Unspoiling the Babe…

It’s quite interesting that a newborn baby can be a little brat in the making. Well I did not know that until our pediatrician met Joshua for his 1st month check up. As she held him to weigh and measure him, he cried and cried. He turned red with a mighty angry fit. My reaction was a bit of a panic to soothe him so he would stop. Then our doctor says, ” looks like you have spoiled your baby”.

A month old baby considered “spoiled”. Are you kidding me? I could not believe my ears, and ouchie for my ego… Could I have spoiled my baby?

The doctor asked if I gave my baby milk the moment he cried. And ooppsss… I am guilty of that. I just want my baby to be relieved when he is in discomfort and cries. She further explained that babies are smarter than we think. They understand the principle of “action for every reaction”. So when Josh cries I feed him immediately. So now he associates milk with crying.

The doctor advised me to restrain the feeding to every 2 hrs instead of every 30 mins or every hour. She also said, it is ok to let the baby cry… “It’s good for their lungs!” So I took the doctor’s advise.

Joshua had to be trained on a semi-scheduled feeding. We had cry out sessions running 20 minutes… And boy, it felt like forever! The outcome however is so worth it. Joshua became calmer, more amiable, and obedient.

Now, he hardly has his tantrums. We can travel and if he starts showing signs of crying, I just talk to him and he calms down. He has become such a good baby because this early, he is learning he can’t get everything he demands.

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There are many things to learn as a parent on loving your child enough to teach them. I never realized that spoiling can start very early…

My mother-in-law would get Joshua in the morning and give him tummy time. She would shut her door so I don’t hear my baby cry. But Joshua would cry when he is placed on his tummy. She would put him on his back and he would cry. Then turn him on his tummy and he would cry with high pitched pissed off voice. She was patient until he stopped. I have to say, Joshua now enjoys tummy time and is doing his version of crawling before he turned 2 months! My mother-in-law is instrumental for this milestone!

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The bible says so, “train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it” -Proverbs 22:6

Daddy time

Yesterday was my hubby’s birthday. Usually he is quite particular about taking our little one out because he is only 2 months. However, yesterday was different. Daddy wanted little Joshua with him.

We went to church, we had lunch, spent quiet time as a family, bathed Joshua, and brought him to dinner with us. My husband, Steve, on his birthday wanted the most important people in his life to be around him. I really felt good that he made that his priority.

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We make it a point that there will be “daddy’s time” everyday between Steve and baby Josh. When Steve gets home from work, he hurries to shower or freshen up just to hold and play with Joshua. They have conversations ( Joshua responds by cooing), they have play time… And at night, daddy Steve does family snuggles before he goes to bed.

Joshua coos and laughs, crawls on Steve’s chest, and finds rest sitting on Steve’s legs. I really enjoy watching them bond.

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Yesterday, Steve decided on his birthday to read scripture during lunch over his parents and siblings and over us… I look forward to that day when Joshua does that as well.

I prayed over Steve that God would mold him to be the best father to Joshua and the best husband for me. I declare God’s favor over his life and that he will be a godly example to me and to Joshua. He is the leader in our home and we will serve God together.

Being a good father is not inborn. It needs a heart attuned to God that is humble enough to be changed and even broken. It is a commitment that a person makes in his life to raise his family in the fear of the Lord. This is why as a wife it is important I pray for my husband, the father of my child. I release him to God and I watch God move in his life. As I love and submit to Steve, my son will grow, love, respect his father.

This proverb is a reminder to Steve and I on how we are to rear our child.

Proverbs 4:10-13
My child,listen to me and do as I say,
and you will have a long, good life.
I will teach you wisdom’s ways
and lead you in straight paths.
When you walk, you won’t be held back;
when you run, you won’t stumble.
Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
Guard them, for they are the key to life.

Personal Picks – Human Nature

There are many baby products out there in the market. For infants, they have sensitive skin so it’s important to find the most gentle and mild products for baby’s skin care and health.

I have heard of Human (heart) Nature products through my friend Lisa. She is so happy with their products and their advocacy of social entrepreneurship. The main source of its formulations come from Gawad Kalinga community farms. The farm help the Gawad Kalinga residents with their livelihood. It is a line of proudly Filipino made products and they are packaged really well!

During one of my baby showers, Kat, my friend gave me the baby wash of Human Nature. It had a very mild scent and is made with camomile, rosemary and lavender extracts. The best part is, it is chemical-free! Making it really safe for babies.

I have used it from the first bath of my babe and it has been gentle, tear free, and not very bubbly. I tried other expensive brands and I really see the difference on the bubbles and the dry feeling from the chemicals. Human Nature has really great baby care products including the baby lotion and oil.

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Also for mommies who can’t leave home a lot, Human Nature products are really easy to order and shop online! You visit their website http://www.humanheartnature.com. Register, shop, and once paid you receive your order in 2-3 days.

Recent products I ordered are the Tough Love liquid detergent made of gentle all natural, fully biodegradable ingredients. Again, it has no harsh chemicals which is great for laundry of baby’s clothes. It has a wonderful citrus scent too!

I also ordered their facial moisturizing day fluid. It’s a day cream filled with 100% natural ingredients and vitamins. It’s nice and light and good to use before applying make up!

You will be surprised at the other stuff they have and promos they offer. I highly recommend you check it out! Support our own Filipino products, it’s worth your peso!

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Personal Picks – Nipple picking

It is another of my Personal Picks Day! Today I’m going to share with you my choice of nipple for bottle feeding.

different brands of nipples and bottles

different brands of nipples and bottles

I take the night shift with my baby. He wakes up about 3 times from 10pm-6am and I breastfeed him, change his nappy, and sometimes even play with him if he is super awake. From 6-9am I try to catch on sleep. I leave my baby with the yaya, and she feeds him breast milk via sippy cup.

As my son grew, the sippy cup became too small for his mouth. It made it harder to control the flow of the milk into his mouth. So, my milk often spilled and Josh is underfed or chokes with the way we administer the sippy cup. It was time to move him to the bottle. But I was concerned of nipple confusion so I needed to test which nipple would be the best.

I tested Breastflow, Medela CALMA, Medela slow flow and Dr. Brown natural flow. I did not realize I could be this OC (obsessive compulsive) over nipples!

Breastflow has a nice large nipple with a center control that only allows milk to flow upon squeezing or sucking. The flow from this nipple is a strong, straight squirt once it is sucked. The Medela slow flow and the Dr. Brown natural flow both drips naturally even if it isn’t squeezed. The Dr. Brown has a a straw-like middle attached to the nipple that works to control the air inside the bottle to prevent babies from gas and even colic. Lastly, Medela Calma is a specialized nipple designed with a long tip to imitate a stretched nipple when sucked. It took about 4 strong squeezes before a soft drip is released.

Other mommies including my twin sister uses the Medela Calma nipple. The Lactation Counsultant told us that it is important for baby to exclusively breastfeed from the breast for the first 6 weeks to allow both baby and mom to get used to the latch. If there is a need to drink breastmilk from the bottle, the nipple should still encourage the baby to suck so that they would not get lazy and would prefer mother’s breast and direct feeding rather than bottle feeding. The basics on breastfeeding is more latching and sucking on the breasts means more milk. Less sucking on breasts means less milk. Bottle feeding in my opinion is only a temporary substitute to the breast which means the primary source of feeding should be mommy’s boobs. 🙂

Let me be clear, Josh is feeding once a day breast milk using sippy cup and we are now moving to use a bottle once a day… I introduced the Calma nipple to Joshua on his 7th week. At first I got worried because he might get frustrated because he has to suck hard so the milk would flow. But to my surprise he was totally fine! He finished 2oz in about 10 mins… And he latches well with me on direct feed 🙂 … In later days though, the calma nipple was just too long for my young babe. He looked like choking so he would let go of the nipple and cry.

We moved to using Breastflow. Again I was worried that he would not take it because he was lazy to suck the nipple (and I was around watching him). Later, without me around, he finished his milk in about 10 minutes. I guess he was hungry and he had no choice.

The other bottles I will reserve when he is bigger. Yey! No more spilled milk and so far no nipple confusion using BREASTFLOW! I can take my 3 hour sleep without worrying because my baby is satisfied and well fed!

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Precious Milk

Having spoken to several moms I learned that there is a lack of advocacy on breast feeding. Here is a list of common myths versus truths on breastfeeding and breast milk:

1. “I don’t have milk”. – Yes its true some mothers are not dripping milk before the birth of their baby. Some won’t have milk until it is stimulated by their baby. Milk naturally comes out 3 to 5 days after the first latch. Let it be known that 99% of mothers have breast milk.

2. “Milk has not come in yet, my baby will die of hunger”. – The baby from the womb has enough nutrients from the placenta and is full for the next 3 days. The tummy of the baby is as small as a cashew nut and will not need a lot of milk just yet. In the next 3 days, what comes out of the breast is the COLOSTRUM. Don’t let the nurses or midwives push you to feed your baby formula or glucose water. Instead, allow your baby to latch and suck on your breast. The breast milk will flow the more the baby has contact with it.

3. “You can’t store breast milk, so I just let my milk drip on my shirt and wash it after”. Oh No! Breast milk is precious! You can manually express it in a bowl or use a breast pump to extract breast milk. If you store milk in the refrigerator it can last for 7 days. If you store it in a single door freezer it can last 2-4 weeks, double door 1-2 months, and a separate freezer chest can keep the milk up to 6 months.The expressed stored milk can be given to your baby when you are away.

4. “I don’t have enough milk so my baby is not satisfied and cries because of hunger.” – If your baby has wet or soiled diapers, and is gaining weight, then for sure you are giving enough. I had to learn this… Not all crying mean that babies are hungry. But if you offer your breast at every cry, the baby who is naturally accustomed to sucking will take your breast even if not hungry. Watch out also if your baby is fussy because of gas build up due to over feeding… or if your baby spits out milk, it may be overfeeding too.

I realized it is also psychological. If you think you do not have, then even your milk supply gets depleted. If you think that you have, you maybe surprised at the ounces that you can get when you pump.

Other tips to let milk flow includes: Imagining your baby crying or actually hearing your baby cry can influence your body to flow milk. Also I have tried wetting my feet with the faucet and the sensation of dripping water also influences a let down (this i find most interesting). Expressing using a breast pump before or after breast feeding will signal your body to produce more milk.

If you still feel inadequate then I suggest you load up on wholegrain and multigrain. I eat oatmeal every morning and that does me good. Also malunggay in soups, clam shell soup, and different juices help increase my milk. If you can’t eat malunggay you can buy malunggay capsules. I was suggested by my friend to take Natalac and it has done wonders for me…

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Most of all, don’t give up or think negatively about breast feeding. If you feel frustrated, calm down and pray. God promises sufficiency in our every need.

Power of a praying parent

I love Stormie Omartian books. I have read “Power of a Praying Wife”, and “Power of a Praying Woman”. It is filled with heartwarming personal stories and helps the reader express specific prayers and declare specific scripture verses.

In December 2011, I received another of Stormie’s books from a random exchange gift. At that time I was still childless. After seeing the book, “Power of a Praying Parent”, I took it as an advance notice from God that I will become one someday. When I learned I was pregnant, I started reading this book and praying for my child even when he was in my womb.

This book leads the parent to start praying for the different aspects of a child’s life. It includes your child’s health, emotional maturity, intelligence, freedom from fears, including his circle of friends and even their future spouse.

What I am realizing more and more is that children are really “loaned” to parents by God. We are just stewards of their life. I cannot ensure to protect my child 24/7, but His Heavenly Father can. So, instead of worrying, I lift my child up in prayer.

Now that I have Joshua, we make it a daily habit to pray each morning. He usually wakes around 5am – 6am. While he is tucked in my arms, I start praying out loud. We thank God for another day, we thank God for his goodness and faithfulness. Then we pray for our loved ones and our household. I also pray that Joshua will know the Lord, and will love and obey Him.

I look forward to the day I hear him utter his own prayer and converse with God.

Deuteronomy 11:18-22 “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.

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Personal Pick – Avent 3-in-one

Today I will make a review on another personal pick that I am happily using. One appliance I believe you need to purchase is a sterilizer. Whether you are breastfeeding or going formula you will need to sterize baby bottles, pacifiers, and even later utensils and plates.

When I was searching I needed a sterilizer that would make life easier. It must be flexible to handle small items and larger ones too. This is why the Avent 3-in-one sterilizer became a great fit for me!

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It has 2 plastic compartments. A larger one that can hold big bottles, plates, etc… Then it has a smaller one that can fit nipples, pacifiers, and baby utensils. The reason it is called 3-in-one is the flexibility to sterilize just the big compartment or just the small compartment or both! Sterilization is just one click and 6 minutes long. It is also easy to clean because the compartments are removable and light.

Currently it retails around P6,500+ but if you wait for its sale you can buy it as low as P5,200. Try befriending Avent_unlimited on Instagram and purchase online at P5,800.00.

For me, this appliance is something worth investing on. I use it everyday, even twice a day… And will be using it maybe for the next 3-4 years. So settle for the product of quality and with warranty. 🙂

Personal Picks – Chicco Liteway

It is another Personal Pick Friday! Today, I want to share with you another item that mommies put on their wish list for their babies – the stroller.

When I was looking for a stroller the first thing I considered was how easy this stroller can be transported wherever I would be going. My life consists of monthly travels and since I intend to breastfeed my baby, it will mean I have to bring this little babe with me. What we need now is a light weight but sturdy stroller that can be used by a newborn until probably 3 years old.

So I was at a quest of finding the best baby carrier for me and my babe. I saw many kinds of strollers. There were those paired by car seats and bassinets. Others had stimulating toys. There were strollers considering the other baggages the mom or caregiver would be bringing by giving it space.

For me the most important features of the stroller should be — light, foldable, and can recline for newborns. So I entered Baby & Company and I was introduced to the Chicco Liteway.

The Chicco Liteway stroller weighs 7 kilos and folds like an umbrella. It makes it easy to put at the trunk of a car or to check-in the plane.

Joshua super loves this Liteway stroller he sleeps in it during the day! He also loves sitting and going around in it…

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It is a great travel partner and Im so happy to have received this as a gift from Joshua’s Ninang Pria!

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Just like Hannah

“I want to have grand kids, so double time!” that was part of the speech of my father-in-law during our wedding years ago. It was everyone’s well wish and expectation for us to conceive and have “mini-me’s” running around. But it was not an easy journey for us.

After a year of marriage and not conceiving, I visited the OB-GYNE to find out what can be done for me to get pregnant. My ultrasound would show I have polycystic ovaries. The doctor said that the cyst was small and it should not bother us. The only solution also to this syndrome is to just get pregnant. It seemed like an easy solution, but it was far from easy for us.

I remained very hopeful. My husband and I prayed, fasted, believed that we would get pregnant. Different options were given to us, pills, exercise, following a menstrual cycle for days of contact… however the months became years and I began losing faith.

I admit that I was getting disappointed with God. I would cry every time my period would come. It pierced my heart when people would ask why we were not getting pregnant and received their suggestions on what we should do. There was a year that everyone around me was getting pregnant (even my own dog!)… but I remained barren. It came to a point that I needed to blame someone why I was not conceiving… I started to blame my husband because at that time he was not open to get himself checked. I wondered why God was not granting our request… I was getting bitter towards God that I’d say “I don’t care if I don’t get pregnant”. Truthfully that was the total opposite. I did care.

God never gave up on me though. God was working on me, stretching my faith muscles. Through His Word He reminded me of Hannah. For years she was barren and mocked for being childless. She too cried to God. Her account is found in the book of 1 Samuel 1.
v 10 “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.”

But after Hannah cried to the Lord, she left this concern in faith, not in doubt or bitterness. After Eli (the priest) saw her in the temple crying he pronounced a blessing to her and she left no longer depressed.
v 18 “Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad”
The bible accounts that “the Lord remembered her plea”; v 20 “and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”

I had to learn to trust God’s plan and timing for everything and for everyone. I was becoming impatient and seeding doubt. Thank God for friends who never stopped praying for us, and that encouraged me to believe.

In 2010, my twin sister gave birth to her 3rd child, Jonathan David (JD). I was with her at the labor room, and I had the privilege to see her baby right after delivery. I held her little one in my arms, and began feeling hopeful again of God’s promise to me and my husband. The week after, I took a step of faith of seeing a specialist that would assess our situation. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. The week after, I was wheeled in the operating room for a laparoscopic procedure to remove the adhesions and polyps in my uterus and the cysts on my ovaries.

I was a Stage IV Endometriosis patient. In short, infertile. But that did not stop me to believe that God can open my womb. My husband began to follow the footsteps of Isaac who prayed for his wife. Genesis 25:21 “Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins.”

Okay, we did not have twins. But three months after the procedure we were pregnant! I cried for joy for the Lord remembered me. However, on our 5th week check up, the doctor could not find the sac. My blood (hcg) test says I am definitely pregnant, the pregnancy test shows 2 lines. But there was no sac.

We started to pray, and I believed God will show us a miracle that the next test we will see the baby in the uterus. We flew to Manila to have myself checked there… The findings — possible ectopic pregnancy.

The doctor explained to me that I had to undergo another operation again. She also told me straight that I can lose one of my fallopian tubes if the baby implanted in it. I was crushed and my husband was too. Both of us were crying the night before getting confined in the hospital. I was grieving to lose this child. That night I could not sleep, I kept talking to God. “Lord, please tell my child how much I want to be his/her mom.” I was talking to my baby and telling my baby “I love you, you made me excited to be a mom. I already miss you even if we have never met. You must know I want to have you so much.”

Joy Mendoza, my close friend and discipler called and cried with me… She said, “I am so sorry Mit. How are you feeling?” In my heart, I was not angry at God. I told her, “I know this is God’s will. The mere fact he made me pregnant is already a miracle. I am not disappointed with Him.” I worried about losing my fallopian tube, but the doctor assured me that I can still get pregnant with just one tube.

That day in June 2011, I had another operation to remove the fetus before it raptures my fallopian tube.

After the procedure, when I opened my eyes in the recovery room, my husband told me this “Guess what… the baby was found in the abdomen, it implanted and found blood supply there. But the sac could not sustain so it was ready to be removed. So, they did not cut your fallopian tube. Your reproductive organs are all intact.”

When I heard that I had peace. I thanked God for being so gracious, and for giving us a child that was so considerate to give way for another baby in the future by implanting in the abdomen rather than in the tube.

Like Hannah, I cried and grieved before the Lord, but God gave me extra grace and an increased faith. I had more confidence than before that I would conceive in God’s perfect time. Then, I moved on everyday believing that I would receive. In fact, there was no pain in my heart about the loss. I felt God’s presence and firm love for me and my future.

And true to God’s promise… I conceived again in April 2012. This is now our precious baby Joshua. God is indeed faithful, His love never fails. This is why I claim these verses as my life statements: “Everything is possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23) and “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37)

Pregnant by faith

Pregnant by faith

Red, Black, and White

When I was younger, I loved Arts and Crafts. I liked to paint, use pastel colors, and imagine art work. But as you get older, you usually don’t work on those projects anymore, and you certainly get rusty. In fact, it kindda blinds your artistic eyes.

When I was preparing the baby room, it was my friend Amanda, who asked if I had made a crib mobile (hanging moving toys) for Joshua. I told her, “no”. It was because I was too lazy to make those hanging toys and it would again require for me to work with my hands and conceptualize what to make. Newborns are fascinated with red, black, and white colors since their eyesight are still developing. Amanda, suggested that I try making a mobile with those colors. What I did instead was buy a mobile with colors that were dominant on red, white and black. Like I said, I was too lazy make one, so I bought.

Just a week ago, another girlfriend of mine, Jill, came to see me and I showed her the baby room. She told me again that Joshua’s brain stimulation is increased if I put red, black, and white designs on the ceiling. She told me, it is easy because all I needed to do was buy cartolina paper and cut out designs and stick it on the ceiling. She was the second person who insisted I get into the red, black and white brain stimulation thingy.

This time around, I did not have an excuse… I now need to get my hands dirty and work on something artistic. So, I went to National Bookstore and bought the cartolina paper, paste, and double sided tape. When I got home I looked at the ceiling, and boy did the ceiling above his crib suddenly feel so long and wide. I felt overwhelmed with the project.

I began cutting circles, triangles, squares, rectangles. It was an exercise that was unlocking my childhood artistic eyes. Once you start, you can really get glued to it. The most difficult part was sticking the design on the ceiling. It made me wonder the geniuses of Michaelangelo and his counterparts when they were painting ceilings. I was getting disoriented a lot when I was putting the design on the ceiling.

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Finally, I stuck the design up on the ceiling. Its not perfect, alright… but it is worth the shot. The most priceless scene I enjoy is seeing my little one staring interestingly on the artwork I have made. This makes me feel like an accomplished mommy artist. That is what matters most to me now… I can now say that it is true that mothers would go out of their comfort zone and do things that are good for their babe.
The stimulating ceiling