My Breastfeeding Journey




I am passionate about breastfeeding a baby. I try to encourage as many pregnant and mommy friends to breastfeed because I truly believe that it's the best option to feed their babies. Now that my son is officially one year old, I decided to share my breastfeeding journey. I am also writing this post to reach as many women out there to do the same.

So why do I choose to breastfeed? Before I even get pregnant, I already decided that I will breastfeed my baby and that's my only option. Mainly because it's the healthiest option for my baby. Of course, I will always choose the best for my baby if I can help it. Wouldn't you?

Aside from the health benefits of breastfeeding a baby, it is also cost efficient. But even if I have all the money in the world, I will still choose to breastfeed because formula milk, no matter how expensive, will never be superior to breast milk. 

A mother's breast milk is "design" for her child. It is even gender-ready. When a mom got sick, her baby is less likely to get the illness because the mother's body will automatically produce antibodies through breast milk to protect the baby. How amazing is that? These are just a few benefits of breastfeeding. There are so much more benefits that a mother should know about breastfeeding. So if you are pregnant and cannot decide whether to breastfeed or not? Do your research and prepare to be blown away.

My breastfeeding journey was a breeze, still is, thank God. No painful, bleeding or cracked nipples. No baby who's having difficulty latching. As soon as I offered my breast to my son, he gladly latched it and the rest is history. 

The only challenging part I encountered was when I had too much milk supply. Yes, having too much milk can be a challenge. I pumped my milk too soon. It is not advisable to pump for the first 20  to 30 days because that's when your milk is regulating according to your baby's needs. I didn't know it back then. By pumping my milk too soon after giving birth, I signaled my body to produce more milk than my baby needs. As a result, my baby cannot handle my oversupplied milk and he often chokes and throw up. 

Eventually, I found a site that taught me to regulate my milk supply. I let my baby feed in one breast twice in 2 consecutive feeding sessions. That way, I gave my body a signal that I don't need that much milk. Later on, my milk regulated according to my baby's needs. I don't need to pump because I decided to quit my job and personally take care of my baby thus I can feed him directly from me. 


I've been breastfeeding for more than 1 year now and I consider it one of my greatest achievements as a mother. Breastfeeding is not easy, there were times when I have to hold my pee for several minutes because my baby is feeding. I have to wake up several times a night to breastfeed my baby. But to be honest, it easier to breastfeed a baby at night than bottle feed a baby because breastfeeding requires minimal effort. I just have to pull my shirt up and let my baby latch to his heart content then I can go back to sleep while he latches. I have to stop what I'm doing whenever my baby needs to feed. I have to breastfeed in public if I need to. It took me awhile to adjust to that, but I managed to ignore judgemental people in the end. 



As I've said Jarvis is now 1 year old. He is very healthy. A little heavy, but not overweight. He weighs 9.6 kg now. He rarely gets sick. If he does, it's only because of teething and some minor allergies. He's very active. He can almost walk. He sleeps 10 to 11 hours every night at most. He wakes up 2 to 3 times at night to feed. But like said, feeding him at night requires minimal effort. Also, with exclusively breastfeeding, a day can go by with zero bottles to wash (except when you are a working breastfeeding mom). You also don't have to carry so much stuff when you go out. I personally do not bring diaper bag when going to the mall. Just a small bag with all our essentials which not a lot. 

Of course, I would understand that we all have choices, that a mother may choose not breastfeed her baby for different reasons. However, I hope more and more mothers would realize, especially if they are really capable, that breastfeeding is a wonderful thing and it benefits not only the baby but the mother as well. It's true that it's not easy for everyone but if you are determined, nothing will prevent you from giving the best source of nutrition to your baby. 

I am grateful that my breastfeeding journey was smooth, still is. I know a lot of mothers who struggled so much just to make sure they breastfeed their babies and I admire them so much. I also admire mothers who continue to breastfeed even if they have regular jobs. Pumping milk requires so much work and dedication. It's not easy, but a lot of moms managed to do it. Like they say, breastfeeding is 10% milk supply and 90% determination. Nothing can stop a mother who really wants to breastfeed her baby.

At the end of the day, we all have choices and circumstances that influenced our decision on how to feed our babies. No matter what it is, as long as you are loving,  respecting and treating your child well, you are still admirable. Thanks for being here!



Play Area Makeover: Montessori Space for 11 Months Baby


More than a week ago I did a makeover on Jarvis' little play area. I made it look more like a Montessori space for 11 months baby. So I thought I'd share today what I did, where I get the things I used and so on. I like to share this because I have few friends who asked me questions about Montessori at home and how they want to do it in their own home but they do not have space. But then I always tell them that we used to have the same problem until we decided to make a space. I already shared on a blog post (click here) what we did to create a little space for Jarvis in our bedroom. I want to show that it is very possible to have a Montessori prepared environment for your baby even if you have a small space and you are on a budget.

In fact, for this space makeover, we only spent less than Php 3,000. You can spend less especially if you don't need to repair a wall like we did on this play area makeover.



When I was still new to Montessori at home, space is also my biggest problem. But then I thought hard and finally work together with my husband to declutter a space in our room so we can create a play area for Jarvis.


This is the before.

In our excitement, we bought colorful rubber mats so we can baby proof the floor and walls. I already know then that Montessori suggested creating a space that is peaceful and clean. Therefore using neutral colors in baby's room or play area. I thought as long as I clean the colorful mats and organize toys in baskets that we are good to go. We just have to make sure that we have the correct Montessori mindset and practice them to our baby which we know is more important than the Montessori prepared environment.

This is the best blog post I found explaining Montessori mindset.  You can read almost all the reasons I fell in love with the Montessori method on that post.


But over time, I observed that Jarvis always gets out of the colorful rubber mats and play outside of them. As I continue to educate myself about Montessori, I realized that maybe he was over stimulated by the colorful mats hence he wanted to get out of it. So I removed most of the mats on the floor. 

When I removed the colorful rubber mats, he stayed on the place where they used to. I tried to look for rubber mats in neutral colors that are not as expensive as the Skip Hop brand I see from some Instagram accounts of Montessori moms. But I was unsuccessful until Jarvis doesn't need them anymore. So I just concentrated on looking for ways and materials to transform his play area. 



The first on my list was how to repair the walls because I know once I  removed the rubber mats the paint will come off as well. I considered repainting the wall but that would mean repainting the whole room not to mention the mess and the cost.



















Good thing I found this 3D Foam  (brick) Wall stickers on Shopee for only Php180 each. I bought 2 pcs. I saw other sellers sell this for Php 250 to Php 450 each.  So I really think I got a good deal.



Then we started looking for shelves. I delayed buying shelves because I was waiting for Jarvis to fully stand on his own or with minimal support. We started with Montessori at home when he was going 9 months.  I don't want to buy a 1 layer shelf then upgrade to two or three layers later on. So I thought I'd wait a few more months. He is 11 months now (very close to being 1 year old) and he can almost stand on his own. 

I took my time to find the perfect shelves because I have to consider the size and our budget. Fortunately, we found the shelves we are looking for at @bookboutiqueph on Instagram for Php 2100. Then my mom bought "buy 1 take one 1" mirrors for Php 900 at SM and gave the other one to us.


Snippets from my Instagram Story when I was single-handedly transforming Jarvis' play area.

Once I have everything I need for the room makeover, I set to work. I did everything alone because I cannot wait for my husband's day off. I also did it while the baby is around. I want him to see his area transformed. Montessori said that a baby goes through some sensitive periods and one of them is the sensitive period for order. It is suggested that if parents are to make any changes in their child's room, the child should be present, so as not to overwhelm him with the change. It wasn't easy to work while my baby was around but I managed and he seemed to enjoy what we were doing.



Sometimes I wish I have all the money so I can transform the whole house into a Montessori prepared environment for my son as soon as possible. But since we don't, we have to take things slow and think ways to make our home a more Montessori prepared environment on a budget. I  really enjoy the challenge though because I get to work on my creativity. I also want to show or if you may, inspire others to do the same because I want to prove that we can do Montessori at home even in a small space and on a budget.


Jarvis is going to walk soon and I want to introduce him to more practical life activities in the kitchen. That's why I am planning to work on the kitchen next. It's going to be super challenging but I am excited. I already have some things in mind. If you want to know more about our Montessori journey you may follow us on Instagram and like our Facebook page. See you there and thanks for being here!

DIY Toys for Babies Using Recycled Materials


When I was pregnant I remember people telling me that our room is going to be messy because of so much baby toys. But when we actually have a baby, I didn't know what toy to get my son. I don't want to get him just any toy mainly because he puts everything into his mouth. As a result, we didn't buy a lot of toys. 

Eventually, I found out about Montessori at home. It was a great method of raising babies. It taught me that I don't need a lot of toys for my baby. What truly matters is preparing the environment for him so he can explore independently while providing him selected materials that would help develop his senses (smell, sound, taste, touch, and sight), fine motor skills and later on give him access to practical life activities. 

Although there are a lot of expensive Montessori materials, there are also ways to DIY them. Actually, I realized that half of my son's toys, at least those that are in his play area right now, are DIYs.  I love to make DIY materials for my baby because I can personalize it according to his interest. 

One of Montessori philosophy is following the child. I love to observe my son when he plays and find out what activities he likes to do most. Then, I will consider my observation when deciding what toys to display in his play area. 

I spent so much time on Pinterest to find DIY materials that I can do for my 11-month-old baby. And of course, Pinterest did not disappoint. Here are two DIY materials I recreated that I found on Pinterest. The best thing about them is that they are all recycled materials so I didn't have to pay for anything.

Sensory Bottles


Materials

1. Small glass or plastic bottles - in this project, I used the plastic bottles of liquid soap. These were leftover party favors from my son's baptismal. 

2. Things you can put inside the bottles- Beads, lentils, rice, beans, small shells, colored liquid etc. 

On this project, I used beads because I have plenty of them stashed away and rice.

I made these sensory bottles because my son loves materials that can create noise. He loves to play with these sensory bottles. Always, observe your baby and figure out what entice them in terms of materials to play with. Always follow the child.

Box and Ribbons



I absolutely love this material not only because my son likes to play with it but because I like to play with it as well. It's such a stress reliever.


Materials



1. A Box - use a plain box with less print as much as possible, so that the child will not be distracted with the prints when they are working with the material. On this project, I used an Old Navy box.

2. Several ribbons and strings- I've seen DIY like this that has different colored ribbons with different textures. You can buy cute colored textured ribbons if you like, but since my goal was to recycle, I just used the ribbons that were available at home. I used ribbons from the popular cake company in the country, (we buy a cake monthly to celebrate every month added to my son's existence) and several strings from paper bags.




I created tiny holes in the plain side of the box and tie the ribbons and strings from each end. I used washi tape to securely close the box. My son doesn't know how to work with tapes yet, so it should be good. Also, it's easy to open the box when it's time to pull the ribbons back in.


My son and I enjoy pulling the strings. This material can also help him practice his pincer grip. I made this DIY material because just like most children, my baby likes to play with ribbon, strings, and boxes. Again, I followed the child.

For more DIY toys and activities for your babies, you may check out this post and this post.

Thanks for being here and have a wonderful day!

10 Things Friday Vol. 5



10 Things Friday is where I share all the significant things that happened to me in a week. It could also be about 10 anything really, to make it even more flexible for me. I'm sure you get the idea.

It's been a while since I have 10 Things Friday on this blog. I just can't complete 10 things anything these last couple of weeks but I have some today, so let's roll, shall we?


1. My baby and I are going out tonight for dinner with my previous bosses and co-workers. Bringing him without my husband (he needs to work) is a challenge but I really want to see those people. I miss them. My sister and niece will come with us. Love that I have sisters/best friends that I can count on in times like this. One very blessed mommy here!

2. My son just turned 11 months this week. Time really flies! Part of me wants to keep him as a baby forever while the other part of me is excited to see what kind of grown up he's going to be. Hayz #momlife right?

3. Obviously, he's going to turn one year old soon, I am already preparing for that. Nothing fancy though. We are just going to celebrate at my sister's house which also our third home (hehe.. Our second is my parent's). They have a bigger house that's why we decided to do it there. I want my son to enjoy his birthday and I am sure he will enjoy it if he is comfortable and he will be at my sis's house. We're saving the big birthday celebration for when he is older and fully understands what's going on.

4. My husband and I are preparing for the transformation of my son's little play area in our room. The colored mats were a bad idea because it's not Montessori. I regretted that I ever bought those. We removed all of the mats from the floor because my son doesn't need them anymore. There are some still on our wall. I can't remove them all yet because the paint will come off as well. But I already found a solution that does not include repainting our room. You bet! Wallpaper!

5. It's father's day this weekend. It's my husband's first father's day. So I am excited for him. Do you already have gifts for your husband and father on father's day? If you don't check out this post for ideas.

Photo from my Instagram Stories (@princessmayen)

6. I've been reading romance novels again. I'm trying to sneak in some reading while the baby is concentrating on his work (Montessori term for "play") or when he's sleeping.  If you know me well, you'll know, I love good, cheesy, romantic novels. Yeah. I am that kind of person. And I am not ashamed. Because guess what? I am not alone.  Bwahaha... (P.S. I am loving Instagram Stories.)

7. There are a lot of good ones (romantic novels) that are free on Play Books. So I am taking advantage of those for now. But I am going to buy some books that I really like in the future. Digital books are cheaper so I prefer them at the moment.

8. I love that my son also loves books. My effort has paid off. Sometimes he will make me read all the books in his small collection and I absolutely love those precious moments we spent together.

9. I might go back to "work" soon. Only this time, I'll be working from home. I will miss being a full-time mom for sure but I need to work for my son. Whew!

10. On the other hand, I am grateful that there are a lot of jobs that we can do without leaving the comfort of our homes. It's such a blessing to us parents who want to personally look after our children while working. 

That's it for my 10 things Friday! Have a wonderful weekend loves! Thanks for being here!

Inexpensive Father's Day Gift Ideas


Soon it is going to be a very special day for the most amazing men in our lives, our dads, and husbands. Do you already know what to get these important men in your life? Well if not, I got you covered. I have some inexpensive Father's Day gift ideas on this post! Let's get into it then.


1. Photo with their kids to decorate on their office desk or bedside table.

I think this is a very thoughtful gift. Since we are in the digital age, many of us seldom have their photos printed. I'm pretty sure a lot of dads with their busy schedule wouldn't think of having their photos with their child/children printed out so they can decorate it on their office desk or bedside table. So this is a perfect father's day gift to a sentimental yet very busy dad! I certainly love this inexpensive Father's Day gift idea because I love good photos!

I have printed out some of our digital photos because I found a good deal online. Click here to see my blog post about that if you haven't already.

2. Treasure basket for dads.

The treasure basket is not only for babies/children but for adults too (click here to see some treasure basket ideas for babies). The great thing bout this concept is you can customize the content of the basket according to the receiver's interest and your budgetHere are some treasure basket ideas for dads



Favorite snacks basket - Fill the basket with his favorite snacks (chips, drinks, chocolates and candies). I did it last year for my husband. He's not officially a father yet then because I was still pregnant but I gave him a gift anyway. He absolutely loved that gift and I am sure many fathers will do too. Well, I guess my husband enjoyed that gift so much because he really loves to eat. And I mean REALLY. LOVES. TO. EAT.

Vanity Basket for Dads- You can also fill the treasure basket with your husband's or father's vanity essentials like his favorite cologne, aftershave, soap, etc. Some dads do not usually prioritize their own vanity needs because they rather use the money for more important things. Thus it would be awesome to treat hardworking dads with things that would make them feel good about themselves. 



Basket of Ingredients- If your husband or father loves to cook, you can put together the ingredients of his favorite dish in the basket. So he can cook and you can eat. Win win! I think my husband will love this gift because he also loves to cook.

Collectible Basket- You can put together collectible items (t-shirt, mugs, tumbler, pens etc) from his favorite video games or movies. This is perfect for those techy dads.

I'm sure you can also come up with unique ideas to put in your dad's or husband's treasure basket for father's day! Go wild! Hehe..

I hope you find this simple inexpensive Father's Day gift ideas post helpful. At the end of the day, any gift for father's day is useless if we don't show them respect and appreciation. Therefore aside from gifts don't forget to say thank you and I love you to these important men in our lives!

"It is easier for a father to have children than for the children to have a real father!" - Pope John XXIII

Happy Father's Day to your dad and husband! 

Thanks for being here! Have a wonderful week!

How to Save Money Printing Digital Photos: Photobook Philippines Review


Photos in print. We rarely see them nowadays. Most of the time, seeing photos on our phones, social media and tablets are enough. But I think printed photos are still nice. Today, I am going to share with you how to save money printing digital photos.

I am planning to scrapbook photos of my son and decorate some of them around the house. So I decided that I will try to print as many pictures of him as possible. And since I don't go out as much and I always forgot the flash drive when we go to the mall, I decided to look for online photo printing company that would print quality photos for reasonable price. How to save money printing digital photos was my top priority. Fortunately, I came across Photobook Philippines.



At first, I thought printing cost with Photobook Philippines is kind of expensive, it is actually Php12.00 per 4R photo. You can print 4R photos in the mall for half the price. However, I read from their website or somewhere that if I subscribe to their newsletter, I will get discounts or promotional offers. Who doesn't want discounts right? So I subscribed. It was not a waste of time though because they offered me 50 free printed photos if I downloaded their app. Fifty printed photos!? Free!? Who will pass that up!? Certainly not me! So as expected, I downloaded the app and redeemed my 50 free photos.

This is how to save money printing digital photos.

1. I Downloaded the app.
2. I Subscribed to their newsletter using my email.



3.  I selected photos I wanted to print. (I ended up selecting more than 50 photos).



4. Edited the photos I selected. You have an option to tweak them according to how you want them to see in print.



5. Once satisfied with my project, I checked-out and use discount code provided via email.


6. I paid using a credit card.


7. Uploaded the photos so they can start processing your project.


8. And finally, wait for delivery.


As I've said, I ended up printing 69 photos. Why I didn't make it 70? I can't remember. The total amount that I should've paid before discount was Php 752.00 (Php 552.00 for the photos and Php 200.00 for shipping). I ended up paying Php 252.00 for the excess amount after the free 50 photos and the shipping fee. I think the shipping fee was a bit expensive. I am used to paying Php 70-120 shipping fee for my online purchases. I wish they have cheaper options for shipping especially if we are just printing regular photos and not canvas, photo books or such. But since they were giving me 50 free printed photos I didn't mind the shipping fee. To tell you the truth, their partner courier was quite efficient, maybe that's why they were costly. They constantly email me the status of my package, so I know when the package will arrive and what time of the day will it arrive.



What I really don't like about the whole process was when I uploaded my project so they can receive the photos and start printing them. It took me a total of 3 to 4 hours uploading and re-uploading my project because it pauses every time I navigate away from the app and when I get back, the uploading process will restart again. I have to sleep on it during the first day. I continued uploading the following day. Then when I thought I uploaded everything, it started re-uploading again. I almost gave up. But since I really want to print the photos and I already paid for some of them, I tried to finish the process. 

They've been emailing me to ask if I was having trouble uploading my project. They were also updating me on the status of my project. I appreciate that they were acknowledging that there might be issues on their app and they were letting me know the progress of my order. The last time I opened the app there's an update and hopefully whatever bug there was on their uploading process was fixed with that update.



As for the quality of photos. I must say, that they were excellent. Some were a bit dark but I guess it's due to the lighting when the picture was taken. Overall, I'm happy with my experience and would definitely avail their service again if they have a good deal. Looking for good deals online is one way on how to save money printing digital photos.

You may also want to check out Photobook Philippines site and see if they still offer the 50 free photos if you download their app. If not, I'm sure they have other promotional offers that might appeal to you. It's really worth checking it out.

Have you printed out digital photos lately? Where do you usually go to print your digital photos? Thanks for being here and have a wonderful weekend!

DIY Montessori Toy for Babies 8-12 months: Object Permanence Box


One of the most common Montessori material you can find in a Montessori setting (home or classroom) is an object permanence box. It is also one of the most recommended first material to offer for babies 8 to 12 months who can actually sit on their own.  


Object permanence is one of infant developmental milestones wherein they recognize that an object still exist even though they don't see it in their line of vision. The object permanence box is recommended to present to babies when they show understanding of object permanence. 

I am a first-time mom. My son is now 10 months old. We are trying to incorporate Montessori at home method in our daily lives. Since I found out about the Montessori method I became even mindful of what toys or materials to get for my son.  



Even before we start practicing Montessori at home, I really didn't buy a lot of toys for my baby. There are two reasons: 

1. I don't know what to get him because my son always tries to put things in his mouth and as a first-time mom, I want everything to be clean and sterilized before it gets to my son's mouth.

2. I don't want to waste money on things that my son will just outgrow right away. So I figure he'll he happy and safe with his teethers. 

What am I thinking right? Fortunately, I was introduced to Montessori at home and as I continue to educate myself about this method of raising a baby, I found out a lot of meaningful toys for babies suited for my son's age.

First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, but only works for classroom settings. www.thekavanaughreport.com

I often drool with those traditional Montessori materials for babies but sometimes they can be very expensive and most of them are only available abroad. So if I can DIY anything, I'll be happy to do it. Like when I put together treasure baskets for my son, I share some ideas on this post.

But today is really about how I DIY our object permanence box. The idea isn't really original as there are a lot of moms who made this however, this is my take on a DIY object permanence box.

The key elements of an object permanence box are of course a box and a ball. I have a box of toy that I thought was perfect for this project. I used the ball from our textured multi-ball set that I showed on my previous baby haul click here.

Materials Needed



1. Scissors 
2. Tape
3. Marker
4. Boxes (I used a box of toy and a pancake  box for this project.)
6. Contact  paper (optional)
7. A ball


How to:



1. Cut the flaps on each side according to how wide you want the opening of the box will be.






















2. Use the extra box (in my case, the pancake box) to make a ramp inside and to add arch on the opening.

3. You can also use other cut outs from the boxes to create a barrier on each side of the front of the box to avoid the ball from going anywhere.

4. Create a hole on top of the box the size of the ball you are going to use.



4. Finally, cover the box with contact paper. This is optional. I opted to use a contact paper because I have one available that I use for Instagram flat lay (another DIY) and I want to hide the prints on the box that might distract Jarvis when he works on this material.


When I first presented the DIY object permanence box to my son he got so excited and play with the box and didn't want to shoot the ball in the box. I tried to show him from time to time how it works. Until finally, in one of his playtime, he took the box and shoot that ball! I got over excited and get the camera right away. This photo was already his third attempt. #10months I must admit I distracted him which was not good. hehe.. But what am I gonna do eh? I need to document it for this post. 

I made this box several weeks ago and I was just waiting for my son to figure it out before I can post this blog. hehe.. 

 ...and he gave me this beautiful smile. Probably so I can show you that he's happy with what he did! 

I cannot say that this is my son's favorite material but he likes it. It was great to see though when he finally figured out how to work the object permanence box. Good thing I caught it on camera. What do you think of this Montessori material?

Have a great week and thanks for being here.