Sunday, August 18, 2013

Why learn to how to hand-express breastmilk?

 It is breastfeeding month and I have not posted much about the topic recently.  I've thought about what new thing I've learned about breastfeeding and the first thing that came to mind is hand expressing breastmilk.

I'm not an expert in hand expressing  but I must say that learning how to do it has a lot of advantages.  I still need a lot of practice but I appreciate this skill more now as I breastfeed the twins (compared to my breastfeeding days with Ben three years ago) .

First of all,  my output in hand expressing milk is (usually) more compared to the pump.  This was particularly helpful when the twins were in the NICU and I had to leave expressed milk for them at night.  When I pumped, I barely produced enough for one baby but when I hand expressed, I was able to produce enough for two.  

Hand expressing is convenient and cost effective.  If you know how to hand express properly, you can do it anytime anywhere you're comfortable with.  All you need is a sterile container for your milk.  Sometimes, when I'm in a rush to leave the house, I'll be content with just bringing along a towel and a sterile bottle.  It's a good skill to have especially if you leave your pump behind or if it runs out of power.
Labor of love and of bare hands - still needs a lot of practice though!

Also, even if you have the pump, you'll notice that you can still hand express some milk after your pumping session.  It's more quiet than a pump, too!  When I express milk at night to build my supply for the twins, I usually end up hand expressing milk instead of setting up the pump.  This way there's less chance of waking up the kids and I save more time.

Another advantage of hand expressing is less chance if developing clogged ducts.  Hand expressing milk and massaging go hand in hand.   When you hand express, you can easily feel if you have lumps or which part of the breasts has clogged ducts that need attention.

So are you now convinced that this skill is "handy" as a breastfeeding mom? If yes, try learning it by watching the youtube video in this link :). As an added tip, should you decide to do it, try to find a way to make sure you "catch" the milk letdown from the breast you're not expressing from.  Every drop of that liquid gold counts!

Oh, and you do you know that you get more milk if you relax while hand-expressing? During our LATCH Breastfeeding Seminar last weekend, Velvet Escario-Roxas was able to observe me expressing milk.  She reminded me to take deep breaths because I was doing it too quickly.  Yes, those of you who know me are probably not surprised because it's part of my personality to always be in a hurry.  It just goes to show that breastfeeding, even when expressing milk, should be done with love.  Having to express milk for your baby may not be "fun".  Direct feeding your baby is always way better.  But when you do need that extra motivation to express milk for your child, just remind yourself of its benefits.

PS. It is my personal wish that most hospitals would be able to teach  moms of newborns how to hand-express.  It's quite empowering to see actual milk coming from you especially during the early days when you'd question yourself if your supply is enough.  While this skill is not strictly a "must" in order to successfully breastfeed, it can really be helpful.

Friday, August 16, 2013

What's new with ahia Ben :)

 It's time for an ahia Ben update, don't you agree?:)

Our eldest is still (at times) a baby at heart but there are the little signs that remind me that time is indeed moving forward and this little boy is growing up each day.

As shared by his teachers, I am happy to say that Ben has been learning to develop deeper friendships with his classmates.  This is something that I also noticed this year.  He's asking for playdates and is more sensitive towards his peers.  He'd comfort a classmate when he sees someone crying and would say sorry when he accidently bumps someone or spills something.

In an attempt to encourage him to read and write, we enrolled Ben in reading classes at the Learning Library.  We're fortunate they have a branch nearby at Wilson street in San Juan. The sessions are just 30 minutes long which is adequate for Ben's attention span.  He sits down with an instructor and reads a story after which he will answer some questions to test his comprehension. They also tackle one letter a day, practicing how it sounds and how to write it.

As an ahia, there are days when Ben is still adjusting to his role as a big brother.  We try to give him tasks that would let him help take care of his sisters.  There are moments when he would willingly do them, and instances when he'd require a lot of encourgement.  We're happy with his progress, though, especially since he willingly includes the twins in our evening prayers. It's a real challenge trying to juggle three children.  What Bry and I usually do is greet Ben first before his sisters when they are in the same room.  We also suggest our visitors to do the same thing because we notice that if we give him ample attention, he won't feel jealous towards the girls.  Should you have any  additional tips for us, we're all ears.  I'm sure things will become more challenging as they grow older.

Have a good weekend, everyone!
Lets all remind each other to count our blessings :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Mommy Nats Birthday Giveaway!

It's August! Yehey! It's time for a simple birthday giveaway :)

I love reading.  I used to have a lot of books way back when I still didn't have Ben and the twins.  I like the feel of holding an actual book and turning the pages.  When Bry and I started having kids, I switched to eBooks / Kindle because I can easily get back to what I was reading through my phone or Ipad.  

I still prefer an actual book, though :) and this giveaway is a combination of two things that are close to my heart, prayer and reading.  I am giving away a copy of Father Johnny Go's Quick Questions, Uneasy Answers.  It's a wonderful book with reflections tackling a lot of the things we ask about God and our faith.  What's nice about this book is each point of reflection is just about 3 pages long.  The type of reading is just right for a busy parent.  It was also my reading material when the twins were in the NICU.  

To join, simply provide the following details as a comment on this blog entry or link:

1.) Full name and email add
2.) A prayer intention you wish to share so others may pray with you

See? Very simple!!!
Good luck, entries until the end of the month will be accepted :)

PS.  I am a huge fan of Father Johnny.  His homilies and online recollections are touching, direct to the point and very current.  We have the honor of having him at our wedding and Ben's baptism.  We (Father Go and I) also have the same birthday.  How cool is that? :)