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!



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