All through my pregnancy, the people around me talked about how my baby would change my life. My sleep, they said, would become scarce once the baby arrived. I would be overwhelmed by just how much laundry needed to be done on a daily basis. Yes, there was no end to the advice and opinions I got regarding welcoming a baby into the house. But what no one advised me on turned out to be the most difficult challenge of all.

It was the challenge of being a new mother in India and encountering a host of unique situations that left me dumbfounded, anxious and unnerved.

The challenge of eating boring and bland foods

In the first month post-delivery, I was not allowed to eat several foods. Since I was lactating, it seemed that all I could get to eat was ajwain (carom seeds), jeera (cumin seeds), milk, roti, moongdal and four types of sabjis. Never mind that I was also ravenously hungry all the time! I craved for interesting, different and spicy foods, but it was a total no-no. I was told that such foods could affect the digestion of the baby as I was feeding her my own milk. So, “confinement food” was all I could eat in those early, difficult days.

The challenge of staying cooped up in the four walls of your bedroom

Can you imagine staying covered up with a scarf, socks and a blanket at all times when the weather outside is hot and humid? Those were the terrible months of August and September, when the Indian weather is really sultry. But I could not even open the verandah door and stand out in the fresh air for a few minutes. The reason? It seemed that I would catch a cold, and thus, so would my baby. It was baseless, I knew. But being a new mother, I was full of apprehensions about my baby, and hence decided to go with the flow. That doesn’t mean I was not immensely frustrated with this!

The challenge of my baby’s massage

After my delivery, I hired a confinement nanny who massaged my tiny daughter with oil. The elders in my house told me that a baby should be massaged for the first five years of her life. This makes her muscles strong and keeps her skin supple. Well, I read about this on the Internet, and came across articles that said, massaging a baby strengthens the bond between the child and her mother. However, I could not find anything that justified the claim made by my elders. The practice of a masseuse massaging your baby till she cried herself hoarse seemed like a pointless tradition to me! I tried to ensure that my nanny observed utmost care, but I still found myself praying all the time. I didn’t want my baby to break a delicate bone or two under all that pressure!

This continued for a few months. Read the rest of the article at

Sharing is caring!