Babies cry. Its natural and it happens and everyone goes through it. You don’t have to be guilty about it.
  • most of the airlines don’t allow you to keep a really big diaper bag with you during take-off and landing. So having small wetbags with essential items does help. You can just take out that particular wetbag which you feel you might need and keep it with you during take off and landing, instead of the whole diaper bag.
    Charu is on Instagram as: https://www.instagram.com/charutiwaris/

I feel armed with so many more ideas thanks to all the tips given by Charu here. In fact I am yearning for a vacation now and this time I am looking forward to it. Have you traveled with babies? What was the one thing that you will recommend to someone looking to vacation with a baby?

Note: Did you know I Cloth Diapered while I was on vacation. That was a big win for me and inspirational for many other cloth diapering moms I know. Read the full post here.

T for Taste

I was completely lost for a topic for today’s #AtoZChallenge and then while lazily browsing through my phone gallery for old camera pictures I chanced upon this photo of #babyT eating his first solid meal at 6 months – mango. And how he savoured it. It was the month of June, that he turned 6 months and we were almost finishing mango season here in India and so I was very keen that he get his share of mango that year and not wait a whole year to have it.

Munching on Mango at 6 months

So for today’s challenge #Tisfor Taste.

If you had a chance to visit my earlier blog post #Oisfor Olfactory  then you would have read that sense of smell and taste develop while babies are in utero, i.e. when they are in their mother’s womb. Add to that the fact that babies have a highly heightened sense of taste, even more advanced than most adults, pleasing their taste buds is not all that difficult.  Continue reading

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