The Me Project

I just finished watching Julie & Julia. Awesome movie. By the time the credits were rolling, I was standstill, with tiny tracks of tears down my cheeks. I had been crying for a movie that wasn’t even sad.

Something in the movie struck a nerve with me. Being a writer (well, somewhat of one), a blogger and someone who is in a sort of a rut (motherhood, as joyful as it is, IS a rut), Julie & Julia awoke a longing I’ve had in myself that has been simmering, hopefully into something similar to a pot of really good stew.

I write this blog as a mother and as myself. The old Eli – quirky, adventurous, somewhat catty and funny to some – became a mother and a wife, and this blog hopefully reflected some essence of how the whole experience is from my point of view. I’ve come across several crossroads in my life, and this time I face it with a husband and a 14-pound baby. I may have new roles, as a wife and as a mother, but I am still me. And if the old me was defined by my career, my hobbies and everything else that made Me, then this New Me has yet to find out what she is all about.

For the next two years, my world will revolve around a little man named Sebastian. I don’t think it’s much, considering I’ve had 35 years just caring about myself. Along with caring for Basti I’ve also made it a point to watch out for my fellow mommies and mommies-t0-be. A helping hand, a kind word, a shopping tip – this blog that serves as my voice to the world outside Basti’s nursery aims to put the word out on breastfeeding and attachment parenting, give a tired new mommy a glimmer of hope, provide some learning to the expectant mother and a smile to anyone who cares to read what I have to say.

Ok so I lie. I still am quirky, adventurous, somewhat catty and funny to some. All that and being a mom does make for an interesting combination. I myself am curious to see what kind of child will spring from two artistic and temperamental human beings in a most unconventional household.

So Julia Child, even if my brother was the one who was blessed with culinary genius in the family, I will hold you in high esteem. I’m on a quest to grow and find new purpose!

Breastfeeding Room Encounters #1: SM Fairview

SM Malls, as noisy and crowded they can get, are still on top of my list for errands because a) They’ve got it all for you, b) Most of the ones I visit have breastfeeding rooms.

So it was last Sunday that I was doing groceries at Hypermart Fairview when I had to go and take a moment in the breastfeeding room with Basti.

Some comments about SM Fairview:

1. The guards and bathroom attendants don’t even know a breastfeeding room exists. A mom told me the attendant in the ladies room didn’t even suggest she go to the BF Room when she was seen feeding her baby in a restroom cubicle.

2. The BF Room is hidden away in the administration office area, but the guard manning the entrance will immediately open the door for you when she sees you have a baby.

3. There’s only one couch, but plenty of other chairs. There’s a changing table and a sink. The blinds are sufficient in giving the moms feeding their babies some privacy.

4. There’s a bench outside for daddies and other companions to wait.

Being a Sunday, the Breastfeeding Room was a busy station that day, with moms and babies of all ages and from all walks of life going in and out. Even if Basti is a marathon-feeder, I was kept busy by the little snippets of conversation I shared with other moms plus other observations I made. Due to my nature of being non-pakialamera, there were some things I was hoping to share with the moms I met, but found it not in my place to say. I’m not very good with unsolicited advice. Hence here are the things I wish I had said to the moms who shared my breastfeeding session last week.

To the mom whose toddler was sleeping on the couch: This is the breastfeeding room, not the child-sleeping room. Take your child home or suffer carrying him asleep in the mall. Give the couch to the moms who need it. (I did actually tell this mom to move over and give me some space to sit).

To the mom who had her three other children with her in the room: Tell your kids to wait outside please. They make noise and disturb the infants. The space is already limited and their constant “Hindi pa ba tapos?” whining doesn’t contribute to the serenity we are all hoping to have while feeding.

To the mom in red who was eyeing my nursing bra and top: Yes, there are such things as nursing bras. The one I was wearing was from SO-EN and costs a mere 270 pesos. The top was bought from Mommy Matters. Cool huh?

To the mom in blue whose monologue was this: “Ano ba baby, ang sakit ng kagat mo? Ano ba, kain ka na. Ayan tuloy dahil hindi ka sumisipsip nabasa na yung damit ko sa kabila!” Uhm, first, your baby’s latch is wrong. Second, it’s not your baby’s fault that your breasts leak. If it bothers you so much, then use nursing pads, for heaven’s sake.

To the lola who was changing her 2-year old apo: There are ways to change a child’s diapers that don’t involve panic, screaming, swearing, and stomping your feet. Also, please don’t let your 2-year old walk all over the changing station in his dirty shoes. Oh, and Lolit Solis wants her hairstyle back.

Spending time in public breastfeeding rooms will give you an idea how much work there needs to be done for the breastfeeding advocacy. I hope I do my part this August, World Breastfeeding Month, as a LATCH volunteer, a model for whatever Nursingmom is planning and through my blog.

Breast is best! Breast is best!!!!

The SaYa Carrier: A Review and Personal How-To

I love the SaYa so much that I am spreading the gospel of this babywearing method. Take note that I do not work for SaYa and I am not paid to do this stunning review.
So as I mentioned in my previous post on babywearing, the SaYa is my and Basti’s favorite carrier among the three systems I have because:
1. The material is soft and stretchy. There are no rings that dig into my shoulder and it feels like wearing a t-shirt.
2. Just as advertised, Basti’s weight is spread evenly across my back and both shoulders. I can wear Basti for hours and we both don’t mind.
3. It can be peeled off, making the transition from carrier to crib wake-free for baby.
The things that can turn off a user from the SaYa are:
1. It can be a challenge to put on.
2. Once you’re carrying baby, it’s harder to carry anything else.
3. There are limited designs available in stock.
For the first drawback, I’ve decided to share my own technique to make it clearer to those interested in getting the SaYa (and because I’ve received a number of messages asking how I figured it out). Here’s what I do when I kangaroo-carry Basti.
The SaYa comes as two linked pouches.
I noticed that the printed pouch seemed to be stretchier than the plain one, so I decided to put that around my waist and make it the support sling. The fabric gets all bunched up, so it helps to run your hands round the fabric to straighten it out before positioning it with the SaYa label on your belly button.
Then I get the other pouch and run my hands through the fabric to get rid of the bunches and twists…
.. before sliding my arm through the opening that faces my back…
.. and putting it over my head.
Spread it across your chest..
.. and get your baby ready by crossing his legs like a little Buddha.
With confidence and conviction, slide your baby into the pouch. I emphasize CONFIDENCE and CONVICTION because you really need these to put your baby into the seemingly small space. Even the tiniest bit of hesitation causes an epic SaYa fail.
Take the support sling…
..and slide it over your baby, with the label facing forward.
Now, slide your other arm through the support sling…
.. and put it over your shoulder.
TADAH! SaYa Success!
Now for the other two drawbacks: I find it hard to carry my baby bag with the SaYa covering my shoulders – the strap keeps slipping! A solution I found is to carry the bag with the strap under the SaYa fabric. Most of the time, I bring a stroller along too, so instead of carrying the baby, the stroller becomes a baby bag trolley.
How I wish Roots and Wings would make more of the designs available! I really wanted the brown/floral design, but had to settle for the purple print one because it was the only one available in my size!
And to prove how much I love the SaYa…
I got another one! This time in plain brown.
With the SaYa I’ve really enjoyed babywearing. It’s enabled me to bring Basti everywhere with less stress. Since I started wearing Basti I’ve been researching on other ways to wear him. Next on my wish list… the wrap or the mei tai!

My SaYa Baby Carrier Review and Personal How-To

I love the SaYa Baby Carrier so much that I am spreading the gospel of this babywearing method. Take note that I do not work for SaYa and I am not paid to do this stunning review.
So as I mentioned in my previous post on babywearing, the SaYa Baby Carrier is my and Basti’s favorite carrier among the three systems I have because:
  1.  The material is soft and stretchy. There are no rings that dig into my shoulder and it feels like wearing a t-shirt.
  2.  Just as advertised, Basti’s weight is spread evenly across my back and both shoulders. I can wear Basti for hours and we both don’t mind.
  3.  It can be peeled off, making the transition from carrier to crib wake-free for baby.
The things that can turn off a user from the SaYa are:
  1. It can be a challenge to put on.
  2. Once you’re carrying baby, it’s harder to carry anything else.
  3. There are limited designs available in stock.
For the first drawback, I’ve decided to share my own technique to make it clearer to those interested in getting the SaYa (and because I’ve received a number of messages asking how I figured it out). Here’s what I do when I kangaroo-carry Basti.
The SaYa comes as two linked pouches.
I noticed that the printed pouch seemed to be stretchier than the plain one, so I decided to put that around my waist and make it the support sling. The fabric gets all bunched up, so it helps to run your hands round the fabric to straighten it out before positioning it with the SaYa label on your belly button.
Then I get the other pouch and run my hands through the fabric to get rid of the bunches and twists…
.. before sliding my arm through the opening that faces my back…
.. and putting it over my head.
Spread it across your chest..
.. and get your baby ready by crossing his legs like a little Buddha.
With confidence and conviction, slide your baby into the pouch. I emphasize CONFIDENCE and CONVICTION because you really need these to put your baby into the seemingly small space. Even the tiniest bit of hesitation causes an epic SaYa fail.
Take the support sling…
..and slide it over your baby, with the label facing forward.
Now, slide your other arm through the support sling…
.. and put it over your shoulder.
TADAH! SaYa Success!
Now for the other two drawbacks: I find it hard to carry my baby bag with the SaYa covering my shoulders – the strap keeps slipping! A solution I found is to carry the bag with the strap under the SaYa fabric. Most of the time, I bring a stroller along too, so instead of carrying the baby, the stroller becomes a baby bag trolley.
How I wish Roots and Wings would make more of the designs available! I really wanted the brown/floral design, but had to settle for the purple print one because it was the only one available in my size!
And to prove how much I love the SaYa…
I got another one! This time in plain brown.
With the SaYa I’ve really enjoyed babywearing. It’s enabled me to bring Basti everywhere with less stress. Since I started wearing Basti I’ve been researching on other ways to wear him. Next on my wish list… the wrap or the mei tai!
UPDATE: Recent studies state that the Buddha carry is not recommended for long period. Try the front-carry! Instructions on this blog post.