Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Got Milk?

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.

I was the quintessential party girl when I was single. I used to spend my weekends partying, having the time of my life -- basically doing everything for ME, ME, ME.

My life changed when I got married. It again changed when I had babies. It changed some more when I breastfed -- both my kids -- aged 4 and 1.

I have learned to look forward to changes in my life. As a mommy, I needed to adapt to these changes and treat them as learnings so I can impart them to my kids. As Maricel Laxa said in her Kris TV guesting, we have "seasons" in our lives. The current season in my life is about family. This includes parenting, babywearing and breastfeeding.

So what have been the gifts that I got from breastfeeding?

1) More money for ME things. --- Nursing clothes, international breastfeeding conferences, my beloved slings, and my Starbucks Mocha Frapuccino. Heck, I save about 8-10K a month just breastfeeding!

2) Bragging rights that I am the first face my kids see when they wake up in the morning, and the last face that they see before going to bed.

3) A relationship that is built on love, trust and respect from my family.

4) Heart to heart talks with my kids. Even if it's the most mundane of conversations from my four year old, and spit and babbles from my younger son.


5) PRIDE. I have nourished my kids from milk from my breasts.

Do take the time to check out all the posts in this month's carnival:

Shaps- <a href="http://bouncingbear.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/beyond-being-thin/">Beyond Being Thin</a>
Gretchen - <a href="http://www.eleora113.com/2011/12/12-useful-breastfeeding-gifts-for.html#!/2011/12/12-useful-breastfeeding-gifts-for.html">Breastfeeding Gifts for Christmas</a>
Carol - <a href="http://thelazymama.net/2011/12/13/the-gift-of-miracle/">The Gift of Miracle</a>
Jenny O.- <a href="http://www.chroniclesofanursingmom.com/2011/12/gifts-of-breastfeeding.html">The Gifts of Breastfeeding</a>
Anne - <a href="http://diapersandstethoscope.blogspot.com/2011/12/gift-of-breastfeeding.html">The Gift of Breastfeeding</a>
Nats - <a href="http://mymommykuwentos.blogspot.com/2011/12/we-wish-you-merry-nursing.html">We Wish You Merry Nursing</a>
Jenny R. - <a href="http://mymommyology.com/2011/12/12/if-the-magi-were-queens/">If the Magi Were Queens</a>
Em - <a href="http://touringkitty.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/the-breast-gift/">The "Breast" Gift</a>
Isis- <a href="http://thenewadventuresofanoldmommy.blogspot.com/2011/12/got-milk.html">Got Milk?</a>
Armi - <a href="http://thenewadventuresofanoldmommy.blogspot.com/2011/12/got-milk.html">Breastfeeding Gifts</a>
Liv - <a href="http://tinkerputt.lcoreph.com/2011/12/my-breastfeeding-journey.html">My Breastfeeding Journey</a>
Laya - <a href="http://www.mommyluscious.com/2011/12/time-in-a-drop-of-milk.html">Time in a Drop of Milk</a>
Mec - <a href="http://www.mecasmom.com/2011/12/gift-of-changed-man.html">The Gift of a Changed Man</a>

Friday, November 11, 2011

You Can Handcarry Breastmilk in Hongkong International Airport!

My sister and I went to Hongkong for a breastfeeding conference. Without our kids.  For about 36 hours. And that merited never-ending goodbyes, and buckets of tears from us mommies.

We pumped, and we pumped, and we pumped. We pumped on Cebu Pacific --- kudos to Cebu Pacific FAs for voluntarily moving us to the second row so we can pump to our heart's content. Oh, and I had a lola on the other aisle who was really interested in what we were doing under our nursing bibs. I was close to saying, Lola, it's ok to look!  We pumped on the hotel and on the conference itself. We had a great pumping experience, until we got to HKIA, Manila bound.

We pumped a combined 60 ounces of mik in those 36 hours. Whew! AND THE SECURITY OFFICERS WANTED US TO CHECK IN OUR BREASTMILK.

It's a good thing Jul had her laptop. We researched and found this document

Breastmilk is exempted from the 100ml liquid limit. This means that for any liquid exceeding the 100ml liquid limit,  you have to check in that liquid. You can check the link for details. 

For the love of me, I cannot imagine the temperature of that place where they check in the baggages! What's sad is that a mother who took an earlier flight checked in her breastmilk. =(

So how did we do it?

1) Jul's charms.  She was explaining to the security officer about breastmilk, yadda yadda, yadda. And the security officer seems to be a guy who is still enjoying singledom. I, on the other hand, was ready to KILL. Heck, that milk that you are refusing came from my boobs!

2) When's Jul's charms seem to be wavering, we resorted to mimes. We showed the breastmilk. That got his attention. 

3) We showed the link. We said that the document came from the Hongkong government. The officer mentioned that if the child is with us, we can handcarry the milk. If the child is not with us, then the milk needed to be checked in.  We graciously  The officer realized his mistake when we pointed out that we will not be bringing breastmilk in the first place when we have our kids with us as they will feed from us directly. With that argument, it was all systems go.

It pays to have two very persistent pumping mothers to protect that liquid gold.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ian, The Master French Kisser

Ian. Daddy. The progenator -- one half of the dynamic duo who produced the little rascals Jeremy and Justin. My husband and my life. The man whose booming voice and laugh elicits fear from his children. The one who secretly reads my stash of YES magazines. Master kisser (sige na nga). Pearl Jam junkie and camera whore. Since he works in a school, he feels that he graduated college only a year ago.

He is the person I would love to lose teeth with when we get older, and balder.

Jeremy Who Is Not French Kissing Anytime Soon

Jeremy. The Mouth. Little Rascal Part One. My Kulot. My panganay. The little kikay girl who always wants to be pretty when she goes out of the house. I swear, I think the nurses switched her in the nursery. The little girl who sprouts those Buddha sayings contrary to her age. The proud ate who doesn't know her strength -- he pinched Justin's cheeks just because. The little girl whose smart quips make everybody's day. And the little girl who loves her family so much.

She's not a great french kisser (magkamatayan na kung sino ang magaattempt), but she can bowl you over with word sprouts from her mouth.

Justin, The French Kisser

Justin, Justin, Justin. My bunso, my cricket, my gentleman. We don't know yet if he will grow up kulot like his Ate. Paranoid of being called a mommy who has favoritism by his daddy, I bought Justin his own exercise mat, stroller, and a sling. The rest of this stuff kasi are hand me downs from his ate (except the panties of course --- pero pag walang laundry, he had his share of panties too).I don't think I'm ready to do the sex talk with him -- I'll leave that to his daddy.

His first words are: Mama and Ate. Daddy, may excuse, phonetically, mahirap ipronounce ang letter D.

Oh, and Justin? He's a great french kisser. I think he learned from the best.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Each whimper, each cry, no matter how soft --will definitely tug at our heartstrings. I just went outside to make weewee, and Justin used his eyes to follow me. He is held by his daddy.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mama Love

It is said that when a baby is born, a parent is born as well. Sadly, there is no course to prepare one to become a parent, you learn on the job. You learn from each experience, good or bad.

I'm having the time of my life being a full time mommy to my little ones. Jeremy is turning four, and Justin is turning one. Having two kids below five is fun, albeit very challenging. They just had a bout of bronchopneumonia, yes, both of them. Thankfully, they are recovering, though puking up a storm when drinking their antibiotics.

I feel that I'm doing a good job as a mother. I believe I'm practicing attachment parenting (though not consciously), but I make sure that we:
a) Breastfeed
b) Keep/wear the kiddos close to me.
c) Co-sleep
d) Keep them close together.
e) Acknowledge good things done.
f) Let them learn from their mistakes -- even it means letting them fall down so that they can go back up again.

I love being a mommy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Breastfeeding Sisters

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (July).  For this month, we join the National Nutrition Council - Department of Health in celebrating Nutrition Month with the theme "Isulong ang Breastfeeding - Tama, Sapat at EKsklusibo!" Participants will share their experiences in promoting breastfeeding or their tips on how breastfeeding should be promoted.  Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants.

In our family, breastfeeding is the norm rather than the exception.  My sisters and I produced three kids, all born in 2010. Coincidence? No. It's probably God's way of letting the world know that our bountiful milk supply is not just for each other, but for sharing to the rest of the world as well. You will probably see us in the mall nursing together. We are walking breastfeeding advertisements.

As a breastfeeding tripod, we influence each other to breastfeed. We call each other when one is down, or are having problems breastfeeding. We nurse each other's kids when the need arises. We have breastfeeding powow sessions wherein we discuss everything under the sun, over glasses of juice. We laugh, we cry, and we discuss all things possible over breastfeeding. Our kids know each other really well too as they share their respective mommy's milk.

Breastfeeding is really a good conversation starter. I have started conversations with breastfeeding moms in the most mundane of places -- bus stops, inside jeepneys, LRT, and doctor's waiting rooms. Most especially Starbucks.

Us sisters share milk to those who need it. We're a text, or a Facebook message or a call away. We cannot count how many children who collectively benefited from our milk.

How do we let the world know about breastfeeding?

1) Be an expert.
There are a lot of breastfeeding support groups -- La Leche League, Breast Friends, Breastfeeding Club, LATCH, Medela Moms. You can share breastfeeding experiences and ask questions about breastfeeding and parenting. There are also online resources that can help you out.

2) Breastfeed in in public.
I am a proud tandem public nurser. My kids rival that of a 1985 unmaintained Toyota (do you know how noisy it is?!) when they need to nurse. Everybody knows when my kids want to nurse because of the ruckus they create. Like what I said, this happens to be a great conversation starter again.

3) Influence though knowledge.
I have influenced other mommies in my office  to breastfeed. I am a proud mother hen to mommies who tell me about their breastfeeding relationships.

To my sisters, it has been a wonderful ride. Let us continue to share our blessings.
To the babies who made us realize our purpose, bottoms up little ones.
To the moms who need breastmilk, we are still here. As long as we produce milk, we will continue to give it.

Breastmilk is like water. It is free. It is our life.

Do check out the different carnival participants as well:

A Simple Breastfeeding Campaign by The Lazy Mama (@TheLazyMama)
I Am A Breastfeeding Mom by The Painter's Wife (@PaintersWifePH)

W-u-r-r-w-u-r-r-w-u-r-r by Martha de Lusong (@frannie17) hosted by Jen CC Tan's MomExchange (@next9baby)
The Low-Milk-Supply Mommy Did It! by The Odyssey of Dinna 
More Breastfeeding Promotion Plus a Guest Post by Chronicles of a Nursing Mom (@mamababylove).  Guest post by Shaps Lim (@cromartielove)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Love My Mojitos, Yes I Do

I started singing this ditty to wake the little ones  every morning. Works everytime. For some reason, that made up song makes them wake up with a smile.

As a mother, one needs to be creative and think out of the box to make children learn and understand things. I brought them, yes, including the baby, to different places - Museo Pambata, Enchanted Kingdom, even the movie houses. I even let them roll in the grass and play in the rain. I let them eat dirt, let them scrape their knees, bump their heads (not too much though), let them hear loud sounds and smell poop. That way, even at their tender ages, they experience good and bad things.

I'm not a creative person. I read magazines to keep abreast of new things. The most creative things I did?

Here are some:
1) I assembled a walker -- BY MYSELF, an achievement because I DO NOT assemble things. I read the manual. Next stop, build a house.
2) I baked a cake, again BY MYSELF. Thanks to Maya Oven Toaster Cake. My daughter said I am the best baker in the world.
3) I brought star stamps in National. I had stars of every imagineable color on my arm. My daughter had fun naming the colors. Plus she told me I deserve stars because I am a good mommy.

More things to do! This is the life.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tandem Nursing is a Choice

I have been nursing for almost four years, and yes, still going at it. I'm a proud tandem breastfeeder. =) In fairness, I am proud to have nourished my kids for a long time!

Yes, I have been receiving second looks in malls -- from people not admiring my breasts, mind you, when I breastfeed my little ones. Rather than stare right back at each and every person, I just smile and coo at my little ones.

Tandem nursing is a choice. My OB asked me to stop nursing when I became pregnant with my second little one, however, I CHOSE not to. I have read books and asked around, that tandem nursing is possible. I did not regret it.

Bottoms up little ones.

Monday, May 16, 2011

AHA Moments with My Family

I learn something new about my family everyday.

I learned the cries of my son -- he has a separate cry when he's feeling hot, hungry, uncomfortable, made poopy and if he just wants to cuddle.

I learned how my daughter grows everyday -- she now knows how to do bubbles in the pool, do flutter kicks, how she argues with me (she wins a lot of times), how she cries when she's jealous and how she keeps quiet when thinking.

I learned that cooking gelatin for my husband revived his childhood memories. When I presented the gelatin to him, he brightened up and looked at me while playing Playstation. (he never looks at me when he's playing NBA).

I made the right decision.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Own Kangaroo Care Experience

My son had a difficult time sleeping today. He would wake up at the slightest creak and cry his lungs out. Probably because his two front teeth are about to erupt. My trusted manzanilla, my solution to problems that cannot be solved, could not do its usual trick.

What I did was take off my shirt, took off his shirt, and hugged him close to me. He started calming down. This is known as kangaroo care, similar to kangaroo pouches. Kangaroo care was started in Colombia where premature babies are born in the most primitive of conditions.

When a child is born premature, he is whisked into the NICU, wherein a drop in normal levels (blood, fluids, etc) would mean very loud beeping sounds. The baby needs its mother to calm him down. In the kangaroo care philosophy, the baby, only in diapers, would be placed under the shirt of the mommy, and they would be "skin to skin". The baby then mimics the breathing of the mommy.

All babies, regardless if premature of not, can benefit from skin to skin contact.

Call it mothers' touch. Call it skin to skin contact. My son slept through the night because he was literally enveloped in my used shirt. Motherhood at its best.

Friday, May 6, 2011

On Jeepneys and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

With my last day at work less than a week old, our family has started making adjustments. What was formerly a dual income household has become a single income household. Some adjustments that we have done so far: leaving the car at home, letting go of one yaya, and riding public transportation.

Jeremy rode a jeep today. With me. I would not want to do it again. Why?

1) She used the railings as monkey bars -- and the jeep was full.
2) She shouted, "Mommy, open my laptop please!" because she wanted to listen to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. -- at full volume --- again with the jeep full.
3) She repeatedly pressed  the string that lights when somebody wanted to go down.
4) She placed the fare of others passengers inside  my bag.  She thought that everybody was giving her money.
5) She said "Babay everybody!" when we alighted from the jeep.

On second thought,  I would ride with her again. Just to see what mishap will she do next time.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Milk Maid Mommy

I went to Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) to donate about 200 ounces of milk. Here goes...

I placed the milk inside a big cooler.  My daughter was alarmed when she saw me put down my milk from the freezer. She told me that it was her baby brothers' milk.  I told her that many sick babies will be happy when they drink my milk.  I could see the pride in my three year old daughter's eyes after I said those words.

My daughter wanted to come with me to PCMC. I was worried that the milk will melt. It was  a good thing that the crew suggested we put newspaper inside the cooler. The cooler housed two big bags of ice from 7-11. We placed the  milk, and then covered them with newspaper to regulate the temperature. Instant thermal bag! That would have to do, because I could not find any dry ice.

The travel from Taytay to PCMC took about 45 minutes.  The nurses were very accommodating. I just filled out the required forms. A daddy was there, and he was very thankful to me. Eventhough his premature baby cannot get my milk yet (it would have to be pasteurized first) he told me that there should be more mommies like me. =)

By the way, if you're going to donate milk, PCMC requires a Hepa B and an HIV blood test, plus an Xray.

I nourished my babies with my milk alone. Now I'm going to help babies SURVIVE with my milk.

Bottoms up little ones.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

First Day Heaven

The first thing I did was to count how many ounces of breastmilk I have accumulated. Grand total -- 722.5 ounces. No wonder my husband was always complaining of my milk hogging the freezer. He was right. It's a good thing my in-laws' house is just a 2 minute walk away. We can place our meat inside their ref.

I'm going to Philippine Children's Medical Center this afternoon to donate some of my milk. Not all, so I can have a stash for emergencies.

I am blessed by Papa God. with bountiful milk supply.  I can donate milk.

The fact that I nourished my children with my milk alone is a feat in itself. What about you?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Biological Aspects of Parenting and Breastfeeding

Carrying two human beings in a span of three years is no easy task. Adding pregnancy complications -- borderline gestational diabetes, my second one in transverse-lying position, Grave's disease, and tandem breastfeeding made my pregnancies more challenging. However, I believe that these are not showstoppers in making me the best mother in the world to my two children.

Interested in the biological aspects of breastfeeding and attachment parenting? Here's an excerpt from Sarah Buckleys' book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering (2009):

1) Prioritize the ongoing and ready availability of a primary caregiver - ideally the mother - through the first one to three years. This will optimize attachment and ensure the smooth development of emotional and physical self-regulating capacities.
2) Relish ongoing and liberal breastfeeding and co sleeping through first year and beyond. This will optimize hormonal caretaking and reward systems (oxytocin, prolactin, beta-endorphin), enhance mutual regulation for mother and baby, and optimize breast milk supply and nutrition,k with long-term health benefits for mother and baby.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bite the Bullet

I bit the bullet and filed my resignation effective May 4. I am excited and sad at the same time.  Sad because I am leaving my home for the last ten years. Happy, as I am counting the days until I wake up and find entwined hands of my family in the bed.

Many moms in my situation have given various warnings -- losing myself, not being able to buy all the things that you want, 24/7 work versus 8 hours but I am all up for it.

Breastfeeding and parenting will be my life. This is the life.