Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mama La Vida Lanka: Maternal Milks

One of the things that I really focus on in this journey to motherhood is getting the right nutrition for myself and baby.  The Career Wife has really stressed the importance of eating right – even lending me What To Eat When You’re Expecting.  My Ob-Gyne also prescribed a slew of prenatal vitamins that I drink at different times a day.  I actually appreciate this time because hubby and I have started to have a more balanced and nutritious meal.  I guess before baby came into the picture, we were just eating and not thinking about whether the meal is complete.  Now we really make sure that each dish has protein, cabs and veggies. We have started to lessen our dine-outs as well.  I just feel that cooking your own food is better because you know where you got it and what you put in it.  Of course we take a break from cooking and washing and treat ourselves to a dimsum buffet here or a Thai escape there.  Hehehe! 

One of the things that I knew I had to take is Maternal Milk.  As a mom-to-be you want the best for your baby and by drinking Maternal Milks, I feel that I am doing my best to get nutritional essentials such as calcium, DHA and Folate.  Some moms may think that pre-natal supplements are enough, but I learned in one nutrition training that the nutrition you get in milk has better “absorbability” than taking say calcium supplements alone.    

I am not exactly a milk drinker so make the experience an interesting one we must!  We alternate two products and flavors:  Anchor Pedia Pro Mama, Anmum Hazelnut Dream and Anmum Mango Vanilla.

The Anchor Pedia Pro Mama is only available in Sri Lanka.  I must say even if I am not a milk drinker, APP Mama is a yummy milky treat. 

Anmum Hazelnut Dream is only available in the Philippines and I have it “shipped” here through people who come from the Philippines or friends going to Singapore and meeting my Lankan colleagues!  The classic door-to-door!  This one doesn’t taste like milk at all and is just flavourful and nutty and tastes sooo sinful even when it is just the opposite!  The best of both worlds!

Hubby, during one of his trips to Indonesia also brought home Anmum Mango Vanilla. The flavourful aroma reminds me of a yummy Jonas Mango Milkshake!

More than its nutritional value, my maternal milk drinking is a bonding activity between hubby and I.  Because the best part of it is hubby lovingly prepares my maternal milk everyday. He is just the sweetest!  And baby and I feel the love.  That is what it is all about right?  The journey to healthy pregnancy is really a teamwork between mother and father.  And if you eat right, drink right and exercise right, a healthy and yummy pregnancy you will have!  Great for mommy’s figure, bonding with daddy and best for baby!  

*Maternal milks are also good for those who are TTC (trying to conceive). 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mama La Vida Lanka: The Case of the Hospital Bag

During my 6th month visit to my OB, I was given this list to prepare items required for delivery. 

Lanka Hospitals Colombo
Department of Gynaecology
List of Items Required for Mother & Baby

  • Baby Nappies – 2
  • Baby Safety Pins – 2
  • Baby Caps / Socks / Mittens
  • Baby Flannels (Blankets) – 2
  • Baby Shirts / Baby Frocks – 10
  • Baby Towels – 3
  • Baby Cologne / Cream / Soap
  • Small Plastic Bowl
  • Baby Wrapping Sheets – 4
  • Mackintosh – 1
  • Bed Jackets (front Opening) – 5
  • Clothes (Cheetah) – 5
  • Feeding Bra – 2
  • Maternity Panties – 5
The baby stuff are quite straightforward.  I just realized how British their English really is!  First, Nappies! Shoshall! If this list came from Manila it would have been diapers!  Nappies sound so much more posh and cute.  I mean compare that to diapers right?  Boring.  Hubby was right to want our kids to have a British accent.  Hahaha!   Second, I was really stuck with Mackintosh.  I mean we need a Mac for baby? Which one? Macbook? iPod? iPad?  Shoshall! So I checked with my workmate C and she said it was something like a rubber mat.  Ah... Not so shoshall after all! Haha! 

Ah ito pala ang Mackintosh!

Now, moving on to the Mother’s list two things were kind of discombobulating.  Bed Jackets?  What’s that?  Apparently it is like a pajama button down top.  Okaay...  Now onto Clothes (Cheetah)...  Cheetah?  The cheetah I know is an animal and the Cheetah Girls... Hahaha!  So I checked again with my workmate C and first of all, the pronunciation is cheeth-tha and I think it’s a Sri Lankan term.  If you’re wondering what in the world it is (like I did), it’s a wrap-around skirt.  Like a sarong.  I parked the idea and just went about shopping for all these.  I wanted my hospital bag pretty much ready by the 7th month.  While we were shopping, hubby was the one who put two and two together pertaining to the Bed Jackets and the Cheeththa and said: “so they don’t give out hospital gowns?”  OMG.  That is what it’s for! 

My hospital get-up... Sri Lankan Style 
It’s just funny how the guy who was the manager of the baby shop we went to was explaining all these things to us and just said, “you know that’s the Sri Lankan way.”  Oh well, the Sri Lankan way.  Interesting...  Now I wonder what the list in Manila would look like?  Anyone care to share? 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mama La Vida Lanka: Baby Registry

picture borrowed from

I have been getting questions about what baby needs or when we will have a baby shower but it’s hard for me to answer those questions.  For one, we have revised our travel plans to Manila to just take the vacation when baby is born to fix her travel documents and have her baptism party.  Second, I think it’s a Filipino trait to say “ikaw na bahala” (it’s up to you) for fear of being too forward or demanding. 

But MyMommyology has a point when she discussed The Benefits of Baby Registries!  I also was able to get without hassle maternity stuff sent to me by my Tita/Ninang from Melbourne, Australia.  It was regular mail mind you and it only took a week!  Unlike in Manila, no need to go to the post office and bribe the person releasing the item. Hehehe! Not that I had an experience on it – luckily I just had to pay the minute amount listed when I got my notice.  But I digress.  

So, here is our Baby Registry!  

Most of the stuff here are “shippable” to my address directly by Amazon.  However I also placed some stuff that were not shippable but just to give you an idea what we need.  You may do what my Tita/Ninang did – got the stuff herself and just sent it over via regular mail.  If you plan to do that, just let me know so I can give you the necessary details.

For those kind hearted friends and family, here’s our Baby Registry then “kayo na ang bahala!  (it’s all up to you!). 

Mama La Vida Lanka: Blog Update!

After 6 months and a dose of creative inspiration, I've changed the series title from Mommy Diaries to Mama La Vida Lanka. 

What brought about the change?  Well let’s say that when I first “concocted” Mommy Diaries I was in the midst of the first trimester and as you know it was a season of morning sickness for me.  Not exactly the pinnacle of my creativity.

There is also such a thing as “mommy mush brain” characterizing mothers pretty much going out of their minds or their normal minds at that!  I don’t mean it as an excuse but it sure is true people!  And I haven’t even given birth at that!  Haha!

So in my moments of lucidity and inspiration, I realized I wanted to breathe a new life to my so-called journal through motherhood in La Lanka.  Better late than never, I am re-naming this series from Mommy Diaries, to Mama La Vida Lanka.

Enjoy the rest of the story (which will be for the rest of our stay here in La Lanka!) and if you have not checked out the other stories, here is the list thus far:

A Background Story: Mama La Vida Lanka

I knew the chances were high that I’d get pregnant and give birth in Sri Lanka.  Well, God willing you know.  But you see I am a control freak of nature.  I had a timeline for when these should happen in my life – once I decided this was one of those things that I really, really want.  First, I shouted out to the universe that I will get married before I turn 30.  For no apparent reason or cause except my chances of having a safe pregnancy (or even conceiving at all) will definitely diminish after that point.  I got married at 28 – I remember getting anxious (well I was always anxious during those days) that my then boyfriend (now hubby of course) had no signs of proposing.  And well he really didn’t.  We were discussing about a possible career move to Sri Lanka (THANK YOU Sri Lanka!) and he wanted to take it and take me with him.  I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to say: “but you would have to marry me first.”  In as much as people were telling me not to bring the topic of marriage up with my hubby then, of course I did.  Patience is not one of strongest virtues.  So that it’s clear.  Walang lokohan.  So when I had to say that as some form of “ultimatum” – I think my hubby knew what was coming and was prepared for it.  Because at the end of the day, he too, wanted the same.

It's time!
(photo courtesy of
After our quickie wedding (1 month and 9 days from the day he “formally” asked me to marry him), we both wanted a year to ourselves.  But I wanted to go on a cruise for my 30th birthday so we would have to have more than a year to ourselves in that case (I’m celebrating my 30th 4 months after our 1st year anniversary).  Which is just fine… Until a certain time.  In my other blog, I wrote about reaching the lowest point of my life in La Lanka and my escape was to say, fine let’s just get pregnant so I can have something to do.  Quite hurtful to my husband actually and I didn’t mean it that way.  But I guess I also meant it – that that desire was really honestly what I wanted.  It didn’t take long for me to recognize that and we soon started trying. 

The trying part was interesting.  Interesting in a sense that for people who know me, once I set a goal, they know I will lock into that goal like a homing pigeon and I’d get it one way or another.  But I didn’t even attempt to approach it that way.  I knew that I could make all the calculations in the world but at the end of the day, it was really up to Him.  And I guess God wanted the same for us too because only after 4 months of “waiting” came our blessing. 

I surrendered and I received.  Just like when I prayed for my husband :) So that is the background story for the Mama La Vida Lanka.    

Note: After 6 months and a dose of creative inspiration, I've changed the series title from Mommy Diaries to Mama La Vida Lanka :-) 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mama La Vida Lanka: The Bump Update


Here I am this morning just before going off to work strutting my baby bump.  Already towards the end of my 6th month!

I thought of taking a picture since friends and family have been asking about the bump, the pregnancy and our little growing family in general.  Aside from the bump growing this big, Luna has been very active inside – kicking and moving and whatnot. 

I’m feeling well generally.  As compared to the first trimester, the second one is heaven!  I do find it difficult to move about especially from a sitting to a standing position or from a lying down to a sitting / standing position.  The weight of my belly has taken a toll and I’m afraid what the last trimester will bring! I hope I can still move about as moving around has already slowed down!  The linea nigra and the belly button has started to pop out.  Two of my most dreaded physical manifestations of pregnancy!  I’m not that vain but these two things just look really weird.  Moreover, the belly button popping, is quite painful I must say.  I mean when you touch it, it’s quite sensitive.

My skin has somehow adjusted to the stretching – thank God for the reminder of friends and family to moisturize!  I use Urea Cream on my belly and a Bath and Body Works lotion on the rest of my body.  Skin itches a bit here and there (mostly the tummy) and I have to practice self-control or just stoke it above my clothes.

We’re also scheduled for some tests this weekend – specifically screening for Gestational Diabetes which they normally do around the 7th month.  So I’m really crossing my fingers that mine will turn out normal.  As I’ve been eating sweets more than I usually do.  Not a lot, just a bit more.  He he he!  In fairness it has been mostly fruits (sometimes I think I’ve turned into a fruitarian!), a bit of chocolates and cookies here and there.  So please pray for us!

Hubby is an angel as always, taking care of his girls perfectly.  He’s doing most of the cooking as I get too tired if I do both cooking and washing.  Since washing feeds my OC-ness and cooking feeds his passion, we have divided and conquered peacefully.  Once when I got back from Pre-Natal Yoga class, I saw him sitting at the dining table and poring over cookbooks and websites planning our weekly menu and grocery/market list.  Executive Chef ang dating!  And people at work always tell me I’m a lucky girl for having a hubby like that.  I am.  No doubt! 

There’ll be more activity happening on the pregnancy front especially as we’re entering the last stretch so there will surely be a lot of posts to follow!  Until the next update! 

Note: After 6 months and a dose of creative inspiration, I've changed the series title from Mommy Diaries to Mama La Vida Lanka :-) 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mama La Vida Lanka: Pre-Natal Yoga Part 1

photo borrowed from the

When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew I had to prepare my body for the journey ahead.  It’s quite an experience because a pregnant woman’s body goes through a lot of changes for 9 months and even after delivery.  I’m not one for a sedentary lifestyle (even before I was pregnant) and I wanted to keep exercising.  I love running and yoga and because running is not for pregnant women, yoga it is!  Luckily the Yoga Studio I’ve been going to have a special program for Pregnant Women.

Pre-Natal yoga usually starts around the 8th week.  I started mine around the 9th week.  The program differs depending on the trimester.  My first trimester program was simple – using most of the “regular” asanas (poses) but simplified or adapted to pregnancy.  For example in Savasana (corpse pose), instead of lying down on your back, you lie down on your left side – which is the sleeping position for pregnant women.  Many of the poses you also do against the wall – as with a growing belly, a pregnant woman’s center of gravity shifts.  In regular yoga, you are not supposed to eat or drink for at least 2 hours before the class.  With Pre-Natal yoga, you can eat or drink as you wish!  Moreover, if you feel like to have to cut down the number of repetition and what not, then you can easily tell your teacher and it will not be taken against you.  The key is listen to your body and respect what it needs.  It is no time to try and be a superwoman or prove your flexibility!

In the first trimester, the Sun Salutation is not done.  By the 4th month and 1st week, it is re-introduced to your program.  However with a slight twist.  Instead of going all the way down to the floor, you are supported by a chair propped against the wall.  Breathing during poses and breathing exercises also do not require holding the breath.  If during a normal yoga class, there seems to be more asanas than pranayama (breathing), a pre-natal yoga class would have a 60-40 split between asana versus pranayama.  Breathing is important in labor and practice makes perfect!

For the first two trimesters the key is really moving the body and enabling it to carry the baby and go through the many changes of pregnancy.  As you hit the third (and final!) trimester, more exercises will be to prepare your body for LABOR.  A class will also be set-aside (one of those last few classes) to invite hubby so teacher can also give him some instructions on what to do during labor.

I’m moving towards my 7th month and I have been enjoying my Pre-Natal classes!  For one it helps me to move my limbs and get that much needed exercise twice a week.  Also in my first trimester, my placenta was low.  I told my yoga teacher this and she asked me to do a special kind of relaxation.  By the 5th month my placenta was in the right place!  I really can’t assume a cause-and-effective relationship but I suppose it helped!  I also like it when during the relaxation, as you relax your whole body, you also move your focus on your womb and “picture your baby growing within you.”  Moreover during the final relaxation, I love it when the teacher asks me to focus on my heart chakra and “imagine love and compassion flowing” into my womb.  I imagine love and energy wrapping around our baby.  And that’s what it really is – all about love enveloping our baby. 

Watch out the second part of this post as I enter into my last trimester and prepare for labor with Pre-Natal Yoga.

If you are interested in Pre-Natal Yoga in Sri Lanka, contact Aurora Yoga Studio’s Nitya (0777703904).

Note: After 6 months and a dose of creative inspiration, I've changed the series title from Mommy Diaries to Mama La Vida Lanka :-) 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Reflections on Condo Living

Home Sweet Home

I’ve always been a “village” person.  For all my life I’ve lived in my parent’s house in a nice middle-class suburban (a nice way of putting it to mean that we’re a bit far from “civilization”) subdivision.  There was a year where I decided to be “independent” and lived in a 5-story apartment in the Katipunan area but that was just barely a year.  Hubby was the same except for a year when he got assigned to Indonesia.

On the other hand, my bestfriend, TheDiploWife once mentioned that she and her hubby are “condo” people.  They’ve lived in flats / condominium units most of their lives and just couldn’t imagine any other way to live.  Moving to Sri Lanka, my hubby and I became condo-dwellers.  It was a different kind of experience with some ups and downs:

The Ups:
  • It was just right cozy place for us.  Living in a house would be too big for two.  Even with baby on board, our unit is just right.
  • It’s awesome to have a balcony with a view.  It’s not exactly the view of the Eiffel Tower but a nice view of Colombo nonetheless.  We don’t normally hang out there (except for the laundry to dry, pardon the pun) but during my pensive moments, it’s a nice place to stare out and reflect.
  • The breeze is awesome – thank you to the Bernoulli’s principle and some open shafts in our building.  When we’re lucky it also serves as a natural exhaust especially when we’re cooking. 

The Downs:
  • Do you really hear your upstairs neighbour moving their furnitures, heavy footsteps and drilling in the middle of the night?  I thought our place looked “shoshall” – looks are deceiving and in terms of building construction materials, it’s not quite so “shoshall” after all. 
  • Is it about renting (rather than owning the place or even about condo dwelling) but if something breaks down with the fixtures, you have to replace it.  Of course you don’t know where to get the damn thing.  Good thing driver is what you would call, ma-abilidad (he would find a way to get it fixed). 
  • It’s been more than a month and our building complaints have not yet been answered – no action on the complaints itself (eg. there are stray dogs in the compound, no speed limit and no exhaust in the elevator – imagine when the person who just rode it has bad BO... good Lord!) or even a written reply.  Where my parents live, my mom would just call the guardhouse and wala! her complaints have been acted upon.  Talk about excellent customer service.

At the end of the day I’m pretty sure either way there will be ups and downs.  I mean back at my parents’ house we would complain of a neighbour who would scold her child like there was no tomorrow – toxic!  My mom was this close to calling Bantay Bata (like a child patrol).  At least here, it’s just the furnitures making noise.  A bit creepy at 12mn though.  If I had a choice and looking at our growing family, I would still pick village living any time of the day.  But as with condo living, you really have to choose your neighbourhood right.  Are the neighbours psychologically sane?  Haha!  Just kidding.  But does the neighbourhood have win-win rules and regulation for a tranquil existence?  Do they provide excellent customer service?  Security!  What are the amenities provided?  In the greater scheme of things, what I really want is my home to be a respite from the crazy world I’ve been facing all day.  Not an extension of it.  But at the end of the day, that is really utterly determined by the people who live in it.  And where I am right now, it is just perfect.      
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