Friday, September 26, 2014

What I learned from the Tamang Kain seminar

the twins' first taste of solids at six months

Feeding a baby or a toddler is not easy, much more trying to feed twins.  To be honest, I get nervous every meal time because I’m crossing my fingers that the twins will be in a good mood to eat.  It’s hard, because you try to tell yourself to be flexible because each child has his/her own style when it comes to eating but at the same time, eating is a learned skill and discipline.

with fellows moms learning from Velvet.  It's nice to have mommy discussions in small groups, there's more room for questions and sharing of ideas

I’ve always wanted to attend the Tamang Kain Seminar of Velvet Escario-Roxas of Arugaan.  Arugaan is an infant creche that helps moms take care of their infants and toddlers, particularly when it comes to breastfeeding and proper complimentary feeding.  I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to listen to Velvet talk last month and I highly encourage other moms to do the same.  Here are just a few points that I’ve learned.

1.  Exclusive Breastfeeding until 6 months 
T   This allows the baby’s gut to mature and become ready for solids.  Also, breastfeeding provide your baby with the proper nutrition she/he needs as well as boosts his / her immune system.

2.   Serve indigenous foods that are in season 
      Our country is blessed with different fruits and vegetables all year round.  The wonderful thing about it is the fruits and vegetables that are in season are exactly the ones we need at that moment.  For example, produce that are rich in vitamin C are abundant during the rainy season when we need it the most to boost our immune system.

3.   For kids who are challenging to feed, the key is to have small frequent meals.  
     Force feeding will only traumatize the child.  Feeding your child few spoons full of food each hour may be less stressful than trying to feed a big portion in one sitting.

4.   For toddlers and older (one year and up), follow-on milk is not necessary.  Treat milk as a beverage and not as a meal replacement.  
  -  Milk companies advertise how their milk can help kids become smarter, stronger and meet the nutritional requirements of a child.  The truth is all nutritional needs of a child can be met without milk and giving formula that’s high in calories will only cause the child to have less appetite for solid food.  There are natural sources of DHA and RHA like fish and non-dairy source of calcium like malunggay (which contains 4x the calcium in milk)

5   Make mealtime a bonding activity for the family
     Make eating a fun and interactive activity for the family.  Share stories, allow the kids to feed themselves so they feel empowered.  Kids will eat more if their mealtimes are enjoyable and see that the adults are eating well, too.  Getting a child involved in preparing the meal may help him / her become more interested in eating.

6.  Read labels; Avoid food coloring, preservatives, and too much sugar 
     This is easier said than done but eating as healthy and as natural as possible has it’s long term benefits

7   Expose children to different textures of food 
     This will not only make them adventurous when it comes to eating but they become open to other new experiences as well

These are just a few guidelines that I have learned.  If you get an opportunity to attend this seminar, please take time to do so.  Focusing your energy in getting our children to eat properly takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it.  The discipline a child learns when it comes to eating is not only applicable to food but to the other aspects of his/ her life as well. 

PS. I still have a long way to go in applying what I learned to the kids, but it's nice to have a target, right? Hope this post help :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Co-sleeping with the kids

When I was pregnant with Bree and Bea, one of the concerns I had was the sleeping arrangement.  I wanted to sleep with the kids and give the yayas a break during the night, but I don't know if I can actually handle two babies on my own.  I was also concerned that if the girls sleep with Ben that they'd wake him up.  So for the first couple of nights, I tried sleeping with the girls in another room with a yaya.  That arrangement didn't last long.  The yaya complained that she didn't get to rest.  This was even if she was just a back-up during the night since I was directly breastfeeding the twins at night.  Ben was also looking for me at night.  So being in a different room made me sad and frustrated.

  Eventually, Bry encouraged me to try having all of us in one room at night.  It took some adjustment but we eventually got the hang of it.  I learned how to tandem feed the girls on my own when they wake up at night and Ben adjusted to the girls waking up in the middle of the night. This has been our arrangement ever since.

It may seem crazy, having all 3 kids in the room at night.  The boys share one big cushion at the floor.  The girls sleep on another one (also on the floor).  As for me, I transfer from one bed to another depending on which of the kids need me.  I also get to sleep on the main bed if I'm lucky.  It's tough but I survive because of two reasons (1) I breastfeed the girls direct which allow me to feed and soothe them right away and at the same time if needed.  This keeps the boys from being awaken at night and (2) Bry is a hands on dad who is willing to help soothe the kids when they wake up at night.

Our system is not perfect and definitely not easy.  There are nights when I really really miss having uninterrupted sleep.  There are nights when one child cries just as I am about to rest my head on the pillow.  What keeps me going is that as tiring as it may be, there will come a time when the kids will be more independent so I have to make most of this time that they need my their side (almost 24/7).

Co-sleeping is not easy, especially with more than one kid involved.  But it has its advantages.  At the start, it's a way to breastfeed long term because you get to direct feed at night which is convenient and good for maintaining supply.  For me, it helps you get to know your child better.  I'm the first one to notice if a child is not feeling well because she/he changes his/her sleeping pattern.  I get to listen to Ben sleeptalk about what happened at school.  It's also a way for us to bond because we are the last people we see before going to sleep and the first ones we see when we wake up in the morning. 

I know there will come a time when the kids will sleep in their own room. I look forward to those days.  But for now, I'll try my best to treasure these moments.

What's your current sleeping arrangement with your kids and why does it work for you?