The Breastpump Saga Continues

I bought a Spectra Dew 300 a few months back and it worked fine until.. well, until it just didn’t. Mi’ann of Babymama sent me temporary pumps while waiting for the replacement Spectra 3. First she sent me another Spectra Dew 300, but then after a bit, she sent me this:

Ameda Purely Yours Breastpump
Ameda Purely Yours Breastpump, photo courtesy of Babymama

I was able to use it a couple of times before I had to return it and here’s what I have to say about it:

  1. Suction level is ultra comfy, unlike the Spectra’s commando suction powers. Even if it wasn’t as strong as the Spectra, I was still able to express quite a lot of milk.
  2. It has an extra control knob for the cycle, so you can adjust how fast or slow you want it.
  3. Really compact and light!!! (Compared to the Spectra Dew, at least)
  4. Parts are easy to clean and hard to lose. The membrane is very noticeable (something I used to misplace with the Spectra)

Overall: If this were available at the time I was looking for a pump and I had the money for it, I would’ve bought this one.

But that’s how life is, and you have to roll with the punches and be happy with your choices. At Expomom, I handed over the Ameda pump to Mi’ann and she gave me this to replace my Spectra Dew 300:

Spectra 3 Breastpump
The Spectra 3 Breastpump

The breastkits I have from the Dew are compatible with the Spectra 3, so no problem there. The most distinguishing differences between the two are the size and weight. The Spectra 3 is super light and compact, much like the Ameda pump. The performance feels more stable, and yes, the suction is STRONG.

As a whole, if you’re on a tight budget, the Spectra 3 is a good quality pump, a great buy for the price.

Three breastpump reviews already. And Basti still won’t drink from a bottle. Such is life.

The SaYa Versatekk Carrier vs. The SaYa Semistretch Carrier: A Comparison

I bought a SaYa Versatekk at Mama.Baby.Love’s Expomom booth. I’ve been wearing it the past few days and I just wanted to share my observations about it and compare it with the Semistretch version.

  1. The SaYa Versatekk is easier to put on and take off. It being nylon and spandex, it slides unto your baby effortlessly and is less prone to tangles and knots. If you do tangle up while wearing the Versatekk, it’ll actually still be manageable. A tangle in the semistretch version is SaYa hell.
  2. The Versatekk’s plus is also its minus. Because it’s smoother and stretchier, I find it hangs lower than the semistretch and gives Basti more room to squirm. When carrying Basti in front facing me, he can lean back, almost to the point of spilling from the carrier, something he couldn’t do with the semistretch.
  3. Again, since it’s stretchier, I found I had to get the smallest size. I initially thought I would get a size 1, but eventually got the size 0 because I found the size 1 too stretchy! Basti was spilling out of the carrier! Never mind the sharing-with-hubby part. I’ll teach him how to use the ring sling.

I like wearing my SaYa with the sleeves over my arms:

SaYa Versatekk

(Note: Do you guys like my hair? I had it fixed by Cherry at Toni & Guy. I no longer curse when I see myself in the mirror)

SaYa Versatekk

But today I scrunched up the sleeves to hang like straps over my shoulders and I found that this is the best way to do it with the Versatekk. More stable and less prone to slipping off. (Excuse the bagong-paligo look)

SaYa Versatekk

Back view:

SaYa Versatekk

Overall, I’m happy with the Versatekk too. The reason I bought it is because I want to take Basti swimming and the material is very much like the Gypsy Mama Water Wrap. I’m going to try showering and swimming with Basti in the SaYa Versatekk. I imagine it’s going to be a great travel carrier since it’ll dry easily and is really quick to put on and off. No SPF information on their material though. I think I’ll ask about that.

If you’re looking for tips on how to wear the SaYa carrier, I have posts on that here and here. Here’s to more SaYa success!

Shopping Report

I’ve got new stuff to rave about.

1. Printed designs of the Sarah Sleep Bra from Mama.Baby.Love.

Photo courtesy of Mama.Baby.Love.

I like wearing this, like a dirty little secret. When something bad happens during the day, I always think “at least I’m wearing heart-printed underwear.”

2. JL Childress Bottles N Bags Stroller Organizer, ordered from The Tiki Room.

Because I am not complete without my Starbucks. And I hate digging around in the diaper bag for my phone! This works well for me and I find the zippered compartments adequate for my phone, keys and wallet. The elasticized drink holders keep the drinks in place, but you have to do a bit of stretching and maneuvering before you can get a cup or a bottle in there. It folds away nicely with the stroller; I don’t even take it off anymore. You can actually use it as a belt bag too. (But who wants to do that. Wag naman magmukhang nanay masyado)

3. Basti’s Feeding Gear

  • Munchkin Suction Bowls
  • Tommee Tippee Heat-Sensitive Feeding Spoons
  • Playtex First Sipster Cup
  • Babycubes Food Storage System

A bowl is a bowl, a spoon is a spoon and a sippy cup is but a sippy cup because BASTI DOESN’T WANT TO EAT OR DRINK ANYWAY. *end exasperation here*

The Babycubes, though, are working beautifully.

A friend of mine brought them over from the US for me and we’ve been using them to store Basti’s food. We’ve been able to cook in batches and portion them out so we can measure how much Basti grabs, throws and spits out eats each meal.

On the way from is this:

So that I can bring food for Basti and snacks for me, wherever we go. Cute no? It should be at the Johnny Air Cargo office by now.

Books, Books, Books For Less!

I remember the exact moment that I learned how to read. From that moment on, I never stopped.

I devoured books as a child. My favorite was going through the A-Z of our World Book Encyclopedia set. I was a member of the Young Librarian’s Club in school where you got to checkout two books instead of one, and had overnight borrowing privileges to the Reference materials. It was heaven.

For work, storytelling was my ultimate favorite. I love making voices and I am OA when storytelling to young children. I think I have more fun that they do.

So it’s only natural that I want to build a library for Basti. I already had Narnia, a full set of Dr. Seuss books in English and Mandarin and other stuff for when Basti’s older (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, etc) but all of that disappeared when Typhoon Ondoy hit our home last year. Sigh.

Everytime I go to our local Shopwise, I always pass by the Books For Less branch on the ground floor. Here’s what I’ve found for Basti so far.

For beginning ABCs, I found Chikka Chikka ABC and Sesame Street’s ABC Toychest. At this point, Basti loves the Chikka Chikka book more. He loves the part where all the letters fall from the coconut tree.

Found this Baby Signs books for mealtime. Basti smiles when he sees the pictures of the babies.

I love Sandra Boynton books. Snuggle Puppy is soooo cute.

The first of the Eric Carle books I’m going to buy. Basti’s favorite is when I make the zebra go, “neeeeighhhh!”

Some books based on songs. Basti likes it when I crawl my fingers up and down his tummy while singing Eensy Weensy Spider.

And my two ultimate favorite bedtime books, Goodnight Gorilla and Goodnight Moon.

Each time, I give myself a budget of PhP500 so I don’t overload. I always end up bringing home 2-6 books. It’s fun scouring the shelves because you never know what you will find.

I wonder what’ll be the newest addition to Basti’s library next week? Rainbow Fish? The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Can’t wait!

Basti, Steady

I posted this on my Facebook status:

(Me) doesn’t get the obsession about babies being “advanced”. Basti, my darling, take your sweet time growing up. you hear? Steady ka lang.

A week doesn’t pass that I don’t hear some sort of comment or question about Basti’s developmental progress, and how other babies his age are faring either “worse” or “better”. It annoys me.

Seriously, what is with the obsession for babies to be ahead of their developmental milestones? Why the rush anyway?

It’s time for that chicken-and-the-egg question. Did formula companies instill the need for early baby advancement in parents or was it the parents who urged  companies to base their marketing for formula on creating the “super baby”? Just asking. What do you guys think?

As for me, as long as Basti is on track, happy and growing up well within the WHO growth charts, I don’t see any reason why I should try and push him beyond that. Admit it; this competition, the quest for the “Super Baby” is all about the parent, and never about the child.

Have you guys seen this ad on TV about the “Your Baby Can Read” video series? Watching it makes you feel everyone else’s baby is reading except yours. I was going to buy it, succumbing to the pressure, and while I was scrambling around for my credit card thinking, “Basti will read at 8 months.. Basti will read at 8 months!”.. I suddenly realized… so what if he does? What’s wrong with getting around to reading at the REAL reading age anyway? I didn’t read till I was three and I’m fine. So are you.

So many children now are overstressed and overscheduled. They don’t even have time to just play. Even their playtime has to “productive”. If not, they’re usually in front of game consoles or DVDs. In my youth, playing meant going outside in the dirt to gather plants and flowers for my sidewalk “store”. People would pay me stones for something I “cooked” in my palayok from the market. My friend Carina remembers how she was let out of the house with a bike and instructions to come back before dark.

So instead of buying the “Your Baby Can Read” series, I’d much rather buy some nice wooden toys, a kiddie easel, finger paint, butcher paper and a huge tub for playing with mud, shaving cream or sand (or all of that at the same time). Don’t get me wrong; I’m buying books – LOADS of them (I do my bargain children’s book shopping at Books For Less. Seriously, some of them look almost brand new) but I am not going to force Basti to read, not till he’s good and ready.

And all of those programs that promise to get my child’s IQ higher, enhance his math skills, or make him read at lightning speed, you’re not getting a cent from me!

Baby Room Decor

Someone asked me what was in the corner of this picture I posted in the Winners blog entry:

This picture was taken in the nursery-slash-“office” (i.e. where mommy spends the entire day on the Internet). I must confess that little corner is a part of this:

true blood

Great baby room decor, huh?

We have never stayed in a house for more than a year. We’re already thinking of where to move when our lease on this house ends. If only we were a little bit rooted, I’d make Basti’s room to look a little bit like this:

Except for that little tent over the crib. What the hell is that.

Revisiting Baguio

When I think of Baguio, my mind instantly goes back to two periods of my life: childhood and college. As a child I have fond memories of being in Baguio with the family: staying at Pines and Hyatt Hotel, taking early morning swims at the Hyatt’s indoor heated pool, biking all afternoon at Burnham, eating at the 19th Tee at John Hay (ice cream and steak sandwiches, yum!!!). When my family finally bought a house in Baguio when I was in college, there was Spirits disco (Oh.Em.Gee.), bareback trailriding on the Marlboro Trail, spending Holy Week and half of the summer there and gaining 10 million pounds in the process and spending Christmas break there all bundled up and actually using our fireplace.

The last time I went to Baguio was when I took some Chinese friends for a day tour when I came home from China for Spring Festival. Last week was the first time I stayed in our house in over 5 years! I’m so happy to be back, now with little Basti in tow.

We actually didn’t get to do anything because it was SO COLD (my China-winter tolerance is gone!!) and it was kind of rainy. Ok, I confess. We were just relishing the cold that gave our bedrooms a hotel feel and just stayed mostly in bed all day, napping. Basti included. We had dinner out once, at a place called Oh My Khan! (spelling, not sure), a Mongolian barbecue place that was just so-so. Sweet Inspirations in Katipunan is better, which says a lot, considering Oh My Khan! has the best ingredients Baguio has to offer, including watercress.

One place we didn’t miss though, was the BenCab Museum.

It was such a nice way to spend the day. We walked through the many galleries showcasing the artist’s vast collection of paintings and sculptures. I’m glad we went off-season; I can’t imagine walking through the halls if there were a lot of people around. We had lunch at Cafe Sabel. It was nicely situated at the base of the museum, and has a lovely view of the museum’s farm, pond and garden. It was so relaxing. My mom said that we should come here everytime we go up to Baguio.bencab museum

We had a really nice lunch. My favorite was the Chili Eggplant Surprise. It was a beautiful pan-fried catfish fillet served with an eggplant dish of some sort. My dad had their adobo with mountain rice. I had a spicy tuyo pasta that was okay. I’m going to try and recreate it here at home.

It was a great way to spend our last day in Baguio. We’ll come for another visit, on our next trip, soon!

bencab museum

And The Winners Are……

But! Before I announce the winners of my first ever blog giveaway, I would like to say sorry for the delay, because we had to go and have dinner with the whole family for my mom’s birthday.

My mom with all her grandchildren

Happy birthday Mommy!!

And so, I got The Painter and The Painter’s Son to draw the winners from my “tambiolo”. Orley drew first:

The winner of Goodie Bag #1: PhP1,000.00 store credits from Swell Sweets, One (1) Sling from Next9 and One (1) Onesie or T-Shirt from googoo&gaga is:

Basti drew next:

The winner of Goodie Bag #2: PhP750.00 Gift Certificate from Chili Willy’s Texas Grill, PhP1,000.00 Store Credits from and One (1) 3-Pc. Burp Cloth Set from Nursingmom is:

And because I was in pambahay and bad hair, The Painter drew again:

The winner of Goodie Bag #3: Breastfeeding Accessories Set from Mama.Baby.Love (Jingle Jungle Sterilizer Bags, Jingle Jungle Breastmilk Storage Bags, Fabulous Mom Nursing Pads), One (1) Nursing Cover and Pouch Set from Nursingmom and Five (5) Regular Servings of Caveman & Yeti Shaved Ice is:

Congratulations to all the winners!!!

Please send me an email at eliza dot painterswife at gmail dot com so we can make arrangements for your prizes. I will try and send you a message through Facebook or Twitter, but if we’re not “Friends” I might not be able to do so. If I don’t get a response within 72 hours, I’ll have to draw another winner!

Thank you to all the Celebrating Motherhood sponsors and a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway! I hope you don’t get tired of joining contests because I still have quite a few lined up!!!

Gymbo, We Meet Again

I said goodbye to Gymbo in 2008. At first I showed up occasionally to sub for  desperate teachers-slash-friends, and then I just stopped teaching altogether, especially when I got pregnant.

And then Basti was born. Now at 6 months, he is fully interacting with the grand total of 3 adults in our household and I felt he needed other faces to see. I wanted him to interact with babies his own age already. With much delight, I donned my Gymboree uniform again for a grand reunion with Gymbo The Clown.

gymboree shangrila

I think he had fun, even though he was so sleepy during his actual class. He liked song time and dance time the most, and stared in wonder when bubbles were floating overhead. He loved seeing the parachute colors and laughed when the parachute breeze hit him.

gymboree shangrila

gymboree shangrila

It’s fun being on the other side of a Gymboree class. I always had fun teaching, but it’s way different when you’re attending the class with your own baby. I think I grew as a teacher just by attending that one class alone. I can’t wait to see Basti grow through the levels and interact more with the children and the playfloor as he gets bigger and bigger.

P.S. I’m done gathering all the entries for the giveaway. Thanks so much to everyone for joining! 303 entries in total, whew! Watch out the the announcement of winners!