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Filtering by Category: Natural Mama

Gravida Six

The Moringa Kitchen

Pia is our new baby.

She came to this world, June of last year, and made me a mother of six. I've always felt unready in all of my birthing. For this one, I really tried my best to ease into readiness for the 6th cesarian procedure. When medical staff realize this, their eyeballs usually fall out. I get the usual surprised reactions which can be pretty hilarious or annoying because I've been getting them since I reached gravida 4.

While the operation went on with Pia, I heard the anesthesiologist murmur something...well isn't she a record holder for six?  Are you gonna go for seven? And in the middle of it all in your "strapped", semi-lucid state you just want to say...are you kidding me?!

Then later I felt the massive pushing of hands, like it almost drowned my chest before she came out. I gave a silent prayer of gratitude for all of them...gravida six, all term, all living.

It was fortunate as well that before I birthed Pia, I met the good birth keepers and somehow got me into the birthing zone - Ibu Robin, Monica Manzano, Doulas Irina Otmakhova, Samantha Garcia, Dr. Veloso, Velvet Roxas (who took my incessant calls), my midwife Vivian, and of course Dr. Viray, whose skillful hands mine and Pia's life depended upon. Pia is a serious milestone for us. It takes a village of good women to support and protect a woman birthing life into the world.

I wish I had beautiful natural births like the other moms but I was always unprepared! I wanted to go for vbac in my 2nd and 3rd but it just never happened. It's good now that the birthing community is up and support is so accessible.

God bless and keep holy these birth keepers!

You are bringing into this world, not just little precious bodies, but souls. They have been formed and called by name from beyond eternity, thank you for defending their lives.

As to being a mother of six, I always take it as grace multiplied!





The Art of Hand-Expressing Breastmilk

The Moringa Kitchen

Can you imagine the billions of stem cells contained in this small amount of breast milk? The photo above was my “harvest” one morning while Pia was about one month old.

There are so many new discoveries everyday about the amazing benefits of this liquid. One very interesting area in genetic studies is the existence of stem cells in breast milk. I don’t know about you, but to me the potential of finding cures and more therapeutic uses for humankind through human breast milk is mind- blowing.

There’s so much that’s yet to be discovered. And unlike embryonic stem cells which is the gold standard in stem cell research, breast milk stem cells do not present ethical concerns. I look at the future with no need for aborted baby parts to be used in research.

In my country, there are therapies and lots of false supplements touting stem cells for cure. There was a case of someone who died from illegal therapy, and lots other hilarious stories of ageing politicians drinking ( hold your horses! ) breast milk!

A seasoned breastfeeding champion in Manila told me this story of a lady who was entrusted with dispensing money for political projects, would buy breast milk in the guise of donating it to the communities. However, it’s not babies in need they gave it to but to some scrupulous politicians. They used breast milk to cure their ailments and to push their chances at longevity or beauty. Imbeciles. It's a shame when so many babies are far more in need and deserving of breast milk than them.

Anyway, there are good stories of adults and babies saved by breast milk. I had the chance to test it out of desperation. On the day after giving birth to Pia I caught a mean virus from the attending nurse who had a bad cough. I was quite upset because Pia was roomed-in and she made two visits to my room ( all the while coughing! ). And on the same day I got it. The body is quite vulnerable to anything post surgery and it was very upsetting to get ill unnecessarily.  

I can’t tell you in detail how painful it was to be wracked by bad coughing on the second day of recovery from CS. I could not stop coughing, every time I felt my insides were spasming, It was very painful despite the medication. I knew I had to get well quickly, if not, Pia would probably get it too. I did not want to go through another round of medicines for the cough that was already beginning to sound like a whopping cough.

I had expressed about 6oz of my milk that was very thick and looking surely like it's so packed with colostrum. I planned to save it for Pia but I thought I’d give it a shot that my own colostrum would heal me quickly. And yes it did. I consumed everything at once, and in less than 2 hours my coughing stopped. True. Cross my fingers and toes. I made sure as well that they did not make the sick nurse come back. When we got home, the toddlers were also having the sniffles and cough, so off they drank my milk too and needless to say, their cough and cold disappeared the next day! This idea may sound very weird to those who do not know anything about breastfeeding or what's good about breast milk. It really works!

This is my ode to this miraculous liquid.

And I thought it’s just right that I put one batch of my morning harvest on a pedestal.

I really think it's very good for moms as well to try hand expressing their milk. Perhaps some can’t do away with pumps, the comfort is there but many don’t know that hand expression can be practical, eventually it becomes convenient too. I’ve been doing this since 2010 when Nanay Lita taught me the simple method and later I found my own techniques. It is very gentle to your breasts. A scheduled period of hand-expression usually yield me 6oz to 8oz. I’ve traveled and stored milk in this manner. A fellow LATCH counselor also advised me to teach moms never to abuse our breasts by aiming for over-supply, and resort to over-pumping. We moms like to be “segurista”, and I understand it.

However, what we should aim for is sufficiency - just enough for our babies. I know there are many sick babies out there who need breast milk but you can donate what's enough from you. Do not aim to produce gallons and gallons of breast milk. But to the mom for some reason is able to do it - I am not putting you down, and what a blessing you are to so many sick babies. But too many moms complain about not having enough breast milk and ideas of over-stocking milk can make it more discouraging for their breastfeeding goals.

Sufficiency is the key word to remember. We cannot be aiming for a freezer full of breast milk at the expense of our sanity. I could barely take good enough showers the first days, the hell should I aim for a gallon of my breast milk!

Just relax mommy.

Fix the Latch, get to know your baby, do unlimited feeding and your supply will flow. If there are problems, get in touch with a true breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician or counselor. 

Do little things that make you happy.



Keep on feeding ( direct at the breast ).






The Moringa Kitchen

Five hundred years ago, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared miraculously on the tilma of a lowly Aztec named Juan Diego. You will discover how in the Aztec tradition, the arrangement of her hair and garments meant that she is a virgin and yet with child, bearing Our Lord. This is why Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of pregnant women, she is the protectress of the unborn.

My life and my work over the years gravitated towards motherhood, moms, babies, families. One time I met a celebrity mother with five kids, and she told me that when you become a mother it’s impossible not to have recourse to prayer.

It’s so true.

For so many reasons, because of what I went through the last few years and most especially this year, I feel more connected to her more than any other time in my life.

I like to know more of her story. She lived and walked this earth. Her pregnancy was the most sacred pregnancy in all of eternity.

Sancta Maria Spes nostra Ancilla Domini, look after us.

Breastfeeding Lucia - The Hours

The Moringa Kitchen

Lucia was born in 2010 and I thought breastfeeding her would be easy since I knew a little more what to expect after birthing three babies before her. But on the fifth day after coming home from the hospital, I wanted to give up. Nothing seemed to make her comfortable. The feedings were interrupted, and the sleep-feeding routine I was used to never came. I was getting very exhausted, I was managing my pain from CS, I had very little sleep and heavy engorgement was setting in. We were both better off at the hospital the first three days. Something went amiss when we brought her home. I thought of Mela, her older sister born four years earlier, and how pleasant the breastfeeding was with her.

So when I had thoughts of giving up ( can you believe it? ) it was so timely that , Amelia my friend from LATCH called out of the blue, and I got back on track with my breastfeeding goals for Lucia. One cannot underestimate the power of this mom-to-mom counseling support. It can make all the difference when you don't want to go on anymore.

Eventually we understood what Lucia wanted - the laid back position, the cradle hold of my husband and she preferred to feed on my right breast only - don't ask me, I've no idea why. A few days later, and at last we both found our rhythm.

The first hours and the first weeks is the time when cocooning with the newborn is so important. Nanay Lita, a champion lactation counselor & lactation massage expert, taught me to fix my engorgement with more feedings, doing lactation massage on my own, and to give hand expression a chance. Boy did it work! Since then I've been expressing and storing my breast milk this way.

As the nights became more comfortable with Lucia, I felt a strange hunger to read, write and draw. I don't really draw. In my previous postpartum times, I was content to only breastfeed and rest. This time however, it was like some lost or sleeping synapses connected, electrified and would not let up.

It was crazy in the first days of this strange interlude because I watched lots of Fringe and read lots of Bram Stoker, and when the witching hour came, it's not exactly the best feeling to have, looking out the window and half expecting some nightmare to show up! So I prayed rosaries and shifted to Pugad Baboy which made up for a more pleasant time while breastfeeding. Really, Pen Medina is the best! I laughed my way through breastfeeding at this time with Brosia and Polgas.

Later, I started taking photographs again. It's one of the things I really loved doing but it got lost in the flurry of motherhood and office work.

The hours in this interlude with Lucia was a strange and beautiful time despite the hardships. I really believe that when you breastfeed, depending on your disposition, it makes you more connected to your soul, and the new life you are nurturing before you.

It's a moment of retreat and prayer if you let it be.