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Weaning

Who thought it would be this hard? Who thought it would be this easy?

Ive been pumping since Z was born. Exclusively, since he turned about 3-4 months. It’s been so incredibly hard. But honestly, it was all I knew. I didn’t really know what it was like to wake up and simply latch baby on for a feed. Although he did latch on every now and then, it was rarely without a struggle and definitely not stress free for me (or him I guess) This was probably the main reason why I chose to EP. The stress. I know he didn’t have a tongue tie, nor did I have any issues with milk but it just seemed to be the path of least resistance for me then.

It started with the PISA< sitting on that chair in the corner of our bedroom, hooking up every 3 hours. I was never (unfortunately) one of those lucky women who could empty in like 15 minutes. I always took at least 40 if not much more. So there I sat with the ‘let go, let go, let go’ (at least in my head it sounded like my pup was saying that to me) sound playing in my head, sometimes with my iPad, mostly just massaging and hoping it wouldn’t spill. Every day. Every night.

Initially the husband helped so much! He ran up and down, washing, sterilising, brining me pump parts, changing diapers, feeding Z, rinse, repeat. But slowly he had to stop – other parts of his life and responsibilities had to come into play. And slowly I had to pick up the slack – start doing things on my own. I remember the first time I was shown how to put the pump parts together. I was in such a state! No sleep, my stitches hurt and I could barely stand and there I was trying to remember how to take that lil white membrane out without tearing it.

But I learnt, I had to. And then came the feeds. Z was always such a slow drinker. (Not any more thank God!) I would literally spend over an hour coaxing him to finish a bottle. In retrospect I wonder if I would’ve spent that much time had the milk been formula or if I had chosen to just re use the BM for the next feed. But then, all I wanted was to not throw away the hard work. So I persisted. And he drank. In his own time. It was hard. Very hard. Barely finished a feed when it was time for my 45 min pump. Barely finished that when I had to wash up and sterilise. Once that was done, he would wake up and need some interaction. Once he was fired, it was feeding time again – And the cycle repeated. For weeks.

But then it got better. I never realised it then but it did. He started solids, I dropped to four pumps. Life got a wee bit easier.

It’s 14 months now for Z. Almost. And I just dropped to two pumps yesterday. It feels strange. So strange. So much guilt. So much relief. So much happiness (to look forward to what I can do with the freedom Im giving myself) and so much doubt (am I doing the right thing by stopping? what if he wants more milk and I can’t make it anymore?)

But this day has been coming for a while. I had to drop a pump from 4 to 3 in India when I went for the hols. Time was just not on my side there. And when I came back I realised that I was barely getting enough from my middle pump. To make matters worse, I got a few cracks that refused to heal and got all sticky and sore. Leading to a bad reaction to coconut oil and a hospital visit for some antihistamines. I never really got my supply back after that.  I had to accept it, Im still coming to terms with it – my body is ready. Is he?

He takes a mix of almond milk and BM in his bottle easily. He has no problem with the frozen milk stash I have and he is a great eater (touch wood) so why am I still worried?

Mothers. Guilt. Doubt. Do these ever part ways?

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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!

 

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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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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.