Where to buy children’s books on Instagram

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I’m only just now beginning to see the joy in reading and collecting children’s books. There is so much artistry that goes into making a really good children’s book that I never quite appreciated before, from the carefully crafted words to the matching illustrations. Kids are a really discerning audience. How do you make something engaging and still make it relatable to a preschooler? How do you even captivate the imagination of a 3 year old when most of them can’t stay still long enough to have their pajamas put on?

I’ve managed to get a hold of some really nice books for Stella. Some I’ve bought in bookstores, some are gifts, and some I’ve bought online from Instagram sellers.

Here are some of the book sellers on Instagram that I follow. They have a nice, well-curated selection of children’s books that I always check out.

1. Sunnypages
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2. Ben.and.lily.
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3. Beluga Dreams
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Sleep training update

After weeks of sleep training, which includes increasing her milk intake, experimenting with different bed times and bed time routines, I think it’s safe to say that my sleep training has been an utter disaster. Lol. I have come to just accept that my dearest, darlingest daughter just won’t sleep through the night yet. She will when she’s ready and I just have to accept it. She’s a very happy baby during the day, anyway, and is rarely ever fussy. Her awful sleeping habits are just a quirk. She still reaches for me at night, with her eyes closed. It’s cute and sweet and I console myself with the fact that the time will come when she will no longer reach for me.

It works, sometimes. Other times I want to tear my hair out.

Ah, motherhood.

Adventures in sleep training

Whoever thought of the phrase "sleeps like a baby" obviously wasn't referring to my daughter

Whoever thought of the phrase “sleeps like a baby” obviously wasn’t referring to my daughter

At six months, Stella has been hitting every milestone on time, sometimes even earlier. She turns on her sides and back, she grasps toys with a firm grip, she coos and laughs and makes great eye contact. She can’t yet get us the remote control or fetch us a beer from the fridge, but we’re working on it. For the most part though, she has been on point on just about every single developmental milestone.

Except for one thing.  Her sleep. That glorious activity that is essential to every person’s sanity and survival. For several months now, Stella would be nursing every two hours at night. I lie in bed in complete terror, looking at my baby’s perfectly angelic face and hoping to the lord almighty that she stays asleep. Which, of course, she doesn’t. Two hours after she drifts off to sleep, she would start squirming. Small, but not imperceptible, squirms, which would then develop into full blown thrashing. All this with her eyes closed. I would sigh, pull up my shirt, and do the one thing that ends the thrashing: nurse her. A few minutes later, a satiated Stella would drift off to slumber once again. I meanwhile, would be wide awake, looking at my husband sleeping beside Stella, blissfully unaware of the murderous looks I was throwing his way.

So now I’ve taken it upon myself to fix this problem that I might have created. There are many many sleep training methods, but all of them boil down to the following general categories:

1. Cry It Out Method – This method encourages mothers to do just what the name suggests, let their baby cry it out. This is also called the Extinction Method, which was popularized by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. The idea is to set a bed time, leave your baby to sleep, and go back the next morning. You presume the baby will cry herself to sleep for a few days, until she learns how to self soothe.

I, cannot, for the life of me, do that to Stella, although I make no judgments on parents who do. Parents who opted for this report a well-rested, happier baby. Still, the thought of leaving Stella to cry her lungs out, and making no attempt to soothe her, makes ME want to cry. Option number 1 is out.

2. Controlled crying – Again, as the name suggests, this method involves crying, but in graduated stages. Also known as the Ferber method, this method involves checking the baby at timed intervals, making small attempts to calm the crying baby such as a pat on the bum, or a soothing voice, but ultimately still leaving her to soothe herself.

At this point I might have to say that I am a wuss and I cannot stand the thought of letting my baby cry, for any amount of time, and not doing anything about it. All the sleep training guides also point to negative sleep associations that hinder a baby from sleeping well. One of which is nursing them to sleep. Sorry naman. Guilty as charged. But what is a sleepy, bleary-eyed mom to do when the only thing that would calm a baby down is to nurse her?  The sleep trainers say that a baby should learn how to put themselves to sleep without these “crutches,” whether they’re nursing, or rocking to sleep, or ssshing, or patting the baby’s bum.

I will just have to find a way to sleep train Stella without any form of crying. (Incidentally, there is a book called the No Cry Sleep Solution, by Elizabeth Pantley, which I have yet to read).

The first order of the day is to make sure that Stella’s getting enough milk during the day so she doesn’t have to feed at night. I read that one of the reasons a baby is wakeful at night is because they might not be getting enough nourishment during the day. This might be true for our situation, seeing as how my breastmilk supply isn’t the greatest. I have also noticed that Stella seems to nap better when I give her expressed breastmilk in a bottle, as opposed to simply nursing from me directly. I’ve increased her milk intake, up to 4 oz per bottle during the day when I’m away in the office, and tonight I will give her an additional bottle after our final nightly nursing session.

So help me God.







Favorite Mommy and Baby stuff… for now

So many toys!

So many toys!

Before I had a baby, I didn’t realize how much stuff we were going to have to deal with. It’s a whole armada of bottles, blankets, clothes, what have you. Like many moms before me have wondered, how could one tiny human being need so much stuff? It’s mind boggling how easily these seemingly little things accumulate until they’ve managed to take over our entire house, and our entire lives. The Mom stuff is a whole different matter. Breastfeeding pumps, nursing covers, diaper bags, the whole shebang just never seems to end. Still, there are some things out there that to me are just worth the extra kalat. Here are some of my favorite mom and baby stuff that have so far made this new motherhood journey easier for both baby and me.

1. Exergen thermometer
This is every paranoid mom’s best friend. You just swipe the thermometer on their forehead and it gives you an accurate measure of the baby’s temperature without waking the baby up if they’re sleeping. Plus, and more importantly, this gives a reading which is about as accurate as a rectal thermometer. I could never bring myself to use one of those, so this is really the next best thing.

2. Mama’s and Papa’s stroller
I searched high and low for strollers before settling on the Mamas and Papas Armadillo Flip Stroller. It fulfilled all my requirements – has to be useful from birth to toddler (so we don’t spend on another stroller when Stella grows bigger – and we all know babies grow so fast!), has front and rear suspension for a smooth ride for the baby, easy to navigate in most kinds of terrain (perfect for strolling in the mall or walking in parks), easy to fold and store, not too bulky, can be inward or outward facing, and has a big basket for extra storage. Also, it’s not too attention grabbing like some other super expensive fancy schmancy strollers being pushed around by the sosyal mommies at the Fort. Or maybe I’m just envious. Har har. Anyhow, Stella seems to be comfortable enough in it so that’s the most important thing.

3. Lillebaby Airflow carrier
When we’re not using the Mamas and Papas, like when we’re just running a short errand, we use our Lillebaby carrier. The choice was actually between this or the Tula and I ended up going with the Lillebaby because one, it was cheaper, and second, the Lillebaby was suitable for a newborn whereas the Tula needed an extra infant insert if it will be used for newborns. Stella has fallen asleep in the Lillebaby so I take that to mean she’s comfortable in it.

4. Nosefrida Snotsucker
This one has been a godsend, particularly because Stella is so prone to congestion. Her nose gets stuffed so easily and it’s hard for her to breathe and breastfeed, which in turn makes it hard for her to sleep. And when baby doesn’t sleep, mommy doesn’t sleep as well. This little sucker gets the stuff out in no time. We find that using a saline solution beforehand works even better. But this one is so, so handy especially for kids and babies.

5. Crane humidifier
Still on Stella’s problematic congestion, I find that a combination of the Nosefrida snotsucker, the saline solution, plus this Crane humidifier pretty much keeps Stella’s congestion at bay. The Crane works beautifully. Just put in some water, and the thing can run for 24 hours straight. Perfect if you’re like us where the aircon is sometimes on practically the whole day.

6. Pigeon teether and lip trainer
Since every cool kid was sporting a Sophie the Giraffe teether, we went ahead and bought one. P1,250 bucks for a teether! Lord. And of course we discover that Stella prefers the cheap ass Pigeon teether, which is just P250. Oh well. The teether is made of soft silicone and can be sterilized. Lesson learned: never again will I be carried away by hype! Or, well, I will try my very best not to.

7. Skip Hop Activity Gym
This activity gym keeps Stella entertained for a good 10-15 minutes. And what good is a mere 10-15 minutes? I didn’t know too, before I became a mom, but let me tell you all the beautiful things that can happen in just 10-15 minutes: I can take a nap, I can take a shower, I can cut my nails, I can check Facebook in peace, I can eat my lunch with both hands, the list is endless.