From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I have been bombarded with thousands of advices from well-meaning relatives, friends, and yes, even strangers.  Of course, knowing nothing about being pregnant and raising a kid...I tried to follow it all...until I got tired...

Best advice I ever got?  DO NOT heed them all!!

Seriously, if I do everything everyone told me to do, I would go far beyond crazy!!  I don't mean to dismiss all the suggestions (and sometimes, criticisms)...just follow what you feel will work best for you and your baby.  Eight months of being a mom is not a lot if you compare it to 30 years of experience my mom had...or to Octomom's expertise with raising her octuplets...or to the knowledge single moms have...you get my point?  Each of us is different as our babies are unique.  What might work for one parent would not necessarily be a hit with another.

Being new at this, I don't pretend like I know everything...truth is, I know nothing.  That's why we need supportive family and friends to help us make the transition from being childless to being a parent.  It's just that with all the suggestions on how to do things, it will be overwhelming.  Suffocation from information overload.

So, what do I do when someone approaches me and tells me a "better" way to take care of my baby?  I listen first.  If it's something I feel would help me, I welcome it.  There's nothing wrong with giving it a try...if it doesn't work, I let it go.  There's no sense brooding over why it works for others and won't work for me.

Listening is the key.  When someone's giving out parenting advice, listen.  Everyone is just trying to help (or so, they think!)..so be nice.  If it's something you've heard before or something you know won't apply to you...try to say something like "Thanks, I've tried that before..but I found out _ _ _ works best for me and my baby".  If the advice is totally useless, just smile and say thank you.  At the end of the day, just pick out the useful information and throw the rest out. 

Bottom line is, you are the parent and you know what's best.  We have all heard about "mother's instinct" or "parent's instinct"...you have it.  Listen to the inner voice inside you, couple that with good information and I think you're good to go. 
 
 
My daughter has four teeth now!!!  It was cool seeing her with all those teeth...I feel like she's no longer an "infant" in my eyes...aaaaw...she's growing so fast!

Teething usually starts around four to seven months.  Usually, the two bottom teeth will be the first to come out. 
So, what are the signs that your baby might be teething?

- excessive drooling
- fussy or cries a lot
- body temperature is higher than usual (not fever)
- cries or seems irritated when you touch the gums
- don't want to eat
- soft stools

According to our doctor, some babies even lose weight when teething.  It's because some of them doesn't want to eat...if you have concerns about your baby's weight or if your child has a fever, contact your pediatrician.

We were lucky our daughter didn't give us a hard time during her teething phase...only a day or two of being extremely fussy.  The first time (two bottom teeth were coming out), I had no idea what's wrong with her.  She wants to be held all the time and would sometimes want to chew on something hard...like her crib or, in some cases, my shoulders! 

To ease the discomfort, chilled teethers help.  We alternate three or four teethers...while she's using one, the rest were chillin' in the fridge.  I never thought of using pain relievers as I don't deem them necessary.  Teething is a normal process every baby has to go through...and I feel that if I give pain meds, she won't get used to "little bits" of discomfort...aside from the teethers, we gave her lots of hugs instead!

Time goes by fast...in a few years, we'll be getting visits from the tooth fairy for these..
 
 
I just want to share the top 5 products which helped me a lot during my transition to motherhood:

Picture
1.  AngelSounds fetal doppler

I was a paranoid pregnant woman!  I used to think all sorts of negative things happening to my baby without me knowing.  To make matters worse, my ob-gyn, who did an ultrasound during my first check-up (which is at my 6th week of pregnancy), won't see me again until I am 12 weeks. 

At 10 weeks, I was in a state of panic.  What if my baby doesn't have a heart beat?  What if he/she's not moving?  And all those crazy "what ifs"...I know it's perfectly normal to worry, but at that time, nothing can really calm me down.  I went to my doctor and asked him to check if my baby is still swimming in there!

I also decided to get the AngelSounds fetal doppler.  It's pretty cheap (less than $30) compared to other fetal dopplers (more than $50), which was a plus.  Though I read a couple of bad reviews (doesn't work & weak headphones), I still made the purchase...and I'm thankful I did!

The doppler's exterior is made of some cheap plastic..but hey, for the price...i have no complains!  For me, the pros far outweigh the cons.

Some say, you have to be around 15 weeks pregnant to hear anything.  But in my case, at 12 weeks, I can hear my baby pretty well (heartbeats & somersaults alike!).  You don't have to buy any lubricant/gel, I only used baby oil and some even says that water works just fine.  The headphones is also working properly, though, you can also use other headphones if you want to.  Another feature is you can record the sound and share it with family & friends...To do this, plug the doppler in a computer (where you're supposed to put a microphone)...and record away! =) 

I just have the following notes:
1.  Know where to place the doppler.  If you're on your 1st trimester, you have to go low...when I say low, it means around the pelvic area. 
2.  Be patient.  It may take a while for you to find anything....look for fast, galloping sounds...that's your baby, alright!!
3.  Know that the doppler is not a medical device.  You can not use it in lieu of a medical opinion.  If you feel worried about your baby, call your doctor.

Overall, I love this product...I did not use it everday but knowing I can listen to my baby anytime in between doctor appointments is assuring for me.
Picture
2.  Boppy pillow

I got this as a gift on my baby shower.  I so love it!  It provides great support while nursing and it's really comfy too!

My baby is now 8 months old and we still use it everyday.  Be sure to get a second slipcover though, in case the first one is in the wash.

Picture
3.  Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads

Of all the breast pads I have tried, this is the best!  It's really absorbent and thin.  You can compare it to your baby's diaper...Seriously, you'll forget you have them on too.  It also has two adhesive strips so you don't have to worry about it falling off.   


Picture
4.  Medela Harmony Breast Pump

To tell you the truth, the first time I used a breast pump, I feel like a cow being milked!!!  (So that's how they feel...Poor cows...)

I bought this because I want my baby to drink MY milk as much as possible.  Exclusively breastfeeding is tough, especially, if you have to leave your baby for a couple of hours.  This breast pump helped me a lot...It's very easy to assemble, easy to clean, and has very simple, easy-to-use parts...It also comes with two 5 oz bottles and nipples.  Feeding the baby is so easy because you don't have to transfer the milk to another bottle.

Some have been asking me why I didn't buy the electric pump and chose to go manual...For me, since it was the first time I'm going to use one, I feel like I would be more comfortable if I could control the pressure and the speed of how I express milk...

Though I have nothing against electric breast pumps, I just can't imagine myself with two of those stuck on my breasts...feel like I have to put the milk in a box and sell it in grocery stores... =)

Picture
5.  Nuk Nature Orthodontic Bottles

My mom bought these...when I read the label, I was like, "ortho what??".  My baby doesn't even have teeth yet and there's an orthodontic bottle??

But you know what, it turned out to be great!  The nipple is shaped like a mother's breast during feeding that's why it also makes the transition from breast to bottle easier.  It has a sealing disc which is great for travel (no leaks!!)...promotes healthy teath formation...and, it reduces the air your baby swallows.  I've never had any problems with this bottle...will be getting the 10 oz bottles soon!

 
 
When I was in highschool back in the late 90's, there was a song which quickly became my favorite...it's actually not a song...it's more like someone reading a speech with some background music.  It's called the "Sunscreen Song".

Through the years, I forgot the lessons a bit...and lately, I tried to look for the lyrics and read it once more.  Also, found the history behind it here ---->   http://www.bondon.com/sunscreen_song.html

Just want to share the song with you guys and hope that, like me, you'll find a line or two (or more) which you can apply to your life..
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lyrics to "Everybody is free (to wear sunscreen)"
    by Baz Luhrman

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '97,

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.
Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded.
But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind.
The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it.
It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings.
They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse.
But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia.
Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off,
painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.
 
 
I was treated to a nice, relaxing, full body & mayan abdominal massage the day after my birthday..it was a surprise gift from my hubby!  Guess, he knows I needed it badly!!

The place is called "Tao of Venus".  They offer various healing and restorative treatments such as acupuncture, relaxing massages, sauna detox and facials...As the name suggests, they mainly focus on women's health, though men are also very much welcome.

They have just recently moved to a new location and the place is just awesome!  It's a quiet, peaceful retreat in the middle of such a busy area!  From the moment you step in, you'll feel your body relax...from the soothing aroma to the sound of flowing water. 

For the massage, I was given the option to choose from swedish, deep tisssue or hot stone.  I chose swedish as I'm not a fan of deep tissue and I'm scared of the hot stones (lol).  The massage was not extraordinary but was more than okay...it loosened up my stiff and aching muscles..and I felt I can carry my baby for 5 hours straight after! (you know I'm joking, right?)  

Now, the mayan abdominal massage...that one, I just love!!!  This was my second time to go to Tao of Venus for this massage.  The first time was more than a year ago and was because I was having difficulty getting pregnant.  The said massage focuses on the abdominal area and helps put internal organs in their proper places (not that my liver is located where my uterus is supposed to be!).  It basically guides the uterus to the center and clears blockages for better reproductive health.  Well,  I guess it worked since I got pregnant after ONE session with Beth (the owner)!

Before the massage, Beth will ask you questions on what your concerns are and what you expect from the session.  Then she'll explain how the massage can help address those issues.  She's very thorough and takes time to talk to every client.  You won't feel rushed in any way.  The massage lasted for an hour and was like 3/4 spent on the abdominal area and 1/4 on the back and legs.

After the massage, they have a relaxation area at the back where you can drink tea, water or just sit and read from a collection of books.

My only disappointment with the place is the lack of parking area.  They have a 2-hour street parking at the front...which, unfortunately, was very much full when we got there.  So, if you have an appointment booked, be sure to be there early so you can scour the area for parking.

I'll definitely go back...probably to try their acupuncture!  By the way, forgot to mention that their prices are reasonable too. 

Just in case you want to check them out, their website is http://www.taoofvenus.com.

What a birthday surprise...such bliss!!

Okay, now back to reality....I think I hear my baby crying...