Weaned!

Yes, I weaned a toddler from breastfeeding. With no fuss.🙂

Even though our breastfeeding experience did not exactly start off well, I’m happy and proud to say that I was able to breastfeed my baby for 2 and a half years, with months 2 to 6 almost exclusively, with just an occasional bottle of formula a day to tide him over till I get home from work. I recall how I used to lug around my bag containing my breastpump, bottles and cleaning paraphernalia, and a cooler to the office everyday, so that I can pump while working. Sometimes I even brought the pump to clients’ offices, where I pumped in the restroom while waiting for a meeting to start. I’ve also tried pumping while in a moving car. I even attempted to do so while driving, but found it to be very difficult (an accident waiting to happen, really), so I did not proceed. For the first few months after I gave birth, my schedule was pretty much controlled by Gabby’s feeding schedule, and finding opportunities to sneak in pumping sessions in between. It was hard, but I kept at it until breastfeeding and pumping came easily. It was a rewarding and fulfilling experience, and it allowed Gabby and me to bond.

Whenever I was not able to pump and nurse for long periods of time due to some circumstance beyond my control, I’d feel guilty. I became a sort of an addict, actually. But I loved doing it, because I knew I’m doing what is best  for my baby.

At around the 10-month mark,  my milk supply started to noticeably decrease. It saddened me, but the overwhelming feeling at first was actually panic.  I tried whatever I could to increase it again. But even though I was not able to do so, I still kept breastfeeding, figuring that any amount of breastmilk I can provide is better than none at all. At least, I was also very slowly getting used to the idea of weaning my baby from breastfeeding.

Now, at 2 1/2 years old, Gabby is weaned completely from nursing. It’s been more than a week now since I last nursed him. And, while he’d still ask to nurse once in a while, I’ve been able to persuade him not to.

How did we do it? Our process was verrrrrry gradual, which is how I preferred it (because, while I believe that moms should not be pressured into breastfeeding exclusively, I also believe in breastfeeding your baby as long as you can).

1.  When he turned 1, I stopped pumping when I’m at the office; I just nursed him whenever we were together. At this point, requests to nurse when outside the house became very rare, until it completely stopped. I nursed him when he woke up in the morning, then once more before I go to the office. When I get home, I also nurse on demand, then once before he goes to sleep, and a couple of times more during the night. During weekends he gets to nurse on demand.

2. When he turned 2, I stopped nursing him in the mornings, and confined nursing to before bedtime and when he woke up during the night.

3. At 2 and a half, I’d nurse at bedtime, but tried to limit the time (i.e. around 10-15 minutes only), and not let him go to sleep while nursing. I’d say, “that’s enough, baby,” and while he’d sometimes bargain for “last na lang,” usually he’d stop and turn away from me and ask that I tap him in the bum to make him sleepy.

4. Lately I either get him to go to sleep on his own without nursing, or ask his yaya to get him to sleep (more of the latter, because it reduces the chances of him asking to nurse). Then when he’s already asleep, he’s transferred to our room so he can sleep with us. He doesn’t wake up anymore in the middle of the night to nurse, and during the rare occasion when he did so, I just told him to go back to sleep and tapped him softly.

I think that part of our success in weaning is Gabby’s maturity. He understands and comprehends explanations now. He’s also rarely controlled now by his need to throw a tantrum when he cannot get his way. Even when he does, the tantrums are short and not as intense as before. We can now actually reason with him.

Also, I think I waited for the right time. There were attempts to wean before (halfhearted on my part, haha), but the protests were such that I figured he was not ready yet. And since I wanted to nurse as long as possible, I did not have to force him and me to wean even when we were not yet ready.

While we’ve been successful in weaning though, to be honest, there’s a part of me that’s sad–sad because this phase in our relationship has ended, and I feel that somehow I’ve lost some sort of unique connection with him. But I’m also happy. Happy, because he’s sort of moving on to other things. Happy, because he no longer uses nursing as a sleeping aid. Happy, because he can fall asleep on his own (sometimes). And happy, because since he does not wake up to nurse in the middle of the night anymore, he now sleeps through the night.

And, let’s face it: happy, because nursing a toddler with almost a full set of baby teeth actually hurts a bit.

When a toddler is learning to talk, being on the sidelines is so much fun. They may not be able to get it right all the time, but it’s certainly not for lack of trying. And being right there when they try is priceless.

As I related in an earlier post, Gabby’s language skills blossomed around two months before his second birthday. Now, he can already make us laugh, either because of his unexpected answers to our questions, or because he imitates a lot of what we say (and do) that we are just always amazed and enthralled and eagerly awaiting what he will do next.

However, his speech is not yet perfect. He has difficulty pronouncing the “f” sound (“pish” instead of “fish”), though he can actually pronounce the letter F. He also has trouble with “r” and “l” sounds: therefore, “ice cream” becomes “ice cweam“; “car” is “can“; “battery” is battewy“. In the same vein, “alcohol” is currently “ancohon“, and “lolo” and “lola” are “wowo” and “wowa,” respectively. “S” sounds he can deal with, except when it comes at the beginning of a word. That’s where Ate Tutan (Ate Susan) comes in. You get the picture.

There are instances, though, when even that simple formula is turned upside down. “Migogots” is actually Progress Gold, his formula (no, I don’t know why either). “Pipapan” is electric fan. “Oyoyo” is Oreo.

I’m actually turning into a Gabbynese expert.🙂 Pakiken*, anyone?

*popsicle

Manny Pacquioo

Gabby is now 2 years and 3 months old, and his vocabulary has really BLOSSOMED. From around 15 words when he was about a year and half old, word pickup went full speed ahead a couple of months before his second birthday. At first I was worried that he is delayed when it comes to speech, despite his pediatrician’s reassurances to the contrary. In October of last year, however, he suddenly became so verbose. I even tried to write down all his new words, but eventually gave up at around the 150-word mark a few weeks before his second birthday, because I realized I could not even keep up with the rapid and amazing pace at which he was picking up new words. Now, he’s able to say so many words it’s adorable.

The thing with having a toddler in the house, though, is you have to be careful with the words you say, because he can copy almost every word that comes out of your mouth. It’s a good thing that cuss words don’t come easy to us; otherwise, Gabby will be spouting “P*Is” and “F*Us” by now! We screen what he can or cannot watch on television (which is just as well; he shouldn’t really be watching too much TV at his age, anyway), because he can now say a lot of the words he hears on TV. Add to that the fact that he may even be able to copy behavior he sees on TV. So, as much as possible, I try to limit his TV viewing to Nick Jr. in the morning (at least the shows there are educational, age appropriate, and does not show bad behavior), and a little Willing Willie at night (I know, but no choice; see, our manang is a big fan so the TV is tuned in to TV5 at night). I avoid tuning in to soap operas, because you know how they are: sampalan left and right, some sabunutan here and there, and a lot of walanghiya kas sprinkled all around. We don’t want those words coming out of a sweet babe’s mouth, do we?

Which is why I was flabbergasted when, one night, Gabby all of a sudden said “Pacquioo”. With a cute smile on his face at that. Really, that’s how it sounded. Like Pacquiao, but not really. Because he can actually say “Manny Pacquiao” clearly. Hence, his Pacquioo may be mistaken as F*U, right? Now, I’m sure he didn’t hear it from anyone in the house or even at my parents’ house, because none of us says those words. I don’t even think he heard it on TV, because of the limited viewing choices he has. He hardly watches movies on TV, too. So I’m not really sure what that means. Since he’s still a bit new to this talking a lot thing, he still mispronounces a bunch of words. For example, he cannot make the L sound. He calls my parents-in-law “Wowo” and “Wowa” (Agua, is that you?). The same is true for R sounds. Hence, for all we know, he may be saying something else which I just haven’t deciphered yet. Still, it’s disconcerting to hear something sounding like cuss words from my sweet Gabby! I even tried to teach him that it’s a bad word (yes, in the off chance that he is really saying a bad word). It actually stopped him. Except that he repeated the word again this morning!!! *cringe*

So when you hear my Gabby saying Pacquioo, don’t take it personally, okay?🙂

 

Tantrumtastic

How do you keep your sanity when your toddler has tantrums???

From first-hand experience, I can tell you that it’s verrrrrry hard!!!!

Sometimes, no matter how much I try to have endless patience and understanding, he catches me on a bad day, either because of pressures from work, managing the household, sickness or just plain exhaustion. Then I snap, scream or get super stern, contrary to the advice of baby books and experts. And oh, how it makes me feel like a bad mother😦

It’s an endeavor which requires constant effort. Because no matter how lovable and cute and adorable my little tyke is, and no matter how much I love him, there are times when I just can’t take the screaming and whining anymore and I simply want to tear my hair out.

How do I deal with it?

I guess what’s most effective for me is always keeping in mind that, no matter how much my toddler seems to be able to understand me, he is still a little kid, still developing, still maturing; that he needs my constant guidance to know whether what he is doing is right and wrong; and most importantly, he needs constant reassurance from me that I love him and always do.

Sometimes though, a mere smile can cool even the hottest of heads.🙂

This is Just. Plain. Crazy.

Saw this in the news the other day:

” x x x Meralco explained in a statement that the higher electricity prices this month had been triggered by the lower dispatch (or electricity output) from its independent power producers, given a decrease in power demand last month. This resulted in higher power costs. x x x”

What I understand from this explanation is that, essentially, electricity rates will increase for this month because we, the consumers, were matipid with our electricity consumption last month. Our decreased demand last month led the independent power producers to decrease their output this month, resulting in higher electricity prices.

Which, in my humble opinion, just does not make sense.

We as consumers are in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation. If you consume a lot of electricity, you’ll have a big electric bill, plus you will spike demand which triggers higher electricity prices. If you exercise prudence in energy consumption,you lower demand, which lowers power production but still triggers higher electricity prices for the succeeding month. So what are we supposed to do???

Maybe it’s high time to study the law governing energy and evaluate how this can be a win-win situation for everybody and not just for the independent power producers.

 

Toothbrush Time for Gabby

Toothbrushing is not one of Gabby’s favorite activities. Or, to be more accurate about it, he’s fine with toothbrushing–until I take over the brush. Thing is, I can’t not take over; otherwise, he’ll have yellow teeth and cavities before his third birthday. So we just restrain him and I brush away🙂 But since he hates it so much, I tried to think of ways to shorten the ordeal for him, but at the same time making sure that the job gets done properly.

Before, we used baby toothbrushes–

Oral-B Stages Baby Toothbrush

But less than a month of use (and biting!), and the toothbrushes look like this —

Flyaway na ang toothbrush (left, Pigeon; right, Oral-B Stages)

Up close and personal

I figured, there has to be a better way to get his teeth clean, one that is faster and more effective considering that Gabby squirms a lot during brushing time. Also, replacing a P150+ toothbrush every month is bound to be expensive. That’s when I thought of getting him an electric toothbrush:

The electric toothbrush (from Watsons) costs around P300+, but the replacement heads cost about P180+ for a set of 4 heads. It’s less expensive to just replace the heads every month in the long run. I noticed also that it’s easier to really clean Gabby’s teeth using an electric toothbrush. My nephew also hates having his teeth brushed, and my sister also got electric brushes for him and his kuya, and she said that their teeth are cleaner compared to when she used the usual baby toothbrushes.

I can attest to the truth of that fact, too. Gabby’s teeth used to be hard to clean with a regular toothbrush, especially since he is so uncooperative. But when we started using the electric toothbrushes, his teeth really got cleaner and whiter. The rotating bristles really do a good job.🙂

Aside from the above, I also got Steripod toothbrush holders, also from Watsons. Aside from keeping the brush safe from bugs and critters, it also sterilizes the toothbrush while in the pod.

As for toothpaste, I use Pigeon baby toothpaste for Gabby. The tube below costs around P100, if I’m not mistaken. But it lasts long, because I just smear a bit on the bristles, I don’t even use the recommended pea-size amount. Pigeon toothpaste is good because it does not contain fluoride. And it smells yummy, too. It comes in strawberry and orange flavors. Dentists recommend not using fluoride-based toothpaste for children who cannot spit them out, because excess fluoride in the system apparently causes teeth discoloration.

I also saw these tooth and gum wipes at SM Baby Company, where I also buy the toothpaste. It’s great for when you are out and OC and want to clean your baby’s teeth.🙂 Or when you already brushed his teeth, and he ate something else and you want to avoid another screaming fit. The only hazard here is if your baby is a biter; it really hurts (I should know, Gabby bit me!)

Offended

We went to church last Sunday morning, and I got offended!

Not by the church itself or the ceremony, but by one of the ubiquitous Mother Butler Guild members. You know, the respectably-dressed older ladies who assist during Mass?

We arrived a little after the Mass already started, so Gabby, his yaya and I went to stand at the back. He was quiet, just singing a bit in low tones, and walking a few steps. Then one of the “Mothers” stopped Gabby’s yaya and said “Sa labas na lang kayo”. Which got me mad.

First, my baby wasn’t disturbing anyone; he wasn’t even shouting or crying or running up and down the aisle. Second, and more important in my opinion, is that I bring my baby to Mass whenever weather permits because I want him to get used to the idea that Mass is part of our Sunday schedule. I want to train him, so that Sunday Mass becomes part of his routine when he grows up. I want to instill in him the idea that Sunday Mass is an obligation for us Catholics, so that it becomes a part of him. And that’s why I got so offended with the Mother’s attitude. I will understand if my baby was being disruptive; in fact, I’d be the first person to get him outside the church. Otherwise, shouldn’t she just have left us alone? Shouldn’t she be glad that we’re attempting to raise our child to become a church-going person someday?

Just saying.