Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Breast Pumps

I got the Philips Avent BPA Free ISIS iQ Duo Twin Electric Breast Pump back in 2009 and that was what I used to express milk for Marion. I was not working when Marion was a baby so I really just needed to express milk for her when I had to go somewhere and couldn't take her with me. It was a huge chore to pump.

What I liked about the Avent pump:
a) It came with its own bag.
b) 220v, no need for a converter when using here in the Philippines
c) A very good, strong pump.

When I needed to be away from Marion for a long time, I'd bring around my Avent pump, used a Fridge-to-Go to keep the milk cool and sometimes used the car adapter (an accessory that came separately).

For my second round of breastfeeding, I felt the need to get another pump since most days I need to go to the office. Why I got another pump--

a) I didn't want pumping milk to be an even more unpleasant experience by adding the trouble of packing and unpacking my Avent pump from my bedside table.
b) I was starting to get paranoid about what'd happen if my one and only pump suddenly died on me.
c) I wanted a more portable pump-- one that could run on batteries. The Avent didn't have that feature.

With those in mind and not wanting to spend too much, I was happy to find this locally available pump:
The Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump which I bought through Babymama.

I decided to get this second pump because it takes care of all my reasons for getting a second pump and it isn't very expensive. Also, I was getting enough information and attention from the seller which made me feel confident that whatever concerns I may have with the pump would be addressed.

I had gotten annoyed with the Philips Avent Philippines people. Sure, their products are available everywhere but for some things I felt were important, their sales people were completely ill-equiped to help me. Sure, they have an FB page and have so many events for mommy & baby but I think they are still out of touch. Two instances when they were no help at all:
     a) I wanted to get an extra pair of Let-Down Massage Cushion. When I inquired at their booth at a bazaar, everyone gave me a blank look. Then they told me they'd check the main office and would get back to me. Of course they didn't get back to me. So I left an inquiry on their FB page and of course I didn't get a reply. So I called their office where I was told I could get it at their main office. Since I wasn't really familiar with where it was located, I just got it from someone who saw my inquiry on the FB page and sold me a pair.
     b) I wanted my pump to be checked, serviced and cleaned before I started using it again. They informed me to bring it to one of their authorized service centers. I hesitated. Did I really want it to be brought to that small space where tons of appliances were kept for months on shelves? Well, I took it there anyway. They didn't know what to do with it. So, bah, I gave up and took it home with me.

I'm so happy with my Ameda Purely Yours. It won't be replacing my Philips Avent as my "main" pump, but it satisfies all my needs for a second pump.

a) Parts and Design: I like it that the flanges of Avent are clear and not translucent like Purely Yours simply because I just want to see how much milk is being expressed. When using the Avent pump, I've always been concerned about milk pooling under the diaphragm and massage cushion. I like it that the diaphragm of Purely Yours doesn't come in contact with the milk and all the milk is pumped into the bottle.

b) Suction strength: Avent allows for a pretty good suction strength so I'm used to that. I'm also used to being able to set it at a high speed. And so initially felt that the Purely Yours was weak, but I figured it should be alright since I was expressing just as much milk for pretty much the same length of time. :-)

c) Use: Again, I wanted a pump that can run on batteries so Purely Yours is just perfect. It is also very light. And, if I want, I could use it with the hands-free bras that I have. It is extremely tricky to use the hands-free bras with the Avent because the massage cushions get in the way. Purely Yours doesn't have a massage cushion.

d) Noise: I think my Avent is noisier (I think it might be making noises that it shouldn't be making.) but Purely Yours isn't quiet either. :-)

My pump station at home:

     (tray with water to keep the ants away, a glass of water, bottles, pump, milk storage bags with notebook to log pumps & volume of milk expressed, tissue and alcohol. Other stuff on the table now: human heart nature body butter & ilog maria throat spray)

My Purely Yours pump, ready to go (sorta):

     (tote, smaller kit/drawstring bag. I usually have a boncho in there, the adapter, alcohol and tissue. I'm considering just carrying an extra set of batteries instead of the adapter.) 

I can usually get a room for myself at the office where I could pump in peace for 10- 15 minutes. And I have access to a fridge so it's not a problem. I don't use my Fridge-to-Go anymore. I tried pumping while driving (using the hands free bras- PumpEase or Simple Wishes) which was quite doable (just set everything up before driving off) but I probably won't be doing it regularly.

My pumping schedule:
     No schedule. Yikes. Although we have enough milk in the freezer for Marco and to share, I think I shouldn't get too complacent. Pumping on a schedule and/or regularly is the only way to sustain my milk supply. I know this from experience.
     But these days I  (sometimes) pump in the middle of the night. That's when Marco sleeps through and sleeps through on his crib and not on my chest. In the mornings we usually get to nurse directly twice and me pump once. Then I pump once more mid-afternoon and then nurse him when I get home (or just pump again if they've taken out milk from the fridge or if he'd just fed).
     So basically I pump 2 or 3 times over a 24-hour period. Although I still get to be with him for most of the day (that is, he gets to nurse directly) I need to get into a more regular pumping routine.

What next:
Cebu trip. Which pump will I bring? :-)
Update: I'll be bringing my Purely Yours. :D

Other thoughts:

     1) I had a dream once. That milk got expressed while I was sleeping... You know, kinda like a catheter... like how it could empty your bladder without you knowing it. Dream on, Yen.

     2) I'm using so much milk storage bags... plastic! I have these Fresh Baby freezer trays with lids which I used when Marion started eating solid/mashed food and I've seen these milk trays available locally. Both lets you freeze milk in 1-ounce servings which is pretty convenient. I just can't imagine how to go about doing it. First, I sometimes I express 2.5 ounces of milk. What am I to do with the 0.5 ounce? Second, I like serving milk first in-first out. I don't think that's possible with these. And last, I'd rather have my milk "handled" the least. I'd rather not have anyone touch it (which I think might be inevitable when transfering the milk cubes/sticks to a huge zip lock bag).


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

For Guama

(Marion's handprints and Marco's footprints. I did the cutting while Marion did the taping, gluing and stamping.)

 For Me

(Rocky did the dot and the cutting. Marion did the tracing, taping and other scribbles.)

Best ending for today:

Marion was playing in our room while I was nursing Marco to sleep. She found a small piece of paper which she told me was a love letter. As she was handing it over to me she said,

"Thank you for my life!"

And my heart swelled with joy. 
What an awesome privilege and responsibility this is. Motherhood.

***** ***** *****

The freezer looked like this.

So we shared and delivered some to the PGH NICU/Milk Bank.

Dra. Nazareth received my milk donation and she mentioned something like they consume around 70 liters of milk a day. I thought I might have gotten it wrong so I sent the nurse a text message asking how many babies were currently at the NICU and how much breastmilk they consume. The reply: "gudam! we hav 52 admited 2day in nicu approx.60oz per day ang nco2nsume n breastmilk." 60oz for 52babies per day can't be right... so that's 60oz for 1 baby per day, right? That's a lot! I hope Marco and I can keep sharing milk with all those babies!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Marco: 2 months

May 8, 2012
2 months old
wrapped in a scarf we used during my maternity shoot

May 11, 2012
2 months and a few days old

Weight: 11 lbs, 3.5oz
Length: 22.75 in
Head circumference: 39.5 cm

Immunization given: DTaP IPV Hib and Rotarix (oral)

As expected, Marco has better controlled over his neck, doesn't clench his fists all the time and tracks objects. But best of all is his social smile and that he recognizes us. This morning Rocky peered over him while he was in his crib and he smiled. :-)

When he's not nursing directly, he can sometimes finish 4oz of milk from a bottle. Takaw! 

Recently, he discovered his hand and has taken to putting it in his mouth and sucking a bit, but Dr. Pia reassured me that there's no need to worry. Unless he's latching on to his thumb, then we'll leave him alone to discover his own body parts. :D

But, the poor dear has fungal infection in his neck and nape area. :( We'll need to put Clotrimazole cream on it 2x/day for 2 weeks and pay extra attention in keeping that area dry.

Marco's a sweet, darling baby. Fussy only when hungry and when his diaper needs to be changed. We have more spit ups now than we did with Marion, but Marco's pretty cool about it.

He has a new yaya-- Yaya Lenie-- who we hope will continue to take good care of him. And this month, we are looking forward to his first trip to Cebu. Yey!

I love you, dear Marco! 

Monday, May 07, 2012

Marco is welcomed into the Catholic family

Candle and oil

Water and white garment

Fr. Joel and godparents


Giveaways c/o Guama Haydee

"Lord, surround my son with goodness, lead him in Your light each day; let him walk the path You've chosen, guide his steps along the way. Teach him to trust Your wisdom and obey Your loving plan; Keep him from all harm, protect him as he grows to be a man."

Friday, May 04, 2012

Worksheets for Kids

I remember how my mom would prepare activity sheets for me and my sisters using those blue-red-blue lined paper. We'd fill it up with spirals and zig zag lines then proudly bring it back to her. Looking back, I can see how it's such a simple trick to get kids to sit still for a few minutes and do something "educational".

These days I'm always at used bookstores and once, after I'd checked every children's book in one shelf, I ventured on to the next one and saw this:

I'd made worksheets for my nephew (and even for his cousins) before. Since I have no background in early childhood education, I used the internet to come up with those. I thought this book would make things simpler for me when Marion got to the age of around 3 or 4 to start doing seatwork. (I really didn't know when kids started doing or learning these things.)

At the end of her first term in school, I was quite surprised when Marion brought home some worksheets with similar exercises from the book.

  Oh! She can do these things already. (Yes, I didn't know exactly what she'd be doing in school. I thought these were for the older kids lang. ;p)

So I gave her and yaya this book to play around with. She loved it! She would insist on doing seatwork so much that we had to remind her that seatwork was only for during the day and not during bedtime. Her favorite thing to do is tracing. She's not too crazy about coloring though so our coloring books aren't as filled out as the workbooks.

I got her these also:

And since she's going through these so fast, to save/recycle and hopefully use again... I shamelessly took the other books to UP Diliman shopping center to be photocopied.

Here she is with Teacher Yaya.

And here she is on the floor. I had to print these for her so she'd leave me alone to do my work in front of the computer. (I just googled "handwriting practice worksheets" to create our own.)

I hope she'll continue to enjoy doing "school work" and to think of it as fun and play. :-)