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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 🙂

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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 🙂

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And So It Begins….

….my baby boy has started on solids. Never thought it would hurt so much. He will no longer be completely sustained by my milk. He is growing up. I guess we don’t really think about it much but our babies are constantly moving away from us. All through our pregnancy we walk about with this lil miracle growing inside us not really realising that the day this baby is born is the day we cease to have the ability to protect it the way we can when its inside our womb. And from that day onwards, our baby grows and grows independently.

While I (of course) think this is a wonderful thing, it doesn’t take away the pain felt each time my baby needs me a little less in his life. Solids is the first step. I guess if he was on formula I may have felt it a bit less, but the fact remains that he’s been exclusively breast milk fed so far (and it continues as long as I think I can manage pumping) and seeing hi take delight in tasting that tiny bit of avocado made my heart melt and then hurt – just a wee bit. *sigh*

I love you my darling boy! can’t believe how blessed we are to have you. Your joy at the little things in life. The way you approach each new day with a beaming smile and a furious shake of your tiny lil hands….your constant curiosity and alertness and your incredibly infections happy moods…the way you accept every single new food offered (avocados, rice cereal, oatmeal, pears, sweet potatoes) even though you don’t quite like a couple of them….you are the brightest spots in my day and I can only thank God for giving us you.

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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

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It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night

..and this week has been one of my hardest to get through so far. I have a headache that refuses to go away since tuesday and last night was probably one of the toughest nights for me since I’ve given birth.

Somewhere in Feb I started to notice my milk supply dropping. Of course I panicked. Started on fenugreek seeds twice a day (which works wonders BTW) and saw the supply slowly pick up. I reached a stage where I could actually start freezing my milk. And until yesterday I had built up a nice solid stash to help me out in case my supply ran low again or for emergencies. I worked hard to get that milk. Lots of pain and sleepless nights, lots of sacrifices in time spent at the pump after feeding baby, lots and lots of washing, sterilising parts, labelling jars…it was not easy. And then last evening we found the freezer door open. More than half of my frozen milk had defrosted. It was no longer viable. I took one look, walked into the living room, sank down on my sofa and sobbed. I have not cried that much or that hard for years. Maybe it was a bit hormonal too (but I was never hormonal during my pregnancy so it was new for me) and maybe it was a lot of pent up exhaustion and frustration but I really really cried. I cried for all my wasted efforts, and all my stress, all my loss of sleep and my hours and hours spent pumping instead of sleeping/reading/bathing/going out/relaxing/painting my nails or whatever.

I don’t ever ever want this to happen again and I was heartbroken.

But today is Jamshedji Navroze. A new year – the advent of spring. And with it I hope to have new beginnings and a new fresh outlook to life. The best is yet to come. Navroze Mubarak!

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Sukiyaki

Yesterday I experienced two of the toughest hours of my life. I was trying to feed Z and he kept refusing. Arching his back and wailing. He doesn’t wail. In fact he rarely cries if at all. To watch him screw up his face and scream out in agony was heartbreaking. I’m sure it was the reflux or whatever but thats not why I’m writing this. I’m writing this because yesterday was the first time in my life that I felt completely helpless and unable to help someone who I loved more than anything. It was the worst feeling in the world. I know people will probably criticise me for this but I am a dog lover. The only other time I came close to this was when my lil Snoopy was in pain and I could do nothing. I am not comparing my child to my pet, but the emotions are similar. Helpless little beings dependant on me. The difference (for me) was that Z was so vocal about his discomfort. Every single cry broke my heart. Every single tear tore me apart. I held him in my hands as he buckled and twisted and I began to question everything. Was the milk too much? should I really give up dairy? what about all the frozen milk in the freezer? I don’t want to throw that away after I’ve struggled so much to build it up, will he never take the bottle again? should I try putting him back on the breast? what if this affects his growth? will he become a fussy eater because of this? Oh My God! the thoughts that crossed my kind were fast and furious. And I had no one to share them with. As I sat there on that chair, near the window, cradling my kicking baby and trying to calm his screams – I felt frustrated and so darn helpless. And for the first time I realised I can’t protect my baby from everything. I am not invincible and he will feel pain and I will be able to do nothing. That hurt. But strangely it made me strong too. Stronger because while my child lay there crying I also realised that he’s strong. He can get through this. He will learn and work things out for himself to feel better. I just need to be there for him. Let him know he’s not alone and he can do it. That damn reflux too shall pass. For him and for me. And we will get past it together.

Of course this thought may have calmed me down a bit but in the heat of the moment, it was still hard, still frustrating and still painful. But I pray and I hope that by reminding myself of this post, I will be able to get through it a bit easier the next time something like this happens.

Oh Baby Z, life is hard and I only realise now that I cannot protect you from everything. But thank you for showing me just how strong and brave you are. Smiling through your tears when I sing you Sukiyaki and drinking up all your milk even though you were obviously in discomfort. You teach me so much. Gosh, I love you baby boy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Importance of Being Burped

When did this noisy and slightly embarrassing (for us adults) bodily function creep up and start to occupy my mind in such large quantities I do not know, but it has and it does. ‘Burping the Boy’ is now my No. 1 priority whenever we feed, before, during and after…for ages!

I remember when he was little (OK, he’s still little I guess, 11 weeks and all that – but he’s changed so much since birth that I can’t help but call him little then) we barely registered the burps. We fed him, positioned him, he burped rather noisily and it was all good. Somewhere around the 8th week, he started to throw up a wee bit. One day that ‘wee bit’ turned into a gush of milk all down the front of his clothes, my pants and the chair we were sitting on. It scared the hell out of me. He, fortunately seemed calm. When it happened again a week or two later I was super stressed. What was causing this? And then the crying started. Z is a happy kid. Smiles a lot, plays and runs A LOT and is generally happy to be on his own or with others. But come feeding time and he resists. He arches his back, kicks his legs and wails. After A LOT of coaxing, eh takes the nipple only tp push it right out again and starts the whole wailing cycle again. This can take over an hour. I tried holding him upright, tried giving him smaller portions of milk, tried burping him every 30ml but honestly, it still happens and I worry that my good natured lil boy is turning into a cranky lil chap.

All I know now is that the burp has never been so important to me. As I gently thump his back and wait anxiously for that release of air from his tight little tiny body, I pray that he doesn’t bring up any milk, nor scare himself with the action or feel so much discomfort. It’s frustrating to feel so helpless towards your child’s misery. A new feeling for me..:-(

Maybe its reflux and maybe its colic – whatever it is, I want it gone.