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.

 

Start of My Breastfeeding Journey

So, before I gave birth, I did read out several sites on what to expect and what to do for myself, for the baby, etc. But one thing I swore by is to make sure  I breastfeed my baby until the time he weans by himself.

I’ve read that even before you give birth, it’s helpful to already take in supplements like malunggay to boost your supply. Some gifted moms even get milk even before they give birth. For me, my body was still the usual. I took mega malunggay 2-3 times a day to prepare my body to give enough for my baby. I was hoping for a normal delivery but unfortunately it didn’t work out as planned so I had a CS. I heard/read that somehow, having normal delivery would signal your body to produce milk immediately after giving birth. So it might have some delays for CS moms like me.

When they took Ethan out from me, they cleaned him , put him on a blanket/cloth before they gave him to me for the “unang yakap”, I didn’t realize it until late that it wasn’t Skin to Skin anymore and I specified that in my birth plan! I will definitely remember next time. Anyways, they let Ethan suck for a couple of seconds before they took him out and cleaned me up.

While in the recovery room, Ethan cried while I was shivering so they put him towards me to try feeding for a short while.  I wasn’t really in control of my body yet at that time. So I think my actual breastfeeding journal only started inside the room when I was more in control, I cuddled Ethan and let him feed. I was in the hospital for 4 days and Ethan seemed to not stop sucking until he falls asleep, there was even a time when he stopped sucking already and when I removed my nipples, he started looking for it again. For those 4 days in the hospital, I didn’t feel any changes in my body specifically in my breasts, I had some nurses, doctors, lactation consultants coming in the room and I kept asking how should I breastfeed correctly. They were all saying that my Ethan sucks really well, but I really had doubts. It was getting very painful and I even had to purchase a nipple shield while still at the hospital but it made it even painful!

When we got home, it was still like that, Ethan keeps on sucking until he falls asleep. I didn’t know if I am making enough milk as he was directly breastfeeding. Although all of the seminars I’ve been to says our body makes milk enough for our babies, I still couldn’t help but doubt myself. So, even though they said that I shouldn’t pump, I tried to pump to see how much I was producing, and it did not even reach an ounce!  As per the guideline, at day 3 or more, the milk should now be around 0.8-1oz and mine was very very little as in it was like 0.1 oz! Now I know! After 2-3 days I felt engorged breasts, I was very happy to know that now, my body is producing more milk! It was heavy yes, and I did experience overflowing of milk while my baby was feeding. So yes, I think somehow, pumping helped stimulated my milk supply! Here I used my sister’s hand me down Medela Pump in Style Advance.

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first pump at day 4 after giving birth

Will write another article on how I was able to build my stash and what tools I use!

Malls with nice BF stations and Family Rooms

As a breastfeeding mom, I make sure to breastfeed my son directly during weekends and it is very important to me to have a nice environment where I can BF my baby when outside of our house – which is normally in malls. So for the past months, I’ve been in several malls and have tried their family room/BF stations.

Criteria : 1-5 5 being the highest

Cleanliness

Comfort (temperature, seats)

Privacy

SM AURA -we are normally here in this mall since it is near us but unfortunately, their family room is under construction since I gave birth – will update once it’s done, better be worth the wait! It is to be located at Level 4 same floor as food court beside Astroplus. They have a temporary station in their clinic at the back of Hypermarket. You have to go through the Japan Home part of Hypermart, then pass through their stockroom before reaching their clinic. Their clinic is so small, it has a bed and a desk with chair and cabinets with an old vintage smell. When we went there, there was someone else breastfeeding so I just sat on the chair and did our thing while the nurse on duty is there watching. If I had known this before, I should have just breastfed my son in public.

So for their temporary BF room

Cleanliness : 2 It feels old inside and a bit kulob.

Comfort : 2 since you have to go up the bed and if someone is using it, you just use a normal chair and not much space to move around.

Privacy : 3 – since there’s a curtain for the bed

Total Score : 2.33

*sorry no pics as I was shocked when they escorted me to the room

Glorietta 4 – this is the second mall we often go to and because it is an Ayala mall, I have high expectations, unfortunately, they don’t bother renovating it. There’s 2 separate cubicles for breastfeeding, each having it’s own sofa seat, stool, pillow and power socket. The breastfeeding station is in the 3rd floor near Rustan’s entrance – same floor as the food court. The changing station is inside the Ladies’ Room.

Cleanliness : 3 the area is clean but I am giving it just 2 because it is beside the CR.

Comfort : 3 the chair and stool is comfy with cushion pillow also. However, there’s no ventilation inside the room so it can be really hot and not comfy for the baby.

Privacy : 4 individual cubicles available with curtains. I am giving it 4 only because the curtains can’t be closed well so people moving in and out of the CR can peep inside, including guys sitting at the nearby bench.

Total Score : 3.33

Sorry I wasn’t able to take a picture too, but here’s a blogpost from a fellow mom, please note that now they changed the wallpaper and have ads as picture frame. http://gojackiego.com/family-lounge-in-glorietta/

Estancia Mall – located at the 2nd floor they have a family room. We were there for a very short time so I didn’t notice what was there :p

Shangri-la Mall – I went and used 2 stations, one from the new wing near the elevator (Children’s floor) and the other one in the old wing near Furniture Republic.

Cleanliness : 5 Area is pretty clean and well managed for both stations.

Comfort : 3 In the older wing, it was too cold for me while it was a bit hot for the new wing.

Privacy : 2 No privacy at all. In the older wing, you can easily be seen when you open the door. For the new wing, at least they have a concierge table first before going in.

Total Score : 3.3

These pics are from the old wing, the new wing’s station is darker, with spotlights, it also comes with a ref, microwave and water heater. Instead of individual chairs, it has a 3-4 seater sofa with a bigger center table. The changing stations are nearer to the entrance with dividers.

 

UPTOWN mall BGC – there’s a mom’s corner in the 2nd floor near the restrooms, it’s a room with chair and table for 1.  Then there’s the VIP lounge in the 3rd floor near the cinemas which also houses the breastfeeding area where there’s a diaper station as well.  I was only able to go to the lounge so that’s the only room I will review.

Cleanliness : 5 Area is pretty clean and well managed, or maybe because it is new ?

Comfort : 3 the VIP lounge is big, however, when you go inside the actual breastfeeding station, you’ll see there’s actually only 1 sofa for breastfeeding with curtains and the diaper changing table is beside that chair. It seems it wasn’t designed well because other moms who want to change diapers won’t be able to do so if there’s someone breastfeeding.  There’s some stools in the room near the sink which other moms can use also. One thing I noticed is that the ventilation is not okay, it was hot inside, colder in the lounge area. So I breastfed my baby in the open instead.

Privacy : 4 there’s a room inside the lounge for breastfeeding. Minus 1 point because there’s only 1 curtained area for breastfeeding.

Total Score : 4

 

BGC Central Square 2nd floor – to follow, I just took a peek but did not really use it.

BGC ampitheatre – By far the best I’ve been to! very spacious and private at the same time. Once you enter the Family lounge, you will see a receptionist and sofa with television. At the far end is a kiddie play area, further inside, there’s the rest rooms, then some steps ahead is the breastfeeding and diaper changing area. There are 3 diaper changing pads and a sink. For the breastfeeding cubicle, there are 3 also with curtains and big glass walls. There’s a big sofa, stools and even table lamp.

Cleanliness : 5 Area is pretty clean, with trash bins under the changing area with cabinets.

Comfort : 5 very spacious, aircon is just right, area is quiet just purely breastfeeding moms!

Privacy : 5 the breastfeeding cubicles are nicely separated by curtains, the area itself is the farthest from the lounge door, it’s sort of in an inner room as there’s a small hallway going to the breastfeeding area.

Total Score : 5

Mothercare BGC – this is my go to changing station when in High Street because most establishments do not have changing stations or breastfeeding stations.  The room is beside the CR and across the fitting room. They even have a sterilizer! They have a sink and 2 changing stations with Glass wall and a 2-3 seater sofa with pillows.

Cleanliness : 5 Area is pretty clean, with trash bins under the changing area with cabinets.

Comfort : 4 not sure if there’s a vent for the aircon but I couldn’t feel cold air in the room.

Privacy : 4 There’s no divider for breastfeeding, you will all have the couch to sit in. But the door of the whole room can be locked which will be a bit selfish if you do that!

Total Score : 4.33

SM Makati – at the ladies under garments section, they have a breastfeeding lounge and changing area. I think they were also creating one in the children’s section but when we went there it’s not yet available. The breastfeeding lounge had a sofa which I assume is for your companion while waiting. They have a sink beside the changing area and a very big mirror. The actual breastfeeding area is separated by curtains, if I am not mistaken there are 2 cubicles with big sofa and pillows. It is very spacious also. Aircon though is not controlled, sometimes it’s too hot, sometimes it’s too cold.

Cleanliness : 5 Area is pretty clean, with trash bins under the changing area with cabinets.

Comfort : 4.5 Big sofa and pillows are a plus! However it’s not perfect 5 because of the airconditioning issue.

Privacy : 4.5 The cubicle itself is ok however the breastfeeding station’s door is frosted glass so people going to the CR nearby can actually see a little bit of the inside, the janitors are also just outside so they can easily see people inside.

Total Score : 4.67

 

Philippine Passport for your baby in 1-2-3 without APPOINTMENT!

Yes, you read it right! WITHOUT APPOINTMENT! Getting a passport is not really hard like what you see in some rants online especially if you are with your baby! Babies get special treatment – and you can tag along! Even WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT!!! Lat June 2018, I was able to apply for my baby’s passport, he was around 3 months that time. We did not tag along since my husband just renewed his passport last year while I still have mine valid until 2020 but still, as long as you have a baby & years and below, you do not need an online appointment ! Here’s the DFA link for your reference as well.

So here’s the steps on how to get a passport for your baby.

1. NSO Birth Certificate – once you give birth, please make sure you submit your requirements to your hospital. 1-2 weeks after, the original copy will already be available in your hospital. Please note this is not the NSO copy. You have 2 options on how to get NSO copy.

a. Go to the City Health office to get the Certified True Copy, then go to PSA to have it stamped as PSA copy. – honestly, it was too cumbersome for me so I didn’t bother going. I did checked on the process but when I read that you need to go from one office to another, I backed out. Imagine still having my wound from CS, carrying my baby and having to breastfeed him every 2 hours does not seem worth it to me.

b. Go to NSO/PSA website and request for the NSO birth certificate online. This was the easiest option! Initially I read that it takes 3-6 months for PSA to have it but it does not seem like it now. I requested mine when he was 2 months plus I think, and I got notice from PSA that there will just be some delay, so instead of 1 week for it to be delivered, it took 2 weeks. I think they start to get the certificate from the Health Office the time I requested it hence, it took longer so I guess if I requested it earlier, it would still be available. You just need to pay 375 in total including delivery, hassle free!

2. Complete/Prepare Requirements. This should be easy-peasy to complete.

  1. Accomplished Application Form (click here for Blank Application Form)
  2. Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Birth Certificate
  3. Marriage Certificate is required if only one parent is accompanying the child
    • If parents are unmarried, an Affidavit of Support and/or Consent executed by the Mother will be required if she is not accompanying the child
    • If Affidavit of Support and/or Consent is executed abroad, it must be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate
  4. Passport or Valid Government issued ID of either parent (click here for the List of Acceptable IDs for Passport Application)
  5. School ID (if applicable)

3. Appearance! There are several satellite DFA offices satellite DFA offices already for your convenience. For us, we chose Megamall, actually, we really did not plan on getting baby’s passport that time, but since we planned to go to megamall, I just brought the requirements also. So when we got there, it was near the parking lot side of MegaMall, since we have stroller, we needed to carry it up the stairs as they did not have a ramp.

Once you get  there, get a number from the guard, he will also tell you what time you need to be back for your slot. Good thing we were able to secure a slot in the afternoon. Although you don’t need an appointment, there maybe a lot of walk in applicants also, so make sure you go there early as well to secure a slot. You can come back 30 mins prior to the time allotted as sometimes, they allow you to enter already.

First step was the checking of requirements before you can enter the actual office, it’s sort of a first layer filter. After that, your number will be called where you will submit actual requirements. Next window will be payment,for Saturdays, it is an automatic EXPRESS service so you need to pay more. Php 1200 for Expedite (7 days) and  Php 950 for regular (12 days). I think they’ve shortened it recently also.

After payment will be picture taking and verifying of details to be inputted in the passport. For babies, they actually have a mat where they lay your baby and someone takes the photo from there. The people there is already used to it so they give instructions to parents on what to do. After the picture, you just need to verify the details and sign for your baby and last step will already be delivery.

Just before exiting the premises, there’s a queue for LBC delivery. When you are with baby, you get express lane also so you get to skip the line. Voila you are done! you just need to wait for the delivery of the passport! It took us less than 1 hour for the whole processes, there’s some queue but since we’re with our baby, there’s a special line also for us. The one which got delayed was the delivery, it took around 2 weeks for the delivery when I paid for EXPRESS service. I did not bother to call anymore since I wasn’t in a rush anyway.

NOTE: validity of passport for babies is 5 years only and not the new 10 years validity since babies’ face change drastically so you need to get a new one. We might renew his passport earlier so we can tag along without the need for an appointment when we renew our passports!

Hope this helps!

Baby Photoshoot : Ethan @ 1 Weeks

Baby Photoshoots can be very costly. I remember trying to find a reasonably priced baby photographer but it costs too much for me! Prices range from 10k-20+K for 1-2 hours session and similar to the Maternity Shoot, you only get selected photos. Some have additional costs for styling and props.

So again, since I wanted to save some money, and at 1 week I still couldn’t move that much due to my CS stitches, we decided to have a DIY home photoshoot for our baby.

So again, here’s the top things I prepared:

  1. Pegs – Pinterest is key! I pinned all my pegs and showed it to my husband.
  2. Backdrop – it is very important to have a neat backdrop for the photoshoot. For us, we used the back side of baby’s sort of fleece blanket. And our room is painted white also so we just used that as well.
  3. Lighting – very important to have good lighting. during the shoot, we didn’t have a good one so we weren’t able to take a lot of good photos. You can use black and white to hide away flaws as needed, plus it gives some effect on the picture.
  4. Assistant – since I was still recovering, we need an additional help for the photoshoot. I asked my sister to help us out since we also wanted to get some family shots.
  5. Prepare Baby – Babies are very unpredictable so better prepare to avoid unnecessary setbacks. For instance, time your photoshoot during his naps. Make sure he’s fed so he doesn’t go fussy and irritated. A sleeping baby is a default in baby shoots because it gives the photographers the liberty to position the baby. But if your baby is up for it, you can also shoot while he is awake for some variety.
  6. Props – if you have crocheted costumes, then that can also make the pictures better. For us, we weren’t able to prepare much so we just used whatever he had at that time.

All in all, I am 3.5 out of 5 happy on the outcome. We were not able to get a lot of good shots as baby’s skin was getting irritated at the blanket, I also felt ugly on those shots as I cannot put make up yet (I was doing Ge-Lai) so I can only do so much. Also, after the shoot, my wound bled 0_0 probably because of moving too much. We were also restricted on the positions as we did not want baby to wake up.

So, I would suggest this is you really do not have budget and just want to keep some memories for baby. But if you have money to spare, I would recommend having this documented by a professional so it can be hassle free for you and your partner. I have an upcoming review on the Picture Company so stay tuned!

A DIY Maternity Shoot

When I got pregnant, I told my husband I wanted a maternity shoot but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money for it. I tried researching for a studio or a professional photographer doing Maternity Shoots that’s low cost but I failed! It is either it is too expensive or price is okay but you will have to pay for every file. I got a bit big during my pregnancy so I was not feeling my best, so a maternity shoot for me was really what I need to feel better about my body and appearance. So since my husband is into photography, we did DIY shoot at home. I had my hair curled by David’s salon and did my own make up, bought some flower crowns from Market Market and saved pins from Pinterest for my pegs.

Some tips for having DIY shoot:

  1. Peg – Have a peg 2-3 pegs will be enough since it will be very tiring for a pregnant woman to have a very long shoot.  For those 2-3 pegs, you can have several poses already.
  2. Styling – for hair and make up, it’s up to you if you want to do it yourself or ask someone to do it for you. It is very important to feel beautiful so you can be confident on your photos and reflect it in the output. For me, getting curls (temporary) is a very good option to instantly look good, you can use hats and crowns also.For the props, keep it simple, just a little accent will do. The flower crowns from Market Market cost 100Php each only. You can also use anything from your home as props to avoid costs.
  3. Attire : safe color for the attire is black and white. For me, I don’t look well in whites so most of my pics are in black. I initially planned to order a dress/gown online but found it too expensive so I used what I have at home: maternity Bra and cyclings!
  4. Venue – for us it was our home, we used our bed and covered it with our white comforter for the “hotel” feel. We also used the other room with grey wall for a different background.  If you feel that the picture doesn’t look good, use black and white or sepia, it changes everything!

Voila! here are some of our shots! I love what we were able to do in the shots, it was just the 2 of us in this shoot with me heavily pregnant 🙂 some of my friends even thought we hired a professional photographer for the shoot!