Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Letter To My Swing

Hey Swing,

How are you? I hope by now you've safely reached the hands of your new owner who will be taking care of you as how I've taken good care of you for the past 7 months.

I've grown emotionally attached to you these past 7 months, and believe it or not, I teared while wrapping you to your new owner a few days back. How can I not? My freezer is full with milk, and it's all thanks to you!

It was not my intention to let you go, Swing. But I had a hard time catching up with time and deadlines while needing to pump 3x daily at work. You know how long it takes for us to get adequate amount of milk for each session, right -- at least 30 mins! That's why I needed to turn to your sister, Swing Maxi, that comes with double pumps to cut 1/2 of the time we usually take per session.

Your sister has been great, but I sure miss your discreetness! Your sister is a bit noisier compared to you, I'm not sure I can bring her out to the cinemas like how I could with you! :(

Sometimes when I pump, I think of you. You've done well for me, Swing, and I just want you to know how much I love you. So much, that I left a note to your new owner and tell her to take good care of you.

I was also worried that you would get knocked on by other things, I even wrapped you up with bubble wrap for safety measure.

Call me paranoid, but I still think that wasn't enough, so I put you in another box as a protective measure and then, tied you up, so that you don't accidentally fall out.

Knowing how rough the post office guys could get, I also remembered to tell them to stick a "Fragile" sticker on you so they would be gentle when handling you. After that, you're on your own and I could only pray you reach your new owner safely. See how much I love you? :(

And then, off you went. :(

We've had our good times together, and I'm sure you'll do just as good with your new owner too. :) Did you know that she's my junior back in primary school and a very nice one, so if you're worried, don't be! :) Oh she'll be having twins soon, so make sure you help her out as much as you can, as how you've helped me kay? :)

They say mothers get emotionally attached to their pumps and I never really know how true that is until the day I sent you away. Maybe one day we'll meet again, but until then, do take care of yourself there and continue to get some milk out! Love you, babe! ;)

Friday, September 13, 2013

I Got My Diploma in Breastfeeding!

Note: Lengthy post. Go get yourself some cookies before you start reading! :P

Most people would usually get their diploma before degree, right? Not for me! I got my diploma after degree! Ladies and gentleman, please welcome your newest diploma graduate from the Nursing Faculty -- me! :D

Alhamdulillah, I've managed to achieve my first mission of fully breastfeeding Adeena for 6 months. I aimed to exclusively breastfeed her for the first 6 months though, but when I saw her growing interest in food, I decided to start her on solids earlier, at 5 1/2 months. She will turn 7 months in a few days time, and I am blessed that I am still given the chance and rizq to fully breastfeed her to date.

Many have asked me, how did I do it? How do I have so much milk? Honestly, I don't think it's got anything to do with my milk factory. But it's about one thing and one thing only -- determination.

If you've been a follower of this blog since 4 years back, you'd know that I didn't get to fully breastfeed my first son, Aydein, for as long as I'd hoped I would. In fact, I only managed to breastfeed him exclusively for 1 month. After that, I started supplementing him with formula. Why? Because I lacked determination.

I SAID I'd like to breastfeed Aydein for 2 years, but I did NOTHING to achieve just that. I didn't read, I lacked of knowledge, I didn't even get a pump. I hated the idea of Aydein hanging on to me like ALL THE FREAKING TIME. I thought breastfeeding was so troublesome. And there goes my "determination".

So one day, when my breasts stopped engorging, I thought my breasts were not making much milk. I read, and there were articles saying that it was normal because my body has regulated the amount of milk my baby needs, but I was stubborn. I thought, how come some women still get engorgement after years of breastfeeding? The info must be wrong. These "lactation consultants" are just simply saying it. I tried all the different natural milk boosters, still didn't help. So I turned to only one thing I knew would save all the trouble -- formula.

Someone told me before, if you want to successfully breastfeed your kid for 2 years, you need to place you niat. It's true. When you pasang your niat, Allah will make it easier for you. Allah will give you the determination. But the moment you said breastfeeding is troublesome, you lose your niat, you lose your determination. So yes, as cliche as it sounds, be careful what you wish for.

So what I did differently with my second breastfeeding journey was, I started off with a good niat, even while Adeena was still in my womb. I was determined to breastfeed her for at least 2 years. I equipped myself early - with the knowledge and the equipments needed to help make this mission a successful one.

As soon as I delivered, there were times when the nurses offered to give formula to Adeena because her sugar reading was slightly low, but I insisted to fully breastfeed Adeena. I knew my milk hasn't came in yet at that time, but I knew it was important for Adeena to get as much colostrum from me + nipple stimulation for milk production, so breastfeeding was the only way to go, no formula.

2 weeks after we got home, I started pumping milk out. One side direct-feeding Adeena, the other side pumping. The output was not as encouraging at first, but that's okay. All the negative thoughts pushed aside, I kept pumping. As long as there's demand, there's milk. The more milk that is expressed out, the more milk my body will make, I reminded myself. And alhamdulillah, from what seemed like a few drops, became one full bottle. Oh and then, my breasts stopped engorging this time too, ha, but I knew better this time. I kept breastfeeding + expressing milk out. Anddd guess what? Ada pun milk! So the lactation consultants were right. They didn't just simply say. :P Once I started working, I made sure I pump 3-4 times a day. And if there is a need for me to go anywhere without Adeena with me, the pump goes with me. And whenever I see Adeena sleeping, or simply any chance that I get to pump, I will pump.

So for those expecting moms out there who have placed your niat to fully your baby for at least 2 years, let me share with you some of the ABCs on breastfeeding.

1) There is no such thing as "not enough milk" because there is. Trust me, your milk is ALWAYS there. Take toilet tank for example. Once you flush, the tank will automatically refill right? That's exactly how our breasts work. Once you pump, your breast will automatically refill the milk. The milk flow may be a little slower, but it's there. So don't be afraid to breastfeed your baby even after you've pumped, because there will still be milk left for your baby. Most importantly, don't worry! As long as you pop on your baby for however long he wants, he'll be fine. (To be safe though, practice pumping + direct feeding at the same time each time. This way, you can be sure your baby is getting enough + you get to collect stock at the same time).

2) No breast engorgement does NOT mean no milk. Haha this one I say with 101% confidence. Seriously, it only means that you've efficiently emptied your breasts, which is good, because the more often your breasts are empty, the more milk your body will make! In fact, engorgement is no good in my opinion, because it only means that you don't express out/feed your baby often enough, signalling your body that your baby doesn't need much. Less demand = less milk production. Easy peasy.

3) Make full use of your confinement period. During this time, your body is a milk factory. It will make crazy amount of milk, especially during the second week on wards, because during this time your body doesn't know how much milk your baby needs, so it makes crazy amount of milk. Take this advantage and start pumping + stocking up early, it will be worth it. Because for most people, once they go back to work, their body would have regulated the amount of milk that their baby need, and make just enough for the baby's intake. It stops being a crazy milk factory, and start being an efficient one hehe. So take advantage of this time when your milk factory goes crazy, and feed + pump like crazy!

4) Trust your breasts, they will make enough milk for your baby. Really, the second you doubt yourself, just remember to have a little faith in your "twinnies". Allah has made the women's body so unique, she can breastfeed even more than just one baby. Remember those days when formula hasn't even been invented? How did the children thrive then? Solely on their moms' milk. Takde pulak cerita tak cukup susu bagai kan.

So there you have it. Determination is key. But of course, knowledge is also equally important. Because without knowledge, determination alone wouldn't help you get all these.

Remember, when there's determination, coupled with effort, knowledge, perseverance and good niat, insyaallah you will not only succeed in breastfeeding, but in every other things that you do. :)

Happy breastfeeding, mommies! :)

Ps: I'm now striving for a Degree (1 year), then Master (1 1/2 years) and then PhD (2 years). Please pray for me guys, and let's do this together! :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

6 Months Young!

Note: Blog entry saved in draft for almost a month, punyalah lama nak tunggu siapkan satu entry -.-

Darling Adeena,

I was browsing through my blog today when something caught my eyes.

Yes darling, you turned 6 months today! How time has passed! It feels like yesterday that I fought (with my life) to bring you to this world. You were so delicate and small when you first came out, but look at 'em drumsticks now! :)

Let's see how much you've progressed since the first day you were born. At 6 months,

1) You can now creep like a cute worm whenever you want to move from one place to another.
2) You already have 2 ADORABLE bottom teeth! :D

(Some say you cut your first teeth early. Yeah pretty early I'd say, but not quite as early as your brother! Your elder brother sprouted his first teeth at 3 months! I guess we family are loaded with good calcium in us eh! :P)

3) You can sit unsupported, but tumble over after a few seconds.
4) You babble so freaking much and keep repeating ba-ba-ba ma-ma-ma over and over. So cute!
5) You can lunge back and forth on all fours. Prepping yourself for crawling soon, eh sayang? ;)

6) You are stronger now too. If your head lagged behind your arms and shoulders when being pulled from a lying position a few months back, now, your head will follow right along with the rest of your body when being pulled!
7) You can recognize your name when being called now. You'd turn your head and try to look where the voice comes from. :) Clever girl!
8) You're starting to get stranger anxiety now too. You'd cry if I pass you to someone you don't know but get quite friendly after warming up to them.
9) You're such a BIG eater, you can finish 2 servings of purees sometimes!
10) You are still a very much booby baby, and a fully breastfed one at that, alhamdulillah.
11) You're a pretty clingy baby now too. I put you down for 3 secs, and you'll wailllll your heart out! -.-

Did you know?

1) Unlike your brother who only started flipping over at about 5 months, you mastered this skill rather early, when you were about 3+ months. Then, you started rolling at 4 months. You're so good at this, you almost fell off the bed! That almost got me a heart attack, that's why since then, we never sleep on the bed anymore.
2) You started giggling/laughing when you were 4 months.
3) You started to blow "raspberries" at about 5 months.
4) Before you started solids, you could take in 4oz of milk at each feeding, making it a total of 20oz daily. I was told it's a lot for a girl! Now that you've started solids, you don't take in as much milk anymore, and only take in 15oz daily. Still a lot for a girl considering you eat 3x a day!

5) You have big appetite for food, I even had to introduce solids to you slightly earlier; when you were 5 1/2 months. That makes you an exclusively breastfed baby for 5 1/2 months.
6) Despite having a big appetite for milk & food, you remain being a petite baby. Good thing you're a girl. This way you can chug down gas drinks, cakes and ice creams when you grow up without worrying about adding up that extra cm on your body! :P

Last but not least, happy 6 months birthday, Adeena darling. May you grow up to be the healthy, pretty and solehah girl that you are. Your little family loves you! :)



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

30 Days Challenge

Eid Mubarak, everyone! While I'm sure all of you are happy celebrating the joys of Raya at this moment, I on the other hand, am still glowing with pride that I managed to fast for the whole 30 days last Ramadhan -- not a single day missed, alhamdulillah! :)

It was a challenging Ramadhan for me this year though. If previous years, not eating means weight loss. This year, not eating means milk loss -- something I cannot afford to let happen. But alhamdulillah, my milk supply sustained and I was able to bring back the same amount of milk (on average 15oz daily) just as how non-fasting month would. 

So.. how did I do it?

1. Read a lot.
Before Ramadhan starts, I already equipped myself with knowledge on breastfeeding during fasting month. I applied some of the tips and alhamdulillah it seems to work.

2. Drink a lot.
I keep myself hydrated as much as I could. During sahur, I would drink 2 glasses of plain water and 1 glass of Milo. Sometimes, I would add another glass of V-Soy Multigrain blended with dates. If time permits, I would drink yet another glass of plain water just before Subuh. During iftar, I would drink like there's no tomorrow and continuously take water whenever there's chance until right before I sleep.

3. Eat a lot.
Unlike previous years, this year I had to make sure I eat well during sahur & iftar. No skipping or skimping on meals. Rice and carbs are my new bestfriends. I didn't dare eating less because I didn't dare risking a drop in my milk. I take dates quite a bit too as sources said it is a natural milk booster + body energizer.

4. Pump a lot.
I would add extra sessions to my usual pumping time. If previously I don't get up in the wee hours in the morning to pump, during Ramadhan, I would get up to pump before/right after sahur. Then 2 to 3 more times at work, depending on my schedule.

5. Pray a lot.
Never have I missed asking from Allah since the first day I delivered Adeena to let me continue to breastfeed Adeena for at least 2 years, if not more. After all, this is all rizq from Him.

... And alhamdulillah, I did it. Was it all smooth and easy for me? No, not really. There were times especially at night when Adeena would fuss a bit during direct nursing, probably due to the slow milk flow. But I kept reminding myself, the milk is there, the milk is there. Worse come to worse, there's the EBM from work earlier on to supplement Adeena with. So I held on, and stayed strong. When Adeena fussed, I patted her gently, all the while convincing myself that the milk is there, and telling her to be patient. After a while, she would relax and go to sleep.

Oh, before I forget, I also applied this trick during this time -- As soon as I get home from work, I would pop Adeena on, making sure she's continuously getting milk from me. I won't wait till she gets hungry before feeding. I'll make sure she's latched on me as much as I can. After iftar, I would only direct feed on one side. That way, the other side would accumulate milk. By the time I get up for sahur, my other side would get engorged, and I would be able to yield 5oz pretty easily with just one side. I would pump and routine #4 as above continues.

So.. that's how I did it. I realize this entry came a bit too late, but I didn't want to blog this earlier on, afraid I couldn't achieve my aim. But alhamdulillah, with His grace, I did and was able to fully breastfeed while completing the 30 days of fasting, and I just knew I had to document this achievement for my (and other readers) reference in the future!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Raya Heat

I know all of you are (probably) still talking about the heat of the haze, but all I can think of (and feel) right now is the Raya heat! :D I mean, how can I not? All the newsletters I get reminds me of Raya shopping!

Usually, my little family would just buy ready made kurung & baju melayu for Raya (usually because all the tailors would not take any more orders lah haha). This time however, we wanted to look our best on our first Syawal morning, so we started scouting around for materials to send for tailoring as early as this month!

Adeena also gets to get her baju custom made this year! I can't wait to see how Adeena's little kurung would turn out to be like once it's ready. Misti. Cute. Gilaaaaa. :) :) :)

For those of you who have not sent your baju for tailoring yet, you'd better send them now, now, NOW! You'd be surprised to know that some tailors have even closed orders for Raya already! Crazy-mazy right?

If you're wondering where did we send our baju for tailoring, basically, Aien and Aydein get their baju tailored at Jakel, thinking that the tailoring would be cheaper since we got the material from there. It turns out that, Aien's baju melayu costs RM220 and Aydein's baju RM180 (tailoring ONLY!). Yes, tailoring ONLY; not inclusive of material charges! Super expensive for me ok; I definitely won't recommend this place for tailoring. *Tailoring are for men's attire only.

As for me and Adeena, we got our baju tailored at Sharifah Norizan Butik, at Medan Mara.

I have had one of my baju's tailored with Kak Sharifah, and I'm happy with her workmanship. Her price's a wee bit pricey though, but I find every dollar spent quite worth it. :)

So, what will our Raya theme be this year? You'll see! ;)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

People Magnet

You know how magnet can pull metals to it, right? That's the same thing with Adeena, only she can pull people to her instead!

The first time it happened, we were at a kenduri at my husband's kampung when suddenly a lady came up to me and asked if she could carry Adeena.

I was in 2 minds; nak kasik ke tak? My first thought was NO, but then the other part of me felt like it would be a bit rude to do so, so cautiously, I handed Adeena to her, my eyes watching her like a hawk. And then, more and more people started to crowd her. She was handed from one person to another. They were even taking pictures with her! Mmmkay.

The second time it happened, I went to a clinic and carried her with me. Again, one of the nurses there suddenly asked to carry her and told me she would return Adeena to me when I wanted to make payment later. The moment I handed Adeena to the nurse (eyes watching the nurse like a hawk again), a couple more nurses came to crowd and hold her. Hmm, I thought. This girl is something.

And then one day, I went to a foodcourt in Giant. I was going to have my meal, so I put Adeena in her stroller, facing me. Then a Chinese uncle said to me from across the table, "Pusing sama dia, I mau tengok dia," I was like, errr ok bro. So I turned her stroller around to face the uncle. He said "Haa like that! Ok!" and continued to eat. Oooookay.


See that little legs that's facing the uncle now? :P Then suddenly, as soon as he finished eating, he came towards us and pat Adeena on the head. Then, after chit chatting with me a bit more, he bent down to even give Adeena...

an ang-pow! Goodness, I'm telling ya, this girl's got superpowers! O.O

After that episode, smiles, pats and pinches thrown at Adeena at random places have become a norm.

I still get paranoid about people touching her though. I'll tell you why in a different entry.

But.. sigh, Adeena. You're barely 5 months and already getting treatment like a superstar! I don't blame them for getting pulled to you, though. Somehow, I keep finding myself getting pulled to you and staring into those beautiful eyes of yours too. :)

Ok that's it. Definitely putting you on a curfew when you grow up, young lady. And no boys until you're 18, okay? I'm serious, Adeena! Ahem.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Oh Brother!

Before Adeena came into this world, I was a bit worried on how Aydein would react once his little sister finally joins this Little Family. Would he be jealous? Would he feel second? What if he goes under depression?

Okay, depression may be pushing it a bit too far lah hehe, but I really was concerned of how he would feel once his little sister comes out. That's why, I got him used to the idea of the new member of the family, ever since Adeena was still in the tummy. Surprisingly, he took the idea quite well. Very well, in fact. He'd talk to the unborn baby, give salaam, even kissed my tummy every now and then!

And alhamdulillah, this continued on almost immediately after Adeena was brought into this world. :) The first thing he asked when the baby was brought into the room was, "Pa, nak pegang baby?" :)

And this continues on till this very day! He would play with Adeena, ...

Pat Adeena if she starts to cry, ...

 Talk to Adeena eventhough she would only stare back at him in return,... :P

Shower Adeena with loads and loads of kisses...,

Request to hold Adeena every now and then...,

Sometimes, he would even lie beside Adeena just to watch her, while smiling tenderly at his little sister. :)

He looks so in love right? He's in love, alright; in love with his own baby sister! :)

Oh and he's also veryyyy protective of his baby sister. No one can take her away from him! One time, his Tok Ayah wanted to tease him and told him he was going to take his baby sister away while holding Adeena in his (Tok Ayah's) arms. Aydein actually leaped, stood in front of his Tok Ayah, and with arms wide open, shouted (while crying) at Tok Ayah and stopped Tok Ayah from moving an inch further! Hehe so cute!

Aydein sayang,

If you're reading this, I hope and pray that this bond between you two lasts forever. Should there be one day where mama and papa are no longer in this world to look after the both of you, be sure to be the big brother that you are, and protect your sister from any harm's way okay? :) Mama love both of you with all my heart. *feels a lump in throat*

I love you, my AA's! :')

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The New Quest

Everywhere I go, I see people wearing their babies nowadays. Although I am considering to wear Adeena, I can't help to feel that it's also important to get a stroller for her. I mean, I've got to be fair kan? Her abang has his own 'ride', takkan his sister doesn't have her own! ;p

But the thing about strollers is, the good ones can cost quite a bomb. And if you've read this post, you'd know that I've got my eyes only for Maclaren strollers. In fact, I've got my eyes on this particular one..

Brown & pink combo! Who would say no to that?! So you can imagine my joy when my brother in law called to inform that was putting up a sale for Maclaren Quest 2012 strollers, and what would normally sell at RM1299, was only selling at RM799! Crazy cheap, right! Of course we had to check it out. We'd be crazy not to!

But as soon as we reach there, I was a tad bit disappointed because the color that I wanted was not available. All of the colors were a bit too boyish for Adeena, so after doing a bit of thinking, we thought, if we can't have a girly girl color, might as well get the same color as her brother's. Comel jugak adik beradik pakai stroller sama kaler kan. :P So Black/Champagne it is. :)

The "champagne" color is a wee bit different from the old Quest though. It's somehow a little.. browner. Checkout the picture below. The new Quest is the one on the right.

Hehe can you spot the difference? :P

Oh and the best thing about this new Quest that I absolutely love as compared to the old Quest, is the fact that we can recline the seat till about 180°. It's perfect for newborns because they can lie flat and you don't have to worry about them being uncomfortable and such. So practical kan! This way, Adeena can use the stroller from now until.. Well, until she's too big for strollers lah! :P

So what are other features of the new Maclaren Quest Sport 2012 that's different from the old one? Let's have a look at them!

The recliner.

The new Quest's recliner is placed at the back of the seat, as opposed to the old one which is placed at the side of the seat. This way, reclining is made so much easier as all you have to do is press the 2 "knobs" and pull the seat to the level that you want.

The handles.

The new Quest's handle is the one on the right. Notice that the new design no longer has the "stripes", and replaced with one straight line instead. Honestly, I'd prefer the old design, but the problem with the old design is that the "stripes" has the tendency to tear, so, I get why the engineers decided to change it.

The legs rester.

Checkout the new Quest on the right. See how the legs rester can be adjusted? Isn't it just loveeee? :D I just like the idea that our kids can stretch their legs whenever they sit for too long and feel like stretching out a bit. More comfortable this way!

The wheels.

As you  can see, the new wheels are almost all back, except for one silver lining circling the wheels, as compared to the old one that has chrome on the wheels. I personally like the new wheels because it's simpler & more stylish to me. :)

Now what about Adeena? Does she like her new ride? I think she does, because she was very well behaved when we put her in the stroller on an outing last week. A bit too excited, even! :P

See? Macam nak terbang dah pon ada :P Oh wait, look who just decided to join the Maclaren family recently?

Ooh it's abang long Wildan! :D Sorry, as I mentioned before, we family are just biased like that when it comes strollers! No Stokke, no Bugaboo, no Phil & Teds, just Maclaren! ;)