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! :)