Franny Mommy : Mommy Dialogues by Cetaphil Baby

As a mom, how many times have you felt like you're all alone in your own worries and thoughts? 

Most especially for newborn moms, I'm pretty sure the answer is every day. Well, I felt that way when my twins were born. I honestly felt like no one can ever understand what we're going through as everyone had singleton babies and here we are, trying to learn the ropes of parenthood x 2! I got to admit that there were nights when I would burst out crying and it's not the kind that you would cry yourself to sleep because..well... you don't get to sleep! I was just overcome with so much exhaustion, fear and anxiety. I just wanted to do things correctly from the way I breastfeed my babies down to making sure that I get to keep them alive and healthy.

I got to say though that Paul has played a huge role in keeping me sane. He never left my side and I'd say that it's because of him that I didn't fell into depression but to all new moms about there, believe me when I say that the struggle is indeed very very real. So we've survived a month with the twins which consists of leaving them behind in the hospital after I was cleared to go home because they had to stay in the NICU, it just felt so weird that unlike most moms, I left the hospital empty-handed. We went home and saw the empty crib and we didn't know what else to do but to unpack our bags and wonder if our twins were doing ok. Well, guess what?! We ended up heading back to the hospital just right after dinner because we just can't bear the thought of not seeing them before we go to bed that night. That continued on for 2 more weeks until they were finally ready to go home. It was such a joyous occasion to finally have L and J with me 24/7. Then, another roadblock happened. Their yaya (nanny) left us. Just when I thought she was the one, she had to lie and went AWOL a week after the twins came home.

Parenting is obviously not immediately a bed of roses or a walk in the park. You have to go through all the thorns and vines to learn how to maneuver your way through this long and winding path. One thing that kept me sane is having mommy friends who would take the time out to check on me and I make it a point to do the same for them too. Parenting support groups also play a big role in making you realize that you are not alone in this crazy world. As parents, we continue to learn not only through experience but from one another. For instance, I am forever thankful for my group of twin moms who has been my support and lifeline for almost 3 years now. Both D and P have been there through all my ups and downs while caring for the twins. Through all the yaya episodes, through the joys of seeing new milestones and developments, through the frustrations and more. The 3 of us have a set of boy-girl twins each all born within a month from each other. We also share the same ob-gyne and once had the same pediatrician (until my cousin R took over caring for the twins). We're indeed twin momma soul sisters. I hope that my #AngTwins will grow up and be friends with the Chaunties and FraLeePo Twins for life.

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Speaking about mommy support groups, I was recently asked to be a panel guest for Cetaphil Baby's Mommy Dialogues launch. It was a short afternoon program hosted by my mommy idol and friend Patty Laurel where we talked about the anatomy of a baby's skin and the four pillars of a healthy childhood namely -- Healthy Play, Healthy Sleep, Healthy Food and lastly, Healthy Skin. These are the four things every mom has to remember and take note of to keep their babies happy and healthy.

It makes sense after all, like babies has to sleep at least for 8 hours during the day and 8 hours at night. That's a total of 16 hours out of 24 hours in a day. This lessens as a child gets older but up until now, we value sleep so much that my twins are trained to take their afternoon naps for at least 2 hours every day. I do believe that the brain develops during sleep which is why we also noticed that kids are more alert after a good night's sleep or when they have sufficient naps.

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When it comes to play, I am one firm believer that children learn through play. My twins would have their daily playtime and this is when we would teach them the alphabet, colors, counting and more. I'm a working mom so as much as I want to do a full play and learn repertoire, I just make do with the time I have or at least I entrust this also to Yaya M who's been helping us in teaching the twins. We would change up several activities every so often by injecting coloring time, painting time, storytelling time, singing and dancing, building blocks, running around and games from our childhood like bahay-bahayan, hide and seek and more. I remember how my own parents would do crafts with me and Pan when we were younger and boy, was bahay-bahayan (make-believe) my favorite game of all time!

As for Healthy Food, it's a no-brainer that babies need proper nourishment to grow healthy. In fact, we were very strict with this like not giving the twins anything with salt or sugar all throughout their first 2 years of life. My twins have not had snacks like chips or peanuts yet until now because I'm scared of choking, MSG and possibility of developing allergies. When they're hungry, we offer fruits, Nosh rice crackers or their favorite yogurt drink as a snack. During meals, we make sure it's home-cooked and it always has protein, carbs and we're teaching them to take more veggies. It's not easy. L still refuses anything green and leafy but with J, he's starting to like them so we're taking it slow. However, L is such a fruit monster! On days when she's being extra fussy, she'd be happy with a huge bowl of cut-up fruits which I think contributed to her having really nice skin. Most fruits, after all, is high in water so she's always well-hydrated especially with the amount of fruits she eats daily.

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Speaking of skin, this is one thing I am most particular about. I remember how my mom would tell me that she would make me drink tomato juice when I was little because it can make your skin rosy and supple. While I haven't tried this on the twins, I am very particular with the type of bath soap, wash and shampoo that they use. Frequent readers of my blog very well know the brands that I use and Cetaphil Baby is one of those. I love the light fragrance it has and how it doesn't bubble up so much making it easy to wash away. I got to 'fess up also that I rarely give them a bath because Paul took charge of that task since they were born. For him, bath time is bonding time with Daddy so I just let him be. However, I still have a say on what products they use. The twins have been using the Cetaphil Gentle Wash and Shampoo since they were newborn and it's only recently that we're transitioning to making them use the Shampoo and Gentle Cleansing Bar combination because they're really active toddlers and we need something that will help keep the "amoy baby" scent longer otherwise, they'll smell like sweat an hour after bathing.

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It was an intimate yet insightful afternoon as we got to share our stories with other moms and we got to learn from one another too. I got to admit that I felt truly honored to be chosen by Cetaphil Baby to join the speaker roster that day. Imagine, there I was with fellow moms Andi Manzano, Patty Laurel and Dr. Rescober, who's a very pretty dermatologist!

With the ongoing MECQ, Cetaphil Baby also recently brought their Mommy Dialogues online through a one-hour Facebook Live session at theAsianparent Philippines Facebook Page. This time, they had two doctors on board -- dermatologist Dr. Gaile-Robredo Vitas and pediatrician Dr. Cristal Laquindanum and our favorite host, Candice Venturanza. A lot of moms asked their questions given that it's so hard to just head to the hospital for the littlest medical concerns so I think being able to interact with these two distinguished doctors was a great idea.

Wish Cetaphil Baby would have more of their Mommy Dialogues sessions in the coming weeks. It sure feels good that someone is there to support you especially during this very challenging time in our lives. Here's my last word of advice, mommies. No matter how the going gets tough, remember to take care of yourself. You baby do not need a perfect mom but rather, he/she needs one who's mentally and physically healthy.

So to all moms out there, know that you're not alone and you got an entire army of moms behind you all the way. 💙

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