Don't forget to check out V.I.P. which is a road map of the "very important posts" on this blog. Thanks for visiting!

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mompreneur May!

Aside from maintaining this blog, I'm also a mompreneur and run an online store. Since my items are quite specialized, I prefer to join bazaars targeted towards pregnant women or moms with young children. I'm pleased to share that this May, there are 3 such bazaars coming up! With the growing number of mompreneurs, I hope this information will be useful in your business.

First is Expomom** at The Rockwell Tent on May 7, 2011. I have been joining this bazaar since May 2009 because it is well-promoted and used to be the only bazaar targeted to moms. However, rates are quite expensive (at least P6,850 for 1-day for a 2x2 booth if you are a mompreneur, signed up for their Mommy Passport and paid 2 months early!) and this is good for one-day only. Plus there is a prohibition on sales of nursing wear - so Mama.Baby.Love and Mamaway clients - in case you're wondering why we don't bring our breastfeeding clothes during Expomom, this is the reason why. If you're interested in joining Expomom, contact Mommy Mundo.

This is why I'm quite happy to see and will definitely be joining 2 more bazaars for May! On the 2nd week of May (May 14-15, 2011), it will be Along Came a Baby at the World Trade Center. Jonie of Mamaway joined the 2009 event and was quite happy. Fee is P9000 (P8500 if you pay before 28 February 2011) for 2 days for a 3x3 booth. If interested, you can contact the organizers for details.

Finally, there is Mommy Diaries on 28-29 May 2011 at the NBC Tent (Fort). This event is organized by The List Group, who also organized last November 2010's Port88 bazaar. Booth rate is P8000 for 2 days with an early bird discount of 10%. I think this is their first time to do a Mommy Bazaar but I do hope they market it well. Interested parties can email the organizers directly for details.
What I like about the last 2 bazaars is that the rates are cheaper (P3600-P4250 per booth per day) AND there is no prohibition on nursing wear/breastfeeding clothes. For Expomom, one of the co-presenters is a nursing wear brand which is probably why they don't allow other brands to join BUT what I don't understand is why there is another different brand that is allowed to join the event? Inconsistent policies don't you think?

Anyway, I'm glad that there are more activities for mompreneurs available out there. I hope the organizers are able to market their events well - but definitely, I will also market the events that I will be joining.

*Disclaimer: I have joined Expomom since May 2009. I will be joining Expomom May, Mommy Diaries and Along Came a Baby 2011 with Mamaway. Unless otherwise indicated, this post reflects my own personal experience.

**I asked Janice of Mommy Mundo for comments on this post regarding rates of her projects and here is her response:
We do hope that inspite of Expo Mom being "more expensive" in rental fees, that you will also recognize and somehow appreciate our sincere efforts in supporting and helping promote your business. This is why Mommy Mundo was set up in the first place, and why we thought of coming up with the Mommy Mundo passport, our Cebu and Davao events, and why we have our publications and websites. We work very hard to get the moms to know of us and of you, so that we can all keep our businesses running and we can be happy and fulfilled  mompreneurs.:)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Join the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival for May

The first Milk Mama Diaries Carnival last March was a huge success! As previously explained, the Carnival will be held every other month.  For this month, we will be having the Carnival on Mother's Day - May 8, 2011.  Topic for May will be a Breastfeeding Mother's Top Ten - think of any list of 10 you'd like to talk about.  It could be the 10 gifts to a new mom, 10 benefits of breastfeeding, 10 myths of breastfeeding, 10 things you shouldn't say to a nursing mom, 10 places you've nursed in public, 10 problems with breastfeeding, 10 steps to successful breastfeeding, 10 tips to new moms, I could go on and on - but I hope you get the picture!
Read my March Carnival post to get an idea on how a blog carnival post looks like.  To join the carnival, please fill up this FORM and include the topic you will write about.  We will try to avoid repetition of topics or top 10 lists so the earlier you fill up the form, the earlier you ensure that you will be able to write about your topic.  In case your preferred topic has been chosen by another participant, we will email you immediately to request you to change your topic.  Otherwise, we will contact both participants so even if they will write about the same top 10, they can choose different items on the list.
Please include this short blurb on the top of your post: "Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (May).  This carnival is dedicated to all moms, celebrating Mother's Day today.  Participants will share various topics covering A Breastfeeding Mother's Top Ten List.  Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."
If you don't have a blog but would like to join, please email me or Mec so we can arrange to have you hosted as a guest blogger.  Submissions are due by 4 May 2011 and the carnival will go live on 8 May 2011. My co-host Mec will email you before carnival day for instructions on posting.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Guest Post: Power of the Breast

Today's guest post comes from Cheryl of The Mommy Bustle.  Cheryl shares how one can further the breastfeeding cause without the need to be active in organizations but simply by just being THERE for people who need her.   

Breastfeeding for me, started as a choice.  Pregnant with my first child almost four years ago,  I decided that I wanted to feed my child human milk.  And so, I started my journey to ‘cow’dom.    First came research.  As one who grew up with GI Joe, I do believe that knowing is half the battle.  I read up.  Kellymoms, La Leche websites, Mom blogs became everyday reading material.   The more I read, the more I became convicted in my choice.  The advantages of breastfeeding, both for the mom and the child, outweighed the advantages of reasons for formula feeding.  Then came the shopping spree.  Pumps, nursing bra, bottles, sterilizer, food warmer, nursing cover, nursingwear…   I thought I was fully geared and ready. 

Then came the baby.  Scott, my eldest, was not a champion latcher.  I considered myself a semi-experience baby-carrier, for I have helped babysit a number of my younger cousins.  Yet, maneuvering a newborn to feed at my 2 cup size bigger boobs was a very challenging feat.  My mom, the doting grandma, had to help me shoot the opened baby mouth to an engorged boob.  We would even have a 1-2-3 countdown to help facilitate the tricky maneuver.  I had a “nursing-station” with at least 3 big pillows plus a boppy pillow to make nursing more comfortable.  We tried varying positions: cradle, football, sidelying...   I made a nursing chart.  Which side did he latch on, start of feed, end of feed.  And boy, was this stressful.  We were already happy if an hour would go by between feeds.   By this time I realized that breastfeeding wasn’t just a choice.  It was a commitment.  This went on for a little more than a month, then we got our rhythm… and everything became easier, until I went back to work, and had to pump… but that’s another story altogether. 

What helped? 
First is my mom, who was as clueless as me when it came to breastfeeding, gave me all out support and respected m y decision in breastfeeding.  I never got a “why not give her formula because you don’t have enough milk” even when my son was crying his lungs out. 
Second is a friend who has successfully breastfed.  A resource person, so to say.
Third is a lactation consultant and masseurs who unclogged all the ducts and taught me and baby the difference between the right and wrong latch.  And a pediatrician who was super supportive and kept saying “I’m so happy you're breastfeeding.”
Fourth is a husband who’s proud of his cow/wife. 
Fifth is a stubbornness  against naysayers.

A change in me?
A definite yes.  After successfully breastfeeding my first child for 21 months, and still breastfeeding my second child of 14 months, I could say that breastfeeding has improved my being. 
Breastfeeding has become my advocacy.  I'm not much of a philanthropist; I am not proactive enough to seek volunteer work.  But after reaping the benefits of breastfeeding, I find myself becoming its champion.  Again, not proactive enough to join LATCH and other breastfeeding groups, but I find myself going to friends’ houses, visiting them in the hospital everyday, answering text messages in the middle of the night, in hopes to help them successfully breastfeed.  I figure, if I got to start somewhere, why not with my friends?  It became my mission to get my friends to breastfeed by give all out tech support: teaching friends different positions, and proper latch, and sometimes simply offering an eager ear.
Breastfeeding and motherhood also taught me how to prioritize and be content.  Before having a baby, I said to myself that I wouldn’t be content to being at home and not working.  Yet, as my baby grows bigger, I realized that you cannot give your 100% at home and 100% at work.  You have to seek a balance that you will be happy to live with.  Working full-time would mean: Pumping (for breastfeeding moms) and leaving the care of your child and home to someone else while you’re away, and missing some firsts.  Being a homemaker means, you won’t have income and sometimes no decent adult-talk to for days.  I also realized that work at home moms can’t give their 100% to work when they don’t have help with their kids.  Work will always be interrupted by the N’s: nappy changes, nap time, nursing, night terror like screams in the middle of the nap.  So, in finding my ratio, and accepting the consequences, I won’t have any regrets (at least, I hope not).   
In relation with breastfeeding as my advocacy, I am especially proud of this next achievement:  That I in turn have caused a change in others.  My mom for one, is a breastfeeding convert. No, she’s not breastfeeding! Hahaha.. But since she has seen how I am happy with by breastfed kids, and how easy it is for me to comfort them, she has given her all out support to my sister in law in her breastfeeding journey. She’s also spreading the good word to other mom in laws. Second would be my dear husband, who normally would be apathetic to the going ons of his friends’ homes, now would encourage his friends to support their wives in their decision to breastfeed.  Third, are the friends who I’ve helped to successfully breastfeed.  One specifically said, she’s going to pay it forward, and told her friends that her phone and text line is open 27/7. Middle of the night included!  And that was music to my ears.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler

I haven't joined the carnival of breastfeeding for sometime now but I couldn't let this month pass without joining for the topic was quite near to my heart and current situation - extended breastfeeding.   I had previously written about the challenges of weaning and to date, we still have not completely and successfully weaned.  
I purchased Maggie's Weaning in hopes of getting N to understand what weaning is.  I think she does understand what I'm asking for her and every time we get to part when Maggie has her weaning party, she gets teary-eyed and says that she doesn't like the book. So it's safe to say that at 39 months, N is still breastfeeding and doesn't look like she's going to wean anytime soon. 
Let me start with the challenges with nursing a toddler.  My biggest challenge actually results from my environment - dealing the comments from people around me, particularly from colleagues at work.   It's no big secret that I'm a breastfeeding/pumping mom since along with my colleague Claire, we spearheaded the establishment of a breastfeeding awareness festival and lactation rooms in our organization.   And most of my colleagues are amazed that N is still breastfeeding until today.  What I dislike most is the comment "She's still nursing until now?!" with raised eyebrows and an incredulous voice.  
I know I shouldn't feel defensive but I really feel irritated by the need to justify that I'm not harming my daughter by allowing extended nursing.  But sometimes the comments do get to me and I wonder if nursing has already become a habit for my daughter and whether we both will have difficulty breaking this habit later on.  
As a toddler, N is the little acrobat when nursing - standing, sitting, in the bathtub, while reading a book (her favorite nursing position).  Plus she never learned not to grope! She also has this weird habit of wiping my breasts before latching on.  
Nursing is also no longer a cure-all for her troubles.  There was one instance when she got upset because her nanny threw away a tissue paper she saved and she sobbed, howled, ran out of breath and no amount of nursing could sooth or distract her.  But it is still a cure for some things.  Just recently, she got some itchy issues with her privates and to prevent her from scratching, I just let her nurse - still works perfectly!
Why do I still allow her to nurse as a toddler?  I'm holding off actively weaning her because of our vacation which started last week.  We are thousands of miles away from home and she will be sleeping in new places and meeting new faces.  I want her to have a comfort zone and nursing is currently her favorite comfort zone.  Also, as a working mom, I really treasure our nursing moments - the bonding moments.  She is really quite busy and active and nursing is our quiet time.  Plus, when I'm tired from the day, nothing comforts her faster during the night than popping my breast in her mouth!
Nursing a toddler definitely has its plus and minuses.   N promises that she will stop when she goes to big school this June so I will most likely start actively weaning her when we get home from our vacation this May.  Wishful thinking?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Guest Post: My Mommy Boot Camp

Today's guest blogger is Nathalie Velasco Tan.  She shares her experiences about how the first weeks of breastfeeding are being like in a boot camp but with fortitude and support, she was able to enjoy her breastfeeding relationship with her son and considers this an amazing gift which will affect her future parenting choices

When I gave birth to our Ben, I knew nothing about taking care of a baby, especially breastfeeding. I did read a parenting book or two but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. I remember trying to feed him at the hospital, just going with the flow, hoping he'd fall asleep so I can give him back to the nursery. When it was time for us to go home, I was terrified. I didn't know what to do but try to feed him to keep him for crying. The first weeks were a struggle to the point that I seriously thought about exclusively pumping. After all, I thought, what's important is the nutrients in the milk, right? I'm so glad that I was highly encouraged to direct feed because it really helped me get to know my baby better.

Looking back, the first few weeks of breastfeeding Ben was like a mommy boot camp for me. Since I was his source of food and comfort, I had no choice but to practice holding him, studying each and every part of him while he fed. It taught me to be patient and flexible since he fed on demand. It thought me to be sensitive to his cues because I notice he latches better when he's not yet very hungry or sleepy. More importantly, I learned how to become assertive when it comes to my parenting choices. I've always been the type of person that's non confrontational and easily swayed by other people's opinion. But when it comes to breastfeeding Ben, I've always stood my ground despite several advices to mix-feed. I think this is because I armed myself with enough information to make me decide that this is the right choice for him.

And now more than a year later, I'm still reaping the benefits of sticking it out during those crazy first few weeks. I know how Ben feels by the way he feeds, whether he's needs comfort because he's sick or just needs to relax after an hour of playing. The expression of his face when I lift my shirt is just priceless. And because I've been able to defend my decision to breastfeed until now, I've realized that given enough information and conviction, I will be able to stand by my future parenting choices. I'm so thankful to God for blessing me with this amazing gift.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Choosing My Words

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

"Experience is the teacher of all things" - Julius Caesar

I started my breastfeeding advocacy because of my own breastfeeding experience with Naima.  Admittedly, I was a gung-ho advocate in the beginning.  But because of my sister's experience plus reading Erin's and Neva's experiences and this blog, I realized that not all moms are able to hurdle the challenges that breastfeeding brings and it is not easy reading or hearing self-righteous and judgmental comments from breastfeeding moms. So right now, on top of my compassionate advocacy list is learning to listen and shutting up when warranted.  Sometimes, moms just need someone to listen to their rants about breastfeeding.  I have also learned not to offer unsolicited advice but just wait until they ask me about breastfeeding.  
This is also one of the reasons I started my blog.  I have a lot of things to say and share about breastfeeding.  But I don't want to go on and on to people who don't appreciate or resent what I'm sharing.  Heck, my own brother-in-law already thinks that I'm a hard-core breastfeeding fanatic.  By starting this blog, I have a space for airing our my thoughts with hopes of not offending anyone.   
Sometimes though, when you're faced with a computer and nameless readers, you tend to forget that there are real live human beings with feelings.  Yes, bloggers usually say that you can always close your browser if you don't like what you're reading.  But as emphasized in this post,  I wholeheartedly agree that advocates must be thoughtful and circumspect in their words so as not to alienate the very audience that they are trying to reach.  Further, emails, comments, posts from readers also remind me that there are readers who do not necessarily agree with what I am saying and can be affected by generalizations or conclusions or words in my blog.   
With a full-time job plus a growing business on the side, I sometimes think about stopping blogging or giving out breastfeeding advice to have more time to myself.  But I keep remembering that I wouldn't have been able to successfully breastfeed N if I hadn't received tips, support and advice from friends who were successful.  And not everyone has a friend or family member who was able to successfully breastfeed.  Thus, I try to pay it forward by maintaining this blog in hopes that people who read this and who I reply to in emails also pay it forward by helping their own friends and families.  

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don't share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don't parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That's The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she's learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the "good news" of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people's children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter's senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the "great divide" through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R's of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how "The Three R's" can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.
  • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
  • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she's been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
  • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
  • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
  • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she's doing — and it's a gift.
  • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
  • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
  • Putting a public face on "holistic" — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
  • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
  • One Parent at a Time... — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
  • Self-compassion — We're great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
  • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
  • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by "just doing her thing," she may be advocating for natural parenting.
  • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
  • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
  • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
  • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares her thoughts and some tips on Gentle Discipline.
  • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
  • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
  • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
  • Why I'm not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
  • Natural Love Creates Natural Happiness — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a smile, or a giggle, or a gaze? Jessica at Cloth Diapering Mama’s kids are extremely social and their natural happiness is very obvious.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
  • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
  • don't tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Summer Affair by the Working Mom

Check out this invitation I received via email, thanks to HandyMommy

Working Mom Magazine’s will be having its first-ever and biggest summer activity trade fair for kids-- the Working Mom’s A Summer Affair: Children’s Workshops Expo 2011 happening on April 10, 2011 at the NBC Tent, Bonifacio Global City, from 10am-7pm. 

Event highlights:
- Get exclusive discounts and freebies from over 50 merchants offering the country's best summer enrichment programs as well as quality and exciting products for kids and moms. 
- Moms get pampered for free! 
- Join the Beyblade and Speed Stacks competitions and win exciting prizes.
- Meet and greet your favorite Nickelodeon characters – Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants!
- Freebies and raffle prizes are up for grabs!

How to get in, guests will present Working Mom April 2011 issue and get four (4) entrance passes to the fair. 

I'd love to attend but I'm not sure I can with hectic preparations for our trip next week.  If you want to get free passes but don't want to buy Working Mom, you can by joining my giveaway!  Just share my Facebook page to 5 of your friends and ask them to "LIKE" my Facebook page.

Your friend should post on the Wall: "_(your name)___ sent me" so I can count who referred five (5) friends first. 

First three (3) people who get 5 friends to like my page gets four (4) entrance passes each.  I will contact you via Facebook with instructions on how to claim your passes.

Anyway, do grab a copy of Working Mom April 2011 issue, too.  Stan photographed several features there plus L.A.T.C.H. President Buding is also featured. 

Hope you share this giveaway!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Milk Mama Diaries Carnival and Guest Posts

With the success of the first Milk Mama Diaries Carnival, co-host Mec and I plan to continue it until the end of the year. The carnival enabled both of us to meet and learn about the experiences of other breastfeeding moms. We both wanted to make it a monthly carnival but realistically, we didn't think we could do a monthly thing.  So we decided to do it every other month.  We've already come up with themes but haven't finalized the submission deadlines and carnival dates.  Here's a quick run-down of the themes planned for the year. 

May - Mommy's Breastfeeding Top 5 (be it top 10 benefits, myths, tips, products, challenges, etc.)
July - Nutrition Month and Breastfeeding
August - Breastfeeding Month - Talk to Me! Breastfeeding a 3D Experience
October - Breastfeeding How to's
December - ???

No theme for December yet - suggestions are welcome.  We will be posting instructions for each theme at the start of the carnival month.

*Update 6 April 2011.  Just got word from Kate - theme for this year's nutrition month is just perfect - "Isulong ang BREASTFEEDING - Tama, Sapat at Eksklusibo" - in support of the launch of Breastfeeding TSEK.

Meanwhile, I'll be going on a 3-week vacation beginning mid-April and I'm not sure if I will have internet connection.  In my Facebook page, I asked for guest posts to help me keep this blog up during my vacation :)  There have been several people who have submitted their posts so don't be surprised if you will be seeing guest bloggers in this blog for the coming weeks.  

If you're interested to guest post, you're welcome to submit a post by contacting me through Facebook, Twitter or via email.  Since I will be posting on my blog, I do reserve the right to edit  the post or refuse to something that is contrary to my beliefs or ideals or post a disclaimer.  You need not write about a breastfeeding topic but can write about parenting, eco-living, WAHM-SAHM-WOHM challenges or other topics related to the main theme of the blog.   Please be mindful though of the blog readers - I will not post submissions which disrespect other people's choices.   You also don't need to have your own blog.  I do prefer that the post be original - but if it's not, I will accept reprinted posts as long as it is at least 60 days since it was last posted.  Finally, copyright belongs to YOU, the author, but I ask that you don't re-post on your blog until after 60 days when I post it in this blog.
I will email you when I plan to post your submission (thanks to scheduled posting!) and link to your blog or Facebook page.  Please don't forget to write a short description about YOU which I will include in the post.  If you have questions, feel free to contact me. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

What Natural Parenting is to My Family

I was supposed to submit this post to the Hobo Mama and Codename: Mama's Carnival of Natural Parenting for March.  Things got busy, and well the deadline passed.  Anyway, the topic for last month's carnival is a natural parenting "Top 10" list.  It got me thinking about how natural parenting applied to my family.

To be honest, my family doesn’t practice any one form of parenting. I research and read and discuss with my husband how we’d like Naima to be brought up or what changes we’d like to implement in our household. I’d like to think though that certain changes or practices we implemented are geared towards natural parenting. So here are the 10 things that we practice in our family and which I think fall within the spectrum of natural parenting.

Co-sleeping.  Since Day 1, Naima has slept with Stanley and I on our bed.  When she was a newborn, we had a full-sized bed.  Stan constantly jokes about how we slept with half our bodies hanging out from the bed because were afraid that we would squish Naima.  Now, Stan has a bed on the floor because he finds our current queen sized bed too crowded (go for a king-sized bed!!).  Naima sleeps with me on the big bed and crawls down do her dad at the break of dawn. Her crib?  Toy storage!

in her Tushies
Cloth Diapering.   We started late with cloth diapering.  Naima was about 8 months old when we started and we went for BumGenius, Happy Heinys and Tushy Wushys.  Although Naima was already semi-potty trained at 1 year old, we still used cloth diapers for another year since the pee training took some time.  And I'm pleased to share that I have also started using cloth pads for my monthly!  Review on my cloth pads upcoming.

Gentle Discipline. With Naima now a lively toddler, gentle disciple is the major challenge I am currently facing.  I was spanked as a child and I remember my grandmother punishing me by making me kneel on having to kneel on munggo while facing the wall.  Naima has not been spanked since day 1.  I have to admit, Stan is more successful on gentle discipline than I am.  When both of us are upset, he is the reasonable one and is able to make Naima understand what went wrong.  I tend to get emotional and raise my voice. Gentle discipline is something I have to work on.  Luckily, Stan is on the right track and we both agree that we are not going the spanking route.

Breastfeeding. After a rocky breastfeeding start, we now have a smooth breastfeeding relationship.  Still going at 39 months, I have been inspired by my experiences to train as a counselor and maintain this blog.

Naima's raw plate: unfried rice, salad and maki
Raw food. I sent my cook to Raw Food cooking seminar in hopes of adding more variety and healthy food in our diet.  Not quite a success here.  Initially, I wanted to incorporate 1 raw meal per week in our diet - not quite successful.  We are now down to 1 raw meal every 2 weeks.  My major problem? Lack of nearby fresh markets.  I'm stuck with the usual mainstream groceries and despite having a weekly organic veggie delivery, I haven't been THAT successful in planning raw dishes acceptable to Stan and Naima.

Holistic Health.  I am not really a *crunchy* mom but I bring Naima to a homeopathic pediatrician.  However, I still have a *regular* pediatrician that I go to but I just felt that she was always prescribing medicines and antibiotics which I really didn't want to be giving Naima all the time.  You can say that I am a "problem" patient since I always ASK doctors about the procedure or medicine that they are administering. I first brought Naima to her current homeopathic pediatrician when she was about 3 months old.  But due to her comments about breastfeeding, I transferred to a different pediatrician.  But when this breastfeeding friendly pediatrician had to undergo chemotherapy, I went back to the homeopathic pediatrician.  She was able to clarify the breastfeeding issues to a friend and I'm now happy having her as Naima's main pediatrician. So Naima doesn't take vitamins - just bee propolis daily plus her homeomeds from Centro Natura, 24 Mahusay St. UP Village, Quezon City (928-5386, 0918-9138-14) when needed.

transferring her herbs
Mini Garden. The main peeve I have with living in a condominium in the city is the lack of a garden or green space.  I grew up in Davao City (biggest city in the world in terms of land area!) and even if we lived inside a compound with construction vehicles, we had several gardens, a grotto and lots of greens.  My grandmother had her own backyard garden with avocados, calamansi plus some chickens!  I feel guilty depriving Naima of this so we opted to have a mini garden in our balcony with herbs from weekend markets instead.

Practical Home Help.  As a full-time working mom with a sideline, having a nanny for Naima plus an all-around for our condo is a blessing.  I'm happy to say that Naima's current yaya has been with us since Naima was 7 weeks.  Actually, the current yaya is our former cook.  Naima's former yaya has moved to my sister to take care of Anya.  Our current all-around cook came to us in January 2010.  I send both helpers to various cooking classes and treat them well.  I am also happy that they treat Naima well - play with her, teach her and are really very patient especially when Naima wants to "help" with the cooking, cleaning or gardening.

My 2010 birthday cake from cousin Winie!
Breastfeeding Blog and Advocacy.  Because of my experiences, I wanted to help other moms achieve and enjoy the successes I have with breastfeeding.  I was invited by Buding and Jen to join the LATCH training and have not regretted doing so.  Also, since I was always online during the early days and couldn't find resources or blogs on breastfeeding applicable to Filipino moms, I decided to start this blog.  It really makes me happy to receive emails, texts, calls or comments from moms I meet saying how helpful my blog was to them in their own breastfeeding successes.  This is my way of paying forward and sharing the tips and help I got from breastfeeding friends.

The Portable Baby. Our first experience with babywearing was with a Moby which I found too complicated.  We moved on to a Baby Bjorn and gave this up for a Blissful Babes pouch when Naima got too heavy for the Bjorn.  {Update: 6/23/12 - Please note that BabyBjorn is not a recommended carrier because of its narrow seat base.  Read this post for more information} Then we moved to a SaYa when it came out in mid-2009 and finally to a Patapum Toddler Carrier. We also still travel with a stroller which we use especially when traveling to hold the diaper bag and our shopping!  Having been "worn" all the time, Naima also enjoys wearing her babies.  Being breastfed and "baby-worn", I can say that Naima is truly a portable baby.

What are your family's natural parenting practices?
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