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Archive for the ‘Yes / No’ Category

Animal milk for children?

In Yes / No on 19 September 2013 at 4:00 pm

Is animal milk (cow or buffalo) essential for a child’s growth?

– Mamma of 2-year old from Hyderabad

Well, of course it depends on whose child it is!  I am sure the zebra, elephant, deer and cow below would each tell you with full confidence that her milk was essential for her child’s growth!

Read the rest of this entry »

Sunscreen … really?

In Yes / No on 8 June 2013 at 3:35 am
I am in a dilemma about whether I should start applying sunscreen to my daughter.  On a sunny day, she has red cheeks which go back to normal in a few hours.  Apart from a little tanning, our skin tone is not threatened by any sun burn, and in our childhood and even adult life, we never used sunscreen.  A friend mentioned that we must apply before swimming or on the beach because  water and sun combination makes sun extra dangerous.
But I am reluctant to apply sunscreen because the titanium or zinc dioxide present forms a thick impenetrable layer closing the spore, preventing sweating and thereby toxic elimination through skin which is normal body mechanism. That itself makes me wonder if it causing more harm than helping people. 
– Mama of a 1.5 year old in Connecticut
To sun or not to sun?  That is the question.
Whether it is nobler in the sun to bask
Risking UV rays, sunburn, and worse
Or to arm ourselves with Vitamin D
And cleanse ourselves through sweat
And by boosting our immunity, brave them?

Read the rest of this entry »

Do your kids forget what they read?

In Books, Yes / No on 23 August 2012 at 3:49 am

I was wondering whether this problem is with my own kids or is it more generic. We keep forgetting what we learned few months back, especially in science. We did periodic table quite thoroughly maybe 8 months back, now we can only remember a few things. Of course if we quickly brush the topic we will probably recollect them. My kids say there is so much to remember in science, how are they supposed to remember?  Is this something to be concerned about or am I being just paranoid?

– mother of two from Bangalore

Just to get it out of the way, let us start with the counter-question, Do you forget what you read? If not, do share your techniques. Who among us would not like to improve our memory?

When you ask whether you are paranoid, I guess you are wondering whether your children’s rate of forgetting is average or above? Perhaps you would be interested in this article: Knowledge Taught in School: What is Remembered?  The author quotes Harry Bahrick, who found that “much of the information acquired in classrooms is lost soon after final examinations are taken.”  I doubt this comes as a surprise to anyone. While school teaching methods have undergone various changes in the decades since Professor Bahrick did his study, to the extent that classtime is devoted to exam-prep, this conclusion would probably still hold. Read the rest of this entry »

Downside to whole grains?

In Yes / No on 23 August 2012 at 3:42 am
Seeing how difficult it is to move to whole grains after being used to everything white from rice to bread to semya, nan, pasta, etc, I wanted to make it easier for my children by serving whole grains from the start.  Recently a friend told me that giving brown rice cereal as first food is not as good as giving white rice cereal, because of the phytic acid issue (the brown rice contains more phytic acid than white).  Now I am confused, what should I do? 
– Mother of 4-year and 4-month old in Mysore
Several issues are bundled up in this question.  First food, digestion and nutrient absorption, and food preparation.  And brown rice.  Amma is ready 🙂
First, first food.  Obviously the “first” in question is not breastmilk, which is normally the first and only food for babies for at least the first six months of life.  Six months is not a fixed target for the entrance into solid foods.  These days when deadlines and schedules seem to hover over everything people often forget that a baby’s readiness for solid foods depends on maturity of the digestive system, and there is no benefit to introducing solids before a baby is ready for them. Read the rest of this entry »

Is it Necessary to Have a Doula?

In Yes / No on 26 May 2012 at 1:18 am

How necessary is it to have a doula in the delivery room?

mom-to-be in Maryland

You give birth, your baby comes forth into the world.  Strictly speaking, no one else is necessary.  But they can be helpful – if you need help.

I think someone who believes in you and builds your confidence is worth having close by while giving birth.  Someone who can give a good massage, suggest appropriate movement, positions, breathing, and other steps to reassure you and your family in times of doubt, pain and uncertainty can make an enormous difference during labour.  Read the rest of this entry »

Am I academically fit to homeschool?

In Yes / No on 11 April 2012 at 4:36 pm

Do you think you need to be updated in academic subjects to homeschool your child?

– mother of a 2 year old in Pune

The short answer is: No. Many seasoned homeschoolers elaborate on why this is so, reminding you that:

– You are learning together.
– You are not so much teaching what you know as you are supporting their learning whatever they want to learn
– your children will learn how to learn, to delight as they discover, and to navigate the ocean of knowledge, not just acquire a subset of your knowledge.

When the rubber meets the road, however, doubts can creep in. Read the rest of this entry »

Birthday party – let them eat cake?

In Yes / No on 11 April 2012 at 4:34 pm

Till now my son’s birthdays have been family affairs but this time we’re inviting his friends to a party in a park, taking a home-made cake without added sugar. My cousin says this is not a “real” birthday party and guests will be disappointed. Of course I want everyone to have fun, but without the junk.  Am I asking too much?

– mother of a soon-to-be 4-year-old in Delhi

Chetana Amma has written about today’s birthday parties and how to fill them with simple pleasures.



EC – baby losing sleep?

In Yes / No on 17 February 2012 at 5:21 pm

Our son communicates as soon as his diaper is wet, even in his sleep. But once he is awake, he is hungry again. Should we worry about the fewer number of hours of his sleep?

– mother of a 2 month old in Maryland

No, you should not worry. Babies have shorter sleep cycles than we do, and what is normal for your two-month old may seem like frequent waking to you. Though advertisements for disposable diapers make much of the "all-night sleep" that baby will enjoy thanks to the absorbency of the diaper, is all-night sleep really good for infants? On the contrary, Dr. Sears says that "nightwaking has survival benefits" (See 8 Sleep Facts).

Is this pattern of waking and getting changed, fed, and helped back to sleep happening in the daytime as well? Babies take time to adjust to the difference between night and day since in the womb they were in reverse (rocked to sleep by Mama’s movement in the day, woken up when Mama rested). It is like newborn jet-lag. I am wondering if along with feeding, he is expecting to play when he wakes up at night. As he becomes more active in the day, he will come to treat night as sleep-time and fall back to sleep more easily after taking care of business, and may also nurse without waking up.

Millet Rotis?

In Yes / No on 26 September 2011 at 8:32 am

About using millets as first foods at 6 months: Should I just use the powders and cook them like porridge? We generally have them in roti form – can we just grind the rotis with milk and give?
– mother of a 6 month old

Don’t mix ragi with milk, esp for infants. The iron in each food is better absorbed if they are digested separately. Simply make the ragi porridge with plain water and add nothing else – no salt, no sugar. In a few months when your baby is able to chew he can enjoy the ragi rotis just like you.

Can pets travel on the train?

In Yes / No on 26 September 2011 at 8:30 am

Can pets travel on the train?
– child in Mumbai

Amma has consulted the Indian Railways Rules on luggage which state that: "A passenger traveling in First Air condition class or first class may take a dog into the compartment only with the concurrence of fellow passengers on payment of charges vide Clause(1) above." At the same time the rules refer to "the liability of Railways as carriers of animals is limited as specified below, unless the sender elects to pay the percentage charge on value as shown in the Rule 1301: Per Head Elephants Rs.1500/- Horses Rs.750/- Mules, Camels or Horned Cattle Rs.200/- Donkeys, sheep, goats, dogs and other animals or birds Rs.30/-"

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