Friday, February 26, 2010

A day of pumping

I'm a full-time working mom. And a breastfeeding mom, too. So in order that I may continue providing breastmilk to my baby, I would need to express while at work. I've gone and used two manual breastpumps last year: a Tommee Tippee one and an Avent Isis one. Both served me well the weeks I used them. I think I used them roughly two weeks each when I came back to work last November 23, 2009. However, in between those weeks, I started dreaming of an electric pump. Why? Because it'd be so much easier for me, for my hands/fingers, and I'd be able to pump more since I'd be expressing from both breasts. So when the go-signal came to buy the Medela Freestyle from J, I was ecstatic. And my determination to continue giving Jack-Jack my milk until he's two years old became firmer.

So anyway, thankfully, my office has a pumping/nursing area. It's within our clinic, enclosed by curtains, and since it's just an area, only one pumping mommy at a time can use it. Otherwise, the late mommy would have to use one of the beds (with corresponding closed curtains, of course).

[That's it there. Tho all you can see are the curtains. And yep. There's a photocopier there at the end.]

[And this is what it looks like inside.]

Before I leave for work, or rather, before we leave the bedroom, I make sure Jack-Jack nurses from me so that 1-he's full, and 2-I won't have to suffer from engorgement when I couldn't immediately leave my table to express. My pumping schedule at the office goes something like 1030AM, 2PM, 5PM, give or take a few minutes. Like, when I forget that I'm already supposed to pump, or when I couldn't leave yet since there are still a lot of transactions I have to do, etc. I actually have set alarms for each of the times above in my phone. But even then, I usually pump a bit later than what's scheduled (if you want to know, the alarm sets off at 1030AM, 130PM, 430PM).

I use the bag that my pump came with as an office bag since I actually don't bring a lot of stuff to the office. All I need are my phone, keys, wallet, and office ID. That's why, I can cram six 4-5oz bottles in the bag, the pump motor, tubings, plug, freestyle adapters, flanges/horns. My Dr. Brown insulated bag, I carry separately and it contains the ice gel pack that came with the bag, plus the blue ice pack that came with my pump.

[The included Medela bag, with the motor, flanges, and bottles (that are only peeking from this view) when I go to work in the morning.]

[The Dr. Brown insulated bag with the blue ice pack and the gel ice pack.]

I place the bottles inside the clinic's ref and the ice packs in the freezer. Tip: I read and I totally agree, that expressed milk in the office be temporarily stored in the refrigerator and not frozen. Why? Unless you can be sure that the frozen milk won't thaw on the way home (because if this happens, you would have to let it thaw all the way and let baby drink it the next day. Plus, some important components of breastmilk are lost during the freezing process.), then the best thing would be to refrigerate the expressed milk in the office, transport it cooled, then freeze it at home.

Before, I used milk bags to store my milk in the office and even at home. But after getting an electric pump, I only use the bags when milk stored in the ref are reaching it's due date (5-7 days after expressing) so that I can then store them in the freezer to lengthen its life. Currently, I have about 3 days worth of expressed milk in my ref, plus 6 bags of around 6oz frozen milk each in my freezer (which, I'm thinking to donate when I've accumulated enough). Jack-Jack drinks "fresh" milk everytime I'm away, meaning, milk that are just stored in the ref and haven't been frozen/thawed. When I get home, I transfer the milk from the standard neck bottles I used to collect, to 3-4 wide-neck bottles, that are either 5oz bottles or 9oz bottles, that Jack-Jack uses. And yes, they are Tommee Tippee bottles, of the Closer to Nature type.

In between pumping sessions, I store the horns/flanges in the ref, with the collection bottles. I don't wash them anymore in the office sink since I'm not sure what had been previously washed there. It's safer to store them that way, inside a ziplock bag, since it's almost tantamount to storing milk in a ref. Besides which, the only contents of the ref in the clinic are vaccines and water. It's rare that food would be stored inside it. Also add the fact that I'm not that sensitive, even with the milk, or rather where the milk passes thru, generally so... but that's a whole other story.

After my three pumping sessions in the office, I place the 6 bottles in the insulated bag, in between the blue ice pack and the gel ice pack to keep it cooled while I travel towards home.

Then I stuff the entire insulated bag into the Medela bag, along with the motor, flanges, plug, and my keys, wallet, and office ID.

Yep. It all fits inside. It's a bit heavy, but not so much that I'd fear the bag's straps would detach themselves from the body. Thankfully, the pump's motor doesn't weigh much and the bulk of the weight is just actually, the contents of the insulated Dr. Brown bag.

When I get home, what remains inside the bag would only be the motor, plug, wallet, ID, and keys. All the rest are taken out, milk transferred and refrigerated, ice packs frozen. Then the bottles and flanges/horns are washed and sterilized, then dried (air-dried and/or wiped-dry) for use the next day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mornings are love

I love mornings. Especially if it's a Saturday or Sunday morning, wherein I don't have to rush and go to the office. But even weekday mornings are love. Even if Jack-Jack would wake us up at around 6AM every day, it's ok. And because I'm always alert to his every move, I get to see him wake up, roll over, look left and right, see me, then smile. And I love seeing him smile. Usually, he'd be grunting and squirming in his place on the bed, tossing and turning around, still half-asleep, only fully waking up when he manages to turn over and pull himself up on his arms. Then he'd be looking at the window, hearing the twittering of the birds, then he'd turn his head and he'd see me looking at him... Then he'd smile.

And that's when I really started to love mornings. Even if I'm still wishing I was still asleep, the minute he starts twisting his head and body, then rolling over, I'd anticipate the moment he locks eyes with me and smiles. And this happens everyday. And I just love, love, love it.

[Still asleep...]

[Finally awake!]

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's a nice feeling to see a lot of breastfeeding mothers in just one day

J and I watched Valentine's Day movie earlier in Glorietta 4. It was a two and a half hour movie (more or less) and so I brought my pump so I can express some milk for Jack-Jack while I'm gone. Especially since I'm sure he'd drink at least a bottle from the time we left him at home.

Anyway, after eating Takoyaki and cream puff and silvanas, we went to the Family Lounge so that I could express since there were two pumping/nursing stations there. However, when I went in, someone was sitting in one of the rooms, listening to her Ipod, then there were a couple of paper bags in the other room. I decided to wait for the owners of the bag or for the girl just sitting there to notice me waiting for a vacant room.

It was around after five minutes when another woman went in, and then she told off the girl so she could use the room to pump. But the light there was not working, she soon learned from one of the maintenance ladies, with which, she pointed to the other room but the lady pointed out that there were bags there. The maintenance lady transferred the bags to the room with the defective lights. And so one got ahead of my pumping.

Then just as I was about to go and pump in the dark room, a mom went in there to nurse her around two year old daughter. And so I waited. While I was waiting , another mom went in and asked if there was a place to breastfeed.

To cut the story short, in just a few hours, I saw four moms (the last one was on the bus on our way home) who are breastfeeding.

It gave me a nice feeling, that more and more moms are preferring to breastfeed their babies. It really was like going back to basics, like I told my cousin back when she saw me wearing Jack-Jack.

And it all feels just about right.

P.S. The movie was great, by the way. Despite the bad reviews. :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

In remembrance of my aunt Emen

I got below link from my egroup and I was crying. I know I'd sob if I read everything. I suddenly remember my aunt, who died last year, who has Down Syndrome. I hope you all enjoy reading it. I promise to read all of it tomorrow. :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Breastfeeding my five-month old

I never really thought about breastfeeding my baby until I was almost 8 months pregnant. It was about the same time I started looking for a chilbirth preparation class.

At first, I was prepared to breastfeed for at least 6 months, and then substitute with formula when baby doesn't want to nurse from me anymore. But, just as we were attending our childbirth class, I was doing my homework: googling up about natural childbirth (no anesthesia, no episiotomy, water birth, etc) and breastfeeding. We even attended a free breastfeeding class. It was right about that time that I became determined, I will nurse my son until he self-weans. And if he weans early, before reaching the one-year mark, I'll pump breastmilk for him to take.

After learning all the benefits of breastfeeding, I was more than determined. I began looking up more about breastfeeding, the effects of one's lifestyle to breastmilk, the law of supply and demand, etc. I then told J that I want to breastfeed, for as long as Jack-Jack wants to. And if he weans himself before the age of 2, I'll still pump and let him drink my milk, to optimize the benefits that he'd gain from it.

[My eyes' view]

Fast forward to the present. I've been breastfeeding Jack-Jack for five months, expressing for him when I'm at work, and nursing him when I'm home. And I don't think I'd ever get tired of it (especially since I now own an electric double pump). There's some kind of satisfaction when I see him all "drunk" and "high" when and after nursing from me. Or when he turns limp and snuggles next to me after a feeding. Or when he turns his head and would lay on his side at night, instinctively searching for my nipple when he suddenly feels me curl up against him, his eyes still shut... And then he'd stop struggling. He'd latch on and continue his sleep.

It's an amazing feeling. The feeling of being needed, for nourishment, for comfort. I'll breastfeed him for as long as he wants. For as long as he, and I, need.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My baby knows when I'm about to wear him...

... and then he quiets down and looks at me expectantly.

Last Sunday, J and I went to the Legaspi Sunday Market to claim my prize in a contest I joined in which I was to explain why I love using Indigo Baby's all-natural bath and body products for babies. Anyway, Jack-Jack was fussing, obviously feeling sleepy and while J held him and tried to calm him down, I put on my SaYa. Jack-Jack saw me and he immediately stopped fussing, looking on while I adjusted the carrier. And when I got him and placed him in, he was still quiet, his head turning left and right as we prepared to go out. He didn't so much as whimpered.

I was amazed, that I had to smile and comment to J that our baby knows what's going to happen next. And on we went to Legaspi Park. It was a bit hot, and humid, but there was a cool wind blowing about, and next thing I noticed, Jack-Jack was sleeping soundly on my chest. He just went and rested his cute little head on my chest. No fussing, no singing required (even on his part). He just slept.

Monica of Indigo Baby commented how fast asleep he was, and how she bets that Jack-Jack loves it there. And I said that he does and relayed to her our experience just before going there. And then we bid our goodbyes and we went to Greenbelt to attend the 12 noon mass. He slept almost the entire time. He woke up towards the end of the mass, and he was squirming and babbling a bit since he was already hungry and it was time for his next feed.

It does get tiring, wearing him for more than a few hours as he gets heavier as the time passes. But I wouldn't trade it for pushing him in a stroller as I get to see how curious he is, what his reactions to the different sights and sounds where I can immediately point to him what he's looking at, and by being close to him, I can immediately comfort him and lull him to sleep just by walking. All these with both of my hands free to do other things like eat semi-properly and poke J (hee).

I can't wait for the time that he'd point to a sling, and ask me to take him somewhere. But until then, I'm happy that the sling has become a comfort-zone for him.