the unnatural mother

embracing mother-ing and all its glory – from wet diapers, spit-ups, tantrums to first smiles, hug-a-bugs and sweet cuddles

2 for 3 on G6PD deficiency January 9, 2013

Filed under: Baby food,Parenting — reeseyenko @ 9:50 am
Tags: , , , , ,

My 2 boys have G6PD deficiency, my daughter does not. What’s up with that? They say its pretty common here in the Philippines and around the world but with all our friends (not that much really), we only know of one other family who has it 1 out of 4 kids and a friend who has a relative who has it. That makes 2 out of 500 friends (based on an estimated FB count minus those that are related to each other). So I guess its not so common in ‘our’ world.

In any case, you might have stumbled upon this post because you are researching something about it – probably because your son or daughter was diagnosed with it or a cute nephew or niece. Well, factual and reasearch based information can be found in this site – it is regularly updated I assume. Yet, in lay man’s terms, I explain it as a ‘sort of allergy whereby when certain foods are ingested, there is a breakdown of red blood cells. worst case scenario is bleeding or death’. Don’t quote me on it! That is what I use to explain to EVERYONE who is not in the medical field. Its easier, concise and a lot of the truth really. And believe me, I have had to explain it 3-4 times (& still explaining) to the same persons in the span of my childrens’ lives and I get the same reaction every time… “OH MY really? OH NO…” and then they ask again another time if they have allergies and I say ‘sort of’ and then I explain again and get the same reaction. You’d think they remember because of their grave reaction but NO. Hence, the simplistic explanation. 

According to the inheritance chart here, I, as the mother am partially deficient or G6PD deficient like my 2 sons. And they got it from me.

Here are some FAQs

1. What foods are not allowed? ANS: ALL Soya products, beans, blueberries, menthol, eucalyptyus and blue-colored foods. Medicines with SULFA

2. What are the symptoms of bleeding if a contraindicated food is eated? ANS: No symptoms until it is too late. Tea-colored urine is a sign of too high biliburin in the blood which is a late symptom of high ingestion of banned foods. Late because too much RBCs have been destroyed.

3. Can taking Ferrous Sulfate supplement help maintain balance of RBC even when banned foods are avoided? ANS: I have not read that it helps. But ask your doctor about it.

4. Has anyone in the Philippines died of this? ANS: I have not heard of any case. We know 2 pedias and they both have not heard of mortalities due to G6PDD 

5. What do your children eat that are in the banned list of foods? ANS:

  • ADOBO – it has soy sauce and any food that was cooked with soy sauce.
  •  LUMPIA – fried or fresh. it has chopped baguio beans.

6. What foods are a complete NO-NO for your kids? ANS

  • TAHO, SOY Milk
  • BLUEBERRIES or blueberry flavored drinks or cookies or muffins
  • Efficacent oil or menthol/eucalyptus scented air fresheners or oils or lotions

As you see, I am not really very strict. I follow the rules but bend it a little to some degree knowing that the (disease) strain here in the Philippines is not really that threatening. However, I do advice that you proceed with caution and that you try the foods out on your kids in small amounts if you really want to give them.


Preparing Food for Baby June 12, 2012

I love the fact that my mom has every type of cooking apparatus. I can always borrow it whenever I need it. And in this case, it makes  baby food preparation a breeze.

I’ve made baby food for my 2nd child. I learned the basics from the internet and some cookbooks and I think I was quite successful with the  first foods and the simple combination foods.

First foods are easiest to make because they are comprised of only one ingredient and is either steamed, roasted or baked. Never boil fruits or vegetables as most of the nutrients end up in the water.

My first foods list is as follows (in no particular order):

  • Brown rice
  • Banana
  • Carrots
  • Potato
  • Apple
  • Pear

This is how you prepare it by steaming:

Steam vegetables in a steaming basket in a pot. Put just enough clean water so that it doesn’t touch the vegetable. Close the lid. Turn the fire to medium heat. Steam until tender.

Asses tenderness by poking it with a fork. It should go through without resistance

Once tender, remove from heat and peel.

I always use a mini chopper because it is what we have at home. I think it is a good investment because we use it for a lot of our cooking too.

Chop vegetable to manageable portions and put in mini chopper or blender.

This is how it should look like. Add distilled water to achieve a smooth texture.

Transfer to a suitable container. Food should be good in refrigerator for 3 days and 2 weeks in freezer.

I prefer glass containers since it is more sanitary and earth-friendly. With the influx of glass leak-proof containers in the market, you have a number of sizes and shapes to choose from. This is the smallest one costing about Php 215 on sale.

I hope this is helpful for anyone out there!


The battle of bottles June 3, 2012

So many bottle choices out there! There’s Dr. Brown’s, Pigeon, Evenflo, Tommee Tippee, Avent, Chicco, Medela, Playtex and the list goes on and on… and these are just the most common ones sold in the Philippines! So what do I use?

I’ve been using Avent since my first child. Back then in 2006, the bottles were BPA-full. Yes, “full” as the BPA-free bottles were not yet available. The upside of those bottles were that they never leaked and they were clear as glass. However, the plastic seems brittle and after one child using for at least a year it looks like it’s been through hell – little cracks form at the bottom corners where the plastic rounds up.  For my second child, I went back to my trusty Avent but used the cloudy white BPA-free bottles. It’s BPA-free and it’s not as brittle as the original one. The downside is that it leaks occasionally. The trick is to secure the ring to the bottle first instead of the ring to the teat/white ring part when you close the bottle. I’ve discovered that it does not leak in this manner. Also, do not over-tighten when closing the bottle. When you turn it to close, stop when its secure already. Over-tightening it tends to make it leak as well.

Right way – bottle and ring. Proven lessens chances of leaking

Wrong way – ring with white ring and teat. From experience, bottle tends to leak more.

Later on, when my 2nd child was about 1 year old and still drinking from the bottle, I got bored with Avent’s lack of design and decided to try the wide-neck Chicco. I was attracted to the cute design actually and seeing that it was wide-neck also, I thought maybe the teats maybe interchanged. And voila! they do fit each other and does not leak! Nice!

Avent teat with Chicco bottle

The bottle is slender and baby can actually hold it in one hand only.

slender Chicco bottle

The Chicco big bottle is sold with a variable flow teat that is either silicone or rubber so be sure to check which one you’re buying. The downside is that this is only available in the department stores. I haven’t seen it from online suppliers here or abroad. (I wonder why). So it is a bit pricey – around P599 (if i remember correctly) – compared to Avent which can be bought for P600-700 for a 2-pack on

On another note, I’d like to try glass bottles. They are more sanitary and the breastmilk nutrients do not stick to glass. I actually have 4 bottles but I only use it for storing breastmilk and even then, it’s prone to leaking when I use it during pumping. It seems that when there’s milk on the part that connects to the bottle, the milk attracts each other and flows out. In the department stores, I ‘ve seen Pigeon and Evenflo sell glass bottles. Why not try it? 2 reasons – 1) they are not wide-neck and thus, it may interfere with baby’s breastfeeding (but since, she’s already 6 months, maybe this is not too much of a concern; 2) using glass bottles need extra care for obvious reasons.


Cooking mama 101 October 17, 2011

An introduction to baby food preparation 🙂

For someone who doesn’t cook (ME!) – either can’t, won’t, don’t have time – making baby food can seem like a daunting task. First, because you’re preparing food for your precious little one – you want it to be perfect. Second, you have no clue where and how to start.

Let me to tell you first hand that it’s EASY and coming from me someone whose cooking skills go as far as frying eggs and canned goods, that’s a LOT of confidence!

Here are some ( of my) trade secrets on preparing and feeding homemade baby food:

1.Read up! There are a lot of cooks in my family and they’re not the modern type that relies on quick and easy recipes – they prefer waiting for the real thing rather than giving in to bouillons or prepared mixes and sauces. So I’ve asked my mom how to make food for baby but all I got was the usual “you just cook it and mash it”. DUH! She makes it sound so simple but the real question is “HOW DO YOU COOK IT?”. Since I couldn’t get the answer I needed, I turned to READING – something I love doing. I started with the free-est resource available to mankind – the INTERNET. There are many recipe sites out there but only handful that really caters to infant food or baby’s first foods. Here are a couple I frequent:

  • Wholesome baby food. This one is really informative. It gives you a description of the food, its nutritional value, when to start it with baby and some side effects (if any), how to buy them (what to look out for, signs of ripeness), best way to cook them and then proceeds to list down recipes that includes this particular food. What more could you ask for! It also has useful links on storing, freezing, thawing baby food and articles on baby allergies and diarrhea. You can also easily find your “food” of choice since the menu posts categories for Fruit, Vegetables, Grains, Meat & Dairy
  • Homemade baby food. Though not as organized as the first, it also tells you HOW to prepare the food – if you should peel them, steam them, bake them and in what manner. And aside from the usual articles on food allergies, baby-led weaning and tips, I like the baby food chart section. Though your pediatrician will always tell you what foods are recommended at a particular age, the chart comes in handy for introducing variety to baby – just make sure you get the go signal from your doctor. Somewhere in that section is the link for a baby food planner – it’s just a simple calendar to keep track of what baby has eaten.

2. Confidence is KEY. A baby is basically tabula rasa (“blank slate’) when it comes to taste – at least this is what I believe in my experience.  This belief makes it easier for me to introduce new flavors in healthy foods to my baby without the  doubt that “he might refuse it”. Though, there are studies that a baby might prefer one taste over the other, this may only be true when the mother consumes a certain flavor everyday. If you were a pregnant mother who had a varied diet everyday then I probably can guess that there is no need to worry about taste preferences at 6 months.

My SKY ate the normal baby foods as an infant – brown rice, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, misua – but I was also keen to introduce the not so usual flavors of eggplant, red bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach before he turned 1. He ate them without so much fuss I should say.

Once you have that confidence  that your baby WILL eat what you’ve cooked, it’s time to get down to the actual cooking.

2. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Be sanitary (with your tools) and hygienic (with yourself) at all times!

  • Cutting boards should be specially labeled for the kind of food they are used for. Boards for cutting meat should only be used for meat while boards for slicing vegetables should only be for vegetables. This is to prevent cross-contamination. As for the kind of cutting board (wood or plastic), I really have no preference as long as they’re clean. Here is a helpful article on the considerations between wood or plastic cutting boards.
  • Wash your hands conscientiously with soap and water. You need to scrub in between the fingers, the palms and the back of you hands. If you have long nails, make sure you remove any debris from under those nails. And after washing, dry with a clean towel. If you’re a bit of a germophobe like me, dry with a paper towel  and do not touch anything else after washing.
  • If you have cough or colds, use a face mask.
  • Sterilize or wash the food storage thoroughly. I used baby food bottles to store my homemade baby food. Why do I have baby food bottles if I make my own food? Let’s face it, I don’t always have the time and some flavors are hard to get by – like peaches, zucchinis, prunes. I sterilize the bottles with our baby bottle sterilizer, drip-dry and its good to go. Other storage containers I use are freezer ziplocks for the freezer, ice cube tray with cover for freezing, and glass leak-proof containers in the refrigerator (i.e. Lock n Locks, Biokeeps, etc). At one point, I used a breastmilk bag when I just made to much broccoli.
  • Use distilled/filtered water. If you live in a place where the tap water quality is not good (or there have been floods recently in your area), be safe and use filtered water to wash the vegetables/fruits. If you’re mixing the food with water, use distilled water.
  • Wash baby’s eating stuff with a dedicated sponge or brush. Need I say more?? Imagine all the oil and leftover in the common household sponge!

3. Know what foods are appropriate and when. Now that you’re all clean and confident, the next question is, “what should I feed my baby and when?“. Take your cue from your pediatrician. Most babies start “solid feeding” at 6 months. However, some may be ready earlier or later – that will be another topic. WHO (World Health Organization) calls this stage “complimentary feeding” and recommends 3 qualities of food in addition to breastmilk – timely, adequate and appropriate:

Complementary feeding should be timely, meaning that all infants should start receiving foods in addition to breast milk from 6 months onwards. It should be adequate, meaning that the complementary foods should be given in amounts, frequency, consistency and using a variety of foods to cover the nutritional needs of the growing child while maintaining breastfeeding. Foods should be prepared and given in a safe manner, meaning that measures are taken to minimize the risk of contamination with pathogens. And they should be given in a way that is appropriate, meaning that foods are of appropriate texture for the age of the child and applying responsive feeding following the principles of psycho-social care. (see full article here)

I guess that’a all I have in the bag for now. Hope it helps anyone out there!