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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Saturday Kiddy Activity: Oreo Treats

     Saturday mornings are for bonding with Miss River. Today we decided to make Oreo Treats. They're fairly easy to make and has only three ingredients. Oreos, marshmallows and butter.

1. Put marshmallows with a pat of butter in a bowl and zap in microwave for a minute and a half.

2. Break Oreos into little pieces. You can use the food processor but we like to break them by hand because we like chunkier pieces.

3. Dump the Oreos into the marshmallows.



4. Mix together.

5. Put in a foil-lined pan. Let it set for 15-20 minutes.

6. Dont forget to lick the bowl!

7. Cut into squares or whatever shape you like.

8. Enjoy!











Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pumping Milk: Things i learned along the way :)

       Having exclusively pumped milk for my two children, I have picked up a few things here and there. Here's some of them:


On Breast Pump
   
     When it comes to pumps, there are no hard and fast rules. Some women get great results from using manual breastpumps. A few moms i know swear by hand-expressing milk. Others still, like me, find using electric breastpumps more efficient and convenient.

     I've been using a Medela Pump in Style (already phased out) throughout my breastfeeding journey with River (one year and 7 months) and I'm still using the same model now with Hunter. I'm completely satisfied with it. Every 3 hours, I'm able to pump 7-8 ounces in just 15 minutes.

     Another great electric breastpump option is Spectra.  It's not as costly  and I have heard amazing reviews from friends using it. Check out Spectra and other fairly affordable, high quality pumps at Babymama.ph     
     At the end of the day, i think the key is finding something that will work best for you.

My trusty friend :)

On Breastmilk Storage Bags

      I have tried a lot of breast milk bags and  i have to say, it took a lot of trial and error  on my part to find the best one. Some were too flimsy. Some leaked. The zipper wont close properly. has sharp edges that puncture other bags.

Don't get this. One of my fail bags.It just has one seal that is a pain to close and you have to use scissors to use them.
        For a long time my favorite were the Lansinoh ones. They didn't leak, had double zips and a tab to put the milk information on. A few weeks ago, someone gave me a box of Honey Suckle bags and i must say I'm loving them. They felt somewhat sturdier, "cleaner" and they also haven't leaked so far.
Both come in boxes of 25 and cost almost the same. (around Php 400)

Honey Suckle is completely sealed at the top while the Lansinoh is not.


On Water, Galactagogues And Other Tips to Increase Milk Supply

     Over the course of my breastfeeding journey, I have tried a lot of ways to increase my milk supply. Some worked, some didn't.

     1. Water/Fluids. Ive seen that when I'm not hydrated enough, my milk supply takes a dip too. So now i drink anywhere from 3-4 liters of water a day.

     2. Oats. Flax Seeds. Brewer's Yeast. I haven't taken these three separately because i always consume them in the form of cookies or bread. I often see the effect after a day or two of consuming them.

     3. Mother's Milk Tea. Fenugreek. Didn't really work for me or at least i didn't see a big difference in my milk output. And it made me smell weird well at least the Fenugreek did.

     4. Malunggay/ Moringga. Natalac. I took these in the form of capsules and  took them 2-3 times a day and only when i feel that my milk supply is dwindling. I can feel the effects the day i take them. If you dont feel like taking capsules, you can have the malunggay leaves as is OR you can turn it into malunggay powder which you can then mix with your drinks, smoothie and food.

     5. Frequent Pumping. This is by far the best (and cheapest!) way to increase milk supply. Well, at least for me. It is the equivalent of unlilatching for those moms who directly breastfeed. The key is to pump more frequently if you feel your supply going down. The longer the intervals i have between pumping, the lesser the milk i produce. Also, following a pumping schedule makes things easier.

Other Tips
   
     * Use a Sharpie when labelling bags. I know from experience that ball pens have tips sharp enough to  puncture milk bags. Other pens fade and gets smudged easily. A Sharpie was the only thing that worked for me. It also lasts a long time. Ive been using the same pen for more than two months now.

    * Freeze flat. When freezing your milk, freeze them flat. They will be easier to store and stack that way. They will also thaw much faster.

     *Be aware of the Storage Guidelines. When i was just starting to store my milk, i made so many mistakes to the point that i had to throw away a weeks worth of milk. To know more about how long you can store milk, check out the chart below or you can visit the  La Leche League website.


     *Okay this might sound unhygienic but i only wash my pump parts once or twice a day. Some women do it every after pumping which is great but not really practical. If you're  like me and you pump at night then you know it's a hassle to wash every time. Ive done it since i was pumping for River and I'm still doing it now.

     *Massage breasts before pumping, Doing this made a difference in my output and helped me empty my breasts even more.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Of Hugs and Naps and Forgotten Lunches

         I'm lying at the foot of the bed staring blankly at the ceiling. After an hour of feeding, burping and occasional bouts of crying (his and mine), Hunter is finally napping. I breathe a sigh of relief. I just might be able to eat the lunch that has been waiting for me at the table.

      But then River looks at me and pleads, "Mommy can you please play with me?". That almost made me cry. I am exhausted both mentally and physically. I am sleep deprived and i haven't had a decent night's sleep. And it's not that my husband doesn't help because he does. He tries to lighten the load for me when he's home. But it's just me and the kids together most of the time and as much as i love my children, i cant help but feel tired. Just so tired.

     I hear little footsteps going towards me. I swallow my annoyance and opened my eyes. I gaze at my daughter and all my frustrations quickly melted away. I take a deep breath, wipe my eyes and smile. She needs me and i'll be damned if she'll feel that I'm not there for her.

    We move to the floor where her toys are. She wants to do the puzzles first. "Mommy, can you help me find the corners?". In between tickles and giggles and hugs and high-fives, we finished her puzzle. She's not tired yet. I played her favorite songs. She danced and i danced with her. It doesn't matter that I'm hungry, that i haven't had any sleep or that there are chores waiting to be done. What matters is this moment.  What's important is that i am there for her.

     She stops mid dance and declares that she's tired and wants to nap. We lie down on the bed. I'm sandwiched between her and her brother. He stirs so i move  towards him. She snuggles closer to me and hugs my arm. "I love you Mommy" I kissed her forehead. She sighed and smiled.

     We napped together. My lunch long forgotten on the table.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Things Not To Say To A New Mom..

     Hunter is now two months old and i have had my fair share of unsolicited comments. Some of them are just mildly irritating "You don't look anything like him.". Those, i can easily let go. BUT there are comments which really annoy me. Whether they're just trying to make conversation, stating the obvious or just being plain nosey, people should think twice before saying these to a new mom.


1. Did it hurt?

     An almost 8 pound baby came out of me. Of course it hurt. I was given an episiotomy which means layers of my muscles and flesh were cut so that the baby can come out. I was given painkillers  which I think only half worked because i still felt pain. If you're a female, think dysmenorrhea pain times ten.  If  you're a guy, imagine being kicked in the balls over and over. So yes, it hurt a whole lot.

2. Is he sleeping through the night?

     Are you kidding me? Newborn here. I'm lucky if he sleeps 4-6 hours straight.  And even then, i have to try to feed him every 3 hours (dehydration issues) which might or might not wake him up.


3. Any statement/ question about my weight.

      Okay, i know it has been two months and i still haven't lost weight. You know what? I don't really care. I'm taking care of a newborn baby AND a toddler. So i still don't fit into  my prepregnancy clothes. That doesn't concern me as much as fulfilling the needs of both my children.

4. You look tired/ exhausted.

     Hello there Captain Obvious! I just carried a baby for 9 months and now I'm breastfeeding him every 2 hours. So yes, good bye sleep. To add to that, i have another child with needs too. This means that in between feeding, pumping, bathing and changing the baby's diapers, i have to try to pay attention and play with my toddler.

5.  Let him cry it out..

     Pretty sure you've never been in a room with a crying baby. So we'll just leave it at that.

6.  Are you sure you can drink/eat that while you're breastfeeding?

      This really gets to  me. I love coffee and when people see me drinking it, I get a lot of stupid questions. Just let me enjoy my drink  in peace. I know i have done more research about it than you and I'm not an idiot. I will not do something that will endanger my child.

7. Are you guys thinking about having more? Or "Sundan na yan!"

     Yeahhhh how about no. I just had a baby. I still feel pregnant. I haven't had any sleep. At this point i just want to get the next few months over with so i can have some semblance of normalcy. So no. And don't you dare try to laugh this question off. It's not funny. And i just might punch you in the face.

8. Any judgy statements or  questions like "You're not circumcising him are you?" "What you're breastfeeding again?"

     My child, my decision. Don't ever make me second guess myself.  I get that you would do things differently if it  were your baby, but he's not.He's mine. So yes, i would very much appreciate it if you can be encouraging and supportive without being judgmental. 

         

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Liquid Gold: My Breastfeeding Journey

     I always knew i would breastfeed my children. Even before i gave birth, i was already reading up on the subject and trying to learn about it as much as possible. I even picked a hospital that supported breastfeeding. So i thought i was prepared.

     When i gave birth to River, the nurses immediately placed her on my breasts for her first latch. Our breastfeeding journey started. 

River"s first latch..
     Let me say it now. It hurt like hell. Every time River latched, i winced in pain. My nipples were so sore and cracked that sometimes droplets of blood came out. I tried hand expressing milk and even then, i was only able to get a few drops. You know the saying "crying over spilled milk"? Well there was a time Jim spilled half an ounce of my milk and i completely lost it. 

     There were moments when i doubted myself and my ability to feed and nourish my baby. She wanted to latch every hour so yeah, i didn't get any sleep and i literally felt drained. Sometimes i felt that my milk was not enough because she always seemed hungry and wanted more.  But i waved those thoughts away and i soldiered on. I knew that this was the best thing for my baby and i was determined to give it to her. 

     And then my milk came. I was able to meet River's needs. For a time i was happy because she was happy. She was well fed and i couldn't have asked for more. But then  because i had so much milk, i experienced blocked ducts. It hurt so bad. I had fevers and chills. My doctor prescribed medicine and gave me strict instructions to stop breastfeeding for a week. I looked for other options. I couldn't imagine not being able to feed my baby and giving her formula. I sought advice from other moms. I did my research. And after a few excruciating days, i was able to get it in control. All without stopping breastfeeding and without taking medicine.  

milk drunk
     After a while, it became easier.  She was gaining weight and getting chubbier. She was sleeping more so i was sleeping more too. :) My sister in law gave me a Medela double electric breastpump and things became even better. After feeding River, i pumped. Every two to three hours, i pumped. I was able to store enough milk to last for weeks. Jim was able to feed her so i can rest. We were able to go out and leave her because we knew she wouldn't get hungry. Date nights at last!  I did have a few snafus when it came to storing my milk but more on that next time. :)

my lifesaver :)
    When River was six months old, she started eating solids so her milk intake lessened a bit. This meant that a bulk of my milk were stored AND took most of the freezer space. So i decided to donate. And i never looked back. I just kept a week's supply for River and the rest were shared. Up until River was weaned, we were able to donate more or less 2000 ounces.

organized  by the day it was pumped
first  milk donation..
sometimes i get nice surprises like this..
      It's funny. My original goal was to feed River until she was six months. Then it became a year. I finally stopped when River was a year and a five months old. And even then, i had enough stored milk to last her for the next three months. *humblebrag*





    Now it's Hunter's turn and I'm happy to say that, aside from a jaundice scare, it has been smooth sailing so far. My milk came in almost immediately and he always seemed satisfied after a feeding. He's two months old now and he has more than doubled his birth weight. I have also been able to donate about 500 ounces of milk already. Having seen the benefits of breastfeeding, this time around, i am hoping to breastfeed even longer.