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Coco Haven : Why It’s Heaven!

I have been searching for the right shampoo and body wash for Cloud for the past two years. We were afraid to try mainstream products because Cloud has the tendency to develop adverse reactions if certain products do not sit well with his skin. We sticked with Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser  and Soap during his first six months, and when Cetaphil launched its Cetaphil Baby Products, we gave it a try. Cetaphil works well with us, but it’s price is putting a considerable dent in our budget. More importantly, we are advocates of supporting locally-produced, organic products.

Thus, I am very thankful when I heard about Coco Haven. I found out about it from an online support group for mothers. Almost everyone is raving about the performance of the product, how it works and its affordability. However, since it is locally produced and the business was just starting, it is not yet available (during that time) at the supermarkets and groceries. The entrepreneur/business owner was gracious enough to host group buys for the mommies. 🙂

I first tried Coco Haven Subtle Touch Baby Hair & Body Wash. According to the packaging, the product is a gentle coconut shampoo which can protect the baby’s hair and scalp from harmful environmental damages and helps retain hair in healthy condition. A gentle foamer that smells baby’s hair soft, silky and shiny. Its ingredients are agua, lemongrass hydrosol, proteol oat, jojoba oil, No-Heat Virgin Coconut Oil, Essential Oils of Honey Dew & Melon, Tea Tree, Fragrance Oil of Talcum,Coconut Vinegar, Tocopheryl Acetate and Sodium Chlorice. Given this list, it is most definitely baby-safe and friendly!

Prior to using this product, Cloud’s hair is slow growing and due to his active nature, by afternoon, he smells like “paksiw”, too sweaty and not so baby smelling anymore. The scent was what I first noticed. With the previous products that we use, the fresh, clean scent would last only for a few hours. With Coca Haven, Cloud smells deliciously yummy and clean until late afternoon. His bath time is usually around 08:00 – 09:00 A.M. and he bathes again at 06:00 P.M.

He started using the hair shampoo & body wash around June of 2016 and now (August 2016) there is already noticeable growth in his hair. It is no longer thin but rather getting strong and thick. Even Cloud would touch his head and say “wow, hair!”. Our family member and friends had stopped teasing him “kalbo” and “notpa” because there is indeed, noticeable hair growth. Cloud also has this habit of raising his underarm and letting/forcing the elders at home smell it. Before, everyone would say “Yuck!Asim” but now, when they smell his underarms, they go “Hhhhmmm bango baby!”.

Coco Haven Subtle Touch is available in 150ml,250 ml and 500ml. The 150ml costs Php 100.00, 250 ml at Php 300.00 and 500ml at Php 600.00. You may order this at their Facebook page Coco Haven or visit the store 9 Months & Beyond at 22 Malingap Street, UP Teachers Village, Quezon City.

 

Babywearing

Hi there! I’m a happy, excited and fulfilled working mom to a very healthy, happy and active baby boy born last December 13, 2014.

This blog is about one of my newest discovery in the journey of motherhood – Babywearing!

 

Babywearing is the practice of wearing or carrying a baby in a sling or in another form of carrier. This is a practice that has been around for centuries. Recently, babywearing is gaining popularity among modern/new generation parents. I, personally, is a staunch advocate of proper babywearing since I have firsthand experience of its benefits.

  1. During Cloud’s newborn stage, he loved being worn in our ring sling. Scientist says that being worn (or in a sling) gives baby the feeling of comfort and security that he experienced while still inside the womb. No wonder Cloud made a habit of falling asleep while in the sling. I can vividly recall the times that when he is cranky, all I have to do is put him in the sling, let him latch and within minutes, voila! My baby boy is fast asleep.
  2. As Cloud grows, babywearing became our constant companion. Our ever reliable Tula Soft Structured Carrier had been with us as we travel to different places in the country.During travels via plane, our baby carrier provided not only convenience but also comfort and security. Instead of adding a bulky stroller to our baggage, I just wear Cloud and we’re good. During take off and landing, I just make sure that he is safely tucked in and there’d be no fuss. No crying, no drama. Just a baby quietly enjoying his flights.
  3. Babywearing allows us to attend parties and soirees without worrying what we will do and where we will put Cloud when he falls asleep. We can even do hassle-free trips to the supermarket. We once went to the supermarket without putting Cloud in his carrier and while it seems funny now, I was over my head when it happened. He kept running down the aisle, picking up things not in our grocery list and removing what his Daddy and I already put inside the basket. That time, I badly regret the decision not to bring a carrier.
  4. It allows us our own bonding time. With babywearing, I can make every moment I spend with my child a special one. It allows me to easily kiss and cuddle him. When he gets cranky and “wild”, especially now that we are entering our “terrible two” stage, I just have to put him in our carrier and whisper soothing words and tell him that Jesus doesn’t like what he is doing, he starts to calm down.

Many parents are into babywearing, not because it is a bandwagon, “in” thing but because it is a normal thing to do. Children belongs right next to their parents. They deserve to be carried, kissed and hugged as often as it should be. A lot of scientific studies and researches has been conducted to show the benefits of babywearing.

Dr. William Sears, a renowned pediatrician, has pointed out the following scientific based benefits of babywearing:

  • In the wearing of newborns in particular, the mothers’ oxytocin levels are increased through the physical contact with the infant, leading to a more intimate maternal bond, easier breastfeeding and better care, thus lowering the incidence of postpartum depression and psychosomatic illness in the mother; similarly, the father carrying the baby has benefits for the paternal bond.
  • Infants who are carried are generally calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met. The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, provide feeding and the motion necessary for continuing neural development,gastrointestinal and respiratory health and to establish balance (inner ear development) and muscle tone is constant.
  • Parental rhythms (walking, heartbeat, etc.) can have balancing and soothing effects on infants.
  • Infants are “humanized” earlier by developing socially. Babies are closer to people and can study facial expressions, learn languages faster and be familiar with body language.
  • Independence is established earlier.
  • Attachment between child and caregiver is more secure.
  • Decreases risk of positional plagiocephaly (“flat head syndrome”) caused by extended time spent in a car seat and by sleeping on the back.

 

In The Natural Child Project by Laura Simeon, MA,MLIS,she discussed the following benefits of babywearing :

1. Wearing a baby is convenient.

When we carry a baby in a sling, we can walk around freely and not have to worry about negotiating steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a stroller. Plastic “baby buckets” and removable car seats are heavy and awkward for parents, babies often look uncomfortable, and they are kept at knee level. A sling can block out excess stimuli when breastfeeding a distractible baby, and it allows for discreet nursing in public places. A sling can also double as a changing pad, blanket, or cushion when away from home. I’ve found my sling especially handy when negotiating busy airports with a small child and several bags!

2. Wearing a baby promotes physical development.

When a baby rides in a sling attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes – walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses, and exercises his vestibular system, which controls balance. The sling is in essence a “transitional womb” for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control his bodily functions and movements. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not1. Mechanical swings and other holding devices do not provide these same benefits.

3. Babies worn in slings are happier.

Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss2. In indigenous cultures where baby-wearing is the norm, babies often cry for only a few minutes a day – in contrast to Western babies, who often cry for hours each day. Crying is exhausting for both the baby and his parents, and may cause long-term damage as the baby’s developing brain is continually flooded with stress hormones.3 Babies who do not need to spend their energy on crying are calmly observing and actively learning about their environment. Baby-wearing is especially useful for colicky babies, who are far happier being worn, but placid, content babies and children will also benefit greatly from the warmth and security of being held close.

4. Baby-wearing is healthy for you!

It can be challenging for new mothers to find time to exercise, but if you carry your baby around with you most of the day or go for a brisk walk with your baby in her sling, you will enjoy the dual benefits of walking and “weightlifting”. A long walk in the sling is also an excellent way to help a tired but over-stimulated child fall asleep.

5. Toddlers appreciate the security of the sling.

Slings are usually associated with infants, but they can be very useful for toddlers as well; most slings accommodate children up to 35 or 40 pounds. The world can be a scary place for toddlers, who feel more confident when they can retreat to the security of the sling when they need to do so. Toddlers often become over-stimulated, and a ride in the sling helps to soothe and comfort them before (or after!) a “melt-down” occurs. It can be very helpful in places like the zoo, aquarium, or museum, where a small child in a stroller would miss many of the exhibits.

6. Baby-wearing helps you and your baby to communicate with each other.

The more confidence we have in our parenting, the more we can relax and enjoy our children. A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our baby’s cues successfully. When we hold our baby close in a sling, we become finely attuned to his gestures and facial expressions. Many baby-wearing parents report that they have never learned to distinguish their baby’s cries – because their babies are able to communicate effectively without crying! Every time a baby is able to let us know that she is hungry, bored or wet without having to cry, her trust in us is increased, her learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction enhances the mutual attachment between parent and child, and makes life more enjoyable for everyone.

7. Slings are a bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers.

Slings are a useful tool for every adult in a baby’s life. It makes me smile when I see a new father going for a walk with his baby in a sling. The baby is becoming used to his voice, heartbeat, movements and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Fathers don’t have the automatic head-start on bonding that comes with gestation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make up for this once their baby is born. The same goes for babysitters, grandparents and all other caregivers. Cuddling up close in the sling is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!

8. Slings are a safe place for a child to be.

Instead of running loose in crowded or dangerous places, a child in a sling is held safe and secure right next to your body. Slings also provide emotional safety when needed, so that children can venture into the world and become independent at their own pace.

9. Slings are economical.

Slings cost far less than strollers, front-carriers or backpacks. Many mothers consider the sling to be one of their most useful and economical possessions. Inexpensive used slings can be found in consignment and thrift stores, and new ones can be bought for about $25 -$50 (U.S.) – not bad for an item many parents use daily for two years or more! A sling can also be sewn for the price of a length of cotton, some rings and batting; sling patterns are available.

10. Baby-wearing is fun.

Who doesn’t love to cuddle a precious little baby? And when your baby is older, having her in the sling makes conversations easier and allows you to observe her reactions to the wonders of the world around her. It’s also fun for baby, because when she is up at eye level, other adults notice and interact with her more. Your child will feel more a part of your life when she is in her sling, and you will find yourself becoming more and more enchanted with this special little person.

Overall, baby wearing is simply LOVE in another form. If you haven’t given it a try yet, you should. You should also join babywearing support groups and communities. It’s a lot of fun.

Cloth Diaper Review : Butt Talks!

This post is a product review for Butt Talks! ! Hybrid Fitted (HF) Diaper

Name of Owner : Josanne Robles Luistro

Type of Diaper : Hybrid Fitted Cloth Diaper

Hybrid Fitted cloth diaper is a fitted diaper that has a hidden body layer of poly fleece, sandwiched between the outer print and the inner velour. This hidden layer aims to help the diaper be more absorbent.

How it works?

Liquid hits the fleece layer and is deflected back into the absorbent inner, soaking up into the rest of the soaker pad and inner velour instead of just saturating the middle and immediately needing a change. The hybrid fitted is still a “fitted” diaper, meaning it is breathable and it isn’t totally waterproof. It would require the use of a cover to be considered waterproof. (Source: http://allaboutclothdiapers.com/what-is-a-hybrid-fitted-cloth-diaper/)

Majority of our hybrid fitted cloth diaper stash is from Butt Talks! from Miss Josanne. I had our first Butt Talks! from the Buying/Selling/Trading (BST) of Cloth Diaper Addicts (CDAPh) group in Facebook. I was initially in love with the prints. For those who know me personally, they would agree when I say that sometimes, 80% of my decision is based on physical appearance! 😀 😀 😀 But Butt Talks! didn’t disappoint in terms of performance. Besides the beautiful prints, it also does a good job of absorbing wee. We use BTs at night from 09:00 to 06:00 in the morning.

It took us four-five washes before we can use it overnight. I also have two (2) HFs during the Christmas prints edition and I must admit, it is one of our favorites! Most of the time, Cloud would pick it among his stash and request me to put it on him.

Take note though that hybrid fitted diapers, like Butt Talks, are still “fitted” diaper, thus it is not waterproof. You might need a cover if you want to make it waterproof. We, however, opted to just keep it “stand alone”, because I believe that the reasons why HFs and Fitteds exist is to provide “presko time” for babies.

One of the most common “complain” that I hear from parents is that HF are costly/expensive compared to regular cloth diapers like Alva and Babyland. This is because HFs are manually made, technically. Butt Talks! price ranges from Php 700.00 – Php 1000.00, depending on the design and the soakers. Mommy Josanne also does pre-orders for designs that are specifically chosen by her costumer.

Overall, I would give Butt Talks a 10/10 ranking.

 

 

Happy Breastfeeding Birthday

A mother’s breast is made to nurture her child. This is what I kept in mind when I decided to breastfed. The decision was made prior to Cloud’s arrival in our life. Even when I was still single, I made a promise to myself that I will breastfeed when I have a child.

Cloud turned one year old last December 13, 2015. It also marked one adventurous, meaningful and love-filled breastfeeding journey for me.

I initially thought it was easy. I thought it would be just putting my nipples into my babe’s mouth. Boy, I was wrong! The one year of breastfeeding had taught me lot of lessons and experiences that I will carry in my next breastfeeding journey. (By the way, I am still breastfeeding Cloud and intend to continue until he decides to stop).

Two hours after giving birth and still groggy from lack of sleep and the exhaustion that comes with labor, I was told by the nurse that it is time to feed my child. The hospital that I gave birth was not very compliant with the Breastfeeding Act which mandates the prohibition of formula and bottles. I was told by the nurse that I have to feed my baby because my husband refuses to buy formula milk. To qoute her “Ma’am, gising na po kayo,feeding time na po ni baby. Yung mister niyo po kasi ayaw bumili ng gatas.” I wanted to hug and kiss my husband at that moment. I knew that he is very supportive of our breastfeeding journey as a family.

So the nurse gave Cloud to me. Boy, he was such a small baby and looks so fragile. It’s as if the slightest touch would break him. Little that he was, his voice is the exact opposite. He loved crying (screaming) his lungs out. So I put him in my chest and guided my breasts to him. I thought that’s it! But no, wait, he is still crying. I wanted to grab a bottle and ask my husband to buy formula. Then I remembered my promise to breastfeed. So, I changed position, transferred Cloud from one breast to another and made him latch again.

Like all the experiences of breastfeeding mothers, the first few weeks was a struggle. Since milk was not that abundant yet, we were tempted to introduce formula milk to Cloud. But thanks to Breastfeeding Pinays and my husband who is very supportive, they provided continuous advice and suggestions. My husband would use my facebook account to check on BFP regarding tips and guidance.

It was not easy. Especially for a working mom like me. My work includes lots of travels across the country. One of my most unforgettable experience was pumping inside our service vehicle from Davao City to Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao. It was a five hour trip and I strictly follow the every three hour pumping session rule. So, inside the vehicle, on the way to Sultan Kudarat, I pumped. I didn’t care if the sound of my pump bothered my boss and colleagues. All I was thinking is that my baby needs his milk. Thus,my workmate would often tease me as the “padede mom/breastfeeding mother”.

One year and one month, and our breastfeeding journey is still going strong. There had been instances when we were tempted to switch to formula milk. When I thought of all those “barkada nights” that I have to skip because my son needs me, those “quiet time” with my husband that has to be cut short because the baby need the boobies, part of me feels sad. But then I look at my son and cannot help but feel proud. I feel proud that I am able to nourish him from my own. I know that my husband feels the same.

A few things that breastfeeding had taught me, it is 90% determination, 5% audience participation (moral support) and 5% milk supply. Never ever thought of stopping breastfeeding. There are no acceptable barriers. Work, school, errands. All of these things can be addressed by storage, expression and/or pumping. Also, never let other people’s opinion hinder your breastfeeding journey. When people tell you a myth about breastfeeding, don’t get angry or laugh. Take time to share the right information. Remember that one myth that we correct at a time can lead to a more informed and empowered breastfeeding community/support group. Also, when it comes to decisions for your child/children, be firm and put yourself down. I have been told several times that because I am thin and frail, my milk is not enough and healthy for my baby. I was judged that I cannot exclusively breastfeed. But, by the grace of the Lord, here we are as a breastfeeding family, still going strong.

Breastfeeding is a special bond between mother and child, they say. I, on the other hand, disagrees. Breastfeeding is a tie that bonds the mother, father and their child. That’s one of the essentials of breastfeeding – make your husband your number one ally and supporter. Make him part of the journey.

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Photo taken during Cloud’s 1st Birthday Celebration. The clowns were our party host and that handsome guy in white is my ever supportive, God-given husband. Certified “padede dad!”

Goodbye My Rainbow

How do we ever say goodbye to the person we love? I am never good at coping with death. Even if the person I love has long been gone, their death always make me sad, and at times, bring tears into my eyes.

Last Tuesday, my good uncle and friend met a tragic vehicular accident. His death was shocking and hard to accept.

His personality is like the rainbow – ever beautiful, vibrant, happy, hopeful and full of life. My memories of him is composed of fun times together, a few green jokes and the instruction that even if we don’t have much, as long as we remain family, its what matters most.

Thinking that I will never see him again, not hear his voice,that I will no longer be able to hold his hand and laugh with his jokes is painful. 

At the same time today, last year, we were celebrating my sibling’s debut. It was a time of thanksgiving, of the family being together and celebration of my engagement. Uncle was there and was constantly bringing life to the party with his jokes and “cruel” questions. He said that “As long as we’re together, we shouldn’t care if we’re poor. We’ll have this same celebration next year. We will again, be together.”

Never did it cross my mind that our get-together this year is because of his death. I tried so much to not think about it, just accept it. But I can’t. I owe this man so much. He was my fashion critique and make up artist during my high school prom, he bullied me into getting married and in the blink of an eye he was gone.

I cannot bear the thought of not seeing him again, of not hearing him laugh. He has yet to meet my baby, he has yet to see me walk down the aisle in a church wedding. 

Tito, why were you gone too soon? Who will manage the farm now? Who will be the life of the party?

The more I think about it, the more real it seems. The more real it becomes, the more painful it is. 

Rest in peace, Tito. Rest well and happy. And when I see a rainbow, I’ll think of you.

Miss Me But Let Me Go

When I came to the end of the day,

And the sun has set for me

I want no rites in a gloom filled room,

Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little, but not too long

And not with your head bowed low

-an excerpt from an Anonymous poet

The Green Eyed Monster on Father’s Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I wanted to have some sort of celebration. Jay had other plans.

Early morning, I greeted him Happy Father’s Day. There was no response. Not even a “thank you.” I remembered how it was during Mother’s Day, he spent it in a league game. So, maybe that’s just how he is. Not showy.

Then I asked him if we could buy a cake for his Father. He said he would rather get some pizza. I said, well yeah, okay, pizza. Then he asked me to call the pizza delivery. I was getting pissed and I can already feel my head throbbing in frustration. I.DON’T.WANT.PIZZA.

Late in the afternoon, we went to the supermarket to buy our weekly meals. He got frustrated, he lost his money. In his frustration, he snapped at me. My resentment started to grow.

And just when I thought we are going to bed, I noticed him getting dressed. He said he’s going out with some friends of his. I knew that he’ll drink and probably smoke a stick or two. I’m starting to get angry. He had just finished his medication and the throat specialist strongly recommended quitting on alcohol and smoke. But i am not in any mood to argue. And besides, I feel like I don’t have the strength for an argument. So i let him leave.

And yet, I wasn’t able to sleep. I feel angry, frustrated and humiliated. What kind of husband would rather spend Father’s Day with his friends than with his wife and kid. He didn’t want to go out with us yet he stayed out late with his friends. My head was throbbing and I’m starting to feel shaky – out of anger and resentment.

I wanted to shout at him, lash out at him, anything just to make him feel the same way that he did to me. But I ended up praying. And God led me to Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.

As humans, we are always vulnerable to worldly emotions. But as married couple, we must strive to work on our differences. As our vows say “through thick and thin, in good and bad”.

Plenty of Reasons Why I love You

The Book of Matthew wonderfully stated,where your heart is, there your treasures will be. 

You and I had been married for nine wonderful months already. We are almost old but we are everything but old when it comes to relationship and parenting. This week, I am reflecting on how God is moving in our life as a couple and as parents to our Babaching.

As I look back on our time together as sweetheart and later as parents, I can’t help but feel in awe, blessed and thankful for God’s work in our life.

You are far from perfect as a husband as a father. But, I am learning to love every bit of you, including our differences. For I know that it’s part of the man I love.

To my ex-boyfriend, best friend and constant critic, number one fan and supporter, the man who sees the beautiful in me despite the fact that I just went through twelve hours of labor and delivery, even if my hair is a mess from Babaching’s constant pulling, to the man who believes that I can do things that I don’t even think I could, here are some of the reasons why I thank God for bringing me to you:

1. You push me to be better everyday. There are plenty of times when I said I’ve reached my maximum. That I’ve reached the end. But you will only smile and say “Hindi pa. More pa love. Kaya mo yan.”

2. You don’t hesitate to point out I’m wrong when I am. For this, I am overly grateful. There are times when I am so adamant for things to happen according to my standard. And if my standards fail, I ended up feeling frustrated. In which, you would say “Hindi kasi nakikinig. Next time, listen. You are not always right, you know. ”

3. You have a generous and giving heart. You may accept this fact or not. But you are. The way you share your blessings to me, to our family and to the people we know is a testament to that. You wouldn’t hesitate giving a helping hand when you know it is necessary.

4. You are honest. That sometimes it hurt. But that makes me love you and respect you more. When my “mothering” Babaching seems over-acting, you would not hesitate pointing it out.

5. You taught me to let go. You helped me realized that I should not always be in control. That there are things/people/circumstances better left alone and unsaid.

This list could go on and on, love. But my main point is that I love you. Every night, as we pray, I never fail to thank God for bringing me to you, for giving me an amazing partner and I will continue to praise Him because of you.

My wallet is almost empty, my bank account is almost zero but my heart is full of love from you and for you.