Mom or Baby Things That You Can Survive Without

In this day and age of being a millenial first time mom, once you get pregnant, you'd be bombarded with various products that would endorse you with the safest, cleanest, chemical-free, hypo-allergenic products that would confuse you on which one you'll get. There are so many products available, some are even invented a few years back. And because you're a first time mom, you'd want the best for your baby and would settle for the best. However, sometimes, we tend to buy the most expensive but we can actually just settle for less. I mean if you're being practical (ehem, twins), there are baby things you can survive without even if it seems like every mom has it. You may be on your way to filling up your baby registry and these things can wait.

1. A UV Sterilizer. If you have the budget, go ahead and buy one because its a good investment as it not only sterilizes bottles but also toys, books or even gadgets. But, if you think this would break your budget, I believe a simple sterilizer would do – a standalone one or a microwave sterilizer. I was using the one included in my Avent bottles and so far, my twins are doing okay. I mean I think between this or a pump (since their prices are almost if not, the same), I'd say its better to invest on a good brand of breast bump than a UV sterilizer. At an average, these cost 12-15k each.

2. Yummy Mitts. We know that babies spend a lot of their months gnawing their fingers or hands but if you have time to clean their hands all the time, I'd say leave them with their hands on their mouth. They're going to outgrow them anyway in a couple of months. Plus, these things cost 1k+ each.

3. Bunch and bunch of clothes. As much as I loved dressing up before, I can't help but do that to my twins now. But, we all know babies grow up so fast. If you are not going out so much, don't buy a lot. Also, be open to people giving you hand me downs as it'll save you a lot of pesos. Plus, we are not going to be fined if we dress our babies the same thing every weekend. On anothet note, I find it ridiculous how some parents sell their babies' used clothes at maybe just 30-20% off off their original price. I mean, I understand that its branded and you needed the money but if its already used, I might as well just buy a local clothing brand than buy yours.

4. Swaddles. I think this all depends on your baby though. My twins stopped being swaddles by the time they turn two months. That's when they started being malikot when they sleep and the swaddles gets loosened up. And some babies hate being swaddled, they grunt and cry just so they can get our of their swaddle. I think if you want to swaddle your newborn baby, a baby blanket will do. There are tutorials for this online. No need to buy a swaddle or a sleepsack because they'll probably use them for the first three months (or less) anyway. These stuff cost 700-1500 at an average.

5. Playmats / bumper mats. If you can survive with rubber mats, I think this isn't necessary. I mean it's ridiculously expensive ranging from 12k-17k (yes, that expensive) and they just needed a place to crawl that is baby proof anyway. So why not DIY your way to baby proofing that would involve things you have at home (a rubber mat, a kumot or a few adhesives). I assure you, they can survive without it.

6. Breast Pads. During the first few weeks, your breasts will be leaking like crazy. But rather than milk going to waste to be filled in a breast pad, I'd say collect those leaks or letdown and build a stash around it. Buy Haakaa instead.

7. Zoli Nail Trimmer. I know we are very paranoid to not hurt our babies and cutting their tinee tiny nails is a skill. But if can do so with a small nailcutter, theb you can survive without it. For the past 9 months, I successfully did it with a regular nailcutter. Amazingly, I was able to do so even when they're awake.

8. Baby Plus. This is supposed to be a tool that can help baby's development even if she's still in the womb. I mean, personally, I believe in investing on baby's development outside the womb when they start to understand things well. Babies before have survived with just their mommas voice talking to them anyway. So I personally believe you can survive without it.

9. Baby Basket. If you're interested to baby wear, then I'd suggest you invest on a carrier than an expensive baby basket that you'll only get to use in only three months. Not only is it bulky but you are also carrying not just the baby weight but also the weight of the basket itself.

10. Sleep Positioner. This is another baby item that you'll only get to use for the first three months. Parents are very aware of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome so they want to make sure that babies won't sleep on their backs during the first few months. But as our culture is more into sleeping beside our newborns, I think you won't really need it. Just make sure you dress your baby warm so you won't need a blanket and small pillows are away from where he is.

These are the things that I can think of right now. Remember, these things might not be helpful to me but a lot helpful to others. It's not something I impose but giving you feedback on how to cut things from your baby budget. I hope it helps! It actually gave me an idea on also making a list of things which are essentials for baby and mommy needs. Stay tuned for that!

A Whole New Different Person

When I became a mother, I feel like I became a different person. The person that I was two years ago (especially when I see my posts on "On This Day" on Facebook) was a big shift to who I am now. Not only was I referring to the body changes or priorities but the whole me, as a person.

Who was I before? If you follow me closely on social media, my posts would always revolve around what I wear, complete and detailed OOTDs, selfies and vacation posts. However, it seemed like that person got lost. I lost that person in me who likes dressing up. When have I posted an OOTD? I don't even have time to scroll down my Instagram post for that. Or when was the last time I went to the mall and buy myself a cute outfit that's not even a work-outfit. I lost that girl in me who likes to play hairstyles or haircolors or try on some makeup. When I get ready for work, I lost that passion to find a complete OOTD-worthy ensemble or even do my kilay. A blush and a lipgloss will do. Luckily, I have a husband who prefers me barefaced and never really cared about what I wore. But I do miss that part of myself. And honestly, I just do not have the time to do all that anymore.

Right now, everything is about the twins. They'll only be babies for a little while. They're about to turn 9 months on August so I only have 3 months more before they turn a year older. Yes, that fast! Maybe by that time I'll have time to focus on myself more. A facial and a little bit of exercise, perhaps? I don't know. A friend of mine told me it would take a little while longer though. Haha.

I commend myself at times when I can come up with a cute ensemble when were out with the twins. Truthfully, when you're a breastfeeding mom, you'll always struggle what to wear every single day. It always has to be breastfeeding friendly. A usual top and a short is my go-to. I miss wearing dresses! A lot of them has been at the back of my closet for a long time now, waiting to be worn. And have I mentioned nursing bras? They're the most comfortable. I can't even wear normal bras anymore because they're not that soft and adjustable. So because of nursing bras, not all clothes look good in them. Also, I am still not comfortable with my new boob size. I find it mahalay at times. No heels since I got pregnant. I feel like I can't walk in them anymore. I can't believe I was used to wearing 5-inch heels before. When it comes to work clothes, now I understand my husband why he only alternates 4 button-downs every week. Less time to think about on what to wear every morning. So I am doing that now for a few weeks and it is effective. But yeah, I kind of lost my creativity with dressing up. Where is my "fashionista" self?

And let me start with my hair. The length seemed to get shorter and shorter. But when I had my last haircut, I told myself I'll keep it long after that. However, its too dry now. I stopped doing blowdries every morning as that'll keep it drier. Because my hair is shoulder length, its tikwas everywhere and I don't even care. Before, I would stress about it and would just put my hair in a bun. Pero ngayon, I just let it be. To be honest, I want to have it colored and have a hair makeover again but I find it too expensive and yeah, I just do not have the time again. So right now, it just came to my head. Maybe I can have THAT makeover before the twins' first birthday. Para magmukha naman akong presentable mommy on their big day. Right?

Ever since I got pregnant, my skin condition actually improved. I no longer get any pimples on my face so that's a good thing. So during those times when I don't want to put on any makeup, its fine because I have less to coverup. I was not really the full-on makeup type but I do make an effort before. Ngayon, minsan lipgloss nalang talaga.

I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight but the flabs and stretch marks are still there. I miss doing yoga. I miss doing my pre-wedding exercises. I recently finished a 5K marathon and I am still thinking when I should follow that up. Again, the answer is time.

Or maybe, I'm just getting too hard on myself. I'm a first time mother. My firstborn are twins, can you blame me? But as my friend pointed out, the happiness that your children would bring is incomparable. Incomparable with your insecurities which of course is 100% true. So whatever it is that I'm feeling right now, I'd like to believe they are all valid. I'd like to review this blogpost again after a year and hope that maybe, just maybe, I got back to my old self or at least on one of the things I pointed out here. I may be a whole new different person but that is not a bad thing right? I became a mother to twins. That's incomparable.

Catcalling, Harassment and Why We Should Speak Up

I’d like to veer away from my mommy posts for once and share something about this. Now that I also have a daughter and this catcalling and pastor groups have emerged, it is very disturbing. I want people to know that such has happened to me several times before but I was never open about it, only shared most of it with my husband and I guess some of my closest friends. 

I felt very independent when I graduated highschool that I was open to the idea of a daily commute to Makati to attend college in Mapua. I live in Silang, Cavite and that was almost 50 kilometers away. Daily commute would include a bus ride, MRT and a jeepney. Catcalling seemed normal whenever I walk from one terminal to another. “Hi miss”, “suplada mo naman”, “uy chicks”, “hi ganda”. At 17, I thought those were compliments but why was hearing it felt so uncomfortable? In a span of four years of college, I lost a wallet and two cellphones but nothing was worse than being harassed in a public transportation. 

I can’t count how many times a man sits beside me, tried to brush his arm on my boobs and pretend he’s sleeping. Or a man stands in front of me in a crowded bus to brush his genitals on my shoulders or in my face. I once fell asleep on a bus and felt a hand on my hip area and when I woke up, the guy stood up as fast as he can. I also experienced a guy masturbating on the other side of the window seat while I sat alone on the other edge. Even bus drivers or bus conductors aren’t safe from such behavior as they ask the usual “may boyfriend ka na?” and other ridiculous questions whenever I sit on the usual small chair beside the driver. Once, a guy asked me to lean my head on his shoulder to sleep, and asked me, “San ka bababa? Gusto mo hatid na kita?” I was sitting on a crowded FX, and this guy beside me was trying to lean on my boob and I was so suprised when he tried to touch it from the inside of his jacket. I was walking at 6am in the morning when a guy on a bike rode towards me, flashed his genitals and asked, “Miss, anu to?” I once rode the MRT and felt a guy’s hard genitals on my back side. Horrible isn’t it? I was 17-20 years old then. I had no idea how to defend myself. I know how to leave from such situation but I was not brave enough to scream, to embarass a man or hit one on purpose.

On this day and age of social media, I am glad to see a lot of people, male or female, posting such and these manyaks are getting what they deserve. A public humiliation and even to the extent of their victims filing cases against them. But sharing this is also an eye opener that our public transportation are full of them and it can happen to anyone. Catcalling and sexual harassment is never okay. I wish I was brave enough to embarass those manyaks, to scream and tell everyone that bastos ang katabi ko, to leave my current seat, to nudge someone strong enough or to punch a guy on his genitals. I was a victim and I hope it won’t happen to anyone anymore, my family and my closest friends. 

These “pastor” groups just boils me from the inside. And I hope they’d all get exposed as online predators are more uncontrollable. People can share anything online to anyone now in just a touch of a button. Koko, the founder of Catcalled in the Philippines was right, ang bastos ay bastos at ang manyak ay manyak. They all should be stopped and put them on their place. I just don’t understand why there are such individuals. I support what he’s fighting for and every woman’s right to dress whatever they want in public and not get harassed. Or simply put, not being catcalled or harassed at all. Why can’t it be just that?

The Twin Dad Life

I still remember that quiet morning in Healthway ATC while I was having my 6-week ultrasound. Right when we saw two sacs in the ultrasound monitor and I let out a loud gasp, you were quiet. I know you tend to overthink but I knew you were just mentally preparing yourself. Since we found out we were having twins, you’ve been a caring husband to me while I was pregnant, and have been a very hands on father to Nate and Naya. 

I miss you everyday, I always tell you that. Our days have been occupied with taking care of our twins that we rarely find time to spend “us” time. I miss our dates without hurrying back home wondering if the twins are okay. I miss going out with just the two of us, not minding where the elevator and stroll the mall with our huge stroller. Our new normal has been this way since November. We always tell each other that we’ll soon have our time back together after a couple of months. Our twins won’t be this needy after a couple of months. So for now, let’s stick to us being sneaky, like a short trip to the grocery where we can hold hands on the aisles or when we can quietly cuddle up at night until one of the twins wake up (again) to nurse.

Remember that afternoon on the day of our wedding? It poured so hard that God gave us twins for our first born. It was too much to handle, it was a lot of work, but since we work together as a team, I think were doing a pretty good job. Blessings have been pouring, coupled with lots of challenges but we’re pulling through. God knew we can handle them. 

Thank you for telling me to take my vitamins and milk everyday while I was pregnant. Thank you for being with me through those times with every checkup, every ultrasound and every lab tests. Thank you for rushing home on November 8th to make sure we’re okay before we head off to the hospital for my emergency CS. Thank you for telling me that I did a good job when the twins were a few minutes out. Thank you for pulling me up when I need to pee fresh from CS. Thank you for supporting my breastfeeding journey. Thank you for kissing me and rubbing my back everytime I tandem feed. Thank you for changing their diapers. Thank you for keeping me sane when both of them cries at night. Thank you for carrying the baby when you know I can’t handle it anymore. Thank you for letting me visit my parents in Silang whenever I want to. Thank you for driving us wherever we want to go. Thank you because you know your priorities and you have been very responsible. Your parents should be proud just how I’m proud of the man you’ve become. I’m sure the twins will be proud of their dad when they grow up.

Happy father’s day, luvee. I love you so much. Always and forever.

It Does Gets Easier

If you have been following my blog, you now know how I was struggling with taking care of twin babies as well as how challenging breastfeeding was. The twins just turned 7 months last week. I know, crazy fast right? And I can definitely say, it does gets easier and the first 6 months are always the hardest.

Ever since Nate and Naya started eating solids, I noticed how they’ve grown a lot – in weight and in height. They are now 7.2kg each, Naya stands 2 feet and Nate stands 2 feet and an inch tall. They have been eating mashed food so far such as avocado, papaya, sweet potato, potatoes and carrots. I have not been experimental yet with pureed foods but I will try to once I purchase a good working blender. I have been seeing recipes or tips in the Internet lately. And after the six month mark, I noticed that they were feeding less at night. They have reduced to two feedings each, which means I only get to wake up 4x a night now, yaaaay. I am still wondering when they’ll sleep through the night though. For now, I want to enjoy that part when they are very mommy dependent. Sometimes it’s a struggle while sometimes I like the feel of them being clingy with me. 

I have an established milk supply. ‪I pump an average of 25-30oz milk a day. It never changes even with or without galactagogues or if I pump in 2 hour or 4 hour intervals. I sometimes forgot to take my malunggay capsules and my milk supply is still the same. For twin babies, 20-30oz is just their usual milk consumption a day so I barely had any extra stash in my freezer. I try to squeeze in an extra pumping sesh during weekends so I can add a few bags. I have found the secret of just using reusable storage bottles within the week. I only use disposable bags for Friday’s pumped milk to be frozen over the weekend. All those milk I pumped for weekdays will be stored in bottles ready for use the next day. The yayas don’t have to thaw since they just need to put the bottle in a bowl of warm water to warm it up. Less trash, less effort and more time for other tasks. 

The twins nurse within 3-4 hours interval during the day. Since milk is still their source of nutrition, they still need at least 25oz/day. When they sleep longer during their nap, I try to pump to empty my breasts and for extra milk in the ref. They enjoy eating solids, it just varies. They really are fraternal as they like different type of foods. For example, Naya loves sweet potato while Nate hates it. Then Nate loves papaya while Naya hates it. But whatever the other twin eats, the other twin eats it too. It’s just that one twin eats more than the other. So far, I don’t see any problem with their weight. Naya looks chubbier but they have the same weight. Nate has a leaner body type and he’s also taller than Naya. They have been very healthy since day 1 and we plan to keep it that way. Health is wealth!

Oh, and did I mention that they can now use walkers? My father kept the used walker that my nephew Seppe used years ago. When we saw that they can now stand on the walker, he bought another one for the other twin. At least we can do other tasks now when they’re busy in their walkers, we just have to monitor where they go around the house. Yup, I guess its time to childproof the house. 

I love their expressions when they see us after a whole day out at work. Their smiles just lifts the stress away. Iba pala talaga ang feeling. We also installed a living room camera so I can monitor how they’re doing during the day. I purchased Cleverdog for this, its only 1950 for a wifi camera and I can check this in my phone whenever I want as long as I have Internet. So far, I have witnessed how my yayas respond to their cries especially kapag sabag sila and how they handle the situation. I am very lucky to have caring yayas. Since we have two, masakit sa budget but worth it as we need extra help around the house. 

The twins are fun to bring along when we go out. And yes, whenever we go out, our hatchback gives us a reminder that we need a bigger car. Their huge stroller just take up the whole trunk! Well, time will tell when we’ll have a budget for that. I am praying for either an MUX or a Fortuner – whichever comes first. Hahaha.

I know exciting times are still to come. I can’t wait but also, a bit emotional at times because babies really grow up fast. Ganun pala talaga yun. Haaay. 😍

Feels Good To Be Appreciated

I came across a saying where it says “Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself.” It sounds savage to be honest. It’s more like you prioritize work above everything else but negative aside, I think its also a motivational quote. I mean, in my 9 years of job experience, I never really thought I’d come to a point where my name goes around and had positive feedback that comes along with it. I mean, I didn’t know I would reach this point but I can proudly say that I worked hard to reach that level.

A colleague, an important part of this new team I’m in, told me a few days ago, “You worked with Team Lead A before right? And Team Lead B also told me positive things about you, he met you personally and only had good things to say so we believe that you can lead this team and we are confident that we chose you for this.” Hearing that was a relief but also a pressure to live up to their expectations. 

Everything that I’ve done at work since I came from maternity leave are all firsts. I am still learning and I am also learning from my colleagues as well. Sure there are glitches along the way but without it, I’m sure I wouldn’t learn a thing. I love this new platform on proving myself. I’ve been in the same box for the past 8 years and this opportunity that was given to me was a way to grow outside of my comfort zone. I loved my previous team, I loved my colleagues and it was where I found most of my closest friends. However, as I said, it was my comfort zone and I am very thankful for my supervisors and mentors for pushing me to bag this new opportunity and always telling me that I can do it.

It was a big challenge, a role that I felt was too big for me as I also have huge shoes to fill as a mother of twins at home. But the twins are almost seven months now and I have been leading my team since March. It’s been that long and we are almost on the Go Live phase. So far, I have been hearing good feedback. There may be a few things we need to adjust but I know we’ll be able to manage in a few months. 

It feels good to be appreciated, to be known for what you’ve been working hard for for the past years. To be known as Nessa Espineli then transitioned as Nessa Fabros in a completely new role and huge responsibilities both at work and at home. I admit, there are times when I wanted to quit but deep inside, I know I can’t. Not just because I need work for financial reasons but because I see myself as a career woman. Don’t take this the wrong way, I salute stay at home mothers, but I can’t see myself to be doing just that at all. Aside from doing this for my family, I am also doing this for myself. 

I am thankful for people who are willing to take care of the twins. As you know it, twins are hard to juggle and for babies, the first year is always the hardest so for us, its “double” the hardest. Nayj and I still haven’t had more than 4 hours of sleep since the twins were born. But I know we have a lifetime to catch up on that. But right now, the twins will only be babies for just a period of time. So this juggling work and home thing that were doing is just a part of it. I guess we’ll enjoy it as much as we can though we admit that sometimes we don’t find the “joy” in it everyday. I still find my bathroom time as my luxury 15-minute “me” time. 

We got this. 💪🏻

Its the Twins’ Half Birthday!

Today is May 8th, which means the twins are six months old. Which means its their half birthday. Which means I am officially surviving for six months without proper sleep. Hashtag team no sleep? Raise your hand!

I’ve been told babies would probably start sleeping through the night by five months. Mine didn’t. And then I read they’ll eventually start sleeping 6-8 hours by six months. Well, last night I still woke up in the middle of the night to feed. I know babies have their own developments but I am still hoping that my babies’ sleeping habits are the same ones that I’ve been reading on the internet. Well, there’s still hope. They haven’t reached their first birthday anyway.

During this month, the most popular milestone would be their first try on solid food. Its pedia-recommended although some babies would start at four months old. A month ago, I was already thinking of things to prepare once they start eating. Since our house isn’t that big, I opted to buy booster seats instead of high-chairs so we won’t add up extra space in our dining area. We just have to put the booster seat on top of an existing dining chair and that’s it. I bought Mamas and Papas Baby Bud – Pink one for Naya and Teal for Nate. The pink one was on sale at 10% off so I thought it was a good buy. I think they’re starting to like it. I also bought suction bowls and soft spoons from Nuby. All Nuby items were at 30% off when I bought them so that was also a good buy. I bought all these from SM Aura’s Baby Company inside their department store. I also thought of buying those silicon plate mats but I think they’re too young for that so I started with the bowls first.

Look at how they enjoyed their first solid food – sweet potato! Naya and Nate seemed to enjoy it though a huge portion were falling off their mouths. Its okay. I mean its their first try anyway. I also love how cute and adorbs they look at in their booster seats. And their facial expressions were so cute too.

Last week, I was putting on their sambot pajamas and I was surprised on how its super sakto on their legs already. You won’t really notice it but they really are growing up fast. Sooner, their onesies won’t fit anymore too. On the happy side, I enjoy more on dressing them up at this stage as they can now wear shorts, shirts and pants. Since its summer here in Manila, I think I started buyung summer outfits for them for the past month. I also love how less fragile they are now when we carry them, having their bath and dressing them up. Oh and can I just share how adorable it is to dress up my little girl? I’ve been keeping myself from buying a lot of clothes for her though. Haha.

You may also ask, how’s my milk supply by now? The thing is, the supply is still the same but their demand has increased. Before they only consume 3oz per bottle but ever since they turned 5 months, they started to consume 4oz per bottle. Sometimes, they even cry after finishing a bottle so I think they still want more. At this stage, I have reached my goal of exclusive breastfeeding as they hit their six month mark. I no longer see any issues with them drinking formula milk.

I’ve been stressing myself with the idea of introducing formula before. However, I know its inevitable that there will come a time that I won’t have enough milk to bring home to. Or I may arrive late to bring the milk that I pumped for the day. Do I let my babies starve? I shouldn’t, right? So Nayj and I agreed to buy a small can of formula milk for emergency purposes – during times when I won’t be able to pump enough milk for the next day or if we were stuck in traffic and I am an hour late from their usual milk time. For a day, I can pump 28oz of milk total and that’s for 7 feedings the next day. That’s the most number of milk I can pump. I don’t put them on milk bags and freeze anymore since they’ll consume it the next day anyway. Easier to thaw for the nannies and easier to prepare. I’ll put them on storage bottles instead so its reusable and of course, environment-friendly. I am also starting to get busy at work now so pumping every now and then can be a hassle. Good thing I have found a nursing cover tent by Nanay at Ako at It covers the front and the back which is perfect for use when I pump at my desk. Now, even if I’m busy, I can still follow my 2-3 hour pumping schedule.

I’m almost at the stage of weaning them from the breast. Breastfeeding isn’t easy. Its also a commitment. When you get back from maternity leave and you start to work, you won’t produce the same amount of milk all the time. And as much as I want to produce a lot, there are times when your body won’t produce as much. There’ll be factors like pressure at work, a little bit of stress, less pumping time and sometimes, you just forgot to take your supplements. Besides, they’re already six months so they won’t have a harder time digesting formula milk now. I don’t see any issues with mix-feeding them.

The twins have been getting good feedbacks – weight gain, how strong they are and also their milestones so far. However, just recently, Naya had sipon and now Nate has it too. Nate finds it hard to sleep at night so he wakes up around 2am and cry it out. It pains to see them get sick even if its just sipon because I see them not with their usual self. I hope it goes away in a few days. 

In a few months, we’ll be a parent of toddlers now. Would you believe it? Iba talaga takbo ng oras when you have babies with you. I look forward to their next milestones. Excited but at the same time I want to stop time at some point. But yeah, I want to get my 8 hour sleep at some point too. Haha. Happy half birthday Nate and Naya! On that note, I think I should start planning their first birthday. 😱