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My Breastfeeding Journey

Whenever I envisioned my life as a mom prior to getting pregnant I always assumed I wouldn’t breastfeed. This was simply due to the fact that I was uninformed about the benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby. Another contributing factor to my outlook was the fact that my mother had chosen not to breastfeed me and my siblings and I thought we all turned out just fine.

 

Everything changed the moment I became pregnant and started learning what was best for my baby. As soon as I became aware and educated, I knew that I would be a breastfeeding mama. That didn’t mean I wasn’t anxious. I had done enough research and polled enough friends to know that nursing was not only challenging but also painful. One friend likened the feeling of breastfeeding to shards of glass shooting out of her nipples. Needless to say I was terrified.

 

I remain forever thankful to my girlfriend who described that worse-case scenario because it managed my expectations and I went into my breastfeeding journey expecting and prepared for the worst pain imaginable. When I finally started nursing my baby, I was relieved. Yes it was uncomfortable and difficult, but it was bearable (for me).

 

Many friends have told me that they wished they had known to expect that kind of pain and difficulty in the initial stages of breastfeeding. So I am here to tell you that nursing a baby will probably be one of the most challenging things you do in your first few months of motherhood. Many things worth doing in life aren’t easy but the rewards are immeasurable. Providing breastmilk for your child is one of the best gifts you can give him. So if you are physically able to breastfeed, please persevere. It will get easier. In my opinion, I would say it can take up to 8 weeks to really get the hang of breastfeeding. But you will get there.

 

For some women, breastfeeding doesn't come naturally. It is a good idea to do your research about breastfeeding or talk to a lactation expert.  You may hit bumps in the road when baby is just fussing for days and you wonder if you can make it through. Find someone to talk to who can support you. Or pump your milk and let Dad take over. Trust me he will enjoy the bonding moment with his baby and you can rest your weary self for a few precious minutes.

 

I nursed my first son for 15 months and only stopped on doctor’s advice because we started trying for baby #2. When I weaned my son I was a little heartbroken. It is an exquisite bond that I can’t really articulate into words. I am now enjoying my breastfeeding experience with my second son! You can do it mommies!

Nursery Must-Haves

 

 

You walk into the baby section of the department store and instantly, you are lost in a labyrinth of cute, pastel--in-boots-eyed "essentials."  All claiming to be an absolute necessity, all claiming to be the best brand for whatever purpose.  Worst is the marketing claim that this is what your baby needs and you are giving your baby only the best by choosing to buy their product.  Ay what a load of crap!  You will be needing next to nothing in your baby's nursery, they do not require a whole lot (and expensive) of stuff.

 

I have listed down 10 nursery must-haves. Arranged in no particular order, just a list made up of things that I feel could help a first time mom sort out any shopping confusion that she may have.

 

1. Baby video monitor    

A baby monitor with a video cam helped me keep an eye on my baby wherever I was in the house.  I could watch TV (with the volume up) in another room, do my house chores and eat without getting all praningger-z (paranoid).

 

2. Nursing pillow    

These pillows that fit snugly around the waist cradles the baby while breast feeding.  I found it most helpful when I was feeling tired and needed support.  But its purpose doesnt end there.  It can be used for tummy time and for when learning how to sit.

 

3. Pack n play

Just as the name suggests: easy to set up, easy to pack away.  Perfect for traveling, served as my baby's crib and play pen.  Light enough that it can be moved around the house (or wherever you are traveling to).

 

4. Night light

Try changing the baby's diaper in complete darkness.  Ha!

 

5. Music    

It was Friedrich Nietzsche who said that "without music, life would be a mistake."

 

6. Safety latches and electrical outlet covers    

Oh I don't need to expound on this, right moms?

 

7. Ceiling fan

I don't know about you but I get paranoid with having a stand fan around the house! The blood! The pain! The little fingers!  Aaaaah!!!  That is why, in my house, we only have ceiling fans.  It is a great space saver and it is very safe.

 

8. Changing pad    

Most diaper bags that I have seen in the market include a waterproof changing pad that slips nicely into the outer pocket and is very easy to clean.  This is the same one the we used at home.  Because we lived in a condo, space was limited and we couldn't fit a changing table so diaper changing happened on the floor, on the bed or inside the play pen.

 

9. Mobile    

My Tomas' first best buddies were little stuffed animals dancing around over his head.  His mobile would keep him entertained for long periods of time.  This also helped keep him distracted during diaper changing time.

 

10. Black out blinds or curtains    

This was quite an investment but I love my black out blinds!  Unlike my Lucas who was (and still is) a great sleeper, Tomas' sleeping hours was pure chaos!  He would sometimes be awake the entire night (meaning, me too) as if it was day time. The black out blinds helped me get some quality zzzzz's while my baby was napping too.

 

 

A few pointers while planning the nursery:

- There are so many products that are just out there on the top shelves because they paid good money for marketing but that's just what it is, a product of marketing.

- Do your research, read product reviews, see what others think about it, check for quality, see if it may be toxic to your your baby (remember that they put everything in their mouth), identify if it's a choking hazard.

- Not because it's expensive, it means that it's the best.

- Babies need next to nothing.  What they need the most is the love and care that only you can provide.

Budgeting 101

The happiest day of your life has dawned. Your little bundle of joy had made his grand entrance and every facial expression was recorded for posterity.

The future, indeed, looks bright. As your life begins to settle into some semblance of order, take a few minutes to reflect on the many changes parenthood will bring. Remember that your responsibilities extend beyond the fun and playful aspects of raising a child. You will have to adjust your budget and spending habits to accommodate the needs and wants of your child. In particular, don’t forget to plan for a financial nest egg that will sustain you through the inevitable rough patches life will bring.

 

What You Need and What You Want

These are two separate things entirely. Before you go crazy with all the fun and innovative toys and clothes out there, don’t forget to stock up on your basic requirements. Obtain a list from any of the major department stores and shop around to get even better deals. Stick to the items you truly need.

Set a Budget

It’s so easy to lose track of your spending as you excitedly shop for your little one. Once you have a list of the basic requirements, develop a one-time budget for the big-ticket items you will only have to purchase once. A sturdy crib, a portable stroller, and a car seat are just some of the must-have things on this list. A working monthly budget can then be made. Diapers, powdered milk, baby wash, and cotton buds must be accounted for, in addition to your regular household grocery list. 

 

Plan Early

“The early bird catches the worm.” There is a reason why this age-old adage still holds true. There is no better time than the present to set your goals for the future. Short-term goals can include weekend vacations and preschool education. Long-term goals must take inflation of college costs into account. Further down the road is retirement. Although it may seem to be excessive to begin thinking of these things, it always pays to be prepared.

Get the Best Deal

Prices vary depending on the store. The same can of powdered milk may be significantly cheaper in your neighborhood grocery store as compared to the bigger department stores. It therefore pays to canvass around for the best prices. Of course, this does not mean you have to go to five stores in order to get the cheapest rates. You’ll end up spending more for transportation! Don’t sweat the centavos but consider differences of more than ten pesos per item.

Second Time’s The Charm

It is a fact of life that children outgrow their clothes and shoes faster than you can blink. Thank generous family members for contributing gently used clothes and shoes for your little one to wear. Don’t forget to return the favor to the next one in line. Along the same vein, consider searching through thrift stores and websites for second-hand items. That Little Tikes trike you’ve been eyeing may just be had for one-third of the price at the mall.

At the end of the day, learning how to manage your resources should be a family effort. Make sure your whole family, adults and children alike, are involved in key decisions. The “I want to buy this now” attitude can grate on parent’s nerves the same way an empathetic “no, you can’t have it” can lead to public tantrums. Ensuring everyone understands the rationale behind your budgeting principles may make this rough sailing as smooth as circumstances allow it to be.

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2017
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