Monday, March 26, 2012

Feeding Ben - What I've learned about toddler nutrition

Ben just came from his monthly check-up the other day and we are happy to report that his doctor is satisfied with his weight and height.  This is a victory for me, Bry and Yaya.  Ever since I had Ben, my target is that he becomes heavier and grows taller each month.  Thankfully, with hard work and prayers, we're usually successful.  Most friends and family members are quite amazed with Ben's appetite whenever we eat with them.  He eats a lot, has just the right built, and more importantly not sickly.

I had a lot of help in getting Ben to be fed right, and I still have a lot to learn.  I try to research, learn from experiences of other moms as well as consult with pediatricians to confirm if my instincts are correct.  Here are some of the things I've learned that might be helpful in feeding a toddler:

(1) Target your toddler to get most of his nutrition on solid foods.
This is a tough one since your child is used to a liquid diet as a baby.  However, part of being a healthy is being able to get your nutrition from a well balanced diet.  Let your toddler get the majority of his daily calories from fish, meat, vegetables, fruits and wheat.  It will teach him to be adventurous as well as identify which type of foods are healthy for him

(2) Consume milk wisely
Milk can be a good thing, but as a child grows older its role in a child's nutrition shifts.  From being the sole source of food, milk should eventually become a complimentary part of a child's diet.  It is recommended that your child consumes only 2-3 glasses of milk as he becomes a toddler.  This is because if your child gets most of his calories from milk, either of the two things will happen (1) the excess calories may lead him to become overweight or (2) he'd become so full with milk that he won't have an appetite for solids anymore.  This is especially the case with formula milk that's sweeter and more filling.

(3) Get other non-dairy source of DHA and calcium
We hear a lot about the importance of DHA/RHA for brain development.  This is true, especially for infants, and the best source of this at the start of a child's life is breastmilk.  Same goes for calcium.  Now, what happens when you eventually wean your child?   If you stop breastfeeding during a stage that your child is eating well, he can get DHA by eating fish 2-3 times a week.  Also, do you know that vegetables can be a source of calcium as well? These solid foods have nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body compared to the synthetic ones in formula milk.

(4) Snacks are important
If you can't get your toddler to sit down for a long time in the dining table, why not offer snacks in between meals so he gets to eat more.  Sliced fruits are a popular choice.

(5) Relax, Be Patient and Have Fun!
Easy to say, hard to do.  It really is a challenge when to be firm and when to let go when it comes to feeding your child.  I usually want Ben to finish everything that's in his plate and would use all types of distractions to get him to it.  But when it's the weekend, we're pressed for time and I know he has eaten a lot, I TRY (hehe) not to sweat it.  Eating is suppose to be fun and not a chore, and it's important that a child has a positive attitude towards it.

Ben having Magnum Ice Cream for dessert after he finishes his meal

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ben's first year at school: A Review

Dated  March 15 (but posted later to accommodate photos)

Today was Ben's last day for the school year.  I remember his child observation day like it was yesterday.  I was so nervous for him, like he was going to an entrance exam or something.  I was also quite concerned if we made the right choice sending him to school at such a young age.  Now, after a year at Explorations, I can say that I have no regrets enrolling him there.  I have seen the progress he has made over the past year and I know that going to school has a lot to do with it.

It's not the big milestones but rather the little things that make me  appreciate how much Ben has learned at school.  My favorites are the following:

* learning to say "no" and "stop" when he doesn't want something or someone to come near him ( as oppose to hitting)

* how he's motivated to pack away when he hears the "clean-up" song, which we also sing at home to get him to put away his toys.

* he sings nursery rhymes out of the blue

* knows how to do praying hands

* knows that he has to wash hands before and after meals (and wipe with a towel, too)

* can carry a conversation, answers when asked what he did at school today and who he played with.  He now knows a lot of words and likes to identify shapes and colors.

These little "big boy" moments and many others make me grateful that I have entrusted Ben to such caring, patient and very capable group of women at school.  Thanks Teachers Giselle and Jinky, and Yaya Mel!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Honestly, was I (too) masungit?

Okay, I don't usually rant and I really try to be pleasant with everyone , but allow me to share with you guys what happened with me at Ace Water Spa yesterday, and tell me if I was way out of line or something.

It's the third time that we swam there for a video shoot, so I basically know their rules.  I also know that it was quite a long walk from the locker room towards the pool side, therefore I really prefer not to give Ben a shower at the locker room before swimming because I know he'll just feel cold and there is a chance that the coach will not call us to go down the swimming pool as soon as we get there.

Now, the locker attendant was insistent that I give Ben a shower, I explained my reasons and refused.  "Baka magkasakit lang ang bata", she insisted again but I really stood my ground.  Finally, she said that only I took a shower instead.  Annoyingly, I agreed, then Ben and I went towards the pool side.

As expected, we were asked to wait for our turn by the bench at the pool side.  Had Ben been given a shower, he would have felt cold  and I would have had to wipe him dry.  Good thing I didn't allowed it. (Since I took a shower, I got cold and felt the sniffles.)  Then it just so happens that the same attendant went down the poolside where we were sitting.  Since I was still annoyed by what happened, I called her attention and said " See, we are still here waiting for our turn to swim.  This is what I meant when I didn't want to give my child a shower before leaving the locker room.  There is a shower area here by the pool side, that would be a better place for kids to take a shower before swimming if you really want to be strict about it"  She didn't say anything anymore but the lifeguard that was with her said he understood and will bring it up to management.

I didn't know what came over me, why I had to call the attendant's attention when I saw her again by the pool side.  I guess I wanted to explain  my side further.  I was a frustrated because I've been doing my best to follow their rules but I really couldn't let this one go.  It didn't really help that she wasn't pleasant in the first place.  I was actually tempted to tell her that if I did give Ben a shower and he catches a cold, would you pay  for his meds? Would you take care of him at night when he'd have a hard time breathing?

Anyway, I feel a little guilty being "mean" or "aggressive", I am not really the confrontational type.  I guess I felt strongly about this because (1) I've been swimming practically all my life ( in a lot of places) and this is the only place where the attendants are not only unpleasant, but would even argue with a customer, and (2) I am a mom.  I am responsible for Ben.  Therefore I should be the one making decisions about these things because I am answerable if he gets sick, and I'm the one end up most worried and stressed if he is not feeling well.

So now, a day after the whole incident, I'm still thinking about it, whether or not I was too harsh or something.  I just hope those I talked to think don't think that I wanted to give them a hard time.  I know they're just doing their job but they have to understand I am just doing mine as well.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mommy Reads: Food of Love by Kate Evans

I do not own a lot of breastfeeding books since most of the information is available online BUT this is one of the simplest and most fun to read ones that I have encountered.  I enjoy reading this book because I can relate to it a lot.  It also has a lot of illustrations that add humor to the topic.  Kudos to the author Kate Evans for using her skills as a cartoonist to give the topic a fresh perspective.

The book covers a wide range of topics from breastfeeding basics to toddler nursing and of course weaning.  It has a chapter for troubleshooting common breastfeeding problems as well as how to make breastfeeding part of your lifestyle.  Its main message is breastfeeding is best, and with the right attitude and information, it can actually be a fun and pleasurable experience for the whole family. 

So if you are a new (or soon to be ) mom, why not check out this book?  I bought mine online but please do let me know if you happen to come across it at our local bookstores.     

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kikay tips for the non-Kikay mom

I am not a kikay gal.  I wish I was, though :) I'm not the type of person who wears makes-up every time she leaves the house but I do love being made us especially on special occasions.  During Ben's first few months, my mom even had to remind me to fix myself up when going out so that I don't look "losyang".  I admit, I still have my "losyang" days but I'm working on it.  I try to get inspiration from mommy friends who are busier than I am but manage to look really great.  So if you are a "non-kikay" like me, but want to feel and look good, here are my favorite kikay tips.

(1) Make sure your clothes fit you just right
Sometimes, all it takes to feel good is wearing a nice dress that flatters your figure.
I've been buying most of my clothes online ever since I had Ben. Thankfully, the suppliers I bought them from usually allow me to return the clothes if they don't fit. I do have some pieces of clothing that I had to have altered because they didn't fit right. I had to spend a little more but beats not being happy each time I put them on.

(2) Moisturize

Our skin can get pretty dry especially when we sleep with the aircon on all night. I've been using Body Shop's Vitamin E Face Mist as moisturizer.  I think it's cool that it can even be used after you put on make-up. (just spray it lightly towards your face)

(3) Practice Good Grooming
Keep your salon appointments. I always feel sexy after I have my nails cleaned, eyebrows threaded and legs waxed. hahaha! I seldom have my nails polished anymore since I can't seem to find time to take them off when they don't look nice anymore.  Besides, it's hard to have long nails with a little one in the house.

(4) Take care of that pretty smile!

Visit the dentist at least every 6 months. Have some floss handy in your bag just in case. Another tip I received is to use an electric toothbrush. It helps you to quickly and efficiently clean the hard to reach areas in your mouth. I recommend Oral B Vitality. It's one of the cheapest rechargeable electric toothbrushes I know. Its replaceable brushes are fairly easy to find in big Mercury Drug, Watsons, and SM department store branches.

(5) Freshen-Up Regularly
It is so hard to feel constantly fresh in our very humid weather, which is why I'm thankful for baby powders.  They can instantly make you feel fresh and clean!  I'm even more thankful that I found a supplier of liquid baby powder online.  Ben and I love the scent of Baby Spa VCO Liquid Baby Powder.  I also like that it has a lid so it doesn't spill on your bag.  A word of caution though, it can leave a bit of powder stains in your clothes (easily washable, but best to be careful the first few times you use it)

(6) Have a basic make-up kit
For this tip, I called on the expertise of a mommy friend from school who always manages to come to school looking fab despite being a mom to a 5 year old boy. I am trying to rebuild my make-up kit and got her recommendations.

Foundation - Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Perfecting Foundation - has SPF and can be used for both light and heavy make-up.  (It's best to get a good brand of foundation to protect you pretty face)

Lipstick  - Nars Dolce Vita Lipstick - Neutral in color and moisturizes the lips so it doesn't feel dry, works well for all skin tones, yehey!

Blush / Eyes - Body Shop Shimmer Waves - Since I don't use make-up everyday, I'm glad that this blush can be used not just the checks but also the eyes.  I'm quite partial to earth tones so I'm happy with the shades.  For the cheeks, just use the lighter tones during the day and a mix of all of the tones if you want to look extra glam at night.

Make-Up Remover - Removing make-up is such a chore! (for me at, at least)  I was looking for a fast and easy way to remove everyday make-up when a mommy friend asked me to try the Neutrogena facial cleanser.  She loves it because it effectively removes everyday make-up (blush and foundation).  Now all you need is to have a small tube of waterproof eye make-up remover for those special occasions when you have your full make-up on.

7. Sunblock, Sunblock, Sunblock!
If there's someone in our family that really needs sunblock, it's daddy Bry.  His works calls for him to be outdoors a lot, yet it takes a lot of convincing on my part to get him to wear sunscreen.  I recently bought him 2 bottles of Beach Hut Spray On Sunblock.  (One for each of the cars so he doesn't have an excuse).  It is clear, non-greasy and not quite messy.  I admit, there is still some improvement to be made in getting the whole family to wear sunblock but I think this is the type that fits us the best.

So there you go .. :) Hope these tips help and please do share your own tips so I can learn from them, too!!! I actually find it funny that I am writing this entry when I am not a glam girl myself.  Enjoy the coming weekend, I know I am looking forward to it. :)

PS. Please be aware of the shelf life of your kikay products (especially make-up), muwah!