Tag Archives: Breastfeeding

Please, God, Not Again…

Despite my efforts to pump after nursing, I woke up at 2am with the distinctive pain and dull ache in my left boob again. I nursed Noah, changed his diaper, nursed him on the same side again, pumped for ten minutes, but the ache defiantly throbbed on. I contacted the massage lady and thank God that she responded this morning to say that she had one last slot available for today.

This time round, I can’t seem to feel the lump but the area is warm to the touch, which is a telltale sign that something is wrong. I hate that this happens on a monthly basis to me, and it makes my breastfeeding journey a tough one. I know I should pump after every feed, but it’s tough to even find time to go to the loo, much less do the entire wash-sterilize-pump-wash routine frequently. It also doesn’t help that the baby is a real whine-pot, whining the second I step out of his sight, and is a poor napper to boot.

I love the little boy to bits and I love being able to breastfeed him, but it really bothers me that I keep getting these blocked ducts. I hope to be able to keep breastfeeding him for as long as possible, so I pray that this will really be the last time that I suffer from blocked ducts. I am reluctant to start him on solids before he turns six months old, mainly because I have this irrational feeling that he will seem less like my baby… Yes I am fully aware that it makes me sound crazy, but I can’t help it! One more month to go before he gets his first taste of cereal… *sob*

On a separate note, this is the happy face that greets me every morning! I thank God that Noah wakes up with a smile all the time and waits patiently in his cot for us to wake up. He coos and babbles to himself, sucks on his mittens, and is quite content to just lie there. When he spots me peering into his cot, he beams and squirms happily. Have I mentioned how much I love him? 🙂

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Product Review – Maternalove

Maternalove Logo

As a nursing mother, I’ve realized that my entire pre-pregnancy wardrobe has been rendered redundant, at least until I stop breastfeeding. I’ve been on the lookout for pretty nursing tops and dresses, and was thrilled to discover Maternalove!

To be honest, the nursing wear I’ve seen in the malls can be a tad ugly boring unimaginative and some are downright ‘auntie’ looking. I’m fully aware that I’m not one of those yummy mummies who look as though they just stepped out of a fashion magazine. The only kind of modeling I’d probably be allowed to do will most likely be for buffet advertisements. It can be rather demoralizing, trying to squeeze into a top or dress that doesn’t seem made for women who have just given birth. All I want is a top or dress that doesn’t accentuate my post-pregnancy flabby belly, allows me to breastfeed easily and discreetly, and doesn’t look like it came from the local wet market or the fifties. Is that really too much to ask for?

I admit that I had my doubts about purchasing clothes for myself online. It’s tough enough to find clothes that fit me well when I try them on in the shops, let alone without being able to try them on or even touch them to feel the material. Thus, it was with much skepticism that I placed my first order with Maternalove. I dutifully took my measurements, compared them to their size chart, ordered two tops and a dress, then crossed my fingers and waited for my purchase to arrive. There were so many interesting designs that I had a hard time deciding what to get!

When the items arrived, I followed the washing instructions closely, as I’ve had bad experiences when I washed other pieces of clothing that I purchased elsewhere. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the colours didn’t run or fade, neither did the items shrink or expand in size after a wash. I must confess that I have since worn these items numerous times and they have been through the washer and even the dryer on multiple occasions, and have come out looking exactly the same. They are even as soft as the day they arrived after so many washes!

This time round, I got the Ariel Nursing Top in Cobalt Blue as well as the Goddess Convertible Dress in Black.

Ariel Nursing Top in Cobalt Blue 

Maternalove Top 1

Ratings Guide
♥ Hmmm…     ♥♥ So-so     ♥♥♥  Not bad     ♥♥♥♥ Like it     ♥♥♥♥♥ Love it!

1. Comfort and Fit: ♥♥♥♥♥

The soft material is a definite plus and I love how comfortable the top is, even on really warm days. When I head out with my baby, he’s usually seated snuggly in his baby carrier, which I wear in front. This means that it can potentially get really warm for both of us, but the top is made of such good material that I am perfectly comfortable in it, even for long hours with the baby strapped to my chest.

Sizing was easy to figure out, as the size chart provided on the website is very accurate. This is a definite plus point as it makes shopping online much easier and I can rest assured that my items will fit me well.

2. Nursing Access: ♥♥♥♥♥

The nursing openings are very discreet and can be accessed simply by pulling aside the drape overlayer. I thought it was a very good idea to have those three buttons running vertically down the middle opening, as they prevent any accidental slips or ‘wardrobe malfunctions’. These buttons were easily opened and closed with one hand, which is important when you are holding a squirming baby with your other hand.

Close-up of nursing access 

Maternalove Top Close-up

3. Quality: ♥♥♥♥♥

The stitching and workmanship are impeccable. There are gathers that fall prettily in front, making up the stylish and elegant overlayer.

Close-up of top

Maternalove Top 2

I was surprised to find that it is made from 95% rayon and 5% spandex as it felt similar to one of my bamboo cotton tops. I also love the top’s bright cheerful shade of cobalt blue, and it adds a lovely splash of colour to my wardrobe. This top is also available in Rose, and I’m extremely tempted to get it too, as good nursing wear isn’t easy to come by.

I had no problems with washing and drying the top at all. Although the washing instructions state that it should be dried flat, I threw caution to the wind after the first wash and popped it into my dryer, without any adverse effects. I do recommend following the washing instructions, since they come from the manufacturer direct, but as we don’t have a drying area in our flat, most of our clothes go into our dryer to save time and space.

Goddess Convertible Dress in Black  

Maternalove Dress

1. Comfort and Fit: ♥♥♥♥♥

The material of this dress is nice and soft, just like the top, and I was perfectly comfortable in it.

This is a convertible dress that can be worn in TEN different ways! I really wish I had this dress when I was pregnant, as it doubles up as a maternity dress too. This is definitely worth the investment, as it can be tied up differently to create a variety of looks, and no one will even know that it’s the same dress.

I tried the Butterfly Sleeve method for the wedding dinner I attended last week, and loved that it covered my shoulders well and kept me warm in the air-conditioned ballroom. The dress was also loose enough to allow me to pig out, even though my post-pregnancy belly still makes me look as though I’m in my second trimester.

The dress is basically a tube dress, with two extremely long pieces of fabric which serve to form the sleeves, although they can be neatly tucked away if you wish to wear it as a strapless dress. Just follow the wearing instructions on the website, which can be downloaded as a PDF file for your convenience.

2. Nursing Access: ♥♥♥

I found the nursing access on the tube underlayer to be a little small, and preferred to pull down the tube on the side from which I wanted to breastfeed. This may just be the way I prefer to nurse my baby, as he is in the stage where he struggles a lot under the nursing cover, and I found it faster to pull the tube down, rather than try to position him properly at the nursing access area.

3. Quality: ♥♥♥♥♥

The material used for the dress is the same soft one as the Ariel nursing top, and the workmanship is also flawless. I really love how cleverly simple and versatile the dress is. Personally, I think that this dress is the ideal Little Black Dress for both the pregnant and nursing mother, perfect for all occasions. If you prefer something bright, the dress also comes in Fuchsia.

As with the Ariel nursing top, I popped this dress into the washing machine, with no adverse effects. However, I chose to line dry it on our tiny drying rack, as the rack happened to have some extra space on it that day. It dried quickly despite the lack of sunlight in my kitchen.

Overall Conclusion 

I love both the Ariel nursing top and the Goddess convertible dress, mainly because of how comfortable they are. Discovering the Maternalove range of nursing wear has really been a godsend as good, affordable nursing wear is hard to come by, in my opinion. My current wardrobe is less than one-tenth of what I used to have, as I am limited to nursing wear, so it makes me very happy to be able to shop online for more clothes now. My friends who have seen me in these outfits actually commented that they didn’t know they were nursing wear, which makes me confident that I can still wear them after I stop nursing.

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Maternalove Year-end Sale Image

Maternalove is currently having its year-end sale, with up to 50% off storewide. For purchases above $300, you can enjoy an additional 10% off by keying in the code LESS10 during checkout. Both promotions are valid till 27 December 2012.

Do take a look at their wide selection and get yourself an item or two (or more). If you need an excuse to shop, you can always think of it as a Christmas gift for yourself! Nursing, be it in public or in the privacy of a nursing room, is difficult enough without having to struggle with poorly made nursing wear, so I don’t believe in settling for ill-fitting ones. In addition, the Maternalove range is pretty enough to be worn even after you stop nursing, so you don’t have to feel guilty about expanding your wardrobe to fit your current needs.

PS. To my male readers: If your wife is currently pregnant or breastfeeding, a nursing top or dress (or both) will be a practical and thoughtful Christmas gift!

PPS. Do ‘like’ the Maternalove Facebook page for updates on new arrivals and sales.

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Disclosure: I received the Ariel nursing top and Goddess convertible dress for review. All opinions are my own.

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Blocked Ducts

The massage lady came again on Sunday but she wasn’t able to clear the blocked ducts. My lump remained massive and the fever persisted. She used a really hot stone to try to soften the lump but all it did was cause me to be mildly scalded and even more pain. She also used plenty of force to massage the area so you can imagine the amount of pain I was in. Finally, she told me that I had to see a doctor as she had never experienced such a stubborn and huge lump before.

On Monday morning, I popped two Panadols before heading to TMC to see the lactation consultants. Thank God that I didn’t wait too long before deciding to see them as my boob is apparently quite badly infected. The nurse told me that if it had developed pus, I would require a breast surgeon to drain it for me. She checked the colour of my milk and said it looked okay, so they could proceed with plenty of massaging to soften the lump a little. However, I had to see a doctor to get antibiotics for the infection as my ducts can’t be cleared simply by massaging.

Right now, the lump is still there and my milk flow is definitely affected. I also have blisters on my nipple, courtesy of Noah’s poor latch. The fever is gone though, so I’m really praying that the blockage will clear up soon. I have to keep massaging the area and pump after each feed, which is really exhausting. Noah has also been cranky after his jab and only slept at midnight last night after plenty of crying. He cried, not me, though I really felt like crying too! Sigh. The woes of a breastfeeding mum…

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Blocked for the Third Time

I don’t know why it keeps happening to me but my left boob is blocked again. It seems as though it happens every month and it’s really annoying. The lady I used previously seems to be overseas and so, I had to get the massage lady from my confinement period to come and help me.

Unfortunately, the blockage this time seems to be quite severe and even after her session with me yesterday, I can still feel the lump there. I’ve used a heat pack on it, massaged it and pumped numerous times but they only provide short-term relief. To make matters worse, the blockage caused me to develop a fever and body aches. Thank God that C is back from his business trip and he could help out more with Noah, bathing him and keeping him entertained.

Noah’s appetite seems to be getting smaller and I think that might be why my boob got blocked. He also seems to spit up in his sleep, causing the neckline of his rompers to turn a crusty yellow and his neck to trap moisture and become very red.

I pray that the blockage will clear as soon as possible as Noah is due for his vaccination tomorrow and I need to be well enough to monitor him. I also pray that he won’t develop a fever this time, so that he will be able to nurse more regularly.

Sigh. I don’t know how I’ll be able to stop breastfeeding in the future if my boobs get blocked so easily.

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Blocked (again)

Warning: Not for male readers (if you even exist) unless you want to know how much women suffer when we breastfeed. 

I woke up one night last week with that all too familiar soreness and ache in my left boob and knew immediately that my ducts were somehow blocked again. I quickly tried to massage the area and kept getting Noah to nurse from the same boob, but things didn’t improve. It was weird because it was the lower part of my boob that was causing pain, and usually, that’s the part that gets emptied the fastest. I suspect it was caused by the bra I was wearing some time before the blockage occurred, as it wasn’t one of my usual ones and was probably a tad too tight. I really regret buying so many nursing bras beforehand because all but two of them can’t be worn now, and I’ve had to buy new ones after I gave birth. I thought I was being well-prepared but I guess not!

Anyway, the blockage couldn’t have come at a worse time (yes, I am fully aware that there’s no good time at all for these things to happen) as I was already down with a bad sore throat and cough. I had lost my voice and my cough was so bad that poor Noah kept getting badly jolted during his feeds. And when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, both my nipples started getting really sore and I dreaded having to nurse my baby boy. It’s during moments like these that I always wonder if I can bring myself to continue breastfeeding, and I get hit by huge waves of guilt for even thinking about stopping because I’m too weak to take the pain. Things got so bad that I started taking Panadol before I had to nurse him, just so that it wouldn’t hurt as much. 😦

When Noah spat up pink milk during one of the 4am diaper changes after his feed, I freaked out and woke C up. We didn’t know what to do, but because Noah was smiling happily at us, we figured that he should be fine and went back to sleep. I nursed him from the same boob for the next feed too, just to see if the blood was coming from me instead, and true enough, when he spat up after that feed, the milk was tinged with a few patches of blood. I called the PD’s clinic just to be safe and C decided to work from home too, just in case he had to drive us to the clinic. I must say that I really like our PD quite a bit, because she called me back after a while to find out what exactly happened, and told me that the blood was probably from my nipple rather than from Noah. She also told me what to look out for, in the unlikely event that Noah was the one bleeding, and was generally very reassuring. At least she didn’t ask us to bring him down and charge us for a physical consult! A few hours later, I noticed blood stains on my breast pads and after another painful feed, I saw blood coming out from my right nipple. So yes, I had blocked ducts on my left boob, and a bleeding nipple on my right. Woohoo.

On Friday, when the blockage didn’t seem to be clearing despite the many painful massages that C had given me, I decided to seek help from a massage therapist whom my friend, Motherkao, had recommended. Thank God she was working that day, even though it was a public holiday! She managed to clear the blocked ducts for me and things are now back to normal again. Breastfeeding really isn’t as easy as some people have made it out to be. I really pray that I won’t have any more problems breastfeeding…

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Blocked

WARNING: For female audiences only, because, to borrow the UOB Ladies’ card tagline, the men don’t get it. 

During one of the wee morning feeds on Friday, I noticed that my right boob was hurting very badly, as though I had been punched and had a really bad bruise on it. Thinking, rather foolishly, that I had slept on my side for too long and somehow squished my boob, I didn’t do anything about the pain, apart from whining to C about it and popping two Panadols. By evening, I had developed a fever and was feeling really lousy. I didn’t think I had blocked ducts initially, as my breast didn’t feel rock hard. Some parts were slightly hard, but I thought it was the norm. I started to panic and tried calling the TMC breastfeeding hotline, but they had closed for the day. A quick chat with the 24-hour clinic nurse wasn’t much help and I was at a loss as Noah was also crying nonstop and refusing to sleep. Thank God that my parents happened to come over for dinner that night and my mum helped to pacify Noah. My mum even stayed the night just in case I needed help! Anyway, I remembered that my second godsis’ MIL is a lactation consultant and in my desperation, I asked my godsis to contact her for advice.

I thank God that her MIL is such a nice lady, who spoke to me for a very long time over the phone. She asked me various questions to identify my problem and once she deduced that I had blocked ducts, she taught me how to massage my boob to try and clear them, and also told me to pump out whatever excess milk I had after nursing. I haven’t pumped my milk out in quite some time as I prefer latching him on directly and I’m also way too lazy to go through the whole process of washing and sterilising everything. It’s very time-consuming and I would much rather be sleeping, thank you very much. Auntie told me that I had to try my best to clear my ducts by myself as the fever was an indicator that I had an infection. She also said to take Panadol for the fever and pain, and that, together with the massaging and pumping, should help.

My fever broke quite quickly, to my relief, and the swelling subsided as well, although not completely. However, more complications arose. I developed a huge blister on my nipple and a white bleb had also formed. Auntie was extremely kind and actually came to my house on Saturday evening to help me out, after numerous phone calls on Friday night and Saturday morning. She massaged most of the lumps away, used a sterile needle to burst the blister, and helped me to manually express some milk out to clear my ducts. She also noticed that there was quite a bit of bruising at the bottom of my nipple and told me that I had to use the football hold to nurse Noah, as my skin looked like it was going to split open. So many issues! Sigh.

I’ve been pumping after most of the feeds since then and boy, is it a hassle. I’m also puzzled because auntie says I have too much milk, to the extent that it sprayed out when she was massaging my boob, yet when I pump, I produce less than what I used to during my first month. Noah usually is content with just one boob per feed, so I have to clear the unused boob now as well. I’m a little concerned about the lower quantity and now, I’m wondering if that’s the reason why Noah wants milk so frequently. He seems to be gaining weight quite steadily but we will only know for sure if all is well when we visit his PD for his shots.

As for the football hold, I’m still trying to get it right. I’m using the My Brest Friend pillow to help me, instead of the two pillows that auntie suggested, as it provides better support for Noah. Our pillows are way too soft! The problem now is that the bottom of my nipple still hurts, the same way it does when I nurse him using the cradle hold, so I’m not sure if I’m doing the football hold correctly. My left nipple has also begun to hurt, which is strange because I don’t usually have problems with the left boob. Sigh. I also can’t manage to clear all the lumps still and they just keep forming! 😦

I pray that my blocked ducts will be unclogged and that I won’t have to keep pumping all the way till I wean Noah off breastmilk. I also pray that my nipples will heal and that I will not be in any more pain or discomfort. Please, God, hear my prayers and don’t let there be any more complications!

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First Month Check-up + New Paediatrician

We brought Noah to see a new paediatrician today after getting tired of the horrible parking and long waiting time at TMC. It was the first time we actually spent a longer time seeing the doctor than waiting to see her! We saw Dr Ellen Tay at Novena Medical Centre, who was extremely patient and thorough. She took time to go through some details in Noah’s health booklet with us, before highlighting his height/weight/head circumference percentiles, discussing his immunisation shots and answering all sorts of questions that we had for her. I think it was a really good decision to change paediatricians since she probably spent more time with us in one session than our previous doc did in all her sessions combined.

Noah has gained quite a bit of weight since our last check-up and is now 3.67kg. That’s a growth rate of 40g a day, according to Dr Tay, who told us that the normal range of weight gain should be between 20g to 30g. Such a relief to know that he is taking in enough of my breastmilk and growing well! I haven’t been pumping my milk anymore as it’s really quite tiring to do so, as I latch him on whenever he wants to suckle, usually at 3 hour intervals. This made it difficult for us to monitor how much he is actually drinking but since he’s growing so well, I guess he has been getting enough! 🙂

Our main concern now is his dry skin and cradle cap. I’m quite horrified that he actually has cradle cap and we now have to use the cradle cap shampoo on him. That’s going to be a real challenge since he struggles and cries so much during bath times! It’s at moments like these when I really miss my confinement lady, as she does a much better job of bathing him and he seems a tad bit less distressed with her. We also need to apply some moisturiser on all the parts with dry skin, which is basically his whole head and face. Sigh.

I’m still getting used to handling Noah without my confinement lady’s help and I think changing his diaper is the worst part of it. I’ve already gotten peed and pooped on, but I guess you aren’t really a parent until that happens. C also got peed and pooped on just now and I was too busy laughing at him to help. I’m very thankful that C is quite hands-on with Noah, offering to burp him in between and after his feeds, as well as changing his diapers now and then. It gives him time to bond with his son and more importantly, gives me a break! The nights are the most challenging so far, especially if Noah decides not to sleep well or to wake up every two hours for a feed. He also makes lots of weird noises in his sleep and it’s so tiring to have to get up and take a look at him to make sure he’s fine. I try to nap during the day when he naps too, but I’m really looking forward to getting a full night’s sleep again. One day…

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Got Milk?

It’s been a couple of days since my milk has ‘properly’ come in, and by ‘properly’, I mean enough for me to be woken up in the middle of the night by the heaviness, feed Noah and still be able to pump. The little boy’s feeding habits change daily and right now, he’s on a ‘one boob, one feed’ pattern. Which means that I feel extremely lopsided after each feed and will have to spend another 20 to 30 minutes pumping. Thank God for the Olympics going on right now, keeping me company through these mind numbing pumps! I know that many people will say that I’m supposed to ‘bond’ with my baby during feeds but he’s busy drinking and it’s rude to talk when you’re eating, right? His eyes are closed during most feeds anyway and although I sing to him on occasion, he seems pretty happy the way things are. I’ve tried to focus only on him but it’s impossible for me to stay awake, so this is what I’m comfortable with. Please don’t judge me. I love my son, I really do.

At the moment, Noah is on total breast milk, something that I’m quite pleased about. I get the confinement lady to bottle feed him my expressed breast milk about twice a day, just so that we can figure out how much he’s drinking. That’s the main issue with breastfeeding, I guess. You never know how much the baby is drinking! Everyone tells me that if the baby doesn’t get enough, he will cry for more, but because Noah is still underweight for his age, the paediatrician told us to monitor his intake closely.

Over the past two days, however, we noticed that Noah doesn’t seem to be able to fall asleep after his bottle feeds. He is the king of stoning and can lie in his cot for two hours, just staring into space with those huge eyes of his. When that happens, he tends to be really tired at night and becomes very difficult to wake for his night feeds. Previously, he used to be able to entertain himself for a little while, then fall asleep on his own, which made us really really happy, but now, no way Jose! The only way to get him to sleep is to latch him on for a while now, and these comfort feeds last between five to fifteen minutes. I feel like I’m encouraging a bad habit but desperate times call for desperate measures. (Yes, I’m full of cliches today.)

The baby also seems to have quite a character of his own. If he’s sleepy, nothing we do will get him to wake up and suckle! We’ve tried undoing his swaddle, touching his face/arms/legs, calling his name repeatedly and burping him, but if he’s determined to sleep or fall asleep during a feed, that’s it. Sigh. I tell myself during these moments that he’s smart enough to wake up when he’s hungry later but again, I don’t know if letting him sleep during/through feeds now is the beginning of a bad habit.

These days, when I hold him, I think he’s a lot bigger but when I look at him in the arms of C or the confinement lady, I realise that he’s still so tiny! He has a long way to go before he gets to the pudgy arms and legs phase… Looking forward to the day that he becomes the Michelin Man! 🙂

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Moo…

Noah was born six days ago and I’m still trying to figure out the whole breastfeeding gig. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to produce some colostrum in the initial few days, and after a couple of very uncomfortable feeds, things have improved somewhat. The Urut massages have been really painful but they’ve definitely helped to ease my discomfort. My milk supply has more or less come in, although I’m not sure what is considered ‘enough’. Baby doesn’t manage to drain both sides though, so I still have to pump after each feed. Whatever little excess milk I have is stored in the fridge to supplement his feeds, as he tends to get hungry rather quickly sometimes.

I’m glad that I have many friends who breastfeed because I’ve received a lot of support and advice from them. I think the best piece of advice was to relax and supplement his feeds with formula milk in the initial few days, as that took a lot of pressure off of me. I would still continue trying to pump while he had his formula milk, although I must confess that I took a night off on my second day home because I was simply exhausted. C encouraged me to sleep through the night, as milk production is also affected when the cow is tired, and those six hours of sleep really made a difference!

Noah and I are still trying to get used to each other and latching on has been a bit of a challenge at times, especially when he’s sleepy and I’m trying to wake him up for his feeds. You can’t imagine the joy and relief I feel each time he successfully suckles for extended periods! I love watching him suckle, with his little arms sometimes breaking out of his swaddle and waving around, and his little legs kicking or twitching at times. I know I’m extremely biased, but that little face of his is so sweet and peaceful during these moments that I can’t help but beam at him. He tends to fall asleep during these feeds though, so I still have to learn how to wake him up and get him to feed more efficiently. One step at a time! At least he’s more or less off formula milk now, because the little bits of excess milk I pump out after each feed can usually sustain him in between the ‘main’ feeds.

For now, I pray that these feeds will help get rid of his jaundice and that Noah and I will be able to get used to each other quickly. I’m still dreaming of the day that I will be able to satisfy his needs completely, as well as the day that I’ll be confident enough to breastfeed him when we go out!

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