Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Day of the Year for 2010

As the end of the day nears, so does the end of the year. In a few hours, people will start dating with 2011. So let me reminisce some of the highlights of my year...

  • Pumping at work... and other places - I started the year pumping at work using a Medela Freestyle that I bought online. It gave me a sense of freedom as I was able to do other things while pumping. I can go online, check the washing machine, read books, while my pump is hard at work expressing milk for my baby when we're not together.

    As pumping is necessary for me to keep up my supply and the demands of my baby, I had to pump at various places. At my previous work, I pumped in the clinic, making use of the enclosed area specifically for that purpose, or sitting atop a bed when that area was being used. At my current work, I tried pumping at the clinic but I wasn't assured of the privacy I need as the clinic's beds aren't covered/separated completely by curtains. So, I had to make-do and use the toilet stalls instead.

    I also had an experience pumping inside a vehicle, in the front passenger seat in a van, going back to Manila from a tree planting activity in Angat Dam, with my officemates riding at the back, not knowing that I was already expressing milk until I was done. It was a priceless moment. They were all surprised that I was already doing my thing and they didn't even know about it!

    I also experienced pumping inside a toilet in a videoke bar, with 3 girls in line since there was only a sink and the toilet stall. I was standing beside the sink, with a woman inside the stall, another woman beside me, AND another one outside the main door...

  • Breastfeeding in Public - At the start of the year, I used a nursing cover to prevent boob exposure when I would nurse my baby in public. But as the months went by and his awareness increased, he would push at the cover and consequently expose us to onlookers (when most of the time, it's just my husband). From then on, I did away with the cover, and just picked semi-private spots or I would just turn away from most of the public view so as not to expose my boob when my son would unlatch and turn his head to where some noise is coming from. I can't remember exactly when I stopped using a cover as it bothered him and in turn, got us unwanted attention when most everyone else wouldn't even spare us a glance had he just nursed calmly under his cover. So no more cover for us and since I wasn't that conscious any more of breastfeeding in public, I didn't really care.

    My husband is more conservative about it but I told him it's actually just him who notices what we're doing since HE knows it so he doesn't count as an onlooker.

    There are still times that I do admit I'm a bit conscious when it comes to breastfeeding in public (especially in church) but I'd just shrug it off. My baby wants his milk at that time and so I whip out the boob. End of the story.

  • Babywearing - I had a total of 6 carriers this year, 3 of which I've already sold to others. I started with a ring sling, then a pouch, then a SaYa, then a Kangaroo Korner mesh pouch, then a Baby K'Tan, then a mei tai. I loved using and carrying my baby in all of them but to keep my husband from telling me of and curbing our growing expenses, I just kept my ring sling, the mesh pouch, and the mei tai.

    The mei tai is our go to carrier now as it evenly distributes my baby's weight on both shoulders. I just now have to master carrying him at the back for longer babywearing.

  • Cloth diapers - I went gaga over these. I bought a LOT online. I'd buy from an online store and have them ship the items to my trusted courier in the US then that courier would ship the items here. My credit card bills grew because of these BUT I do not regret buying those. I should have thought of buying those in before instead of buying the other carriers. Hee. But it's never too late. I now have 4 Thirsties fitteds, Kissaluvs organic cotton/hemp fitteds, Dream Eze fitteds, and Antsy Pants trainers.

    Because of the beauty and eco-friendliness of cloth diapers, I now want to go and sew and share the love to people here since it's not yet that popular here. Plus, the cloth diapers being sold here are mostly imports. I only know of about 4 locally made ones.
Aside from those, I moved to a different bank in the middle of November, I've been researching and researching about cloth diapers, and I've been trying to cope with a 15-month old boy who's had it late with teething pains... So now, here in the Barcelona room of the Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences, I wish you all a Happy New Year and may you all be blessed with the Grace of God next year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Christmas Season

It's been such a long time since I last posted an entry here. Some changes have happened during the past few weeks and let me try to enumerate them one by one...

  • Change of work... From one international bank to another. This one is nearer my house. Imagine, going to work riding a tricycle... I can actually walk if I wanted to. Which I did once after office, going home. :)
  • No more room in the clinic for my pump breaks. The clinic is... small, for a big company. And so, I had to pump in the toilet. If I'm lucky that day, I'd be able to use the stall for the disabled so I'd have a sink to place my pump motor, bottles, etc. If not, I sit on the toilet bowl and do a balancing act so as not to spill the milk, the contents of the bag which contains the pump's motor, etc.
  • Three days before Christmas, our babysitter/househelp went to her province so we had to live at my parents house for the meantime so that my mom and sister would be able to look after my son. We had to adjust to sleeping very closely, Jack-Jack and I, while J had to sleep on a sofa bed.
  • Christmas came and went. Lots of gifts. THANK YOU! But super tiring this Christmas weekend. I had work last Decemeber 24, but it was a half-day only, thank goodness. Managed to do some last minute shopping for my godchildren. We also had to shuffle back and forth places/houses. Argh.
  • On whole day VTO (voluntary time out) today. Did the laundry so J wouldn't have to do it tomorrow. Will try and sweep around the house. Then will go and buy a gift...
  • I managed to run back and forth the washing machine and the computer, while pumping. The wonders and benefits of hands-free pumping. Thank you, Medela.

So that's it for now. I so miss blogging. And I know I'm rather talkative when I get started.

Belated Merry Christmas, everyone! And wishing all of you a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Transitions

I feel like I haven't blogged in like, forever, but of course, it's just been a few weeks. But yes, it's still a long time since I even logged in to Blogger. I have several drafts of entries, which are, up to this date, still not complete but... Oh, well.

Anyway. I've a new job and I'm still in training. I'm slowly acquiring new friends, learning my way around the building (which still confuses me especially in the morning and I enter thru the back door), and learning about my job and the product specifics that I'd be handling. It's a little bit overwhelming, information overload, and sometimes, when questions are suddenly asked, I know that I know that answer but I can't seem to articulate my thoughts. Ah well. And tomorrow... Gosh. I think we'd be having a foreigner do our training.

And now, my baby's one year old already. He's eating more solids, I guess consuming less milk while I'm away, so I'm thinking if I can already reduce my pumping breaks to 2 while I'm in the office. I'm still debating with it since the commute to and from home is only around 5-10 mins. Which means, I'd be able to directly nurse him when I get home in case he'd be asking for milk already by then.

What else... OH. No more uniform. Wee. But more expenses. I need my backpay, like ASAP.

Toodles!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mothering is a continuous learning process - part 2

Tomorrow becomes almost 2 months later... And since I can't sleep at this hour, might as well continue typing down what I've drafted before.

But anyway, the point of Part 1 is that after a few months of being a mother, reading up all sorts of texts on illnesses, parenting, etc, you'd think you have the child-caring down to pat. And then bam! You learn something new again. Something to think about, something to ponder on. Something to take note of for the next bairn and while taking care of the current one.

Some old-wives-tales have truth in them, others are mere guidance. It seems that it's not all scientific hullabaloos these days. Instead, we're going back to our roots, to basic, to nature. And well, I actually kind of like it. So now, I'm going to begin reading up on Homeopathy (and yes! we've changed pediatricians. hee) by buying a book about it. Hopefully, it arrives next week, while I'm still on leave.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Jack-Jack's first birthday

Exactly one year ago at 3:30am, I woke up with painful cramps in the stomach not knowing but feeling sure that on that day, I'd be giving birth. Today, that miracle called Joaquin Gregory celebrates his first year.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK-JACK! Mommy and Daddy loves you very much.
And oh! I'm also celebrating one year of breastfeeding.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Filled to the Brim

I am slowly feeling too taut, too tight, too full. I can't seem to properly manage what I need to do. A lot of tasks have been delegated to me and they're all due almost at the same day... It's becoming quite a handful and while I know I can do them all, it'd be really nice if I wouldn't be bombarded with extra stuff that can be done by others (or themselves) so I can focus on what extras I've taken on.

Le sigh. I'm hoping they hire the replacement soon.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Posts, posts, posts

I've a lot of topics in mind that I haven't written a post on...

  • Like the time we went to Music 21 (July 23, 2010) and I had to pump in the water closet (toilet separated with a door from the sink), door locked, then somebody knocks, and I cautiously open the door because it's very insistent and say that I'm pumping, and then she begs because she desperately needs to pee, then I kinda cover the flanges with the bottles hanging down from my breasts and I just stand as still as I could on the side, then two more women come in, and then finally, I can lock the door again but I was already done.

  • Like the time J and I watched Cats (July 25, 2010) and almost dozing off during one scene, but then really enjoyed all the performances and theatrics of the cats (with which I fell in love with Rum Tum Tugger's sexy moves... hahaha. And voice, of course), and then learning later on that Lea actually didn't have to act so much like being an old cat since she's actually limping due to a sprain in her ankle.

  • Like the time current president Noynoy Aquino had his first SONA (July 26, 2010), and a lot of people were looking for his strategies, his steps, his plans in his speech when what he said actually addresses the title of the speech, which is the State of the Nation Address. He did say what's the state of the nation. And actually, that's what I would like to hear, instead of repeating his promises during the presidential campaign and then waiting if he'll make good of his promises. Better to hear how the country is doing and then seeing results after he saw the problems.

  • Like last Saturday (August 7, 2010) when we went to Ipo Dam for a tree planting activity in the office and I had to pump for about five or so minutes in the van just so I won't get engorged during the activity, and then pumping for around ten minutes (I wasn't able to check) inside the van while J was driving and my officemates were at the back and they didn't even know I was pumping until I finished.

  • Like the time I was daydreaming of already near the process of launching my business idea and was looking for testers... I'm wishing and hoping it's near and that it'd be a success. I'm thinking it will be and I have to do it really soon.

  • Like the time I was thinking how fast time flew and Jack-Jack will be turning one year old exactly next month.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mothering is a continuous learning process

Right when I thought I was already being careful, Jack-Jack would become sick and I'd have to swallow the truth that I've been remiss in some things. But then again, it's something I'm willing to learn, to get pounded into my head, so that I would remember and take action.

Jack-Jack suddenly developed a fever yesterday. It grew from 37 degrees to 39 when I got home. His nanny said he started feeling warm after his afternoon nap. My in-laws were there at that time so they were the ones who took my son's temperature. When I got home, he was lying limp on his sitter's arms, leaning on her shoulder as he peered at me through the screen door. He was hot when I took him. I was too alarmed at how and why he suddenly fevered up I forgot a lot of things like my meeting this morning in which I had to bring my share of food and the money I have to get to reserve his first birthday location.

He became somewhat active as the night wore on. I'd like to think it was because he kind of felt better that I was already there, his mom, at his beck and call. He was still hot but he's interacting with us already, unlike when I just got home and he was very limp and clingy.

It was a kind of roller coaster ride during sleep time. He'd wake up, crying, hurting, and we'd have to rock him to sleep as sometimes, he wouldn't even take to the breast. J and I would take turns rocking him but Jack-Jack mostly wants me to carry him.

Then the next day, today, he was still hot but at least, he was, at least, still active, as if he wasn't that sick. I told myself I'd just come home during lunch break to see how he was and to reassure myself that he's going to get ok. I couldn't concentrate while preparing to leave, unsure as to what I can bring to the monthly breakfast meeting, what time I would pump milk, what time I can come home then go back to work... I was kind of distracted until my MIL texted me that they're there at home during lunch time already to take care of my baby. I felt usurped, useless, inept. I should be the one at home, comforting my baby. I know it's not good to feel that way but it just kind of piled up to a lot of issues that I wasn't feeling too relieved that someone was looking out for Jack-Jack other than our trusty nanny. It's just like, I felt that my role was robbed from me. Especially after finding out that he has "pilay" and "lamig" all over his back.

But anyway, at least he's loads better now. He's still warm but at least he wasn't hot like last night. And he's more active, as if he isn't sick at all. Thank God.

And my point? I'll let you in on it tomorrow. For now, we'll go and have some dinner then have a much deserved rest.


Part 2 here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

La Leche League Support Group Meeting this Saturday, 17 July

There will be an LLLI support group meeting on Saturday, at 10:30AM to 12NN at the Rustan's Makati 3rd floor play area to be hosted by Abbie Yabot, Certified Lactation Counselor and LLLI Leader. Topics to be tackled are pumping, storage, and going back to work, plus all other breastfeeding concerns.

Registration is a must so please text Abbie at 0922-8292268. I'll be going there with Jack-Jack and J in tow.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My new carrier...

Finally! I got it! I received it! And... I love it! Even J likes it.

My new mei tai by Baby So Smart.




Jack-Jack is already sleepy here so he's not even smiling...


Pictures were taken from Starbuck's Café in Fort Bonicio at 32nd Street and Power Plant Mall yesterday, July 10, 2010.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I have a dream

And it is a wish and it may be slow to fruition but I think I'd be able to grasp it someday. Soon, hopefully, but that dream is not without costs and the cost would most probably be high but it would be for the greater good in the end.

J... My dear J... You know what this is. Let's hunt?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Max's Chicken All You Can


In celebration of Max's 65 years in the business of providing yummy friend chicken to the public, they're having a blow-out of their famous chicken dubbed Max's Chicken All You Can which runs from June 17 to July 17, 2010 from 6PM to 10PM. This means that you can eat a quarter of a chicken as much as you can during the promo period and hour for only PHP165!

Of course, being the food lovers that we are, we grabbed the opportunity to eat as much as we can and challenge ourselves on really, just how many quarters of a chicken we could eat! We went there last Tuesday, June 29 since the following day was a holiday. And the verdict? J and I managed to eat five, yes, 5 quarters each! So that makes about one whole chicken AND a quarter. That was literal for me as I was able to eat 3 quarters of thigh/leg parts and 2 quarters of wing/breast parts.


[After eating 5 quarters of chicken, we still managed to put a smile on our faces.]

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father and Son


Happy Father's Day yesterday, love. Despite my many issues for yesterday's outing, I love you and I thank you for helping me with Jack-Jack. (Even if I do have to nag you sometimes. :) )

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Coron Adventure - Part 1

A few weeks ago, May 28, was the start of my department's team building. And yep! It was held in Coron, Palawan, one of the beautiful islands here in the Philippines that has yet to be bombarded with commercialization. Or something. Meaning, there weren't any fast food chains around, no convenience stores nearby, only about 3 banks in the whole island, no cabs (just tricycles)...

The week before that, last May 20, we had to let our helper go back to her province since her father suddenly got sick and only has a 50/50 chance of surviving. They were just counting days and despite the suddenness of it, plus our pending trip outside the Metro, we let her go. No immediate game plan was made. My mom went to our house to look after Jack-Jack that same day, then the next day, I took him to the office to let my mom rest.

It was stressful, add to the fact that we still haven't packed, there were still things that I have yet to buy for the trip, plus I still haven't got my period (which was a whole other stress). But anyway, come Monday night, after leaving Jack-Jack at my parents' house, we all decided that it'd be better if we stayed there during the weekdays, so that someone can watch over my son plus he wouldn't be shuffled back and forth houses, which would stress him. Plus, there'd be someone to wash our clothes, too. So there was that.

May 27 night, J and I went to our house to pack the clothes that we'd need for our Coron trip. Yes. Even if it's my office's team building activity, J and Jack-Jack were coming with me. Because for one, I'm not sure I'm ready to leave my baby for two nights. Two, I doubt I'd have fun pumping while island hopping. It'd be more trouble than good. Plus, I've already psyched myself that it might not be as enjoyable/easier as it would be if I didn't bring my baby and that there might be some places we'd have a difficult time going to because of him. So, we were ready to face the challenges. Although, I'm not quite ready to face those challenges with a period!!! It was this day that I got my period which brought my stress-levels to another high, instead of down.

So May 28, we woke up early so that we'd be at the airport two hours before our flight as per SOP. My dad took us to NAIA terminal 3 since me and Jack-Jack are booked at Cebu Pacific. Then J just took a cab to take him to the domestic airport since he's booked with Zest Air. I texted two of my officemates with whom Jack-Jack and I were flying with. I only had to wait a couple of minutes before I met up with Ed, then Ms. Jenny, then with Tricia, and then we all went and checked-in. We hung around the waiting area until around 30-40 minutes before boarding time. And then, viola! Our plane was called. We were actually confused because it was still around 30 minutes before boarding time but apparently, what we heard was true and it was time to board.


[Going to the waiting area in NAIA 3.]


[Riding the bus going to the plane.]


[Boarding the plane.]

And so we boarded and waited for the take off and landing. During the flight, Jack-Jack was his usual self. He was very inquisitive, trying to stand up on my lap, looking around, babbling. He nursed around twice during the whole flight. Once, before take off, and another just before landing. It seems that he didn't mind his ears popping due to the air pressure on the plane. I kinda did, but then again, I can see him sucking and throwing saliva bubbles all over so his ears might not have popped at all. I wouldn't know. All in all, he was well-behaved, peering at the stewardess, leaning towards the side of my chair... At least he wasn't wailing or bawling or crying (which he did on our way back to Manila, but that's for later).



[Before take-off.]

We arrived at the Francisco Reyes Airport in Busuanga Island, Coron, Palawan around 20-30 minutes before our ETA but someone from our hotel was already there waiting for us. They took our bags to be placed in the hotel's van, then we took the mandatory pictures inside the airport while we wait for J to arrive. He arrived just a few minutes after, around 10-15 minutes after we arrived.


[While waiting for J at the Francisco Reyes Airport.]

We then proceeded to our hotel, which took about 30 minutes drive on semi-rough roads as not all the roads we passed were cemented. We even accidentally killed a wild boar who was crossing the road (yikes!). But then, it was either we get into an accident or the boar... Guess we get to lived.

Jack-Jack fell asleep on our way to the hotel. The bumpy, yet continuous ride seemed to lull him to sleep. He woke up when we were puttering about on what room to claim and then we got ready to go so that we can already start our tour and have lunch.


[In front of the hotel, with Jack-Jack still asleep.]

We took a tricycle to the port, where our boat was waiting. And off we went. The waters were calm, the wind was soothing, and Jack-Jack enjoyed standing on the seat and looking out into the water. We stopped at Banul Beach, one of the small beaches scattered around the island and had our lunch. We had crabs, eggplant salad (enseladang talong), and pork stew (adobo). We took pictures (of course!) and then swam some. Jack-Jack had his first taste of seawater and he enjoyed it! He liked splashing the water, pausing, then licking his lips. I think he likes the taste of the sea. We stayed under the shade of our boat as he splashed thru the water. Afterwhich, we changed his wet sun suit to his shirt and covered him with a towel to keep him from getting sick.


[Aboard the tricycle.]


[Our lunch.]




[Jack-Jack and I are in this picture. Promise.]

We then went to a snorkeling area at the CYC Beach and J and I took turns while Jack-Jack stayed in the boat with one of us. We stayed quite a while there while almost half of my officemates tried (and most succeeded) to overcome their fears in swimming in the open sea and of drowning. We stayed longer in this area as we decided not to go to the next snorkeling area in favor of meeting with the other half of our department who were waiting at the hotel.

So we went back to the hotel to fetch them and I had to go and change my tampon as I was already kinda dripping (yes. ew. I know. But that's the truth and I really, really, really don't know why God deemed it so that I would have my second period after giving birth ONE day before we fly to Palawan. sigh.). And then off we went to Maquinit Hot Springs. It was like one big sauna, with lots of people and since it rained, the water wasn't too. We had to dip our bodies little by little so that we wouldn't get burned and so that our body would get accustomed to the heat. It was nice and it was relaxing. J opted out of dipping here and instead cared for Jack-Jack while I let my tired muscles rest with the relaxing hot water.





We got back to our hotel a few minutes before 7PM. We all showered and rested for a while before we convened again for dinner. We had grilled squid, Kare-Kare, and Pata-tim. And then to cap the night off, we all gathered in one room to have a round (or more) of videoke.







Pictures courtesy of my camera, Tricia's, Ms. Jenny's, Ms. Glo's, and Neil's.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

P.C. Cast and her magic, and my love of reading

While I try to reminisce and put into words my family and my office department's Coron Adventure, let me write a quick post.

A few weeks ago, I just finished PC Cast's latest installment on the HoN series, Burned, I found myself searching online for other books that Cast wrote. I found the Goddess Summoning series, Divine series, and the Partholon series (for young adult [YA] readers). As I was completely enamored with the way she wrote HoN, I was quite sure that I'd love whatever she had written. And so I searched for summaries of her other works and found them all in her blog and picked a few titles to which I initially found interesting and proceeded to look for a free ebook download. I know, I know, I should be paying and buying and all that but those other books aren't available locally and I thought why do I need to pay if someone is willing to share the book?

Anyway, I started out with Goddess of the Sea, then Goddess of the Rose, and then Warrior Rising, and the rest was history. I was swept by her magic, by the way she describes the characters and how they evolve into the story. After finishing with the Goddess Summoning series, I then delved into the alternate and mirror world of Partholon via the Divine Series. And again, I was swept away by her words and her magical world, the world of Partholon where Epona, the Celtic horse goddess, reigns. I love it. And I just finished the latest installment of the Partholon series for YA readers, which is Brighid's quest and I can't wait for the next one as the book left a lot of loose ends.

It has been a long time since I've read something good and something engaging that I couldn't wait for more. I've always loved reading fiction novels and fantasy worlds and since giving birth, I haven't really had the time to really sit down and read a good book. Thank God for ebooks and my husband's netbook that I manage to read a few chapters (or more) after putting my baby to sleep in our dimly light room.

And now, after finishing Stephenie Meyer's The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, I'm back to the Vampirates and it's latest installment, Black Heart. I'm sure my sister is itching to get the copy from me. And then afterwhich, I'd dive into the world of fallen angels and vampires, Eternal, which was recommended to me by a salesman in PowerBooks.

I missed reading and I missed losing myself into fantasy. Maybe next time, I'd go back to the world of the Wheel of Time, especially since the series has already ended. I would have to start at the first book, however, and then work my way to the fourth book which all have, and then slowly restart my collection by buying the fifth, until the twelfth book.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My babywearing stash... and the wish for a mei tai

Let's see now... I have 5 carriers on hand. I have 2 pouches, 2 8-type/hybrid sling, and a ring sling.

The very first carrier I got was a RJellybean ring sling that I bought in Rustan's Makati. I bought it when I was still pregnant. I used it, or tried to use it when baby was just 4 days old when we went back to the hospital for the newborn screening.



I wasn't confident in wearing it at first so it became a trial and error thing for me until I just went and bought a pouch.



Then, I didn't realize that the pouch was big for me since my baby's lowest point is below my waist. But, I was more comfortable wearing that so... it didn't really matter. Plus, I was always looking if baby was comfortable so...

Then came the SaYa. I was in babywearing heaven. It was comfortable as it is worn on both shoulders, and I managed to use it after the first try. I had a bit of trouble with the cradle carry then but after some help and explanations... voila! It has become my go-to carrier.



So after having three carriers, I still want more. I've been searching around the net, discovering a lot of other types of carriers and then I discovered the Baby K'Tan. I wanted one! Plus, it already has the sash for added security that wasn't included in the SaYa. I did buy it. And found it more comfortable and softer than my SaYa.



I became a happy camper. I'd have both hands free. When Jack-Jack's asleep, that's the only time I have to support his head so it wouldn't loll around. And I'd still have my other hand for doing other things. Although these things I can do with almost all my carriers, I can do these more... securely with my SaYa and K'tan.

And oh! I also have another pouch. It's a Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Mesh Pouch that I'm planning on using when we go swimming. Which... well, we haven't done so yet but I can't wait! I'm a bit concerned with the sizing though, as I feel it's a bit too snug but then again, it's not an uncomfortable snugness. Just snug. Maybe I wasn't used to that kind of snugness in a pouch since my original pouch is big for me.

And alas... More pictures of me babywearing. :D





And daddy wearing baby...




And right now... I want a mei tai, so that I can wear baby on my back. I can actually wear Jack-Jack on my back with the K'Tan but I'd be needing some help so I want one with which I can put my baby on my back by myself... And the mei tai just sounds perfect. Now, I need to know where I can buy a second-hand one as the brand new ones are too expensive for me. Plus, I have to have them shipped here so... Help??

Friday, April 30, 2010

Hands expression in the office

For the longest time, I've been used to the ease and somewhat relaxing experience I get when I express milk in the office due to my electric double pump. I'd do some breast compressions when I see that the milk flow is dwindling down to help empty my breasts before I switch the pump off.

However, earlier, my husband forgot to pack the flanges/horns of my pump! I only realized that they were left at home when it was time for my pumping break. I didn't know what to do. It's the end of the month and there are a lot of transactions that I couldn't just up and leave to get the horns at home. So, in the end, I did manual (hand) expressions for my morning pumping session. It was tiring for my hands as I was already used to browsing the internet or read messages on my phone when I do my sessions. So it was with a bit of reluctance and bitterness (because I blame my husband for having left the horns at home. hee) that I proceeded to express.

I started out slowly, trying out the various techniques on hand expression that I've almost forgotten since getting and using my electric pump. It was quite uncomfortable as I was bent on my waist, one hand holding the narrow-necked bottle, the other expressing and massaging my breast. It was quite funny as I was thinking earlier that this must be what the cows feel like when they're being milked manually.

In the end, I managed to produce 140ml from both breasts, given that I was becoming lazy towards the end, plus, I wasn't sure exactly how long I was expressing on each breast. Overall. I'm very happy with the outcome.

Come lunch break, I sped off towards home and got the flanges. Thank goodness home is very near the office.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My journey to cloth-diapering my baby full-time

I'm proud to say that for almost 3 weeks now, my baby is almost a full-time cloth-diapered baby.

Since I was pregnant, I've been looking for ways to cut down the expensive baby costs involved in having a baby, namely: diapers and milk. The milk costs is easy to solve: breastfeed. And then, I've found cloth diapers in the internet and tried finding them in the malls. However, I couldn't find a single one! That is, until my Line Manager gave me 2 dozens of Chino Pino hybrid fitted diapers. It's like a fitted diaper, that is now becoming increasingly popular in the US and other parts of the world (and which, I wonder why it's not becoming popular here when it's very economical in the long run), because it is sewed and looks like a disposable and it has velcros for closure BUT it's actually just a prefold made, or rather, shaped nicer.

We made do with those cloth diapers without a cover (because I didn't know there's such at the time). And then I learned about it and bought one. Well. My baby outgrew it quite fast plus, it does get wet after a few pees. At this time, Jack-Jack uses disposables at night at when we go out. It's still cheaper this way and I didn't think it'd be possible to fully cloth diaper a baby.

Fast-forward to around a month or so ago. Like I said in this post about going hippie, I'm slowly becoming more eco-conscious and cloth diapering is the way to go if I want to lessen the trash going into our landfills that cannot be decomposed naturally. But it's kinda bulky if you think about it. Until I went and read again the description of the Thirsties Fab Fitteds in Pinoy Baby Store. I became curious. Thru there, I also found out about cloth diapering options at night! After a few discussions with Rowie on my options, I was bought. I bought two Kissaluvs Organic Fitted and one Thirsties Diaper Cover for night-time use. So now, not only does Jack-Jack wears cloth diapers (the Chino Pinos, still) during the day, he also uses cloth diapers at night.

After this, I researched more on the various choices available in the US thru online stores. And after a few discussions (especially regarding costs), and learning about a way to buy stuff online and ship them here in the Philippines cheaper, I went ahead and bought from Nicki's Diapers a few others to add to my cloth diapers stash. I received them yesterday and I'm ecstatic to use them. I now have six other fitteds (four Thirsties Fab Fitted and two DreamEze Organic Fitteds), three Thirsties Duo Wraps, plus Bummis reusable fleece liners for a stay-dry feel for my Kissas and DreamEze's. These would be used when we're out but... I'm going to test-drive them first if they'd really fit inside my baby's clothes at home. Hee. I can't wait! And I can't wait to buy some more... :D

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My itty-bitty baby is now a big cutie baby

I remember when Jack-Jack was still in my tummy. He was squirmy during the night and likes to surprise me during the day. And now that he's out and learning to crawl (which, makes me think that it's true what they say, their personalities stay, whether they're inside your womb or out), he gotten bigger... and heavier... and cuter!

He has gone thru a lot of changes during the last seven months. From being a tiny newbrown, to a darker infant, to a whiter (or lighter in complexion) baby.

Here are pictures of his stages...

[Newborn... night he was born.]

[October 17, 2009]

[November 2, 2009]


[December 12, 2009]


[January 22, 2010]


[February 12, 2010]


[March 27, 2010]


[April 10, 2010]


He can now roll on both sides, do push-ups, sit up unassisted for a period of time (that is, until he sees something interesting on the floor/mat/bed) and worm his way to whatever he wants to reach. Yes, worm. because he can't crawl on all-fours yet. He just... wiggles his way, but up first then followed by his upper torso. It's cute. :) And, oh! He babbles a lot now. I can't wait for our Baby Lingo workshop so I'd at least have an idea on how he can communicate what he wants.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's our anniversary today!

And what better way to count down to 12MN earlier was to bang the doorknob of our toilet with a hammer to get my husband out. Haha. :)

J got stuck inside our bathroom. The doorknob gave out on him and I woke up to the sounds of knocking and door-pushing last night. We tried salvaging the doorknob but in the end, we had to destroy it. I woke up at around 11:15PM and he got out at around 12:15AM.

Happy Anniversary, love! I'd get you out of the toilet anytime. :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

I just realized

That I hate stag parties. I mean, seriously. When my husband, fiancé then, had his, I got very upset and had major issues after seeing some pictures. I mean, I know my husband actually hasn't gone to those girly bars as he doesn't really like them but seeing those pictures...

And now, he held one for his brother who's getting married next month. We haven't really talked about what happened that night and I haven't seen any pictures but... Ngrrr. I want him to tell me about it. I want to see some pictures. And most of all, I want to be reassured, again.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sleeping through the night and Co-sleeping

I confess: I was bought by the "establish a night-time routine to help babies sleep longer" marketing and the sleeping-through-the-night mojos I keep reading about. But, it was because of the studies that accompanied it that a lot of a baby's development happens during nighttime sleep.

And so we began to establish a bedtime routine. We bathe him, or rinse rather with lavender-scented bath salt, massage, then nurse to sleep. The result? Well. We got to sleep earlier, too, or rather, I did, since J would often stay in the living room and use the computer then come up after a half-hour or so and I would usually drift off to lala-land while my baby nurses. And Jack-Jack? He would sleep through the night on some nights, on other nights... Not so much. He'd sleep for 4-5 hours straight, then 3, then 2, and then 1. Sometimes 4, then 3, then 3. There's no specific range on just how many hours he sleeps per stretch. And I often wonder, if my baby sleeps enough, if we're doing right by starting his bedtime routine at around 8-8:30PM or it should be earlier so he'd sleep longer...

I work full-time outside the home and I usually am able to get home at around 6:30-7PM. And as much as I want to take him to bed and let him sleep earlier, say, around 7:30PM at the latest, I couldn't. Why? I'm selfish. I want to be the one who helps him go to sleep. I want to be there for his nighttime wash, especially now that it's summer here. I want to be the last person he sees before he closes his eyes.

And so here comes my problem: I've been wanting to push his bedtime routine earlier so that he'd get more sleep and hopefully sleep through the night more (especially when I heard J's cousin's baby, who's a month younger than Jack-Jack, sleeping through the night, sleeping at around 6:30PM and then waking up at 5:30AM, of which I was jealous envious is the right term actually unless I heard it wrong since my babysitter told me that the baby feeds more during the night so maybe, although the baby doesn't fully wake up at night, she still does wake up during the night) but I couldn't implement it because of my working hours (which is 8:30AM to 5:30PM). I was also a bit worried since he nurses a lot during the night, especially since he usually stirs up after about an hour after his first nighttime nursing to nurse again. And because of this, I was constantly bugging J that we have to go home early when we're out with the baby, that we eat at this time so Jack-Jack can do his routine already, etc.

I mean, we know our lives would change once we have a baby and well... I didn't realize it would be such a big change. We can't hang out with our friends too late into the night anymore without me lugging my pump. I can't drink too much alcohol else it'd pass to my milk and I don't even want to think of the consequences of alcohol entering my baby's young system. I quit smoking (well yes, I already did while I was pregnant but I actually do miss it). Date nights are out of the question (but lunch dates are very much welcome). Movie nights are seldom and it's always "we have to get home by 8!" so it's always a weekend movie and lunch time kind of thing. Creativity in lovemaking takes a whole new meaning (since Jack-Jack is just a few inches away from us... ha!). My patience is being tested daily by my baby since he learned how to roll over and grab and reach for things every diaper change, bath time, clothes changing time...

I was beginning to worry if my baby gets enough sleep even if we're not starting his bedtime routine at around 7PM. He sleeps during the day, too, and when we're out, I'm careful to let him sleep on me when I sense that he's already sleepy even if we're not yet home and not able to do our routine. He'd sleep on my chest, in my arms, and then when we get home and he's still asleep, I won't put him in his playpen. I'd sit down and let him continue his sleep in my arms. And when he wakes up, we change his clothes and off we go to our bedroom.

It's worrisome. This counting of sleep. And thinking if the advantage of co-sleeping that I'd be able to nurse him when he needs to without really standing up (just going to the other side of the bed so he could properly latch on my breast) is hindering his development. I'm easily worried when it comes to Jack-Jack especially when I hear things about other babies that follow the "studies" I read even when I feel that he's actually doing ok and that there's nothing to worry. I mean, he's a happy baby! He barely cries and it's usually when he's hungry I missed his signal or when he's overtired or when his nappy needs a change. So I was so happy when I read this post in AP. And it eased my worry.

I then started searching for more reassurances that what I feel is right and I saw a lot from Kellymom.com. So if you're also worried, read up:

  • Sleep

  • Sleep Studies

  • Comfort Nursing

  • Family Bed

    Happy reading. And... Don't worry. Follow your instincts. More often than not, they're right.
  • Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Pumping mama exposed!

    I was in the clinic for my first pumping session. The curtains were closed and my electric pump was humming away. I heard someone open the ref and got some ice. He was being noisy. And then, after a while, he tried to open the curtains where it was secured by two clips! I was shocked. When he wasn't able to open it, he started to pull the curtain at my right which was hanging near the wall! He almost opened it fully when I muttered a protest. He then quickly told me, "Ohmygosh! Sorry, sister! I thought someone was moaning and I was pretty scared so I sought the source of the sound. Don't worry, I didn't see a thing." I just said it was ok, trying not to laugh. Yes. He was gay. So even if he did see me, it was ok. Besides which, my breast has been exposed lots of times already I don't really mind now.

    To recall on how the pumping area in our office looks like, read my previous post with pictures here.

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    How much carbon dioxide does my blog create?

    That's the subject of an email I received a few days ago. Now, I do wonder since a computer (and all its other brothers like the mainframes where sites [like a blog] are hosted, the cooling systems, etc) uses energy and emits CO2. And the carbon it emits is adding up to the change in global temperature.

    So anyway, Christin, the one who emailed me, is part of the "Make it Green!" group and as part of the group's initiative, one of their activities is to raise awareness of how internet usage contributes to carbon emissions worldwide. And so to neutralise the emissions, they've created the "My blog is carbon neutral" buttons so bloggers can demonstrate that they care about the environment and the carbon footprint of their blogs. With each button/blog, they'd be planting a tree in the Plumas National Forest in Northern California during Arbor Day. For more information on their initiative, click here.

    For now, I'll submit this post and have my blog's tree planted.

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    Coping without my baby's nanny

    Here in the Philippines, when both parents work full-time, we hire a live-in babysitter to take care of the kids, and that's besides the househelp that's also hired. In our case, since we live in an apartment and there's little that needs to be done in terms of household chores (which, most can be done early or during the weekends when both my husband and I are home), we have an all-in-one helper. She takes care of Jack-Jack while we're out working and does the household chores early in the morning, when my son's asleep, or during weekends.

    When I gave birth, we didn't immediately have a helper to help around the house. Especially since it was still a bit difficult to move, despite my having a normal vaginal birth. Plus, my baby always seem to be nursing so it was difficult to go about and do some household chores. But we managed, since I was still on maternity leave and my husband took his paternity and block leave to coincide with mine so we can bond with our new baby. We had a helper (#1) the week after I gave birth, but she left us after two weeks, which, she was replaced a few days after but the replacement (#2) left us after four days. (Yes, we had quite a few misfortunes in looking for a helper/nanny.) It was still ok, given that I still have around five weeks of ML left and it was a good enough period to look for someone at least semi-permanent. So it was just me and baby during the day as J was back to work already. We were also at my parents' house for about a week during the day as the road in our street was being improved.

    Anyway, helper #2 texted J that she wanted to go back to us, to which, we agreed, but she was bound to return at the start of November. So we had our helper and she's been a big help (no pun intended). She wakes up early in the morning to sweep around the house, do the laundry if it's laundry day, buy bread for breakfast, then when we go down after our morning rituals, she takes Jack-Jack and have him exposed to the sun while J and I eat our breakfast.

    Throughout the day, she'd be holding Jack-Jack (as the boy seems to never want to be put down), occasionally placing him in his playpen when she would cook dinner or when she needs to go to the toilet, etc. When we get home, she'd be washing the bottles I used to collect for milk so that they'd be ready for use the next day.

    Almost two weeks ago, our helper had to go back to the province for her brother-in-law's wake. She has a scheduled leave actually, for the graduation of her daughter but she had to go home earlier due to her brother-in-law's death. She told us she'd stay there to wait until the graduation of her daughter since it's expensive to go back and forth and she still doesn't exactly know when. We agreed. Last March 18, she left for Isabela. I took a half-day off and helped my mom watch Jack-Jack. Next day, Friday, same thing. But this time, my mom went here to the house earlier since J and I still had to go to work. I just took another half-day so I can relieve my mom of taking care of Jack-Jack.

    The next working week, from March 22-26, was a struggle. From Monday to Wednesday, J and I would feed Jack-Jack his solid food for the day (it was papaya), bathe him (when there's still a bit of time), pack his things, then go to my parents' house to leave Jack-Jack with them. Our apartment, at that time was under renovation so it was dusty all-over that my baby developed a bad case of colds (which was cute at the same time since snot would ooze out of his nose everytime he sneezes) so it was better to leave him with my mom. Thursday and Friday, my mom would come to our house so she could watch over Jack-Jack since the construction was done. I only managed to sweep our bedroom. His night-time routine wasn't being religiously followed anymore.

    I was late for every day of that week. J would be washing the collection bottles and pump parts I use when I pump in the office and sterilize them, along with the bottles that was used during the day. We ate take-out food for a week (even when we would leave Jack-Jack with my mom since she couldn't cook because Jack-Jack doesn't want to be left down). I'd try to wake up early in the morning so we'd have ample time to bathe, eat our breakfast, feed Jack-Jack and sort his things. I only managed to sweep our room so it'd at least be dust-free when we sleep. His night-time routine wasn't being followed anymore. And I was cranky, irritable, and just plain tired.

    Thankfully, a temporary babysitter can come to our house to watch over Jack-Jack, who was offered by an aunt of mine since she now has a lot of free time after graduating from her nursing degree just last Thursday, March 25. At least now, about half of the work was taken off our shoulders, and my mom doesn't have to watch over Jack-Jack as he's becoming too active to her liking. We didn't turnover most duties to her since she's only temporary and the important thing is someone takes care of my baby and someone can clean the house and wash the dishes.

    So now, we still have two nights before we're back to being nanny-less, then we have to prepare for an overnight thing at my in-laws' house, and then we have to go to my grandma's house for her birthday. And then our helper would come home.

    Yay!

    Monday, March 29, 2010

    Something quick

    Bah. I've been drafting a post since last week and I still am not able to post it.

    It's really hard having no babysitter/helper at home since I always seem to be very tired to get write a decent post and I can't continue it in the office since I'm suddenly swamped with work. Which, is what my longer post is actually about but meh.

    Thank goodness Thursday is just around the corner. And our helper's return is getting nearer, too.

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    Breastfeeding is how I connect with my little one after work

    Welcome to the March carnival of breastfeeding! This month's theme is "the joys of breastfeeding".

    When I started breastfeeding, I was amazed, and amused, at how my baby would automatically turn his head towards the breast of whoever was holding him, and reach out with his mouth for a drink. Especially when he was fussing already, obviously hungry, he'd try to latch on and suck. But now that he's older (almost six months!) and can clearly see who's carrying him, he only turns his head for a drink with me.

    As a full-time working mom, I always miss Jack-Jack when I'm at work. There's a constant fear I have, that he'd be more closer to his caregiver, with whom he's with and sees all-day... Than me who he only sees early in the morning before I go to work, at night when I go home, and on weekends. He's growing up so fast and sometimes, he wouldn't immediately come to me when I get home. But then he'd give me a sweet smile and then I'd feel just a little bit of relief.

    So I always look forward to bedtimes. I'd give him his bath, a light massage (to which he'd fuss by the time I'm dressing him), and then off to nighttime feeding. He'd be turning left and right, looking at me, as tho, voicing out his want, his last feed for the night before drifting off to sleep.

    I cherish these moments with him, especially in the wee hours of the morning when he'd wake up a bit hungry, mouth pouting, and when he feels me turning him for the proper position, his mouth starts searching for my breast. He immediately quiets down after latching on. These moments with him at night lets me wind down from a busy day at work and focus on my little one. It lets me reconnect with him, as we both soothe each other as he nurses, letting me relax and bask in the moment, as he in turn gets his nourishment, comfort, and sleep. It eases the fear in my heart when I'm not with him, and it's like he's letting me know that he knows I'm his mommy, and that nothing can ever change that.


    Check out these posts from other participating bloggers (updated throughout the day):
  • Hobo Mama: No need to count calories when breastfeeding
  • Melodie @ Breastfeeding Moms Unite: Poems about the joys of breastfeeding
  • Whozat @ Lucy & Ethel Have a Baby: Nursing My Little Person
  • Maman A Droit: A Joyful List
  • Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: Top Five Things I love About Breastfeeding
  • Dionna @ Code Name: Mama: Milk Songs
  • Sheryl @ Little Snowflakes: The Joys of Nursing to Sleep
  • Sarah @ Good Enough Mummy: You Don't Have to Be Crunchy to Like Breastfeeding
  • Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Things I loved about breastfeeding my son
  • Mandy @ Living Peacefully With Children: Nursing Haikus
  • Elita @ Blacktating: What Makes Breastfeeding So Great
  • Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    The squash is a smash

    Today's the fifth day that my baby has started on solids so today is the first day for a new food. And today's menu is... squash. I had our helper steam it and then mashed a few pieces. The rest of the squash we'll have for dinner later. Anyway, as the mashed squash (wow! that rhymes!) is a bit thick, I thinned it a bit with water. J and I had our breakfast first, then onto baby-feeding.

    Well. What can I say? I think he likes it! Or at least, he knows what's going to happen next. He's opening his mouth now everytime he sees the spoon going towards him. I also didn't see him grimacing (much) as he tasted the veggie. I did taste the steamed squash, though and I must say I like it plain that way.

    Anyway, we'll see again after a few days on his reaction. I'm thinking applesauce as the next one.

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    Going hippie, alternative to commercial hair care, becoming eco-conscious

    And back to nature. I think my husband is slowly turning crazy to all the... changes I'm slowly incorporating into my, and consequently his, life. Our lives. But he's keeping mum about it. Haha.

    Anyway, when I started breastfeeding, all I thought about was the money we'll be able to save. When I started babywearing and my cousin told me that I look like a Badjao (a native here in the Philippines), I just told her that it's like going back to basics. When I planned on cloth diapering my baby at least while he's at home, I just computed on how much we'll be able save up and how friendlier it'd be on our baby's bum. I didn't realize it then that I'm slowly going hippie, going back to basics, and going back to nature.

    Recently, in my effort to cut-down the hair loss I'm experiencing, I resorted to using gugo on my hair after reading it in Monica's blog. I boiled the bark with water just enough to cover it, then massaged the liquid onto my scalp and hair. I didn't use any conditioner afterwards. The result? My hair felt a bit dry but the scalp a bit oily. It kinda frizzed up more, too. However, I was not daunted. I did it again, and yielded the same result. I thought it was because I wasn't using any conditioner afterwards.

    So I researched on natural, homemade conditioners. And I stumbled upon, (for the second time ever since I started researching hair care alternatives) about the vinegar rinse. So I combined the gugo shampoo and then used a vinegar rinse and viola. My hair felt smoother but still the problem with the oil. My hair felt a bit heavy. I decided to still go with it. After all, I've nothing to lose and besides which, I argued that my hair and scalp is just starting to get used to the treatment.

    However, my gugo concoction ran out and I didn't have time to boil some last weekend so I used my remaining shampoo and followed it with vinegar rinse still. My hair felt lighter and it was smooth. The vinegar rinse really do well in detangling the hair and it actually doesn't leave any vinegar smell once the hair dries (despite what my husband says to tease me).

    So, I'm going to continue with my gugo and vinegar rinse treatment. We'll see if the oils in my hair continue after several weeks. I read that it's all about demand and supply so we'll see.

    In another effort to going back to basics and being kinder to Mother Nature, we started ECing Jack-Jack. We even tried it when we went to the hospital for his vaccine and when we went to the mall yesterday. And he did fantastically. We used less disposable diapers and the only times we had to change him was because of a poopy explosion, and not because of a urine-loaded diaper. In a few days, we'll even start cloth-diapering him at night. And in a few weeks, cloth-diapering him even when we go out. We'll just need to fine-tune our communication when he needs to poop and pee. Until then, we'll slowly transition to cloth-diapering full time.

    And so suddenly, I'm becoming more conscious of my movements, of my choices. Like, if this would affect this and that, how much would I save if I use this instead of that, if I pay this much now how much overall savings will I make, etc. Because going all natural, organic, has a corresponding price tag and it's not exactly cheap. However, most choices, like cloth diapering, breastfeeding, would save a lot in the long run. It's a one-time bulk/big/huge expense, that when you divide it with the number of times you're going to use it or compare it with the usual alternative, i.e. formula milk, disposable diapers... well, you'd have saved a lot. And then after computing the savings you got, you'd realize that you also helped in saving nature, too.

    And that was what happened to me. And that was what led me to try and become more earth-friendly with my subsequent choices.

    And the point of this entry? Hmmm. I'll get back to you on that after I learn more on how to save more by helping save Mother Earth.

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    An update on solids

    It was yesterday when we tried feeding Jack-Jack with a mashed banana. And the result is... He spitted them out. :D

    When I first placed a small amount of the banana in his mouth, his face went into a grimace as he assessed the new taste and texture. It was comical. He didn't even swallow a bit of the banana so we had to stop for the day.I nursed him to rid him of the taste of the banana in his mouth and then he fell asleep.

    This morning was the second day. I mixed in a bit of my milk to smoothen the mashed banana. He still spitted out most, and then he'd fuss a bit. We tried a bit harder and I remembered that we can use my finger to feed him. Which I did... and he ate! Yippee! He did swallow a bit of the banana. But his face would still turn into a grimace as he rolled the food around in his mouth. But it's a start.

    And tomorrow is another day. The third day in a series of four. We shall see if he'd take more banana.

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Warning: baby slings may be dangerous

    I've gotten a link today from my e-group regarding the safety hazards a sling may pose to an infant. I looked at the link and my mind went Aha! It's the "bag" sling. I've previously read about those bag slings in CMA when I was looking for an online store that sells two carriers I wanted to buy. Anyway, I read about it and couldn't agree more with her assessment. Carriers should be adjustable to make it shallower so that there's no fabric covering the baby's face. It should be snug and when worn properly should support the developing spine and neck of the baby.

    Anyway... the people at a mall here should take the bag slings they're selling.

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    I'm a proud mama

    So. I've been keeping a little secret. Jack-Jack can now pee and poop in the toilet bowl! Yep! We've been ECing him for a few weeks now, almost a month. His caregiver mostly does it since we're away at the office and she tells me she now has lesser diapers to wash (since we cloth diaper him at home).

    It is a gradual process, as we started out when he's already used to peeing and pooping in his diaper. Before, we only use to cath pees. But now, he poops in the toilet, too! He was used to standing up before, facing away from us when he pees. That's why when he first pooped instead of peed, he pooped on his caregiver. Oh, well. So now, we're training him to sit down. We even bought an "adaptor" to the toilet bowl so he that he'd be able to sit and not go all the way in the big hole of the toilet bowl. It's a cushioned seat, and it placed on top of the toilet seat to make the hole smaller. It also has a pee "catcher" for the boys. I'll take a picture one of these days.

    Anyway, when we bought the toilet cushion, we tried making him pee facing us as he sits down. But he wouldn't have any of it. He would keep on lifting his butt off, thereby hitting his itty bitty turtle* against the pee catcher. So what we did, was to turn the cover so that the pee catcher would be near the tank of the toilet bowl and when he would use it, he'd be facing the wall and not us. It worked! He wouldn't try to get off from the seat. Instead, he'd just sit there and touch the catcher or the cover of the tank, and pee and/or poop.

    I'm so proud! Besides which, he's cleaner that way. Plus, our water consumption for washing his diapers alone decreased significantly, which also applies to our use of detergents. Yay for greener living! It's a small step but eventually, I hope to completely eliminate the use of disposables. I'll be buying cloth diapers for use for nighttime and then if and when I have a few more money to spare, for use for going out, too, so we can also practice ECing when we go out. And then eventually, be diaper free! (Hopefully by the time he can already walk on his own.)


    * Turtle - term used by the sonographer who did my routine ultrasound when we were finding out the gender of my baby to refer to his sexual organ because it looks like a turtle in the ultrasound. :)

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Excited mama

    I just wanted to share... that my little boy is 6 months today! Hee. Which means, he can now start on solid foods! Yay! J and I would have liked to celebrate the 6-month mark by letting Jack-Jack get his first taste of solid food today but due to work constraints, we would have to postpone to tomorrow. Hmmm... I wonder if avocados are already available at the supermarket...

    In other news, my baby now resorts to crying when I leave home for work. It's already hard for me leaving him to his caretaker but now that he actually knows that I'm leaving him... I really need to find work-at-home opportunities. One thing I can think of at the top of my head is retailing. Hopefully, by the time he turns one, it's already up and running. I just need to finalize what products I'd sell as there are a lot already doing business online. I need to find something... new.


    Update: (2010-03-12)
    We haven't been able to feed him any solids yet as work has been demanding me to go to the office. My colleague is sick and he's my back-up so I can't take a leave. But anyway, we're to set it tomorrow morning. Jack-Jack will have breakfast with us. Hee.

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Motherhood and parenting

    I've always liked babies and children. Ok. Maybe not all, especially those bratty ones but generally, I love kids. Especially babies who would coo and smile and laugh at all the simplest things, and kids who would make you their personal toys (yes, I've been subjected to such, and it was my neice, at that, while she'd tell me "Tita, go and sit there. The ship will sail soon!" and what did I do? Follow her, of course. I mean, I wouldn't want the ship to leave without me, right?). And before I was married, I keep on telling my mother to go and get pregnant so that I'd have a cute little brother or sister to play with, since my own sister, even if she is five years younger than me, is already too old to play with. My mom would always tell me I should be the one since she's already too old to be caring for babies. And I'd always answer back that it won't be soon enough for me.

    Until I got pregnant. It was unexpected actually, since we were still planning our wedding at that time, and with it came all the initial problems that came with unexpected pregnancy, i.e. how will I tell my parents, what would my family (meaning my whole extended family) think, how about J's family, etc, etc. Of course, I haven't really fully grasped the whole concept of having a child at that time. Just that, instead of having J by myself for at least six months after our wedding, I'd only have him for about five and already with something extra: my bulging belly. I haven't really thought about how I'd want to take care of my baby, and of course, how I'd want to parent my baby.

    Fastforward to around 2-3 months before I'd give birth. Or rather, when I was searching the internet for maternity tops since my belly was starting really show and I don't have much tops that are roomy at the stomach. I chanced upon Next9... where I saw the ring sling. I fell in love. I mean, I already saw the ring sling being used by someone before, when we were eating at Pizza Hut when we were still in the dating/getting-to-know-each-other stage. And I said that I liked that concept. Besides which, I don't want to use a stroller. Especially when I already see a toddler, still sitting in a stroller, when s/he could walk beside the parents. Because I have this belief that it's just instilling laziness to the kid. Don't get me wrong. I know how useful the strollers are but it's just that, I really dont' see why the kids can't walk around (under parental supervision of course, especially when there are a lot of people milling around) and when they're tired already, sit down somewhere, or ask mommy or daddy for a ride. And if they're super tired they want to doze off, let them on mommy or daddy's shoulder. I mean, I personally like having my baby sleep on me, even when he's already getting heavier and heavier, when we're out and about. I can check on him periodically without having to stop at a corner or slow down...

    But anyway. Yes. I fell in love. I fell in love with the concept of Attachment Parenting (AP). And what is AP exactly?
    The term, "attachment parenting", was conceived by pediatrician William Sears and his wife Martha, to describe a highly responsive, attentive style of caring for a child. Attachment parenting promotes physical and emotional closeness between parent and child through what the Sears refer to as the "Baby Bs." The Baby Bs are bonding, breastfeeding, babywearing, bedsharing and boundary building. [IVillage]

    When I started reading about AP from Next9's website, more specifically on babywearing, I was hooked. I wanted that kind of relationship with my baby. And then I continued to read on to the websites' other topics and well... the rest, as they say, was history. Attachment Parenting was exactly what I was looking for.

    Why do I like AP so much? Well, let me count the (7) ways...
    1. I don't believe in letting my baby "cry it out" and AP believes that there is a language value in a baby's cry.
    2. A lot of well-meaning parents, either officemates or relatives alike, had told me to not let my baby get used to being carried since they'd be looking for it. Well, I actually love carrying my baby, even if it means getting a back ache later on but that's where babywearing comes in. And I love wearing my baby. I mean, if the title of my blog isn't some indication then I don't know what is. :D Besides which, they wouldn't stay as babies forever so I'd cherish the time my baby wants me to carry him and not moan and mope when the time comes that I want to carry him and he'd run away from me.
    3. AP promotes breastfeeding as not only an infant's source of nutrients, especially right after birth (colostrum, anyone?), but also as a way of bonding and exercising how to read your baby's cues. And who wouldn't love breastfeeding, even if it isn't as easy as it sounds, when you see your little one pause and look up at you and give you a grin?
    4. Co-sleeping. At first, it was because I read about it and it sounded (and felt) right. But later on, I realize, I really wouldn't want to leave my baby alone on a crib. I want to be near him, so it'd be easy for me to feed him and change him, even if it meant compromising sleep and some alone time with J. But then again, we already knew beforehand that having a baby (kids, actually) meant that we would have to get creative and some sacrifices would have to be made for us to get some alone time but then (again!), that wouldn't last forever.
    5. Rooming-in after birth. AP believes in birth bonding and seriously, it was easier for me to have my baby roomed in since I was breastfeeding him rather than having our room knocked on every 2-3 hours for feedings (which happened the first night).
    6. I haven't really thought of strictly following a parenting style nor even buying a book about how to train my baby to eat, sleep, etc. at certain times since I really just want to get in tuned with my baby on when he wants to eat, sleep, etc. Plus, like I said, I'm not really into the "cry it out" method. His cries always tug at my heart and I simply cannot ignore it.
    7. Balance. And this means knowing when to say "no" and when to say "yes" to baby. And knowing when to ask for help when overwhelmed.

    With those in mind, but actually, with those in my heart since while I do love AP, I mostly do things with what my instincts tell me, I think motherhood, came to me almost naturally. Naturally, but certainly not easy. As the journey of motherhood and parenting has just started for me.

    And, oh yes. It was just at the previous paragraph I mentioned motherhood, hmm? Well. I think I can sum it up in a short sentence: I love it.

    Friday, February 26, 2010

    A day of pumping

    I'm a full-time working mom. And a breastfeeding mom, too. So in order that I may continue providing breastmilk to my baby, I would need to express while at work. I've gone and used two manual breastpumps last year: a Tommee Tippee one and an Avent Isis one. Both served me well the weeks I used them. I think I used them roughly two weeks each when I came back to work last November 23, 2009. However, in between those weeks, I started dreaming of an electric pump. Why? Because it'd be so much easier for me, for my hands/fingers, and I'd be able to pump more since I'd be expressing from both breasts. So when the go-signal came to buy the Medela Freestyle from J, I was ecstatic. And my determination to continue giving Jack-Jack my milk until he's two years old became firmer.

    So anyway, thankfully, my office has a pumping/nursing area. It's within our clinic, enclosed by curtains, and since it's just an area, only one pumping mommy at a time can use it. Otherwise, the late mommy would have to use one of the beds (with corresponding closed curtains, of course).


    [That's it there. Tho all you can see are the curtains. And yep. There's a photocopier there at the end.]



    [And this is what it looks like inside.]

    Before I leave for work, or rather, before we leave the bedroom, I make sure Jack-Jack nurses from me so that 1-he's full, and 2-I won't have to suffer from engorgement when I couldn't immediately leave my table to express. My pumping schedule at the office goes something like 1030AM, 2PM, 5PM, give or take a few minutes. Like, when I forget that I'm already supposed to pump, or when I couldn't leave yet since there are still a lot of transactions I have to do, etc. I actually have set alarms for each of the times above in my phone. But even then, I usually pump a bit later than what's scheduled (if you want to know, the alarm sets off at 1030AM, 130PM, 430PM).

    I use the bag that my pump came with as an office bag since I actually don't bring a lot of stuff to the office. All I need are my phone, keys, wallet, and office ID. That's why, I can cram six 4-5oz bottles in the bag, the pump motor, tubings, plug, freestyle adapters, flanges/horns. My Dr. Brown insulated bag, I carry separately and it contains the ice gel pack that came with the bag, plus the blue ice pack that came with my pump.


    [The included Medela bag, with the motor, flanges, and bottles (that are only peeking from this view) when I go to work in the morning.]



    [The Dr. Brown insulated bag with the blue ice pack and the gel ice pack.]

    I place the bottles inside the clinic's ref and the ice packs in the freezer. Tip: I read and I totally agree, that expressed milk in the office be temporarily stored in the refrigerator and not frozen. Why? Unless you can be sure that the frozen milk won't thaw on the way home (because if this happens, you would have to let it thaw all the way and let baby drink it the next day. Plus, some important components of breastmilk are lost during the freezing process.), then the best thing would be to refrigerate the expressed milk in the office, transport it cooled, then freeze it at home.

    Before, I used milk bags to store my milk in the office and even at home. But after getting an electric pump, I only use the bags when milk stored in the ref are reaching it's due date (5-7 days after expressing) so that I can then store them in the freezer to lengthen its life. Currently, I have about 3 days worth of expressed milk in my ref, plus 6 bags of around 6oz frozen milk each in my freezer (which, I'm thinking to donate when I've accumulated enough). Jack-Jack drinks "fresh" milk everytime I'm away, meaning, milk that are just stored in the ref and haven't been frozen/thawed. When I get home, I transfer the milk from the standard neck bottles I used to collect, to 3-4 wide-neck bottles, that are either 5oz bottles or 9oz bottles, that Jack-Jack uses. And yes, they are Tommee Tippee bottles, of the Closer to Nature type.

    In between pumping sessions, I store the horns/flanges in the ref, with the collection bottles. I don't wash them anymore in the office sink since I'm not sure what had been previously washed there. It's safer to store them that way, inside a ziplock bag, since it's almost tantamount to storing milk in a ref. Besides which, the only contents of the ref in the clinic are vaccines and water. It's rare that food would be stored inside it. Also add the fact that I'm not that sensitive, even with the milk, or rather where the milk passes thru, generally so... but that's a whole other story.

    After my three pumping sessions in the office, I place the 6 bottles in the insulated bag, in between the blue ice pack and the gel ice pack to keep it cooled while I travel towards home.


    Then I stuff the entire insulated bag into the Medela bag, along with the motor, flanges, plug, and my keys, wallet, and office ID.


    Yep. It all fits inside. It's a bit heavy, but not so much that I'd fear the bag's straps would detach themselves from the body. Thankfully, the pump's motor doesn't weigh much and the bulk of the weight is just actually, the contents of the insulated Dr. Brown bag.

    When I get home, what remains inside the bag would only be the motor, plug, wallet, ID, and keys. All the rest are taken out, milk transferred and refrigerated, ice packs frozen. Then the bottles and flanges/horns are washed and sterilized, then dried (air-dried and/or wiped-dry) for use the next day.