Money talk

Dec 31, 2010

The challenge has come

When I picked up my baby from the nursery yesterday, the babysitter told me to increase the amount of milk in each container to 4 oz.  My baby is no longer content with the 3 oz that she gets at each serving.  Gulp.  That would mean a total of 20 oz per day since I prepare 5 containers/bottles for her daily.  You can read about the preparation here.

Despite having around 30 bottles of 4 oz to 5 oz each plus 10 MLO bottles of 2 oz each of EBM stock in the freezer, I still don't feel safe.  My daily production at the moment is between 12 oz to 15 oz, including the 3 oz expressed early morning at home.  So, 15 oz is the maximum amount that I can get, 5 oz shy of 20 oz, which is her new daily demand.  If I consistently use the additional 5 oz from the EBM stock everyday, it is going to go to zero state in about one and a half months time.  Although the babysitter plans to introduce solid to her at the age of 5 months (of which, I don't have any objection so far), that is not a guarantee that her daily intake will reduce.  It may remain the same, or worse, it may increase.  Help!

Hmm ...  How should I go about it?  I have a number items in my to-do list at the moment.

First, to have a (very) positive mindset that I can overcome the challenge and produce more milk.  For this, I read a lot about other breastfeeding mamas' experience.  Some of them have faced even worse situations than I am, and they succeeded.  Insya-Allah, I can do it too.

Second, to eat (more) properly.  I admit that I have begun to take my diet lightly.  I skipped the daily fresh milk intake that I used to have at least twice a day, the plain water before and after each pumping session and a few others.  I should return to those routines.

Third, to double pump.  Although I am a proud owner of a Medela FS, I hardly make use of its double pumping feature.  I only use its hands free feature and even pumped once while driving home :)  I am not comfortable with double pumping.  But I have to give it a try this time, hoping that it can help to increase the milk supply.

Fourth, to pump 2 times instead of once at home.  So, I have to have another pumping session in the middle of the night, which means lesser sleep.  Never mind, I will do anything for you, my dear little one :*

Fifth, to pray to Allah that He will grant me strength, patience and perseverance in undertaking all of the above.  As a muslim, we rely on Allah after all the efforts are done, right?  Insya-Allah, He will always listen to His servants.

If I have the time, I will also try out the dried longan 'juice' recipe that I read from here and the fruits that are high in Vitamin C, which I read from here.

To collect 20 oz a day maybe too much a target.  A target has to be realistic, right?  So, mine is to get around 17 oz to 18 oz a day, so as to slow down the outflow of the frozen EBM stock.  Hope it works.  Thanks for reading :)

Dec 27, 2010

Preparing breast milk for the nursery

There is nothing special or extraordinary about the way I prepare breast milk for my baby consumption at the nursery.  Most breastfeeding mamas are already doing something similar, if not the same.  Afterall, I learned about it from their blogs.  Nevertheless, I share my way of doing it here, in case you can find something useful in it ;)

I prepare a total of 15oz per day for my baby.  The 15oz is equally divided into 5 containers of 3oz each, which is the amount she takes per serving.  The 5 containers are a mixture of fresh and previously frozen EBM, which are numbered from 1 to 5, with 1 being the first to be used.

My baby drinks on average of 12oz per day.  Only occasionally she takes all the 15oz.  So, here is what I do.
  1. Upon returning home from work every evening, I will check for any unconsumed milk.  Usually there is one, the container bearing lid number 5.  I exchange the lid with lid number 1 and put in the fridge for tomorrow use.  So, I need another 12oz for tomorrow.  If there is no balance, then I will have to prepare 15oz for tomorrow.
  2. From the 12oz (or 15oz), 9oz (or 12oz) is taken from:  
    • the milk expressed at the office for the morning and afternoon sessions and
    • the frozen stock.  Amount of frozen EBM that needs to be thawed = 9oz - (amount of EBM from the morning session + afternoon session).  If there is no balance from the day, then the amount of frozen EBM needed = 12oz - (amount of EBM from the morning session + afternoon session).
  3. First thing tomorrow morning, usually before Subuh prayer, I will express another 3oz of milk.  This fresh EBM will be put into a container bearing lid number 5, meaning the last one to be used for the day.
  4. Then I transfer the thawed EBM into another container with lid number 2.  If there is no balance from yesterday, then it will start with lid number 1.  The rest of the EBM will follow consecutively, beginning with a mixture of thawed EBM & fresh EBM from yesterday sessions that gets the next number, up until number 4 of course.
  5. When it's time to go to work, I will grab all the five containers, place them into a cooler box with frozen ice brite in it and off to the nursery ;) 
There are times when I do not manage to express the early morning session (for whatever reason).  If that happens, I will just grab a 3oz frozen EBM, put number 5 on the lid, placed it in the cooler box and let it thawed in the box.

It may seem a bit tedious, but once you get the hang of it, you can do it in a breeze.  This is the best way I find so far where I am able to give my baby the best of fresh EBMs while ensuring that the frozen EBM stock is also used (first-in-first-out of course) and get replaced, hence, avoiding expired EBMs.

Fruitful EBM management.  I still have this much of stock available and my baby is 4 months old now.  In the yellow ice cream container are some 10 packs of EBM in breastmilk storage bags.

Some 8 x 2oz more at the freezer door.  Not the best place for EBM but these are meant to be frequently used & restocked, so, to me, it's okay for them to be there.

A lesson learned here: Don't be so particular about wanting to have equal amount of EBM in each container when you want to freeze them as EBM stock.  As you can see, the amount that you need varies depending on the baby consumption and mama production of the day.  Thanks for reading :)

Dec 24, 2010

My journey into breastfeeding ...

I've been a silent reader to many blogs before, and only recently decided to have one of my own. From my readings, I can see that the trend amongst many mamas (and papas too?  Not sure) now is towards natural parenting, where exclusive breastfeeding and cloth diapering (is there such word?) are included in the agenda.

Giving the best to my children is always my utmost concern (the well being of my children is my primary agenda, remember?).  My journey into breastfeeding started in 2002 when I had my first child.  That was the time when expressing milk at work after your confinement period ends was rarely a practice and online and open discussions on how to handle expressed breast milk (EBM) were hardly seen. was also unheard of at that time (wasn't it?  Or was it me who was an ignorant?).  With little information, lack of knowledge and experience (zero experience of course!), I managed to exclusively breastfeed my first child for about 3 and a half months and continue breastfeeding him until he was about 2 and a half years old.

With previous experience and increased knowledge, my second child was exclusively breastfed for 4 months and continue breastfeeding until he was about one year old.  During that time, babies were introduced to solid food at 4 months old, but now I notice that the introduction is delayed to 6 months old.  New medical findings perhaps?  I am not sure  (ignorant, again!).  I discontinued breastfeeding him when I discovered that I was pregnant, only to realise later that it was actually a miscarriage.

With my third one (last one?  Not yet?), I am determined to exclusively breastfeed her (yeah, it's a her finally) for six months and to fully breastfeed her until she is 2 years old, at least.  Insya-Allah with all the information and best practices that I can find in many blogs nowadays, the target is achievable.

With the arrival of our third child, I also begin another journey ... into cloth diapering (to save RM *maa* ...). Will share with you about it later.  Too much for the first day or the first blog *huh*?  Thanks for reading ;)

One Stop Resource for Cloth Diapers in Malaysia
My latest journey ;)

There is always the first ...

Finally ...  A blog that I can call my own :)  Hoping that this blog can become a medium where I can share and exchange useful information on anything about life, especially with other mamas out there who are in the same shoe as I am, that is:

  • Working full time,
  • No helper/maid (whatever you call her) and have no intention of having one,
  • Blessed with a responsible, but super duper busy other half who is not at home most of the time,
  • Children well being is always the primary agenda.
My warmest welcome to you.  Hopefully we can share tips (and tricks?), experience, best practices and et cetera that make life easier, more manageable and less stressful to lead because Life is ... short :)
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