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New-age nannies

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HELP AT HAND Today with nuclear families being the trend, taking care of babies is often tough
HELP AT HAND Today with nuclear families being the trend, taking care of babies is often tough

What was once grandma's domain, caring for the newborn and young mother, is now a paid-for service much in demand

Most young mothers today are lost when it comes to looking after their newborns. Lending a helping hand and a motherly presence around such young women, with grandma's knowledge to boot, is Judy Bai. Women are considered to be weak after delivery and caring for a fidgety newborn is no easy task. The new arrival too needs special care and attention. Massaging and bathing are two rituals that older women in the family automatically took over, in the days of the joint family. Today with nuclear families being the trend, it's a different story.Providing much needed support and help to such families are people like Judy from Mangalore. Judy has been in the business for over 25 years now and offers A to Z service for both mother and child. Judy now sends out trained women not only to help in bathing and massaging the baby, but also providing grandma's remedies and recipes to cure common colds, tummy upsets and other such emergencies that inevitably crop up and give new-age mommies and daddies panic attacks. These services are in such demand that Judy's brigade is often booked six months in advance.Judy co-ordinates sending help to Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata and even Dubai.She has a team of around 25 women who take care of the infant and mother for a period of about 40 days.Lakshmi Devi hired Lily D'Souza from Judy's team to care for her daughter Suhasini and her grandchild. Forty-three-year old Lily is trained in bathing the baby and doling out home remedies culled from ayurvedic herbs. Some of these traditional kashayas and lehyas are given to the mother so that the child doesn't develop a fever or a cold, or any other ailments, explains Lily.These services, of course, come at a price. They range from Rs. 12,000 or Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 50,000 when they need to go out of the country."We start work either before the delivery or after, depending on individual preferences," adds Lily.Then she goes on to explain the effects of some of herbs that she uses for the mother."Kai maddu (medicine) is given for three days. It comprises kal jeera, kashaya and helps heal wounds. Lehyas (concoctions) made from garlic is beneficial for colds, ginger helps in case of gastric trouble and dry ginger helps in improving the overall health of the mother." The thiklu,a blend of sesame seeds, herbs, plenty of dry fruits and herbs procured from the Western Ghats is also given to the mother daily for the good health of the child. Lily also ensures that the mother gets porridge and soups besides food."Right from bathing and massaging the mother and child to washing the babies nappies is taken care of," says Lily."The best part of having them around is that they are trained and instinct clubbed with experience also helps them figure out when the baby cries due to a stomach ache or other reasons, which is reassuring to many young mothers," says Lakshmi Devi.Suhasini feels that the services offered by women like Lily are beneficial to both herself and the baby. She also observes how while Lily was tending to the baby and her, both never had a cold or any other ailments. Lily fondly recalls how Lily had become a part of the family and saying goodbye was tough."Judy can be contacted on the Mangalore number: 0824-2215061.M.V. CHANDRASHEKAR

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