How To Find a Good Yaya and How to Keep Them

In this day and age where we always read or hear yaya horror stories, I’d imagine that every parent are very careful on finding the right person in taking care of their children. I was talking to a friend a couple of weeks ago and she mentioned that our family are very blessed with the yayas that we hire. But I believe that it isn’t just us who are blessed, we are also blessed to have them. Just like what works in employees and their employers, it usually is team work. But if I would describe Nayj and I’s method with our yayas, we are very patient, kind and very considerate with them especially if they are the types of people who are worth keeping because of the quality of their work.

Before I go into detail, I’d like to say that this how-to was based on how we were able to find and keep our yayas, how we establish our working relationship with them, since we hired them last year. We just experienced one of them leave at the start of the year so what works for us won’t always work for everyone. So, let’s start.

1. Keep the circle small. Accept referrals from people you know. Start with your relatives, your closest friends and even your experienced kasambahay’s referrals. They usually are the ones who are trustworthy and may malasakit to your children. We don’t recommend agencies as I think it should be your last resort. Not to mention the expensive rates!

2. When you start working with them, adjust half way. Just because you are their employer and you are paying them, don’t always expect them to adjust for you. The first few months are quite rough because it’s the “getting to know” stage. Observe where she’s good at, her weakness, how she’d like to be trained or how she prefers to communicate, etc. Then adjust her roles and responsibilities depending on what she can do.

2. If she made a mistake, don’t get mad easily. Instead, teach her the correct way of doing things with your expectations. Don’t always make her feel like she’s a failure. Just like every new employee, she needs training and you should be patient with her learning too. Be open also with their ideas if they recommend a better way of doing things. I believe it should be a two-way learning.

3. Give credit where credit is due. If she deserves a raise, give it! If you cannot afford a raise yet, offer small things that you can buy for her – like a 20 pesos load or a big bottle of shampoo. Praise how good their Adobo or Sinigang, or how nicely they have cleaned the bathroom or how they have taught your kids to do “beautiful eyes” or learn how to smile. Small things matter.

4. Give them their personal time off as you have discussed when you hired them. Be clear about when they should be home on your agreed time. And when they are out, don’t bother them on their day off. No text nor calls unless they aren’t still home from what you have agreed. They deserve to enjoy it since they work almost the entire week for you anyway.

5. Be considerate about their needs, be considerate about their work. Just like you, they also get tired. If they’ve been taking care of your kids the entire day, let them rest after dinner and take care of your own kids naman. Be the one to put them to sleep or consider giving them help on feeding or bathing them to ease the workload whenever you are free or aren’t that tired to do so.

6. Learn their culture, family background, their lifestyle or their love life. The purpose is to know where you think their salaries are going to. Not because you want to pry but because you want to care. You’ll know the importance on giving their salaries on time and their need to take a day off para mag allot ng time mag-pera padala.

7. Let them know their boundaries. They can’t order what they want when you dine out, you do that for them. However, once in a while, its good to give them a treat. Educate them about the language that they use around your kids, what food they should and shouldn’t let them eat. You care but then you should let them know who’s the boss.

8. The good cop and the bad cop. You and your partner should have two roles on how you treat them – the one whom they can always talk to and someone who’s more authoritarian. That way, when you think they no longer listen to you, it’s time for your partner to take charge and talk to them more on a more serious tone on whatever matter you’re having issues with.

9. Make sure you’ve laid out how you are budgeting your money to keep them from doing salary advances or borrowing money from you. If you really have no money to lend them, don’t. You may be the ones paying them but your priority is still your own finances and your family.

10. Treat them like family. Once in a while, take them to out of town trips and let them enjoy when you think you can handle things on your own even just for a few hours. Let them eat what you eat at home, provide their basic needs and talk to them like they are your friend.

Some of you may think that this sounds like it’s very one sided. However, Nayj and I believe that if you treat your yayas good, they would also return the favor. We are also hearing how they’ve been very proud that we are their amo. But then again, this still depends on the person you are hiring.

Now that yaya Joy has left our family early January to return to her own family in Davao, she only had nice things to say about us and we are open for her to return if she wants to. A new yaya will be joining our family in the middle of February (fingers-crossed!) and I am hoping that she’ll be as responsible, very caring to the twins, hindi na kailangan utusan, fast learner and very masipag just like yaya Kristy and yaya Joy.


Breastfeeding After A Year

So after a year of breastfeeding, what has changed?

1. The twins always latch whenever they see me. Seriously, they think I’m a huge milk bottle. And nowadays, they prefer to tandem latch rather than latch after the other finishes. Yes, they are that impatient. So when one sees his/her twin is latching, they felt that they need to latch also even if they really aren’t hungry for feeding.

2. Tandem breastfeeding is tiring. Now that they are a year old, breastfeeding means uncomfortable positions. The baby may either be lying down, sitting up, nakadapa or even nakatuwad. And they get their hands everywhere! Seriously, I feel like I just finished a boxing match after tandem breastfeeding both of them. Although the pro here is that, less feeding time because they usually finish around at the same time.

3. Less pumping session. I had to force myself to have less pumping sessions because our new office building wouldn’t allow mothers to bring and pump on their desks. We have to pump inside the office lactation rooms now which is two floors down. With the nature and criticality of our work, I find the need of going down every 2-3 hours tiring and time-consuming. So instead of 3-4 times pumping sesh, I have reduced it to twice a day instead. My milk output has reduced to 3-4 4oz bottles from 6 4oz bottles. But that is okay, I think we have the same demand anyway from my twins.

4. Our buffer milk is now Nido 1-3 years old. I think most of 90s kids are laking Nido so we opted to try this instead of other brands. It’s cheaper too and since its just buffer milk, why not? Nate usually consumes this though. Naya prefers my milk over any other milk. #breastmilkislife

5. I no longer bring my pump whenever I go out without a baby in tow. I prefer to just pump at home instead of bringing along my huge cooler bag everywhere. I only bring it if I would be spending a day out for longer than 6 hours – like work or spending time overnight.

6. We have graduated from baby bazaars. Baby bazaars are huge for new moms. Mostly, this is where we see products that we only find online. So mothers find time to attend such to cut down on shipping expenses. Plus, its a one stop shop for everything. Nowadays, I feel like the twins already have everything they needed – breastfeeding-wise. Except for, clothes!

7. We have graduated from “X months” marked clothes to “2T”. Oh, how time flies! The twins are officially toddlers now. Well, this isn’t really related to breastfeeding but I feel like sharing as its another milestone for us.

If you ask me, I don’t know when I would stop. However, I am thinking if I should have a cutoff when they turn 2. Compared to just waiting for one baby to wean on their own, twins are so different. Seriously, you’d even tell yourself “my katawang lupa is soooo tired”. But let’s see, I am always open for change anyway.

The Twins Are Walking

It took 14 months before the twins started walking on their own. A lot of people warned us that it would get harder once they start walking but for us as parents, it was waaaay easier. It was difficult when they were still learning how to walk. During that phase, they have to hold your hand all the time so they won’t fall. But now, all we have to do was sit, look and observe. I think that was how our cradle roll experience was today at church. Less energy needed because they can now both play on their own.

On their 14th month, we also had a challenge in our parenting journey as yaya Joy left our home to return back to her province. Hence, our yaya Kristy was left alone on taking care of our twins. We are so lucky and blessed that Nayj’s tita is also home to help us. Though Nate and Naya are less fragile now, we appreciate how yaya Kristy has been exerting twice the effort at home as our all around yaya. She even helped us on finding Joy’s replacement and hopefully, she’ll be here already by second week of February. We recently moved to my parents’ house in Metrogate Silang as we currently have our kitchen and master’s bedroom renovated. We are already in our third week and the twins have grown a lot. Their sleep during the night was getting longer (yaaaas!). And oh my, they’ve grown so much physically. I can’t carry them a lot longer nowadays. I get so tired easily. I bought them cute angel harness backpacks which would be very useful once they start walking uncontrollably on their own. Sabi nga nila, mahirap magbantay ng dalawang batang naglalakad tapos magkaiba ng direksyon. And so I found a way to have that less of a problem. Aren’t they the cutest? Also, they are starting to use their hands and their own spoon while eating. We also tried teaching them to drink using a straw. So our next project would be: Rubber Plate Mats and Straw Sippy Cups! I dread the next phase though: potty training! We haven’t started yet but I am already getting scared even just thinking about it. Hahaha.I super adore my time with them. I have been on nightshift for the longest time that I remember. And because I sleep in the day, I usually hear their screams and their tatatatas and papapapas downstairs and I always keep myself from getting up and play with them. That’s why I always look forward to weekends and getting out of the house and taking them to places. You see the excitement and happiness in their eyes and it makes me feel a lot happier too. The twins are now walking and its a reminder that kids really grow up fast and we should enjoy them while they are still kids. Minsan lang sila bata. Sooner or later makikita mo nalang nagsschool na sila. Whyyyy… I am already thinking of how we should celebrate their birthday this year. Any ideas? (They’re turning 2 na OMG).

How My Breastfeeding Journey Was An Easy One

A lot of people still ask me nowadays if I am still breastfeeding and I proudly say yes each time. If you have already been following my blog, you all know that my breastfeeding journey was a breeze. Here’s why.

1. It’s a God-given gift. I was blessed with milk on the day I gave birth. Even if I was 2 weeks early on my planned CS, my milk already came in and they were able to latch right after birth. I never had problems with supply even if I don’t take any supplements. I stopped taking malunggay pills when I reached 6 months. My milk has reduced now but I believe it is because of the supply vs demand. They don’t really latch as often as before.

2. Supportive husband and family. My husband was very supportive with my breastfeeding decision. Though we had a rough first night and he suggested that my supply might not be enough, he still followed my instincts and now he understands the twins’ cues. Even those who suggested to have follow-up formula respected my decision when I said that they don’t need it. I only did use formula with the twins when I am not pumping enough and they had 0 milk at home. Other than that, my yayas use only my milk and they are experts now with thawing and giving milk to Nate and Naya.

3. No nipple confusion. Since I started back to work last February, I trained my twins with bottle feeding a month before. It was a struggle especially with Naya. She cried uncontrollably and would only drink milk with a Pigeon peristaltic nipple. Good thing it was also a good fit with our Avent bottles so we only had to buy new nipples. Fortunately, they were never nipple confused and would still latch on me when I am at home. We never tried cup-feeding. I was fortunate to have found patient yayas to have them drink in a bottle when I am not around.

4. No pressure. I never pressured myself to pump for milk. I mean because I never had problems to begin with, I pump thinking that whatever milk I bring within the day, no matter how many ounces it was, I am fine with it. If my milk stash isn’t enough, I am open to give twins formula as long as they don’t starve. I don’t give in to formula feed or breastfeed pressure. My body is mine and I know if I would be able to produce enough. If it doesn’t work, I am okay with it. The pressure of not giving formula to babies right now takes a high toll with moms who cannot produce enough milk. I know it has high sugar content and might not have the same nutrients with breastmilk but it was made as an alternative milk for a reason. If you are mixed feeding, I don’t think it would do such a huge harm on your baby. As long as my babies aren’t hungry, I am fine with it. That’s the most important.

5. Research. Even before giving birth, I had been researching on breastfeeding. It would also help if your husband reads them too so both of you knows what to expect – the real no supply vs milk hasn’t came in, etc. It is true that a lot of mothers are still confused about breastfeeding. I still wonder why it wasn’t taught back in school, along with our reproductive health.

I am so happy whenever a fellow mom would seek for advice regarding breastfeeding. Some how to’s on pumping and storing milk, which pump to get, how to properly thaw, etc. Sometimes, even moms whom I do not know would ask me, as random as someone who follows me in IG. It feels good to help especially once they would tell you how much your help got a long way. It felt so good to give guidance to mothers especially in this day and age of being pressured to breastfeed or formula feed.

Remember, you are the mother. The power is in your hands with your breastfeeding journey. Own it, and give it your all with your little one. And if you feel like you are ready to stop, then do so. As long as you are able to provide their everyday needs, you are doing a good job. Yes, you are doing a great job. Keept it up, momma!

What I Hate About Breastfeeding

Yes, breastfed babies are the healthiest. It is without question the most safe and most recommended milk for babies 6 months and below. But just to be honest and clear, even if I had a smooth breastfeeding journey, I would be lying if there are things that I don’t hate about it.

Breastfed babies are too independent with their mothers because they have the boob. Mothers often feel guilty about leaving the house because babies tend to get too attached to their mothers. They’d either cry when left with the yayas or won’t drink milk from the bottle. Some mothers even get depressed because of it. Breastfeeding mothers are put in a lot of pressure. They always say that it takes a lot of patience and perseverance to succeed in breastfeeding.

Right now, the twins are at the stage where they rely on the boob when sleeping at night. Sometimes, even during their nap times. Because they are too dependent with the boob, I can’t put them down to sleep without tandem feeding. Gone are the days when one twin latches first, my husband gets to rock that twin to sleep, and then I’d get to latch the other twin until he fell asleep. They don’t want to be rocked to sleep anymore that my husband feels like he no longer has a purpose. He feels useless at times. I always have to remind him that he isn’t.

Just like tonight, we started tandem feeding by 6.30pm and it was only at 8pm when they really felt sleepy. I was so tired already because they keep latching, then playing, then latch again, then play again, and then cry some, and then latch again. It felt like a never ending cycle. Their energy at this age is soooo uncomparable.

Yes, a huge struggle of a breastfeeding momma. And at this time, I think I needed some wine. 😪

Prioritizing Family

Ever since I came back from work from my maternity leave last February, I worked very hard. Not only was the role I came back for was a different one, it was also the most challenging and the most demanding. I sort of even asked myself hundreds of times if this role was right for me, if it came too soon or if I was even fit for the role.

It was my first lead position and right now, we are a small team of 7. We worked hard to establish our clients trust and also took time to learn all the new technologies, terminologies, the flow of what we do and how to effectively support on our role as L2. And I am telling you, it wasn’t easy. Aside from the stress at work, I am dealing with twins at home. I remember my first night of going to work on a night shift, I cried on my commute because of separation anxiety and the guilt of leaving my twins to my husband and his aunt alone. I felt the same feeling even up to today but the crying has stopped and I kind of learned how to adjust and to trust my husband and my yayas about it.

When you’re a breastfeeding mom, it becomes hardest once you come back to work. Breastfed babies are very clingy to their mothers, not just an experience for me but also from my fellow breastfeeding mommy friends. They always look for the boob. I felt really bad for my husband whenever they look for me instead of him because yes, I have the boob. So its hardest when you leave for nightshift and they’re not yet asleep. You feel the pressure of putting them to bed early so you can leave once they are already asleep from latching on the boob. Less guilt when leaving homr because less to worry about. But once they wake up in the middle of the night, my husband tells me that they usually cry and looking for me. My heart hurts whenever he says that.

And so for the past 9 months I have been working hard with our new team, sometimes, even prioritizing it before my family. However today, yaya Joy has left for a vacation back to her hometown. Then a week after that, yaya Krisy will also have her own vacation. So our family is crippled when it comes to taking care of the twins and also with housework. I have filed a lot of days off from work to prioritize family this time. However, why do I feel guilty about it or the thought of how other people view my reasons of taking a long vacation? I feel like it’s one of the cons of being a team lead because you constantly worry about work almost 24/7 (add to that the shifting schedule). I also constantly need to remind myself to trust my team and their skills and that I shouldn’t be too worried. Which is also a reminder to tell myself that I am not a superwoman and cannot do both at the same time.

Ah, the problems of a working momma. It’s time to prioritize family. Just a few days from work and I’ll be able to cherish and enjoy December with the twins and my husband. ❤️

Nate and Naya Turns One!

It’s official, my twins are already a year old! Nayj and I also have a badge of honor for parenting twins for a year. Woohooo! But seriously, it really felt such a great accomplishment for both of us. And lastly, aside from my mommy-versary, happy breastfeeding anniversary to me as well! I know I mix feed them every now and then but breastfeeding twins is such hard work. So congratulations to me!

Last Sunday, November 12th, Nate and Naya were baptized at Ellinwood Malate Church during the 7AM service. It was Pastor Caloy who baptized them and with us are our most closest friends as their godparents. We decided that they both have the same godparents as we don’t really see any reasons why we have to separate them. They’re grow up together always anyway. Ladies and gentlemen, here are Nate and Naya’s godparents!

After the service, their first birthday party awaits at Shakeys Pizza at Bonifacio Stopover. It was a happy, energetic, packed and such a well loved birthday celebration. I wanted it to be simple with the people who love the twins the most. We were happy that the guests enjoyed, especially those who participated on the games. Shakeys card as the prize, FTW!

It was very low key but overall, the main point is to celebrate the twins’ first year. I was very glad that a lot of people stayed until the end of the party. Some lucky ones even got to take home a few boxes of extra pizza. I also got their cake from one of my online friends way back Multiply days who also bakes.

We also took the opportunity to thank our yayas who helped us with raising both Nate and Naya since their third month up to today with a little token of appreciation. Thank you Joy and Kristy for being hardworking and for loving the twins. Can’t thank you both enough.

Now, I’m already thinking where to celebrate their second birthday but more of celebrating with just us as a family. Hoping to go back to Boracay Island with the twins this time. I miss that place.

Enjoy the rest of the pictures!