0

Look Ma! No Hands!

When I was in the hospital, after having delivered Z – I knew NOTHING about pumping. In fact in spite of all the reading I did prior to childbirth, I did not prepare AT ALL for pumping. Never thought of buying a pump, never thought of researching the different kinds or even considering if I may need one.

To make my life a bit easier, a good friend had donated her old Medela to me and although I took it gratefully I never really gave it much thought at all. So, coming back to the hospital – there I was, in my room, holding my brand new hours old baby boy and trying to nurse him. And not quite getting it. Along came Nurse no 1. who did a bot of fiddling and got him to latch. Yay! and 30 secs after she left the room, my boy unlatches. So off went the husband for the nurse and along came Nurse No.2, also got him to latch after some positioning adjustments and no sooner had she left that he unlatched AGAIN! This continued for the 4 days that I was in hospital. My ability to get him to have a proper latch was hit and miss. I saw lactation consultants, I was visited my numerous nurses, my breasts were prodded and twisted and grabbed and pressed but I still could not quite get it. But that is another story. Anyway, in the meantime – my milk had come in – in full force! And since he wasn’t taking it all in quite as fast I was told to use the hospital pun and express it out otherwise I could get engorged.

After one brief experience with chilled cabbage leaves, I decided maybe pumping would be better and so the husband kindly obliged and wheeled in a Medela Lactina (I didn’t know it was called that then) and thus began my pumping journey. That was just over six months ago. I still pump today. Still use a Medela and still have trouble latching.

In the early weeks my friend’s medela PISA helped tremendously! I’m not sure if it was a combination of the Lactina for the first five days and the PISA or just sheer luck but thank God my supply never really dipped. It wavered but never fell drastically. As the weeks passed and I realised that pumping was fast becoming a reality I began to read more about it. The various pumps available, the techniques to massage the breasts, the methods to increase supply and avoid clogs – there was so much there!

After my first clog I realised that the internet is not the best place to get information for exclusively pumping mums who face issues with milk production. Every single resource tells you to ‘latch the baby’. Huh? If I could do that I wouldn’t be exclusively pumping! So I joined a Facebook group for mothers like me and found that to be a fantastic resource and support system. And I fell into a comfortable routine. Except that now as my baby grows he’s getting more and more animated. He wants to interact more and is no longer satisfied with just lying back in his cot and staring at the dreamcatcher on the window.  I now needed to have a way of moving with him and yet sticking to my pump schedule.

So I got the Simple Wishes handsfree pumping bra. Used it for the first time this afternoon and my first impression? Super product! I managed to cook while pumping…brilliant! Will probably do a more detailed review once I’ve used it a fair bit but I just had to say it now that I love it so far!

Heres to pumping for as long as I can – its been a great journey so far and I know things will only get better 🙂

0

Squirt!

Isn’t that a brilliant name for a spoon? haha! I love it! both the name and the product.

When I first tried to feed Z some oatmeal with a baby spoon and bowl it created a terrible mess. There was oatmeal EVERYWHERE! in his hair, on his neck, on the chair and on me. And it is NOT something you can just wipe off especially if its made with breast milk. So although I looked forward to solids with the boy I dreaded the mess. And then the great and wonderful Husband remembered that a long long time ago (last year in October actually) before Z was born, we had gone for a baby fair and purchased this feeding spoon from Boon. Back when we bought it we never really thought much about just how helpful it will turn out to be. And I’m so so glad we did.

It’s a game changer for our meals really. Z loves it and I find it so much easier to feed him with. No time wasted refilling the spoon from the bowl and no time wasted wiping it off his face as somehow this spoon has a shape that fits perfectly into his tiny lil mouth.

Can’t wait to buy another one 🙂

0

Pump Pump the Jam!

Why can’t every airport be like Changi? It’s not just about the cleanliness, or the butterfly garden, the free osim massage chairs (why do other airports charge you for that?) or the fabulous toilets which are ALWAYS clean. Its not even about the fact that pharmacies and convenience stores are all over the place (I could not find a pharmacy in Frankfurt once – had a splitting headache with my period and had to buy some ibuprofen and some sanitary pads – nothing to be found) or the free unlimited wireless internet. For an exclusively pumping mom like me, its about the pumping rooms. 🙂

In fact Singapore on the whole is fairly kind to pumpers. Malls have pumping rooms, the airport has it, the amusement parks have them and overall its not such a pain to be out and about here. Flying back from or way this month I was wary about my pump schedule. Would I be able to do it on time and in a convenient place?

Stavanger Airport was out of the question. There is simply no privacy, not even a place to sit (unless you sit on the commode) and there are no nursing rooms (that I could find) So I waited till I got into Amsterdam for the stopover.

Now I heard about Schipol being done up recently and that they have this fabulous ‘Holland Boulevard’ which caters to mums and babes so I was eager to find it and see for myself.

Rright, well, its nice – all new and funky looking. They have these living room kinda set ups where people can watch tv and sit around resting. ut I was most interested in their nursing rooms.

For one, its huge! about 6 (maybe if not more) curtained off cubicles with a smallish seat and a huge cot bed like thing in the middle. Now my gripe starts here. The cot bed is probably made for older babies. Because its so so low! if you bend that low to place your 5 month old in, its going to really strain yor back trying to lift them out again. Plus it wasn’t super clean (Singapore has spoiled me) But my main problem was that there were no plug points. There were a few along the wall, but no place to sit next to them so you just kind of stand around it. How was I supposed to pump? (I was conserving my battery for the long flight)

Anyway, I managed to plug it into a socket which was more or less close to the cubicle, passed it under the curtain and then because it fell short, sat on top of the ledge (very uncomfortable) and pumped my 40 min pump. And wished I was in Changi desperately.

Other than that though the place was quite nice. There was a changing table, a huge sink, a microwave and I think some hot/cold water. Still, the world needs to be a kinder place to pumping mums.

Oh Europe! take a leaf from Asia’s book and get these small things right – it will make a world of difference to your service standards!

 

0

Flying in a Blue Dream

You know what makes it easier for me to be a mum? well one of the things at least – is that I do not listen to anyone who says it can’t be done or it’s difficult.

When Z was born, I had no idea what I was doing. Even though I read a lot I had not really read much about what to do after the baby arrives. In retrospect I think that worked for me. I would not be able to process that information prior to his arrival as it simply wouldn’t sink in. Once he did come home though I surprised myself with how much I could read in such short periods of time. Of course I mean only the baby books and not my beloved fiction *sigh*. Anyway, When I had trouble latching, I turned to pumping. It was what I did in the hospital when my milk came in and so I continued. Only much later did I read that if a baby does not latch, exclusive pumping doe not ensure milk supply to last beyond 5-7 weeks (so wrong!) Had I know that then, the seed of doubt may have been planted and I may have stopped and probably used formula. I’m glad I didn’t know because I just pumped and I still pump and thanks to some brilliant support groups out there on Facebook, my five month old is still a 100% breast *milk* fed today 🙂

And the same applies to flying. We take an annual month long trip to Norway every year. Have been doing so since 2008. So this year wasn’t going to be different – except we had Z with us as well. How was a five month old going to manage a long haul flight was something I did stress about a bit. Adding to that the fact that I will need to express milk onboard was also something to worry about. But I tried to control my anxiety.

What helped?

I got myself a great portable pump. (The freestyle is brilliant)

I made sure I carried enough of frozen breast milk in my hand luggage (it is allowed through security)

I ensured that Z was fed during take off and landing (well – the slept through the last leg of the flight from Amsterdam to Svg but it went smoothly anyway)

I have a very very supportive husband who is absolutely amazing and continues to be – every day.

If I had gone and read about how (potentially) difficult it is to travel with an infant I may have panicked. Sometimes trusting your gut and not overdosing on too much info helps so much!

I did read up on women who have made this trip successfully and their advice and I did make lists mentally to ensure I did not fall short in planning but I did not over think it.

Z was literally a dream baby on the flight. Even the other passengers complimented him 🙂

He slept when he had to, ate when he needed to and did not fuss AT ALL! He is definitely a born roamer. Suits us fine! hehehehe.

What was troublesome for me was the pumping. It was awkward doing it in my seat. No I’m not shy or embarrassed but I can’t exactly flash people either so manuvering the flange just right for the proper suction; without lifting my blouse was tricky and checking to see the level/flow from time to time was also a bit hard but overall with a little help from the husband I managed. I do have a gripe with KLM though. Their service overall is great and we’ve flown with them a ton of times in the past. But seeing how this was our first time with a baby, it was a very different experience. The attendants were helpful and efficient however the biggest flaw I noticed was something in the design of the craft and the training of the staff onboard.

The seats with the bassinets (that we had) are right in front of the bulkheads. Unfortunately thats where they attendants have their own private room (to sleep in or change I guess) and every single time a member of the staff entered or exited that door it would slam. Loudly. And the wall is the same wall that the bassinet sits on. How can you not expect the baby to get startled? Since it was a long haul there was a lot of movement and traffic through that door and it was a contestant worry for me to keep reassuring my baby to to scream and disturb others. Well, I guess with a little training of their staff maybe KLM could ease the stress of parents travelling by just ensuring that they close that darn door gently?

Other than that it was a fantastic flight. I have the worlds best baby – ever! hehehehehe

0

Frozen

Ever since I (unconsciously) realised that I may have to become a full time expressing mum, I knew that I would have to build up a stash of frozen breast milk for days when I fell ill, my supply dropped or simply as a backup just in case.

We started off with some of the free stuff we got at the hospital; great milk bags and some containers and bottles. Little did we know that we would fall painfully short very very soon! Our little freezer was overflowing and we soon ran out of storage space AND containers. So the hunt began for a chest freezer (we got a lovely one!) and storage options.

Until now, we’d been using Avent storage pots (the 240 ml ones that can be reused) and some Autumnz bottles that we had purchased ages ago. But I felt these were not just expensive and encouraging the use of more and more plastic but also occupied a ton of space in the freezer. So I started to look up other options and came upon this. Sensible Lines seemed like a good bet, but it was so expensive! So when I found these food trays made in Korea I knew I had to try them out. And the best part, they were on offer at a baby fair (buy two and the third is free)

What I love about them is the option to freeze different portion sizes. And the fact that they can be reused for not just breast milk but also baby food and our food as well. It may not be as convenient as the sensible lines in terms of weighing out exactly one ounce but they do have individual measurements for each pot and thats easy for me to calculate my feed then.

Used them over Easter weekend and love love love them!

Image © TheAmmiDiaries

Image © TheAmmiDiaries

Image © TheAmmiDiaries

Image © TheAmmiDiaries

Image © TheAmmiDiaries

Image © TheAmmiDiaries

0

Express Yourself – Hey Hey Hey Hey!

Never ever ever make the mistake of going to the first day of a baby fair ‘with’ your almost four month old, on a public holiday. We did that this friday and boy did we pay for it.

It was at the Expo, we’ve been to this fair the last time it was held (October 2013) and I was about 7 months pregnant. Although it was crowded then, it was nothing compared to this time. And since there was no one at home to watch Z we had to take him along. Now, Z was a complete angel, no fussing or crying but I felt bad for the poor chap as it was hot and stuffy and very very crowded. We hardly got the time to browse any stores, barely saw a quarter of the products on offer and yet ended up spending close to 5 hours in the fair – 43 of which were spent standing in payment queues. *sigh*

Personally I paid for this dearly. As an expressing mum, I need to express milk every three hours or so. But with such a small baby, planning doesn’t always happen on schedule and so I had pumped my last round at 9.30 am. It was close to 5pm and we were still at the expo. It would take me another hour at least to get home by the mrt (if I joined the queue for cabs probably longer). Luckily for me earlier in the day while I was browsing the store for stuff I noticed the Tommee Tippee Manual pump marked down to 34$.(less than half) We use their bottles and although I’m pleased with my Medela Pump in Style I needed something to throw in a bag when outside. I bought the pump and when we walked out of the expo hall realised that this was the perfect opportunity for me to test it. My breasts were hurting so bad that we barely had the time to tear open the wrappings and set up the pump before I started to leak 😦

Image courtesy :Amazon

The Positives?

  • Easy to set up.
  • Not too many parts to assemble. And not to difficult to use.
  • The big silicone horn was comfortable and didn’t hurt me at all. The box came with literally everything I needed to pump! which made it so much easier for me to use it then and there.
  • I also liked the lid they gave with the bottle.

The Negatives

  • Yes, I did drip all over myself, but then again that happens to me with my medela too sometimes so I think its all in the angle of holding the pump.
  • Having never used a manual pump before, I thought it was tedious and my hands did hurt.
  • Since I hadn’t pumped all day my milk was flowing very freely but I wonder if the pump would be as effective on a normal three hr schedule.
  • The teeny tiny milk jars that came with the box – what was that about?! they could barely hold a pickle. I think they should’ve put in one larger jar that held at least 120 ml. This was probably 50 or less.
  • When we got home and washed the parts up I noticed that one of the parts was not as easy to clean. If used regularly it could become quite a pain to keep milk free.

Overall, I like that it complements my tommee tippee bottles. It’s also handy to throw in a bag to avoid engorgement on a day out but it’s not as easy to clean and can hurt the hand if used continuously for a long duration.

0

“Time to Change”

Ah! the joys of changing a dirty diaper in public. Well, not really in public but in a public changing room. Ever since we’ve take the Z-boy out (since he was 2 weeks old actually) we’ve been exposed to what was previously unchartered territory for us; changing rooms.

Now, I must give credit to Singapore for having some of the best public toilets/loos I’ve ever seen. We travel A LOT and I have yet to find a country where the public loos are as widely available and as clean as the ones in Singapore. The same goes for baby changing rooms. Over the past two odd months we’ve visited quite a few – but the one that stood out or me the most so far was the one at 313@Somerset. It was a chance change. We had just finished spending an obscene amount of money at the Mothercare sale at Centerpoint and decided to enjoy a quick meal at my favourite restaurant – Din Tai Fung. The husband thought it would make more sense to change him first so off we went to find the room. I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only was the room huge, but it also had little cordoned off cubicles for nursing. Very very nice! Comfy chairs, lots of space, hot and cold water, a microwave, a loo inside the changing room and what I thought was damn cute – some hanging baby mobiles above the changing mats to help keep baby occupied whilst you go about cleaning him up. It was a pity some jerk had ripped off one of the mobiles but nevertheless, the idea was so simple yet so wonderful!

My only wish was that there was some way to maybe have a plug point in the nursing room, for mothers who needed to express milk and didn’t have any charge left in their pump. but other than that – very nice indeed!

20140321-163805.jpg

20140321-163753.jpg