Thursday, November 14, 2013

Breasfeeding Journey: All about Expressed Breast Milk - EBM

been wanting to write a post on this to keep as a memory of my " milking journey"  but argh it's been so outdated that i've forgotten some details.

anyway sadly, I'm unable to latch Sticky Bean as she's too used to being bottle fed while in NICU. Also when she was discharged, the PD advised for me not to latch her on yet, being a premature baby, her sucking reflex may not be as strong and so is her breathing, so it's safer to bottle feed, hence i became an exclusive pumping mummy..

my milk did not come in till after day 5, was so stressed up with the milk initially as the nurses and PD has been asking if i have any breastmilk for her whenever we visit baby ashlene at NICU.

During the first 3-4 days all i had was just vapours around the funnel when i pump, that is oh so demoralizing!

and finally from day 5 i started having tiny bit of droplets!

and so my milk supply grew from this...(PD say even droplets 5ml, 10 ml also good lolx)


to this

and this
it's actually better to use a smaller 80ml bottles like this compared to above 150 ml as our milk seems more and it kind of boost our morale better.


and eventually my first milestone, 71 ml at day 12.


after which i stopped taking photo of my output. my output's considered average. Now it's about 90ml - 120ml every 3 hourly.
But i've also became lazy and being too stressed up with pumping initially than enjoying my motherhood i've decided motherhood is definitely more than pumping milk.

When baby ashlene is fussing, i start to get stressed up and upset for missing my pumping times. To make it worse, my nap times have been cut really short as i have to force myself to wake up to pump. My patience start to wear off as well.
Then one day, i just went HEY, that's not the way to enjoy motherhood, it's not right to get impatient with Baby Ashlene (hoping she finish her feed fast and fall aslp soon so i can pump on time), i should spend more time with baby ashlene than thinking of pumping on time all the time!
so i start to relax abit and pump around 3 hour plus to 4 hours instead. the total output of the day remained the same and i felt so much happier and relax.
it was the best decision i've ever made since the arrival of baby ashlene.

as we already have a tin of opened formula milk and not wanting to waste it, we feed formula milk at night too. as a result i still have an oversupply of milk..

from this:

to


and actually even more, but i didn't take a photo of that though.
And so i was told by some that EBM can only be kept in the fridge for 48 hrs but some online sources suggested from 48 hrs to up to 1 week, there's so many mixed recommendations for that.
since we are running out of space and storage bottles and wanting to play safe, i'd allow baby ashlene to drink up to 3 days old milk stored in the normal fridge.

i've finally start to freeze the ebm.


starting to stock up so at least when i stop pumping when i go back to work mid january, she will still have some ebm to drink. (Frozen ebm can be kept for 3-6 months.)
i must comment that frozen ebm does smell fishy, metallic and taste horrible though. thank god she doesn't seem to mind..*phewz*

also my sister in law recommended me these milk storage bottles from Moms & Little Ones, bought from pupsik studio which i absolutely love!

it's $23 for 6 bottles and it comes in 2 sizes, the 150ml and 80ml bottles. i bought the 150ml bottles so i can store more milk and to save space.
in total i have 6 X medela 150ml storage bottles, 6 X medela 80ml storage bottles and 6 X Mom & Lil Ones 150ml storage bottles and it's not enough, hence freezing will be the best option.

Got a friend to help purchase Boots Milk Storage bags from bangkok, it's only about SGD5 per box of 40 pieces. I've got 4 boxes of those, hopefully it will be enough. 

in conclusion: don't get too overly obsessed with pumping milk, there're more important things in motherhood such as the TLC for your baby than breast milk alone.
I grew up drinking formula milk, since young i've always been healthy and seldom fall sick. There's absolutely nothing wrong in giving your baby formula milk if you have to.

As for me, i'll continue to pump as much as i can to stock up prior to going back to work. After spending $699 on the pump, being the stingy mummy, i just want to break even as much as possible. =)

Some images of Baby Ashlene to end the post with. 







Monday, October 14, 2013

Sticky Bean's Birth Story at 34 weeks - Premature Baby

and so as predicted by our gynae, Dr James Lee where i will probably give birth by the weekend, Sticky Bean chose to arrive on 27th September 2013, Friday, prematurely at 34 weeks.
(read about my admission to Mt A the week before) premature baby at 34 weeks

As i was already admitted to Mount Alvernia on Monday which i truly appreciate now given the panic and sense of loss when my water bag burst, seriously i can't imagine if i'm at home and i kept leaking water like that, how am i supposed to get to the hospital without looking as though i'm wetting my pants or wetting anyone's transport.


The Bursting of the Water Bag premature baby at 34 weeks

It all happened at 3pm when i was prepared to take a nice, warm shower after my pee. When i was about to pee, i felt a "pop" sensation and a gush of water together with my pee. Was thinking something is not very right as the water is still gushing out like pee but i've finished peeing. Ok this is disgusting but when it comes to situation like this, you really need to know if that's your water bag bursting or if that's your pee hence i went to dabbed toilet paper with some of the "unknown" liquid and smelled it. No ammonia smell, i was quite convinced that must be the water bag. i was kind of stuck to the toilet bowl since whenever i stand up, the water just came gushing out. THank god there's this emergency button at just beside the toilet bowl and i've to called a nurse in for help.

she got the maternity pad for me to put on, lead me to my bed to lie down and helped to start packing my things to move me to the delivery ward.
Thank goodness Mr. Keir is still on leave, been asking him to go back to work on that day actually. Called him to inform him of the news and have him rushed over asap.

Very soon i was settled in the delivery ward and the contractions started kicking in, omg it is nothing like menses cramp, it is 100X worse. initially i still can manage as it comes on every 15-20 minutes.
Dr. James Lee came at 5 ish and i was still only 2 cm dilated so he predicted i'll probably give birth later the night or maybe even the next morning.
I thought so too as i've read that for first labour, the standard is dilation of 1cm every hour.

Who knows shortly after he left, the contraction got worse and unbearable, perhaps the nurse ain't aware that i am dilating really fast so my request for epidural wasn't acted on immediately. grrr....i thought i have a high threshold for pain but i was so wrong! i started to scream and whine..oops..when the contraction was at its peak, i actually burst out crying, leaving Mr. Keir no choice but to feel so helpless.

Seeing me in so much pain, they immediately act on it, informed the gynae and pushed me to the delivery suite where i'm already losing control and screaming by then. they have to put me on laughing gas and omg that was a complete life saver while waiting for the epiduralist to come.

Compared to the contractions pain the epidural injection is nothing at all, just merely like an ant bite and you have to keep very still and not move. i was totally oblivious to their instructions eventually as i was too high on laughing gas.

So by 7+ pm, i was fully dilated. been trying to push for 1 hour +, dying of hunger and pushing till my face turn blue and no progress at all.
oh did i add on, the cervix check is super uncomfy la, i totally hate it!!

so the finale came when my gyane suggested to try for 15 more minutes and if there's still no progress, if i'd like a c-sect. of cos i'd say yes by then, i'm so tired of pushing and although there's epidural i can still feel the pain from the contraction though it's much more manageable.

And so i was pushed to the surgery theatre for an emergency c-sect.
somehow the epidural drip seems stuck and not working and another doctor suggested some spina injection thing, she tried a few times and my body seemed to be immune to it. Ultimately i was put on GA, poor Mr. Keir who has changed into the surgery gown was refused entry and feeling lost while medical staff was busying around. Heard that it was a super busy day at the surgery theatre they have non-stop surgery going on the whole day.

So eventually baby ashlene finally arrived at 10pm, 2.6kg, was blessed that she 's supposed to be a good sized baby, reaching the 100th percentile at 30 weeks. though pre mature absolutely doesn't look like a premature baby.

The shock of how a newborn look premature baby at 34 weeks
After such a traumatizing labour, i was even more shocked when Mr. Keir showed me how our newborn daughter looks like. it was nothing like i've imagined!! later did i realized this is common among new mummies and that their looks eventually changed over the next few days..phewz.



To be honest i was quite depressed for the first 2 days, firstly from her pre mature birth to how her looks was far from my imagination to not being able to deliver naturally and not being able to latch her on and have her room in with us since she needs to stay in NICU and the fact that i have not seen my baby in person till the very next evening when i was officially off the drip and catheter and allowed to be off the bed and the pain the wound is causing me!

Thankfully MR. Keir was a perfect husband during those few days where he took absolute great care of me, to the extent of helping me to the toilet, changing pad, washing my stained pajamas etc. and tons of words of encouragement.

Actually i wasn't really ready for visitors the next day, perhaps it's from the side effects of GA, i was feeling drowsy throughout and find it hard to focus to hold a proper conversation.

By Day 3 i started feeling better and make it a point to get out of the bed often and walk over to NICU to see baby Ashlene.

On the day i was discharged, i've finally discovered a life saver for c-sect mummies! Thanks to a fellow mummy who recommended this.


You can request for this from the nurses and the nurses at Mt A were super nice! they actually advised Mr. Keir to buy it from the pharmacy downstairs as it;s cheaper at $60++ if we purchase from the hospital direct its $90++.
The nurse also taught us and Mr. Keir how to wear this binder for me. It makes walking around, getting on and off the bed a breeze.

Ashlene stayed in NICU for 8 days as she has episodes of shallow breathing which is common among preemies since their lungs weren't fully developed.

She's finally given a clean bill of health having no such episodes for 3 days consecutively.
Here're some pictures of Baby ashlene and how her looks changes each day. With each passing day, she's simply getting more and more adorable!

With each passing day, my love for her grew and the bond is back again compared to the initial 3 days where i actually feel distanced from her.

Day 2

DAy 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 4 - yes mummy finally get to carry Baby Ashlene

Day 5

Day 5

Day 6

Day 6

Day 6 - nurses at NICU start to "train" us how to bottle feed Ashlene and things to take note of




DAy 7

Day 8 - Ashlene is finally ready to come home with us!! 

Spotting and Contractions at 33 weeks

Haven't been updating for quite a while, well this was what happened, I was actually admitted to Mt Alvernia at 33 weeks, sometime around 23rd September and eventually gave birth prematurely at 34 weeks when sticky bean a.k.a Ashlene is supposed to arrive during 37 weeks will be updating the birth story and ashlene soon. Baby ashlene is now coming to 3 weeks old!

These were the last few shots of my preggie tummy at 32 weeks before i pop so suddenly, haven't even got to taking more shots and a friend of ours is supposed to help take some maternity shots..


The story
ok so it all started when i went to the toilet one friday night, to my horror there's pinkish stain when i wipe and thereafter spotting on the pantyliner for about an hour.

Somehow i felt uneasy especially when my tummy feels tight all the time. Unfortunately, my gynae was not in town and 6th sense actually brought us to Mt Alvernia just to play safe.

As SOP, as long as you are more than 20 weeks pregnant, you have to admit to the delivery ward directly.
There, they strapped me to the CTG machine to monitor the contractions.
Also when your gynae is not in town, they always have a "back up gynae" hence the nurse will inform the gynae of your condition.

It was 10+ pm at night when we were admitted.



So there i was, strapped to the machine. To our surprise, the nurse mentioned that i'm actually having contractions every 3-4 minutes which is super close and the covering gynae advised to put me on drip and prescribed medications to bring down the contractions.

According to the nurse, my contractions took quite a while to come down. I was surprised as i can't feel anything at all except that my tummy feels tight all the time. if it's not for the spotting, i probably wouldn't have admit to Mt A for a check and probably wouldn't know of the contractions at all.

As a safety measure, in case i give birth there and then, they injected me with steroids to help baby's lungs mature since she will be considered quite pre mature at 33 weeks.

by next morning the contractions subsided, the back up gynae came and asked if i'd like to go home since contractions subsided. Of course i want to go home. They charge like $250 per day for the room only excluding doctor's fees and medications. the whole bill for one night stay came up to be $900+!

Since my gynae is coming back on Monday, the back up gynae advised me to see my gynae when he's back.
So i went back to Dr James Lee on Monday. I was secretly rejoicing when he first made a casual comment that i will probably not be going back to work till i give birth. I thought it just meant i need bed rest all the way till 37 weeks.
Little did i know that it was because my cervix is already 2 cm dilated and he would want me to admit back to Mt. A as he's worried that my water bag may just burst anytime, given the pressure he would rather play safe and not risk me having my water bag burst at home in case of cord collapse where the baby can be suffocated by the cord if it happens during the pressure of a water bag burst.

To be honest, Dr. James lee never failed to impress us with his premonitions. He predicted that my water  bag may burst anytime hence i asked for medications to drag the labour. My intention is to keep baby inside for as long as possible. But Dr. James Lee's stand is medication can delay the labour probably by a week maximum and he predicted that i will give birth by weekend.

So there i was staying in Mt A from Monday. Indeed my water bag burst on Friday! will share the details in the birth story.

Anyway that stay at Mt A was really pleasant and the food's pretty good except for the fact that i seriously miss home and sleeping in my own bed.



Just that it's really difficult to rest well and have proper sleep during my stay there with nurses coming in every 2-3 hours to take your temperature and blood pressure or to give you medication.

I was on oral medication to control the contractions and thankfully not on drip this time round. Absolutely hate the drip, it makes going toilet so inconvenient, you have to call the nurse for help and you know being so preggie, you need to go pee all the time.
tead
The hubby took time off the whole week to visit me at the hospital. Feel so "sayang" for him wasting his leave like that, i'd rather he save the leave for baby ashlene's arrival instead. but i feel so blessed with a loving hubby. Besides having to company me at Mt. A, he needs to run lots of last minute errand to get the baby's stuff.

The cot's not even delivered as we are so totally unprepared for Ashlene's early arrival. I wanted to get all the last minute things during Rise and Shine EXpo and Baby expo end sept and early oct initially.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

List to get Diapers Samples




Countdown to Sticky Bean’s arrival – in 2 months time
Hence I tried to do some research on selecting the right diapers, knowing how much to stock up per size.

So far read that babies outgrew newborn sizes pretty fast within the first month depending on the weight of your baby hence so far we’ve only gotten 2 packs of newborns and 2 packs of S size from Huggies during taka fair promotion in order to get the free 2 bottles of Medela milk storage bottles.

Still kind of lost on which brand to choose, decided to go shop around at either Parents World Exhibition 30th August – 1st Sept at expo this weekend or Parents & Living exhibition end Sept at Suntec to do a bit of stocking up.


Heard good raves about Goo.N diapers and that the new born size cutting is bigger than the rest, so thinking of getting one more pack of newborn size since MIL suggest to use disposable during the first few weeks due to the frequent peeing and pooing.

I’ve already requested for samples from Goo.N though.

Here’s to share the list of diapers and website where you can request samples from. They will mail the samples to you, usually just 1 or 2 pieces though.

Goo.N diapers http://www.diapers.com.sg/  – register with them and you can get a free sample delivered to you


Drypers https://www.facebook.com/DrypersSingapore/app_383233691688187 

Fitti / Pet Pet Diaper 6861 9155


Somehow mammypoko's samples seemed to be for Malaysia only and there' no local website for pampers singapore.

Currently: 30 weeks preggie 

Monday, August 26, 2013

What Nobody tells you about being pregnant...

Well being a woman, we're more or less aware of what's gona happen to our body when we are pregnant, of course we put on weight, our figure goes haywire, there's the typical fatigue, backache, lack of energy, frequent need to pee, water retention, restriction on the drinks and food intake.
Each mummy tend to get different symptoms.

Apart from the above common symptoms, there are other symptoms which i was totally caught off guard, just thought of sharing it here..

1) pimples/ breakouts not just on the face but all over my body

2) frequent itching all over the body even though i do not suffer from heat rash

3) greasy / oily hair and face

4) much bigger nose somehow with black and white heads and tiny bumps on them no matter how diligent i am in putting a clay mask and squeezing those black heads out

5) this is the worst. Black armpits!! oh yes BLACK!!! nobody tells me and i never read about preggie mummies suffering from BLACK armpits as part of the pregnancy symptoms till one fine day i was shocked to discover the sudden darkening of my armpits. From there, it just worsen and is literally Black now.
So sleeveless for me is out of the question these days, it was only when i start to ask one of my friends and my mum did i realized that they too suffered the same. Fortunately for my friend, the black armpits went away totally but for my mum it improved alot but there's still a dark patch there. omg i so hope this will not be in my genes.

6) darkening of neck area, not as black as my armpits just slight darkening that makes it look dirty as though i never bathed and the daily scrubbing and moisturizing is not helping at all.

7) leg cramps - i've never suffered leg cramps in my life, little did i know that i'll have a taste of it during my pregnancy an this happened when i'm approaching the last trimester. felt so helpless when the leg cramps strike.

8) insomnia - it was only after that i suffer occasional nights of insomnia that i realized this is common among preggie mummies. due to the growing belly, sometimes it's really difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in, not to mention the need to get up and pee at night for at least 2-3 times.

9) the boobies became uglier - definitely with the darkening and enlargement of the nipple and aerola to prepare for breast feeding. to be honest, it looks kind of turn off to me. oops but thinking about the nutrition it will provide for our sticky bean, i guess it should be worth it.

10) leaking of urine - sometimes when i'm not careful or when i got lazy doing my kegels, this actually happens when i sneeze. before i got hardworking on my daily kegels there was once or twice the leak was so bad you can see the wet stain on my dress...omg total embarassment.

11) change in voice - i was told this isn't common with most but i'm not sure what's the reason for it, i seemed to lose a pitch or two from the feminine side.  I'm unable to carry a tune now and my voice seemed coarser and deeper. i'm so worried my voice will not get back to normal and i can't sing nursery rhymes to sticky bean in future without terrorizing her with the off pitch tone. =(

Currently: approaching week 30 with sticky bean. =)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sponsored Post: Maternity Exchange @ Marina Square review






Went to Maternity Exchange @ Marina Square, #03-108  to shop around as I’m officially in the final trimester, some of the loose fitting dresses I’ve been wearing couldn’t fit anymore =(

Even though the size of the shop ain’t as big as the bigger chain stores such as Mother care, I’m quite impressed by the variety and quality of the items they carry. Not only do they carry a variety of maternity wear, they do have intimate wear for pre and post pregnancy as well as some baby’s items.
The maternity wear found in the shop is of really good, comfortable and cooling material as well. Of cos there’s always a price to pay for better quality stuffs, dresses ranges from $100 and above and they do have a fair collection of nursing dresses. 


This Ripe Cowl Neck Dress  is one of the best sellers in the shop.


And I really love this Jules & Jim Hypnotic Summer Dress !
 I prefer my maternity clothes to be of brighter colours and cheerful looking to bring some colours and energy to my tired-looking face. BUT due to the darkening of my armpits, I simply can’t wear sleeveless. 

Bellaband @ $49.90 to $54.90
Oh I’ve came across this amazing invention before where you can still wear your existing pants / shorts as long as you have the bellaband, it helps to hold up your shorts/ pants so they will not drop since you are unable to button them.


Can help save money from buying maternity pants and shorts. I didn’t get it though since I’m so lazy, I’m a dress person, super lazy to mix and match with tops and bottoms.
In my opinion, it makes it more worthwhile to get nursing cum maternity dresses or tops in one since you can wear them for nursing even after giving birth.
Oh and their service is really good, non-pushy and recommending you pieces to try only after asking what’s your preference like.

They do provide rental services as well! Found this interesting tip in the dressing room. Helping you to decide when to buy or rent.




Eventually I’ve gotten this Seraphine dual-function wrapdress  which compliments my now very bloated figure and a super comfy Mothers en Vogue nursing top from them. Once I’ve tried on the dress, the comfort of the material makes me really reluctant to change back to my original dress.


Ok my legs and feet are swollen, this pic just doesn’t do the dress any justice. But it makes my bump looks really nice!! 

Maternity Exchange also has a well established website and online store so you can visit the website to take a look at the variety they have.

 
Here’re some of the other interesting finds I’ve discovered there.

Retailing at $39.90

I’ve read so much raves about this amazing teether toy for babies and how all babies love it, even though it’s on a pricey side but most mummies I knew swear by it and how worth it, it is to get one.


Will definitely get one for our sticky bean!

They carry a range of Sophie the Giraffe items as well, perfect for baby shower gifts too. (or perhaps sticky bean is lucky to get one for her baby shower? Heh…)



Post natal binder
Oh found this Inujirushi Post-partum shapewear range to be really interesting, it’s from Japan and they actually differentiate into 3 different types for different periods to wear.


Basically they are waist binders to help you flatten your tummy and different tension is definitely needed due to the different stages we will be at after giving birth
No. 1 is to be worn for the first 1-2 months, followed by No. 2 for another 2 months and finally No. 3 thereafter.

Step 1 is for encouraging the womb to move up to its original position through gentle pressure. This is worn lower, from the waist down, to provide firm support to the pelvis.
You can switch to Step 2, after about 2 months. By then, you should see a difference in your stomach as your womb would have moved back to its original higher up position, and you'll find your lower belly is flatter.  

Step 2 is for the waist area, so it should be worn higher up. So, after you've gotten your womb back up after about 2-3 months, it's time to move to Step 2 to get the stomach area back in shape.

Step 3 focuses on narrowing the waistline and firming the hips, thighs and lifting the buttocks. It's the final touch after the waist and lower abdomen have been shaped! You should wear it for as long as you need it.
It is recommended that you try to restore your body to normal during the postpartum period when the pregnancy fat is still tender for six months, and less so after. Generally after 8 months, much of the shaping would have been done and you can stop wearing it. Don't forget to couple this with some exercise and a healthy diet to ensure best results. The shaper can help to shape but it won't help you to lose weight. Only exercise and a healthy diet can (:


They also carry a range of California Baby products. I’ve heard of this brand before, it’s one of the reputable and popular brand for natural and organic baby products.


Being in the natural hair & skincare industry, I’ll definitely want our sticky bean to use as natural products as possible. Especially when baby’s skin’s so much more sensitive than ours, why harm their skin with harsh chemicals?

For mummies with belly button popping out

I remember some mummies asking about how to make the pop less obvious and I came across Popper Stoppers 

So cute, to stop your bellybutton from popping through your garments.
Retailing at $15 

Retailing at $19.90 and up.

For all breast feeding mummies to have a peace in mind if you still want to have a bit of drink and worry about passing the alcohol to your baby.




Can always test the milk with this to detect alcohol in the milk before feeding to the baby.

Compression leggings for preggie mummies from Therafirm 


This is another product I would very much love to try since I’ve been getting cramps occasionally and I heard this legging may just help. It’s not just your normal pair of leggings but it promotes blood circulation too, especially good for preggie mummies like me with water retention, swollen legs and cramps….=___=

Woombie swaddle , $49.90

I’ve gotten one of this too! The latest fad in swaddles, safe, effective and won 14 awards for design and innovation. Definitely looks comfortable and secure for our newborns to be inside. Reminds me of a cocoon.



Makes swaddling a whole lot easier and don’t have to worry about baby wriggling out nor the swaddle coming off. The material looks so comfy and is stretchable so no worries of swaddling our babies too tight.
Can’t wait to try this on our sticky bean when she’s born 10 weeks later!

Look at how secure and peaceful the babies look in Woombie Swaddles:

it was such a pleasant experience shopping at Maternity Exchange, guess i'll definitely make another trip there nearer to my edd to get more stuffs for sticky bean and more nursing wear for myself too!

Chanced upon their facebook. Maternity Exchange is also holding a giveaway on their Facebook page where there are 3 DOTE Nursing dresses to be won.
Simply "Like" or "Share" any of their Facebook posts during the month of August to stand a chance to win! The more you "Like" or "Share", the higher your chances of winning.
Do visit  https://www.facebook.com/maternityexchange/app_101332539959471  for more information