Sunday, 23 November 2008


Dear All,
My mother's first death anniversary is nearing and there is no single day when I did not cry remembering her and what I realized that there is no option to Mother’s Love.
In Marathi we have a proverb that though the possessor of the three worlds (hell, heaven and earth), he is still beggar (if) without the mother. So true it is.
When it comes to mother’s love, we always remember the Story of Hirakani (Hira). Three and half centuries ago, in the kingdom of King Shivaji, there was a milkmaid called Hira. She was very young and was a mother of the baby child. Everyday she used to deliver milk to various families living on the Fort Raigad.
(The Fort Raigad was the Capital of Kingdom and it is a fort which has been described by European historians as 'The Gibralter of East'. The holy shrine has become vibrant by the gallantry, courage and patriotism of King Shivaji.
The sheer vertical rock face tearing into the sky above appears defiant and insurmountable. It has stemmed many a foreign aggression and protected the kingdom during those historic times.
When he first saw the place, King Shivaji could not help exclaim: "This Fort is formidable. All sides appear as if chiselled from a mountain of solid rock. Not even a blade of grass grows on the sheer vertical rock. This is a paragon to house the throne".
Built over 350 years ago, this main entrance to the Fort stands majestically. It is as imposing and stout today, as it was then! The design of this gate is an enigma. It defies detection of its location to the attacker. Blind curves enroute make it impossible for the attacker to use elephants to knock it down. In the battle of those historic times, elephants were used to demolish fort entrances.)
By the noon, Hira used to go to the fort, used to deliver the milk and used to come back before the sunset. At the sunset, the doors of the fort used to close and used to open next day at the sunrise.
One day, Hira, unfortunately stuck into the fort before she let out herself out prior to the sunset and as per routine, the doors of the fort closed. And suddenly the reality struck Hira that her baby is at home. She was agonized.
She had gone to door guards and requested them to open the door and told them that her baby is very small and she must breastfeed the baby at night.
Guards were too kind. They apologized and said, “Dear lady, we understand your inconvenience that might have caused, but as you know, our Kingdom is surrounded by the enemies who always attack us swiftly. Please be aware of our situation and kindly bear for one night, we will open the door at the first light of the day. Till that we will arrange you lodging and boarding with us.”
And Chief Guard arranged a small hut for her and his wife served her the dinner. At late night, Hira could not avoid remembering her baby and she decided to climb down the fort.
When early morning guard has come to awake her, he found that Hira is not there. Now everybody is amazed and has started speaking about Hira and soon Shivaji’s spy told Shivaji about the thing that happened.
Shivaji immediately asked his people to search for Hira because disappearance of a lady from the fort in the night was very harmful for the dignity of his ‘people oriented kingdom’. And shortly his spy brought the news that Hira is safe in her house.
King Shivaji sent a Palanquin to her house and asked her to give an honorable visit to him. Hira was very confused about all this and was a bit terrified too.
When she met King Shivaji, he asked her how and from where she got down and that is also in the midnight. Then she has shown him a place which was nearly 3000 feet deep steep rock where there was no fortification.
(As I said in my last blog “The Trek”, the rocks in Maharastra are solid basalt stones which are made up of Lava and sharp in nature. One wrong step could be a shortcut to the hell)
Shivaji appreciated her courage to climb down in the midnight through so dangerous way and asked his men to immediately build a bastion there so that no enemy could enter from that place. Then honored her with Gold wrist-ring and palanquin, cherished her valor and her love for the baby and named the bastion “Hira”. One can see this bastion today as well.
Goodness of Breastmilk
It is recommended that all infants should be fed exclusively on breastmilk until they are six months of age and continued to be breastfed till 2 years or beyond. Breastfeeding is advantageous for all - you, your baby and the society.
Before your baby is born he is protected within your womb from all infections and after birth breastfeeding takes over the protection process.The milk which you secrete for the first few days known as colostrum should be given to your baby as it provides resistance to your baby against various diseases and infections.
Your milk is made especially for your own baby. It is the right nutrition for the growth of your baby. It is easy to digest and it contains protective substances which help prevent infection especially loose stools. You can give it even when you are ill, pregnant or menstruating.
Benefits your baby enjoys:
Breastfeeding provides numerous benefits to your baby which are as follows -
Breastmilk contains adequate calories and provides the right kind of proteins, fats, lactose, vitamins, iron, minerals, water and enzymes in the amounts necessary for your baby.
Breastmilk contains iron, water soluble Vitamin D, Vitamin A, C and E more than cow's milk.
Breastmilk is clean, free from bacteria and has anti-infective properties.
It also contains substances which prevent harmful bacteria from growing in intestines and causing loose stools.
It is ready to serve when the baby wants it, needs no preparation and it has the right temperature. ¥ It is economical and free from contamination.
Breastfeeding enhances the emotional bond between the child and the mother and provides warmth, love and affection and is more than food.
Breastfeeding protects the child against several infections including respiratory infections.
Breastfed babies are less prone to have diabetes, heart diseases, eczema, asthma and other allergic disorders later in life.
Breastfed babies have been shown to have a higher IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and develop better mathematical abilities than infants who are not breastfed.
Breastfeeding enhances brain development. There is better visual development and visual acuity leading to learning readiness.
Benefits you enjoy as a mother:
Breastfeeding has many advantages to the mother, which include the following -
It reduces post-delivery bleeding and chances of anemia.
Obesity is less common among breastfeeding mothers as it helps the mother regain her normal figure.
It has a contraceptive effect .
It has a protective effect against breast and ovarian cancers.
If you exclusively breastfeed your baby, you will have better adjustment with your baby.
Benefits the society enjoys:
Breastfeeding lowers health-care costs by reducing illness and deaths of children under five years of age and thus reduces the strain on the family budget.
It helps in reducing absenteism of mothers from work as exclusively breastfed children are less prone to diseases.Thus, it will prove less costly to the employer.
“Breastmilk is all that the baby needs for the first six months.” Breastmilk is an ideal food for your baby because it contains all the nutrients that a baby needs for first 6 months of life. It is quickly and easily digested and it contains fat, lactose, protein, vitamins, minerals (including iron), immunoglobulins, and water which are necessary for growth of your baby.
Colostrum-The first few days of breastmilk
During the first few days after delivery you produce a special milk known as colostrum which is thick, sticky and yellowish in colour.
It is easily digestible, contains anti-infective elements to protect your newborn against infections.
It stimulates your baby's immature intestines to develop, in order to digest and absorb milk and to prevent the absorption of undigested proteins.
Colostrum also has a mild "gut clearing effect", which helps your baby's gut to pass the first, very dark stool called meconium. It also helps to prevent jaundice by clearing the bilirubin from the gut.
Although colostrum is secreted in small quantities (30-90ml), it is sufficient to meet the energy needs of a normal newborn during the first few days of life.
Original post : Hira

1 comment:

  1. Nicely written summary of benefits of breastfeeding. Unfortunately, these facts need to be marketed still in this modern day.

    After all that has happened in China with contaminated formula, you would think this lovely reminder would not be needed!