Back to our Wednesday habit! Answering questions gathered from my mail again. (If this is your first time, read this post to know what Wednesday Wonders is all about.) And since I’ve been getting a lot of the mommy stuff, I decided to postpone answering those first and give way to questions regarding beauty tips and relationships. Rest assured, the parenting questions will come in by next week! :)

Q: What is your secret to youthful, glowing and beautiful skin? Can you share the staple products that work for you ?(Most especially your skincare like cleanser, toner, and moisturizer.)

A: First of all, I wanna say thank you for the compliment. I actually have a lot of people telling me that I am so lucky I have nice skin. And you know what? I agree. I think skin is basically something that we genetically inherit, and I believe that my fair, milky complexion comes from my Mom. If there’s anyone on earth I envy about when it comes to clear and smooth and pretty armpits, that would be her! Hahaha! :) Seriously, she gets only about 3-4 stubs of underarm hair, U-N-F-A-I-R!!!

With my super lucky pamana from my Mama, I have to say then it doesn’t take much for me to have a whole skincare ritual etcetera. I don’t put moisturizer, for sure. All I like to do is wash my face clean in the morning and at night. And what soap to use? Haha, any soap I find in our stock.

I just really like to wash my face. That's all. Hehehe.

I just really like to wash my face. That’s all. Hehehe.

 

However, about once a year I go to my derma for peeling. I think that one’s necessary to take out dead and dirty skin. She then gives me a soap to use with sunblock and moisturizer made specifically for the peeling face. I stick to that set for about a month or two.

Personally, I also think that diet and rest and water intake affects our skin. A healthy lifestyle, less oil and less bad meat, lots of water, and adequate rest, always make it to the best recipe for that all natural glow. :) (Add narin happiness, hehe. I always seem to have better skin when I am joyful!)

Q: Would like to know your thoughts / stand on first cousin dating/marriage. And also would like to know the stand of Victory Church on the said subject. Are they allowing it? 

A: You know I never thought about this before since I never wanted to marry any of my cousins anyway, haha!

Let me just get Victory out of the way first, since I really am not sure about what their stand is on the subject. Actually, our church really isn’t one that promotes a mindset of “one stand for all,” but encourages us to seek the Lord through His Word (accurately so and not just random interpretation), and hopefully from there, we may clearly hear His will.

Now personally, my first thought when I read your question was, “What does the Bible have to say about this?” As I have already mentioned before, all that I do is screened and tested by the finality of God’s Word. Problem was I cannot remember anything from it that allows or prohibits first cousin relationships. When people in the Old Testament married their close relatives, it wasn’t as if the Word is commending the act but more like telling history.

My next thought was about governance. I researched a bit on it and apparently, there are places where first cousin marriage is legal, and some places that are not. If we read Romans 13:1-7, God is telling us to be subject to governing authorities. That automatically means that we have to abide by the law of our current governing authority and so I guess marrying a first cousin will have to depend on where you live and what the law says about it.

Law is one thing, and society another. Many societies deem the act as incestuous, and so taboo. Then there is the scare of genetic disorders which are said to be more likely to happen when we marry from our own family. Again, I searched up a bit about these things and turns out that some say the rate isn’t really that much compared to completely unrelated people marrying each other and still ending up with an abnormal kid.

You might find this useful?

You might find this useful?

After all that I’ve read, here is what I would do if this were my own dilemma. I’d consult my mentors in faith about it and seek more of God’s revelation from His Word- first and most important! If right away we see the Lord prohibits, no questions asked, I shall drop the relationship; if okay in the Bible, next is to know if this is legal or illegal in the Philippines; incase the Philippine law is also okay with it, I would go for genetic counseling (some countries require this before cousins marry) to see what may happen to our children and if I’d have the grace to face that reality; and lastly, really think about the consequences shall I decide to push through with such an unpopular decision. As much as I’d like to think that marriage and such things are personal, the public life is still very much a part of us and us a part of it. We cannot exist apart from societies, and so I better be ready for the pressure I take upon myself when I make decisions that stray from socially accepted practices.

Q: Rephrasing next question since sender wrote it while telling her story, and turns out to be too long, and maybe even too private, to publish on my blog. Basically, all she wants to know is if it’s okay to have a strong desire for marriage with her boyfriend for the following reasons: 1) the struggle to remain pure in their relationship (or to refrain from having premarital sex), 2) the pressure from aunts, uncles, and cousins to marry since “time is running out” and she’d have a difficult time conceiving when she’s older, 3) to desire it so much because she sometimes fear that he will leave her.  (Sender even remarked that she feels crazy to have these thoughts but that she just doesn’t know what to do. Other notable things about her that are crucial to my answers will be that she’s a Christian, 25 years old, and has been with her boyfriend for already 4 years.)

A: First things first, to remain pure in a relationship gets harder and harder as time goes by. I believe that when God created the concept of union between man and woman, he patterned it after Himself as a relationship in the Trinity; in flesh and in spirit, you must be inseparable in all ways possible. This is why it doesn’t matter which comes first, physical or emotional intimacy, but long after you’ve engaged in any of them, surely the other will follow. This is why the Bible says to not awaken or arouse love until it so desires (Song of songs 8:4). I will have more on this when I get to your last inquiry.

Now desiring marriage our of pressure from family I think is very wrong. First of all, I am totally against the idea of pushing people to marry. Parang gusto ko laging sabihin sa kanila, “Bakit, ikaw ba ang magpapakasal at matatali habang-buhay?” The consequences of marriage will last a lifetime, and so I always say “better late than sorry.” Your relatives won’t have to put up with it, in  case you made a wrong decision naman diba? It will be your burden for the rest of your life- yours and yours alone.

Please do not believe them also when they scare you about a woman’s body clock. I was already 29 when I got married and you are just 25. I was already 32 when I got pregnant, and now 33 with our 3 month old firstborn. The Bible says that Sarah, wife of Abraham, was already in that age where their bodies are as good as dead, yet she still conceived and bore her son Isaac. God opens and closes wombs. He wills these things and by faith we believe that what He had prepared for us is good, pleasing, and perfect!

Now for your last question, here’s a story.

When I was just dating Joseph, I prayed and asked the Lord to help me to let go shall we hit our first year and he hasn’t proposed yet. I did this because coming from a past such as mine, where my relationships lasted for so long (1st boyfriend was for a year, 2nd was for 2 years, and 3rd was for 4 years) and ended so painfully precisely because they lasted way too long without us ending up together, I figured it wouldn’t be wise to do it again.

Try to get this book if you can. Such an eye-opener about the meaning and purpose of marriage. Might help you in your dilemma, as well. At the end of the day, even marriage is not for our own happiness, but to glorify God. (And when we do so, we find that this is when we are most happy and satisfied!)

Try to get this book if you can. Such an eye-opener about the meaning and purpose of marriage. Might help you in your dilemma, as well. At the end of the day, even marriage is not for our own happiness, but to glorify God. (And when we do so, we find that this is when we are most happy and satisfied!)

There above I mentioned it doesn’t matter which comes first, physical or emotional intimacy but that one will surely follow the other. The longer we stay in a relationship, the more intimate we get. And this carves our hearts deeper and deeper to the point of desiring marital union- rightfully so, if you ask me. However, since there is no certainty unless you really do get engaged and finally find the time and means and guts to marry each other, this desire might result to paranoia at times; we fear because we cannot be sure.

To act in fear is not right, but what to do when you cannot force certainty out of time, right? Exactly why I prayed to the Lord and asked for grace after a certain length of time where I can say it hasn’t been too short to give it a try, but neither too long to quickly get over the bond. That length of time for me was a year. I knew that anything above it won’t be wise for me anymore. I just knew that past one year I would already be wanting more than what Joe might be willing to give, and it was clear to me that if he proposed, I’d like it to be because he heard from God and not from me.

Now do I advise you to do the same and give yourself a deadline? Certainly not.

Rather, I encourage you to pray and ask God for the faith He is giving you about your relationship. Your story and my story are different, and God might be giving different instructions to us. But it is extremely important to seek His wisdom and will when you are struggling. All I can say that is specific to your situation though is that it is completely normal to desire marriage at that point, and to even want sexual intimacy. But to marry and to have sex must be done in the right context, and that is what you have to pray for. Dalawa lang naman yan: either God would give you contentment and the grace to wait for your boyfriend (and refrain from doing what isn’t right), or the grace to let go if you cannot wait any longer. The important thing is that whatever you do or decide on, the goal must be to honor God.

 

Spring Fling PH 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

We’ve only got two seasons over here in the Philippines which are wet and dry, rain or shine. Right now, summer is just making itself so evident to us Pinoys but thanks to the trio of Patty, Kelly and Alessa for bringing in a breeze of Spring, and a whole lot of fun. :)

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Beginning of April, this trio put their blogging powers together and formed a small event for us lucky ladies, and called it the “Spring Fling.” Like what they said in the opening remarks, this idea came about in the their desire to bring their blogs to life. And since each blog is what they call “an extension” of themselves, of who they are, we really were just invited to experience things that are dear to them.

blogging power

For Patty, it was the food! Although my sister had a point that it is kinda hard to believe since Patty is so skinny, but the truth is that she really is a foodie! Not in a terribly cultural sense, but simply like any other girl who loves all things delicious and sweet, pretty and nice!

early bird

Their champorado is  TO-DIE-FOR.

Obviously for Kelly it was about fashion and style. She showed us some of her GUESS picks and as always, they were very much in vogue.

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Pat:Alessa

Alessa’s was all about Brush Calligraphy. She gave the ladies a workshop on some basics and we all had a blast learning something new for the day!

art workshop

We followed all of her instructions yet somehow we can never get the way she does it, hahaha!

What gifted hands!!!

But what blew everybody away was that this trio along with their partners, pulled an “Ellen Degeneres Act” by giving so many awesome gift surprises! The ladies couldn’t stop shrieking and giggling in delight with the stuff that we got. It actually has been weeks since the event, but I’m still reeling from the experience.

freebies

An actual photo of my own loot. W-O-W.

And so again, get ready for this. Thanks to:

@iconeyewear, @theinspirationseekers (L’Indochine Wallet), @pondsph, @tresemmePH, @mylittlebuttercupMNL (cupcakes), @goodyph, @pipinoveg (Pipino goodies foodies), @laterceraonline, @luluswing, @onelifestudio (Pilates lessons), @earlybirdbreakfastclub, @joanandklaire (tote bag), @happyskin_ph, @lifeonthesands (LAGU), #sharpie, #GUESS!!! (all found on IG, too.)

Other than the gifts, I personally enjoyed that afternoon because of the following:

1. Being seatmates with Cecil Filart! No one understands the appetite of a breastfeeding mom than another nursing mama herself! We just enjoyed the food so much!!! (Specially that Early Bird Breakfast Club really is a favorite…haaayyy…)

2. Going crazy with my sister about the stuff we received and so loved. Like: SHARPIES! Lagu, Lulu Swings, La Tercera Kimono cover ups, our fancy tote bags, and really just so much more.

3. THE ALESSA LESSON. I love learning new things and though I wasn’t able to concentrate so much in this particular part of the afternoon event because I had to be feeding Philip, it fascinated me to watch and learn from Alessa’s magical hands! (Paula and I were just so thrilled to do this, too, as we are major fans of DIY and arts and crafts since nineteen-kopong-kopong.)

personal highlights

4. Seeing old faces and meeting new people- which includes Ellen Joy Co, owner of Early Bird Breakfast Club. We just seem to connect on so many levels, and I’ve got the Spring Fling to thank for the introduction. :)

5. Winning an awesome coffee machine!!! Hahaha. I don’t even know how I won it because I was busy feeding my son, but…I DID! And that’s all that matters! Hehehehe.

Caffe Cagliari from ThirtySix-O Media on Vimeo.

***Credits to Thirty-Six-O girls, Alessa Lanot and Chris Celemente, for the photos.

Now I cannot wait for “spring” next year! 2014′s been such a good one, I wonder what they’ll be giving away next time. Maybe plane tickets??? Hahaha!

Again I thank these three women for inviting me, and congratulations for such a successful event! See ya next year!

Understanding God the Father

Friday, April 18, 2014

We just got back from a week long trip to Singapore. We were there because of the invitation to speak to the single people of Every Nation Church Singapore, which turned out to be so fun! It was also Philip’s first time to fly out of the country, and I just can’t wait to blog about my experience, as some information might be helpful to other moms who would want to fly with their little one, as well. :)

Since it was also my first time to fly as a mom, I decided not to add any more challenges to the already demanding task of motherhood. So I refrained from the call to blog on my regular days, which were Monday and Wednesday and concentrated on our traveling rhythm instead. But now I am back with something reflective, which maybe suits the solemn mood of this Lenten season.

Now to my readers who are tired of the mom-stuff, I am sorry, haha! But I blog real time and this brand new aspect of my life opens me up to a lot of things I hadn’t known or noticed about ever before and I’d be more than happy to share them with you. One of which is an inkling of what God the Father must think or feel in relation to us, His children. And here goes my stories.

1) A Reward

One time I was looking at Philip straight to his face, eye to eye, and from the well of my heart this statement had come up, “You are my reward!” I had a sudden revelation that perhaps this is what the verse means when it says that children are a reward from the Lord (Psalm 127:3).

From all the day’s, night’s, midnight’s work a mom must go through, I realized that God had given me a reward in my son himself. Without having to do anything, he is the face and being that refreshes my soul, for whom I had worked so much for.

Here is a video that went viral recently, and I think it perfectly describes the work of a mother in simply keeping her child/children alive. Haha! If this is already a tough job, how much tougher can it be in God the Father’s shoes???

In the same way, perhaps God the Father might also come across the same sentiment of delight that we, as His children and His handiwork or workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), in leading lives of complete trust and reliance on His power and grace, is already His very reward! Not that God needs a prize, but that maybe a loving relationship with us is what it makes it worth all the work He has to put up with when it comes to ugly, messy, sinful human beings!

2) Delight and Desires

Philip is amazing with people, and hardly fusses when there are lots around him. But when we go home where it is only his Mama and Papa around him, I can clearly see how much he delights in his relationship with us and in our presence.

And every time he expresses his delight in his smiles and in the wiggling of his arms and feet in excitement as we come near, my heart melts and I can’t help but understand this verse so well,

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

(Psalm 37:4)

Really, the delight that my son takes in me makes me want to give him all that he wants!

Perhaps in a more profound and immeasurable way does God want to give us all that we desire whenever we truly, genuinely delight in His word, will, love, and presence!

3) True Son

In one of my most favorite worship songs (You Are My Vision) a line goes like this,

You’re my great Father and I’m Your true Son
You dwell inside me, together we’re one

When Philip was born, my first thought was “Wow, this is really my son; he is so white!!!”

Is it not when kids get rowdy and unruly we begin asking, “Whose kids are they?” We always trace back to the parents for everything and if that’s the case, I really should be carrying traits that very well speak of God as my father, and I her true daughter, made in His image and likeness.

Sadly, I am but a poor reflection not only sometimes, but many times. Nevertheless Jesus, God’s True Son, gives me an example of and the grace for what we should be as God’s children! Each day of the Lord’s grace is so precious like that, in its power to transform me closer and closer to the image I am originally made to resemble. My hope is that in the continuous work of sanctification in my life, it will one day result to people no longer questioning but only easily recognizing me as a true child of God!

4) A Joy to Others

One thing I love the most about being Philip’s mother, is to see the joy he is able to bring in different situations and into people’s days and lives! In the same way I think God is really pleased to be called Our Father in Heaven when we become a joy and a blessing to others. :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5) Children and Restoration

Before I even got pregnant, God had already revealed to me the purpose of my children. Beginning with the olive branch the dove had brought back to Noah’s ark, which symbolizes the end of the great flood and man’s peace with God, to the psalm that says that a man who fears the Lord will have a wife who is like a fruitful vine and children like olive shoots around the table (Psalm 128), I have always believed that my offsprings will be instruments of peace.

So far, Joe and I have been seeing this promise come to pass in many ways. Our child has been a major bridge builder to many people and situations. Why I get to reconnect with people I haven’t spoken to in years  just because of Philip Bo! Some of them even had ill feelings toward us, and somehow received not only the grace to overlook our past affairs, but to even have a brand new love for me and my husband just because of the light and joy that Philip brings into their lives.

This photo is maybe my highest when it comes to likes. Guessing it is because no one can resist the joy and purity that comes with a newborn baby.

This photo is maybe my highest when it comes to likes.
Guessing it is because no one can resist the joy and purity that comes with a newborn baby.

In the same way I see how Jesus Our Lord and Savior, who came in the form of a baby, signals peace, redemption, restoration, between God and mankind. I now understand the seriousness of the Father’s plan for our salvation and redemption when He sent His Son to do it in the form of a sweet, gentle, helpless, vulnerable infant! Who wouldn’t melt at such a disarming sight?

Powerfully communicating that instead of terror in God’s judgment at our imperfection in fulfilling His laws, the Son of God comes in such a humble form to show us His love and grace are powerful enough to enable us to enter into a loving relationship with God the Father all over again.

This Lenten season I encourage you that along with a recollection of what the Gospel really means, and what Jesus did on the Cross, may you also take time to thank God the Father for His awesome plan for our salvation, for building that bridge again that leads us to Him through His Son, Our Lord Jesus. No one and nothing could have been wiser than this all encompassing plan of redemption, which is motivated by the love that only longs for restoration. In the end, He shows us that this relationship, although we are undeserving, is what really matters.

Thank You Father, thank You Jesus, for in both Father and Son only can we unashamedly declare that indeed, You are our God, and we are truly Your people. 

 

 

It is so tempting to go and buy the cutest little things out in the market for our babies, isn’t it? They are so adorable that even if we are only buying for another’s baby, we end up getting lots of those pink bows, fancy diaper tutus, little polos, statement onesies, and more. While all these are welcome to mom and baby, I’ve got my own list of newborn must-haves, which are absolutely useful aside from being  really really stylish! :)

Halo Sleepsack

Swaddling is an important practice especially for newborns, as it simulates the secure feeling of the baby when he was still in his mother’s womb.

HALO swaddle

HALO comes in many different designs and they surely make your baby cuter than he or she already is!

Of all brands I recommend the HALO SleepSack Swaddle because of the standard, benefits, as well as ingenuity of design. For one, it is the only commercial swaddle available in the market that is approved as “hip healthy” by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. (Click this for more information.) Then it also makes swaddling effortless with its wings attachable and detachable by velcro, while zipper is accessible either from top or bottom, making us able to check and change baby’s nappy without having to remove the whole thing. The wing wraps also guard against suffocation from loose garment.

My boy likes to be in a HALO for the cold, too. (Specially when he was still very much a newborn. Babies that are only days and few weeks old have not stabilized their temperature yet. It is important to always check if they’re warm enough.) And since he loves sucking his thumb, we usually just put his arms out which is also possible with the design!

Sleep Sheep

The womb is not only a safe place but apparently a very noisy one, as well. Imagine that babies have to live with the sound our stomach makes, the heartbeat, and only God knows what else he hears inside. Thus the logic behind “white noise” as a soothing device for fussy babies. This Sleep Sheep in particular has a record of the following sounds: ocean, rain, river and a whale under the sea.

sleep sheep I noticed it has been effective in many ways for my little boy in that it serves 1) as an audible cue for sleeping, 2) as good noise for deafening silence, and 3) for drowning out other unpleasant noises when napping.

Newborn Shoot

If parents can afford it, why not? Time flies by so quickly that before you know it, your baby is no longer a newborn. Now that Philip is almost 3 months old and several kilos heavier, I am grateful for the documentation of his frame and temperament when he was just 6 days old. Memories can fade quite easily, and this is one way of ensuring I have something to go back to for refreshing. (You may click this link for my baby’s own session.)

shoot

Petunia Picklebottom

I wish we had a local version of this terrific bag! It is dulce et utile at its finest, the epitome of sweet and useful I must say! This bag looks incredibly stylish, and extremely handy. I think the detachable changing pad says it all. It has saved us from plenty hard surfaces and middle of nowhere leaks. Why it even serves as a temporary bed when we’re out and Philip just cam’t wait to claim his nap!

petunia

Tip: photo for Sleep Sheep and this bag directs you to links of their online shops. However, I always find it cheaper to buy them over at Amazon. Haha!

And elsewhere I read a good logic on buying a really fashionable diaper bag: You’d have to be with it ALL THE TIME, so you might as well get one that is far from what you wouldn’t be caught dead carrying. :)

Hello everyone! It is another wonder-full Wednesday, full of amazing, awesome things, as well as questions and puzzles.

If you aren’t familiar yet, I recently started sort of a new portion here at Wanders and Wonders. Due to the volume of questions I get on my different social networking accounts (as well as email), I’ve decided to consolidate them all by asking these people to course their inquiries through an email made specifically for that (ricaperalejo.ph@gmail.com) instead. This way, I am able to efficiently answer interesting and helpful questions by women from different walks, seasons, stages of and in life. (By the way, men can ask, too. I just haven’t received any from you guys yet. Haha.)

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Today’s bunch is a great one! Varied and thought-provoking, I hope you will find both questions and answers to be of help to you somehow.

On Breastfeeding (I get tons!!! I really should buy a good book on this ASAP, for surer answers.)

I’m a new nanay and gave birth to a baby boy last feb 14. I’m also breastfreeding him since day 1 and I find it a challenge to look for nursing wear whenever we go out. Whenever I look into your ig account, it seems that you’re wearing usual clothes and i wonder how you nurse with it. What clothes do you recommend that are not really mahal but can be nurse-able? Nursing wear brands are also expensive kasi. Salamat.

What an awesome, truthful, helpful question!

Totoo yan, nursing wear is expensive. :( I have not yet seen a nursing top that is lower than 600 pesos, and truth be told, that amount is not sustainable. Although I have to admit that nursing wear makes a huge difference in your breastfeeding experience, specially when you are doing it in public.

So my advice is to get perhaps 2-5 nursing tops (or maybe you can get 2 dresses out of 5 items…), specially if you are still planning to have more kids in the future. Treat it like an investment if you have the means to purchase some today. You will use them for a long time, anyway.

Then mix it with your old clothes that are nurse-able. What I did was to sort through my cabinet and noted all tops and dresses that would be easy to lift up. Preferably, those that do not ride up far too high in the back. (Better if it does not at all.) I see some women use cardigans on top of their shirts so when they ride up in the back, nothing will be exposed. This is the cheapest alternative ’cause you don’t have to buy anything new except for a good breastfeeding cover. That is actually my last advice for you: INVEST IN A GOOD NURSING COVER. :) When you have one, you don’t even have to buy a nursing top or dress at all if you don’t want to!

I want to ask, what do you take and do to increase your milk supply? I am a member of _________, however, I no longer subscribe to such because some members were too passionate about EBP. I feel as if I am feeding a poison to my baby just because I opted to mix feed already.

I already answered the first concern, which was about increasing milk supply in last week’s post. (Please click this for the link :) )

But there is something very important about what you said. We actually share the same observation about the group you mentioned in your email (which I have kept anonymous here so to protect its members), and I think that concern is valid enough to make space for in this post.

Like you, I was also a member of that group for a while and though I think it is an amazing thing to create support groups for things such as breastfeeding, we should also be careful not to make others feel like they’re wrong or worse, like evil, when they choose not to do so.

In my very short time of subscription to that group, I’ve witnessed 2 posts that were arrogant and condescending in tone towards those who do not breastfeed. Those 2 posts made me decide to just leave the community.

Because although I believe that breastmilk is best for babies, it isn’t the only way to feed and show our love to them. Some women have real, valid concerns for not doing so- such as not producing enough milk, work, and even the overall stress we go through when it comes to stabilization of milk production, latching, soreness, wounds, late nights, etc.

My take on the whole thing? If breastfeeding takes away more than it adds joy of your overall experience of caring for your baby, then you have a valid reason not to do it. The relationship of mom and child is more important than the performance of breastfeeding, which today’s society subconsciously turned into a standard by which moms are rated with.

Of course I still would insist on making breastmilk and direct breastfeeding as your first choice. But if one finds this is not best for her situation, I would not take that as a license to prove I am the better mother for choosing otherwise. (This is the way I feel about natural, unmedicated birth, too. Make it our first choice. But if we can’t, then it doesn’t mean we’re failures. What matters is that we tried, and I think that is more than enough love we have shown for our babies.) And really, if we want to educate or enlighten mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding, being prideful certainly isn’t an effective way to do it. Lalo lang natu-turn off tuloy ang ibang mga nanay.

Are you feeding philip directly on your breast everytime? Or nagpupump din po kayo minsan?

I direct feed Philip (at 2.5 months) all 5 times in the day, then bottle feed him once before he sleeps. So I always pump for the last feeding of the day, though I still give him the breast right before he goes to sleep so to soothe him. He nurses for only a few minutes and dozes off to sleep.

I pump twice in a 24-hour cycle. At the time when he feeds from the bottle, and the moment I wake up and my breasts are full of milk. This is usually an hour before he direct feeds in the morning.

Till when are you planning to breastfeed him?

They say it is good to have a breastfeeding goal or plan. I honestly haven’t thought about this yet. Maybe 1 year, max? But who knows, I might like to extend it. I’ll just cross the bridge when I get there.

Ilang hours ang gap ng feeding nya?

I have trained him to eat every 3 hours. (That means 3 hours from the start of our feeding, to the next. And this is at 2 months and a half as his age. Intervals and amount of milk per feeding will change when he is older.)

What time does he usually sleep at night?

At around 10 to 10:30PM. And then I wake him up at 7:00AM to eat. When he can sleep longer in the night, I will move bedtime earlier. To maybe around 8 or 9:00PM

Are you feeding him in public? What clothes are  you usually wearing? Dyan kasi ko mejo hirap hindi ako gaano makapag-dress kasi dapat laging on the go ang boobs ko. Hehehe.

Yes I do. See question above about clothes I wear and recommendation for overall nursing comfort in relation to your nursing outfit inquiry. But yeah, true, it can be challenging to be fashionable while nursing. Rule of thumb for me is to always be out in something like a battle gear. Ready to fight anytime, anywhere! Haha.

Does your baby Philip also try to play / pull your nipples while feeding (properly latched from the beginning then after doing so its not correct anymore)? Do you train him to feed continuously and not fall asleep? I’m starting to wonder that these things my baby does causes her to be ‘gassy’ & doesn’t make her satisfied & full after feeding. I’m trying to learn about my baby’s personality, natutuwa na lang din ako, ka-cute eh!

So true. When I watch my baby eat, I learn more about who he is! Eating is very personal. Some adults may like catsup on their fries, while others don’t. Each and every one of us has a unique way of eating and I think it is the same for babies. :)

To answer your questions:

Yes, Philip does that sometimes, pulls away from the nipple then latches back. Specially when he is in a playful, super awake mood while feeding. If he lands back and the latch is not correct anymore, I simply unlatch then latch again to fix it.

Yes, I trained him not to fall asleep while feeding. Especially in the beginning, when newborns just want to sleep instead of eat.  Now, he efficiently eats even though he is sleeping. I really don’t know how babies do that but Philip does and I can see naman he is able to “empty” the breasts.

There really are gassy babies, and there was also a time that Philip was gassy because he swallowed so much air every time he fed. But he’s become more mature in the area of feeding, and he no longer does that gasping reflex. However, he still farts A LOT. The difference though is that the gas doesn’t cause him discomfort anymore. I think gas also has something to do with the baby’s maturity and development in his internal system.

Maybe you can ask your doctor for relief if it really bothers your baby. Mine said Gripe Water is okay, and even bigkis. I also tried massaging his tummy with calming oil, and I thought that worked. :)

You’re exclusively breastfeeding Philip right? He seemed to gained weight already. I’m a little concerned with my baby’s weight, medyo slim pa din kase sya, not sure how much a breastfed baby should gain. And do you also avoid dairy products & sweets? These affect the baby daw kase according to one lactation consultant I’ve asked. Not quite sure how true it is.

Yes, exclusive breastfeeding. His massive weight gain is because he went through a growth spurt. Usually occurs at certain ages supposedly. But not all kids have it the same, so if you think yours isn’t gaining just about yet, baka naman it will happen later on. My standard here is that as long as my pedia is okay about my baby’s weight, then there is no need to worry. :) Did you ask your pedia already?

It is the same with the sweets thing. Yes, I eat sweets. And even take coffee. When I asked my pedia if it was okay to have coffee while breastfeeding, she said to take it and see if baby will react. Philip didn’t have any reaction towards it so I can continue having coffee. Ask your pedia what she thinks about the sweets thing. Because it is safer to get advice from a pro, and someone who knows your baby’s history, too.

When did you start to pump? What do you use for the pumped breastmilk, bottle or softcup feeder? My baby is almost a month old. I am not sure if it’s ok na to pump and to feed my baby using a bottle.

I started to pump in the early weeks of Philip’s life because I didn’t know what to do with my engorged breasts. Looking back, maybe I could have done it better. Like hand express and massage for engorgement, and pump only when giving Philip the bottle (which is equivalent to the time of feeding him on the breast) or only after he feeds, and mix that with milk leaks I gather from my breast shells.

In the first few weeks of the baby’s life, our milk supply isn’t established yet and I think, pumping out of time, rhythm, and volume (as dictated by the baby), messes more with the signals our bodies send to the brain for milk production. I think it can possibly affect the way our body produces milk.

But since I introduced Philip to the bottle at 3 weeks old, I was already pumping regularly since then, in order to replace the feeding I lose over to the bottle and also to store milk for the next.

Obviously, I use the bottle. Others say to just use a teaspoon or cup feeders but my philosophy (which I also got from somebody else) is to introduce bottle before baby turns one month so he/she won’t refuse it when he/she is older and is already so used to just taking the breast.

There are different ways on how to go about this and you have to find what suits you and your baby. I don’t think using the bottle is bad. So far, it is working for me and Philip. Of course there’s that chance he’ll like the bottle more and equally so, that he’ll like the breast more. I know of a mom whose baby quit direct feeding and opted the  bottle after 3 months, and another mom whose baby quit the bottle and opted to be fed entirely from the breast at 11 months! So really, we can’t tell what would happen. Best advice I can give you is, if and when you choose the bottle, choose a really good one with nipples that simulate the human nipple to encourage sucking and not just passively drinking your expressed milk.  (Click this for stainless bottles which I highly recommend instead of the plastic ones.)

On Mom-Newborn Baby Bonding

Will you suggest rooming in the baby while at the hospital or is it better if baby stays at the nursery? What are the benefits and disadvantages of rooming in the baby?

Is it still an option? I am not sure but I think all hospitals in the Philippines already room in the baby with you upon birth unless baby is in a critical condition.

But if it remains a choice, better would mean a matter of weighing the pros and cons against the backdrop of your own experience. I might be very different from you in terms of personality, birth experience, overall condition, etc. So let me just answer the benefits and disadvantages that I see about it.

Rooming in means you get to have your baby right beside you and accessible at all times instead of being dependent on viewing hours at the nursery. Breastfeeding is also easier as you can grab the baby anytime he/she is hungry, instead of getting out of bed and out of your room each time the nurses call you and say you need to feed the baby at the nursery. (Newborns feed every 2-3hrs, so imagine getting out every so often…) And of course, you can do an unli-stare or unli-hold this time since baby is just within your reach, with no glass separating you from each other. Now personally, I like that better. However, be ready to hear your baby do his/her unli-cry also, if and when that time ever comes in your first few nights in the hospital. This time, you’d hear everything instead of just the nurses and other babies going through it in a separate room.

On Personal Views: About [alleged] “Heretical” Creative Interpretation, & Modern Day Practices Associated with Pagan Origins

What do you think of the movie Son of God?” (And she gave me this for reference: SON OF GOD review)

I haven’t seen it so I basically cannot give you my opinion or review of it.

Basing it on the link you gave me though, I would say that the review made some very good points and I can see why he would call it “heretical.” I have also seen the “Bible Series” which he mentions in the review as well, and I also thought that the series sometimes makes light of Jesus’ power. (I loved the whole series except for the way they created Jesus, haha!)

But at the end of the day, for me, the Word of God is the final authority. I will never use movies for theological discussions and even topics for devotion because they are movies and are entitled to creative liberty. Being from that industry, I understand why they sometimes have to deviate from the book or script, so to produce something more cinematic. I guess this boils down to a management of expectations then. I personally enjoyed watching the Bible series, but never relied on it for theological reference and accuracy.

What’s your point of view regarding kids celebrating Easter and joining Easter egg hunting?

I honestly hadn’t thought about it until you asked. So I asked my husband about his views on it and he said he wouldn’t like to do it with Philip if there really is no need to anyway.

Researched a bit about it and here is an interesting things I found: History of Easter.

I still don’t know what to feel about it when the time comes I get an invite for Philip to join the Easter Egg Hunt. But really, I don’t think I even have to choose anyway because I am pretty sure we’d be making our own Peralejo-Bonifacio Easter tradition where Jesus and His great love and power will be its focus. But when it comes to other kids who do it, they have their own parents and I wouldn’t want to impose things they should and should not be doing in their families. The most I will do is give my opinion when they ask for it. :)

On Time Management

Paano mo po na-oorganize ang day mo? Having that ministry, family, self, husband and etc. Any practical tips of organizing your day?

Actually minsan hindi ko na nga din alam! Hahaha!

Seriously speaking, organizing our days is really more like a skill. It takes great effort and mastery to be able to come up with an efficient schedule. And I think it helps that you keep a calendar- not only of your month, but even of your day to day schedules.

To give you an example, I have a calendar that gives an overview of my month, and a pad that has Monday-Sunday columns. The big picture month view tells me of the big block offs, like ministry invitations, or a day out with the Bonifacios, visiting my mother, out of the country trip, etc. Then I break them down in my day to day calendar; in bullet points I write my errands or things to accomplish for the day, like phone calls, bills to pay, etc. Then when I need to be out of the house for something small like getting groceries, I try to synchronize it with big block offs according to the area- para hindi sayang sa gas or cab money. Haha! Basically, the logic behind this is plotting ahead of time and scheduling every single thing you have to do, even rest! Honestly, if we don’t schedule rest or vacations, they might never end up happening!

Plus the main guideline of finishing everything I can, like my column and blog articles before my husband gets home for work so I can spend my whole evening with him. Joe and I have made it a rule not to accept more than 2 ministry invites in a month, and we also see to it that we take time to relax- have a date, see our friends, sleep in, watch a movie.

Of course the schedule I am describing here is the one before Philip, our son, came. Right now, since he is just almost 3 months old, my days basically run on the routine of Feed-Play-Sleep-Repeat. When he naps, that’s when I do everything I can, like write, fix the house, call people, etc.

On Hair Care

Hello Ms.Rica, I’d like to ask regarding your hair care. I know you’ve been fond of blowers and curls, too. What are the products you apply before you style it and what other practical tips can you suggest when constantly styling using heat? Your reply would be very helpful for me.

Yes, very fond of blowers and curls. I love styling my own hair! :) But really, I think there is no way that our hair can be kept healthy if it is constantly put under so much products and heat. The most  you can do is go for treatment and trims regularly. So I don’t really put any protection anymore,but once I feel like my hair’s gotten too dry already, I go for treatment, trim or sometimes even a big chop. My hair philosophy is that it will always grow back so I shouldn’t be afraid of styling or cutting away!

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