One month of using the Apple Watch

Apple Watch

Not as bad as I thought. That basically sums up my experience with the Apple Watch.

When I first got it, I wasn’t excited about it. But it was a gift from my husband, and so I had to at least try use it. Actually, I was surprised he got me another watch, especially since I only wore the last watch he gave me like three times.

But again, it’s not as bad as I thought. As the British would say, it’s actually quite pleasant.

For one thing, I hardly notice I’m wearing it. And that’s saying a lot from someone who thinks watches are just too damn heavy. The 38mm sports watch is very light, and the straps feel like I have nothing on my wrist.

And look! No eczema! None of the redness or irritation that I experience with my other watches.

I still haven’t grasped the concept of the Activity app though. I appreciate the intent of tracking the “overall well being.” However, as a former Fitbit user, I still wish it highlighted steps more instead of calories.

One unexpected benefit of the Apple Watch is that I am more “present” because I tend to look at my phone less. I can actually focus on the people I’m with or with whatever else I’m doing. Why? Because the Apple Watch gives a subtle vibration whenever there are notifications on my iPhone. No vibration means no notification, ergo no need to look at my phone.

If you have the disposable income to buy an Apple Watch, then by all means get one. I’ve lasted decades not wearing a watch. Now I wonder how I could’ve lived without it.

My Breast Pump Story

An entire shelf in our condo is dedicated to Medela. I practically got its entire line: the Pump In Style Advanced, all the flange sizes, extra membranes and tubings, sets of bottles (in all sizes), micro-steam bags, accessory wipes, softfeeder, Calma bottles … You name it, I probably got it.

Yes, I got sucked in Medela’s monstrous marketing and distribution machinery.

But I hated it.

Medela made me hate pumping. It was so painful, it took so long to get a letdown, and it couldn’t remove any of my clogged ducts.

But I was afraid to try anything else. After all, it’s Medela — the giantess in the breast pump industry.

However, a few weeks ago, there were two incidents which just made me want give up all the money I invested in Medela and try something else:

  1. I had my nth clogged duct which, again, I couldn’t seem to pump out using my Medela PISA; and
  2. My supply started dropping considerably

I started to panic. I went back to my breastfeeding supplements and ate more oatmeal than ever. I replaced all my pump parts, tested the results in another PISA that a friend lent me, cleaned the tubings, and used all the flange sizes available on the market.

Nothing worked.

It was time to change my pump.

I started researching on the other brands available — Lansinoh, Ameda, etc. And then I vaguely remembered a friend telling me that she knew someone who had a good output using an unknown brand called the Spectra. This was information I scoffed at at that time, but I have to admit I became intrigued later on.

After reading hundreds of reviews on the Spectra, I knew I had to try it. But where to buy? I had two choices — Amazon (where it was P5,000 cheaper), or a local supplier. I rarely buy from local suppliers since I subscribe to a reliable and inexpensive forwarding service. But this time, it’s different. The pump is practically my life. I needed to talk to someone, to help me, to convince me that this is the right pump for me.

I called the local supplier to ask for more information, and I was relieved. The girl I talked to was so helpful and so kind. It’s as if she could hear the desperation in my voice. She gently urged me to pass by their office in Tektite in order to try out the different pumps they have available.

The very next day, I went to their office (with a very lovely and quaint interior, by the way). I was immediately escorted to a private room where I was able to try out the pump I had in mind — the Spectra S1. As soon as I tried it, I was sold.

To make the long story short, I am now a proud owner of the Spectra S1. And I love it.

And that’s my breastpump story.

So far, so good. Finally.

(I will be posting a separate review of the Spectra S1 soon. It’s probably not the first pump that working moms would initially consider, but I promise that if I get my hands on the more portable Spectra 9 Plus Advanced, I would also post a review.)

Breastfeeding for all the world to see

I used to wonder why tribal women don’t wear any clothes on top. For me, it was scandalous.

Only when I started breastfeeding did it occur to me that our culture have over sexualized the boobs that we have forgotten that its primary function is to feed.

I wish public breastfeeding is easy. I wish all babies won’t mind breastfeeding with a cover on their heads. I wish people will stop staring.

I wish I would stop being conscious.

But its my job to feed. And so I shall.

Seriously, INC.

All things considered, bilib ako sa pagkakaisa ng Inglesia ni Cristo. Bilib din ako sa sense of organization nila. It’s no small feat to congregate that much people.

If only they don’t think the planet revolves around them. If only they are fighting for a cause I believe in.

However, as someone who doesn’t have a lot of the knowledge on the issue, I can only conclude they are congregating to hide the illegal acts of their leaders. Kung wala namang kailangan itago, wala dapat i-alma.

Tomorrow is a workday for the remaining hundreds of thousands of people. A huge number of which can’t afford to be absent. Hindi madaling mag trabaho. Hindi madaling madagdagan ang oras sa trapik. Pagod na pagod na kami. What the hell were you guys thinking?

The Little Gym ocular inspection

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.

First impressions:

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.







































Breastfeeding 101 in St. Luke’s Global City

seminarIn 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 :)

And we’re now on Yaya #3

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.

How I increased my milk supply

“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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Compression. While pumping, I press the breastshields against my breasts every few seconds.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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:

  1. Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle
  2. Malunggay capsules
  3. Oatmeal

What I should’ve done but didn’t do:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Mayaman ka naman eh

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.