Thursday, 28 April 2016

Baby Care/Infant Care - Traditional method

Following my previous post about the Postnatal care for woman, the most interesting and challenging task is to handle is the infant. We would not know for what reason the baby is crying. Sometimes, the baby will behave restless.  I want to share few tips for the visitors first.

Avoid visiting the infant’s house at least for a month. When you go to the infant’s house, wash your legs, hands with soap. It’s better not to lift the infant at least for three months even if you are good at handling infants. Unless, it is necessary for those who shower the baby it is always better to avoid having physical touch with the baby. The baby will be very tender in all aspects. The immunity level is very low. The baby will undergo pain over the body while handled by many people. Any unknown infection the visitor has might get passed on to the infant.  Do not give money (rupee notes | dollars) in the baby's hand. As the money is handled by many people it is highly infectious. Give the money if you want to offer as gift to the mother and not to the baby. Also the mother and the infant require lot of rest at this stage. We can convey our wishes to the family members; inform them the reason for not visiting during the early stage. Nowadays, the doctors also advise the same to the family, which they find it difficult to tell their friends and relatives.

Kuli Murai for Boy and Girl Babies:

The turn to shower a girl baby (oil Bath) is on even days calculated from the date of Birth. However, initially after Punniyavachanam the turn starts on 13th day followed by 15, 18, 22, 25, 28th day and then alternate days.

The date when the woman gets eligible to enter the kitchen as per our traditions is on the 45th day for a girl baby. This we call as “ Satti thoduradhu “. On this day the woman will take head bath and go to kitchen formally touch the containers in which Salt, Rice and Tamarind are stored.

For the boy babies the turn to shower is on odd days.  It starts from 13th day followed by 15, 17, 21, 23, 25, 28th day and then on odd counts.

The family members are not allowed to go to temple or attend functions conduct any functions for 10 days if it is a boy baby and 3 days for a girl baby.  This we call as “Purundu”. Few people don’t take food in the house till the completion of this duration.

The medicines that our ancestors used to give to the baby those days includes Sukku, Sitharathai, Vasambu, Kadukkai,  Jadhikkai, Masikkai . These items are bought before the delivery. All these are washed and then put in milk and boiled for 15 minutes. Then take it out and allow it to dry completely in shade and not under sun. Usually it is dried inside the house and it takes a minimum of 15 days to get this dried properly. Keep it in a dry container.
On the day when the baby is given oil bath as per the above mentioned days these 6 medicinal valued items are slightly rubbed in a Sandal wood using mother’s milk and fed to the baby.

If the baby seems to have Stomach upset then the sukku is rubbed once in addition and added to the mixture. Similarly when there is sore throat Sitharathai is added, for Constipation kadukkai is added a bit more, when the baby is not Sleeping properly jathikkai and masikkai are used in addition. Vasambu  is usually added very less since it might induce stammering if used beyond the normal level.

The baby’s clothes are preferred to be washed by hands and by someone at home.  The clothes should  be washed and gently squeezed. Over squeezing is usually not preferred. The clothes are dried under shade and not under direct sun for a long time. Especially should not be exposed under open area after 5.30 PM.
The babies are also not allowed to be taken outside after 6 PM. I have had bad experience personally when I took the baby outside after 6 PM. The baby used to cry during night and gets upset. It is very tough to bring back the baby to normalcy.

Our grandmothers used to apply oil (preferably olive oil) over the baby’s body and take the baby under sun early in the morning around 7 AM. This is good for the baby and naturally allows the baby to get vitamin D. 
In olden days, we didn’t have the store bought food. Hence we used to prepare food at home for the kids and the ingredients depend on the age of the baby.

Usually for the first six months only Mothers milk is provided. The mothers should not compromise in terms of the posture for feeding. She has to sit and feed the baby and keep the baby on the shoulder till you hear a burp. Only then the baby is allowed to sleep. Otherwise the milk consumed might get vomited.

After 6 months the baby would require additional food. Usually the first food is very light since the child’s digestive system should adapt to the new food. At this stage Old Boiled rice 200 grams, 50 grams of fried gram, 1/2 tablespoon of Ajwain and sukku 1 pinch are mixed and grind nicely in a rice mill.

Then this soft flour is mixed in water. Initially once half spoon of this flour is added to 100 ml of water and boiled for 3 minutes till the flour gets cooked well. This can fed with a spoon. Slowly monitor the kids adaptiveness to the food (check the digestion, likeliness of taste). Then the consistency can be increased by adding flour.

When the 8th month starts boil the vegeatables like carrot, beans, potato, toor dall and add little bit Rasam and ghee. Smash everything using a heavy ladle and feed the baby. 

At this stage, we can add Wheat, Moong dhal to the home made Rice mixture.

From 9 months we can give Sathu maavu in kanchi consistency can be given or in semi solid consistency adding ghee and sugar. Both my sons never had store bought food.  My Mil and my Mom brought up the kids by giving the above mentioned homemade food only.

Also refer my sisters website for Baby Food Recipe Ideas 

Hope this lengthy post was interesting and useful. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Tamil Varuda pirappu | Tamil New year

Tamil new year| Tamil varuda pirappu is celebrated on 14th April or the first day of the tamil calendar It marks the beginning of the Tamil new year with the first month Chitirai. (சித்திரை ). On this auspicious day, we get up early in the morning . The previous night, when  we go to bed my mother will keep 5 Rs coin (those days it was a big money for us)  under our pillow. On the day of Tamil new year, morning after getting up we will first see the coin after opening our eyes. The tradition behind doing this is, the whole year will bring out prosperity and wealth. After getting up we take bath and pray to god. As i mentioned in my Pongal festival post, those who are have to perform Tharpanam should complete this ritual first and then perform the Pooja.  As per our tradition on this tamil new year day, since it is Pudhu maasa pirappu, those who have their parents and married girls who have their in laws should not take head bath or oil bath on this day.
Usually, at home we will make an elaborate meal on tamil new year. Generally the tamil new year meal includes 6 tastes (arusuvai) of food viz,sweet, sour, salt, spice astringent and bitter. It is believed that the year is filled with all type of emotions. So it is ensured that the food should contain all these tastes. We make maanga pachadi, neem flower rasam (vepampoo) , payasam, vadai , pachadi and many more.
The new year Panjangam (பஞ்சாங்கம் ) is kept in the pooja room while doing the pooja. Many people arrange Fruits, vethala paaku, thamboolam, jewellery, gold coins and mirror in a tray and keep it in the pooja room. This is called Vishu kani. It is believed that seeing all these auspicious items in the morning of the new year day will bring prosperity throughout the year.

The panjangam kept in the morning will be taken in the evening and elders at home  who knows to read it, will tell about the prediction of the new year. However in our house we used to look for the star birthdays of the family members and other few auspicious days such as varalakshmi nombu, avani avittam etc. Panjanga padanam (பஞ்சங்க படனம் ) is done in most of the temples too. Some elderly experienced person will read out the forecast of the year for all zodiac signs and many people will go there to listen it.
Since i am born and brought up in madurai, the entire month is full of celebrations in Madurai meenakshi amman temple.  Me an my sister will go to the Azhagar festival with my dad early in the morning to enjoy the festive atmosphere.
To all my readers - இனிய தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்