Building my Milk Stash

I was on ML for 4 months, most of those 4 months, I didn’t have any yaya so it was just me and Ethan at home and we would always do direct latch. With all the time in the world, I was able to chat with my mommy friends and my sister to get tips.

TOP1: HAAKAA MANUAL SILICON PUMP

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Haakaa Manual Silicon Pump

One of the best tips I got was from Alvie, she recommended using of a Haakaa manual pump – she even told me that she doesn’t even need a motorized pump. I got interested and searched it. BabyMama sells original Haakaa for 950 Php for the 100 ML and 1250 Php for 150 Ml, separate price for the flower cover. For me it was still a bit expensive so I found a cheaper alternative –  shopee. I was able to buy one for only 270, I guess now it is cheaper. https://shopee.ph/product/37023331/558616180 Until now, I still use it, only downside is that the measurement is not that accurate so I just subtract 0.5 oz when I measure and write the actual volume. Also, it is quite tricky if you do not have a decent stopper because it can easily fall and all your liquid gold can spill out! Happened to me a few times!

It is very useful especially at night when I feed Ethan and don’t have enough energy to hold a pump, I just suction my other boob and voila! it does the job! and normally I can collect 3-4 oz in one breast at night! It’s very hard to use a motor pump especially if you have your baby at the other boob, so haakaa does the trick. I highly recommend it! Later on, I had one bought from the US, brand is Nature Bond, it’s a different brand but it comes with a pouch and a stopper and is still cheaper than the original Haakaa, this one has accurate measurement!

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NatureBond Haakaa with stopper

With the use of Haakaa, I was able to slowly build my stash, even if it’s sometimes just 1-2 ounces, I put it in a small container first and put it in the refrigerator, then once I have a total of 4oz, I then transfer it to the milk bag and put it in the freezer.

I also learned about power pumping, like you pump for 10 minutes rest for 5-10 mins then pump again for at least 30 mins – 1 hour. I didn’t feel a direct/immediate effect from this but it’s worth a try also.

From mommy forums/groups, I learned about drinking Milo and oats and I think after drinking Milo, I got a boost with my supply (together with still mega malunggay, milk every morning and caltrate plus). Since I wasn’t bottle feeding Ethan for 4 months, I was able to build my stash, I got to a point where I did not have space in my freezer anymore so I had to put some to my sister’s freezer. I think I was able to build around 160-180 oz in 2-3 months, I even donated around 30 bags of 4 oz before. I also tried the milk bombs being sold by baby mama, the M2 drink, and the mother nurture chocolate drink. Honestly, I am not sure which worked because when I got a bit desperate, I tried them all at once haha.

When I was to go back to work after 4 months of direct latch, I bought myself a new pump because I found the Medela pump in style advance too big and heavy and bulky for me. I bought Spectra 9s from Baby Mama, it’s small, battery operated, you can also use a power bank  and it also has it’s own adapter. Very easy to use and lightweight! Watch out for sales, I got mine a week before the sale so I was a bit sad because I bought it a bit early! But anyways, it’s way cheaper than Medela and very very worth it!

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It’s a bit hard to maintain my stash when I’m at work, sometimes, meetings can affect the pumping schedule, or sometimes, the pumping area is occupied by another mommy so I need to wait. At first I was able to pump twice a day, around 4 bags each with 4oz… but eventually, the volume decreases. Good thing my fellow mommy/officemate gifted me with a lactation cookie when I went back, after eating the cookies, my milk supply got better again and it tastes good. Here’s the page :  https://www.facebook.com/mommyslittlecupcakemanila/

I have tried the famous milking bombs but I did not have a letdown immediately as advertised but maybe it is just me or maybe because it was a freebie only ? 🙂

Now that my baby is 9 months old, I noticed an increase in his intake and with the volume I am getting whenever I am pumping at work, I think I will need to build my stash again. He’s consuming more than I am pumping now since he still doesn’t eat a lot of solid food, I have not been collecting milk at night anymore 😦 so I guess now I need to boost my supply again! Will post the results also.

 

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Japan Visa Processing : Multiple Entry

It’s my 2nd time to travel to Japan and first time for our baby. This time, we’re going to Tokyo! It’s actually for a business trip for me and baby and husband will be tagging along. So for this post, I will share with you the documents we prepared for my husband and my baby’s tourist visa – we also applied for multiple visa.

NOTE: this is also the 2nd time for my husband so the requirements are less. Below I listed the additional documents needed for 1st time applicants.

REQUIREMENTS for JAPAN VISA : 

01. Valid passport six (6) months from the date of travel including old passport/s (for the past 3-5 years) – should have at least two (2) available pages from both sides intended for visa stamping, no need to include very old passports. They are interested in valid visas for other countries (especially G7 countries:USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy & Canada), old visa for Japan.
02. Visa application form – printed in A4 size paper. Please don’t ask if they accept letter size or legal. A4!!!
03. One (1) recent colored 2 x 2 size photo (with white background, applicant should be in decent attire, colored top with collar and sleeves) that has not been previously submitted to the same embassy where you are currently applying. Put name and signature at the back. I had to check with our pedia first if it is okay for baby to have his picture taken with flash because we cannot seem to find a studio which takes ID pictures without flash. In the end he said it’s okay as long as it is not frequent.
04. Original bank certificate (Savings account is a preference of the Embassy of Japan)
05. Copy of latest Income Tax Return (ITR)
06. Daily schedule of activities in Japan, see sample below.

Day Area Time Activity
1
Nov 23
Roponggi 1:00 PM airport
3:00 PM Remm Hotel
5:00 PM Tokyo Midtown
7:00 PM Ichiran dinner
8:00 PM Tokyo midtown
10:00 PM Sleep

07. OPTIONAL* – certificate of employment stating position, tenure of service and with gross annual income (EMPLOYEE) / Copy of DTI Business Name Registration Certificate or copy of SEC Registration Certificate (For Business Owner/Self Employed)
08. If with guarantor, a letter of guarantee is needed (template to be provided by Rajah Travel) with:
o Proof of financial documents of the sponsor stated in items 4, 5 & 7
o Proof of relationship (i.e. PSA authenticated birth certificate/marriage contract issued within a year from the date of application and photos)

Additional requirements for First time applicants: (Yes, my baby fell under this category so I just requested for a birth certificate from NSO (remove all staplers, just the actual certificate is needed)

09. Original PSA authenticated birth certificate, issued within a year from the date of application
10. Original PSA authenticated marriage contract (for married), issued within a year from the date of application

For Multiple VISA request, you should meet any of the below conditions :

o Travelled to Japan as a temporary visitors for multiple journey within the last three (3) years
o Not violated any regulation nor had problems with the immigration during their stay in Japan
o Travelled to G7 countries such as USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy & Canada several times within the last three (3) years except for Japan
o With abundant financial capacity ( with at least 7 digits/figures on their savings account)

11. Fill out the Multiple Entry Visa Request form and include it in submission..

12. For Minors applying for VISA, you will need a guarantee letter from the guardian/sponsor, in this case, my husband.

Once I completed all the requirements for my husband and baby, we went to Dusit hotel to submit the requirements to Reli Tours. They are included in the accredited agencies for Japan Visa so I decided to submit there instead of the one in MOA. We also applied through them before so I am more complacent with them. Just a note, they have cut off for Saturday submission. You need to submit by morning of Saturday so that your application can be filed Monday. We arrived after lunch already so ours were submitted Tuesday already.  Submission was a breeze because I already completed the requirements and organized them. By Friday, we already got a text message that the passports are back, unfortunately, they have a strict rule of not sharing the results until you are there in their office. You also need an original authorization letter with the receipt if someone else will be picking it up.

My husband and my baby both got multiple visa for 5 years with 30 days stay! Yey! I got 10 years visa with 90 days stay! Can’t wait for our travel!