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.


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 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,

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Breastfeeding: The First Months

I wasn't successful at breastfeeding Ella and we all suffered the consequences. First, she is very sickly. Second, it took a long time for me to fully recover from my CS operation. And last but definitely not the least, we had to cope with a budget of P1000 a week for formula. Because of this, I made sure that I would be successful at breastfeeding Serene. Let me share with you my breastfeeding journey

The Preparation

1. I read a lot about breastfeeding. How it works; the benefits; the problems; the truths vs. the myths, etc. It pays to be in the know when it comes to these things because that way I was able to...
2. ...Make it clear to EVERYONE that I have decided that my baby takes nothing less than my milk. I sat down with my husband and other people in the family who will have an influence on me when it comes to child-rearing.I encouraged them to understand more about breastfeeding so that they could stand the same ground as I am when facing breastfeeding challenges. The least a mother wants to have are people who are negative about breastfeeding around her. Breastfeeding is most likely to be successful with a support system, especially during those times after birth when you cannot be in control of certain things. Included in the support system are your medical team. That's why...
2. ...I chose a hospital with a breastfeeding advocacy. I originally planned to have a birth plan signed but was hesitant because birth plans are not popular in the Philippines. Good thing I didn't have to because VRPMC (Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center aka Polymedic) is pro-breastfeeding. Apparently, DOH and WHO are already working towards making the Philippines a breastfeeding country. Good job DOH and WHO for RA10028!
3. I bought breastfeeding compatible bottles for when I go to work and my little one would be left with breastmilk from the refrigerator.
4. I drank Nu-Mom, a supplement for nursing mothers, by my 36th week of pregnancy. I wanted to make sure that I am confident that my boobs would have colostrum by the time I gave birth.
5. I manually and mechanically tried to express colostrum by my 37th week of pregnancy just to check if something would come out. When colostrum did come out, I became more confident in my success at breastfeeding.

Things I Really Needed and Used

1. An efficient breastpump; especially because I intend to continue breastfeeding after going back to work. I was given a Fisher Price electric breastpump as a gift and it helped me during the first few weeks but since it was a single pump, very noisy and did not pump on it's own (It just continuously sucked like vacuum and there's button you have to constantly press to let go of the boobie nipple - technically making it a glorified manual pump!) I had to get the Spectra Cimilre M1 from BabyMama.Ph. It was so efficient and quiet and I'm really happy with that purchase. It helped me build a breastmilk stash (more than enough that I was able to donate some before returning to work and troubleshoot some breastfeeding challenges such as under and over supply. I still keep my Fisher Price pump as a back-up though.
2. A nursing bra. Not only did it give easy access to boob for the little one but it also helped me pump hands-free! Just click here to see how it's done.
3. A nursing pillow. In my experience, the nursing pillow totally made the first few weeks easier, when baby seemed to fragile and I was still recovering from my CS operation. It's short-lived though because as soon as little one had stronger bones and muscles, I found myself needing the nursing pillow a lot less. So, it's better to get a cheap, or even a hand-me-down but reliable one.
4. A nursing cover. My family and I love to go out and despite breastfeeding advocates' stand that breastfeeding is a natural thing and need not be hidden, I still choose to nurse discreetly. 
5. Breastmilk storage bags and bottles. I bought my breastmilk storage bags from here and got the Looney Tunes set of 4 breastmilk storage bottles at SM Megamall Department Store. They're the most affordable choices as far I was able to search. I use my storage bags to build my stash in the freezer and the storage bottles to routinely arrive with freshly expressed milk from work. 
6. An insulated bag with gel-type ice packs. Aside from it going to be used to keep my expressed milk fresh upon returning home from work, it also came in handy when I had to host a wedding ceremony wherein the whole family was invited but couldn't directly feed the little one.

Things I Thought I Needed But Didn't

1. Breastfeeding compatible bottles. The Internet is very helpful, but it can also be harmful at times. I was haunted by the thought that my daughter will not take the bottle by the time I return to work so we ended up buying different kinds of bottles that claim to be "breastfeeding compatible" and trained her with them. It stressed both of us out when we didn't have success during training only to find out that my daughter will take any bottle as soon as I was out of the house. 
2. The milkband. I won't say it wasn't helpful because it did remind me of the time and the side I last nursed my baby during the first few weeks. However, I learned that I should breastfeed on demand and the fullness I felt on my boobs eventually became my reminder on which side LO last fed on. 

The Challenges

1. Difficulty achieving the correct latch. It took a lot of patience, practice and support from other people. For some, it may take a few days... For me, weeks. My nipple was even at one point too sore that it bled. But when I was about to give up, I just had to remember "This too shall pass..." and it did.
2. Timing feedings and observing cues. A hungry baby is a fussy, noisy, baby and it didn't help alleviate my post-partum blues. 
3. Oversupply. A lot of people I talked to think that oversupply is great, but it's not. If you have ever experienced expressing breastmilk or at least have seen someone doing it, you'll know that milk comes out of not just one but several holes. Sometimes, the ejection of the milk can be too strong for the baby, causing them to gag or choke, stop nursing, cry and be fussy. To remedy this, I'd have to pump everytime before little one is about to nurse. It's a hassle because one I can't predict the time "before" the feeding cues show up causing little one to end up having to take the strong milk ejection because I wasn't able to pump; And two, because I have more pumping-washing-sterilizing to do. 
4. Bottle feeding. - Only if you go back to work or go somewhere without your little one which are both something I intend to do. I eventually learned to not make a big deal out of it because my daughter feeds just fine on a bottle when I was not around.
5. Boob-side preference. Because of the oversupply problem, each feeding had to be done on only one side so that LO can get the right amounts of the foremilk and hindmilk from that boob. Recently, I am finding that there's no fuss feeding LO on my left, but a hurdle to feed her on my right.  

My Takeaways

1. Breastfeeding is difficult. I never thought that something so natural would require a lot of time, effort, hardwork and support from other people. If I didn't have all 4, I probably ditched the entire breastfeeding thing.
2. Articles on the Internet are informative but MAY do more harm than good. Yes, the Internet taught me a lot but it pays to hear experiences from real people who have already gone through the breastfeeding journey. Good thing friends invited me to a group in Facebook called Breastfeeding Pinays
3. Forewarned is Forearmed. The fact that I already knew a lot about breastfeeding helped me defend my stand to exclusively breastfeed my daughter despite what other people say or do. For anyone who may read this blog, one very important foundation information that I learned about breastfeeding is that a newborn's tummy is just about the size of a cherry so the tiny bit of colostrum that comes out of my breasts when I give birth is enough. It helped me stay confident about not having to concede to formula pressure.

The Rewards

1. A happy, healthy baby.
2. Faster CS operation recovery.
3. Faster pre-pregnancy weight achievement.
4. Around P4000 monthly savings for not feeding with formula.

So there! It's been two months that I have exclusively been breastfeeding my daughter, Serene and we're very happy and excited to experience what else is in store for us in the next few months. 

your every woman,

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I have an artist for a daughter!

Isabella has always been very good in whatever she does. Because of this, we were kind of confused as to which of her skills needed to be formally honed. We are a middle class family and we can't afford to send her to several specialty schools just to find out which she would excel in. Good thing we were blessed to find out early that Isabella is an artist.

water color

pencil imitation of illustration from Old Mother Hubbard

Recently, she received these recognitions:

1st honor and Best in Art. We're so proud of you Anak!

This strengthened our will to enroll Isabella in art school. Thank God for blessing us with a means to do so.

KidzArt Mandaluyong

And by the 1st day, Isabella wowed us with her work:

shading with colored markers

Next up? Sculpting! She said she wanted to learn how to properly mold polymer clay. There's really no stopping our little artist!

your every woman,

Tipid Tip: Home-made Baby Wipes

My daughters have very sensitive skin. I should know, they got that from me! With Isabella, I learned that commercial baby wipes have ingredients that may harm babies' sensitive skin so I resorted to making our own. It's very easy and affordable too!


cotton balls
Cetaphil (optional)

1. Arrange the cotton balls in a spill proof container.
2. Add just enough water to wet each layer of cotton balls.

3. Add a few drops of Cetaphil or any no-rinse sensitive skin cleanser that you trust.
4. Bring anywhere! Not only can it clean your baby's nappy area, it can also be used for any other cleaning you may have to do for your kid such as cleaning the face, the hands, etc!

your every woman,

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Red, White and Black: Stimulating Infant Vision

Did you know that the first colors an infant sees are red, white and black? I learned this before Ella was born. So to stimulate vision and thus stimulate brain development, I replace their baby mobile attachments with something red, white and black. 

When buying a baby mobile, opt for a not-so-expensive one wherein the attachments can be replaced. I bought ours for just P299 at Robinson's Department Store's baby section. There's a dial that you turn around for it to play music - nice and simple with no need for batteries! Just create anything with red, white and black with just enough size and weight to replace the original attachments on your baby mobile. I used cartolina to create the figures in the picture but you can use fabric and stuff it with cotton. That way they can also be the perfect first stuffed toys for your little one! Happy crafting!

your every woman,

No Baby Monitor? No Problem!

We saw a baby monitor at a baby stuff shop while I was pregnant and hubby thought we may need it. I told him we don't have a big house and Serene won't have her own room (Even Ella doesn't have her own room yet!) so we won't need a baby monitor. It wasn't until Serene lived with us for a couple of weeks that I realized the need for a monitor.

You see, our house is an up-and-down type of apartment that has 2 bedrooms on the 2nd floor. The nanny and my mom sleep on one room while my whole family sleeps on the other. There would be times when hubby sleeps in the morning after coming home from evening work and the AC would be on. We maximize AC time by sleeping with him in the afternoon. I can only sleep 2 hours in the afternoon given that I'm not working yet and since Serene is still asleep, I leave her in the room with her dad. That's when I need a baby monitor! 

Good thing my Sun cellular subscription includes unlimited calls to Sun numbers and Ella has a Sun cellular number! Why? Here's how this has become a solution to my baby monitor dilemma:

1. Call Ella. 
2. Answer Ella's phone.
3. Mute my phone and turn loudspeaker on.
4. Turn on loudspeaker on Ella's phone. 
5. Leave Ella's phone near baby and bring my phone downstairs.
6. Problem solved!

You can see that we have cheap phones. But if you have Internet at home and smart gadgets like iPads, iPods, android phones, etc., you can even have video baby monitor! Heck, you can even monitor your baby at work if your smart gadget has continuous Internet! Brilliant right? Hope I didn't compromise the baby monitor making industry though...

your every woman,

Make Your Own Bubbles

Let me share with you a recipe my grandparents taught me when I was small. All you'll need are the following:

Fresh gumamelas (More gumamela, more fun!)
1/2 cup liquid detergent soap (Can be replaced with 2 tbsp powdered detergent soap diluted in 1/2 cup water)

Isabella wanted to buy a bottle of bubbles for when her younger cousins come over one weekend. Now, it's very easy to just buy a bottle of bubbles, not to mention it's not really expensive at all. However, I wanted Ella to learn something new from me so I told her to ask for fresh gumamela from our neighbor's garden.

If you have a juicer, just extract the juice from your gumamela flowers and add it to the soap. The gumamela juice is sticky and it will enhance the bubbles' tensile strength compared to the bubbles one can make out of soap alone. If you don't have a juicer just like me, you can just pound the gumamela, put the pound gumamela inside a screen-type fabric or bag and squeeze to extract the juice. Mix all the juice you've gathered with the soap and that's it! 

Just use an empty bubble container with wand. If you don't have one, just like me (again!), you can just place the bubbles inside any covered container and make a wand out of the center of a palm or coconut leaf or use drinking straw! Have fun!

your every woman,

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

VBAC Journal - The End

Why the end? Well, because I already gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. However, my VBAC dreams indeed ended because I gave birth to her via CS again. After the 1st part of the VBAC posts, I was able to find a new OB. She did not seem to be a VBAC advocate but what made us choose her is because she offered to treat us as a house case, that means my delivery would be handled by residents and there would be no professional fee, just hospital bills. We needed the extra allowance in finances because having VBAC here in the Philippines (compared to VBAC articles and testimonies I've read from the US) is complicated. I was told that if my cervix opens 3cm, I would have to be confined at the hospital until I give birth and not wait it out at home. On the other hand, if I would not experience spontaneous labor by my 40th week, I would have to face the knife. 

Come February 19, my 40th week via LMP, I still wasn't experiencing regular contractions. My cervix was only 2cm opened. I was allowed to be mildly induced which meant staying inside the labor room that charged per hour. 24 hours passed and my cervix only opened 3cm, no regularly strong contractions and I was drained because I was no longer allowed to eat. I was asked if I still wanted to go through. I was torn because I was thinking about the hourly rate of the labor room until who knows how long, the possibility that the trial of labor would still fail and the expenses on top of a possible emergency CS. My husband, although supportive of VBAC, consoled me that our goal is to let the baby out safe and healthy despite a possible failure of TOLAC and that he would stand by me whatever my decision would be. I chose what's best for all of us and went for CS. 

I gave birth to Serenity Grace on February 20. It would've been happier if I had a successful VBAC but I'm happy to share that the breastfeeding policy of the hospital enabled me to breastfeed my daughter as soon as I gave birth until now and my CS wound seemed to heal faster than it did when I gave birth to Ella. Aside from being able to do crunches sooner and a hindrance to the possibility of having more children, I practically still achieved the things I feared I wouldn't from a CS delivery and that's what matters most.

you every woman,

Monday, February 10, 2014

Potty Training Part 4

I think the more appropriate title for this post would be toilet training. Isabella is now 6 years old and doesn't fit the potty anymore. The last installment to our journey to toilet training is her being able to wash herself up after a poop. Yes! Congratulations Isabella! 

You see, I'm currently on a long leave to get ready to give birth to Isabella's baby sister. We have been conditioning Ella for the coming of the sibling and part of it is to make her realize that most of the attention would have to be given to the baby during her first few years. That means she's gonna have to be independent. The only thing she didn't like about the independent thing is to wash herself up after pooping because she thought it was yucky (...which was actually our fault. I read somewhere that parents are not supposed to refer to poop as yucky but as the body's normal way of getting rid of waste. If parents do, teaching kids to wash up would be quite a challenge!). So we thought about using the Good Deed and Rewards Cards! She got so excited, she finally allowed me to teach her how to do it. And once I taught her, it's like she's been doing it for a long time! She even envisioned washing the baby's! We're really proud of her!

your every woman, 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

5 Nice to Have Baby Stuff and Gadgets

When you're a new parent, it's just natural to be excited about buying new stuff for the baby. And if you hadn't known any better, you're probably gonna buy really nice stuff that you don't really need. When we had our first baby girl, we had this Warm Me Shower and Bath by Safety First which was worth 7 grand at that time. 

Now that we're having our 2nd baby girl, I thought to myself that if we had 7 grand to spare these days, I would've bought more necessary stuff. With the expense of child delivery these days, not to mention the expenses that come afterwards, splurging on baby stuff should be the last thing on my mind.

But then again, it's still a happy experience to browse online and window shop around just to see what the baby section has to offer right? Let me give you my list of 5 unnecessary but nice things to have:

1.      1.  Benbini Watch

  • The Benbini watch is an ergonomically designed watch, perfect for any mom on a schedule. It has 2 bezels that indicate hours and minutes for anything that a mom needs to time on and a left/right switch to remind mom which side baby last breastfed on.  Pretty much like the milkbands, which I also like, but this is a watch and I love watches!  On the other hand, you can always use other reminders and scheduling techniques on your newborn, so this watch is definitely just nice to have.
2.       2. A Bottle Warmer

  • The bottle warmer that I like is called Quick ServeBottle Warmer by The First Years because the newborn kit that I bought was from the same brand. And not only that, it says that its “Unique design heats standard bottles and food jars to the perfect temperature instantly.” What a way to warm frozen breastmilk during wee hours of the night right? But, with great timing and knowledge on breastmilk storage, you can always heat water on a bowl and immerse milk bottles there for heating. Otherwise, nothing beats a bonding time latch-on. 
3.       3. A Hands-Free Breastpump Bra

  • The breastpump that I have is a battery / AC operated hand pump which I'm very grateful to have received as a gift. I have not given birth yet so I’m not sure up to what extent my daughter is going to depend on breastmilk since my first daughter didn’t have much luck on the breastfeeding part. If I will be successful on the lactation area this time, I’ll probably need a dual sided pump and it would be lovely if I could pump conveniently hands-free. 
4.       4. An Electric Bottle Steam Sterilizer

  • Of course, the sterilizer that I like is also from The First Years. Yeah, I’m OC like that. Who wouldn’t want an electric sterilizer that does all the sterilizing? However, since a good old steamer cooker have done the same job for my eldest daughter, might as well use that.
5.      5.  A Co-Sleeping Crib

  • I have always been an advocate of attachment parenting and co-sleeping. In certain parts of the world it is recommended to co-sleep using a co-sleeping crib instead of having the baby sleep next to you on an adult bed because of risks of suffocation and strangulation. But, I’m here in the Philippines and have never experienced such with our eldest. So, an extra adult bed is the most practical way to go. Daddy just has to sleep with our eldest on another bed.
If I win the lottery, I wouldn't think twice about buying these things. But for now, I think what we have is enough and we'll just buy as the need comes along.

I wouldn't mind receiving stuff from my list though! (Ehem...)

your every woman,

Parenting Innovation: The Good Deed Card

Ask anyone about the annual sticker drive for Starbucks planner and they would most likely be familiar with it. Heck, almost anyone in the work force is motivated to complete a 18-sticker booklet regardless of the price that comes with each sticker just to get one Starbucks planner every year! With that in mind, it’s easy to see that the Good Deed Card is such a wonderful parenting idea. If adults go crazy over such a scheme, why not kids?

Presenting, the Good Deed Card. (By the way, this is not my idea, which is why I included the original photo with the creator’s signature to give credit.)

There are actually a lot of variations of the Good Deed Card, depending on what your intentions are with the discipline of your kids. The principle is, for every good deed (or chore, or accomplishment, etc) your child makes, you get to punch one number off the card (or use stickers just like Starbucks). Once you kid completes the punches or stickers on the card, he/she is entitled to a prize.

Now, to combo the Good Deed Card with another brilliant idea I got from Pinterest, below are rewards cards:

Each reward card entitles your kid to something special they get to do instead of something they’re gonna  get. Well, for my kid’s sake, I inserted a few treats which she’d “technically” still get but I did that to remove the out of the blue requests for things like ice cream or a toy. She would still have to earn treats like those.

If you have a colored printer, you can browse online for card suggestions and tailor your rewards to suit your kid. Or better yet, craft your own! The laminating part was a challenge for me because who keeps laminating materials at home? So, if you’re interested to find out how much it costs, don’t hesitate to comment below.
Happy parenting!

your every woman,