pinkpoppypetal blooms!

Saturday, 6 October 2018 00:11 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Parents – especially parents of newborns and toddlers! – were in for a treat two days ago, when super-talented Yashasvi Kannangara announced the launch of her blog, pinkpoppypetal. Yashasvi, a freelance writer, stay-at-home mom and avid foodie, is mother to one-and-a-half-year-old Ahalya and has been sharing her journey as a mom on her Instagram page, ‘pinkpoppypetal,’ and is now also doing so via her blog,, to make it easier for parents to access the information they are looking for. An amazing cook, she is also the creator of ‘cookeatreviewrepeat’ – a photo blog on Instagram that covers her own cooking, recipes, restaurant reviews and low-calorie meals. Here, Yashasvi shares the story of how pinkpoppypetal came about as part of her journey as a new mother and outlines what we can expect from the blog, which is a godsend for new parents!

Q: Congratulations on launching your childcare blog, pinkpoppypetal. I’ve been following your Insta posts avidly and it’s great that you took this to the next level, providing mothers – especially new mothers – with lots of much-needed advice. What can we expect from the blog?

A: Thank you so much! The blog will consist primarily of newborn, infant and toddler care advice that I hope will help new parents; but it will also include recipes, home remedies and other lifestyle posts, where I address different topic that will be useful to new moms, dads and solo parents.

Q: Could you give us a breakdown on which areas the blog will cover?

A: Newborn Care, Baby Needs, Infant Health and Wellness, Weaning to Table Foods, Complimentary Feeding, Breastfeeding, Toddler Development, etc. It will also follow the journey of my daughter and me, as she grows from a baby to a toddler and later, a pre-schooler, adolescent and teenager hopefully. 

Q: What made you decide to launch the blog and what was the run-up to the launch like as a hands-on mother raising your child almost singlehandedly on a daily basis?

A: When I started my Instagram page, pinkpoppypetal, I wanted to share my story as a stay-at-home mom who was also freelancing on and off. I wanted to connect with likeminded people and share with them what I thought might be useful to them as new parents. But, soon, I began to realise that this wasn’t limited to a few people – a lot of parents out there manage on their own these days, just like me. The support system of the bygone era was not a possibility anymore. Most of them brought up children by themselves; even working mums were juggling so much. So the things I was sharing were relevant to an entire community. But, as the page took off and the number of posts kept growing, earlier content became difficult to reach. Scrolling an entire feed on Instagram to get to a post from the newborn months was not only difficult, but time-consuming; new parents hardly had the time to sleep or eat, let alone scroll through hundreds or posts. I got a lot of requests asking for a blog with ease-of-access to all that information with categories and a chronological list. So, here I am, starting with the first month on! I honestly hope this makes it easier for all my followers.

Q: Will you be collaborating with companies and events relating to kids and how will you pick and choose?

A: Yes, I do want to collaborate with organisations that actually benefit parents and kids, with a special focus on infants/toddlers and moms. Natural or organic ingredients in products; an ethical, environmentally-friendly manufacturing/production process that aids local communities and companies with a vision of carbon-neutrality will obviously have preference over others and be given a lot of exposure on the website.

Q: You have always maintained a special focus on nutrition and highlight this with a focus on local and locally-available foods, which is of great assistance to mothers in Sri Lanka who follow you on Instagram. Could you tell us more about this?

A: When I began weaning Ahalya, I wanted to look at baby food recipes that would allow her to eat a wide variety of table foods as a toddler. I was determined to have her ready for everything my husband and I ate at home by the time she was a year old. There is so much resistance to babies being offered textured chunky food and herbs and spices here in Sri Lanka, which was totally unexpected! Even my own family was doubtful of my approach. But my little one had eaten over 100 different ingredients including local vegetables, fruits, grains, herbs and spices by the time she reached toddlerhood – and mealtimes are easy today, because of this.

Also, local Sri Lankan produce is so nutrient-rich, it is very beneficial for a growing infant’s wellness profile. But this information and how to introduce vegetables such as karawila, moringa, wild eggplant and so on is lacking on online forums or via publications, etc. So, I had to figure this out for myself. A lot of research went into complimentary feeding my little one and I made sure I found the safest, most nutrient-friendly form of preparing each ingredient. And it worked well with Ahalya. I also shared a meal plan for young toddlers covering all the vitamins and minerals they needed on the page. Since her first birthday, my daughter has been eating whatever we eat at home. And I want to help every parent get there with their own toddlers.

Q: You keep your posts very real – not glossing over the hard parts of being a new mother, of which there are many. How has the feedback been and has the interaction helped you learn as well?

A: The feedback has been very positive and engaging. As moms, we have to sadly deal with a lot of judgement and criticism. The least we can do is create a safe space for each other where we are honest about the hardships of motherhood. I am not a perfect mother and I have many flaws. And I want other new moms and parents to know this about me, so that they themselves don’t feel alone; I don’t feel alone because they too share through the profile and their words are almost always kind, supportive and warm. It’s a community that has grown with each post shared and I am truly grateful for all that I have learnt from other moms and dads who engage with me on the page.

Q: What’s the story behind the name pinkpoppypetal?

A: I used to call Ahalya my ‘Poppy Seed’ when she was small and still in my tummy. And when I wanted to start the page, it came up; a sort of a nostalgic reference to how the poppy seed has grown and blossomed into a flower. That’s the story behind the name. I like pink poppies more than red ones, so I went with that I guess.

Q: What are the books and sites you would recommend as ‘must-read’ for new mothers and mothers in general?

A: I would definitely recommend reading ‘The First Year’ in the ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ series. It covers everything you need to know during your baby’s first year. It’s a treasure trove of baby care information that helped me gain a better understanding of the chaos that was unfolding before me. It also helped me manage things on my own with tips for feeding, dressing, traveling with and generally taking care of your baby. Infant first aid and a breakdown of common health concerns were especially helpful. So were the monthly milestones and development guides to look out for as my baby grew.

The PDF Booklet ‘Right Food at the Right Time Makes My Baby Well and Wise’ issued by the Family Health Bureau (FHB) of Sri Lanka is also a must-read. The organisation, which is the focal point for Maternal and Child Health (MCH) in Sri Lanka, has publicised this document to help new parents introduce solids to their infants in the safest, most nutritionally-conscious manner. It’s also helpful because it is 100% relatable in terms of the actual vegetables, fruits and other foods recommended for each stage of baby’s diet in the first year of complimentary feeding (most online sites and blogs relating to the subject focus on food predominantly from the West). The booklet covers almost every ingredient available in the country and specifies how and when it is to be introduced to your little one.  The Baby Centre blog is also very helpful during the first few months of parenting.

Q: And finally, what’s your key message to new mothers?

A: Trust your gut and do what you feel is best for your baby. Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember to also look after ‘you’ during those first few weeks/months. Ignore uncalled-for advice and the judgement of those who are simply there to criticise. The only opinions on infant/toddler rearing you need to take seriously are that of the paediatricians, the midwives, experts in pre-school education and those qualified in the field of childcare.