Friday, May 29, 2009

Moms and Portability

I remember how I wanted a portable swing and rocker set for my son over a stroller. I figured he'd appreciate it more because he'd be rocked. And we did stop using our stroller because we preferred the lighter umbroller my sister-in-law gave to us.

Recently, i've really been excited about bringing our newest camera because it's compact and handy. Our Canon S2 and 400D were really bulky and required a bigger bag. And i've been missing carrying a small, true-blue bag for months now. Finally, I can stop carting a diaper bag around.

Since Moms are always on the go (try having a toddler who refuses to stay anywhere), portability of anything is really key. So I was of course curious about what a portable credit card machine is, and if i'd need one. Hehe. Well, I don't need one. But it's good to know such things exist, yes? :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mommy and Baby Pics

insisting on nursing at the beach

with a starfish

yup, super fun in the water

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Great Thing

One really great thing working for mommies everywhere right now is that leaps and bounds have been made in medicine. Women can now have kids in their 40s safely. Preemies are more likely to survive. Congenital anomalies are detected and resolved earlier.

Other medical and psychological problems have treatments and support groups available. And literature is available for everyone who needs more information.

Mommies also need not dread their menopausal years or other maladies like heart attack and diabetes as much as before, and as such need not worry about making their kids orphans or compromising their ftures. Cancer is also not the evil that it was before, with Mesothelioma treatment and other therapies available and continually being develooped and improved upon.

Now if only we'd all really live healthier lifestyles, then am sure we'd also be happier too.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Mommy's Heart

The digital camera hubs purchased as Mother's Day gift to me came with a coupon for a free Banana Peel pair of slippers. Hubs, in his note, said that he finds the gift of slippers perfect since I need a sturdy pair to continue running after our son.

But I am a Mom. When I realized I could just add and pay the difference, I got a new pair of slippers for my son instead. It's his third pair, and the second one in this tyle.

It's already a size 8 in baby size. Yakee wears a size 23-24 in shoe sizes now too. And although my son walks fine in his new slippers, I think he's not that comfy in this style. I also forgot that his skin breaks out in rashes sometimes from any form of friction (even if he's only gigil on an ice cream cone).

But my heart was in the right place, surely, for wanting to happify him over myself?


He's been breastfeeding all the time again... argh!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

How Priorities Change

I can still remember a time when one of the most important things in my (and my peers') life is looking at diamond engagement rings and wondering if we'd ever get any.

And then came a time when we were planning our weddings like it was a Presidential Inauguration. Like our lives depended on it.

But now, I spend more time looking at baby clothes and shoes than I do checking myself in the mirror. I spend more time browsing for kids products online than I do blogging. I spend more, literally, on things for my son. And I scout for more instructional videos and books and activities for him.

And the reward I seek for all these? A big smile from him and a good day with him.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Best Thing About Being a Mom

originally posted here, but I cannot let Mother's Month end without posting this here also


The best thing about being a Mom is not having someone to buy toys and clothes for, someone to plan birthdays for, someone to puree vegetables for. It's not having someone to smile at you as he first learns to walk, or having people commend you for having a cute, beautiful, well-behaved baby.

It's not about having your fertility unchallenged. It's not about having someone to strengthen a marriage. It's not about dreaming dreams and making plans with your husband for.

It's not about going up on a stage to pin a medal on a bright child. Or having someone tell you "I love you" and know that you mean the world to her. And certainly, losing weight from breastfeeding and the late nights is not always something an exhausted mother would appreciate. And would any parent honestly tell you to look forward to adolescence?

So what is the best thing about being a Mom then?

It's the front-row seat to a person's becoming, that's the best thing. Imagine a person, the greatest miracle in the world by virtue of what's in him and what choices he'll make, and you will know him first... know him best. Because you were there from the minute his heart started beating.. And your heart will skip a thousand beats for him, for every threshold crossed, for every whimper in the night, for every proud moment. You will know his first memories for him, you will know the first songs in his heart... and all this, you will remind him when he forgets. Because you won't, not ever really, even when your mind and body get weak from old age.

You will watch a person become, and hopefully influenced and inspired well by you. The front-row seat will allow you opportunities for giving feedback, for giving guidance, but it will also remind you everyday that this is not your show, not your song, not your book that is unfolding. The greatest privilege, the most beautiful reward is just that... that you will be there when a person is born, and hopefully, till he grows up to be a witness to the same circle of life.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Way to Avoid Preterm Births

Preterm births may be caused by genital tract nfections, physiological difficulties during the pregnancy (placenta previa, insufficient cervix, etc.) and maternal illnesses (diabetes, asthma, lupus, etc.). An increased risk is seen among multiple pregnancies, previous history of preterm birth, mothers who are younger than 17 and older than 35, chemical (drugs, alcohol, smoking) abuse during pregnancy and pregnancies occuring within six months of giving birth.

Hope is given by recent findings that:
"Through the NIH trials, we received highly accurate evidence of gestational age enabling us to determine that folate supplementation for at least one year is linked to a 70 percent decrease in very early preterm deliveries (20 to 28 weeks gestation) and up to a 50 percent reduction in early preterm deliveries of 28 to 32 weeks," said Radek Bukowski, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the lead study author.

"We already know that folic acid supplementation beginning before pregnancy and continuing into the first trimester helps prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spinal cord, such as spina bifida," said Alan R. Fleischman, M.D., senior vice president and medical director of the March of Dimes. "Dr. Bukowski's research makes us optimistic that taking folic acid for at least one year before pregnancy also may greatly reduce the risk of premature birth and reinforces our message that every woman of childbearing age should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily."

Taking folic acid supplements may not be a priority when you're not even trying to conceive, or are already spending so much on fertility treatments. But you can get folate from dark, green leafy vegetables, legumes, citrus fruits, avocados, and strawberries. You can in fact get loads of them from malunggay (moringa) leaves or capsules so if you're already taking moringa capsules as multivitamin, then you're already getting folate as well. Of course, eating a balanced diet always goes a long way in saving you money and ensuring that you're really at your optimum health, to conceive, give birth and raise that child.

Preterm labor and birth
Taking Folic Acid For a Year before Pregnancy May Reduce Risk of Preterm Birth
Good Sources of Folate

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Twins with Different Fathers

Although very rare, a woman in Dallas gave birth to twins with different fathers almost a year ago. She was having an affair while engaged to her fiance and it seems there was an overlap between her travelling eggs and the travelling set of sperms, thus, producing the twins Justin and Jordan who are also, technically, just half-brothers.

I was not really surprised by this. I know for a fact that a man can even pass someone else's sperm to you (say, if they both had sex with the same girl) and thus get you pregnant with that other man's spermies. Also very rare but it CAN happen.

Anyway, hopefully, the twins will be raised impartially and that the mother will stop having affairs.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Security when Travelling

Just literally got back from Marinduque with family.

We rode the ToRo for the first time as a family. While filling up the manifest, it really dawned on me how things like travel insurance are very important. Because accidents CAN happen, no matter how vigilant we are. So all those extra fees to cover insurance and for clearances, although they bother us, those may be our saving grace.

At least now I have a better attitude towards those. True, some probably charge so much and there could be something done with the long lines, but generally, these agenmcies are just keeping an eye out for us. Wouldn't it be more frustrating if, in the event of mishaps, you won't be reimbursed at least?

With Great Power...

... comes great responsibility.

But I think women who rallied for birth control and sexual freedom forgot something: being 'given' control over their bodies, they should also take responsibility for it.

And yet, in the U.S., unwanted pregnancies don't just happen to teenagers who lack education and support. A big percentage actually happen to women in their 20s.

For starters, we found that single women are much less savvy about birth control than they think. Nearly half of survey respondents said they don’t seek out information on preventing pregnancy because they know enough already. Yet when the National Campaign tested the same group on their knowledge, women scored 6 out of 11 on average and men a dismal 4.7. Why no urgent need to be informed? Researchers found that women are often passive or ambivalent about getting pregnant, with more than one in four saying, "If it happens, it happens" or "It would be no big deal." Says Sarah Brown, chief executive officer of the National Campaign, "We have a large number of single young adults who say they are not actively seeking pregnancy, but their actions don’t match their words. They’re not really trying, but they’re not really not trying."

Of course, it's always great if they choose to continue the pregnancy... but just how many of these women get to provide the home these kids need? How many of them raise their children by themselves? How many of them end up finding partners and enjoying a good family life? How many of them don't lose their kids to drugs and crime? After all, the fact that single parents have to work hard to earn a living often means that no one gets to really monitor and raise their child.

Such happiness is not the most likely script among the not-so-famous. Earlier data from the National Campaign shows that although having a baby after an unintended pregnancy can lead to a happy marriage, it’s more likely that relationships become strained. Nine months after an unplanned birth, 29 percent of women report frequent conflict with the father. And among couples living together when they accidentally got pregnant, two thirds are not married by the child’s second birthday. Nearly a quarter of the couples have split up — twice as many breakups as among married couples with unplanned pregnancies.

This also brings to mind nurses and doctors, or those others in the medical field who you'd expect will know better, having to deal with unwanted pregnancies. And since abortion is illegal in the Philippines, it's really a wonder why there aren't more educated people (especially women) being vigilant about family planning and birth control.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

On Labor Induction

Labor induction is on the rise and this is potentially dangerous to both mother and child.

"We now know that every week of gestation counts in terms of brain and lung development. When there is no good reason to end pregnancy, mothers and babies benefit from waiting for labor to begin on its own," said Carol Sakala, Director of Programs, Childbirth Connection. "Starting labor early can lead to negative outcomes for the woman and/or baby."

I guess the same should also give those thinking of C-sections pause. I am somehow guilty of this because we chose to have a C-section rather than wait for labor to begin (but I was past 40 weeks and my cervix remained closed then). Then again, eventhough it's surgery, I think i'd still rather have a C-section than be induced when my body is not laboring, lightening, dilating on its own. That will save me and my baby stress!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Babies Are Resilient

Octomom uses her babies as props for photoshoots. She doesn't handle them well. She doesn't appear to even know how to carry one properly. She uses her cleavage to hold the bottle while nursing one of them because she has to be talking on her cellphone (maybe nobody has told her of hands-free and loudspeaker options). She picnics on wet grass outside while the U.S. tries to contain Swine Flu. Her babies are preemies.

But still, her preemies are surviving, are thriving. Sure, a lot of it has to do with modern medicine and all the care these preemies get from hired professionals. But still, they're proof of a baby's resilience. Sometimes, even the most critical of cases beat the odds.

Let's just pray their psyche and spirit won't crumble from their mother's other priorities.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This is too good not to share... got this in my e-mail.



Due to a power outage, only one paramedic responded to the call. The house was very dark so the paramedic asked Kathleen, a 3-yr old girl, to hold a flashlight high over her mommy so he could see while he helped deliver the baby.

Very diligently, Kathleen did as she was asked. Heidi pushed and pushed and after a little while, Connor was born. The paramedic lifted him by his little feet and spanked him on his bottom; Connor began to cry.

The paramedic then thanked Kathleen for her help and asked the wide-eyed 3-yr old what she thought about what she had just witnessed.

Kathleen quickly responded, "He shouldn't have crawled in there in the first place....... spank his butt again!"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mommy Pages Disappoints

I was still high from my Expo Mom experience so I literally checked the free Mommy Pages directory I got. I understand that with the W@W Directory, only the bigger suppliers may get included because they're the most heard and submitted by those who actually use W@W. But I didn't think maternity wear, for example, is that big of an industry for the others I know not to have been included in the Mommy Pages directory.

Sure, I didn't expect to know where to get Dansko clogs browsing through the directory but I really expected to see Plume and Blissfulbabes and that shop in Shang listed at least for nursing wear. So either there's some politics going on or they just haven't been introduced.

Best Beginnings in Breastfeeding

This is what a breakout session (to tackle positioning and latching) looks like. It's really great having moms helping out new moms and I really want to commend Meg Murrff Trinidad and Yu Ming School and all of us LATCHers.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Let's get one thing straight.

Mother's Day is not for the women who would sell their child for crack, or who would suffer their child to be exploited or abused.

Mother's Day is for the imperfect women who lost their youth, their golden opportunities, and even their sanity to the raising of a younger generation. After all, an aunt or neighbor or counselor may be more of a mother to someone.

And it's true. Mother's Day, like any other special days, is far too commercialized already. Businesses are tapping on the purchasing power of the male population to buy something for the mother of their kids. Ads highlight what mothers have sacrificed so that everyone, as we all were born from one, will be driven to show their gratitude through spending.

And I won't deny that a cake just for me won't make me smile. I won't deny that all the commercials don't make me feel near-tears as I remember the struggles i've had and ponder all the uncertainties the future will bring. I won't deny that I will appreciate jewelry, new clothes, and massages. After all, if these things can be acquired and given, surely there is nothing wrong that these are given in appreciation of what a mother stands for.

And it isn't the gifts that really make the second Sunday of May important. It is the fact that, for one day, all of us mothers are acknowledged. What we do, who we are, what we have contributed, what kind of people we have raised. It is not just gratitude for the sacrifices we have made, but also celebration of the circle of life.

So all Moms should stand proud indeed and let what's due you be given you. Your husband and your kids need not give you the moon so long as they acknowledge you're a star.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Expo Mom 2009

Hubs kidded me that it seems like it was a Baby Expo, considering our son was the one eating the samples given away and enjoying the stage with all the speakers. I told him, it's a commercial strategy of businesses to appeal to Mommies to Daddies (who have the money) in behalf of their kids' interests. Which is also why Father's Day isn't as celebrated as Mother's Day... it's still the Dads who have the greater purchasing power.

Good thing though that women have power over men. Hehe. But I digress.

I was disappointed that the Sign Language talk was moved the next day. I also wished there were more vendors since there are so many Mompreneurs now. I guess they should hold next year's event at a bigger venue. But still, it was a cool, fun, and interesting family thing to attend.

Registration cost P25/person and for that you get lots and lots of freebies. Think March issue of Baby Magazine, samples of cereals and drinks and chips, and bath & body products by J&J. You also get a chance to win cool raffle prizes from the vendors (anti-aging iPod, anyone?). And the talks are really engaging and helpful plus the kids literally get to see, do and try a lot of new things.

My friend even got a short breastfeeding lecture from the Medela people.

And yes, products are being sold at discounted prices!

Playing Mom

I went to Lipa yesterday to bring old textbooks which my niece should review to keep her abreast of her would-be peers in La Salle (she's coming from a public school background). I also took her shopping for school supplies.

My... it's been years since I last shopped like that. I had no idea what's necessary anymore and what isn't. Good thing National Bookstore had this island of sorts of the necessities, like compass and dictionary and crayons and pencils and paper and other art materials. So I knew that I need not ponder on the merits of buying her a box cutter or anything like that.

It was lovely playing Mom. And what a contrast that I could offer her a complete set of what she needs, and all new at that. I never really had that luxury when I was growing up. I just hope I can give the same to my kids in future. Then again, my niece did win this scholarship through her own efforts and I was just rewarding her diligence.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Consider Tutors

If you know your child needs extra help with school work and you know you can't be the one to provide those extra hours of supervision and monitoring, then it's time you also consider hiring tutors.

Not all kids are bright and eager to learn, after all. That may be hard to face but it's still a reality that cannot and should not be denied. Look back at your child's previous school year. You may have worried over hair loss treatment for her, thinking it was physiological when it was really just psychological: stress. So be the loving parent you are and get help. Maybe your child only need a session each week, or you can start with three one-hour sessions each week that will gradually sink to one one-hour session per week as better study habits get reinforced in your child.

Get the money needed to finance this from the snacks and eating out allowance. This way, you may also become healthier in the process.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Am sure a lot of husbands are hoping that they have money for expensive trips that will include enjoyment of Las Vegas hotels and Caribbean suns. But really, with this recession, I am sure no mother will also risk their family's financial security in such splurges.

So hubbies/dads... keep it simple. I believe a brag bangle that came a week or two late will still be most welcome. Or digiscrapped pictures framed nicely (like a collage of pictures of the mommy with all her kids).

There are even book sales now where helpful books on potty training, breastfeeding, and toddler activities can come as cheap as P50. That and a massage certificate is sure to be appreciated.

Now, I told hubby to exert effort for his gift for me. I told him it need not be expensive, but there should be effort. And really, I meant what I said that i'd be happy to just camp in bed the whole day, with the A/C on and he's just caressing me all day.

I could ask him to babysit the whole day but I love him and our son too much so I will spare them the trauma. Hehe.

Babies to Get New Growth Charts

Babies are about to get new growth charts, in a bid to combat obesity and also boost breastfeeding.

See, the UK (as well as most countries, including ours) still uses growth charts based on formula-fed babies, which usually grow bigger quicker than breastfed babies.

Hopefully, before these charts are used worldwide, all pediatricians would at least be required to undergo a refresher on breastfeeding. It is important to correct old notions and misconceptions as well as keep them abreast of the benefits (based on new research), the safer drug alternatives (in case nursing moms need medication) and the cases that are not really conducive for breastfeeding (in cases of serious illnesses like mesothelioma). This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to breastfeeding that I know of, mothers with non-supportive doctors.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Diabetic Moms Advised to Breastfeed Longer

Diabetic mothers are advised to breastfeed their children longer to significantly reduce the chances of their child becoming obese.

Results from earlier studies show that women with type 1 diabetes are more likely to have overweight children. They are also less likely to breast feed or do so for a shorter period of time. Both aspects can affect the child's weight in later life.

Diabetic moms also need not worry about the composition of their breastmilk.

Researchers from University Hospital Groningen in Netherlands led by Christine M. van Beusekom found that the milk of patients with tightly controlled insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or the Type I diabetes, found no difference in milk triglycerides, lactose, protein, cholesterol, glucose, and no abnormalities in total fatty acids composition. (Source)

Diabetic mothers are thus encouraged to do their research and read up on the literature of the drugs they're taking. Then they should discuss their desire to breastfeed with their doctors so they can be supported or advised otherwise (in case breastfeeding is really not advisable).

LATCH Training of Asian Hospital Nurses

Am the one in the top row, right :) It seems the nurses trained rating the LATCH training highly and that makes me proud and happy. I'm kinda looking forward to giving birth at Asian again... hopefully, these nurses will really be able to provide the support new moms need to nurse asap.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

If You Got Pregnant...

... it may be unwise not to breastfeed, or so what is suggested by new WHI data.

"We were able to show that benefits were visible in anyone with six or more months' lifetime duration of breast-feeding," Schwarz told heartwire, with those who reported a lifetime history of more than 12 months' lactation being 10% to 15% less likely to have hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and CVD than those who never breast-fed.

Schwarz stressed an important point to heartwire. "It's not that you are better off if you have a baby and breast-feed than someone who's never been pregnant, it's that you are better off than someone who becomes pregnant and does not breast-feed. A woman who becomes pregnant and does not breast-feed is actually putting herself at risk. So we can talk about the benefits of breast-feeding but perhaps it is better framed as the risks of not breast—feeding."

Bairey Merz agrees. "We assume the pathway is that breast-feeding protects, but the association could go in the opposite direction—eg, inability to breast-feed may be a marker of early vascular dysfunction," she suggests.

"Women put themselves at risk by becoming pregnant and not fulfilling the cycle that nature has intended," Schwarz says. "In my mind, the cycle really ends with breast-feeding. During pregnancy, the body stores up a bunch of nutrients with the plan that it's going to release much of this in the form of breast milk, a very calorific food. If this doesn't happen, what we see is that the woman's body pays the price. Breast-feeding really helps bring you back to your baseline, and it helps women recover from the stress test that pregnancy entails."

A lot is still being discovered about how human physiology works. Could it be that weight loss brought about by breastfeeding is a better sort of weight loss compared to that from exercise, diet and diet pills? Does breastfeeding attack fat cells a different way, and does the body favor this type of attack?

I actually hope so.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Think Me Beautiful, Baby

I hope my son forever thinks am the most beautiful woman. Ever. And sure, I hope he thinks am sexy too (or attractive)... but am good with not being the sexiest woman on earth for him. Certainly, none of Shia's weird Oedipal thoughts. Hehe.

Moms Helping Moms

When I met with friends last week, I found myself several times sharing lots of the tips and tricks and shortcuts i've learned as a mom to my infanticipating friend. Because that's really how it goes, moms help out new moms. Some do what I do, share knowledge (if and when one can take diet pills such as Apidexin) and practical tips (like not buying a stroller yet). Some take it a step further by becoming mompreneurs and developing products that are useful for other mommies. Nursing bibs, slings, organic products, nursing outfits that are sexy and maternity wear that are fab, all these are just some of what comes to mind right now.

Because we know how hard it is to stay sane and keep a sense of personhood. Because we know the great expectations society have for us. Because we play many varied roles. And because we're still just like the rest who only have two hands and 24 hours to work with.

So we need all the help we can get.