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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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