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.”

May 14

Breast Pump Review

I was out of the loop for the past couple of weeks because I was so busy expressing milk for my baby. In my last post, I was asking for advice on which electric breastpump to get. Well, I got myself a Medela Freestyle dual electric breast pump. Before getting the Freestlye, I used two manual pumps. Today I will review these three pumps.

Farlin Manual Breast Pump

 

 

Thumbs up:

  • One of the most affordable pumps in the market 
  • Compatible with standard neck bottles
  •  Available in most malls
  • User friendly

Thumbs down:

  •  Handle is hard to grip. For someone like me who does not have that much milk, it can be very tiring to use this product.
  • Low milk let down. I barely got an ounce for almost an hour and my hands hurt a lot.
  • Breast shield is hard and painful

Recommendation: If you’re on a tight budget and do not intend to use it often, but rather, just a stand-by pump in case your baby did not empty your breast upon latching, then this product will work for you. In my opinon, this pump is not for heavy duty use.

 

Avent Manual Breast Pump

Thumbs up:

    • The handles are soft and very easy to grip.
    • Very user friendly.
    • Available in most malls
    • Very comfortable on the breast since its breast shields have silicon which decreases the pressure on the breast. 
    • Good milk let down
    • Because it is easier to grip, you can dictate your own pressure

Thums down:

  • One of the most expensive manual pumps in the market.
  • Can only  be used with Avent bottles, which are also quite expensive.

Recommendation: If you intend to use a pump at home for moderate use, and has additional budget, then go for Avent. Most of my friends still opt for Avent because of its user friendliness and better milk let down.  It also works for those with sensitive breasts like me.

Medela Freestyle Dual Electric Pump

Thumbs up:

  • The dual pump makes me express twice as fast compared with a manual pump.
  •  It has a good pull which makes the let down easier.
  • Very convenient for moms on the go.
  • Excellent for heavy duty use. I use mine 6-7 times a day.
  • Long battery life.
  • Can fit with standard neck bottles. 
  • Excellent let down. With the proper size of the breast shield, you can actually increase your milk output compared with using a manual pump.
  • Aside from the pump, you get several accessories such as handsfree accessoriers (which makes the electric pump really really cool and convenient), and cooling bag with blue ice (you would not want your precious breastmilk to spoil before you arrive home from work!).
  • It has a memory function which allows you to record the progression of the expression milk that you prefer.

Thumbs down:

  • One of the most expensive electric dual breast pumps but not as expensive as Avent ISIS dual electric pump.                                 
  • Quite complicated to set up and use but after a while you will get used to attaching and detaching the parts.
  • Not readily available in most malls. In fact, I have not seen any Freestyle in any malls. I got mine from the exclusive distributor. I will soon write a post about it.  Medela brand is usually available in Rustans and Ayala Malls but limited products only.
Recommendation: Medela Freestyle is ideal for working moms and for moms like me who has premature babies (because of better milk let down). I consider it as an investment because I will be using it for a while since my baby is not allowed to drink formula milk. If you intend to buy  Freestyle or any Medela products for that matter, I recommend that you buy directly to the official distributor here in the Philippines because it is cheaper compared to mall prices. I will write about The Medela House soon.
 
May 5

Avent or Medela Swing?

In two weeks, maternity leave is over for me. Time to go back to work! Now I have quite a dilemma here which I’m sure fellow moms can help me with. I want to buy an electric pump which I can bring to the office to express milk for my preemie baby. I’m currently using an Avent Manual breastpump and it’s been wonderful. However, I can not bring it to me at work because (1) since I do not have that much milk, it can be very tiring to manually pump to get as much as 2 ounces and (2) it is time consuming as well. Now, with the electric pump, I can stay at my desk and work while expressing milk (with the help of a breastmilk pumping bra of course).
I’ve been scouting for the perfect breastpump and I’m down to two choices; either an Avent Electric breast pump or a Medela Swing Electric Pump.

 

These two are on the same price range. Since an electric pump is quite pricey, I want to make sure that I buy the right one so I won’t go wasting money. Fellow moms, which of the two will you recommend? Basically my concerns are:
1. Which one produces more milk (better let down)
2.  Durability
3. User friendliness
4. Quite motor (some pumps have very noisy motors. How embarrassing to officemates!)

I do hope you can help me out here moms! I will appreciate all your feedback! Thanks.

April 27

A Salute to Breastfeeding Moms

Just like most people, my general knowledge of breastfeeding is that it is very beneficial for babies as it contains antibodies and nutrients that no formula milk can imitate. I also knew that it is the ultimate bonding moment for a mother and her baby. Now that I’m also breastfeeding, there’s one major thing that I realized; BREASTFEEDING IS NOT EASY. Breastfeeding is manifestation of a mother’s unconditional love for her baby.  And with that I have gained a whole new respect for breastfeeding moms.

It took me 4 years of being a mom to realize that. I did not breastfeed my firstborn son because I did not have sufficient breast milk. But with my second son who was born 3 months earlier than his due date, I have to breastfeed because his small tummy can not take in milk formula. Since he is still in the incubator, I express my milk at home and bring it to hospital. The usual frequency of feeding newborns is every 3 hours and that is also what I follow in expressing my milk (except when I sleep at night). That level of frequency means my activities are limited. This afternoon was my first time to go to the mall and I’m literally rushing to go home because I’m late for my milk expressing schedule. I can just imagine how demanding it is when baby is at home and is already latching at mom’s breast. Not only is mom’s activities limited, but so is her sleeping hours as newborns are mostly awake at night. And how about working moms who express milk at work and latches baby at home? Talk about ultimate dedication!
A mom also sacrifices convenience. Breastfeeding can be painful. Breasts hurt when it is full and not expressed; and breasts hurt when being expressed and sucked by the baby. So either way, it can be painful. Also, milk not expressed leaks. Imagine the scenario if mom is out for an errand or in a meeting and milk leaks? You got the picture I guess.
These realizations put me in awe at breastfeeding moms, more so for those who did it for a year or more.  Breastfeeding entails a lot of love, patience, sacrifice and dedication. A mother sacrifices time, sleep and convenience to feed her baby. Breast milk is a product of a mother’s unconditional love to her baby. I never knew that until now. So to all breastfeeding moms, a big salute to all of you!
April 2

Post Pregnancy Changes

It’s been two and a half weeks since I gave birth and I’ve been experiencing some weird changes in my body. I guess this is what they call postpartum hormones.First of which is oily skin. During my confinement at the hospital, I was not able to wash my face with my regular wash. And lo and behold, when I resumed using my old facial wash, I suddenly felt my skin getting oily. An hour or two after washing and pimples came out. They suddenly appeared out of nowhere! Not the big ones but those very small ones. They are scattered around my cheeks, forehead, and chin and even in my body. I wonder if these will go away on my own or I will need the help of a dermatologist.

When I was eating hospital food, I kept complaining to my husband that what they are serving is very salty. But when I went home and started eating our usual menu, I still find most food, especially meat, very salty. Even the good old KFC chicken and Mc Donald’s quarter pounder are salty. Because of this, I’m losing my appetite most of the time which resulted to me losing almost all the pregnancy, weight I gained.

Lastly, I’m also experiencing higher than normal body temperature. I perspire a lot, get thirsty a lot and use the airconditioning a lot! I can’t seem to take the heat!

With all these changes, I guess my body is yet to get used to the idea that I am not pregnant anymore. I wonder how long will it take for my body to resume to its normal state? How about you, what were the changes that you experienced in your body after giving birth?
March 31

My Toddler Diaper Bag Must-Haves

Weekends means the most awaited family time. It is two days of hitting the mall, leisure parks and going to church. Whenever we go out,
my toddler’s bag has the following standard contents:
Extra pair of clothes – a t-shirt, shorts, underwear and socks. I only bring cotton ones so it won’t get too bulky inside the bag
A pair of Sweaters – just in case it gets too cold inside the mall
Cloth diaper – Truly a mom’s best friend! An all around helper! It can be used to wipe sweat, spills, drool, to dry wet hands
Water bottle – I’m very particular with the water that Heinel drinks so I make sure that he brings his own. I place it in a small bag so in case it spills, it won’t wet the entire contents of the bag
Wet towel/Wet Ones – to wipe dirty hands and for “emergency” trips to the bathroom
Hand sanitizer
Light snacks such as biscuits/crackers – you’ll never know if you will get stuck in traffic or the food that you ordered takes time to be served
Toy – since my son loves die-cast cars, I make sure to bring 2 or 3 small cars to keep him entertained insde the car or while waiting in restaurants
Insect repellant lotion
Extra reusable bag – to store wet or used clothes
Fan – for hot days inside the church
It may seem a lot but I am able to fit all these in a medium sized trendy bag. How about you fellow mom? What’s inside your kid’s bag? Feel free to add to the list!
Photo credits: Pursepage.com
March 25

I’m a Breastfeeding Mom!

With my first born son, Heinel, I was not able to breastfeed except for the colostrum because I did not have much supply and he ends up feeling so hungry after latching. It was a frustration. But now, with the birth of my second son, Hendrix, (born only 26 weeks into my pregnancy), breast milk is a must. His small body needs only a mother’s mik. Initially I was worried that I will not have milk again. But with the help of our pediatrician, I was able to extract milk on my first try! Now, more than a week after giving birth, I extract about 1.5 ounces milk every 6 hours and it is gradually increasing. Doctors from the Neonatal ICU says Baby Hendrix only takes in 5ml of milk every 8 hours for now. But just the same, I regularly extract milk just to make sure that my milkflow will not stop and by the time I’m allowed to feed him directly thru my breast, I have enough to fill him up! Right now, we store all the milk inside the freezer and my husband delivers a bottle or two everyday.
More than nourishing my baby, my breastmilk also became my connection with my baby since I can not visit him daily yet because I am still recovering from a complicated CS operation. It somehow eased my anxiety of not seeing him knowing that thru my milk, I am able to help him recover.
I’m happy that I am now part of millions of moms who breastfeeds their baby!
March 21

I chose the right Doctor!

From March 13 to 19, I was at the hospital because 26 weeks into my pregnancy, my water bag raptured. I delivered our second born baby boy on March 15 thru a life threatening, both for me and my baby, CS operation. From the time I texted my OB-GYNE, Dra. Aurora Eugene R. Quiambao of Capitol Medical Center (CMC), of my condition up until my discharge, I really felt her genuine care and concern. Even at the wee hours of the night I can hear her staff giving her updates about me and my baby’s condition. Our conversations are not about my physical condition but she also uplifts me emotionally. She provided us the best team possible to take care of me and my baby’s delicate condition and best of all she referred to us a very good, dedicated pediatrician known in the industry that specializes in preterm babies who was not even from CMC but she deemed best to handle our case.
Her daily rounds always are full of comfort and advise. She is even updated about the condition of my baby. I was so happy with her service and how she saved me and my baby’s life that I was willing to let go of the professional fee that she will charge. Considering that she is one of the premier doctors there, and with all the service she has given us, I was even shy to ask for a discount. But I was surprised when she gave us a very reasonable fee. It was far lower than what we expected. I honestly believe that she can charge way higher than she did and nobody can complain with the level of her competence. Now I trully understand why she has a lot of patients and majority of the babies in CMC were delivered by her.
For those looking for an OB-GYNE in Quezon City area, I highly recommend Dra. Aurora Eugene R. Quiambao of Capitol Medical Center. She is exclusive to CMC which is why I only recommend her if you live along the QC vicinity.