What we do mean when we say a Khushi Kantha is multi-purpose?
I used to think that working 70+ hour weeks, responding to a major international humanitarian crisis was hectic…..and then I became a twin mama!
When my half-British, half-Bangladeshi twin daughters were born, we were gifted a large collection of traditional ‘kantha’ baby blankets.
I was a bit overwhelmed to receive so many, and wondered what we were going to do with them all! But I soon figured out that they could be used in all sorts of ways, and I realised that other mums could benefit from having a Khushi Kantha to make their lives easier and their changing bags lighter.
The Early Hours
When Opi and Mahi were tiny, they slept in a ‘bedside cot’. Attached to the bed at the same height as the mattress, the idea was to make it as easy as possible to pick them up for endless feeds and cuddles, especially while recovering from a C-section.
I wish they still slept so well together these days….but if attempted to put them in the same cot now, they would have the ultimate all-night party 😉
It also gave me an unencumbered view during the hours I would spend staring at them with fascination, pride, fear, and all the other millions of emotions that race through the minds of new mothers every minute of the day – and even more so during those loooooooong nights!
At least that was the theory – in reality, at least one of them usually ended up ‘co-sleeping’ (i.e. lying next to me in the bed – check this link for advice on safe co-sleeping).
Big Sis, Lil Sis 👶🏽👶🏽😍😍🌿🌿
Not only did I use Khushi Kanthas to swaddle the girls (I encountered mixed reviews on whether to swaddle during my bleary-eyed, middle-of-the-night research, but I figured anything was worth a try to help us all get a bit more precious sleep!) but I’d also place them on top of the cot sheet, and/or my bedsheet in the inevitable event that some kind of bodily fluid got spilled, to save me having to change bedding multiple times during the night. Anything that made things a tad less hectic was a winner!
In the beginning, the only real ‘routine’ we would follow would be an endless cycle of feed/play/sleep….or at least we tried to!
That’s the recommended way of doing things, so that babies don’t get dependent on being fed to sleep….in reality, I was very much in survival mode, and found that the less I stressed about whether I was ‘following the rules’, the happier all of three of us were 😊
One thing that’s been fairly consistent over the past fifteen months is that they always seem to wake up STARVING!
Post-feed double snuggles made the insane levels of sleep deprivation worth it!
Having spent a lot of time and energy obsessing about ‘getting off formula’, as soon as I relaxed and embraced ‘mixed feeding’ (i.e. combining breastfeeding and formula), life became much easier.
I started ‘topping up’ the girls’ feeds with formula when we were still in hospital. I was really lucky to have been able to harvest plenty of colostrum and was blessed with a pretty decent milk supply. But the midwives recommended it because the girls were born quite small (Opi, the oldest by two minutes, was 4lbs 11lbs, while her younger sister Mahi was 5 lbs 10 oz – I used to call them ‘Big Little’ and ‘Little Big’, until Opi started seriously embracing the boob and outgrowing her sister!) and had to have a few days of blood sugar monitoring, as they were initially struggling a bit with latching.
Khushi Kanthas make great mini playmats – I used to set them all over my flat, to keep my daughters safe and cosy while I put a wash on, loaded the dishwasher, or – most importantly of all – made a coffee!
Khushi Kanthas have always come in handy at naptime – and not just for wrapping the girls up in!
In the early days, I used them to line a Moses basket or Sleepyhead, to prevent stains. Our baby kantha blankets are machine-washable – you can chuck them in with anything, and they only get softer with each wash! They also dry super quickly – they’re always the first item in any load of washing I hang out to be ready to reuse.
How I felt throughout the first six months of the girls’ lives….and indeed still feel 99% of the time!
Essentially, it’s much less hassle to wash a Khushi Kantha than a Sleepyhead cover….struggling to get the cover back onto the Sleepyhead we borrowed from my best friend when I did attempt to wash it once was one of the hardest things I’ve ever attempted in my entire life 😉
Khushi Kanthas can be used to line a Sleepyhead to prevent stains
Sometimes, when it all got a bit too much, the girls would succumb to the ultra-softness of their Khushi Kantha and nod off in the middle of the living room…
Time to explore the outside world
However much of a mission it can be to get two babies out of the flat, we’ve always made sure we get out every day– even if it’s just for a walk round the block.
The fact that Khushi Kanthas can be used in so many ways means way less paraphernalia needs to be crammed into our changing bag – which makes the mad dash out of the door a tad easier!
Khushi Kanthas are made from ultra-soft, breathable, 100% cotton, which means they keep your little one warm in the winter, but cool in the summer – so they make brilliant pram liners.
Aunty Looby inspecting her new nieces on their first ever ‘outing’ …to her garden (she lives literally round the corner!) for brunch in the sunshine
Khushi Kanthas can also be used as mini outdoor playmats, when you want your little one to embrace nature, but would rather they didn’t actually get covered in mud (slightly less feasible now the girls are 15 months, but in the first six months of their life, it was definitely something I had a little more control over!
Mahi was excited to check out this plant in the lovely outdoor cafe at our favourite local park
While holidays are obviously not a daily occurrence – and most people haven’t managed to get away at all this year, hopefully we will soon be able to do more than just daydream about adventures!
One of the times I’ve found our Khushi Kanthas the most useful was on a trip to Majorca when the girls were about 12 weeks old. They’re light and fold up small – which really makes a difference when you realise how long your packing list is when you take a baby on holiday – let alone two babies 😊
Opi living her best life on holiday with her Khushi Kantha
And holidays are when their easy-to-wash, quick-to-dry nature really comes into its own, especially after a day on the beach!
Khushi Kanthas made my first six months as a double mama so much easier….
….and indeed jollier! Their bright colours and gorgeous stitching kept me smiling when everything felt a bit tough – and proved to be a great conversation starter, helping me break the ice with other mums on lonely days when I was desperate for a chat with someone who could actually pronounce words 😊
And I never had to worry about getting them mixed up with their friends’ blankets when the lovely, chaotic local twin mum crew I am so lucky to be a part of descended on an unsuspecting café en masse (in the days when such things were allowed!)
We continue to use our Khushi Kanthas on a daily basis now Opi and Mahi are fifteen months old. In next week’s post, I’ll show you how you can use our multi-purpose blankets for an older baby or toddler….