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Saturday, June 26, 2010

PSA from L.A.T.C.H.

August is World Breastfeeding Month and L.A.T.C.H. wants to celebrate! We are looking for mommies ready, willing and able to help us prepare for upcoming events.

Please email HERE. Subject: Friends of LATCH, State your name, age of child, contact number(s) and availability. Also include a short message about yourself (i.e. background, interests etc). Thank you!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Belated Happy Father's Day

To all the dads and to my Stan - belated happy father's day! In my experience (and I'm sure as with other moms), dads are the backbone to breastfeeding success. During last Saturday's La Leche League meeting, the topic was all about support - people who can help the mother succeed in breastfeeding. I was happy to see several dads attend the meeting. Abbie asked the attendees to share their experiences with their husbands/partners. Since we had some pregnant mothers attending the meeting, I thought that it was quite helpful for them to hear how their partners could participate in the breastfeeding relationship.
In my Father's Day post last year, I shared how Stan helped me overcome the frustrations and fears I had in breastfeeding Naima. I also shared an article from BabyCenter Philippines about dads and breastfeeding. In my experience, I cannot overemphasize how important it was for me to have had Stan's support, allowing me to successfully nurse Naima until now. Every time I had doubts whether I still want to continue, he would always say how healthy Naima was, how Naima would appreciate the sacrifices I've made so far and that it was entirely my decision whether or not I wanted to continue and he would support me.
There is a myriad of information available (aside from Baby Center Philippines) on how dads can be part of the breastfeeding relationship. I've compiled several websites for new moms (and dads) to check-out:
1. Kellymom - compilation of links and reading materials
2. - an article talking about various dads' experiences
3. La Leche League International - compilation of links and reading materials, including a FAQ
4. Ameda - includes a printable hand-out on Dads and Breastfeeding
5. Fathers to Be - also includes a compilation of links and reading materials
6. The US WIC Program - targeted towards African-Americans but what I like about it are the handouts focusing on how breastfeeding is a joint decision by moms and dads

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Potty Training Naima

At 2 years and 6 months, I am very happy to say that Naima is *almost* completely potty-trained. Yaya started potty-training her when she was about 7 months old (able to sit-up). First was the poo part. I know it sounds gross - but what really helped was when yaya made her poo in front of the mirror in our sink. Yaya would put her diaper on the sink and encourage her to poo. That Naima has a regular poo schedule also helped a lot. At age 1, Naima stopped pooping in her diaper (unless we were out and she had no choice!) and was already pooping in her potty. At about 1.5 years old she moved on to the toilet (which was quite a relief for yaya!) and has pooped there permanently.
Peeing was more of a challenge. We started when she was one year old as her wee-wee time became more predictable and continued wee-wee training for 1.5 years! Pee training was challenging because Naima enjoyed having pee-puddles around her feet. Usually, she already knows that she wants to pee. She gives us that "look" and stands still. If we're lucky, we get to her fast enough to cart her to the toilet. Otherwise, she'll happily stand in her pee puddle. When Naima was 1 year and 11 months old (she started going to school) she stopped wearing diapers during the day. Before that she was wearing panties at home and diapers at nap-time or whenever we went out.
At about 2 years old, Naima stopped wearing diapers during the day and also during her nap-time. Diapers were reserved only for nighttime. The night training was more difficult since she wasn't weaned yet and continued to nurse 1-2 times every night. Sometime during the summer, we noticed that her cloth diapers stayed dry every morning. Beginning May, we put her in Gerber Training Pants (I know, I should stop buying Nestle products!) during the night. She still has some accidents but generally she stays dry during the night.
Just the other night, she woke me up at around 5am and told me that she wanted to pee. But the next night, she forgot and wet the bed. :( Accidents happen when she sleeps late - she'll sleep like a log and not remember to wake up to pee. Despite those accidents, we still continue to ask to put her in training pants and hopefully, she'll be fully potty trained before she turns 3.
I would say that cloth diapers tremendously helped us in potty training Naima. They do not turn the wee-wee into gel so Naima immediately gets changed. The wetness also helped Naima realize that it was much better to sit on the toilet and pee and poo there, instead of having a wet and dirty bum. Cloth diapers are making a come-back and I'm pretty happy to notice that unlike the lampins used when I was a baby, these diapers are leak-proof and easy to use (no more diaper pins!). Highly recommended and very effective for toilet training!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

La Leche League Makati Meeting in Saturday

Want to join a La Leche League Meeting in Makati? There's one this Saturday (June 19, 2010) for expectant and nursing moms and daddies. It will be at 1030am-1230pm at the 3/f Playroom of Rustan's Makati. Topic for this Saturday is breastfeeding support.
Interested? Make sure you register by emailing La Leche League Leader Abbie Yabot the following details: mom's name/dad's name, baby's age/name or EDD and cellphone number. Attendance is free! Just bring yourself, your baby, husband/partner or yaya. Grandparents are also welcome!
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What I hope to see in breastfeeding/lactation rooms

Did you know that the Australian Breastfeeding Association gives out Baby Care Room Awards to places which provides facilities allowing moms to feed and change their babies and toddlers? You can check out the minimum requirements and the list of places with 3-5 stars in various Australian states here.
What I liked about the list is the specific requirement that the baby care room have no advertising of artificial formula or toddler follow-on formula. Here, what is being strictly implemented is the non-marketing of infant formula. However, as what I've posted before, there is no regulation against toddler formula marketing.
Meanwhile, the US doesn't give out "awards" but instead has a kit called Business Case For Breastfeeding which has been most useful to us when we started with our lactation program at work. In this kit, there is a comparison of workplace breastfeeding options from basic, advanced to state of the art! Interestingly, basic options already include (1) a private lactation room (not just a conference or storage room or a toilet!!) with an electrical outlet, chair, disinfectant wipes, lock and table; (2) breastfeeding education (e.g. pamphlets, books) and (3) milk expression time (although limited to breaktimes and lunch breaks). The other options go even further with lactation rooms having telephones and computer terminals allowing employees to work while expressing milk under the state of the art option!
Closer to home, in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, the Family Health Service of their Department of Health likewise lists down the basic essentials for a lactation room which already includes a clean private room with a sink, chair, electrical outlet and a refrigerator for storing milk! Like Australia, Hong Kong also had Babycare Room Awards given out in 2008 to
"commend organizations in the private and public sectors that provided desirable babycare facilities so as to encourage mothers to choose and maintain breastfeeding." My last trip to Hong Kong was in 2008, when Naima was a 9-month old nursling. During this time, one essential staple in my bag was a print-out of places where you can breastfeed or change a baby in various areas in Hong Kong. It was certainly useful especially since Naima usually demanded to be fed in the midst of a shopping or sightseeing excursion.
In my post about SM Mall of Asia's breastfeeding station, several moms chimed in and shared their experiences and tips about other malls in Metro Manila with similar breastfeeding or private rooms where moms can feed or change their babies. We still don't have a comprehensive list of available babycare rooms and we don't even have minimum standards of what should be available in babycare rooms. I do hope that with the passage of the Expanded Breastfeeding Act, the Department of Health will come up with minimum standards for a lactation room with at least a chair, table, lock, sink and refrigerator for storing milk -- and is NOT in a toilet.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Baby Signing Classes in Manila

Part I of this Post Here.
If you do want to join a class there are now several classes to choose from. 
1. When I started out, I only knew of Jaymie Pizarro's Baby Lingo Class. She is affiliated with Dr.  Joseph Garcia's group and appears to be the most popular local class.  She also regularly partners with Hobbes and Landes and holds classes in their various branches.  

2. There is another mom, Catherine C. Avanceña who is affiliated with Linda Acredolo's Baby Signs.  She also sells Baby Signs products e.g. books and dvds and has partnered with Fully Booked for classes. 

3. A newcomer is Alaine Antonio of My Smart Hands.  Aside from conducting classes at Julia Gabriel Center in Shaw, she also conducts private classes upon request.  I saw her booth at Expomom May 2010 but got too busy and was unable to check out her products and classes.

4.  You can also choose to go with KinderMusik who has started offering "Sign & Sing" classes for babies as young as 6 months old.  We joined Busy Days with Teacher Elaine when Naima was about 15 months old and we (most especially Stan!) all enjoyed it!  We still regularly play the free cd we got from the class.  I checked out the local educators' schedules but none of them appear to offer the Sign & Sing class.
5. Finally, Gwen Cox of Signing Time Academy has confirmed that one local instructor is almost done with the certification process while there are 3 more instructors are still in the works.  I will update this post when I've obtained information about the certified instructors. 

Here's Naima being featured in Working Mom magazine.  Article was written by Mec Arevalo and signing was modeled by Naima.   

Know Your Child

This looks interesting:
This an international holistic parenting course coming up from the Art of Living Foundation. Check out this link for the course info. Interested? Email Dona for reservations and confirmations. See you in one of the sessions!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Signing Baby

While still pregnant with Naima, I took advantage of the free use of our local library and stocked up on parenting, breastfeeding and pregnancy books.  Among the books I encountered was Baby signs by Linda Acredolo.  I was quite intrigued since the idea of a baby who can communicate her needs/wants even without saying a word was totally new.  Aside from this novelty, I also wanted to learn signing because Stan's brother was deaf and I wanted to be able to communicate with him properly - instead of spelling out every word by signing the letters or texting my message.
After shopping around in Ebay, I finally settled on buying this Joseph Garcia kit.   It was informative - yes! - but really boring.  I think I watched it about 3 times before I tuned out.  I tried read the book, sticking the reference guide on our wall - but nothing helped me remember the signs.     
I eventually came across a local baby signing class - Baby Lingo, run by Jaymie Pizarro.  Stan and I joined a class in August 2008 - together with Naima's yaya and Naima.  Naima was about 8 months then.  Prior to this class, we had been practicing only 3 signs with Naima - milk, more and eat.  The class was informative - there were hand-outs you can use and the pictures showing young Pinoy kids were inspiring.  However, what I didn't like was that Jaymie used and taught some signs that were different from American Sign Language - for example dog.  
My brother in law was trained with American Sign Language.  There are Filipino Sign Language classes being taught locally but I wanted to learn ASL - and I wanted Naima to learn ASL since our purpose for learning was not only for her to communicate her needs/wants to us but also for her (and me) to be able to communicate with Stan's brother.  
Shortly after the Baby Lingo class, Naima's signing vocabulary expanded.  I think it was also because we were signing more often with her and her yaya was also more confident and likewise signed.  Here she is signing book at about 9 months. 
We continued using the signs and even when Naima started talking, she was still using the signs along with words.  Some naysayers told me that signing will delay language development but research and our actual experience showed otherwise.   
In December of 2009, I was able to purchase this Baby Signing Time Set by Rachel Coleman and it was a hit - not only with Naima but with my then 4.5 year old nephew Julian.  Naima's signing vocabulary increased 3x while Julian also learned how to sign.  I found the Rachel Coleman series very engaging and entertaining.  Until now, Naima uses signs when she wants to emphasize something or when she can't talk (e.g. mouth full or nursing) at the moment.
For parents, I would highly recommend that you invest time and effort in learning and teaching signs to your baby.  It doesn't mean that you have the spend money to buy videos or join classes.  A lot of the information is available online.  You can access the Youtube versions of Sign2MeSigning Time, My Smart Hands, My Baby Can Talk, WeeHands and Kindermusik.  I'm also a fan of Signing Time's in Facebook and they regularly upload videos of new signs to learn.  
Naima at 29 months, signing "LEAF"
Part II with list of local baby signing classes is HERE.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

So-called Nutrition for Toddlers

Check out what I got in my inbox last week!
Chocolate formula for toddlers?! 
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