My little girl is going to baby school!
We paid a visit to The Little Gym, and found out that they have a class for her age group called “Bugs.”
Can you tell how excited I am? I’m honestly running out of activities for our 8 month old. Plus I’m an insecure mom who always worry that the baby is getting bored.
Huge! One half of the place has floor mats, balance beams, parallel & uneven bars. The other half is dedicated to a room outfitted like a classroom, supposedly for their preschool classes.
White people! When we arrived, the Birds class were in session, and almost all the students were foreigners!
We’re taking a trial class in the next couple of weeks, but we’re already pretty sure we’re enrolling for the full course. The teacher we met was an absolute darling, and Gabby loved the new place (meaning, she banged her hands on every little object).
I’m soooo happy that The Little Gym is not in a mall. No offense to Gymboree lovers, but there’s just something about malls & babies that stresses me out.
And it gets better: The Little Gym is actually just a block away from where we live. Mommy can push the little munchkin in her stroller! Hah!
Some additional info
- Bugs class is for 6 months to 10 months of age
- Classes are once a week for the Bugs class (either the Friday or Sunday class)
- Classes start on September 13, 2015, and ends December 2015.
- Tuition fee is P15,080, plus an annual membership fee of P1,960.
- We can take a trial class for P600, which is deducted from the tuition fee should we decide to enroll.
- Unlike Gymboree, The Little Gym is not open for play time. It is strictly open for their classes.
In line with Breasfeeding Month, St. Luke’s Global City is having a seminar on breastfeeding. Entitled Breastfeeding 101, it is going to be held on August 8, 2015, 1:00 to 4:00 pm, at the Henry Sy, Sr. Auditorium, 5th Floor, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City.
I wished I attended a seminar like this. I gave birth 2 months earlier than my due date, and was only able to attend one breastfeeding class. It wasn’t a good one either. I attended the one hosted by the House of Medela, where I braved the traffic and the long walk due to the lack of parking.
To make it worse, there was a “surprise” speaker (meaning, it wasn’t part of the publicized agenda) by StemCord Philippines. The speaker gave a talk for over an hour on why we should go into stem cell banking. Cramped space + mono block chairs + pregnant + bad sound system + long sales talk … you get the drill.
If I had to do it all over again, I would attend something like this — a talk strictly on breastfeeding, and not a commercialized one with a bunch of topics, sponsors, etc.
If only :)
In 7 months, we’ve gone thru 3 yayas. Didn’t expect to go thru so many in such a short time. Apparently, they don’t last as long as they used to.
Although I still can’t claim to be an expert on yayas (hardly!), I’ve learned a few things:
- Yayas don’t really care much about the Kasambahay Law.
- Contrary to popular belief, they don’t like taking a lot of day offs. “Magastos eh,” they say.
- Some of them (not all) will take advantage of your first sign of weakness. If you unhesitatingly give in to something, they will ask for more. Sad, but true.
- They usually have a “fair market price.” Pasig (bayan) rate for yayas is around 3,500. In BGC and Makati, it’s 6,500.
- If you don’t pay the market rate, other households in your area can easily poach your Yaya.
- Yayas refer each other to other households. That’s usually how they get poached. If you think your Yaya doesn’t have friends in your area, you’re wrong. They will definitely get to know other yayas and communicate with them via text.
- They also look for boyfriends thru text. Hehe.
- Some agencies are scams. They make money out of finders fee. After the contract term is over, they connive with the Yaya to leave so that you will go back to the agency to find another Yaya (and pay the finders fee once again)
- Established agencies usually have yayas who have been working in Metro Manila for a long time. That is a good and bad thing.
- Yayas who have been working for a few years in Metro Manila seem to have more tendencies of jumping from one employer so another.
What’s your experience with yayas? Lemme know.
“I’m breastfeeding. Period.”
I must’ve really sounded resolute — or maybe my doctors got tired of my incessant calls to their clinics — but after a couple of months, they finally agreed to stop my medications so I could breastfeed my baby.
Ironically, my lactation consultants weren’t optimistic. I didn’t breastfeed for the first few months, and my attempts at pumping were futile. They said I practically had to “re-lactate” myself. I literally produced five teeny weeny tiny drops of milk after thirty minutes of pumping.
But I wasn’t the type to give up. And I’m glad I didn’t. I’m still not at the 750 to 1,000 ml recommended pump volume per day, but I’m almost there (650ml). And that’s a big feat for someone who had to “re-lactate.”
You know the usual disclaimer, that every woman is different, and what worked for me may not work for you, blah blah blah. But here’s what I did to increase my milk supply:
- A supportive husband. My husband was (and still is) the biggest reason why I was able to increase my milk supply. He made anything and everything possible. And more. When I was this close to shifting to formula, he was there to talk sense to me. He drove for me far and wide to pick up donated breastmilk. He would assist me tirelessly whenever I need to latch the baby. He would research on breastfeeding, give me tips, and encourage me every single day.
- A thick skin. I didn’t take offense whenever the baby would cry hysterically. I know it was because she couldn’t get enough milk from me. I would take a few deep breaths and tell her “Hey, we need to do this together.”
- Domperidone. I also took Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, but I think it was the Domperidone which really helped me. I really wish I took this sooner. After 2 to 3 weeks of taking the medication, it gave me a noticeable jumpstart on my milk supply. Not miraculous, but very noticeable.
- Kelly Mom and Jack Newman. I devoured their articles like a dutiful disciple. These two websites were better than all the lactation consultants that I met combined.
- Perseverance. I didn’t give up. There were two incidents which drastically reduced my milk supply: 1) When I got sick, and 2) when the baby had a nursing strike. Each incident only lasted 3 to 5 days, but it was enough to reduce my milk supply by 75%. Yes, that much. It took a couple of weeks each time before I was able to reach my previous level.
- Pump pump pump. I make sure I have 2 pumping sessions in the morning, and another 3 sessions while I’m at work. I was told the ideal pumping session should last 15 minutes. Not for me though — most of my pumping sessions are between 20 to 30 mins. My letdown is just too slow to come in.
- Compression. While pumping, I press the breastshields against my breasts every few seconds.
- Breastfeed. I breastfeed as soon as I get home from work. Bottles are not allowed from 7pm to 6am. Ideally, I would also breastfeed in the morning, but I could never predict what time the baby would wake up or want to feed.
- Co-sleeping. The baby sleeps with us. If she wakes up in the middle of the night (usually twice), I change her diaper, offer her “the boobie,” and immediately go back to sleep while she feeds.
- Power pump. Although the general rule is to pump every 3 hours, there would be days when I would pump every 1 to 2 hours. This produced very good results in just 2 to 3 days.
Other things I took, but I’m not sure about their effectiveness:
- Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle
- Malunggay capsules
What I should’ve done but didn’t do:
- Take malunggay while I was still pregnant. I’m not sure if this would be effective, but it seemed to have worked wonders for one mom.
- Chose my breastfeeding group carefully. I would join various Facebook groups on breastfeeding, but they would all be filled with moms boasting about their milk supply, how wonderful their breastfeeding journey is, how their baby latched on instantly, etc.
We stopped at a traffic light along Kalayaan Ave. A young boy ran towards our car with his palm stretched upwards, asking for alms. We tapped lightly at our window, the signal for “no alms.”
The boy sneered, kicked the door, and mockingly licked our side mirrors. He did this repeatedly until the light turned green.
To him, I was the lady inside a nice car — “ang may kaya.” And in this country — it doesn’t matter if they use the money to buy cigarettes, Tanduay, or rugby — I am still obliged to give.
“Mayaman ka naman eh.” Always said with a hint of accusation, as if daring anyone to complain.
Last April 7, just when our nursing relationship was going well, Gabby decided to go on strike — a nursing strike. She would refuse to nurse and would only take milk from a bottle.
Was it because I recently just introduced the pacifier or because we stopped cup feeding and started using a feeding bottle? Or was it because I got a bit rough that one time while trying to fix our breastfeeding position? I would probably never know. But the nursing strike really affected me, and I was determined to solve it.
Once again, I turned to Kelly Mom and Jack Newman for help. I devoured all the tips related to nursing strikes and tried them one by one. Finally, six days later, I gently offered my breast while she was thumb sucking. Tada! She latched! The nursing strike was over.
There were a lot of things that I tried, but I feel these were the ones which made a difference:
Carried the baby as often as possible. As soon as I would get home from work, I would carry the baby as long as my rheumatoid athritis would allow me. Whenever she would accidentally fall asleep in my arms, I wouldn’t put her down immediately — I would continue cradling her for at least 30 more minutes.
Offered the breast as often as possible. Very gently, without forcing her. If she refuses, then I tell her softly it’s okay and offer her the bottle.
Co-slept. We were already 90% co-sleeping, but ranked it up 100% during the nursing strike.
Stopped using all items which possibly caused nipple confusion. This means the pacifier and the feeding bottle (we were using Medela’s Calma). We want back to cup feeding, although this time, we used Medela’s soft feeding gizmo to reduce spillage.
Before anything else
Let me mention that I’m not allowed to breastfeed. Barely 24 hours after I’ve given birth, the doctors immediately began my Lupus treatments. .
I still plan on pumping though. Even if I can’t feed the baby my milk. Hopefully I could pressure my doctors to stop all my treatments, at least until my baby is out of the NICU.
Ergo, I am presenting to you my official unboxing of the Medela Pump In Style Advanced, which in my opinion is the best double electric breastpump in the world.
I bought the Medela Pump In Style Advanced from Amazon.com because this model is not available in the Medela House here in the Philippines. There are some who claim that this model has been discontinued, but none of my research backed up this claim. I’m guessing our local Medela House simply sources their supplies from Medela Europe, and not Medela US.
By the way, if you buy a breastpump (or any electronics for that matter) in the US, always make sure that you get an AC adaptor or a transformer so that it would work in the Philippines. For my breastpump, the one I got is the NeneSupply Replacement 9V AC Adapter for 9V Medela Pump-in-Style Breast Pump — which is also conveniently available from Amazon.com.
Here are the photos, for your viewing pleasure:
This is one of those posts on tips on how to survive SXSW.
SXSW is something I try to attend every year. It’s one of my favorite tech conferences, but also the *most tiring*. There’s practically no time or energy to go anywhere else.
- Book early. That is, if you want to stay near the Downtown area. Twice, I booked in January, and twice, I had to rent a car because I couldn’t find a nearby hotel.
- Prepare for the heat, the cold, and the rain. The temperature will be 10 degrees one day, and 27 degrees the next. And I’m not even kidding.
- And yes, it rains.
- Claim your badges a day before the conference starts. It is *really* crowded on the first day.
- Traffic’s bad. Parking’s bad. It usually takes us 15 to 30 minutes just to find a parking spot. And they’re not cheap: around $15 to $40 for the entire day.
- Bring a backpack to the conference. I initially had a messenger bag to carry all my gear (laptop, power bank, etc.) and had to switch to a backpack. Just remember that you will be carrying your bag the *entire day*. Please be kind to your back & shoulders.
- Only bring the necessities. Even the smallest gadget/accessory can put a toll on the weight of your bag. For example, I learned there’s no need to bring a water bottle, since the place is equipped with a lot of water stations. Also, there was no need to bring my high capacity power bank, since there are a lot of power outlets available.
- You will walk. Really walk. Keep in mind that the sessions are spread out between 7 to 14 venues. And even if you manage to only attend sessions within the Austin Convention Center, that building is still *huge*. Think twice before wearing those high heeled boots or stilettos.
- Brown bag your lunch if you can. Or eat during off-peak hours. It’s almost impossible to find an empty table in restaurants from 12pm to 2pm. There are food trucks everywhere, but the lines are terrible. Once, I was in line for almost 45 minutes just to get a puny breakfast burrito.
- Arrive at the talks at least 30 mins early. The sad fact is SXSW books people more than it could accomodate. If you arrive 10 minutes before the session starts, most often than not, you will not be able to get in.
- Download Google Maps, or your favorite map application. The last SXSW app was a total fail with regards to venue directions.
- Bring a paper map too, if possible. Because sometimes, traditional maps are a lot easier to use.
- Download the SXSW app. It has some use. At least when it comes to shortlisting the sessions you want to attend.
- When choosing sessions, don’t get brainwashed with “Must attend talks in SXSW.” I made this mistake on my first SXSW and I hated all the talks that was recommended in social media. Only you will know what talks you would be interested in.
- Don’t be fooled by cool titles. SXSW speakers tend to play with titles in order to get more attendees. Not good.
- This is a matter of personal preference, but avoid panel sessions if possible. Panel sessions are too freeform. The panelists are only as good as the moderator’s questions. And I noticed a lot of the panelists do not even prepare for their session, and even if they do, they don’t prepare *with* the other panelists. There’s usually no cohesion. And to tell you honestly, I don’t learn a lot on panel sessions. So, if you’re a lot like me who attend SXSW to learn new things, stick with solo sessions. Or at the most, dual sessions.
- There are workshops too which sometimes last 4 to 6 hours. But I haven’t gotten the chance to attend any of them, because they require online reservation and are usually booked months before SXSW.
- Don’t judge a speaker by the company they worked with. I learned a lot from speakers who were from companies which were totally unknown to me.
- Priority seating is bullshit. Just line up early.
- Not sure which sessions to attend? Go to the web or the app, and star all the sessions that you find interesting. Then filter the list to show only your starred items. Then read the details: description, who the speakers are, and requirements for attendees.
- Have a backup session. Preferably in the same or next building. Because of the next item below.
- If you don’t like the session for the first 10 minutes, don’t be afraid to leave the session and hop on to any of your backup sessions.
- You will not be able to attend all the sessions you like. And that’s okay. I know a bunch of attendees who weren’t able to attend almost 70% of the sessions they signed up for.
- You would feel as if your first SXSW could’ve gone better. And that’s okay. Everyone gets lost, everyone gets locked out of sessions, and misses out at least on something. Smile and make the most out of it. It will still be a fantastic experience.
Just to be clear: I don’t force my friends to buy me gifts. My ideal baby shower gifts are pre-loved stuff, mainly due to the amount of garbage people usually accumulate as soon as their kids outgrow their things.
However, my family, relatives, and friends have been bugging me what else I need … so …
Now that I got that out of the way …
The baby registry of Amazon.com sucks BIG TIME. Please, avoid it if you can. At least until they’ve fixed it:
- My items get deleted as soon as the item is not anymore available for sale in Amazon. This is a BIG DEAL BREAKER. I would always see “Item not available” almost every week, and I would have no idea what the hell Amazon.com has deleted.
- I cannot create custom items. I can only add items which are available for purchase in Amazon.com. This is not the same with Wish Lists. In Wish Lists, I could at least enter items which are not available in Amazon.com so that my friends could at least find alternative sources.
I’ve already deleted by Baby Registry from Amazon and ported it over to Wish Lists. Peace of mind. Finally.
Something weird happened when I became pregnant. I started hating a lot of pregnant women. As in a lot.
Well, not all. But the ones who are so hung up on their pregnancy & symptoms that they need to share & complain about every single damn thing to the entire universe.
I was weird. I was crazy. I started calling them Prinsesa ng mga Kabuntisan (Pregnant Princess).
- Going on and on about their pregnancy cravings in Facebook when they are barely even 3 weeks pregnant. Girl, matakaw ka lang talaga. Ginagamit mo lang ang pagkabuntis mo para lumamon.
- Complaining about being tired and sleepy all the time. Wag mong gamin ang pagkabuntis mo para maawa sa yo lahat ng tao.
- Complaining about headaches and fatigue. Utang na loob. Lahat tayo dinadaan yan. Lupus, gusto mo?
- Taking a month leave from work because, oh, they experienced morning sickness twice in their first month? Seryoso ka?
- Hashtags for every tweet or FB post about their pregnancy. May social media manager ka, ‘te?
- Gender Reveal Activities. Asking friends to participate in guessing the gender of their baby, giving prizes, organizing their big gender reveal party. Girl, walang may paki-alam sa gender ng baby mo. Basta tao yan, masaya kami para sa yo.
Of course, later on I realized I was sounding like a bitter and crazy woman, always grumbling about all the pregnant princesses that I even remotely encounter.
I was probably a tad jealous, too, because I felt as if I don’t have the right to celebrate nor complain, with all these other health complications, responsibilities at work, etc.
Right now, I’m already in my third trimester — when all the discomforts of pregnancy are at its highest level. Yes, expect me to complain as loudly as I can. Because I gave everyone six months of silence. It’s my frickin turn.
I will be spoiled. I will refuse to drive. I will demand food.
Royal baby lang po ang peg.