November 4

Cloth Diaper Review

My son has sensitive skin and he tends to get really nasty diaper rash from wearing disposable diapers. This is the main reason why I decided to switch to cloth diapers. Later, I found out that aside from protecting my baby’s skin, it is also very earth friendly and saves me money from buying expensive disposable diapers weekly!
Gone are the days when cloth diapers are merely “lampins” (gauze cloth diapers) (but my son still uses this at home at times) which can be very irritating for the baby because it can only last one wetting. Nowadays there are several cloth diapers in the market which can lasts as long as disposable diapers.

 I admit, I got so addicted buying these cute one size cloth diapers! I tried several brands to find out the best one for my baby. Let me share with you my personal review of the ones we’ve tried:

 Alva Baby

www.alvababy.com

 

Thumb up: Of all l the brands I’ve tried, Alva has the most number of cute designs to choose from for boys and for girls. You can choose one depending on you and your baby’s mood!

 Alva is also cheaper than most brands. Here in the Philippines, it costs around P299-P300 per piece .

 Alva is also not that bulky, thus more convenient for baby

Thumb down: Alva’s inner lining is not that absorbent. After 2-3 wettings, I can already smell and feel that my baby’s diaper is wet. It can only lasts about 2-3 hours only. 

 

Next9 and Baby Leaf

 

www.spudnsquishy.tumblr.com

These are two different brands but products are so much alike.

Thumbs up:

Both brands’ Inner linings are made of cotton amd thus, very absorbent. It can lasts up to five hours unless there is poop. But for hygienic purposes i only let my son use it for a maximum of four hours or less.

Both brands are also ffordable. Price is P350 per diaper

Thumbs down:

Both diapers are bulky especially for newborns. But as they grow, the diaper will fit them more comfortably.

 

Charlie Banana 

www.charliebanana.com

Thumbs up:
Charlie Banana’s inner lining is made of cotton and very absorbent.
Although a one-size diaper, it is not as bulky as Next9 or Babyleaf.

Thumbs down:

Charlie Banana is more expensive than most brands. Price is between P1,000-P1,200 ($24-29$) per diaper.

Personal Note:

My son use all these brands. At home, he uses his Alva diapers since it is more convenient to change diapers in between. Then at night, he uses his Next9 and BabyLeaf and since it is more absorbent, he gets a good night’s sleep. For days when he has to go out for checkups, he uses his Charlie Banana diapers so it will not be bulky when worn with those cute pants or shorts.

Finding the right brand will all depend on your baby’s needs and of course your budget. But if you will buy one, the best ones are the one-size diapers so your baby can use it as he grows. It can be expensive at first as you are building your stock but once you have collected an acceptable number, you will no longer need to buy disposable diapers and thus savings begins.  Happy cloth diapering!

September 2

Improving my Preemie’s feeding

With two months already at home with us, our main goal for our preemie baby is to gain weight and be able to catch up with those of 2 1/2 month old babies (his corrected age group). Now how do I know that  my baby is getting enough milk?
Baby Center.com says that if an infant is taking pure formula milk, the rule of thumb is to offer him 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight each day. So if a baby, weighs 7lbs, he should drink a total of 17.5oz of milk in 24 hours. For breastfed babies, KellyMom says that  exclusively breastfed babies take in an average of 25 oz (750 mL) per day between the ages of 1 month and 6 months. Different babies take in different amounts of milk; a typical range of milk intakes is 19-30 oz per day (570-900 mL per day). Moms can also check out the bottle equivalent thru their website for the milk calculator. Based on my sample computation, a 7lb baby who takes in milk 8 times a day has to take in an average of 15.8oz a day with 2 to 2.2ozs per feeding.
My son is on mixed feeding, but either on formula or breastmilk, he does not meet his average requirement as computed thru the sites mentione above. The problem lies on two factors: he sleeps a lot the whole day, approximately 16-18 hours and his sucking reflexes are not very strong.
Since sleeping is something that we can not control, we (us parents and his neonatologist), decided to address his sucking reflexes concern. Small frequent feedings are a necessity and if he needs to be woken up from a good sleep, then so be it. His occupational therapist, Professor Cynthia Isaac, also suggested two sets of pressing exercises that aims to improve his sucking reflexes. One set is to be done once a day, and the other is set to be done 30 minutes prior to feeding. I will post a video of it once I got an approval from her.
Another helpful way to feed him when he’s too sleepy is to use a 1ml dropper. We only use a dropper to finish off  a 2oz bottled milk and to avoid spoilage, especially when what is being given is breastmilk.

These techniques proved to be very helpful, as my baby’s feeding already improved. He’s closed to achieving his minimum requirement.
Photo Credits: ehow.com

August 27

Recommended Sleeping Hours for Children

My newborn son is still a heavy sleeper despite being 2.5 months in corrected age. It got me thinking if this is still in tune with his age. I browse thru the internet and found the following article from WebMd.com which I would like to share with fellow moms. This can be our guide in assessing if our kids are getting enough sleep for their age.

1-4 Weeks Old: 15 – 16 hours per day
Newborns typically sleep about 15 to 18 hours a day, but only in short periods of two to four hours. Premature babies may sleep longer and colicky ones shorter.
Since newborns do not yet have an internal biological clock, or circadian rhythm, their sleep patterns are not related to the daylight and nighttime cycles. In fact, they tend not to have much of a pattern at all.

1-4 Months Old: 14 – 15 hours per day
By 6 weeks of age your baby is beginning to settle down a bit, and you may notice more regular sleep patterns emerging. The longest periods of sleep run four to six hours and now tends to occur more regularly in the evening. Day-night confusion ends.

4-12 Months Old: 14 – 15 hours per day
While up to 15 hours is ideal, most infants up to 11 months old get only about 12 hours sleep. Establishing healthy sleep habits is a primary goal during this period, as your baby is now much more social, and his sleep patterns are more adult-like.
Babies typically have three naps and drop to two at around 6 months old, at which time (or earlier) they are physically capable of sleeping through the night. Establishing regular naps generally happens at the latter part of this time frame, as his biological rhythms mature. The midmorning nap usually starts at 9 a.m. and lasts about an hour. The early afternoon nap starts between noon and 2 p.m. and lasts an hour or two. And the late afternoon nap may start from 3 to 5 p.m. and is variable in duration.

1-3 Years Old: 12 – 14 hours per day
As your child moves past the first year toward 18-21 months of age he will likely lose his morning nap and nap only once a day. While toddlers need up to 14 hours a day of sleep, they typically get only about 10.
Most children from about 21 to 36 months of age still need one nap a day, which may range from one to three and a half hours long. They typically go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. and wake up between 6 and 8 a.m.

3-6 Years Old: 10 – 12 hours per day
Children at this age typically go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. and wake up around 6 and 8 a.m., just as they did when they were younger. At 3, most children are still napping, while at 5, most are not. Naps gradually become shorter as well. New sleep problems do not usually develop after 3 years of age.

7-12 Years Old: 10 – 11 hours per day
At these ages, with social, school, and family activities, bedtimes gradually become later and later, with most 12-years-olds going to bed at about 9 p.m. There is still a wide range of bedtimes, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., as well as total sleep times, from 9 to 12 hours, although the average is only about 9 hours.

12-18 Years Old: 8 – 9 hours per day
Sleep needs remain just as vital to health and well-being for teenagers as when they were younger. It turns out that many teenagers actually may need more sleep than in previous years. Now, however, social pressures conspire against getting the proper amount and quality of sleep.
July 29

Mom Kat Recommends: MOMMY TREATS LACTATION COOKIES AND MUFFINS

Background from Mommy Treats website:

Mommy Treats Official Icon

Mommy Treats is the brain-child of a first-time mommy who was once in dire need of increasing her milk supply. After much researching for natural and non-pharmaceutical galactagogues (substances that help increase lactation), finding the perfect recipes, and having other mommies test my baked treats for both effectiveness and taste, I am so happy to finally provide lactating mommies the first, ever, lactation treats in the Philippines!

Mommy Treats offers LACTATION COOKIES, LACTATION MUFFIN BITES, and LACTATION CUPCAKE BITES that are packed with galactatgogues such as fiber-and-iron-rich oats, Omega-3-flowing flax seed, cholesterol-and-blood-sugar-lowing fenugreek, and Vitamin-B-packed brewer’s yeast! am so happy to finally provide lactating mommies the first, ever, lactation treats in the Philippines!

Mommy Treats offers LACTATION COOKIES, LACTATION MUFFIN BITES, and LACTATION CUPCAKE BITES that are packed with galactatgogues such as fiber-and-iron-rich oats, Omega-3-flowing flax seed, cholesterol-and-blood-sugar-lowing fenugreek, and Vitamin-B-packed brewer’s yeast!

Mommy Treats was introduced to me by Maricel of TheMedela House. I initially bought a sample pack of carrot walnut and banana walnut muffins. I was surprised that it is actually very yummy. For something that is healthy and nutritious, Mommy Treats surely made it so delicious fun to eat.
I am not one of those who are blessed with overflowing breastmilk, thus, the need to have supplements. Initally, I can only pump 1 to 1.5 ounces of milk on both breasts. But after trying these lactation treats, my milk supply did increase by .5 to 1 ounce of milk per pump! I was so pleased!
Mommy Treats Muffin Bites
I order her treats from her facebook account, which I found very useful and easy to work with. Now, she already has her own website which clients can also order from. Paola is very nice and accommodating to her clients. Upon texting her the proof of payment, she bakes the treats right away. I usually  have my treats a day after or at least 1.5 days after paying for them! Not only that, she usually gives a pack or two of free additional treats!
Mommy Treats Lactation Cookies
In termsof value for money, Mommy Treats offers a very reasonable price. Her goods are packed on a per day basis serving and costs P60 per pack. But if you order in large amounts, she gives discounts. This is reasonable compared to buying formula milk to supplement your breastmilk. I usually order one month supply of treats which are a mix of muffins and oatmeal cookies
I’ve been ordering Mommy Treats’ yummy goodies for 4 months now and intend to continue to do so! My personal favorites are the carrot walnut muffin and the banana walnut muffin. Now that the neonatologist of my son already allowed me to eat chocolates, I can not wait to try her brownies, choco chip cookies and choco cup cake bites!
With the delicious and healthy way of increasing my milk, together with Paola’s very good customer service, I give Mommy Treats a two thumbs up! I definitely recommend her treats to all breastfeeding moms!
You can visit her website at http://www.mommytreats.ph/

Her facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/#!/mommytreats

Photo Credits: http://www.mommytreats.ph/

June 27

Storing Frozen Breastmilk

It is not all the time that babies can drink directly from mom’s breast such as when mom is at work or baby can not feed on his own yet. Aside from regularly expressing milk to continue your supply, storing and keeping it fresh is equally important. I’ve been expressing and storing milk since I gave birth 3.5 months ago. Here are ways on how I store my expressed breastmilk.

Cleanliness is a priority. I always wash my hands and rub alcohol or hand sanitizer prior to expressing my milk. Containers and pump must be clean as well to avoid contamination of milk. If I have even just a single doubt that the milk is not free from contamination, I immediately discard it.

Milk containers must be clean and sterilized. Initially, I used my baby’s feeding bottles. However, since his consumption is significantly lower than what I produced everyday, I eventually run out of feeding bottles to use. I later used disposable milk storage bags and reusable milk containers.

Milk storage bags are reasonably priced and is available in department stores. The brands I’ve used so far are Ai-Non and Precious Moments. It can hold up to 8ounces of milk per bag. I like Precious Moments more because its measurements are accurate. Equally popular is Nanny brand. In the Philippines, each box costs P300 ($7) each which contains 25 bags. It is pre-sterilized so I can use it immediately.

I also used the Medela Milk Containers. These containers, however, are not available in most department stores. I purchased it from The Medela House and can hold up to 2.5ml of milk each. It may seem expensive at first (P700 for 10pcs or $16) but it can be used several times. It can also be used later to store baby food. Since I’m using a Medela pump, this is a good buy as well since it fits perfectly into the assembly of the pump.

Afte the containers, the next thing to consider is the actual storing of milk. My son’s doctor told me that I should not immediately freeze freshly expressed milk because it’s wam. So I let it stand for 5-10 minutes to cool it down a bit then put it inside the fridge.  Also, to maximize the use of my containers, I add up the milk that I expressed. Each of my bag contains 5 to 6 ounces each or equivalent to two rounds of expressed milk. This is safe for as long as they are of the same temperature when combined. I put them inside the fridge first then later when they are of the same temperature, I transfer it to the containers. Never combine freshly expressed milk with the one inside the fridge and most especially do not combine it with the frozen ones as this can spoil the milk. Also, milk inside the fridge can last up to 24 hours only, otherwise it must be frozen , used or discard. Always remember to label each bag with the date of storage. Consumption must be on a first -in and first out basis.

For most of us who do not have a separate freezer for breastmilk, we freeze our milk together with ice and meat. To protect milk from contamination, I put my containers inside plastics and seal it to ensure that it will be free from odors and germs from other frozen items most especially meat and poultry products. I use plastic food plastics and place it together with ice.

I do hope I was able to help you with my tips above. If you have something to add, let me know so I can also improve the quality of my frozen breastmilk!

May 28

Preparing to Give Birth to a Preemie

Just like every expecting mom, I never imagined that I will deliver a prematurebaby, most of all a micro preemie who’s only six months into gestation. Moms who have the most potential to deliver a premature baby are those whose pregnancies are classified as high-risk. You are considered high-risk if your pregnancy involves any of the following:
  • Problems with the placenta
  • Pregnancy with twinsor more
  • Infection in the mother
  • Problems with the uterus or cervix
  • Young or old maternal age
  • Being overweight or underweight
  • Having had problems in previous pregnancies
  • Pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, dabetes
  • Medical condition pregnancy related such as preeclampsia, eclampsia and gestational diabetes.
In my case, I qualify in three items above. I have infection, problems with my placenta, uterus, cervix and I had problems in my previous pregnancy. From the start, my pregnancy was already considered as high risk. If you qualify in any of the conditions above, or your OB-Gyne already advised you of a possible pre-term delivery, then here are the factors that you might want to consider: a.    Find a hospital near your home.

Chances are, you will go home first before your baby. It will be convenient if your hospital is near your home so you can visit and breastfeed your baby several times a day.

b.    Check if your hospital has a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Not all hospitals have NICU so it is best to check out if your hospital has one. It will be a hassle and also dangerous for the baby to be transported just because the hospital does not have NICU facilities. Even public hospitals have NICU such as Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), Philippine General Hospital (PGH), etc…, so it does not mean that you have to be in a private hospital.

c.    Scout for a good neonatologist.
Preemies have different needs and management compared with full term babies so pediatricians may not give them the special care that they need. Neonatologist are trained to handle premature babies and their conditions. Our neonatologist is Dra. Tita Uy who was referred to us by my OB-Gyne. She is from St. Luke’s Medical Center and Philippine General Hospital. With the help of the internet, you can find referrals from mommy forums. Ours got good comments from her patients.

d.    Breastfeeding is a must!
For all babies, it is best to breastfeed, but most importantly for preemies. Their tummies are not strong enough to process infant formula. Breast milk has nutrients that can make babies strong which no vitamins or formula milk can provide. Most, if not all neonatologist require breast milk for preemies. There are available breast milk in some hospitals but they are expensive. Even more expensive than buying formula milk. So why spend loads of money if you can have it for free?

e.    Prepare financially.
How I wish that we can just forget about finances and just focus on our babies. But sadly, that is not reality. Delivering a premature baby can be really expensive from cost of delivery, to baby’s confinement inside the NICU.

Just like in every scenario in our lives, it is best to be prepared. But remember, these points are not meant to scare or cause stress to pregnant moms. These are just things you might want to consider if your pregnancy is high risk. In the end, it is always best to have a full term pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.

 

May 20

The Medela House

After much research and going around the malls to find the perfect electric breast pump, I finally got myself a Medela Freestyle. This unit is not available in most malls here in the Philippinrs. Although some Medela pumps are available in either Rustan’s and Mothercare outlets. I bought mine from the exclusive distributor, Medela Moms at a mommy expo in Rockwell. However, you can also buy it at Medela Moms’ office  called The Medela House.If you’re thinking of a buying an electric pump, then I suggest that you get yourself a Medela because it is worth every penny that you spend. Read my review here. What sealed the deal for me to buy at Medela Moms is because of three reasons; their prices are lower, they allowing fitting of the breastshields, and they provide 2 years warranty.
You can get Medela pumps up to 20% cheaper than market price if you buy it from Medela Moms. I bought mine at the expo because it is the only time they allow payment thru credit card. If you buy at The Medela House, they accept only cash and check. But I believe it is better to buy the pump at the Medela House so you can fit your breastshield. If you did not get the right size, you will not maximize the use of the pump. It will hurt your breast and may not provide you the maximum milk output.
For someone who is a heavy user of the Freestyle pump, (I extract milk at least six times a day because I am a working mom), the warranty is very important because I can have my pump repaired and maintained by the distributor. I believe malls do not offer that. Also, if your pump motor is under repair, they will provide with you with a temporary unit the same as yours so you can resume extracting milk while your motor is being repaired.

Malls have limited, or sometimes, do not have accessories for Medela. At Medela House they offer all types of accessories such as the Quick Cleen microwavable bag which is a lifesaver for working moms like me because I can sterilize my pump and bottles at work; handsfree kits, nursing covers, etc…. I also got from them  my additional set of breastshields. And if you purchase your pump from them, you will get 20% off on accessories purchases.

If you’re interested in buying your Medela pump from Medela House, you can call either Maricel or Beng, the owners of Medela House, at (725-3723, 738-6272, 0917-5614366). The Medela House, is located at #29 1st St., New Manila, Quezon City.  Coming from Greenhills, it’s before you reach Aurora Blvd. From E. Rodriguez, go past Auora Blvd. It’s beside 8 Gilmore Place. It is on a per appointment basis so make sure that you call first before you visit their store.
*This is not a paid advertisement

May 19

Guest Post: Health Tips for Pregnant Moms

Its pregnancy awareness month! Today I would like to share with you an article by my fellow blogger, Katie Moore, about staying healthy during pregnancy. Visit her blog Moore From Katie .
Pregnancy is one of the most important times for a woman to be acutely aware of her health to support the development of her child. It’s very important that an expecting mother maintains or adopts a healthy lifestyle during the pregnancy to help ensure that her child will develop properly. Most of the lifestyle choices made during pregnancy will have a direct effect on the child. It is important that the mother be strong, positive, and stress-free for the well-being of the baby. During pregnancy, mothers should focus on getting the proper nutrition, staying calm and positive, exercising, and eliminating any factors that can affect the baby. Here are some additional tips on how to stayhealthy during a pregnancy. I even provided some of my personal experiences.

A first essential step toward a healthy pregnancy is setting up an appointment with mom-to-be’s doctor.  The doctor will need to begin to monitor the health of the baby and mom and the sooner this monitoring process begins, the better.  Meeting with the doctor early on is also important because the doctor can make recommendations as far as a pregnancy nutrition and exercise plan go Doctors are not only imperative for pregnancy planning, but for delivery day planning as well. Any questions a woman may have about labor signals, delivery assistance, like pain management medicines, and options available for baby following delivery, like umbilical cord blood banking, can all be asked and planned for in advance at her doctor appointments. – It is also important that before getting pregnant, a woman should already find herself a good doctor; one in which she is most comfortable with. It’s difficult to change doctors during pregnancy, especially if it is a sensitive pregnancy.

 

A mother’s nutrition is very important for the development of the baby. While a woman is eating for herself and baby, she doesn’t need to eat double her normal portions. Pregnant women should maintain a balanced, healthy diet and should only consume approximately 300 additional calories a day. Foods rich in iron, calcium, folic acid, and Vitamin A should be consumed during the pregnancy to make sure the baby receives all the vitamins and minerals they need and to ensure that the mother’s body is not depleted of these nutrients once she gives birth.  – Always remember, quality over quantity!

Taking a prenatal vitamin is great way to ensure that a mother is receiving the nutrients she needs that she may not be getting enough of from her diet. Although it seems obvious that pregnant mothers should take the vitamin, many don’t do so because it makes them feel nauseous or they are not receiving prenatal care. Folic acid is necessary for the baby’s development and if the mother does not take a folic acid supplement, the baby is at risk of developing spina bifida. If a pregnant mother cannot tolerate a prenatal vitamin, she should speak to her doctor so they can provide other alternatives.

Physical exercise is also important for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Women that were already physically active should scale down their routine, but continue exercising regularly. Exercise during the pregnancy helps combat stress and depression, reduces the mother’s chances of having gestational diabetes, can reduce some of the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy, and can help the mother be fit for the delivery of the baby. Exercise during pregnancy should be low-impact and mild in intensity. One of the most recommended exercises for pregnant mothers is yoga. There are many yoga classes available for pregnant mothers that are tailored specifically to their needs.

An additional critical step for a mom-to-be is to eliminate all factors that can negatively affect the health of the baby. Substances like alcohol, several medications, cigarette smoke, drugs, lead, radiation and harsh chemicals should all be avoided or should no longer be used. Use of these substances can compromise the growth and development of the baby causing miscarriages and birth defects. The healthier a mother’s living environment is, the healthier baby’s environment will be.

Prenatal care during the pregnancy is very important for both the mother’s and the child’s health. It is important for the mother to have regular visits so the proper exams can be done to monitor the development of the baby and provide any medications or other support, if needed. With these considerations, a mother can expect to enjoy an easy pregnancy and the joy of a healthy baby.

“Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.”