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, December 29, 2012

PSA: Eco Art & Music Fest Fundraiser

My close encounter with a turtle happened when we were at our honeymoon.  Since we were going to visit the South portion of the Great Barrier Reef, Stan and I could not NOT grab the opportunity to dive.  We visited the Great Barrier Reef from Lady Elliot Island and Lady Musgrave Island.  The ocean  live was amazing.  It was actually like Anilao but on a much much MUCH bigger scale.  Coral reefs as far as your eyes can see.  Stan and I were lucky to be in close contact with sea creatures including these pawikans.  I've never seen one when I was diving in Anilao.
So when Wendi emailed me and asked me to share this Art and Music Fest, I immediately agreed because I definitely want to see pawikans the next time I dive in Anilao!

Eco Art & Music Fest Fundraiser Opens January 19 at Conspiracy Garden Café

Manila (December, 2012) – An art exhibit and music fest fundraiser for Save Philippine Seas’
Pawikan Watchers program opens on January 19, 2013 at the Conspiracy Garden Café, Quezon

EndDanger, which features mixed media artworks from the group Artists for Nature and
performances from Flying Ipis, Extrapolation, and Peso Movement, calls attention to the
growing problem of animal endangerment in the Philippines and encourages the community to
get involved in conservation and protection efforts.

Although gifted with a rich and biologically diverse ecosystem, from lush forests to a vibrant
marine life, our country’s natural resources have significantly dwindled over time. Animal
species, in particular, are under increasing threat from habitat destruction, pollution and
commercial exploitation. Many are now in the verge of extinction.

The artists and organizers behind EndDanger seek to raise funds for the monitoring of one of
the Philippines’ most threatened species, the pawikan. All proceeds from the event’s ticket
sales will go to the Pawikan Watchers training program, which Save Philippine Seas (SPS)—
an independent movement that fights abuse of our aquatic resources through legal discourse and
social media—launched in cooperation with Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB).

Pawikan Watchers aims to educate volunteers from different parts of the Philippines on the
ecology and biology of, and PAWB-approved guidelines for, handling sea turtles. Apart from
raising funds, Artists for Nature sees the exhibit as an opportunity to broaden public awareness
of the urgent need to preserve our wildlife.

EndDanger is sponsored by Numa the Organic & Eco Baby Store, Ministry of Mushrooms,
and Holy Carabao Holistic Farms, and is in partnership with, Clean
Up Philippines, Eco-Sys Foundation, Green Fins, Society for Sustainable Tourism and
Development, Inc., Sea News Network, Butanding Network, UP Green League and Earth UST.

The art exhibit runs up to February 8, 2013. Conspiracy Garden Café is located at 59 Visayas
Avenue, Project 6, Quezon City.

For opening night tickets or more information, please contact Wendi Garcia at +639162742859
or Like them on Facebook and
follow them on Twitter for updates.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Start your own support group: Mommy Meet-up in Cebu

Among my advocacies is to encourage moms to empower themselves and act on their ideas, plans and goals instead of waiting for others to do things for them.  Thus, whenever I do talks about breastfeeding and working, I always tell moms to take the first step, talk to their HR department and ask about lactation rooms or policies.
In the same vein, I am happy to hear about moms starting their own support groups, like Mommy Bright Side in Cagayan de Oro City.  The group was recently formed and already organized a breastmilk drive to support calls for breastmilk donations for the Pablo victims.

Monday, December 24, 2012

REPOST: Rights of a Breastfeeding and Working Mother

This post originally appeared in the Mommy Journey as part of a series on natural parenting that I did.  I also wrote about babywearing and cloth diapering.  So head on to The Mommy Journey to read the rest of the natural parenting series of posts.

One of the things that I am most proud and happy to have achieved is the establishment of lactation rooms in my work place.  I've written a series on how we were able to do about it and you can start with the first post.   Since it consists of about 5-6 posts, I decided to write a short version to help working moms set-up their own lactation room or policy in their office.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday to My Prince!

As this post goes live, we will be en route to our Christmas break in Visayas and Mindanao.  Plus today, my little prince E, turns 1 year old!!

Both my kids are December babies and with E's birthday so close to Christmas, last year's celebration was quite fantastic!  For this year, it will be a triple celebration for E! It is his first time in Cebu so he will meeting his relatives and godparents there at his birthday dinner tonight.  My mom has this belief that you MUST celebrate the 1st birthday of your child on the date itself.  So tonight's celebration will be a small dinner just so we can celebrate E's first birthday.
giveaways for E's Cebu and Davao celebration!
for the adults!
Then off to Davao we go to spend New Year's in my hometown and I'm excited to host a small party for my barkada and their kids!  Arts and crafts? Gingerbread house party? Hmm.. still to be decided.

It has been an exciting first year for E. More than the parties, I am excited for us to spend a lot of quality time as a family, relaxing and enjoying each other without the pressures of work, school, etc. etc.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Guest Post: Switching to Cloth Feminine Pads

This is a guest post from my work colleague, Margaux Ortiz.  Margaux used to write for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.  She was covering the environment beat when she wrote the story mentioned in the post below.  She occasionally continues to write feature articles and her work has been published in Working Mom, Celebrity Living and the Metro section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.  You can read more of her work at Here Lives a Bookworm.
Some years ago, I had the chance to interview environmentalist couple Joey and Annette Papa of Bangon Kalikasan Movement for a landfill story. It had been seven years since a 50-foot “monster” mound of garbage collapsed in the Payatas landfill in Quezon City, killing a thousand people in the process. I think I was doing a follow-up story on the tragedy then, as one of the questions I posed to Annette was the actual composition of the killer garbage mound. I was surprised when she answered “diapers and sanitary napkins.” Who would have thought that something as “natural” as baby poo or a monthly period could cause something so horrifying?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Visting Fabella Hospital and KMC

Last month, I was privileged to visit to Fabella Maternity Hospital and to the very popular human milk bank.   OCMominManila Kris invited me together with some of the SoMoms to experience the Touch Therapy advocacy of Johnson's Baby at Fabella Hospital.

Johnsons' Baby sponsored the construction of two Touch Therapy centers where moms and their babies can stay for infant massage.  While the hospital is not airconditioned, the 2 centers are, allowing moms some relief from the heat while they are massaging their babies.
The touch therapy center, Dr. Santiago talks about the touch therapy center,
Dr. Pinky Imperial talking about KMC, the daily birth census at the hospital,
breastmilk collected from new moms and the facade of the human milk bank

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Join us for a Mommy Meet-Up in Cebu!

For the holidays, I will be spending it out of Metro Manila and going to Cebu (Stan's hometown) and Davao (my hometown).  We had a successful meet-up in Davao City during the summer with Next9 and Mamaway.  Because there had been some moms who were asking to meet-up in Cebu, I contacted Shirly of Baobao Babies when I finalized my plans for the holidays.  Since I won't be having a yaya during this trip, I asked Shirly to limit the participants to a manageable number.  

The Davao event was focused on babywearing.  This Cebu mommy meet-up will be informal.  It won't be a talk, but more of a discussion, particularly on the topics I discuss or write about in this blog like breastfeeding, babywearing, baby led feeding, natural birthing, etc. etc.  I will also be bringing several of my carriers for moms to try out.  

Interested? See the details in the poster below and contact Shirly for details.  

Meanwhile, stay tuned for another meet-up in Davao!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Feed your Child Right

One of the things I am grateful to N@W for is that it has become a forum for me to meet friends and experts from different fields.  One of them is my breast-friend, Velvet Escario-Roxas who is an active breastfeeding advocate and well-versed in infant and young child feeding and nutrition.  Since a popular question at the forum is what to feed children and encourage them to eat healthy foods, Velvet decided to hold a seminar to share her knowledge and expertise on healthy eating.

Several N@wies banded together to organize the event.  We had sign-up sheets, name tags, etc.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday to Fab Naima!

Did you know that this blog's original name was "FABNAIMA".  My Multiply store is stilll fabnaima even though my store name is Mama.Baby.Love.  I named the blog and store after my daughter Naima who turned 5 years old last week.

Like me, my daughter is a planner.  As early as her 4th birthday, she already had her theme planned for her 5th birthday.  We had the chance to go to Party City and after seeing aisle and aisle of different themes, she decided on Tinkerbell.  I purchased the cups, dishes, balloons and napkins.  Meanwhile, my aunt gave N a whole set of Tinkerbell dolls.  All these Tinkerbell themed items, we stored for 1 year while N excitedly waited for her 5th birthday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Unang Yakap's Breastmilk Collection and Storage Guidelines for Donor Moms

Whether we express milk for donation or for immediate consumption, we should always keep in mind the guidelines on collection and storage.  Dr. Lei Camiling-Alfonso shares some information on collection and storage of breastmilk by donor moms.  These guidelines have been reviewed by Dr. Francesca Tatad-To (who we sorely miss at LATCH) and was written for the Unang Yakap campaign.  Team Unang Yakap allowed me to reprint these guidelines for easy access to potential donor moms.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Call for Breastmilk Donations for Victims of Pablo

STOP! Are you going to donate milk? Read THIS first.  Please donate frozen and not thawed milk.  Thank you!

We are mobilizing again and calling for breastmilk donations to share to the victims of Pablo in Compostela Valely, Mindanao. Here is the call from Dr. Mianne Silvestre:
I just received an SMS from Dr Paul Zambrano of UNICEF who is at an emergency meeting in Davao with Sec Dinky Soliman of DSWD. Sec Dinky is appealing for donations of human milk. 
Let's do this, friends! Let's stand by the principles of Infant Feeding in Emergencies IFE and show how Breastfeeding Missions should be done. 
Team Unang Yakap - EINC will be networking with contacts in Davao while I am committing the UP-PGH Lactation Unit and Milk Bank to help with the pasteurization of donor milk. Calling on the other Milk Banks - Fabella and PCMC and if already set up the Zamboanga City Medical Center to help out. Let's give responsibly. Let's save lives. Let's give hope.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Love Sees Beyond Differences: An Advocacy Campaign on Adoption

Sometime in September, I had the chance to visit Grace to be Born in Pasig City with the other breastfeeding moms in my work place.   Grace to be Born is halfway house where pregnant moms who are referred by Light of Jesus, DSWD and other NGOs stay.  These moms are usually women in crisis and the center helps care for them and their unborn babies by providing shelter and food.  By taking care of these women, the center hopes to promote its pro-life advocacy and fight abortion.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Road Testing the Swing Maxi and Thoughts on Medela's Non-repair Policy

In early December, Mamaway Philippines invited me to share my experiences as a working and breastfeeding mom in their crash course for moms - "What to Expect at the Hospital and Beyond" which Mamaway co-organized with Medela Moms.  E was sick so I had to leave him home while I attended the event.

Since I wasn't going to bring E, I decided to take this opportunity to road test the new Swing Maxi.  Medela Moms were also collecting milk for UP-PGH's Foster Milk Program.  Note that the pump horns at Medela House are cleaned but not sterilized.  However, the milk is going to be pasterized at the UP-PGH Milk Bank so no issue with storing the milk.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sick Baby and a Baby Comfy Nose giveaway

Being comforted by Bitbit the Rabbit
E has been sick often these past month.  I brought him to his homeopathic pediatrician who is also into anthroposophic medicine. She shared that the energy of a person is low close to his/her birthday.  No wonder.  This time, E has upper respiratory infection and because he can't cough out his phlegm, he has been feverish.  He also alternates between having a stuffed and runny nose.  To alleviate his discomfort, I use Baby ComfyNose - a nasal aspirator which you operate by sucking one end of the tube.  Sounds icky but it works!  I purchased this product online some months ago but since E generally has excellent health, I was only able to use it recently.

Monday, December 3, 2012

For Stylish Naima: Pois, Belly and Kids

With a photographer for a husband, the upcoming holidays are a perfect excuse for more family pictorials!  Since we do "themed" pictorials for the kids' monthly shoots, I am looking for a more "classic" look for the holiday family shoots.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Shopping Report: Mommy Mundo Bazaar

Finally done with the only bazaar that Mama.Baby.Love is joining for the Christmas season.  I try to limit the bazaar activities I join because E's yaya is my tindera.  So when we join bazaars, it really gets hectic at home since we have to do double duty.  
Mama.Baby.Love booth
E with Ninang Jonie in front of her booth
Thanks to babywearing, I was able to keep E quiet and secure while I checked out the shopping finds at the bazaar.  Guilty me was not able to give E a lot of solid feedings on Saturday.  When dinner came, he wolfed down rice and chicken like a big boy! I made up for it on Sunday and fed him a heavy breakfast - egg omelette.  For lunch, he had fish and potatoes at Kulinarya. Plus fish fillet as snack at the N@W's Christmas party and chicken and rice for dinner!
E tanks up at lunch. 

What I like about Mommy Mundo bazaars is that it offers not just targeted shopping opportunities but also the chance for me to catch up with my fellow mompreneur friends.  Because I've been joining Mommy Mundo since 2009, I've actually become good friends with several "regulars" like my neighbor - Nursingmom, Celestina & Co, Mommy Treats, The Eco Baby Boutique, Hatch and Latch, Chubby Cheeks Baby, Wonderworld Toys, Mommy Matters, Medela Moms, Googoo&Gaga, Manila Baby Shop and Babymama.
I'm seeing double! Audrey of Googoo & Gaga at her booth
and chatting with Tricia of Dizzy Dress
 I was able to meet Tricia of Dizzy Dress.  N has a Josephine Baker dress in large and she loves twirling about in it!  Still saving up for a 2nd Dizzy Dress.  I also tried the Next9 x Googoo&Gaga collab sling in Rising Sun.

Meanwhile here are some of my finds from the Mommy Mundo Bazaar:
Plush & Play toys from GK, yummy chocolate chip cookies from
Mama L'Oca and the Mustela line of products (we love the Stelatopia line)
 This booth was near the SoMoms booth so I kept going back to check out the products.  This started as a thesis project of some Ateneo students and eventually expanded to a "real biz".  What is unique about Amaize Clothing is that it is made of corn silk!  The owner shared that she uses their long sleeved tees for running and they give a dri-fit feeling.  They are currently focused on children's clothes because the corn fabric is hypoallergenic and is best for kids.  I purchased a ruched tee for N which came with pink pearls.
Amaize children's clothing from corn silk
 I also purchased a Gangnam shirt for N from Bug & Kelly.  Both my N and E are fans of Gangnam. N will be wearing the shirt tomorrow with Jen's K.
Gangnam shirt
 Meanwhile, I chatted up with Pink Lemon's Beth LimChu.  Beth owns a textile store and blogs as Divisoria Mama.  She is my to-go person whenever I have questions about where to find xxx in Divi.  Beth revived her clothing biz and now does children's line under Pink Lemon.  She can also customize children's clothes - perfect for the holidays!
Pink Lemon clothes for the holidays!
 Also found my yayas' uniforms which I bought from Snuza's Sheryl.  Also purchased this set of decorated wooden clips from Sitting Pretty. I enjoy looking at pretty things and I was influenced by Celestina's Ethel to buy!  Ethel purchased a magnetic board to hold her children's artwork.
Snuza, Fiddletops, Sitting Pretty and R. Trevi's booths
Claimed my Mom 24/7 planner - ready for 2013!
I was also intrigued by the MEG teddybear cellphone from R. Trevi.  It allows you to program 3 numbers and can be converted into a baby monitor! Costs P3,200 and I am thinking of purchasing it but worried about exposing N to too much cellphone radiation since it will be with her everyday.

Since there was a SoMoms booth, I also had fun chatting with my fellow SoMoms who shared the same time slot with me - Jen, Neva, Elai, Kris, Tin and Fleur   We were even graced by the presence of honorary SoMom - Oli!

2-day Bazaar was tiring but fun!  Looking forward to the next one in May 2013!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Win a Mayumi & Me Gift Box!

I'm happy always happy to meet blog readers and store customers.  I am even happier when I read that they are inspired to start their own blog or own store.  There are just so many good ideas and products that need to be shared with moms and having more mompreneurs to spread them to different markets can only be good.

Mayumi, Armi and me!
One such mom, Armi Shyr Baticados recently opened her online store Mayumi & Me.   Armi is the mom of 1 and a half year old sweet toddler Mayumi - the inspiration for her store.  Armi is a one-woman team who manages her operation in between nursing, playing and cuddling Mayumi - a sassy and smart little girl.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Finds: Lock & Lock

In July 2012, I was invited by Michelle of My Mom Friday to attend a blogger's event in the Lock & Lock Flagship store along Araneta Ave.   My shopping find for that event were the boroseal glass containers.  I usually bring my lunch to office.  We've given up our microwave at home but I still nuke my lunch at the office.  Placing them in the glass containers while microwaving my meals makes me feel that it is healthier than nuking my food in plastic.  Plus, it makes cleaning a lot easier especially since my meals are tomato-based pasta or viands.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Breastfeeding a Preemie: Stories from Michelle and Neva

I often see posts from mothers with preemie babies asking for milk at the Human Milk for Human Babies - The Philippines page.  I also hear a lot of stories about how a mom wasn't able to successfully breastfeed her baby because she gave birth prematurely.  I have 2 friends who recently gave birth to preemie babies but were able to successfully breastfeed them, despite additional challenges they had to face.  I am sharing their stories in hopes of encouraging moms with preemie babies to persevere and breastfeed their babies.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy 11-month E! A Pre-birthday Shoot

Can you believe it?! Just 1 more month and my baby boy will be a toddler!!

For his 1st birthday, our theme is carnival/circus.  So, for his 11-month day shoot, Stan and I decided to have a "pre-birthday" shoot so we can have a photo to use for his birthday.  For this shoot, the only thing I did was look for a cake design and order.  We ordered the cake from Quintbelles owned by Val of Woombie and her sister, Elaine.  I just asked Elaine to make the cake soft icing instead of the usual fondant so that E won't have a difficult time getting to the cake ;)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Christmas Finds: Sugar and Spice Gingerbread House/Man Kits

Last year, one of the activities that got N really excited for the holiday season was the gingerbread decorating class at Manila Peninsula.  I found it quite expensive! It was P1,535 nett for a child plus P614 nett for an accompanying adult.  However, since I was pregnant with E that time and didn't have the energy to look for alternatives, I closed my eyes and booked N and Stan.

This year, I checked out the prices for the Manila Pen class again and prices have increased!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas Finds: Mothering Earthlings

Shopping for Christmas is always a challenge.  I shop not only for my own list but for Stan's as well.  So I keep an excel file (which I started back in 2008) to note the gifts we had previously given to our wedding sponsors, godchildren, friends, suppliers, etc. etc.  I do enjoy looking for unique items to give and keep a record of them for future reference. For this series of posts, I will attempt to share with you my finds for Christmas 2012.

As brand ambassadors (naks!), N and E have been recipients of snazzy and funky items from Mothering Earthlings.  The ME Alpha Mama  - Rone Valles Guerrero makes it a point to choose only the very best Filipino brands to be included in her store.  Her brands have been increasing, which makes shopping a joy!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Another Giveaway from the Babypalooza Team

I previously posted about the Babypalooza Bazaar scheduled on 30 November 2012.  You can read more details about the bazaar below:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Press Release: Havaianas for Operation Smile (Design A Smile)

N loves arts and crafts!  Every afternoon, she bugs her yaya to help her make cards, drawings, etc. When I get home from work, I always find her handmade items inserted in my laptop, with her waiting expectantly for me to read them.  Hence, this activity during the Mommy Mundo Bazaar on 24 - 25 November 2012 at the Rockwell Tent got N excited.

The Mommy Mundo and Havaianas team are helping out Operation Smile - which is a non-profit group who operates on kids with cleft palates.  The project is called Design a Smile which is a series of one-day contests for 5-12 year old kids who will be asked to answer the question "What will you do to make other people smile" through a drawing.   What makes this exciting is that the winning entry will be made into actual flip flops with the proceeds from the sale going to the surgeries.   For more details, please refer to the Press Release below.  N will definitely be joining!

Friday, November 16, 2012

DepEd bans milk giveaways in schools!

Finally, 5 years the issuance of the Revised Rules and Regulations Implementing the Milk Code and 3 years after the passage of the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion, DepEd has put in action the requirements under this law.  On 23 October 2012 (my birthday - yay!), the Department of Education issued Department Order No. 80, series of 2012, entitled "Strengthening the Integration of Breastfeeding Education in the Curriculum, Setting Up and Sustaining the Operation of Lactation Stations in Schools and Compliance with Executive Order No. 51.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Introducing Mommy Mundo SoMoms

During the early days of N, the internet was my best friend.  I was always chatting with friends especially about breastfeeding and newborn care.   I also didn't work for the first 6 months of N's life and found that I had too much time on my hands.  I was micromanaging our household and bugging S to death.  I decided to bring in nursing bras because I noticed that there were very limited options locally available.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Unplugging the Plugs

I am prone to plugged ducts - particularly my left breast.  More so because I am a pumping mama and I pump about 4x per day.  Not more than one breastfeeding expert (Lita Nery, Nanay Ines, etc. etc) has told me that pumping makes me more prone to plugged ducts because a breastpump is not as efficient and effective as a baby in draining out milk.  However, I never learned the art of hand expression and I work outside the home Monday to Friday.  So to keep my babies well-fed, I rely on my pump.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Why I don't buy Nestle Fresh Milk

Whenever moms ask me what fresh milk to give their toddlers, I always say any milk except Nestle.  Our family has started supporting the Nestle boycott and I will be blogging about this.  But for now, if you want to learn more about the Nestle Boycott, read this page.

I received an email today from one of my clients.  This is a personal and first hand account and not something passed through email.  Here's what she has to say:

After consuming the contents of 1 of the cartons, our yaya was surprised that the carton was still a bit heavy. She shook the carton & there was still something inside. Upon opening, we discovered a large foreign object inside. It was white, as wide and as long as the carton and about 3 inches tall, as you can see in the picture below. Upon close inspection, we still were not sure what it was. Seemed like it was plastic, paper, tissue & curdled milk all mushed into 1 piece. It started to grow moulds & smell "sour" after a few hours.

We called the Nestle Philippines customer service, who did not offer any more answers. They just noted the lot number and said a representative will pick it up and subject it to a lab test. The result, they promised, will be out in 4-6 weeks! If it is poisonous, I said, my kids will be in the hospital much sooner than that!

We are still waiting for the lab result but my kids are all fine. For our peace of mind, we still want to know what it is and if it poses a short or long-term harm on my kids. Like any parent, it's natural to be paranoid. Better safe than sorry.

If you drink Nestle fresh milk, please check the lot number. If it falls under the same batch as this one (pictured below) cut open the carton first & inspect before drinking. Won't hurt to be extra careful!

Think twice before buying!
What is this?!!
If you use Nestle milk, check the batch number of your box!
So think twice before you choose Nestle!

Update 13 November 2012:

Here's an update from A, the consumer affected in the story:

When Mrs. A first called the customer service hotline, the representatives did not know how to address her concerns.  She was quite frustrated because all she wanted for Nestle to do was as soon as the foreign material is brought to the lab, someone contacts her and tells her what it is.  This eliminates her concerns of food poisoning, lead poisoning or any form of long-term poisoning to her kids.  The customer service hotline people were more concerned in following protocol than listening to her concern.  As parents, we know how it feels to worry about our kids, especially knowing something may be wrong but not being able to pin point what it exactly is. 

On 12 November 2012, Nestle's Customer Rep (let's call him Mr. Rep) called Mrs. A again.  He explained that the foreign object was curdled milk.  Mr. Rep stated that he checked with their plant in New Zealand and there was no issue with that batch.  Next, he checked the packaging plant and there was also no issue.  Finally, he checked with their quality assurance and stated that there was also no issues on that end.

Mr. Rep claimed that sometimes retailers do not follow their suggested display procedure.  He stated that there are only xx cartons that should be stacked up on display.  If the retailer stacked more than xx number of cartons, the quality of milk is affected. 

Mrs. A doubts this.  And so do I.  How can the quality of milk be affected by the number of cartons stacked?  The milk box is sealed, tight as a drum.  Mrs. A also stated that the milk was only opened the day before consumption and was tightly sealed using Nestle's flip top seal.  The milk was fully consumed the day after opening because the rest of the liquid milk was not spoiled or did not smell sour.  Apparently, Mr. Rep explained that even pasteurized milk can separate and a portion may curdle but the rest of the milk still stays fresh.  Mrs. A still does not understand how this can be a possibility ???

As I explained to Mrs. A, Nestle will do everything to protect itself and will shift the blame to the retailer or consumer.  Mr. Rep also explained to Mrs. A that if the flip top is not sealed properly and water enters the box, it may also cause curdling. But how can the curdled milk become so big.. about 1/4 of the entire milk box volume. Still an unsolved and disturbing mystery.

Tsk, tsk, tsk Nestle!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Why I love Mamaway (an event and a giveaway)

Ninang with E in his Like shirt
I have been a customer of Mamaway since 2008, when they first came to the Philippines.   They have recently opened their retail store in New Manila, Quezon City and another store is in the pipeline.   One of the owners, Jonie, has become more than a business colleague and is actually the godmother of E.

nursing in my Mamaway dresses
What I like about Mamaway is that the owners truly want to help you successfully breastfeed and they do this by supporting various classes and breastfeeding events.  In fact, if you have breastfeeding concerns, Jonie will go out of her way to refer you to the right support person or group who can help you succeed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How was your Halloween 2012?

For the first time in many years, we spent Undas in Metro Manila.  S is from Cebu and I'm from Davao.  So we used to go home to either city for this long holiday.  However, N's school had make-up classes up to the week of Undas and S had bookings so we decided to have a stay-cation and catch up with the organizing, cleaning of our house during the long weekend.  

Trick or treating at our condo

Monday, November 5, 2012

Does it have to be a contest?

On the top of last week's news was about a Texas mom who donated more than 86 gallons of breastmilk to a milk bank.   Definitely admirable!  Moms with excess milk who donate are blessings to milk banks and babies whose moms cannot make enough milk or are sick.

However, publicity about these donations and excess milk donors sometimes have adverse consequences.  For instance, my friend Mec shared that at the height of Sendong, she wanted to donate milk and felt bad that she couldn't.  She was with her nursling 24/7 and didn't see the need to pump.  She eventually found peace with her ability to produce just enough for her nursling and writes about it here.

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Bazaar and a Sophie the Giraffe Giveaway!

Mom targeted bazaars excite me!  As a shopper I prefer to attend bazaars that have products specifically for moms.  We know how limited shopping time moms get so I really want to maximize whatever bazaar visit I make.  Coming up this November is one such bazaar - Babypalooza Bazaar scheduled on 30 November 2012.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Hearty Southern Vegetarian Dinner

We have been having our regular vegetable delivery from Shino who 
delivers to Pasay every week (Friday).  What I like about him is his flexibility with the basket contents.  I just get the 4.5 kg basket which lasts us 1.5 weeks. I also get a 500ml bottle of fresh cow's milk.  You can tweak the amount of vegetables included to suit your family's weekly menu. During my first few orders, I over-ordered the okra so I had to look for some recipes so the okras won't go to waste. Stan was not exactly a fan of okra so the dish had to be tempered with something palatable to him. A quick google search for okra led me to several recipes. But it was this Okra and Tomato Soup recipe by Diana Rattray that caught my eye:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Diaper Care for Baby - CHANGE often (a Johnsons Baby sponsored post)

Stan has changed more diapers than I have but both of us know that changing diapers can be a scary experience, especially for a new parent.  You can be in for a treat if baby is cooperative and just lies back while you go about your business. But generally - that's not the case.  Especially with E, S has been sprayed with pee and poo countless of times!  Fun aside, changing diapers is serious business.  For the third post in this Johnson & Johnson series of Complete Diaper Care, I would like to focus on Step 3 - CHANGE your baby.

Cloth diapers have not always been a part of our lives.  With N, we semi-cloth diapered her and used disposables during the day and at night.  As a user of both disposables and cloth diapers, I can say that there are certain concerns that are applicable to parents of babies on cloth or disposables.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Keeping Kids in Car Seats

Car seats are not required in the Philippines.  Plus, because they are expensive, they rarely get included in baby registries nor do parents include them in must-have lists for babies.  N and E started using their car seats as soon as we got discharged from the hospital.
keeping kids entertained with
We started with a Chicco Keyfit infant basket.  It was huge, heavy and sturdy.  N used it until about 14 months.  At that time, the recommendations were that you can switch baby from rear facing to front facing when they turn 1 year old so we purchased a Mothercare Advance SP for her.   Her Keyfit basket was passed on to her cousin then subsequently to her cousin's cousin.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

OT: Bazaar Season is coming!

Breastfeeding mom and celebrity Tintin Bersola-Babao is holding her annual Christmas bazaar on November 9, 10 & 11, 2012.  She has been organizing this bazaar for several years and this year's beneficiary is Shepherd of the Hills orphanage.  

Tintin shared that she is interested in having more mompreneurs join her bazaars so if you are an aspiring mompreneur, want to expand your business or just starting, this event would be a good opportunity to showcase your products!  

I wanted to join but it is my sister's birthday on the 11th plus Friday the 9th is a workday.  However, my friends from Manila Baby Shop will be there! :) 

Contact 9310852 or 861-00-6 if you're interested to join.  See flier for more details.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Setting Direction to this Blog

Sometime in May, I won a coaching session from Mommy {T} Coach through a giveaway from My Mommyology.  My entry was

Jenny O:  What still is my biggest challenge is to decide whether to concentrate on being a WOHM or WAHM – concentrate on my full time job or on MBL plus the blog/advocacies and family!!  Doing all 4 is driving me nuts!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Bamboo Dappy Giveaway

E is almost 10 months old and has been fully cloth diapered since he was 7 weeks old.  That means that he has been cloth diapered for about 35 weeks.  We have avoided the use of 1,470 pieces of diapers (at a conservative estimate of 6 diapers per day).  With N, we only did partial cloth diapering and used Mamy Poko which was about 13 pesos per piece.  So with E, we saved more than P19,000 already plus reduced the landfill waste by more than 1,000 pieces of soiled diapers! 

More and more parents are switching to cloth and I'm glad to see a lot of cloth diapers available locally.  One of the local brands widely available is Bamboo Dappy - a brand developed by Jenny Chua, a mom of 2 active boys.  Jenny developed this brand when she found that disposable diapers take at least 250 years before they fully decompose.   Bamboo Dappy also supports the World Wide Fund programs that help ensure a sustainable future of our country.  Every time a Bamboo Dappy gets sold, the company donates P10 to their WWF for their monthly donation.

Monday, October 15, 2012

K-12 for Private Schools

In the middle of the year, I was lucky to have joined a small group discussion organized by OC Mom in Manila with representatives from the Department of Education.  Burning in our minds would be the implementation of the K-12 curriculum.  The meeting was held in SM North Edsa's The Block because of the ongoing DepEd GO! (Greater Opportunities) interactive exhibit to launch its K-12 Basic Education Curriculum information campaign.

I went through the exhibit but it was focused on public schools which had a standard implementation.  I had several questions for DepEd, particularly on the simultaneous implementation.  You see, N asked me a very valid question.  Her cousin, J, turned 7 in May 2012.  Meanwhile, her friend K (incidentally, Next9's son) was also 7 (turned 7 in December 2011).  However, J was in Grade 1, while K was in Grade 3.  Both boys go to exclusive boys' schools albeit colors apart ;)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sponsored Post: Let your baby star in his/her own video!

This is the second part of a 3-part series sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Baby.  You can read the first post, A Mother's Commitment: Giving Without Counting the Cost, here.

Being a photographer's wife is both a boon and a bane.  It is a bane because Stan usually gets booked during weekends so we have limited family time since I am working during the week.  But it is also a boon because I can ask him to take photos of the kids on a whim.  We have amassed quite a collection of photographs for both N and E.  N's photos have been compiled into an album and she enjoys browsing to them and asking us to tell stories about her during that certain age.  Meanwhile, we are compiling E's monthly photos and plan to create a photo wall for his 1st birthday.

Because I have compiled a good number of E's photos, I was excited when I found out about Part 2 of our J&J assignment - I was to upload E's photos and have him star in his own video!  I enjoy personalized products and since I am not a creative person, having a set video where I was just to upload photographs was an easy assignment.  The challenging portion was choosing the photos from a myriad of choices :) Without further ado, presenting E's first photo video courtesy of Johnson & Johnson Baby.

Do you want your own baby to star in his or her own video? You can do so by visiting Baby's First JB Video app. Note, however, that you do have to toggle your privacy settings and allow cookies for the app to work.

Visit the Johnson's Baby Facebook page to learn more about Johnson's Baby Complete Care Diaper System.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oversupply and Strong Milk Ejection Reflex

When my milk finally came in with E, I had a raging oversupply!  No, I didn't pump during the early days but I think the breast compressions must have somehow triggered my body to make a LOT of milk resulting in an overactive milk rejection reflex. [Milk Ejection Reflex or MER is what is commonly known as "letdown".  LATCH President Buding shared that she learned from her breastfeeding training in Canada that MER is better used as it is technical and descriptive as opposed to letdown which is negative and implies failure]

As a result of my strong MER, E usually coughs and unlatches when my milk starts to flow - and he not only gets a mouthful of milk but a face full as my milk usually sprays all over his face and clothes!

I did some online research and was able to control my oversupply and help E manage the milk flow better.  He is now 8 months and I do still have strong MER sometimes but it's either E has learned to swallow fast or my management techniques worked ;)

To manage oversupply, I used blockfeeding.  I feed E 2x in a row at the same breast, instead of switching breasts.  This way, the breast A won't be as full during the 2nd feeding and it will regulate the supply in the other breast (B).  This is  because breast B becomes full and won't make as much milk.  Remember that an empty breast results in faster milk production.

Along with the oversupply, I had a strong MER.  During the early days, I utilized a washcloth.  E latches and stimulates my milk, when it starts to flow, he unlatches and I immediately use the washcloth to catch the wild sprays.  When the milk flow slows down, I put E back to breast and he is able to contentedly feed without issue.

One of the suggestions I read here is to nurse the baby in an upright or "Australian" position.  The baby lies on top of mommy's tummy while feeding, allowing gravity to play a role.  However, we didn't use this because E was small (about 2 weeks) when I started to encounter a strong MER.  So I resorted to blockfeeding.

If you are so inclined, you can also pump to reduce engorgement.  However, when you pump, don't pump to empty the breast (again, empty breast results in faster milk production).  Pump just to feel comfortable or to get over the first MER.  Throughout the feedings, there are usually 2-3 MERs and it is the first one that is forceful.  When you get over the 1st MER, the 2nd and 3rd ones are usually better handled by baby.

La Leche League has a detailed page on how to deal with oversupply and forceful MER.  Check it out HERE.

Monday, October 8, 2012

My little models and Happy 9th Month E!

N and E both love posing for the camera! Maybe it is because of the influence of their photographer dad Stan.  I, on the other hand, hate posing.  In fact, whenever we do family portraits, Stan gets irritated because I get irritated after maybe about 5 minutes of posing.  I want shots to be quick and fast!

My kids are the opposite! Both love hamming it up on the camera and in fact, N has gotten to the stage where SHE directs her dad and tells him what angle or what pose she wants.

So when Rone of Mothering Earthlings offered me the chance for my 2 kids to be included in her Model Earthlings program, I excitedly accepted!  We are regular customers of Mothering Earthlings and that's where I get E's bibs and funky shirts.  You can read more about Mothering Earthlings in my previous post.

The kids' loot arrived on Thursday which was perfect since we scheduled E's 9 month pictorial last Sunday.  I know it was late! E was sick during his 9th month-day hence the delay.
N is wearing a Sweetheart Ribbon Headband
In a vibrant Aja Dress.  N requested for this shot!
the little boy is in a Fiddle Tops striped shirt
and loves his Velcro Sneakers
yes, he is a little señorito!
Did you know that you can only get Agoo apparel from Mothering Earthlings? I love their unique designs and have almost all of the girl designs!

Thanks again Rone for choosing my kids to be part of your Mothering Earthlings program!

Friday, October 5, 2012

VitaPops: Candy or Health Supplement?

One of the activities we attended last August was the launch of an innovative product from Unilab - VitaPops - the first & only pop rocks Vitamin C.  The event was held in Active Fun, Global City and was hosted by Donita Rose. Another guest was Daphne Osena-Paez, who like Donita, was an endorser of VitaPops. The theme of the event was "Pop Rockin' Field Trip".  I loved how the organizers included activities for the kids, to allow the moms to participate and listen to the speakers and main activity.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Filipino Association of Babywearers' Babywearing Event is happening

The last babywearing meet happened in March.  We've been working hard and have come up with a logo plus a Facebook page!  But we couldn't let 2012 slip by without organizing another meet.   So the last meet for this year is happening on 20 October 2012, 1:30pm at Renaissance 3000 function room.   
View Larger Map

 The program will consist of an introduction about F.A.B., a talk on babywearing benefits, babywearing safety plus our new activity: Sling and Move with baby!  We will be having raffles and special sales from our vendors! You can see some photos from the previous babywearing event here. Visit the Facebook Event Link.  Do sign up below to join and see you there!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

PSA: Alay na Gatas mo. Sagip sa Buhay ko

There will be a milk letting activity in CAMANAVA on 11 October 2012.  This is to show their support for the No to the Milk Monster Bill Campaign.  See details below.
We are pleased to inform you that the Breastfeeding TSEK (Tama, Sapat, Eksklusibo) campaign has been effective in raising mothers’ awareness on the benefits of breastfeeding in the cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela.
To date, our exclusive breastfeeding rate have significantly increase from 41% in 2010 to 74% in 2011in Caloocan City, 66.24% in 2010 to 82.23% in Malabon City, 49% in 2010 to 61% in Navotas City and 74.54% in 2010 to 80% in Valenzuela City. We are most grateful for ARUGAAN for training and mentoring the peer counsellors and equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to guide and assist pregnant moms with their babies in their breastfeeding journey. 
Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/
Our campaign does not stop here and we are in fact on our way to implementing the program on a wider scale through the conduct of a simultaneous breast milk letting activity “Alay na Gatas mo. Sagip sa Buhay ko” on October 11, 2012, Thursday to be participated by all health centers in CaMaNaVa District. 
A total of at least 3,000 lactating mothers will participate in the activity that aims to advocate that infant formula is not needed during calamities, crisis and emergencies since mothers who breastfeed can donate their expressed breastmilk to infants in need. Breastmilk to be collected will be donated to the milk bank of Philippine Children's Medical Center to help premature and sick children in need of mother's milk. We are working with the local government units and breastfeeding advocates who can help with our cause. 
We hope to provide tokens of appreciation to the breastfeeding mothers and breastfeeding support group members who will join the breastmilk letting activity. Special prizes will also be given to mothers who are most participative, breastfeeding icon, best breastfeeding practice barangay etc. We hope that you can support us by providing tokens and prizes for the mothers involved. A donation in cash or in kind would be highly appreciated.
What is urgently  needed would be breastmilk bags to store the milk that will be collected during the event.  If you would like to pledge milk bags, please do contact the City Combi Officer, Kenneth Samaco at 09164632165.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Milk Mama Diaries: Wet Nursing

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (September). For this month, we will tackle milk sharing and how it can nurture the community, and how this spirit of giving can be sustained. Participants will share their thoughts, experiences, hopes and suggestions on the topic. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.

Wet nursing has been in existence for several centuries.  I previously wrote about a UK TV show which talked about other people's breastmilk.  Locally, milk sharing is done through milk banks or mother to mother donations.  And of course, we have all heard of Salma Hayek breastfeeding another baby.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thank you Sangobion!

Dear readers, sorry that it has taken me more than a month after the awarding to write a Thank You post to Sangobion.

First of all, I would like to thank Sangobion and Smart Parenting for choosing my blog as among the Top Ten Finalists from among 50 blogs.  It is an honor to be considered as a top parenting blog.

unboxing the iPad
Thank you also to all my readers who voted and help me win third place!  Since this was a voting contest (most votes win!) I couldn't have gotten to 3rd place without your support.

One of the prizes given was a 16gb white iPad.  It took me another month to open the iPad.  You see, we previously had an IPAD (the first one).  My daughter got addicted.  It was difficult to set rules and she threw a tantrum whenever we asked her to stop using the IPAD.  So we gave it away.  IPAD2 came and I resisted the urge to purchase one.  When the iPad was launched, again I wanted to buy one but remembered the tantrums and arguments so I resisted.

When the contest was launched, I tried my luck and won the iPad.  However, Stan and I decided to keep it first and asked N to show us that we could agree on the frequency of its use.  We did this first by scheduling TV times and her use of Stan's Galaxy S.  It was a month-long probation and happily she passed. So last Sunday, we unboxed  the iPad.  So far so good, we have been able to follow rules.

How about you? Do you have a tablet or a smartphone? How do you manage your kids' time on it?
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