Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When Natural Disasters Strike

A lot has been said about the tragedy at Northen Mindanao brought about by the recent typhoon.  Our family continues to pray for those affected.  As a mom, it is especially heartbreaking to see the children suffering.  I saw a video clip at the television of a mom who had to use the drinking water she had to give her baby with a fever a sponge bath.  Lets all try to help the best we can.

I also came across this site that compiles list of ways we can send out donations to the victims.  Aside from this, let me mention that Medela Moms is also accepting donations in form of breastmilk and other breastmilk feeding supplies.  This is important because (1) it is important to nourish the infants in the evacuation centers especially those separated from their moms (2) breastmilk is even more important for these babies because they need the antibodies and it's hard to prepare formula without clean water.

Hopefully those in relief operations can give special assistance to the infants and their moms.  I wonder if there are some breastfeeding counselors in the area who can help reach out to moms and encourage them during this stressful time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ben's Christmas at Explorations

Our little master had his Christmas Party at school last week.  It was quite fun, too bad we weren't able to take much photos.

The toddlers sang some action songs, with the help of their wonderful teachers.  I'm sure they practiced a lot because I can see that they're participating.  I also got the chance to read a story to the kids.  Teacher Giselle lent me a Maisy Christmas Story Sticker Book, which was a lot of fun especially for our toddler's older siblings. I was quite nervous but I hope I did I good job somehow.

Then came the food ... yummy!!!! We brought pasta and ice cream which were a big hit.

And to top it off, the families got gift tags and banana bread especially made by the kids.  I think it's really cute and thoughtful .. wait ... now those I have a photo of ...  (P.S. To our family and friends who will get presents with gift tags made especially wby Ben, hope you'll keep them as souvenirs!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our Simbang Gabi Story

3 masses down, 6 more to go .. :)

Family and Friends close to us know how important Simbang Gabi is to me. As with all religious traditions, it all started with my father. For as long as I can remember, he would drag us in the 4:30 am mass at our nearby parish church. My brother and I would attend the first and last mass of the 9 day novena. I actually dread it, since I really don't like waking up so early and the church was so crowded and the mass was sooooo long. There were speeches after communion abd before the final blessing that took "forever!!!"

Then came second year high school. I think it was about that time that I learned you get to make a wish when you complete the 9 days ... I decided to try completing it despite the hassle. My wish was pretty shallow, quite embarrassing actually, hehe. I didn't get my wish but somehow this didn't discourage me for going again the following year. But this time, we convinced my dad that we should go to Mary the Queen Parish near our school. I love this parish, the ambiance, the location, and the people. I honestly believe that I wouldn't be going to Simbang Gabi until now if not for this parish.

What about the wishes? Well, lets just say that maybe God was telling me to aim higher with my wishes. He may not have granted my first "mababaw" one, but He has been answering my prayers ever since. One of the reasons why the start of Simbang Gabi is meaningful to me and Bry because it is our original anniversary as boyfriend-girlfriend :) Fast forward 15 years later, we now have Ben - another answered Simbang Gabi prayer - which is why I insist on bringing him along despite being a handful.

Things are a little different now, though. Ever since we had Ben, we're been attending the anticipated masses to accommodate his schedule. It may seem easier because we don't have to wake up early but it still requires a lot of effort. And aside from the wishes, I think it is a good way to prepare yourself for Christmas. Whenever I'd attend Simbang Gabi, I'd find myself reflecting on the year that has passed and feel grateful and hopeful. I wonder if Ben will have a special place in his heart for Simbang Gabi someday.

Anyway, my prayers for this year's novena are mostly related ... hmmm .. will keep yo guys posted how it goes (wink!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We wish you a Merry Nursing :)

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (December). For this month, we want to honor breastfeeding for having enriched our lives and blessed us, maybe even empowered us, in a way that only breastfeeding can. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."

This year will be our second Christmas with Ben, and I can say that I am a more confident and wiser mom now than last year.  I still have a lot to learn, but I felt God has shown me through breastfeeding Ben that I need not to be afraid of the challenges being a mom would bring. 

Breastfeeding calls for faith, patience and humility.  You got to have faith that what you can give your baby is enough for him.  You need the patience to sort through the breastfeeding woes.  You should also be humble enough to realize that being able to provide for your baby is a gift from a higher power.  When I was pregnant with Ben, I knew I wanted to breastfeed but was scared if I could do it.  I had hormonal issues which made my pregnancy difficult and was concerned this will affect my ability to provide for him.  I prayed and trusted that things will fall into place.  I feel blessed that I was able to overcome the challenges.  It made me realize that I can count of God and my love ones to support me whenever I encounter trials in parenting.

For me, breastfeeding is not just about nutrition, it's about establishing a connection with Ben. When you nurse, you are called to stop and take time to get to know your child.  Right now, Ben is in a phase when he wants my full attention when he nurses.  He would even tell me to put my cellphone aside so that I don't get distracted.  You are also called to be creative in terms of adjusting your lifestyle with your new role as a parent but not lose yourself in process.  This is such an important skill to have as a parent.  It was not easy but I eventually learned how to have a social life while sustaining a nursing relationship with Ben.

Lastly, breastfeeding has opened new doors for me to connect with other moms.  I'm thankful for mommy friends who can relate to my experiences and share my advocacy.  Moreover, I feel blessed that I'm given the opportunity to learn from and help other mothers.  When counseling other moms, I can honestly say that I've been in their situation and could actually give tips that has worked for me.

These gifts that I have received through breastfeeding Ben will surely help me become a good mother to him even long after he weans.   It's my hope that more moms will have a fruitful and meaningful breastfeeding experience like mine.

Happy Holidays from our family to yours :)

Here are the entries of my fellow participants :) Enjoy!

Shaps- Beyond Being Thin
Gretchen - Breastfeeding Gifts for Christmas
Carol - The Gift of Miracle
Jenny O.- The Gifts of Breastfeeding
Anne - The Gift of Breastfeeding
Jenny R. - If the Magi Were Queens
Em - The "Breast" Gift
Isis- Got Milk?
Armi - Breastfeeding Gifts
Liv - My Breastfeeding Journey
Laya - Time in a Drop of Milk
Mec - The Gift of a Changed Man
Marnellie - From a Donee to a Donor
Icar - Breastfeeding

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Confessions of an Online Shopaholic

Yes, I'm Nats and I'm an online shopaholic :)

It all started when I gave birth to Ben.  It was hard to go out and look for nursing clothes so I researched and found sites where I can order and have them shipped at home.  Since then, there was no turning back, hahaha!  I like buying stuff online because it's quite convenient.  It's hard to find free time to shop and most of the stuff I end up buying are hard to find in malls.  I learned quite a lot since my first purchase though.  Hope these tips will be helpful.

1. Research the product first before you purchase

When i was still starting out with nursing clothes, I found it easy to buy online because it was a hassle to leave Ben behind.  Also, there weren't many stores that sell nursing clothes back then.  I'd usually order size small because I assumed that was the size that best fits me.  But i was glad to have gotten the opportunity to visit the shops and bazaars of my suppliers, fit the clothes and realize that I am size XS in the brands.  This made future orders online better because I finally knew my exact size.  

2. Know your supplier.  
Is your supplier easy to contact? Does he/she reply to email or text messages promptly? I enjoy buying from sellers who would quickly confirm once they received the order and payment. What are his/her return policies? Some suppliers actually allow you to return purchases under certain conditions.

3. Take note of the couriers used and how to track your package. 
Most online sellers provide their customers with waybill numbers so they can get updated shipping info.  I've had quite satisfactory experiences with most couriers except for two instances when (1) my package arrived a day late because they couldn't locate our place plus their vehicle broke down and (2) a package that  I expected to have 5 items inside contained only 3.  We complained but there's only so much that you can do.  I guess the lesson to be learned here is both sellers and buyers must try to protect themselves against problems like these by knowing about shipping policies and documenting what's inside the packages.

4. Document your payments

Save your confirmation emails and keep your deposit slips.  Also, check your deposit slip before leaving the bank.  There was a time when I had to go back to the bank for a certain transaction because the teller entered the wrong amount in the computer.  As for using credit cards, make sure you log out from the website properly just to be sure your credit card info will not be saved.

5. Provide feedback to benefit other online buyers

Some websites, particularly
ebay, would request feedback and ratings from buyers and sellers.  This can be a helpful tool.  Also, sellers would usually appreciate suggestions about their products and policies.

Happy Shopping and Advance Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ben visits Tita dentist, again :)

I recently took Ben for his second dental check-up.  I was very proud of him, no crying, no fussing and he opened  his mouth on cue. What's more, he showed the dentist that he can gargle and spit.  I must say  I give yaya credit for teaching Ben that skill.  She's the one who would make toothbrushing a game for Ben. Sige na nga, plus points na  nga for her. Hehe

I've shared in a previous entry some dental tips for toddlers.  Additional tips I've learned from this visit are
1) Direct breastfeeding helps a child develop a beautiful set of teeth. Most breastfed babies do no need braces when they grow older. Also, direct breastfeeding helps develop a child's facial muscles .and 2) Fresh milk is better for the teeth than formula.  This is because formula is sweeter with more sugar.

With Ben now having an almost complete set of teeth, one of the most  frequently asked questions is does it hurt when nursing? At first it did, but I've learned that he'd only bite when he's bored so I'd stop feeding him whenever he's showing signs of biting.  Also, by the time a baby starts teething, he is already able to understand the concept of "no", so I'd talk to Ben in a firm voice when he used to bite. Babies use their tounge and upper palate to feed so with  the proper positioning and latch, it shouldn't hurt.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Goodbye Love Seat?

Just in case you guys know anyone who might be interested :)

We are selling our slightly used love seat through  It's actually a very good and comfy sofa for two.  Too bad we need to make more space at the house because of Ben's stuffs, hehe.

Here are the specs:

Color: Apple Green, Brown Wooden Frame
Dimensions: 36L" 52W" 28H"
with two pillows: 10"L by 18"W

Since we posted this product on ebay, we are required to entertain all purchase inquiries only through their website.  But if you like more info or want to view  the sofa, please feel to contact us directly :)


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Raising your child for success

Last week, Bry and I are fortunate enough to have attended a parenting seminar at Ben's school.  The topic is how to raise your child to become successful.  Teacher Didi, presented tips on how to help your child attain a high eq based on resent behavioral studies.  Both Bry and I agreed that it was time well spent.  I just hope that we become consistent in applying what we have learned.  Here are the highlights:

No means No, no negotiations
You have to establish your authority towards your child early on.  This means being consistent. When you say no, you should really mean it.  As teacher Didi said, your child is not a lawyer, so do not allow him/her to bargain with you.  This also means you have to take into consideration your child's needs whenever you make rules/ routines.  Take for example the amount of time you set for playing with toys.  You want your child to follow you when you say stop but before you do, think about how much time he needs and warn him when the time is almost up so he'll be prepared.  It's better to let your child play for 15 minutes than intending him to play for 5 minutes only to have him ask for another 5 then another.  It can be frustrating but you have to think about the big picture.  Our kids will eventually become adults, and in the real world there are strict rules.   

Give well-earned and specific praises
We are so used to praising our kids with every little thing they do.  But praise can be a powerful tool not just for a kid's self esteem but to motivate him/her to work harder.  When praising, tell your child why you are complementing him.  I can clearly observe this in Ben's Little Gym class.  The teachers would not just say "Good job!" but "That's good walking, Ben!" or "Thanks for spotting Ben properly, mommy Nats".   We also heard an interesting suggestion about dealing with a child's artworks.  For example, it is better to praise specific improvements in artworks that just post each and every one on the wall.  You can acknowledge progressions such as using a variety of strokes or being able to color within the lines.

Allow your child to feel a healthy amount of frustration
It is hard to let your child feel upset, but there are cases when letting your child sort through some negative feelings can be helpful.  If  your child is experiencing a difficulty with a puzzle, don't quickly jump in to help, or offer comfort by talking about what to do after the activity.  If you eventually assist, talk about the activity and see how he/she can solve the puzzle.  We all are bound to encounter moments of frustration sooner or later.  The difference with successful adults is they were encouraged to persevere and accept that challenges are a normal part of life that can be conquered.  Praise your child for the effort he/she exerted to do a certain task.  "you must have worked hard to complete the puzzle"  This motivates him /her to try out more difficult tasks than telling him "You are so smart to have solved the puzzle"
Ben making a mess!!! Inappropriate Behavior or Just Curious?

You are not your child's best friend.  You are limit-setter, problem solver and coach
Tough, but true.  Lets say your child throws a tantrum inside a toy store.  It is tempting to just tell your child to stop crying then that's it.  Alternatively, you can try to take a step back, think about you child's pattern of behavior and tell him / her  " I know you are upset.  If you are hungry or sleepy, just tell mom so we can get a bite to eat and rest. " You do not just give in when your child is upset but find out why and coach him the proper way to express his feeings.

When a child does an inappropriate behavior, the consequence must be related to the behavior.  And offer rewards, too
If a child hits, let him make amends by saying sorry, giving the person he hurt a glass of water or tissue.  If he makes a mess, let him clean up or if he doesn't pack away, do not let him play with the toy he didn't put away next time.  These consequences are directly connected to the inappropriate acts and will get the message across faster than facing the wall or grounding.  It's easier said than done, though.  The same goes for rewards.  If your child is behaved properly while you are working on the computer, spend extra bonding time with him or her afterwards.

I guess that's it :) Thought I'd summarize the things I have learned so I won't forget them myself, haha!  have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

One Nap vs. Two Naps

Just sharing ...
If there is one thing I am looking forward as Ben turns two, it is that I can finally officially transition him to one nap a day.  Actually, I have to wait until the school year ends in March to adjust his routine.  Sigh .. getting him to sleep isn't as easy as before but I think it is worth the wait.  Here is why .. 

Ben's classes are in the afternoon and I want to make sure he enjoys his classes so I make sure he has a nap and a meal before his classes.  This is why I try very hard to get him to nap even for a short while in the morning.  As for his afternoon nap, since he woke up early in the afternoon, he is often sleepy before dinnertime.  Sleepy Ben = Dinner Disaster so I try to make sure he gets to rest before dinner so he will eat well.  Also, during the few times that he didn't want to sleep in the afternoon, he would usually wake up several times in the middle of the night which means no decent sleep for me... boooooo

Generally speaking, all is good.  It's just that putting him for a nap when he is not yet sleepy can be very tiring.  This is especially when I know he needs his nap but clearly doesn't want one.  Thank God, breastfeeding is helpful but my sleep weapon isn't 100% effective anymore.  Time to get creative! Just recently, I ended up putting him to sleep while singing Selena Gomez 's Love You Like a Love Song.  It took a lot of restraint on my part not to laugh since he was singing along.  When he stopped singing, that was when I realized he was finally asleep.

Anyway, I am determined to change our routine by next year.  I already reserved him in the morning class for next school year, yehey!!! Hopefully all goes well :)

Any thoughts on what to do when 1 nap is not enough but 2 naps are too much?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ben and the beach :)

This year, we are quite fortunate to have been given the opportunity to take Ben to the beach twice.  Ben loves the beach, much like his gwakong (my father) and mama.  It's fun watching Ben play with the sand and brave the waves.  He has a tan now, hehe .. I guess that couldn't be helped given the amount of time we were in the sun .. at least he didn't get sunburned (yehey!).  Here are some photos as well as some tips for going to the beach with a little one.

1. Wear the proper attire and bring appropriate toys.  Ben enjoys his dump truck, shovel and rake.  Meanwhile Daddy and I are happy with with his rash guards and beach shoes. 

2. Sunblock Sunblock Sunblock! Our favorites: Shiseido Gentle Sun Protection Lotion and Indigo Baby's After Sun Gel.  The formulation of the Shiseido sunblock is safe of babies and doesn't feel sticky.  Meanwhile, Indigo Baby's After Sun Gel has a cooling effect that is quite soothing to the skin after being exposed to the sun.  (Note: I'm not specifically endorsing these products, nor am I paid to do so.  Just sharing a bit of our experience with them)

3. As much as possible avoid direct sunlight from 9am-3pm.  These are the hours of the day when the rays are most harmful.  Of course, sometimes it can't be help but it's good to know that it is advisable not to stay out side for too long during this time frame.  It was hard for us to get Ben out of the water but we did our best to maximize the best time to stay by the beach

4. Don't forget the meals and the naps.  Too much excitement can cause you and your little one to have so much fun that it's a challenge to make sure there is some rest time.  One thing I have learned with Ben is the more tired he is, the more he fights his sleep.  As for the meals, we finally tried not bringing home cooked food during our trip.  It was very challenging for me to because I have to gauge whether or not how much he ate was enough but we survived, haha!.  Bry and I also did our best to give him snacks in between like fruits or pastries. 

5. Safely Explore and Enjoy !!!  We're quite lucky Ben enjoys swimming in salt water.  We even got him to swim with us when we went snorkeling.  Imagine our pride when he saw a pawikan and said "turtle"! Being in the beach is one of the best opportunities to explore your child to the beauty of nature so make the most out of it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ben's Halloween

Before anything else, allow me to thank family and friends who took the time out to vote for Ben's photo in the Res Toe Run's Halloween promo.  Sadly, we ended up in second place .... which is actually not a bad thing since we weren't the second highest number of votes.  This means, the judges liked Ben's costume and pose.  Still, we didn't win and end up with just bragging rights :( Anyway, if only I have time to thank everyone who voted individually, I would.  For now, know that we know who you guys are. (wink!) Believe me, I would refresh the webpage of Ben's photo almost every 5 minutes hoping a vote was added.  I really worked hard trying to get votes and appreciated those who took time to share the link with their own contacts.  Ben felt the LOVE :)!

Anyway, as promised, allow me to share about Ben's halloween. I never had thought much about it in the beginning since we were going out of town during the official halloween weekend.  However, Ben's school scheduled a trick or treat celebration so we had to prepare a costume for him.  Luckily, I was able to find a supplier online.  I like his pirate costume because it was quite comfortable and not as expensive as custom made ones, We bought his sword separately for effect.
Har! Har! Har! Our Little Pirate :)

Ben enjoyed his trick or treat at Explorations, the kids showed off their costumes around the school which allowed them to interact with children and adults aside from the ones in their class.  They also brought home a personalized bag of treats as souvenir.
Ben with his fellow Toddler Piglets at Explorations.  Photo courtesy of their class newsletter
And by another stroke of luck, I found out that Shangrila Mall's Halloween party is scheduled on Oct 23, a week before our trip. Perfect timing! We registered Ben and invited his cousin Basti.  The event was pretty organized. Each participant was given a list of shops to visit.  We ended up with lots of lots of sweets!  I was secretly hoping that we'd get more "non-candy" stuff though,.. like cookies or maybe a simple toy, stickers or school supplies, hehe! The official giveaway of the event was quite cool, particularly the Angry Birds gift pack.  There were also a lot of food booths from the sponsors. We'll surely try it out again but next time we'll  bring our strollers along (as suggested by our  partners in crime, Basti's Mommy Jacq and Daddy Popoy :).
all set to Trick or Treat at Shangrila Mall

So there goes my Trick or Treat report :)  Writing about this entry gets me excited about Ben's costume for next year, haha!
so many goodies!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Challenges and Rewards of Extended Breastfeeding

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (November). For this month, participants share their experiences on extended breastfeeding.  This includes tips to moms with young babies, as well as barriers and myths which discourage extended nursing. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."

If someone told me during Ben's early days that I will be breastfeeding him during his second year, I would not have believed it.  I had such a tough start that I was counting the days until I reach the 6 month mark.

But time flies by so fast, before I knew it Ben turned 6 months, then I found myself planning for his first birthday.  And now, as he is about to turn two, I feel so blessed to be able to nurse him for as long as I have.  Allow me to share my views and experiences with nursing a toddler

The Challenges
When Ben turned 1, there were quite a number of people who were asking me when I'll be weaning him.  I get questions like "Doesn't it hurt?" or "Aren't you spoiling him?".  Then there's the "Woah, You still have milk" and "He's big enough already and doesn't need breastmilk" comments.   Sometimes, it is quite tempting to just ignore them but whenever I can, I try to see these instances as opportunities to show that it (1) it doesn't really hurt for the most part, (2) toddlers who are now mobile and more exposed to the outside world need all the protection they can get and (3) a breastfed child is not more clingy or dependent.  It was a challenge to discipline Ben not to bite when he first started teething but thankfully we got the hang of it.   As for the importance of breastmilk to a toddler, I had come to believe that by nursing Ben for as long as I have, I'm able to give antibodies that help him stay healthy. A single drop of breastmilk has a lot of germ-fighting cells in it and this is actually my main motivation for extended breastfeeding.  As for breastfed babies being extra clingy, this is a little tricky.  I guess I would have to say that during Ben's first few weeks at toddler school, I asked myself  whether our breastfeeding would be factor in his ability to adjust and trust other adults without me around. It didn't happen instantly but Ben did eventually became comfortable being at school without me around. From my observation of his class, each child conquers separation anxiety differently and breastfeeding doesn't make your toddler less confident or independent.
My secret weapon to get Ben to nap when on the road .. nursing ,... hehe (shhhhh ....)
The Rewards
The greatest reward for me when it comes to nursing Ben is his few sick days.  A healthy baby = A happy mommy = A happy home.  And if he does get sick, it's one of my weapons to make sure his stomach isn't empty despite his lack of appetite. Of course, there's the convenience of being able to feed your child anytime anywhere.  It makes traveling so much easier.  There's less stuff to put in the luggage and more ammunition to keep your child from being overstimulated with the excitement of new surroundings.  With Ben,  I know that when I nurse him a nap is just around the corner, or at the very least he gets to settle down and not be cranky.  And of course, there's the joy and fun of nursing a toddler who is able to express himself.  How do you say no to your child who tells you loud and clear that he wants "mum-mum" ? How do you not laugh when your child decides to nurse while reading a book or wearing his shades?  Don't get me wrong, I do intend to have a plan of action for that when the time comes that we are ready to wean (looking forward to it, too!) but maybe I'll stick with it for a little while longer.

How about you guys? What are your thoughts on toddler breastfeeding?

Please do visit the entries of my fellow mommy-bloggers below :)

J and the Three Boys - No more "de-de"
Life of a Babywearing and Breastfeeding Mommy - Still breastfeeding after 2 years
Got To Believe - Breastfeeding Room Story
Homeschooling Mommy - Yes, I've Got Milk

Monday, October 24, 2011

Please Help Ben win a free pair of shoes !!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

For the next 3 weeks, I will be shamelessly campaigning for Ben's picture which we used to enter the Res Toe Run Halloween Promo.  We took it during trick or treat last weekend.  I will be posting more about his first ever Halloween but in the meantime, here is a preview

They will give 1 pair of native shoes and a 1000 gift voucher to the winner based on the following criteria
40 % - costume
30 % - # of votes
30 % - pose

We need your help with the votes by LIKING his photo :)  It's really cool since he's actually wearing Native brand shoes and loves them!

The Steps are as follows:
(1) Like the Res Toe Run official fan page here
(2) Then Like Ben's photo here

Thanks so much!! Spread the word!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Things I learned during the lactation counselor training

logo taken from Latch website

I am humbled!

Just finished my lactation counselor training through L.A.T.C.H., a breastfeeding support group that aims to provide encouragement and information to nursing moms.  I am honored to be chosen as one of their trainees and it is a joy to be surrounded by like minded women.  Despite having read a lot about breastfeeding, I learned many new things which I am eager to share with my future counselees.  Here are a few of my favorite facts about breastfeeding that I took home from my training

1. Long term breastfed babies get as much as additional 8 IQ points.  Hopefully this will help Ben in the future, hehe!

2. A smokers breastmilk is actually even better than formula.  Would you believe that? of course, SMOKING AROUND THE BABY is NOT ALLOWED!

3. Only 1 percent of moms are medically incapable of producing enough milk.  I like this because a) there is such as actual low milk supply so one should be sensitive to mom who claim to have supply issues and b) since it's only 1%, it means most moms are capable of breastfeeding with proper info and support.

4. Breastmilk is medically, the ONLY type of milk a person really needs in his/her lifetime. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, formula is only given to infants less than a year old if necessary.  Once a child turns 1, he/she can actually get his calcium and other nutrional requirements from non-dairy sources. Or if desired, fresh cow's milk can be offered. why is toddler formula not preferred? They contain too much sugar and other additives, leading to possible obesity and dependence to milk for calories which should be provided by a well balanced diet.   Breastmilk is the standard by which all types of milk are being compared to.  Whatever they claim to have to improve brain development, breastmilk has them too in a natural and easily digestible form.

5, Children get sick, whether breastfed or not.   The difference is breastfed children get sick less often and recover faster.  It's not a miracle worker but it's effects can be felt even after weaning, especially if you breastfed  long term.  I now have more admiration for moms who are into child-led weaning. True, it might be tough but the brave moms who goes through it has faith that a child knows when he/she is ready.  There was a case when a mom was wondering whether her child will ever wean, only to discover later on that her child had complicated health issues and that their extended breastfeeding greatly helped in the recovery.

I'm sure I'll learn even more as I start my journey being a cheerleader to other nursing moms.  Thank you Lord, Our Lady of La Leche and LATCH for the opportunity to fall in love with breastfeeding all over again!

For more information about L.A.T.C.H,  visit their website here:)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Why We love Frazzled Cook :)

I've been wanting to blog about Frazzled Cook ever since I first had dinner there with my dearest ex-officemates.  Bry and I are lucky that the restaurant is quite close to our house.  A place with great food and nice ambiance that's close to home.  What more can you ask for? Yahooooo!

Beef Kebab with Seafood Paeilla
 on the background
Pan Seared Dory in Olive Oil and Thyme
Frazzled Cook is located along Luna Mencias going towards Shaw Blvd.  They serve a variety of dishes, from sandwiches, pasta to paella.  Bry and I love their beef dishes.  Hubby likes their wagyu salpicao while I think their filet mignon is sooo yummy.  The price is alright,  not very cheap but definitely worth it.

My boys bonding over the food.  
We love their iced tea, too!
What I enjoy most about Frazzled Cook is its ambience.  It's very inviting and homey.    It's ideal for dinner dates as well as gatherings with close friends and family.  I actually had by birthday dinner there.  They have cozy couches for couples as well as high chairs for the kids.  One of the reasons we keep coming back is their staff is always accomodating whenever we bring Ben with us.

For those interested with Frazzled Cook, here's their website.  Happy Eating

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs ... See, even our little Ben (at four months back then) loves Apple

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for sharing your talents to the world ..

The Techie Tans

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

HK 2011 - Toddler Boot Camp, A Review

It has been a week since our 5 day HK escapade.  We won this trip courtesy of a game at the lovely Chua-Ng wedding, and are very grateful to the host families for the opportunity to travel and bond as a family.  We started the trip very excited and went home tired but very happy (especially our little master).  I honestly think that Bry and I became stronger as parents because of the experience.  Here are the tidbits of what we learned :)


We prepared a list of the stuff we had to bring, as well as out itinerary.  For our flights and lodging, we made our bookings and checked-in online to save time.  We checked out websites do we know what to bring in terms of the facilities and the weather.  Don't forget the medicines, too!  Our lifesavers were the Ipad and the stroller.  Most areas in HK have lifts so bringing the stroller along was helpful even if it was bulky.  We we were able to use it for our bags even during the times Ben felt like walking.

As much we tried to prepare, we had to adjust some of our plans depending on Ben's schedule.  We had to prioritize which places we really wanted to go.  Both my boys were troopers!  They gladly accompanied me to Ikea even if it was such a long trip there.  But we had to skip visiting another shopping mall because we were so pressed for time.  (PS. We bought an easel from Ikea when Ben is enjoying right now so the trip wasn't a waste, hehe! )

Bry and I split up parenting duties during the trip.  From feeding, baths, naps and making sure we don't leave stuff behind.  We also had instances when one took care of Ben while the other has some alone time (or at least that was the plan, haha)  Kudos to daddy for being an expert utensils /clothes washer!

My boys were always there to remind me that we took this trip to have fun.  As a wise mom once shared "I'd rather me a happy mom than a perfect mom" ... so what if your schedule is off a bit, or what if you end up feeling a little stressed along the way?  The most important thing is you end up with happy memories despite the imperfections.  Also, try to make most of your time in the new place you are in,  you'll surely be tired but won't regret being productive.


I had to gather enough courage to breastfeed Ben in public during our trip.  I had to feed him in a bus, in the train,  and inside a restaurant.  Thankfully, there are parents' rooms available in malls where you can breastfeed your baby.  Some are more comfortable than others.  I was able to feed Ben inside the HK Disneyland breastfeeding room.  It had two rocking chairs and the lights were dim so very conducive for getting a toddler to settle down.  For me, the trick is to find the right nursing clothes and to remind yourself that you are nourishing your child.  Better to have a quiet feeding child than a loud crying cranky one, right?

LOVE LOVE LOVE DISNEYLAND PARK AND HOTEL!!! Can't wait to do it again :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ben Update at 20 months :)

September seems to be our Little Master's breakout month.  He's been learning to be more confident and independent.  Here are his milestones:

1. He's able to float on his own during swim class.  This was a victory for coach Angelo and I.  I'm proud of him for keeping up with his older classmates.  He's becoming more attentive to following instructions as well.  I'm sure his ability to understand when we tell him to stay put will come in handy outside the pool as well.

2. I'm able to stay outside the classroom during his classes.  I actually thought it would take a long time before we get to this point. But one day, his teachers, class yaya and I decided to give it a try.  He still cries a bit when I say goodbye but stops when I leave the room.  It's bittersweet but that's what school is for.  I'm glad he has learned to trust other adults.

3. He says "bye-bye" when he doesn't want to be disturbed from his current activity.  This is my favorite because it means he is starting to be able to articulate when he doesn't want something rather than cry.  I want to encourage him to express himself so it's hard not to respond accordingly even if he does it when he doesn't want to eat, bathe or sleep yet. Oh well, lets see how we progress in this area.

Oh and he can climb in and out of his playpen now ... Uh ... Oh.. Hehe

so there you have it :) a dose of Ben for family and friends who I know read this to see how he's doing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

US Fall TV Series Premiere Schedule!

Finally, the long wait is over! September is here!!!  Which means the premiere of some of our favorite TV series.  I am a TV buff and I look forward to the new seasons of my favorite shows.  Here's the schedule of some of the popular series, hopefully one of your favorites are on the list.

2011 Fall Premiere Schedule
*All times based on eastern standard time, meaning they are available for download during the afternoon of the following day*

Tuesday, September 13
Parenthood - NBC
90210 - The CW

Thursday, September 15
The Vampire Diaries - The CW

Monday, September 19
Castle - ABC
Hawaii Five-O - CBS
Two and a Half Men - CBS
How I Met Your Mother - CBS

Tuesday, September 20 
NCIS: Los Angeles - CBS
Raising Hope 
Glee - Fox

Wednesday, September 21
Criminal Minds - CBS
Harry's Law - NBC
Law & Order: SVU - NBC
Modern Family - ABC

Thursday, September 22
Grey's Anatomy - ABC
The Big Bang Theory CBS
The Mentalist - CBS
Community - NBC

Friday, September 23
Blue Bloods - CBS
Fringe - Fox
Nikita - The CW
Supernatural - The CW

Sunday, September 25
Desperate Housewives - ABC
The Good Wife - CBS
CSI: Miami - CBS
Boardwalk Empire - HBO

Monday, September 26
Gossip Girl - The CW
Thursday, September 29
Private Practice - ABC

Sunday October 2
Dexter- Showtime

Monday, October 3
House - Fox

Monday, October 21
Chuck - NBC

Thursday, November 3
Bones - Fox

Friday, September 2, 2011

win a pair of Butterfly Twists Satin Flats from Chronicles of a Nursing Mom

Now that we have successfully pulled off our giveaway,  I thought I'd try my luck in joining one by my favorite blogs, Chronicles of a Nursing Mom, haha!

I've been in search of the perfect pair of shoes ever since I was pregnant with Ben.  Being a fan of heels since I'm short,  I still have yet to explore the world of flats.  A pair of Butterfly Twists satin flats seems so promising.  I hope that this will finally break me from my spell of wearing flip flops.

So here's how you can win a pair of Butterfly Twists Satin Flats:
1. Like Butterfly Twists Philippines on Facebook and leave a comment on the page on why these shoes are perfect for ‘moms on the go!’ 
Follow @cleversoles and @mamababylove on Twitter, and tweet this giveaway: "RT @mamababylove: Win a pair of Satin flats from @cleversoles"
3 - Blog about this giveaway.

For more info about the giveaway, go to the link here :)

Announcing the winners for our L.A.B giveaway! :)

Alright ladies, as promised, we got Ben to pick the lucky winners.  Looking back, maybe we could have tried a different approach since we couldn't get him to sit still, hehe! The video and photos are very candid so our apologies that we didn't edit them.  We had to upload the low-quality video but we thought it was alright as long as it doesn't take time to load

So here are the winners! Congratulations, ladies! LAB and I will contact you soon! Muwah!

Didi Tiu Tang - 20% gift voucher

Pevi Dalope- Dela Cruz - 20% gift voucher

Julieanne Velasquez-Dimaano - WINNER OF FREE L.A.B. Nursing top!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mommy Nats' Birthday Giveaway by Latch A Babe Nursing Wear!

I love nursing wear! I think they're one of the best inventions ever! Okay, I may be exaggerating but bear with me because it's this breastfeeding mama's BIRTHDAY! (well .. in a few days anyway, haha!)

My love affair with nursing started even before I gave birth.  I accidentally bought some as part of my maternity wardrobe.  I remember awkwardly practicing with them in front of the mirror and felt so weird.  I've come a long way since then.  I had transformed my whole wardrobe into nursing wear, from pajamas, to formal dresses to swimsuits.  All of the clothes I wear have nursing access even when I am going out without Ben because I want to be prepared to nurse or pump anytime anywhere.

One of my favorite brands of nursing wear is L.A.B. or Latch A Babe.   They're fashionable, reasonable priced and very well made.  What's  great about them is that their fabrics are very light which is perfect for our climate here in manila.  I also like that they are designed in such a way that their nursing access are functional but not too obvious, perfect for Ben who isn't a fan of the breastfeeding wrap.

So in celebration of my birthday and breastfeeding month this August, my friends for LAB nursing wear and I are giving away a nursing top  and two 20% off gift certificates to three lucky readers.

To join, simply:
  1. Become a fan of L.A.B wears on facebook by clicking here
  2. Comment with a "happy birthday mommy Nats" on this blog entry

 We'll ask out little master Ben to draw the winners :)

Take note, these clothes look good not just for pregnant or nursing mommies.  Daddies can also join in.  It's a great way for earn points for your wives!  Good Luck everyone!

Deadline of entries is on August 31, 2011

How I recruited my top breastfeeding buddies

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we join the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action in it's "Talk to Me!" theme where participants will share personal experiences, insights or recommendations in communicating breastfeeding intentions and goals to their support system. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."

I really believe a mom can’t successfully breastfeed without the support of the people around her.  In my case there are three crucial people that I need to be on my side.  Here are some tidbits on how I got my husband, mom and yaya to be pro-breastfeeding.  For those who know me well, the journey wasn’t easy because I took a lot for me to assert myself.  It is paying off, though J Happy Reading!

My hubby, my sidekick
Bry was quite supportive of me from the start.  We talked about how he can get involved even if he couldn’t actually breastfeed Ben.  He would help clean my pump, label the stored milk and tried to be flexible with our schedule since nursing and pumping took a lot of our time.  He downloaded my favorite TV series so that I  can be more relaxed when pumping.  He also didn’t mind sharing the bed with Ben since it was easier for to nurse him lying down at night.

My mom turned cheerleader
I wasn't a breastfed baby so my mom knew nothing about breastfeeding.  Thankfully, that didn't stop her from encouraging me.  We stayed with my parents until two months postpartum and I asked her to be with me when the lactation consultant visited us.  She suggested post a quick guide for handling breastmilk on the fridge.  She made sure I was well hydrated and served me dishes with galactouges during our stay.  Frankly, part of me was stalling going back home … oh well, there’s always the next baby, haha!

My yaya, the convert

Our yaya has been with us a month before Ben was born.  We hired her because she has a lot of experience taking care of babies but sadly, not one of them was breastfed for more than 6 months, and they were only served pumped milk and not directly fed.  But I expressed my desire to breastfeed early on.  The first few months were a challenge, with Ben crying constantly, that she suggested we mix feed.  I stood my ground, saying that as long as the pedia is saying Ben is growing fine, we do not need formula.  Then there were the bottle wars.  Ben wouldn’t take the bottle of pumped milk from her, which frustrated her so much she suggested I exclusively pump.  I resisted because I know that wasn’t a good reason to stop direct feeding.  Then there was the time she had difficulty putting him to sleep at night that she tried to convince us to give Ben a pacifier at least during the night.  I again had to say no, and explain to her that having a pacifier is not helpful for breastfed babies. 

Fast forward a few months later, my yaya finally got the message and was even proud of Ben for breastfeeding.  She would gladly answer “mommy’s milk” to other yayas who ask what type of milk is Ben drinking.  There was one time when she told me that she came across an article about the risks of formula milk and told me how she wished she knew then what she knew now.  During one of our recent visits to the pedia, she overheard me talking to the doctor about weaning and asked if me if I plan to stop breastfeeding soon.  I said no and that I’m just curious.  She told me Ben’s lucky that I’m still nursing him.  She has indeed come a long way, and for someone who has a lot of experience with babies, I was able to teach her something new.

Please do visit the other entries of my fellow mommy bloggers … and as an added bonus, do visit my birthday entry HERE for our nursing top giveaway courtesy of L.A.B nursing wear!

DaintyMom's Creating a Pro-Breastfeeding Culture in the Family
Wifely Steps' On Breastfeeding: Say It, Claim It, Get Support!
Truly Rich Mom's How To Get Others to Support You in Breastfeeding
EthanMama's My Best Breastfeeding Support System - My Husband
Raising Baby Lia's A Shoutout to my Breastfeeding Buddies
Jen CC Tan's I'm Breastfeeding, and That's That!
Project Blog by Kate's Talk and Make it Happen
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom's Effective Communication Bucket List
Apples  & Dumplings Communicating and First Time Breastfeeders
I'm a Newbie Wife's How I Taught My Family to Breastfeed
TouringKitty's Communication Through Breastfeeding (Twitter: @Touringkitty)
Mec as Mom's Pre-Natal Pediatric Consultations Are Necessary
Escie's World's Ready, Get Set, Go! for Breastfeeding (Twitter: @Escielicious)
Nanaystrip's BreasTALK : Text, Retweet, Share your Knowledge and Experiences (Twitter: @bunsonimaestro)
Superwomom's A-S-Ks (on breastfeeding questions, help, support)
Go Help Yourself's “6 persuasion tips for breastfeeding moms and advocates”
Legally Mom's Breastfeeding Talk Between Me and My Formula Fed Daughter (Facebook and Twitter: @legallymomPH)
Handy Mommy's Couple's Communication and Decision: Key to Successful Breastfeeding 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Why go to a Pedia-Pulmo?

We recently took Ben to his pedia-pulmonologist.  He was due for a check-up and I heard him cough twice that day so it was good timing for a visit.  I like Ben's Pedia-Pulmo because he seems to be "hiyang" with him (knock on wood).  It was the pedia-pulmo who recommended we use the nebulizer when Ben was coughing so hard a few days before his birthday.  We eventually got one that's portable and rechargeable - totally worth it.  He is  asthma prone na pala because of our family history.Good thing he improved after a couple of days.  It was also him who suggested he give Ben something for his allergic rhinnitis when I got frustrated because his colds won't go away.  We also learned from him the proper use of nasal drops when Ben's nose was so congested he couldn't sleep well.And as an added bonus, Ben is comfortable with him, too. he's not fussy whenever the doctor checks him with the stetoscope.  This is important since it's hard to listen with the stetoscope when the baby's crying, and it was the best way to find out whether Ben's cough was a point of concern.

Ben and his buddy - Mr. Nebulizer

Anyway, so I'm grateful that Ben has a pedia-pulmonologist we can turn to.  At his age, he's still building up his immune system and trying to learn to express himself.  It's good that there's someone who knows what to look for and speak for him (Ben) before he feels worse.

Praying for everyone's good health.  Don't hesitate to see the doctor when needed.  Better to be safe than sorry

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why we bought our "super" coffee maker :)

For those who visited our home recently, you may have noticed our new coffee maker.  It's actually almost two months old now.  It's really cool.  It grinds the beans on its own and makes single serving drinks of black coffee or cappuccino.  We would usually say that we bought it because of Bry since he's the coffee drinker.  What most people don't know is one of the main reasons why we invested on it is because we love having visitors around.

The Latest Addition to the Tan Household :)
Simple enough reason, right? Almost everyone likes to have a cup of coffee and what better way to entertain visitors than to serve them a cup of a freshly brewed cappuccino?  But why do I love having visitors in the first place, well ... for one ... it means we get to spend time with our love ones without the stress of leaving the house.  Don't get me wrong, I love going out but you see, with a child around, leaving the house is not quite simple.  (Yes, even if you have a Yaya)  Our weekly Sunday breakfast which is about an hour usually takes as much time to prepare for.  There are a lot of things to consider every time we leave the house.  Where will Ben eat? How will he take his nap? Is the place we are going child-friendly? Do we need to bring toys or books? Does he have enough change of clothes? Will we bring yaya? If yes, how will yaya eat? What time will be we going home? ( For me, there are times when it is less stressful to bring yaya since I have to attend to her as well)  The list goes on and on and on .... whereas if we are at home, it's much simpler.  I know Ben can keep himself occupied in his playroom.  I know he naps better in our bed.  And as much as I know I can nurse him anywhere at anytime, I also know he is less distracted if we are in a quiet and familiar area.   Ok, so if going out with the little master is stressful, then why not leave him? Well, (1) we really don't want to leave him .. (2) We know family and friends want to see him and (3) Not bringing Ben = most probably bringing my pump - which is added luggage

Now with all those things in mind, being able to serve quality coffee  to love ones who decided to come to us to spare us the hassle of preparing to leave the house is the least we can do.  It's our way of showing our appreciation to those who made things a little easier for us.  Fellow mommies, you can somehow relate right? :)

Have a stress-free week ahead, everyone!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Breastfeeding when mommy is sick :(


I've been thinking about what to share as my first entry for the month and have decided to talk about my experiences breastfeeding while I wasn't feeling well.  Actually, I'm not yet 100% but am doing better thanks to the TLC of my boys.  Bry bought my medicines in the middle of the night and Ben was quite cooperative.   Anyway, here's hoping these tips might help.  Whenever I'm sick, I tell myself that better I'm the one and not Ben but lets face it, it's hard on the household regardless of whoever is "out of commission".

TIP # 1 Stay Calm
 We all get sick one time or another.  Even adult have the colds every now and then.  When we are calm and collected, we get to diagnose ourselves better and take a plan of action.  In my case, my weakness is my allergic rhinitis.  It's a bit funny because Ben has this too.  Knowing that my sniffles are due to my allergies help me figure out which treatment I can take while breastfeeding

TIP # 2 Yes, Nursing Moms, there are medicines that are safe for us
There are a lot of medicines that are safe for breastfeeding moms, especially in short-term dosages.  Paracetamol is one of them.  I learned this from fellow moms and eagerly shared this fact when I gave my breastfeeding testimonial at Medical City the other day.  The internet is a fairly good resource to find out if a certain medication is safe but of course, it is best to consult your doctor to be on the safe side.       

TIP # 3 Take precautions for your little one
If you have the sniffles, consider wearing a face mask.  Wash your hands before nursing.  This is also the reason why the earlier you treat your symptoms, the better. 

TIP # 4 Delegate your non-breastfeeding duties so you can rest
While I was sick, Bry was a superdad.  He played with Ben, bathe him  and took him to school.  I did my best to rest and save my energy for his feeding time.  Please take note that YOUR MILK SUPPLY IS AFFECTED WHEN YOU ARE SICK BUT IT WILL RETURN ONCE YOU FEEL BETTER so if you decide to pump and let someone else feed while you rest, do not be surprised if your yield is a little lower.

TIP # 5 Prevention is the best cure
Take vitamins, drink lots of fluids and watch what you eat.  Don't let yourself go outside on a rainy day without a jacket or umbrella.  Take Care of yourself the way you would take care of the rest of your family.  A healthy mom is a happy mom and a happy mom - a happy home.:)