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Darkness

I try my best to avoid confrontation. I am never good in it. Even if I know that I am right, anxiety and nervousness overpowers me. And it is never helpful. To avoid confrontation, I keep it all inside. Which is even worse, because aside from anxiety, I also felt depress.

Depression is a tricky thing. You try your hardest to avoid it, you build a wall around you to prevent it from creeping in and show that everything is fine. But one slip, one crack and all of these comes crumbling down.

I’ve lost my trust to people I love and care for. I feel unvalued, unnecessary and disregarded. I start questioning major decisions I made and I have plenty of what-ifs right now. I just want to go away from all these, perhaps death is an even better option.

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.

 

 

Love At First Felt

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Our dearest Cloud Emmanuel,

 

You came into our life unplanned, yes that is true. We were not prepared for the responsibility but we stick with what we believe is the proper thing to do. Your Dad and I love each other anyway, and we know that eventually, you will happen. You just happened a bit earlier than planned.

We must admit that we were initially afraid. Mostly because we didn’t know how to tell your Lolos and Lolas, even though we knew that they were expecting it somehow. We were also afraid of what other people will say. Many said we got committed too young. But then, the fear was replaced by excitement and joy when you started kicking and tumbling and making all those chaotic (and painful) moves inside my tummy. You were an active fetus! 🙂

Daddy looks forward in feeling you “kick” and move inside Mommy’s tummy. We didn’t mind even if your hyperactivity sometimes caused me to wake up in the middle of the night or in the wee hours of the morning.

Daddy and I had made plenty of mistakes in our life, but you are the one thing that we did right. When you came out of Mommy’s tummy, you were the tiniest but most beautiful being that we were able to hold in our arms. We loved you when you were inside me, yet we loved you even more that you are now with us.

Time flies so fast, our baby Cloud. The little baby before that is totally dependent to Mommy and Daddy now walks alone and wants to eat his food by himself. Good thing that we are breastfeeding, we still have our bonding time each time you want to feed.

If there was a thing such as love at first sight, our family have a love at first felt. Your existence binds Mommy and Daddy together.

I pray that God will continue to sustain us, financially, emotionally and physically so that we can continue taking care and providing for you.

And please, don’t grow up too fast our baby love!

Love,

Mommy & Daddy

Growing Better through Marriage

After my marriage, I got so focused on giving my full attention to my husband and son, I almost forgot about myself. The first four months post partum, my entire attention, and life in general, revolved around ensuring that my husband is properly attended to and my son well taken care of. I was in zombie mode as I work from Monday – Friday then on weekends, I maximized my time by taking care of Cloud when he’s awake and doing stuff for Jay when Cloud is asleep. Stuff includes doing the laundry, ironing clothes, sorting out our dresser, disinfecting the bedroom and trying to watch TV series with him.

I was perfectly fine with the set up until I came upon a book which has quote that I believed God used to remind me of who really am I and what I should do. I forgot the book’s title but I fully remember it’s main message : “To take care of everyone else, you have to take care of yourself.” That was a good wake up call for me. Yes, I am a wife and a mother. But above all that, I am also me. My marriage was not supposed to stun my growth as an individual. It should be an instrument to make me a better version of myself.

I must admit, my bout with borderline post partum depression was not easy. Doing stuff for my husband and son almost drove me crazy. I was not used to serving others. I hated sleeping late and waking too early. But I adjusted because I knew that it is part of my journey as a mother.

My life took on a different path. I started reading and blogging again. I started communicating with God again, and renewed my vows with Him. I also severed ties with people in my life whom I realized were just burden for my individual growth. My social life got smaller and quieter, but it also got better.

One of the most frequent praise I got after my marriage is “You look better now compared when you were single” and “You seemed to have matured”. Praise God and my husband for that. I always pray that I become a reflection of my partner and our relationship. So, as we strive to strengthen our marriage, I am also striving to be a good reflection of it. I firmly believe that how a wife looks like is a mirror of the status of their marriage.

My husband is also very supportive of my pursuit for self development. When I decided to become a self proclaimed advocate of millenial parenting (breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering) he tried his best to learn the “language” also. He is my number one fan but he is also my budget officer, reminding me to stop/pause from hoarding cloth diapers and baby carriers. He would patiently review my blog posts and would criticize if there are points that needs improvement or statements that seems to be off tangent.

My pursuit for physical development was also strengthened after marriage. As I previously stated, I wanted to be a reflection of our relationship. Our relationship is strong, healthy, thriving and blooming. And so should I be. I must admit, prior to our marriage, I am not really conscious about my “looks” and I do not have any skin care regime or fitness routine. But I knew that the Lord wants me to look good inside and out. (This is clearly stated in the Book of Psalms and Proverbs). So I started developing a fitness routine. Just the basic sit ups and planks, and occasionally, running. I also started researching about skin care regime. I felt like a nursery (clueless) kid in the world of sun blocks, moisturizers, lip stains and creams. Again, many thanks for my husband. He acted as my “instructor”, coaching me how to do the routines properly ( hindi porke’t five minutes routine ang nadownload mo, five minutes ka lang din mag exercise, ulitin mo), choosing the right clothes for the right ocassion (overdress ka na naman. malaswa yan. ano ba yang suot mo) and the proper make up (ano ba yang nguso mo, mukha kang aswang, buo-buo pa yung foundation mo and my favorite “tingnan mo sa salamin, hindi pantay”). 

Many would say that marriage seemed to be the end of individuality. I beg to disagree. Marriage is a tool for growth, individually and as a couple. It should not stop us from harnessing our skills and pursuing our passion.

 

 

 

 

In Your Anger, Do Not SIN

All couples go through tough times. Some more often than others. Jay and I rarely fight, but when we do, it goes big time. Not big that is loud but big in the sense that the silence is so BIG and LOOMING, it is almost deafening.

Last week, I was under a lot of stress. Cloud had caught some viral infection, with his fever going on and off and several trips to the pulmonologist, I am starting to have a migraine. All I really wanted was to just close my eyes, turn off the tv and the light and went into a deep slumber. But I can’t because I have to watch the clock for his medicine. And Jay thought it was the perfect time to go out with his friends and have some good time. I asked him not to go so he could watch after Cloud while I wait for the migraine to subside. But he still went. According to him, he will only be gone for a short while, he just have to get the reef magnet and chocolates.

His decision offended and angered me. My initial emotion felt like I was chosen over a piece of reef magnet, his friends over our marriage and a lot of anger, all towards my husband. My emotion got the upper hand and I said ugly things to him through Facebook messenger. I am the type of wife who lets my husband have his “fun time” because I understand that his friends (now our friends) is a part of his life that I have to accept. I never complained even if he sometimes go home way past midnight or even if he spend some time with women friends because I trust him that much. Except last Sunday night. I was not at my best condition and I felt like I am about to scream my head off. And he decided to have his “fun time”. Angry and hurt was an understatement to how I felt.

He went home early that night but I didn’t talk to him. I was still seething and fuming. At that moment, I hated his friends too. And the sight of the reef magnet in our fridge annoyed me, I wanted to throw it to the trash bin. The next day, we have to bring back Cloud to the pulmonologist. Our communication was minimal and dismal, it’s as if the sight of each other is a sore.

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Jay and I during our civil wedding last September 13, 2014.

I knew that we were both wrong and that what we are doing is against Lord. It is very unpleasing to his eyes. Then I was rebuked by the verbs in Proverbs, “Guard your heart, for from it springs the evil in our mouth.” and “In your anger, do not sin.”

Jay may have been wrong for not being sensitive enough but I was also wrong for wallowing in my anger far too long. We finally kiss and make up last night. It felt a lot better, lifting everything to the Lord in my prayer and asking for His grace. We knew that it is only by His grace and mercy that our marriage can be strong. We regret being angry, for we know that our anger paved a way for the devil to have a place in our marriage.

Anger doesn’t bring any goodness in relationship and in self. It is like a double edged sword. It hurts not on only the person you are angry with, it also destroys you.

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!”