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Posts Tagged ‘hygiene’

For pocket, planet and a happy period: Nirmala talks about the menstrual cup

In Field Notes on 5 April 2017 at 10:41 am

One form of untouchability that we must work to eradicate is menstrual untouchability.  Unique to women, this oppression is based on the idea that a woman’s body is defective and dirty, and can pollute people and spaces if not kept in check.  A recent incident in a school in Uttar Pradesh highlights the need to fight the notion that menstruation is a cause for shame or punishment.  The principal of Kasturba Gandhi Residential School in Digri village made 70 girls strip and be searched for menstrual blood.  Following complaints by students and parents, the principal was fired.  Parents and teachers of  girls should help them to manage periods comfortably and to value the vitality in their bodies, including their menstrual blood, which makes it possible for a woman to nourish new life.

It is good that the community in Muzzafarnagar took decisive action against this outrage; yet menstrual untouchability persists in stark and subtle ways, not only in far flung villages but also among the urban educated.   In the march to consign menstrual taboo to the dustbin of history, one important step is to make periods more comfortable.

Read the rest of this entry »


Saves water, saves money, is comfortable: The Menstrual Cup

In What on 22 March 2017 at 8:00 pm

A couple of years ago, my friend Nirmala, who lives in a village in Srikakulam district decided to try the menstrual cup.  Recently I got a chance to chat with her about it.  She was quite happy with it – one of her first comments was that it really saved water.  They get their water from a pump – fortunately the pump is in their own front yard, but still, every bucket saved helps.  All the more so for women who collect water from a distance, especially in times of drought.

Today being World Water Day, here is a short excerpt from our conversation about the menstrual cup.  Stay tuned for the longer clip.

Bravo! Anisha Bhavnani on Menstruation

In Call to Action on 14 February 2015 at 8:18 pm

Bravo to this young woman, Anisha Bhavnani, and her Amma.  All of us need to stand against untouchability in its many forms.   Let us see that our daughters can also answer “no” to the question Anisha faced. Read on ….




Hasn’t your mother told you that you can’t step inside a temple when you have your period?

Find the link below:

Thanks to everyone who’s followed, liked or shared my blog. The fact that my work has an audience is truly inspiration to write more. I love you guys! 😀

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Potty Time Creativity

In How on 3 April 2013 at 2:39 pm

Chetana Amma in Bangalore, describes how she and her family followed the path towards diaper-free hygiene with her daughter, Disha. 

I am always intrigued when someone talks about natural yet unconventional and alternative ways of doing something. So when my friend who had her daughter a year before Disha was born, mentioned EC and explained a bit, I knew this was the way to go. Read the rest of this entry »

Tinkle Time on the Little White Potty

In Field Notes, How on 3 April 2013 at 2:33 pm

Sunita, Amma to Anika and Aanya in Dallas, describes her experience taking her daughters to the potty from infancy.

When I was pregnant with my older daughter, Anika, I made one of the best 15 dollar investments ever – an infant potty from Baby Bjorn

As soon as Anika was a few weeks old, right after nursing her, or when she woke up from sleep, I started holding her over the sink or putting her on her little potty. At the “sss” sound, she would happily oblige and tinkle in. Poops in her little pink potty became a regular morning affair and she loved her tinkle or poop time and smiled widely in the mirror as she saw herself on the potty. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Diaper Free?

In Why on 3 April 2013 at 2:17 pm

Can you share your experience with diaper-free hygiene? I remember you mentioned a potty seat… what type of seat was it? And how easy is it to go through EC methods? Does one have to be constantly monitoring the child throughout the day?

– expectant mother in Bangalore

Babies!  from the cover of The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears.One can approach diaper-free hygiene from many angles.  One is the basic right of the baby to be heard.  Another is the baby’s wish to have a clean dry bottom and an appropriate place to pass urine or stool – that is, not into something wrapped around his/her bottom.   Then there is also environment, public health, social integrity and so on.  But at a basic level, going diaper-free helps us understand babies’ expectations once out in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Diaper-Free Reading List

In Books on 3 April 2013 at 8:25 am

When he wets or defecates, she may laugh, and as she is seldom alone, so do her companions, and she holds the infant away from her as quickly as she can until he finishes.  It is a sort of game to see how fast she can hold him away, but the laughter is louder when she gets the worst of it.  Water sinks into the dirt floor in moments and excrement is cleared away immediately with leaves.

Jean Liedloff, The Continuum Concept, p. 55

Though I was surrounded, as a young mother, by people who, like the indigenous people Liedloff described, did not use diapers, I got key support for going diaper-free from online sources.  Why rely on internet help to get back to nature? Read the rest of this entry »

Brushing Teeth

In How on 18 December 2012 at 3:52 am

Help! My son won’t brush his teeth.

– mother of a 2 year old in Abu Dhabi

Brushing teeth is something that we tend to do at times of the day when we have one eye on the clock, be it for eating breakfast and getting out of the house, or for getting to bed.

For those who are yet new to the task of teeth-brushing, and who may not be particularly keen to get out of the house or to get to bed, what incentive is there to brush? Let alone to brush quickly – hence leading the time-sensitive parent to conclude “he won’t brush.” Maybe your son needs more time to brush, and for brushing to be more fun and meaningful. Explain in a matter-of-fact, non-threatening way, why we brush our teeth and try to incorporate tooth-rushing into a pleasant family routine.

Here are some more things you can try:

1) Say something like: “Hey Lou, it’s party time! Junior just ate some yummy food and some of it is still there around his teeth. Call all your friends and let’s get some! Those are the bugs talking, they are coming to eat some food and multiply. They are in for a shock when the toothbrush comes in!”

2) Brush each other’s teeth.

3) Put the tooth powder / tooth paste on each other’s tooth brush.

4) Brush at a time of day when you aren’t in a rush.

5) Diversify your teeth cleaning methods so that the pressure is not on brushing alone. Swish with water or eat apple, carrot or celery, especially after sticky or crumbly foods.

Most of the above come from our own experience. Now it all seems so long ago!

Gentle reader
, what are some ways you have encouraged toothbrushing?   Please comment and share your tips and techniques.

Baby Skin Care

In How, Recipes on 5 September 2012 at 10:16 pm

What should I use to bathe my newborn baby? Her skin seems to be peeling off 😦

– mom of a newborn who is not exactly like her first-born

Newborn skin peeling, while apparently normal, seems to be one of those things that you know will stop, yet, you worry till it does.

Regarding bathing, what I use and recommend for young and old alike is besan, or chickpea flour. Sunnipindi mung dal (green gram) flour mixed with rice flour – feels even better but requires mixing two ingredients rather than just one. Be it besan or sunnipindi, I simply add water to make a paste, rub on the skin and rinse off. If you leave it to dry for a minute, you have to rub while rinsing, getting the exfoliating effect. Voila – clean, smooth, baby-soft skin. Some people get fancy and mix in yogurt, oats, honey, or dry flowers, neem leaves, orange peels, turmeric etc.  So if your little one gets his oatmeal all over his face, he just may be onto the secret of a glowing complexion!

Make sure your oranges aren’t sprayed or your turmeric artificially coloured. An even simpler approach is to use plain water, especially if bath is primarily a time for  play and relaxation.

EC Fail?

In How on 5 September 2012 at 10:15 pm
 I may have jinxed my ec fun. [My newborn] peed and pooped several times in the sink after a feed but now since yesterday every time I hold her in the ec position she squirms.  I didn’t have this with [my firstborn]. Do you think I started too early?  Don’t want to put her off.
– mom of a newborn who is not exactly like her first-born

Remember, the “c” in ec stands for communication, not catching.  Some ec parents say that when you stop talking about catches and misses, you start listening and observing.  Baby is not put off by someone who listens and observes.

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