Milestones at 4months

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My memory has been very bad of late. The lack of sleep, peak period at work and soloparenting of a very whiny toddler are the main culprits. Just last night, i went in and out of my car thrice in search of my missing petrol card.  Ended up finding it on the road next to my car! I'm constantly finding myself going into a room, knowing I was supposed to get something but often come out empty handed. 

Before i start having a more severe case of post natal dementia, i think I'd better start penning down 

Small K's accolades:
  • He is able to coo and gah. Constantly "talking" to his soft toys n cries when there's no reply.
  • Giggles and smiles a whole lot when he sees familiar faces
  • Sleeps through the night 98% of the time.  The started when he was around 3months old.
  • Is able to grab objects but at 60% accuracy
  • Discovered his body parts. In particular his ears which he has been grabbing and *gasp* his penis!
  • And..... the biggest achievement thus far: *drum rolls please* ... THE boy can flip! Yay!
OPS! i don't think he's gonna be very happy if he ever sees this :P

Breastfeeding journey Part 2: Review of Spectra & Freemie

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's been 4 months. Say what? Yes, since the day I penned down the nonsense my CL gave me about not having enough milk for my baby, till today, I've sufficient, if not oversupply. So much so I've recently bought myself a 2nd hand chest freezer to further motivate me on this arduous but strangely fulfilling journey.

Initially, I was really struggling to store excess milk. Playing the catch up game rendered me breathless. A fart or a poop seems to use up heaps of his energy. We've progressed from every one, sometimes two hours to an average of three hours interval. Truth be told, I was really quite worried and kept questioning myself," what if I didn't have enough milk? What if I can't reach my target?" I nursed Big K till she was 15months old so anything less would be shortchanging my dear boy. 4months down the road, I'm glad I perserved and stood by my grounds that I wanted to be a cow! A good one no less! I still bitch about the nightly pumps though.

So how did I get all these milk? The quantity doesn't quite give me bragging rights. I've heard of some mummies being able ot express a whopping 500ml per session! I know right! ? I'm doing ok for now, averaging at 200 to 250ml per pump. That's pretty good considering that the boy now consumes approximately 140ml. I occasionally add this goodness to Big K's forumla as well.

So yes, as I was saying, how did i do it? Besides taking heaps of supplements as I've previously blogged about here, power pumping during the early days and pumping at 2 to 3hourly intervals, there's a big secret --- The turning point came when I decided to change my pump. Not that old trusty Medela Pump In Style Advance wasn't doing its job, but it had served at least 5 kids hence I was a tad skeptical of its lifespan. Coupled with that, there was great hype over the Korean brand SPECTRA and FREEMIE from the States. I decided to check them out. The reviews for Spectra was so good, I was instantly sold. Given that I had to pump on the go, and had to carry my SBO comprising of my big bag, another small bag for the pump, my books and two kids daily, and also, Big K's bags, I really needed something lightweight. So, here's the answer to my prayers.....

The cute and portable Spectra M1

It weights a mere 300g which made PISA (1.95kg) feel like an elephant. It wasn't moaning as loudly as the PISA which is great as I've to execute this ritual nightly in a room with a sleeping toddler and a snoring husband. Husband, I don't really care, but sleeping toddler --- There's no way I want her to wail her eyeballs out at 2am! The best thing is, its suction's great! In fact, I feel that it drains my cookies much better than PISA. It's gentler too. It is definitely more efficient as I'm able to express more milk at a fraction of the time. 10 minutes to be exact, versus 30minutes on the PISA. This translate to more SLEEP! Yes, you heard me, more SLEEP! In fact, these days I am so complacent that I'll snooze and wake up to rock hard boobies at dawn! Bad bad. But, I am confident that M1 can clear things fast. It has a vibration button which has joint suction duration control, where if you increase the suction power, the duration will also get longer. This helps to empty the breasts faster. It is a Close system and will auto shut off after 30minutes. That helps if you accidentally fall asleep whilst pumping! It also has a massage button that helps achieve a letdown faster. Its in-built rechargeable battery can last around 1.5hours of pumping. This little machine packs a big punch for people who are on the go or need to multi-task. Together with the Freemie collection cups, you can basically do it everywhere!! I've been doing it in the car whilst driving! I believe there's no law that restricts that :P. Spectra is also compatible with any wide neck bottles. Spectra bottles themselves aren't fabulous as they are too light for my liking. feels as if they were going to come off any minute. If they do, i'd really be crying over spilt milk! Also, if you'd like, you may attach it to the tubings of Medela. Versatile eh? This little machine came at a good price of $208 too!! Currently available at Korean Gmarket, Spectra website itself and various facebook groups. A friend of mine even got it from Taobao! It seems to be flying off the shelves!

 Here's how you can connect your Freemies collection cups with the Spectra M1. The collection cups are really an ingenious idea. All i had to do was to slot it into my bras and I was ready to go. It is essentially two hemispheres which you insert a tube in and cup it over your cookies and pump handsfree! Only problem: your boobs will look ginoramous! However, do note that you have to be wearing a tight bra for this purpose. I'm often using my front clip nursing bra. Seems like the cups only like those bras of mine. All other styles got rejected. There were a few occasions when I was happily grooving + pumping to the beat from point A to B only to be terribly disappointed by the yield upon arrival at my destination. I would then have to press the cups against my breasts and let things run for another 5minutes. Waste of time! Anyhoots, I've since gotten a few more front clip nursing bras! woohoo. but Boo coz that means I can't put on those pretty tube dresses :( But, really, this is such a wonderful invention. I'm able to pump as I drive and it takes multitasking to a whole new level! It saves me a whole lot of time. Used to be, during Big K's time, I had to spend 20minutes at least under a shady tree in the oven-baked car, risking any greenhouse effects. I'll be bashing those boobs up (under a nursing cover of course) and looking left and right to ensure that there were no suspicious foreign workers lurking around. There was once, where a bunch of them decided to start some road works right in front of where I was parked. I completely freaked out when one of them came forth and signaled me to shift my vehicle. Fortunately, I had one hand free and could steer nonchalantly. But for now, all I needed was to insert those two cups and away I drive, sans nursing cover at times! Set up time is only 5 minutes. Hurray to this time saver! Some of you may think that I must be mad to take things to this level, but trust me, 15minutes saved here and 10minutes there means a lot! At least I would be able to rush home in time to tuck the kids in on some days.

Using Medela tubings. It's possible to add on a backflow protector to prevent any backflow.

Spectra S1

Another model under Spectra is S1 which is of hospital grade. It weighs 1.12kg and looks pretty much like a cute rice cooker. S1 is a hospital grade pump. Hence comparable to the PISA. It has very unique suction where it vibrates your nipple during suction, triggering your letdown faster and helps to stimulate milk production. It has a Close System that has a timer and night light to make it easier to pump at night. There's also a massage button to help achieve a letdown faster. Its in-built rechargeable battery can last around 3hours of pumping. If you are into serious pumping and want to increase yield, S1 is probably more recommended especially if you are based at home or in an office.

Medela Pump in Style Advance
I used to lug this day in day out, together with my books, my bag and my brains with no. 1 back then. It was a torture really, but i guess the power of motherhood motivated me to do this for 15 months!
PISA is one of medela's best pumps with the strongest suction. It is an open system which starts off with 2 minutes of fast suction before it changes to slower longer suction automatically. It comes with a detachable battery pack which requires 8-10AA batteries. n boy was that battery pack Heavy! For a similar amount of time spent on both PISA and S1 and similar level of suction, the end result is that one may reap higher yield on the S1 compared to the PISA. This understanding is based on experiments done by various mommy friends. For myself, the M1 was good enough in terms of extracting more milk from my cookies. 

Well, with the right pump, i certainly hope that the journey as a cow can be prolonged. It's really tough as sometimes when the lil one is napping and it's time to pump, you really don't know whether to wait for him or to just go ahead and pump. Very often, when you decide to pump, he wakes up! Fortunately, with handsfree Freemie collection cups or my Simple Wishes handsfree bra, I'm able to walk around in the house and even entertain him while I pump. 

I am a happy cow. Are you? Moooooooo