Friday, April 20, 2018

Drumtao with a Toddler

My dear toddler Leji enjoys adrenaline powered music. She had such a grand time when we took her to Drumtao Manila.  "HUUUge drums, Mom!" She gasped at the lights and effects; her favorite part was the one with glowing men who dance.  She couldn't help but say "WOWWW!" She also loved the fluidity of the scarf dance and the chirpiness of the flutes.

When I was pregnant with her, I was totally hooked on Game of Thrones and Marco Polo (on Netflix). As I binged on nori and almonds, I was thrilled to feel her kick along with the beat each time there was a battle scene.  The sound of the blade and drums excited her.

When I covered Fete de la Musique for CNN Ph during my second trimester, I actually enjoyed it despite the heavy rain. She loved the bands that were heavy in percussion instruments.  I have to admit, I never got to appreciate such bands before until I got pregnant haha.

The night before I was rushed to the hospital for emergency contractions at 34 weeks, I was at the premier of Heneral Luna.  I guess she got really inspired to come out early when she heard the drums and cannon firing.  My friends joke I should have named her "Luna".

Her fascination with percussions is evident up to now.  She love watching UP Street Dance Club's concerts and choice of music.

As for Drumtao, while the girls in front gushed at the abs and synchronization of the warrior-like drummers, she couldn't help but do her own drumming with the Kia Theater seats during intermission. I hope we can take her to Japan in the near future so she can immerse herself further in their wonderful music and culture. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tandem Feeding Diaries: Month 3

Women who have normal vaginal births are usually expected to return to work after their 2-month maternity leave.  For freelancers like me, we just start working as soon as a project starts coming.

For both my first and second pregnancies, I started attending meetings/ vtrs a week after delivery.  I tried to keep these activities as short and brief as possible and avoided wearing heels so as not to worry my mom who says I shouldn't take a bath, use the stairs, and expose myself to "hamog" for at least two weeks after giving birth.  Antibiotics and pain meds prescribed by my OB Doc Madgie allowed me to recover more quickly (thank God!)  It drove me crazy lying in bed smelling like that; I just couldn't allow myself to be seen in that state for so long :/

I suffered from mild dehydration and electrolyte imbalance though for trying to tandem feed in 3-hr Christmas traffic.  I also got nipple blisters as my toddler shallow latched as we drove through unexpected humps and bumps. Oh if only all humps were painted with visible yellow stripes! Haay. It's just impossible.

Eventually, we managed to convince my toddler that it's better to latch only in the privacy of our bedroom.  I told her her baby brother gets scared more easily and he needs more latchtime than she does.  She agreed and told me she's brave even when we pass through tunnels; my little boy is at a stage wherein he's scared of the dark and uneven roads.  I'm proud of how she would try to calm her brother each time: "Don't be scared! Leji's here!" So adorable. She would even sing to cheer him up.

With God's grace, I was able to book several projects last of which happened to be out of the country.  
Watching the sun rise while pumping at the charging station

It proved to be quite stressful.  I was hoping to store as much milk as I can in the freezer.  But each time my toddler would see me pump, she would ask when would it be her turn to latch.  I would usually allow her to latch after my 20-minute pumping session in the morning.  Then her brother would ask for more milk.  Then I couldn't pump again for the rest of the day.  I even had to eat rice and meat at times in the wee hours of the morning just so I would be able to produce more milk.  I produce more milk after sleeping/napping so I couldn't do much really other than eat/drink, breastfeed, sleep/nap,  repeat.  Even when I take malunggay tea & incorporate malunggay leaves in my meals, I only get to pump adequately when I'm not too tired.  I avoided going out and attending meetings for two weeks so I wouldn't get distracted from producing more milk.

I realized I could only pump twice a day max while tandem feeding.  I have to get up really early in the morning before they start demanding for milk in bed; then I pump again in the afternoon before they get roused from their nap.

I have never stored this much milk before. So much so, we had to buy more stuff for milk storage!  I didn't expect I could pump this much milk until I had to.  We bought a 2-door self-defrosting inverter ref to be able to store my pumped milk more efficiently. Our old one had such a small freezer that had a plastic door that wouldn't close when there's too much ice.  The door can't keep the temperature constant when it's not sealed and defrosting it wasted most of my milk.  Some of the cups get stuck in the ice & you really can't take them out unless you defrost them with the ref.  It's a chicken and egg thing.

I smiled happily at our new freezer with neat compartments filled with milk cups. But at the back of my head, I knew it might still not be enough despite pumping up to the very last minute before dashing to the airport. 

Oh well. My baby's ninang/pedia Doc Coco advised me to stop worrying. She said I should just enjoy my project and banish the thought that I'm a bad mother just because they might have to resort to formula for a couple of days.  

We tried Nan Optipro with his existing Playtex newborn drop-in anti-colic bottles (which they also use to feed him with pumped milk). Other than nastier smelling poop with an ugly dark color, they didn't notice much difference with his behavior.  Unlike Leji at six months who refused to take in formula because it tasted different (she hated Similac; it's loaded with iron and has a slightly rusty taste), his three-month old system treated formula like breastmilk.  He demanded for it every 2-4 hours.  

When I returned, he smiled and latched hungrily as if nothing happened.  He still loves me...yey!  His poop color turned back to normal after a couple of days.

My toddler didn't have a problem with the setup either; she loved the idea of having more playtime with Lola.  She simply preferred powdered milk over fresh cow's milk after seeing her baby brother consume formula.  We're back to tandem feeding in bed.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Lej's Fave Sippy Cup

Leji has always hated silicone nipples.  She gnawed on them incessantly and refused to be bottle fed in my presence.  She thinks pumped milk is gross especially when she sees it coming from a Hakaa (she really hates silicone). Thus, she learned how to drink water from a straw at four months and started drinking from Avent cups independently as soon as she learned how to sit.

But in her terrible twos, she developed a fondness for mixing things together and pouring stuff everywhere.  She would wipe her mess afterwards with a paper towel and try to prolong the activity as much as she can because it's so enjoyable for her.  She even thinks soaking up the couch is interesting to watch sometimes.  So we decided to back track a little bit and reintroduce sippy cups at home even if she has already mastered the art of using grownup cups and glasses with two hands.

Leji loves mango yoghurt shake
We have existing Dr. Brown's soft-spout toddler cups; but again she hates silicone.  She gnawed on them like there's no tomorrow before she turned one.  She also found a way not to make them spill proof; she removed the detachable handle in one and broke off the snap-on cap of the other.  Washing up soft spouts is also a chore; some of the milk residue remain in the crevices of the silicone spout even after exposing them to heat in the sterilizer.   I use a mini flosser brush because even an old toddler toothbrush can't clean it effectively.

We took Leji to Baby Company so she could choose a new sippy cup.  She opted for a Philips Avent hard spout (fuchsia with a penguin!) which claimed to be more durable than the soft spout.  However, it's not entirely true that it's spill proof and easy to clean.  Even with the silicone stopper inside, it still spills on the bed & it's quite easy for my toddler to accidentally open the cover while turning it around trying to figure which angle is most fun in milk sipping.  You also have to wash it immediately after use otherwise foul smelling milk residue will annoyingly remain in the spout.  It's tricky to scrape off even with toothpicks and hairpins.  We bought it at full price; a few weeks later it's not surprising to see the model 70% off at Unimart.   

My mom-in-law then gifted us with the Playtex Playtime Spout.  It has colorful 3D animals on the side which Leji happily identified.  She likes her flavored milk cold; its double wall insulation is pretty effective.  When we discovered it was easier to clean (my pinky could fit in the spout and effectively remove residue with soapy water), really spill proof (even when you throw it on the floor!), and harder to "accidentally" open during toddler experiments, she decided to buy it in other designs and colors which Leji could mix and match (one lid fits all!).  Leji says her Lola's really cool.  Thank you, Lola!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Tandem Feeding Diaries: Month 2

My skin is terribly dry these days.  Thank God for the inventor of mild lotion (like Baby Dove!<3) Blame it on my inability to drink adequate amounts water after tandem feeding especially during the holidays when we had to endure traffic (& I could only drink so much while in the car).  I should take Chiqui Brosas' advice to drink at least 4L a day more seriously. Tsktsk. 

When you're dehydrated, there's this ugly sensation in the brain and back; and your knees and joints start to feel numb.  It's actually scary.  I couldn't move in bed.  I couldn't even eat properly. But I went on feeding my newborn.

My toddler? She wasn't too happy when mommy got sick and she wasn't allowed to latch to stimulate my boobs and try to increase my supply.  It was just too painful; I could feel my uterus scream. I hope her brain would omit the memory of mom being sick and grumpy ASAP.

Ang gabi tila araw...ikaw ang ligaya..ikaw lamang 
I started mix feeding my toddler (she drinks fresh cow's milk) as soon as she turned 1.  However, even when I got pregnant, she refused to give up latching in the car and at bedtime. Now that she has a baby brother, she gives way when she knows my breasts aren't full yet.  She could be a future lactation consultant! With one look, she knows if my supply is ok and she knows a couple of massage techniques to stimulate milk production and prevent mastitis.

I only had mastitis once when we had a fight one night when she wouldn't stop jumping on the bed & I refused to give her "her side"of my chest.  I failed to pump that side; it's hard to use the Hakaa on "her side" while feeding Leon because she claims it's gross to drink pumped milk and it's easier if I just allow her to latch directly. Ugh. Sometimes it's inconvenient that your daughter could express herself so well at such a young age.

Nowadays, she watches her brother latch on first to avoid making him gag with overflowing milk. He cries when Leji makes the flow too abrupt.  So she usually waits until the milk leaks unto my shirt with just Leon stimulating it. She's usually very patient except when she wants to latch for comfort in the car and transforms into a scary, anti-seatbelt wailing creature we call "Lejo." 

Keeping yourself hydrated is more challenging when the babies latch directly as compared to pumping "off site".  When I'm away, it's easier to limit pumping time to just 15-20 minutes every 3-4hours.  It's easier to stick to the schedule and properly hydrate before and after when working elsewhere.

At home and in the car, feedings are more irregular.  Both of them wish to latch directly not only when they're hungry but also when they're sleepy, scared, tired, bored  (or all of the above during traffic).  There are times when latch time exceeds more than 20minutes. I get very sleepy during the day due to lack of sleep at night; I usually doze off when the baby breastfeeds in bed and I fail to drink afterwards.

So much so that I now stopped taking multivitamins altogether.  I feel like I get dehydrated easier when I drink them.  I drink malunggay tea with some tablea instead.

After Christmas (and after a bout with nasty LBM/ electrolyte imbalance/mild dehydration), my daughter & I acquired flu.  My supply went really low and I had to deal with a wailing toddler whom I had to convince that I love her still using other means (Eg. hugging, singing, eating her favorite food wtih her).  It was so hard to explain to her that she couldn't latch on me while I was feeding the baby because she might accidentally sneeze on him while facing each other. 

She kept sneezing on him to annoy me.  She's at a stage where she does something more when you say "no".  The baby got sneezy too but only for a couple of days. Thank God for the baby aspirator; he was able to recover at once even without medication.

Oh believe me I was so tempted to switch to formula. It was as if my newborn baby sucked the life out of me and I'm not allowed to sleep because his sister is in dire need of love affirmation.  But I had to give him antibodies.  I want him to have less chances of acquiring allergies later on in life.  I want less chances of acquiring breast cancer too (we have it in the family).  So with the support of my hubby and mom-in-law,  I trudged on.

The New Year started with a topsy turvy house because I was sick & hubby didn't have any choice but to look after us and comfort my toddler that mommy can't play.  He was so tempted to hire a maid.  But I told him I want to enjoy Leon's first six months with just us.  My mom came over & cooked my fave meals to support my decision.

Pocari Sweat was my holiday lifesaver. If I can just have a water filter that instantly turns water into Pocari Sweat that would be so cool. & yeah, I gulp all the fresh milk my toddler wouldn't finish in her sippy cup. No judgment!

I hope the house will be in better order before Valentines/ Chinese New Year. harhar!  Happy 2018!!!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Silent Night

It's a miracle. Tonight, I'm blessed with a silent night. They all managed to sleep earlier than usual and my dear hubby got to catch on some badly needed zzz, thank God.  Thank you to those who prayed for us and our sanity...especially to my best friend Rachelle who spent time with Leji this evening before doing the last of her Christmas shopping :p At least we all get to rest before the grand Christmas weekend.

The other day, my toddler went for potty hourly and had her last batch of Denille's awesome crinkles and milk at 3am.  She told her dad he's more handsome than Santa and managed to convince him to come eat with her downstairs.  They woke up again at 7 to have Milo Balls; I usually mix it with milk and Chia Seeds to make it healthier.  I failed to make her tandem latch with her brother that morning though; I felt drained.  I told her we can try after lunch after I get to drink more fluids; but she wasn't able to take advantage of this as she slept from 11am-2pm.

Now I'm just happy she managed to sleep at 10:30pm.  

On not so silent nights, we use Baby Banz Hearing Protection Ear Muffs for her baby brother.  We saw it on Prince George at the Royal International Air Tattoo last year and tried to get the kids' version for Leji. But she refused to put it on as she hates head gear.  :/ 

I've read they recently developed a model in Australia with bluetooth connectivity so your baby could listen to his fave lullaby anytime anywhere.  But it costs twice as much and you have to wait for delivery.

We're happy with the one we got from the Parenting Emporium--the basic type designed for babies 0-2+ years old which cancels out loud noise.  It says on the box that it's proven safe by pediatricians only for babies 3months and up but I guess newborns can still use it as long as you support their neck or they lie on their backs.  It's cute, colorful, and functional--it's smaller than my palm and could fit in my evening bag. It has soft adjustable ear pads and band; he seems comfortable wearing it.

Anyway, we tested it in several parties--a wedding, a videoke party, and a kiddie birthday.  Leon managed to have uninterrupted sleep in all three! And he looked adorable in our photos :)

I'm happy we can watch the fireworks this year without worrying about my baby's ears.  We're ready for you, 2018!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Leji's Holiday Party T-shirt

It's the ultimate party week! Despite suffering from mild dehydration the other day (oh it's so tricky to drink 4L of water in traffic while tandem feeding :/) and an engorged left boob (I cut short my toddler's feeding time the other night because she was too rowdy in bed :/), I begged my hubby to brave the traffic and allow me to attend at least some of my friends' events.

We attended my niece Zyra's Jollibee birthday at the Triangle in the Fort--their famous 1000th store.  It was a Hello Kitty Party so I wanted Leji to wear a pink dress.  But Leji had other ideas and insisted on wearing her fave UP shirt and jeans.  

My cousin Ana gave her a fabulous red dress and tried to convince her to change her clothes--but all in vain. Haaay. We tried.  My daughter won't even allow herself to be bribed into it.  She ate the cake & had icing all over but still wouldn't change her outfit.

After napping & attending a vtr, we decided to window shop in Greenbelt as we bide time for my other get together in the same area.  Again, I tried my luck in convincing my dear daughter to change into a more suitable attire.  But instead, she threw into a desperate crying fit which drove my hubby nuts. 

I was utterly annoyed but I reminded myself that she's just two and she wants to see all her beautiful Titas in a comfortable attire.  I gave in to her request and allowed her not to change her shirt for the day.

As soon as we got out of the car, her mood shifted like magic!  She hugged and kissed her favorite Titas Tintin & Glennifer. Ugh, I knew she was mock crying :/

There were a lot of prizes up for grabs but I knew we couldn't stay long (I wasn't able to pump milk for my newborn :/) so I joined the first 2 games! We managed to bring home consolation prizes. haha.  All in the spirit of fun and camaraderie this Christmas.  
Leji examines our prize with Glennifer

Glam Pinoy Henyo- Loren Burgos guesses it right!

Leji adores Ganiel Krishna

Fun times with the reigning Ms Dog Universe, Shamcey

with Shamcey's proud mom, Kuya Eton!

We had so much fun even if I failed to claim my raffle prize (I heard it's a luxurious lounge chair haha) because Leji tearfully insisted on going back to her baby brother.  Can't wait for Mutya's 50th anniversary party next year; hopefully I could convince Leji to wear a dress by then.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Of Tandem Feeding and Babyshark Hunting

Whew. Tandem feeding without a yaya at home is quite tasking. I usually doze off while I'm at it except when my toddler engages in shallow latch or in a weird position & the pain makes me jump back to wakefulness. I barely have time to do anything else these days but I see this as an emotional investment for them in the future.

Even a trip to the grocery or a brief meeting is such a production number.  In the car, my toddler usually unfastens her seatbelt and demands for breastmilk when she's in distress. It's quite a problem nowadays; we still haven't discovered the ideal tandem feeding position in the car.  Even the pillows aren't of much help when the road is bumpy or when hubby needs to step on the brakes during traffic.  I sometimes just ignore her wailing when I'm too tired and she won't accept cow's milk or cookies or toys as a substitute for comfort. She developed a high-pitched shrill cry recently (which is really effective in agitating hubby but thankfully not her newborn brother) and pray to the saints that this too shall pass and will not traumatize her in the long run.

I tried to catch my milk with Hakaa and Medela Bra cups in an attempt to make her drink it; but my highly opinionated toddler said it looks gross.  I tried mixing it with cow's milk and even flavored milk but she still wouldn't drink it.  I guess she really craves the comfort she gets from direct latching; I don't think she gets much milk from me these days.

I make her stop latching and give her my phone to watch Babyshark videos when her strong sucking triggers too much milkflow in my other boob.  My newborn often coughs whenever this happens.  To make sure he wouldn't aspirate, I distract her first and focus on raising him up in a position that straightens the esophagus so he could breathe/burp.

But the nice thing about tandem feeding is I feel like I have the power to make them nap/fall asleep together.  I just pop a malunggay supplement (Natalac for now) with two glasses of water and voila! I am Supermom! Get ready for the milk waterfall! Lol.

I don't mind washing extra shirts these days as I have to change my shirt each time milk overflows when the timing for tandem feeding isn't right. Most of the time, the baby latches first before the toddler.  Also, he often drools all over & even multiple burpcloths aren't effective in keeping me clean.  I have no choice but throw everything in the laundry basket so as not to aggravate his baby acne.  Thank God He was able to inspire man to invent the automatic washing machine.  Thank you, Lord!!!

Anyway, you've probably read enough ranting.  Haha..the babies would soon rouse; I turned off all the lights to prolong their nap.  It is such a luxury to get to write these days.

Some people asked how we celebrated my birthday last month while I was heavily pregnant.  Hence my late post :)

We went babyshark hunting at Manila Ocean Park!  But I didn't avail of the birthday discount because I can't go on a longer tour with three full paying adults.  We just availed of promo tickets for Manila residents.  They don't offer student/toddler/senior citizen discounts on top of that though.

This was my toddler's second time to explore the park.  Last year, she was fascinated with the jellies display.  This time around, she got to enjoy the creepy crawlies (she loves the Itsy Bitsy Spider haha. LSS)...

the fish...(she even attempted to touch several in the magic aquarium!)

and the penguins!!! (she loves the Badanamu Pengie Dance haha)

She also chased eagles at the sanctuary.  It was quite exhilirating; I didn't know they have this in the park.  All the while we thought it was just a souvenir shop on the side of the entrance.

We'll definitely come back next time with her baby brother :)  But first, we have to catch the Babyshark Mall Tour one of these days.