My Little Miracle

The exciting story of God's very special gift to Mama & Papa…

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

I have heard the wonders of drinking Read Raspberry leaf Tea during pregnancy, especially in the 3rd trimester to help tone the uterus and aid an easier labor when time comes. I did not try this during my pregnancy with QB, so this time, I really want to see if it works for QB2.

Well, just like many suggestions or old wives tales when it comes to labor, it all really depends on how your body reacts. Some may work, some may not. And as each pregnancy is different, surely labor and delivery will be too. As some may know, QB was overdue last time. He came at 40+2. Trust me, being overdue is NOT fun! You are already feeling super heavy, super tired, and the waiting game makes you so anxious and stressed. This time, I am really hoping that QB2 will come on time or anytime after 39 weeks. I have done all sorts of suggested ideas to bring on labor quicker with QB, but of course it didn’t work, not even after 2-3 membrane sweeps! So this time, I am very determined.

What I know about Red Raspberry Leaf Tea?

In my own research, I found out these information that helped me make the decision to try it.

  1. It tones your uterus and makes it more effective during labor. It also means that each contraction that you have will be deep and makes progress. 
  2. It makes labor pain more manageable (if you’ve done it before, you KNOW how labor feels like). From what I’ve read, many said that the contractions were painful but manageable and when they are checked, they dilated a lot and next thing you know, its time to push!
  3. It reduces labor time. I labored for 7 hours with QB (from when contraction started till he was born). I consider myself lucky because some first time mamas have it for 12-24 hours. Even then, it’ll be awesome if labor was shorter. Not too short, but a good amount of time (no one wants to have baby in the car!).
  4. It helps even in the after birth. Because your uterus is very toned and effective (it knows what to do!), delivering the placenta could be easier too, and it helps shape your uterus back to normal quicker (from the size of a watermelon, back to an orange). That means getting back in shape faster, without a pooch for too long.
  5. It is safe, pretty much proven and no risk. Research also says that it helps in milk supply and breastfeeding too after birth. Reducing the pain of uterine contraction during breastfeeding. 

Here’s a great article written on RRLT during pregnancy and how much to take it —> Red Raspberry leaf Tea in Pregnancy. Google is a great source of information too if you are deciding weather or not to take it. Bear in mind though, that RRLT may not be suitable in the first trimester (again, depends on your body).

Currently, I am taking 2 sachets/cups a day. The recommended amount would be 3-4 cups in the third trimester, but I may increase it probably around 36 weeks onwards; I don’t want to risk any signs of early labor or a premature baby at the same time. I am saying this because I am already having Braxton-Hicks contractions every now and then. My belly would tighten so hard and then get back to normal. Practice contraction is what they call it. It is not painful, just uncomfortable and makes it hard to breathe or eat. Happens to me more in the evenings.

Where can I buy Res Raspberry Leaf Tea?

There are some local retailers that carries this tea but unfortunately, they are not 100% red raspberry leaf (according to the nutritional facts and ingredients listed). They have the same info and write up on it; that it is for menstrual cramps and pregnancy), but I am not so confident. I wanted an organic one and those that had personal reviews and experiences so I chose to buy from iHerb.

If you’re not familiar with iHerb, it is an online store from the US and they specialize in health, beauty, baby and mostly organic products. Recently, they have been pretty famous in Malaysia and ships direct to us; which is super awesome! Also, now you can change the currency to MYR which makes it easier to see the prices and they have pretty good discounts and deals often. If you want to give it a try, feel free to use my DISCOUNT CODE —> or LRB354 when you checkout for USD$5 off your first purchase! A very good deal indeed. You save RM20+ and that’s the price of one box of this Red Raspberry Leaf Tea!

Here’s the RRLT that I bought. I bought 2 different brands to try because they both seem to have great reviews and they’re both organic. I wanted to try both just for fun and to satisfy curiosity.

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I will keep you updated on the results and give you guys updates too along the process. I am taking this tea religiously because I am praying that it’ll work!

Have you tried Red Raspberry Leaf Tea during pregnancy? If yes, please share with me your experiences!

 

 

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Baby Moon 2015

They always say you should go for a Baby Moon before the new baby arrives, and before adding another addition to the family, you should enjoy whatever time you have left with just the current family. Because it’s all gonna change forever after that.

We were so blessed by our aunt & uncle who sponsored us a trip to Port Dickson over the weekend. We were supposed to go for this trip since July or August as a short break for me; as I was expressing how tired and exhausted I was over Facebook and my aunt took note of it. I was then still in early pregnancy and was feeling all the hormonal roller coaster and just really needed a getaway. Then, there was the haze that took over 2 months to clear, so we couldn’t really schedule the trip. Finally, we decided to use it as our Baby Moon since I am in the home run now and our finances did not allow us to travel anywhere further.

This trip meant a lot to us because it means that we have ‘us’ time and I don’t have to think about chores and work for a moment. We never really get that because I live with my dad in law. And most of the time, we have dinners together and it is never just ‘us’ at home. There are a lot of challenges a when you’re not living with your ‘own’ family; if you know what I mean. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not entirely a bad situation, but it challenges me especially after having kids.

The days when we’re alone, I also realized that we behave differently; at least for me. I am more calm, more patient, and more gentle I’d say. Sometimes at trying times, it makes me raise my voice, having to stand up and prove myself, constantly feeling like a lousy mother, and just bringing me down. And it brings out the worst me in, which is not the real me. It’s really, really hard and there are days I only cry because I know that I am not a bad mother and I can handle whatever the situation. I just want to be me. The real me. And I am only able to be that when we’re a family with just ‘us’.

Anyway, those aside (and maybe in another post when I get the courage to share), we really enjoyed ourselves! Little did we know we will enjoy Port Dickson as much as this. I was never a fan of the beaches in West Malaysia, but this time was different. Maybe because we had QB with us and it was his ‘first time’ actually playing on the beach. We did go to Boracay last year when he turned 1, but he was too young to really do anything or remember anything. This trip has stored many memories in me and it is one that I will never forget.

God has been so good to us. Things we never would’ve thought possible came through and He is forever faithful. The weather was great and the whole trip was eventful. Psssssstt – I even recorded a name reveal video! Not sure how we are gonna announce it, but it’s very exciting!

Here’s some photos to share our trip with you guys and I can’t wait for the next family trip; whenever it may be; with QB2.

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Waking up to this silhouette was one of the best feelings ever.

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QB wasn’t so sure about the beach at first. He didn’t wanna touch the water.

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Goofy family photo!!!

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All ready for the beach with his bucket of sand toys!

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A little more brave the next day! And loving the Applecheeks swim diaper.

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He definitely loved the sand and helped us dug a hole to sit in it.

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I love this photo of the boys in my life.

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Beach time is also ice Popsicle time!

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My 30 week belly. With battle scars. And no thigh gap. LOL.

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Real and raw. A photo with my little lion! I love you, son!

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Picnic breakfast at the beach!

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Daddy dug a hole to sit inside to watch the waves. Pure bliss ~

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One of our favorite photos of QB! He loves the Trunki and is looking forward for our next family trip too!

We all came back slightly sunburned, but Daddy got it worse. I came back with a bruise on my left arm. No idea how I got it. And I had 2 sand fly bites on my face! Not exactly the best place but it’s been a week, and getting better. Beware of sand flies though, if you’re travelling to PD 🙂

 

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Servicing my Spectra M1 breast pump

I have a couple of things listed on my to-do list before QB2 arrives but one of the most important one was to service my breast pump. Regardless weather you direct latch all the time or you bottle feed, you will use a breast pump in some way; at least for me.

I am that mama who overproduces milk. Now now… don’t say I’m lucky, because when you over produce, it is just as hard as under producing. The strong let down, the baby choking on your milk, the milk that sprays everywhere; let’s just not get there. So knowing my past experience, I know that I will definitely be using my Spectra M1 and I need it to be in tip top condition.

I love my Spectra M1 breast pump, and if you haven’t read my review and comparison with the Medela Freestyle, you can read it here. This was posted back in February 2014 when I first purchased it to use, and when QB was 6 months old, and I was exclusively breastfeeding.

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p/s: Please note that I am in no way sponsored by Spectra Baby Malaysia or have any business ties with them. I purchased everything by myself and all my reviews and opinions remain my own.

I used the pump until November 2014, when QB decided to wean himself. So I had used the pump for 9 months consecutively, 2 times a day. I never serviced it ever, in that time frame. And I haven’t had any major issues besides changing the valve a couple of times. The valve is one of the most sensitive part of the pump as any slight tears or deformity will affect your pumping session and yield. Trust me, I couldn’t even see the tear and when the sales person challenged me to change it, my yield went back to normal. It is common that this will happen because when we wash the valve, we could have accidentally pushed it too hard. Don’t worry, the valve cost RM14 per piece and it wont burn a hole in your pocket!(remember that my review is also comparing quality and value for money).

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Another little issue that I had was that the battery did not last as long as before. It would be fully charged and then will only last about 30 minutes before dying. Other than these 2 minor set backs, the Spectra M1 was awesome.

Since I stopped pumping, I kept my pump back into the box,  and cleaned all the parts well before storing them for the next use. Little did I know that I am so excited to use it again in about 2 months time. I sent my pump to Histopoint at SS18 last week for servicing. When the guy tested my pump, he said it was working just fine. At the highest suction level (level 5) the pressure went to about 300. I was amazed and very happy that the pump is still performing so well, despite being in storage for 1 year! However, he mentioned that the suction could be even better after a general service. I also mentioned about the battery issue that I had so he said the technician will take a look.

2 days ago, I got a call from them telling me that they need to replace the pump battery for me as the battery was weak; hence the problem that I had (which I think happened because I dropped it a couple of times during that 9 months of usage). She also suggested me to replace the pump motor as well. I was a tad bit disappointed to hear that because initially the guy tested and said it was still ok. The reason was she said the suction may not be as good (after using it for awhile) and I can chose to replace it later, but that will mean I have to go back there all the way from KL to Subang) and wait a week before I get my pump back. I did not want to risk it, so agreed to go ahead with the replacements.

I was mentally preparing myself to pay a lot for the replacement of parts. When I serviced the Medela Freestyle that I used, it costs me RM300! I was beyond shocked and I also replaced the connectors for RM129. Well, what do you expect from a pump that costs almost RM2000? Or maybe even more now. I asked her about the price to replace my Spectra M1 parts and I was happy to hear that the battery was RM50 and the motor was RM90. I am so thankful that the total price came up to less than RM200 and not too high that I would rather buy a new pump altogether! I paid a total of RM170 including the service fee and collected it yesterday. The guy tested it again and the highest suction went up too 350.

I got to take back the old parts too. Just for fun 🙂

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They also told me that they have a 6 month warranty for the new motor, starting from the day that QB2 will be born. I asked again to make sure it was legit because I would be deeply upset if they told me it was not and if something really happened to my pump. All I have to do is to bring baby’s birth cert/MyKid and then get it fixed under warranty.

I am very happy with the service provided by Spectra Baby Malaysia so far and I hope that many mamas will experience the same too. Even though I’ve heard some not so good stories about their service, I did not experience the same. My experience was pleasant and the people I spoke to was helpful and informative.

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My Spectra M1 is really value for money. I only serviced it once and I believe I will not have to service it again maybe until baby #3, and after storing it for another year or so (if we will have QB3…). I can’t wait to use the pump again and then have another review on longevity and pump performance.

Are you a Spectra user? How is your experience so far?

 

 

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Toys that should NEVER be given to a toddler!

I LOL-ed at myself in my head when I saw Quackaboy receiving a whistle in a party pack. The first thing that came into my mind was how I gave whistles away during a Sunday School lesson in church (this was before I had kids myself). I remember what one mom said to me. She said “These should never be given to kids! Imagine how noisy the house would be!”She was saying it jokingly but half serious as well. And then I realized what I had done. She was a good friend of mine so she was just ‘letting me know’ in that conversation. I have never forgotten that incident. Then, I learned about toys and what kids are like with them.

Fast forward to now, QB is 2. When I saw that whistle in that party pack, I never took it out, let alone show him what it was. I didn’t want to make that mistake and then regret later on. Sure, he will play with it one day and sure, he will know what it is and how to use it. But I decided that THAT one day will not be now. Maybe when he’s 4 or 5. When he can understand better instructions and have better control of his emotions.

Today however, he got hold of a whistle. Being 30 weeks pregnant, I freaked out and panicked for a few seconds; reminded of that incident in church. But thankfully,  it was right before dinner time so he only blew it for about 15 minutes. I told Daddy to please hide it, and hope he doesn’t remember it!

Here’s some of the toys/things that I personally think should NEVER be given to a toddler:-

  1. Xylophones

Daddy said he didn’t mind the xylophone and thought it was good for QB to learn tones/music. But I said no. Mama is not ready for this.

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2. Mouth Instruments

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107621 Laser Trumpets

Thank goodness we haven’t had any of that plastic trumpet toy, but we did have these paper trumpets from a party pack. QB was too young to use it anyway and he didn’t know how to blow it. They got all yucky from saliva so we threw it away.

3. Tambourine

QB got hold of one in church one day and didn’t wanna let go. It was a challenge taking it away and some tears were shed. Never again.

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4. Bell

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These are just 4 of the toys/things that I find annoying, based on my personal experience. Some may love it and that is fine. QB does have other noisy toys like a gun a makes crazy sounds each time you press the ‘fire’ button or a drum that beats when he taps it, or even a toy piano. But those toys are bearable because they at least have an ON/OFF switch. Or sometimes, we just leave the battery out.

Now why do I fuss about these things? I have my reasons and sometimes I wish that those around me would understand and support my decision. And hopefully see my point and think a little further. I am not a fan of noisy toys. There are so many toys out there in the market, but there are some in particular, I really would avoid in my house as much as possible. My reason is this – the unnecessary noise.

  1. With a toddler in the house, it is already noisy, don’t you agree? QB talks all day and sometimes he just cannot stop. I don’t mind him talking. I fact, I love hearing him speak and getting his way around words and learning new words (LOL, I may regret saying this 1-2 years from now). So with the noise he’s making, and the noise we make while playing with him, who needs a noisy toy to add on to more noise?
  2. Quackababy 2 is due in 10 weeks. Now that’s in about 2 months time (ONLY!!!). I can’t imagine one evening when she’s sleeping, and QB would blow the whistle, along with the usual noise from playing with toys and it may wake her up? I know babies sleep better with white noise and some sorta background sounds, but these toys/things are just out of the question. Knowing QB himself was a terrible sleeper as a newborn and baby, I just want to prepare that QB2 may be the same. A sleeping baby is a bliss.
  3. Sleep. We co sleep in the same room with QB and on weekends, he usually wakes up earlier than us. Imagine if he had taken that noisy toy and start playing? I think my head would be aching and I don’t wanna start the day nagging at him to stop playing with it. Mama needs her sanity and peace too. Especially when QB2 arrives.

Having said all these, I am so grateful that QB is an easy toddler. When we take something away from him, he doesn’t throw a huge fit. In fact, often, we are successful at it and he will understand and cooperate. We haven’t had to deal with any serious tears or meltdown from him. With him being such a great kid, sometimes he will still manage to get hold of these items. I only hope that when QB2 arrives, the situation will get better. And we will make better choices.

Have you experienced the same or have other toy/thing that you feel should never be in a toddler’s hands? Please share it with me!

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It’s A… and mama’s intuition is right!

What-is-it

Ahhhh, sorry for not updating you guys. Actually I’ve written posts all along but didn’t post it coz for some reason, I could not log into my WordPress account AND my computer is broken. Well, to be specific, my adapter isn’t working and I had to share with hubs.

Anyway, I also realized that the longer I do not update, the more I have to say and my posts will be like an essay. So from today, I shall update more often (say maybe twice a week? 😮 I better keep my word. Or at least once a week!) and I will try to keep them short and straight to the point!

So first things first…

I will be 29 weeks tomorrow! It’s crazy right? I can’t believe I am in the 3rd trimester already and definitely feeling all the discomfort and slight anxiety. And just to update you guys, we are having a GIRL!

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Honestly, I think I didn’t really have a preference. Why? Because I didn’t want my baby to feel rejected even before he or she is born just coz I really wanted a girl or a boy. So I told myself (and hubs too) that whatever it is, we are so thankful! And to have another boy is awesome! When I look at Quackababy, he is the cutest lil thing and having another of him is awesome! Also, we don’t need anything extras if it was a boy. We have EVERYTHING from clothes to diapers to toys.

But having said that, somehow, deep down in my heart, my intuition tells me that I was having a girl. Even before the scans (which we only found out around 20-21 weeks because I wanted a 99% sure answer) and what could’ve been, I somehow “felt” that we’re having a baby girl. First of all, I was very sick. I think I only felt better around 18-19 weeks along. With QB, I was not really sick at all. In fact, I remember having a pretty good appetite, my hair was thicker and fuller, my skin was good, and nothing really bothered me. This time, my hair is normal, my skin breaks out sometimes, and my appetite is on and off. But of course, some of my cravings did make me doubt my intuition coz they were similar to QB’s pregnancy.

So 29 weeks… and I have 11 to go. Lot’s of stuff has to be done by then. I am definitely feeling the need to nest. I am packing and arranging and preparing all the laundry, and even thought of packing my hospital bag LOL.  I have an appointment this coming Friday along with my 2nd glucose test (yuck!) and will keep you guys updated.

Seriously tho… I have lots to talk about!

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18 weeks & God’s favor is upon us!

I will try to keep this update short and straight to the point as much as possible. But before I do that, I will have to explain a little bit of our situation so that you’ll understand better.

This is actually my 3rd pregnancy. I had a miscarriage with my first back in 2012, then Leo was born in 2013, and now I’m at 18 weeks, expecting our 2nd miracle in 2016. With my first and second pregnancy, we visited private hospitals and got our prenatal care at the private sector. Why did we choose that? Honestly, because we didn’t know any better. All of our friends seem to recommend certain hospitals and doctors and shared their experiences with us. So because if that, it was only natural that we choose wherever we want and where we felt most comfortable. Here’s the list of hospitals that we’ve visited and have a prenatal record:

  1. Assunta Hospital – I was here with my first pregnancy and doc was recommended by a friend.
  2. Columbia Asia, Puchong – I came here for a second opinion when the doc at Assunta told me that our pregnancy was not successful. I also did a D&C here in 2012. Doc also recommended by a friend. Check out blog post here.
  3. Pantai Bangsar – When we found out our little miracle was here, we immediately checked in here and went to a doc that a friend recommended, again. I loved this doc very much and he was very informative. Everything went well, until he told us that he’s retiring and will not be able to deliver our first miracle.
  4. UMSC – We came here after a long research and decided to try this doc. I googled about him and decided to take the chance. Doc from Pantai said he is good and we should proceed. UMSC is the private side of PPUM, which is a teaching hospital and this doc that we’re seeing is a professor too.

Leo was born at UMSC in 2013 and we were glad that things went pretty well in this hospital. Birth story here. Not really a whole bunch to complain about but we accepted it and we were just thankful that Leo was healthy and there was nothing major to be overly concerned about.

This time, I decided to take a big chance to get my prenatal care at a government clinic and birth in a government hospital. Along the journey of motherhood, I met other new mothers too and they shared their experiences with govern hospitals. I honestly never knew how to start or register in a govern clinic, as to private, we literally just walk in and chose our doctor. Long story short, I decided to give it a try. There were some factors that helped me make this decision:

  1. Finances.
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    Both of us were working full time during our first and second pregnancy so money was not really something we were overly concerned about. Of course we chose UMSC because it was cheaper than most hospitals, but it was more of a necessity and we didn’t really have a choice. But this time, I am no longer earning a fixed income where we can be comfortable anywhere. In fact, finances were tighter than it has ever been. We’re going through a wave in our family. So choosing free prenatal care was what seems natural to me. I did not have to pay at my appointments and I have prenatal vitamins for free.  And we are saving thousands of dollars here. I would rather spend that money on good food/nutrition and stuff we need for the new baby (be it clothes, diapers, furniture, etc.) or even save it for organic baby food later on.
  2. Government hospitals support natural births and breastfeeding.

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    This was a huge one for me. In the “supernatural” world of gentle birthing and breastfeeding, we see many extremes. Most of them will be pro natural births (no vaginal exams, no Pitocin, no epidural, no episiotomy, delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin with baby, no baths for baby, etc). Pro breastfeeding (no formula, no bottles, no pacifiers, breast crawl, no pumping, etc). Uhhh, yes. Very extreme indeed. I’m just saying what I know and have read. I’m not against it and I am not super pro about it and I am not judging anyone. I did have everything naturally and smoothly with Leo when he was born. Birth and breastfeeding was great for us. It was great because I’ve done a ton of research on everything before I decided my birth plan and what I wanted. I was very well equipped and I am so thankful that we didn’t go through any major hiccups. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that birth or breastfeeding was easy. I’m just saying that it went well for us and I knew 100% what I was doing.

    This time, I’ve done and still doing my research on how much was it to birth in government hospital vs private and the numbers are very extreme. This prompted me even more to have the baby in a govern hospital. You rarely read about “emergency C-sections” happening in government hospitals. Why is that? Because there is nothing emergency about it. I will share my research about this in another post. So yes, govern hospitals only do natural births unless you have a certain condition or you already had a precious C-section.

    Govern hospitals are also pro breastfeeding. They are not equipped with “emergency” formula. I was shocked when UMSC gave me a form to fill and it had a box where I had to tick if I wanted formula for the baby or not. The nurse asked me “what if I didn’t have milk and the baby is crying?” I said “I will definitely have milk for him!”. Every mother will have, and it’s all in your willpower to believe that and to trust that your body knows what to do. Educate yourself and to do lots of research before you birth. Knowledge is power when it comes to breastfeeding. Again, I am not against formula. If there is a need, please go ahead. If you need a break, go ahead. It is there as an option to help mothers. This too, I shall share my research and thoughts on in a different post.

  3. Thorough checkups and waiting time.

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    Prenatal care is done at the Klinik Kesihatan, and not the hospital. So far, my experiences with the nurses were positive. They we’re friendly and informative with all the questions I asked and even helped me decide which hospital I can birth at. The usual time spent at the clinic is around 1-2 hours. Today I’ve only spend an hour (inclusive of parking, taking a number, taking regular tests, seeing the nurse and leaving afterwards). On some days when there may be more people, I’ve never waited longer than 2 hours, for everything done. I’ve spend a very, VERY long time at those private hospitals listed above, probably half a day! I can guarantee most women you ask, they will agree that waiting time is long and often; taking a number doesn’t really mean anything! I also like the fact that I know the results of all the tests done at each visit and I am aware if there may be any problems because it is all written in the pink book. You get to have a copy and so does the clinic. In private, I don’t remember having any record in my hand, except the ultrasound scans. Everything was with my doctor. There is always an advantage go this. Say I decided to enter private halfway through or decided last minute that I wanted to switch; my records are all with me. Oh, and I do not have to pay for anything.

    God’s favor is upon us!

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    I am so grateful to hear this awesome news from the nurse at my appointment today. We were planning to go for a detailed scan for the baby sometime around 20 weeks. This is for my peace of mind. If you can relate, I often get a sudden anxiety of how the baby is developing. Checkups at the clinic do not include ultrasounds. Of course we can do it anytime in private clinics but I try to avoid having scans so many times as it is not necessary. A detailed scan is where they scan the baby to check for development abnormalities (brain, heart, liver, kidney, etc.) Initially we were going to do it at FMGC which is a private fetal medicine practice but I did not make an appointment because the price was a little too high for us. It was going to cost RM500 for the detailed scan. Today I found out that usually they cost around RM300. I guess the doctors at FMGC cost more because they are practicing at Pantai, Bangsar and because they have great reviews and experience. Today, the nurse told me that there is a free detailed scan given to govern clinic patients at a diagnostic center. It is a learning school for trainee radiologists to learn/practice and their job is to look for abnormalities in ultrasounds. I was thrilled and immediately felt that God was answering my prayers. The nurse also said that the scans are done by the sonographer and if there was anything wrong, we will be referred to the doc at the hospital. I am sure at private fertility clinics; the scans are not done by the doctor themselves too. I was relived and felt that this is what we are going to do. Again, if we were not satisfied by any of the services or scans, we can always go to FMGC later on.

    My heart is so relieved by this news and I am so grateful for this opportunity. I know that God is in control of everything and His favor is upon this baby and our family. We did not have to spend a fortune at appointments (which is what we worry about and even wondered if we can ever afford to grow our family!) and He is really providing for us. Every step of the way. Thank you, Lord. Thank you!

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16 Weeks!

WHAT???

Yes, we are currently expecting our second miracle! It was been 16 weeks and a pretty tough one. I actually wanted to do weekly posts on this pregnancy, but I was feeling very, VERY sick this time round. It has made me unable to work, sleep, eat, and basically not function as usual. I am not exaggerating…

Don’t get me wrong! We are really happy and excited! It’s just that the initial stage was really hard for me. I literally could not function and it made me so sick that I was on bed rest most of the time, literally doing nothing and feeling very useless. It is only now, at around 16 weeks, I am feeling much, MUCH better and slightly back to myself (except that I am still tired most of the time). I could finally eat, smell and cook! I remember thinking to myself, what if this feeling doesn’t go off? What if I am this sick throughout the whole pregnancy? I freaked out! And even thought to myself, that if I have to go through this again, I’m not sure if we will have anymore Quackababies… but deep down, I don’t ever want this as my last J

Anyways, you will see more pregnancy updates here on Mama2Baby again. Hopefully every 2 weeks or so, until the day I give birth and even after! You know… all the exciting stories and experiences to share!

Here’s a glimpse of Quackababy 2 at my 12 week ultrasound.

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In the meantime, our little miracle has turned 2 early this month! I can’t believe how time just flew by and he’s no longer a baby. It blows my mind how much he can speak now and express himself. I am so thankful that he’s such a sweetheart! Leo will always be our Quackababy!

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Stay tuned for more updates! And thank you for staying with Mama2Baby and being so patient!

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CLOTH DIAPER UPDATE!

Hi guys!

Finally, I have an opportunity to make an update on our current cloth diapering routine. This time, I’m talking about cloth diapering a toddler. It’s all a different story from the last update I did which was in July 2014. I would say that it has been a drastic change and my views has changed a lot. Some diapers that I loved then, I no longer love now. Those which I though would be great, turns out not great at all!

There are many types of modern cloth diapers out there, and we love pockets. They are easy to use and easy to clean. Less problems with washing and drying and very versatile. You can stuff them with anything that absorbs! (yes, even old cut up t-shirts!). I like diapers that are waterproof. To me, it defeats the purpose of wearing a diaper if is gonna leak and get wet, yes? So fitteds are out for me. I love how cute fitteds are, but not for a toddler. For a smaller baby, yes. Because you change them so often anyway. Pockets may be troublesome to stuff, but I don’t mind the process. My pros weighs more than my cons. I love that they stain less (comparing to AIOs which mostly are cotton or bamboo inners which will stain unless using a liner) and very trim too.

So after cloth diapering for almost 2 years now, we have found a diaper (or two) that we love. And “we” meaning my husband and I. And I am gonna share why we love them.

Our NUMBER 1 choice is APPLECHEEKS! This brand is 100% made in canada and can only be bought in the West. No retailers in Asia has got them (yet) and I bought them in the U.S and Canada and ship them back here to me.

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Why Applecheeks?

1. They are easy to stuff.
You will know partly why people dislike pocket diapers is because they need to be stuffed before using. Applecheeks diapers has a wide opening at the center and makes stuffing very easy, even for big daddy hands! This is a plus for me because I don’t like it when my hand gets stuck inside a diaper with sticky PUL. On another note, you can also use Applecheeks as an AI2. Just lay the soaker/insert on top without stuffing.

2. They are easy to wash and dry.
Washing and drying is very important for every cloth diapering family. It is only with easy/good wash routines that you will be able to reuse your diapers. Applecheeks covers are really easy to spray (poop!) bearing in mind that toddler poop is so different from an infant’s. The inner micro fleece does not make poop stick on it as bad and they can easily be rinsed off (unlike cotton or bamboo or other natural material). This way, your covers will be very clean and doesn’t stain so much. I’ve had some stains on and off but they clearly go away after sunning. I do not use any liners inside my Applecheeks. These covers dry very fast and can be reused quickly.

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3. They are easy to put on an fit awesome.
Be it a newborn, infant or toddler. Applecheeks diapers are very easy to wear. You do not need to follow wing snap and hop snap like other brands. You can snap it however you like depending on the size of your baby and how it fits best. These are some of the examples.

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AppleCheeks

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As you can see, you don’t have to vertically match the snaps on either side, and you wont have a weird lop sided fit. The wings snap on perfectly and will not restrict baby’s movement.

4. They contain all messes.
This could be kinda subjective but in general, if you had a proper fit of this diaper, they contain all messes and does not leak. I’ve almost NEVER had a blow out on Applecheeks and even if it leaked, it was because I didn’t change Leo as often as I should. The insert you use will affect your leaky problems too. We had compression leak with microfiber and we never used it again. It is known that microfiber doesn’t work so well with toddlers because they move around a lot and compression leak is common with that material. The ruffles on Applecheeks must be turned out and on the underwear line for the best fit. it shouldn’t leak at all.

5. They are worth my money 100%.
Yes, Applecheeks may not be the cheapest diaper available (especially if you factor in shipping and cost of inserts), but they lasted very long for me and still fits great. Applecheeks come in 3 sizes now (1,2 & 3).  I have used my size 2s for more than a year and they are still in excellent condition. Not to mention also that they have been fitting Leo from 7 months until now that he’s almost 23 months. The elastics are great, fleece is bright white, no tears or leaks.

We use our Applecheeks stuffed with their 2 or 3 ply bamboo insert or prefolds. We had just enough of their inserts but because of budget, we use prefolds mostly. Prefolds are way cheaper and they absorb just as good. Of course their bamboo ply is trimmer but unless you want to save money, Grovia prefolds are great. We love the Grovia ones especially because they are made from bamboo and cotton blend too, just like Applecheeks.

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Applecheeks bamboo insert is made of 70% bamboo and 30% cotton where as the Grovia prefolds are made of 55% bamboo and 45% cotton. In case you’re wondering, the Size 1 (newborn) prefolds fit into AC Size 1 covers and Size 1 (infant) prefolds fit into AC Size 2 cover. These were perfect for my stash.

So those are the reasons to LOVE APPLECHEEKS. I only wished I had tried them sooner and used Size 1s for Leo when he was a newborn. I will definitely stock up Size 1s for the nexy baby!

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The second favorite brand that we use in our stash is Grovia! (maybe you realized the hint earlier already?). We exclusively use only these 2 brands now. I particularly like the Grovia hybrid system (shell+soaker). I also have their AIOs but they aren’t fitting as great now that he’s almost 2. The hybrids fit better and still has a lot of room to grow.

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1. They are pretty trim.

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The hybrids fit really well and are very trim at the crotch and bum area. Absorbency wise, I have to change more often because the soaker gets full pretty fast for Leo. But they still hold well for a couple of hours.

2. They are organic cotton.
I started to dislike synthetic material and had lotsa stinks with them (especially microfiber). Grovia was one of my favorites because their organic cotton soaker was absorbent and did lot leave rashes or funny smells on them. Even though the hybrid system encourages people to use the shell twice and just change the soaker, I often change the whole thing and treat them like an AIO. I also love their AIO which is made from organic cotton too.

3. They have superb quality.
Grovia is probably one of the most well made diaper I’ve ever seen. Their prints/colors do not fade and feels very sturdy. I have had new and preloved ones, and their elastics have not worn out on me even after using for almost 2 years. I actually find no flaw in this diaper at all (except of course, pilling from Velcro which is normal). Their TPU material is great and had no leaks at all.

4. Their velcro is the best.

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I do not use any other velcro diaper except Grovia. After trying numerous velcro diapers, I find Grovia the best and doesn’t irritate baby’s skin. Their soft material is very comfortable and gives a great fit for all sizes of babies. I particularly love it for my toddler because he fits very well in the velcro and I can adjust it to fit better. I am thankful though, that my son has never try to undo his diapers, not ever on Grovia, but he has tried to with disposables and other brands. How, why is that?

5. They have very nice prints and colors.
Admit it. Sometimes we only look at prints or colors of each diaper. I have to say that I do like Grovia’s prints and colors too. They don’t look fake, or repeated or used in other brands. Very exclusive and super cute. This is a point for me because I am not a fussy person when it comes to color or prints. In fact, I don’t mind having the same diaper in the same color. But for Grovia, I want very single one of them!

So there you have it, my favorite modern cloth diapers and why I chose them. They work the best for us and I am slightly OCD when it comes to these things. I will only buy what I use and I will rotate them strictly so that each diaper is used equal amount of time. All those that were mentioned in my previous cloth diapering update has been sold or given away. It really depends on your baby which diaper is best. Gender, build, weight and height matters too. I hope this helps for those who are needing a review in these 2 brands. So keep trying… find the best that works for you and does not break your wallet 😉

if you’re a cloth diapering mama, please let me know what is your favorite and share it with me!

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Baby all grown up!

Leonidas has officially weaned. YAY 🙂 and BOO 😦 !!!

Leo has been a boob fan for as long as I can remember in his first year. Nothing else could comfort him more than the boob and he’s never rejected it in any way. Around the end of October (then, 15 months old), I decided that I wanted to slowly wean him. Honestly, I wasn’t too serious about it. More like I wanted to just give it a shot and see how he would react. There were some supporting factors though:-

1. I am leaving for a trip for 5 days in Feb 2015 without him. It makes me worry just thinking how he’ll cope without me around. Which means, no nursing before sleep, in the middle of the night, and comforting him with it. He would wake up around 1-2- times at night, with eyes closed, crying… and only the boob can soothe him.

2. I just did not want to pump anymore! I loved my Spectra M1 and it has served me so well. I just didn’t want the hassle to find time/place to pump and worrying that I may not have enough for the next day (I don’t think that 1 bottle of 3oz is enough for him at daycare anyway). Also, the fact that I am more mobile now, travelling to different places for work and pumping/storing is getting really challenging.

So the main reason was because I’m travelling. And so I thought of giving it a try, slowly and steadily. I was going to nurse him at night still until he is ready, probably until early Feb when he turns 18 months. I knew for sure that he’ll still need milk-any kind of milk. I know many moms recommend fresh milk after 1, but he wasn’t a fan. I wasn’t going to deny him so I bought a pack of the basic Dutch Lady/Dumex Dugro 123 for him to try. He rejected it many times. I probably wasted a whole pack of it. Offering him and then throwing it away.

I would prep one bottle of breast milk and one bottle of the formula to daycare daily. Surprisingly, he accepted the formula (given by someone else and not me) and it has been going great for about 2 weeks. I had totally stopped pumping (no more freezer stash), and some days I would prep two servings of formula to daycare as well. Then, he was only getting breast milk at night or whenever he’s with me. I practiced the “Don’t offer, don’t reject” style. For some reason, one day I just decided to give him a bottle at night before bedtime. He rejected it altogether and would cry. He only wanted me. I can’t remember how long it was, but some time in November, he started accepting it. I will make around 5-6oz for him and he would happily take it, and fall asleep, on his own…

That is when my heart started to ache. I knew I wanted him to wean, but didn’t expect it to be so fast. I was targeting by January or something. Not nursing to sleep was a great deal to me. It was our bonding moment and moments for cuddles and snuggles and lotsa kisses. My heart was aching and I was sad. I actually don’t know what to feel or what I was feeling. Having said that, I still did nurse him in the middle of the night between 3-5 am if he wakes up. He would fall back asleep quickly. Slowly, my heart ached less as days pass by with this routine. I would still spend time with him as he is having his bottled milk and I would cuddle and pat him to sleep.

One day, he woke in the middle of the night and started crying. I offered the boob and he would suckle so hard, it started to hurt. It went on for a few days, I felt very uncomfortable and he would not unlatch! I still had milk, but maybe not as much as it was and a slower letdown. I figured he may be thirsty so I prepped a bottle of water for him. I offered it to him if he wakes and he started taking it more frequently and falls back asleep. It has been a week plus, maybe 2, that he’s been taking the water and no boob 😦

TODAY, he woke up happy and cheerful as he has always been. While preparing to go out, I realized that my boobs are probably slowly getting back to it’s normal size now and wondered if I still had milk. So I cradled him in my arms and offered him the boob. Guess what?

He suckled for maybe 2 seconds and then started smiling at me! I tried to offer again and said “nen nen”, he repeated after me and just stared in my eyes. He turned his head away, smiling and showing me a sign that he doesn’t want it anymore. It was TODAY, I knew for sure he has weaned a 100%.

Part of me is really happy, that my little baby has grown up and being more independent. He would take a bottle whenever and now, he actually looks forward to it and sometimes asks for it. I am happy that I can leave him in the care of someone else without concern (sometimes it’s nice to be able to have some time out alone!).

Another part of me is sad. Well, not sad, sad. But bittersweet. It has been a beautiful journey and an experience I will never forget! I am so blessed to be able to breastfeed him fully until 15 months. The process was quicker than I had expected, and less painful as I expected. We have achieved another milestone and it is time for new challenges and finding new ways to bond with him.

Here’s some moments of our breastfeeding journey :’) Thank you son, for the wonderful and precious experience. I love you!

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Changes and Challenges

I know I didn’t mention to most people that I had stepped down from my previous job. I was a FTWM in a fitness company and it was a pretty demanding job. I have been in this line since 2011 and I enjoyed work very much. If I hadn’t had kids, I would probably still be doing what I did.

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Having Leo changed it all. I started going back to work 3 months postpartum in November 2013. From Nov 2012 until August 2014, I was a FTWM. Those were the toughest months, in my whole working life. I thought I could do it. Just like most moms out there, it pretty normal to go back to work and life just goes on. If you haven’t known, the work I was doing is not an office job. I don’t sit with a desk and computer in front of me most of the time and I don’t get the normal lunch hour and working hours. The fitness industry is great. You meet a lot of people and let me say, it’s a busy, busy day all day, every day. It requires a lot of physical activity and sweat. I teach group fitness and also manage a bunch of trainers with my colleague. The working hours can be very long and tiring.

For that period of 10 months, I haven’t been the “best” employee. My gut tells me and I have nothing to hide. I wasn’t like that before I had kids and now things aren’t the same anymore. I live with my husband, baby, father-in-law, and dog at home. Not a huge family, but there are a lot of thing to be done at home. Often I feel that being the only girl at home, I have much to do. Ok, this is not about me complaining that I’m doing all the chores ok? My husband helps me a lot and he’s been working hard and sharing the chores with me. But there are some stuff that I feel I need to do and it is what mothers/wives do (i.e. cleaning out the fridge and throwing old stuff in there, rearrange the closet and pack away baby’s old clothes, washing laundry, drying and folding them; laundry is NEVER ENDING here, changing bed sheets, preparing meals for the day, sewing some buttons that came off our clothes, filing our bills, etc). Yup, that’s a lot! Maybe not all of them need to be done daily, but you get the idea.

I only get home typically around 7 or 730pm, sometimes even later. And then I start to prep dinner, by the time we eat, it is 830pm or sometimes 9pm. Is that crazy? YES IT WAS. But I had no choice. Slow cooker meals are great but sometimes, I forget to prep them the day before too. If you are a mom that cooks, you KNOW that you plan a day or two ahead and rarely have a last minute decision. After dinner, its bath time and time spent with baby before he sleeps which is 10 or 1030pm if we’re lucky. I did write about my schedule in a previous post, you can read it here.

So it was a struggle for me and I have come to face the fact that I am not a super human. I cannot do all of that perfectly and I am not a super mom. I was so tired and sleep deprived. Leo wakes up 2-3 times at night and I was breastfeeding. When I get home, I was a cranky old goat! I didn’t have smiles on my face and I was grumpy. I took it out on my poor husband, screamed at Leo, frowned and I was just too tired. I cried a lot and struggled at work. It dawned on me that I have to give up something in order to be happier. I gave up my steady income and stepped down to a group fitness instructor. I teach classes, and then I’m off to do whatever I need. Depending on the day, my hours are different. It does gives me some sort of flexibility but teaching classes in several different places takes traveling time and time to shower/change after class and then travel again. But I’m sure you get the idea.

Honestly, I took a huge pay cut and I don’t even know how we will manage our finances in the months to come, but I do know that my Father in Heaven will provide for us. If one door closes behind me, another will open. If there are no doors, the Lord can build one. This is how we are placing our trust in Him and that everything will work out just fine. I know for sure He wants me to be happy and to live life experiencing His blessings and peace.

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It has been one and a half months since I’ve stepped down and I am loving it. Am I still a FTWM? I would say yes, but with less hours and not in an office environment. Maybe you can consider it a PTWM but then my hours are fixed, from my weekly classes. Because my hours are here and there (some days it is morning, some afternoon and some evening), I get to stay at home a little longer to do what’s needed. Here’s what I get to do now, that I never could before:-

1. Cook dinner earlier and my family can eat at normal time. Sometimes we still do so at 8pm, but the difference is I am happy. I am not stressed that I have no time to cook. Also, if I have an evening class, dinner is already on the table and they can have home cooked meals at without having to take out all the time. It gives me an opportunity to prepare healthier meals too.

10411113_10152447668812998_7194448772227731247_n2. Laundry is done in the morning or noon, and no chores are after 10pm! If I had laundry waiting, I can easily say “I’ll just do it tomorrow!” This allows time for me to spend with Leo and my husband. Laundry is also dry by the day and I don’t have to worry if I have no place to hang them when it rains (we have TONS of laundry).

l3. On certain days, I get to be home when Leo gets back from daycare. Yes, he still goes to daycare because my working hours are different every day. I get to take him out of his car seat and see his precious smiley face! He is also less clingy when I do that. If I get home after him, he will not let me put him down sometimes.

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4. I no longer need to pump milk at work! (in the hot changing room, toilet; yuck, in the car). This is such an awesome change. I no longer need to worry if my pump is not charged or if I forgot to bring bottles/lids or if there is no fridge around. I still do pump outside on certain days when my classes are closer to each other. But I can easily just bring the milk back home afterwards.

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5. I don’t have to worry that I’ve no time to pump! If I didn’t pump before class, I could NOT fit into my sports bra. Now, I can just pump anytime needed, without having to attend meetings or excusing myself for it because I am engorged (like I said, I wasn’t the “best” employee coz I had to take time off to pump).

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6. Take Leo out for a day or two to have fun and play. Without having to take leave or step out of work when he’s sick. Do you know how many times I had to tell my boss I can’t come to work coz my baby is sick? (It’s not like they tell you a day before they are gonna wake up with a fever). If you’re a mom, you will know what I mean. There were days my boss wasn’t happy that I’m not at work and I felt that I was being judged.

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Those were just some of the major things/changes I could think of that I can do now. Surely there’s more. Having said that, there is one other con to doing what I do now in my nature of work. I am physically tired and sore. Teaching requires a lot of energy and strength. Yes, I am physically tired but I am happy. Does that make any sense?

Anyway, it has been a great 1.5 months. Who knows what would happen later on. Maybe more doors will open and things can only get better. This too, gives me more opportunity to write more and keep you guys updated and share experiences. Sorry for being away again, I will be more frequent now.

What about you? Have you ever taken a huge step like me? What are your thoughts and did you have insecurities too?

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