Sunday, December 28, 2014

Start Right on Child Nutrition


I have a theory... that there are no picky eaters and that children who don't eat right are a result of clueless parents. Please, before giving me dagger looks on how self righteous you think my parenting is, let me explain.

I'm 30 and my hubby is about 2 years younger. We have 2 kids, a 7 year old and a 10 month old. By these numbers, you can imagine how young we had our first child and even though I did read several books about how to raise a child then, nothing beats experience.


You see, our first born is a picky eater. When she was born via CS, she was given to me for a taste of my bosom which I am confused whether it were for nourishing purposes or a photo op because it was so quick. After that, she was kept in the nursery drinking formula until I recovered. Breastfeeding failed. I tried until she got ill and I received a lot of ideas about how my daughter was allergic to my milk and was turning yellow and stuff like that that I decided to quit and do what we thought was best for her. 6 months later, when she showed signs that she wanted to eat solid food, we thought that she'd eat more if the food tasted yummy - like adult yummy. So we started with packaged cereals (I'm sure you guys are familiar with this one and probably had your taste of them too!) and juices, which she liked, but when we started to give her real food like rice and mashed vegetables, she gagged. I thought it was just because she didn't have teeth to chew the food yet so I postponed real food feeding until she was more than a year old. Since then, every feeding is a challenge, even until now. If it's not fastfood, she'd stay at the table for more than an hour thinking of a strategy on how to either trick the elders or finish her food.


7+ years later, our 2nd child was born. We were older and a lot more prepared. We've read more books and were more vocal about what we wanted. Hospital rules are different and the help of the Internet and social networking were tremendous. I gave birth to our 2nd child, still via CS, but she was with me from birth to home. Exclusive breastfeeding was successful. When she showed signs of wanting to eat solid food, the first thing that we gave her is unseasoned, steamed mashed green papaya, and she ate it! Our pedia taught us that we should've started with bitter melon which a lot of kids (and even adults) don't like, but the advice came late so 2nd child didn't like bitter melon (alone) anymore, but she eats a wide variety of vegetables. As of writing, here are the vegetables that are part of her mashed food mix:


- Carrot

- Potato
- Moringa (Malunggay)
- Chili leaves (dahon ng Sili)
- Bitter Melon leaves (dahon ng Ampalaya)
- Mustard
- Spinach
- Bell pepper
- Squash
- Tomato
- Chayote (Sayote)
- green Papaya
- Basella Alba (Alugbati)
- Ampalaya
- Corn

She eats them without any seasoning, can you imagine that? I sometimes toss in sauteed onions and garlic to excite her palate but that's it. I taste her food sometimes and the potatoes make the mix taste a bit ok for me but I wouldn't eat a whole meal of it. She eats these food mixes 3 times a day and loves them to bits!


What I have learned is that children don't have innate preferences. They take what you give them, get accustomed to the taste, and develop a preference. It is the caregivers duty to offer and develop a healthier preference. Exclusive breastfeeding is a good start because breastmilk has all the right ingredients for an infant and just enough sugar so she doesn't develop a craving for sweets.


So far, we have 2 kids whom I can tell apart. Once our 2nd child grows and we have a third kid, I may be able to prove if this theory is true, but if you have a kid who's about to eat solid food, or are having kids or are planning to have kids, please give this a try. Maybe years later, you'll be able to tell me in the comments if it were true for you. Until then...


your every woman,

Friday, October 10, 2014

For the Love of Cloth



I originally wanted to use the traditional lampin with our eldest daughter that I even bought several muslin cloths and nappy clamps. However, being the working mom that I am, I eventually gave up the dream to go completely eco-friendly. A couple of years later, after giving birth to our youngest daughter and engaging in a breastfeeding support group, I was introduced to modern cloth diapers.  At first, I shied away from its hefty price tag but when I did the math, I realized that my first set of CDs is just equivalent to 2 ½ months’ worth of disposable diapers.


 Because of this, it didn’t take too much to convince my husband into buying me another set for the rainy days.


I wouldn’t dwell into reviewing cloth diapers because I am no expert and I haven’t tried everything. All I can say based on my research and my purchase is that the AI2 system is the most suitable cloth diapering system for us. It uses a waterproof outer or “shell” and a snap-on soaker that takes all the pee in. The soaker is a combination of a stay-dry top layer and several layers of absorbent natural fiber cloths. Ours uses microfleece and bamboo cotton. What I like most about this system is that it takes reusability to a whole new level! When the soaker is saturated with pee, you can just remove it and snap on a fresh one, although I prefer to use a fresh shell while air-drying the previous one for later use.  If baby poops, that’s a different story. The whole combo would have to be changed.
Now unlike disposable diapers, cloth diapers do not turn liquid to gel which meant it may not last through the night. I had problems with night leaks because I can’t get up promptly to check on my daughter’s nappy and she doesn’t really care if her nappy is saturated while she’s asleep. I was almost about to buy trifold boosters for our cloth diapers until one desperate night, I decided to add a folded muslin cloth under the soaker. Boom! Problem solved!



One time, during a nappy change, I thought to myself that it would also be a lovely idea if the cotton I use for wipes were reusable. Then it hit me, “Why not use cloth wipes?”.  I scoured the Internet for cloth wipes and I got a lot of suggestions on how to create my own. I ended up buying 2 meters of Yellow cotton flannel, cutting it into 5” diameter circles. My mother-in-law volunteered to sew two layers of the flannel together using her edging machine and the results were amazing! Matched with a bum spray recipe that I got from Earth Baby, it did a great job in cleaning my daughter’s nappy area. And when it’s laundry time for the cloth diapers, I just throw in the cloth wipes with the CDs in the washer!



I am so happy with our entirely cloth diapering system. Armed with breastfeeding, it completely eased us of all additional routine costs of having an addition to the family at least until the next vaccine schedule or until she goes to school. Wonderful isn’t it?!

your every woman,

Cold Remedies for Infants


Serene recently had a very bad cold. Being the breastfed kid that she is, I didn’t realize that she could get sick too, so I was never too careful about being sick near her.  When it became difficult for her to nurse, we brought her to the doctor. At the hospital, aside from medicines, we were advised to buy this:

Simba tube nasal aspirator



This is the most efficient mucous suctioning tool I’ve ever experienced in my entire mommy life! In fact, I would recommend this or give as gift to friend mommies with infants. Here’s how it works:

Not only did I help my daughter blow her nose, I also got to collect the mucous in a transparent container which I can best describe to her pedia during check-ups. Amazing isn’t it? Better than the sacrificial act of actually mouth-sipping your infant’s mucous from her nose right? (Oh come on! I’m sure some of you have done or have heard someone had done it before!) Please take note that because it collects mucous, it’s a breeding ground for virus and bacteria so you have to ensure that you wash and dry it in between usage.
Aside from that tool, we also followed a routine to ensure that our baby heals in no time:
1.       When it’s time for her bath, I pour a large amount of hot water in a pail, close the bathroom and we’ll both stay inside for 15 minutes for steam. I suction all her mucous during the steaming process. After 15 minutes, I add cold water to the pail to get just enough warmth for an infant and I bathe her with it.

2.       After bathing, I massage her chest and back with GIGA Ventures’ Cold Rub. I also apply some to her feet too and cover it with socks.



3.       When she’s awake and I notice that she has difficulty breathing, I spray Salinase through each of her nostrils and suction the mucous again.

Weather nowadays is so unpredictable that I’m sure parents out there would eventually have the trouble of taking care of a child with colds. So if you ever try any of our products / procedures, or have any other products / procedures you swear by, please let us know through the comments.


Thanks!

your every woman,

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Breastfeeding: The Working Mom


It’s been 5 months and I am happy to say that our little one is still exclusively breastfed. Getting here was no walk in the park though. It is during difficult times that I’d tell myself that if I don’t love my baby, or if I didn’t have a support system, I would’ve given up. Breastfeeding, in my opinion, was designed in the premise that mothers are supposed to be with their little ones 24/7. For the working mom, however, it’s a test of patience and endurance.

The Good

I wanted the Cimilre M1 pump but the high cost of P7800.00 was something I intended to postpone for until I go back to work from my maternity leave and earn again. Good thing Babymama.ph sold some test breast pump kits at half its actual cost, so I grabbed one. It was so efficient! I’ll post a separate review about it but in a nutshell, it’s worth its price and you can never go wrong if you decide to get it for yourself. Because of my efficient pump, I am able to troubleshoot my oversupply by pumping before directly feeding my little one. I was able to save so much milk with this routine that I am able to donate to other children who needed them. I am overwhelmed by how grateful mommies are for receiving my milk that they bring me fruits and letters that make me happy. Thanks to Human Milk for Human Babies for creating a network for milk sharing.

Also, I am blessed that our company already took on the responsibility of supporting the milk code. Hence, we already have a lactation room and lactation provisions are already in place. I am able to bring fresh milk home to my daughter that she never had to drink milk that is more than 3 days old. At work, I realized that a 15-minute pumping session would actually consume more time than 15 minutes because of the preparation and the clean-up. Wonderful mommies from Facebook community’s Breastfeeding Pinays suggested that I place the breast flanges in the fridge so that the droplets of milk that stayed there will not spoil and the flanges will be ok to use the whole day without washing. That brilliant idea did reduce the time, but it still didn’t fit the 15-minute break, so I reduced my sessions to just 10 minutes. I know that by law, lactating moms already have an extra 40-minute lactation break but the work that I do affects a class of 20+ participants who don’t have lactation breaks like I do. There were even busy days when I had to reduce the frequency of my pumping sessions and it did have an effect on my milk supply. That was blessing in disguise by the way because I used to have oversupply and I don’t anymore.

The Bad

I knew since my first day back at work that feeding through the bottle is not my little one’s kind of thing. But because a lot of moms assured me that the baby would eventually feed through the bottle, I gave in and let go of all my worries. When I went back to work on a morning shift, she did drink from the bottle but only enough so she doesn’t feel hungry. When I get home, she would nurse as if there’s no tomorrow, leaving me with little sleep. That was ok with me until I was transferred to the evening shift. Serene sleeps through the night as long as breast milk is readily available once she shows early signs of hunger. However, that is not the case in the morning. In the morning, she would have more awake times than sleep times and it left me with very little to no sleep. That was still fine with me as long as my baby feeds until…

The Ugly

…we started struggling through feedings. Initially, I noticed that everytime I tried to carry my baby by cradle position, she squirmed and eventually cried out loud that I can’t feed her anymore. Drew found out that the nanny forced her to feed through the bottle even when she’s not ready. I can’t put all the blame on her because 1. She’s not a mother, and 2. Even if she were a mother, not all mothers are equipped with knowledge about breastfeeding because 3. Not all mothers breastfed their children; Not even my own mom and 4. We don’t have the luxury of time to wait until she’s ready just to feed her and make her sleep.Even I confess that I force her to feed at times when I’m almost late for work.  At that phase, I will only be able to feed her if we both laid down on side-lying position.That meant I wasn’t supposed to go out with her anymore but I wanted to. I want to bring her to the mall, to Sunday service and everywhere I am except at work. So, I forced her to feed by cradle position all the more which traumatized her further until she won’t feed without a battle.

The End

Drew and I decided that we had to put an end to the war Serene and I had everytime she needs to feed, so we sought help from a lactation consultant. While at the clinic, Serene amazed the pedia / lactation consultant by showing her how difficult it was to feed her. We tried waiting for her to initiate the feeding on her own by cradle position, saddle position, side-lying position and cup-feeding but she just screamed the whole time and refused to feed. Looking at our scenario, the lactation consultant agreed that we have been doing a bad job by forcing Serene to feed. She suggested that until our baby forgets how it feels to be forced to feed, we have to make her really really sleepy before we offer her milk – by bottle or by breast. She said that this is also the time when babies’ gums are swollen in preparation for teeth to come out which aggravates the situation. For this, she advised that we apply teething gel to her gums to alleviate her pain / irritation. These we followed to the T. I made a commitment to not fret if I am about to go to work and Serene is not yet ready to nurse, making sure that everyone else does the same with her bottle.

Now, our baby is moving on from her breastfeeding trauma. We stuck with her favorite bottle, the Pigeon wide-neck with peristaltic nipple, when I’m away and we have seen great progress with the way she nurses – by bottle or by breast. There is no more battle – just a bit of tension and hesitation but I am positive that we are moving toward peaceful nursing in the near future. I’m excited for her to turn 6 months so she could start solids. Yey!



your every woman,

Monday, June 9, 2014

Security and the Silver Shoes


I grew up with a lot of insecurities and I'm sure hubby had a handful too. I personally believe that the level of security of a human being has a lot to do with how he or she was raised. You can just imagine my dilemma on how I could possibly raise a secured child when we had our first girl. 

It was Ella's first time to attend Elementary school. Our budget is so tight because I just recently gave birth to her sister and we failed to expect that I am not to receive salary for 2 salary periods because of the obligations that I should have paid if I were not on maternity leave. Because of this, everything had to be crammed up to the last day before school. That night, while we were preparing stuff, we realized that we already gave Ella's previous school year's shoes away. My mom promised to buy her school shoes but the order will not arrive until 2 days later. I was torn with having her wear casual clothing, even though the school strictly informed us that kids should be wearing uniform by day 1, or have her wear uniform without proper school shoes. Drew chose the 2nd option with only the silver dress shoes as replacement for proper school shoes. The following day, when I told Ella that she had to make do with the silver dress shoes she said "Wow! ...just like in Princess Charm School (a Barbie movie)! Explain ko nalang sa teacher." Truly, our eldest daughter became a princess that day.



After Drew sent Ella to school, I told him that it amazed me how Ella reacted to wearing those silver shoes. If I had to be in the same situation when I was her age, I would've felt very insecure to the point of probably sitting at the farthest part of the class hoping to be invisible. He said he was thinking of the same thing on their way to school. That if he was in the same situation when he was her age, he'd probably be absent on his first day! 




Now, more than ever, I was finally able to tell myself that in the past 6 years, Drew and I may be doing something right. 

your every woman,
 

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