Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Breastfeeding in the Qur'an

photo source

Today marks the day when I can finally pray again. That's almost two months of not doing the salah.

As I was about to pray Asr, Laika cried for milk. I have already performed my wudhu (ablution) so I turned to the internet to find out if breastfeeding will nullify it. The answer is no, wudhu is not nullified by breastfeeding. Not even changing of diapers (as long as you wash your hands that has touched urine).

Anyway, I was surprised to find out that breastfeeding has also been mentioned in the Qur'an. You know the saying "breast milk is best for babies up to two years and beyond"? It is clearly stated in the Holy Book.

photo source
In the second surah (Suratul Baqarah), 233rd ayat of the Qur'an, it was recommended that a child be breastfed up to two years. You may wean as long as both the parents are consenting. You may also have another person breastfeed your child.

Contrary to popular belief, Islam regards women highly. In fact, I have never felt more special as when I got pregnant. Do you know that if you died while giving birth, it's as if you died as a martyr? Just now, I found out it's the same thing as when you are breastfeeding your child.

 I do not claim to be so knowledgeable about my religion. In fact, I am far from knowing a lot but I am trying. If you know something about this topic, I'll be glad to listen to you.

Allah knows best.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Eid'l Adha Long Weekend

When Malacanang announced October 26 a national holiday to celebrate Eid'l Adha, our little family planned on having our own weekend rest. My husband is a big traveler while I am all for staying-at-home. When there were just the two of us, we used to always argue on whether we will be traveling when opportunity comes or we will just be watching TV in the house. Now, as Laika is only a little over a month old, there was no arguing, we can't go somewhere too far.

On Thursday night, as soon as Laika's daddy got home from the office, we visited baby Nash, our youngest nephew. What a cute baby! Can't believe she was as small as him when she was born and now, she can hold her head and try to climb on our shoulders while we burp her!

And then, we went straight to my parents' house as they live in front of a mosque. We celebrated Eid'l Adha with them on Friday morning. Unfortunately, I can't pray as I still have postpartum lochia (I know, TMI!). We spent the rest of the weekend with them.

You can see the people if you just squint a little

As for Laika, she chillax-ed the heck out of the vacation. We are so much grateful to my mother and siblings as they took care of our baby while we were there.

It was a pretty laid back weekend. Come Sunday, my husband and I went to our future home. We will be moving in a year from now there. Seeing the showroom, we got excited of the development. This is the reason why we are saving up. We bought it last year. It seemed too faraway then but now, we can't wait for our unit to be done.

Not ours. This is just a model unit.
So that's how we spent our long weekend. Another long weekend is coming up. I wonder how we will be spending it this time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to Live Frugally

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Before my husband and I got married, I never had an experience on living independently. Sure, I lived in a boarding house when I was in college, but my parents gave me more than enough allowance then. I was also with my older sister that time so I had no responsibility except myself.

Imagine my shock when I had to, suddenly, live on a budget. Luckily, my husband is not new to this as he is self-sufficient (unlike me, who, up to the last minute, was living in my parents' house). Together, we had to do steps to adjust to our life together.

1. We are a one-car household. Sure, we own a gas guzzler, but we live in front of my husband's workplace and I commute to work, so the car is not used that often.

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2. We "eat in". As tempted as we are to always dine out (our rented apartment is located in the middle of a restaurant strip), we cook our own meals.

3. Until recently, we never had a house help. A two-man household is fairly easy to maintain. Our electric bill never reached P1000 before as we seldom use the air conditioner. But when Laika arrived, that's a whole different story. (Our electric bill shot up!)

4. We took having a household help to our advantage. Whereas before, we buy our groceries in the supermarket, now, we ask her to buy from the local palengke. Much, much cheaper. Plus, given that we are not with her while she is shopping, she sticks to the list. You don't know how much we've saved without ME doing the groceries. The last minute "maybe I need this" items really add up.

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5. We also have our laundry done in the house. 

6. As I have mentioned before, I cut my husband's hair. And my hair, being always up in ponytail, is pretty low maintenance.

7. We anticipated the added costs of having a baby, so we took measures to still spend as little as possible. My number one motivation in breastfeeding is the free milk. We refuse to buy formula because it's not cheap. YES! All the health benefits are just added advantage.

We also use cloth diapers and avoid disposable diapers as much as possible. Cloth diapers (CD's) may cost much but in the long run, you save much. Not to mention, we got CD's as gifts before (Thanks, Myke). Sure, on the first few weeks, we use disposies. But now, we are 100% cloth diapering. It doesn't hurt that they all look so cute, too.Our brands of choice are bumGenius, next9, Baby Leaf, and Alva.

photo source
8. We live within our means. Good thing, my husband and I don't believe in having a credit card. If we can't afford something, we don't buy it. As simple as that. Although we may have to eventually give in and have a credit card for when we are traveling. But for now, we're good without it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Home Office

People who are very close to me know that I am a frustrated interior designer. That explains my fascination with chairs. Anyway, that's a story for another day. What I want to share is my home office.

To keep me sane from lack of sleep, I channel my frustration by looking at interior design blogs. My computer used to be in the living room. But since giving birth, I have never spent much time there. So we had to transfer the home office in the corner of our bedroom.
My home office

I use a console table as my study. Here are my tools for blog hopping:

1. My 2-year old iMac 21.5" desktop. I love that it has a big screen and I can open many programs and work on them side by side.

2. Leftover box which hides our chargers and remote controls.

3. iPod Touch 3rd Gen for when I have to be mobile. It has been with me for three years and I still never get tired of it.

4. I do my pumping while reading so I have my breastfeeding tools with me in the study. And, yes, that's 8-oz. worth of milk for one pumping session. Thank, Mommy Treats.

5. Alarm clock to time my pumping intervals.

6. Battery-operated lamp and electric fan combo.

7. Lamp.

8. Laika's storage boxes.

9. Bright orange chair.

Being fickle-minded, I may redo this arrangement soon when I get the inspiration. What do you suggest?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Breast Feeding Best Friends

Laika is almost 6 weeks old now. We are still breastfeeding. What made all of this possible? These are our tools:

1. We have already talked about our Philips Avent Isis iQ Uno. How is our relationship with it? Good and bad. Good, because it is still what I am using. Bad, because its motor got busted after two days of using it six times daily. I used to use it only as a supplement to my direct feeding. But when we shifted to pumping daily, the motor gave up. We have yet to bring it to the service center. Good thing it has an option for manual pumping. That's what I am using now. Let's just pray I don't get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Husband felt bad as he bought it for P13,000 in Market!Market! But lookie here. Yup, almost half off. Just our luck.

photo source

2. I ordered the Mommy Treats Oatmeal and White Chocolate Chip Cookies. The cookies were delivered two days after I ordered online. And as a bonus, the seller gave me a sample of her Cupcake Bites. I must say, both variants are yummy.

So, how was it? I will let the pictures do the talking.

My expressed milk before eating Mommy Treats' Lactation Cookies
My expressed milk a day after eating Mommy Treats' Lactation Cookies
The cookies are so effective, I even had to stop eating after the third day (I ordered a week's supply) as I had an oversupply.

3. Before I got my lactation cookies, I bought Mother's Milk Tea from Healthy Options in Trinoma.

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My review: It does not taste good. And the lactation cookies arrived the day after so I only got to drink this tea once. I don't know if it's effective and I will gladly just eat my lactation cookies instead. But it's good to have this as a backup.

4. I got impatient having to pump just one breast at a time with my Avent Breast Pump so we bought a Spectra 3 breast pump from BabyMama. The site sells it as an electric, double breast pump. The only downside, it cannot be battery-operated. And personally, I prefer the mobility of my manual Avent pump.

photo source

5. I also bought other accessories from BabyMama like their Cooler Pouch and some Ice Packs for when we are not in the house.

6. I never got the reason behind having a nursing pillow. But when carrying Laika became too painful for my wrist, I dreamt of having a Boppy pillow.

photo source

photo source

My husband bought me a nursing pillow from Landmark. It costs less than P500 compared to the (I think) P2000-4000 price tag of the Boppy. For now, it serves its purpose.

My nursing pillow from Landmark Trinoma
It is shaped slightly different from the Boppy. So even if the Boppy comes with a warning that you can't have your baby sleep with the pillow, we get to have Laika sleep on our nursing pillow. Plus, if I had it after immediately after giving birth, I could have used it as a cushion for when I sit on hard surfaces (normal delivery hurts down there!).

For now, these are my tools. What else can you suggest?

Who is the Mister of Mrs. Talia Basman?

In the spirit of over sharing, let me share our story.

Before I became Mommy Talia, I was Mrs. Talia Basman first. And before I became Mrs. Talia Basman, I was Ms. Talia Basman. Huh? How did that happen? Let me explain.

Many people have asked how come I did not change my last name when I got married. Some even asked if I even got married at all.

I am married to my cousin. Not to a distant cousin. To my first cousin. As in, we-share-the-same-last-name kind of cousin. As in, our-fathers-are-brothers kind of cousins. Incest? Nah. Not to my religion Islam. In Islam, we can marry our cousins. It is legal. And we live happily together.

Some people, upon finding out about this, are quite disturbed. Some are even asking if the marriage was arranged. In a way, it is (although I have nothing against arranged marriages, provided both parties are for it). Did we fall in love with each other? Yes, we did.

Before we were "arranged", we were best friends. And you know what they say about friendship being the best foundation.

We used to talk and laugh about everything under the sun. Even up to now, we never run out of things to talk about. We even tell each other about everything we think of. We believe that trust is vital in any relationship. We value it so much.

We are married for almost two years now. Do we regret it? Of course not! Although I would love it if I will not always be questioned on my last name especially during interviews and filling out of government forms. But I can honestly live with it. I am at my happiest at present. Especially now that we have our cute baby girl. And that is a big thank you to the Mister of the House.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Laika and Yarrah's Aqeeqah

Upon finding out that we were pregnant, my husband's older brother called us and we planned on having our babies' Aqeeqah (name-giving ceremony) on the same date (because his wife is expecting that time, too). As they are living in another country and they had to plan their going home here ahead of time, even if we haven't given birth yet, we had the date penciled in already. It has to be on the 14th of October, the same date of their first child's 2nd birthday. It is going to be a triple celebration.

Because my husband and I are the ones in the Philippines, we were tasked to prepare for the ceremony. With only two weeks to spare (and a budget to work with), we had to look for the perfect location.

Our first choice was Balay Kalinaw. All four of us, the parents, were from the University of the Philippines Diliman, which makes it the perfect location for the celebration. The place is also rented out for a very cheap price. Unfortunately, the date we wanted was not available.

photo source Balay Kalinaw
Our second choice was Betty's located behind Sto. Domingo Church. It looks nice for a decent price. But then, October 14 is the Feast of La Naval. The place will be very crowded that time and so we had to scratch the idea again.

photo source Interior of Betty's
I was beginning to lose hope. That plus a crying baby is a deadly combination. I texted my husband and he asked from his officemates for suggestions. One medical representative suggested Rustica located at Scout Reyes corner Mother Ignacia Avenue (Tel. No. 415-3558). I searched the internet and they had positive reviews. We visited the place, we liked it, and we booked on our preferred date.

photo source

Days before the feast, we witnessed the slaughtering of two goats (one for each daughter) which is the sacrifice to be offered. It was held in Taguig City, my hometown. The goats had to be healthy and has to have complete sets of feet and nails. After which, the meat of the goats are to be distributed to people, preferably to those who are in need.

During the feast, most of the guests were complimenting us on the food. Some of the meat of the goat were also served that day. Unfortunately, that dish wasn't available anymore when it was my turn to eat. On a normal day, I don't eat goat meat. But for my daughter's aqeeqah, I wanted to have a taste of the dish.

These are the things our daughter wore for the occasion. We also had a hard time looking for a dress as Laika is only a month old and most of the dresses sold in malls are for big babies. Good thing we were able to see one in SM North Edsa.

photo source
We ordered cakes from Estrel's. They have the yummiest caramel cakes with just the right amount of sweetness.

One cake for each girl

The ceremony was hosted by a dear friend, Jane. And it was officiated by the same person who led our wedding, Ustadz Hamjatin.

First, the Ustadz explained what happened days before during the slaughtering of the goats and the ceremony that will follow as well. And then, he recited verses from the Qur'an.

Yarrah being older, first went through the ceremony. After her, Laika followed.

Cutting of the celebrants' hair

Feeding of honey

Putting on perfume

All in all, it was a simple and fun celebration. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Tummy Time

My husband and I do not believe in pressuring our little one into achieving any milestones. Every person is different. One baby may get "there" sooner, others may be late bloomers. But if we can do something to help her get "there", we are all for it.

During Laika's first few weeks, she only eats, sleeps, and then poops. Those are her only activities. The result--when she's asleep, I am asleep, too. And that's most of the time.

We thought of introducing tummy time to her. From the Babycenter.com website: "The experience of being on their tummy helps babies learn to push up, roll over, sit up, crawl, and pull to a stand," explains Danette Glassy, a pediatrician in Mercer Island, Washington, and chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics' committee on early education and childcare.

We started during Laika's 4th week. On her first try, I was nervous. What if she will have difficulty breathing? Why is she crying? Why is she rubbing her nose on the mat? But then I thought, I would have to let her do her thing for her own development. In the end, I was able to witness her hold and turn her head. By the 3rd day, we discovered that she loves her caterpillar toy so much, she follows it through her eyes wherever it goes.

Here's a link of a video of her during tummy time. According to what I read, it's okay if the baby cries. She's just not used to being on her tummy. You just have to let her feel that you are there for her.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Laika's 4th week

I am a fan of the Young House Love blog. It's about two DIY dorks who are full-time bloggers managing a household consisting of a chihuahua and a cute little girl. In fact, most of the things I do in our little home, I got from them. Cloth diapering-check. Breastfeeding-check. Living frugally-check. Cutting my husband's hair-check. If only I can DIY some kitchen cabinets and chandeliers as well!

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Anyway, one of the things I picked up from them is their Clara's Photo Project. Every week for the first year of their daughter's life, they photograph her against a fabric background. I thought, even before I got pregnant, I should do that, too. But I can't afford to do it every week (as I am soon going to come back to work) nor can I buy a fabric every picture-taking time.

I thought of modifying my way of documenting my daughter's progress. Instead of doing it weekly, I will be doing it every four weeks. I will be using my favorite red chair as a backdrop to compare how much she's grown monthly.

For the first month's picture, Laika is still sleeping (isn't she, all the time!). Good thing I managed to get a shot with her flexing her mouth muscles which makes her look like she is smiling.

Laika @ 4 weeks
Isn't she adorable?

Monday, October 1, 2012

On breastfeeding and bottlefeeding

Even before we had a baby, heck, even before we got pregnant, my husband talked me into breastfeeding exclusively. He is a strong believer in providing nourishment that has been given naturally to a mother. Being the good wife that I am (hahaha), I knew from the very start that I will be breastfeeding my soon-to-be-born child. But don't get me wrong. I don't judge people who decide to formula feed their babies. I believe in doing whatever works for you and the baby. I do judge, on the other hand, people who judge formula-feeding mothers. Does that even make sense?

Anyway, my baby is now 3 weeks old and I am proud to say that she has only taken in milk that came from me. That is, except for her first 2 days in the world when the nurses in St. Lukes Global City, where she was confined for the first 3 days of her life in the NICU (more on that on other blog posts), took it upon themselves to feed her glucose water. Upon finding out about this, my husband told the nurses to stop this and we started visiting her every 3 hours round the clock since then to stimulate my breasts to produce milk.

I regret not having read much about breastfeeding as much as I did about pregnancy. Husband told me I should stop regretting and instead look at this as an opportunity for me to share what I know now. I've listed some of them below:
  • I didn't know I should have started having baby latch to me as early as possible to stimulate milk production. 
  • I didn't know it is okay to not have milk the first few days as baby has food reserves from when she was in my belly (milk came in 3 days after baby was born). 
  • I should have known having a supportive partner is essential in this (of which I am very lucky to have). 
  • I should have known and read about engorgement and how much it hurts like hell!
  • I should have purchased a breast pump before I gave birth. This has been a very worthy investment for us.
After reading much about breast pumps when I was pregnant, we decided on getting an Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump because of the great reviews.  But because it is not readily available in malls here and to have one, I would have to purchase it online, we weren't able to buy this one.

photo source

Because of engorgement and my postpartum condition, my husband had to buy one immediately after we were discharged from the hospital. He went to Market! Market! and I asked him to buy an Avent Isis iQ Uno Breast Pump. It also had great reviews but it is more expensive and it only has one pump. The good thing is it can also be used manually and can be battery-operated. At present, it is my best friend in the world!

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Just yesterday, for the first time ever, we gave in and bottled-fed Laika using my expressed milk. We believe breast milk is still good in whatever form it comes in. We use Philips Avent and Tommee Tippee bottles. Before then, we tried giving expressed milk through medicine dropper. We originally didn't want to introduce bottles yet to avoid nipple confusion but we had to as Laika and I had latching issues. It also hurts too much!

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Of the two, I prefer Tommee Tippee more as it is slow-flow. We also had zero problems on nipple confusion as I still feed her directly from time to time and she has more efficient latch as compared to before. I noticed that she also feeds more now that we introduced bottles to her. My problem now is my milk supply can't keep up. I ordered lactation cookies from Mommy Treats and it will be delivered tomorrow. I will be making a review once it gets here.