Friday, August 10, 2007

On breastfeeding and tandem-nursing

I decided that the final part of my confinement series can wait a little while. I just feel like writing on this topic, for 3 reasons:
1. Got to know that now is the Breastfeeding Week
2. I received a check, another surprise for me. It is royalty payment from the sale of a breastfeeding book. I contributed by sharing my story in one article. I realized that I have not really written in my blog properly. I shared about tandem-nursing.
3. A journalist friend went to Netherland to visit a huge formula-manufacturing plant, and asked me to help to write an article. From the interviews, brochures etc, I realized more and more the benefit of human-milk that I just got to share with others.

On the second day of Hari Raya last year, while having breakfast, hubby got a phone call. It was from a mutual friend, also a geologist. Hubby said something like “Oh, that you have to ask the expert…” and passed the phone to me. Thinking that it was about work, I thought that guy was crazy to work on Hari Raya. But it turned out that his wife just gave birth to their second baby, and he, on behalf of the wife was asking about stuffs related to breastfeeding. I smiled and thought, it was good to know that hubby considered me an expert;).

A lot of my readers are MMB members (cheh...macam ramai sangat;)), where I’ve shared my stories and also gained a lot of info from other moms. So there might be repetitions, so if you have better things to do, don’t bother to read;).

Think I was all-prepared to breastfeed my baby even when I was still pregnant with Bea1. Without a single soul to share, or to ask for info about expressing at work, I learned all about it through Babycenter. I was delighted to know there was such a thing as breastpump, and I thought that was the second best invention after er…sliced bread, maybe.

She was fully breasfed for the first 6 months, and continued getting only my milk with solid food till we decided that we wanted to give her a little playmate. That time there was only one idea, I had to stop nursing her if I wanted to get pregnant. I never knew about nursing while expecting.

Anyway, I did some research and what a surprise to know that it was safe to continue nursing. There are certain conditions, though such as there is no history of miscarriage, premature birth and no excessive weigh lost. A good source of info about it I got from kellymom.

Msianursingmom (subsequently MMB) was formed around this time, and I learned from 2 moms there.

So, without worries, we moved ahead with “Project Baby No 2” and I continued nursing Bea1 throughout the smooth pregnancy and she shared nen-nen with Bea2, and later with Bea3 till she decided it was enough for her. She fully weaned herself when she was 4 year and 2 months old.

Bea3 came as a surprise, but it was also an easy pregnancy and my ob-gyn never discouraged me against tandem-nursing. Anyway, being frank she didn’t encourage either, as long as my pregnancies ok, it would be up to me.

A lot of people disagreed with it. Some said the milk was meant for the baby, that I would give birth to an unhealthy baby etc. Alhamdulillah, all my kids are happy, healthy and thriving. I tried to look for info if it is not allowed in Islam, but I found none.
Mom was almost terrified earlier, but now she does not say anything about it. As for mother-in-law, she listens to her son, and I can say my husband is quite well-versed about it, of course after listening a lot from me. Well, think I must stop thinking that he does not listen enough;)

On that Friday the 27th, I spent about two hours in the early morning with Bea3 at my breast. I was a little tired of getting the pain for days, and hoping the suckling would speed things a little, I just let her suckled in her sleep. Not sure if it worked though, but I found many stories saying that it helps to induce labour.

Now, I’m nursing the youngest 3. Ok, I hope that does not make anyone's eyeballs to fall from the sockets;). It is not that difficult, as the older ones do not nurse that much as all my kids are easy-eaters. Nursing is more for comfort most of the time, but still tandem-nursing can be challenging. It was more uncomfortable nursing Bea2+Bea3 simultaneously compared to Bea1+Bea2, as the former were a little rougher to each other. Most of the time, I nursed separately. Other challenges include sore nipples during pregnancies, that makes me refuse to nurse and find ways to distract my nurslings.
During pregnancies, of course they nurse for comfort, but they consumed the colustrum at the later stage of the pregnancies. Bea2 nurses less nowadays, and does it for comfort but Bea3 now suckles happily now that I got plenty of milk.

I still have a little regret though, in the sense that all of them do not get my milk continuosly till they are 2 years old as suggested by the Quran and WHO. Though they continue nursing, there is certain time that it is solely for comfort when I don’t have milk during end of semester 1, beginning of semester 2 of pregnancies.

But I’m just grateful to still have them close to me, staring straight into my eyes and falling asleep while suckling. Think I would never ready to wean them, so I let them decide if that’s enough. Ok lah… a bit of me also gives the maximum: 5 years old;). After that I may resort to Minyak Cap Kapak, or tumeric powder on my nipples...hehe.

As for the new product that the formula-manufacturer is about to launch, I got to know that they are doing extensive research on how to get the closest to human-milk. I’m sure we are aware that since the last few years, we see that those DHA, ARA thingy are added in formula said to help with kids’ intelligence. The new product emphasize on immunity, they came out with a substance almost similar to human milk that plays the role in providing immunity to the infants, right till adulthood. Part of the studies involves comparison with infants fed with human milk, their new product and some other formula. Looking at the results, I could not help myself but to smile in satisfaction that I had made the right choice for all my kids. And I’m so grateful that I had all the perseverance, especially during the first few days after Bea1's birth.

Part of me felt like I was betraying my own principle by helping my friend to write about some infant formula, but she really needed my help and I tried to emphasize that human milk is still the best, the best I could. I’ve yet to read the article, my friend said it took one whole page in a major daily, don't know how it looks after being edited etc. and the new product has not reached here but I hope all moms would make the best decision for their babies.

Now, in a few weeks time, I will be back to expressing, stocking up milk again, the 4th time...argh, hate it! But for baby, I just have to.

Thought of putting this in two parts, like this pun ok lah me thinks. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Confinement after Childbirth: Malay-Kelantanese Style

Part 4: Tradisional massage and some other medication

Of all the practice, I love the massage the most. Normally mom would invite the massage lady once I reach my kampung from the hospital in KL. I’m sure everyone knows what the massage is. To expel wind, ‘kecutkan urat’ and also to get the womb in its rightful place. According to the old folks, the womb might get positioned lower due to the pushing. I seriously don’t know about other moms who also do the urut thingy if they also get the same explanation.

And during all the confinements, the urut lady (also a traditional midwife) would always say that my womb has already contract, ‘softer’and already in place. She would ask if I have already taken any medication for that. I don’t take anything at least after two weeks like my paeditrician's advice, to avoid jaundice. I simply attribute this to breastfeeding, as I exclusively breastfeed. I’m sure breastfeeding moms know that we can feel the contraction a few days after birth during nursing.

The massage is also for breasts, to help inducing milk flow especially for first time moms.

I normally get the pain at the lower back, during the last few weeks of pregnancy right up till after birth. The kind of pain that makes it sometimes awful to just turn in bed, I’m sure some moms have this too. After only two sessions of massage, the pain completely disappears, in my case until the next pregnancy.

I admit that I’m just paranoid. I don’t really trust jamu as some people said nowadays due to mass production etc. some additive such as steroids are added, and am not really keen to take them. I’m ok with certain roots and leaves boiled in water. Two that I take is what the Kelantanese call “Sipe Kederam”, a mixture of manjakani and some other roots. The other is “Mas Cotek”, this one tastes good just like tea. I saw on TV just now an ad about processed “Mas Cotek” in some pre-mix coffee. There is a list of the medicinal benefits of this leaves.

Does this medication work? Again I can’t say for sure as I think after all childbirths, I just feel ok. I take all the medication cause my mom forced me;). Even with that, she nags that I don’t take enough. To me I'm not sick, why should I, but she keeps on saying that the effect is not obvious now but as we get older. I don’t know if my 'benda-benda dalam' (no idea what to call it in English, that mom's words by the way) would be doomed by not taking jamu, I would be happy if someone can convince me that it really is a must. And it is tested and proven, also a suggestion on what and where to get. Sorry if it is too much to ask...hehe!

Will come back with the final part.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Confinement after Childbirth: Malay-Kelantanese Style

Part 3: Berbengkung or tummy binding

I started the first part of this topic when I was in confinement with Bea3, and I’d been taking my sweetest time to finish it. Now, I'm in another round of confinement, and I think I'd finally finish it off. I wrote about my confinement diet here and bertungku here

Now, it is about berbengkung or think tummy binding is just the right words here.

It is a must during confinement. Said to prevent wind, and also believed to help mothers to return to their pre-pregnancy size. I know some Malays (especially of Javanese origin) use a long piece of cloth and wrap the body from the tummy to way down the knee. According to my mother-in-law, she didn’t use any other medication, only the cloth.

Having a prob to post a pic, anyway mine is a cloth, big enough to cover middle hip up to below the chest with strings to tie up. Mom-in-law said hers was only a piece of cloth without the strings. It used to belong to mom, of course this one is in smaller size when she was smaller;). From pics, she started to gain weigh after my little brother. So that’s some 30-something year-ole piece of cloth. The bigger ones was used by my sisters. Just like baby tummy bind, only bigger, and yes both of us have to be in that during confinement, and normally baby wears it longer, even after confinement. I will write about what my sarcastic (in a nice way, though;)) peadetrician said when he saw one on Bea3 soon.

And the medication is a must for us. We use combinations of fresh tumeric+salt (sometimes, I thought mom would deep-fry me after smudging me with that), honey+lime juice (hate this one as the honey would stuck on my skin and it hurts to remove the cloth) lime (kapur sirih)+vinegar (also hate this, as it is just itchy). And once mom tried a type of leave that had been pureed first, no idea what that was. I normally stick to the first one.
The medication can be found in those confinement packages in the market but since to me tumeric+salt is good enough, I never bother about them.

Now, I always get the same question over and over. Does it work? To me I really can’t verify that as after all pregnancy so far, I just easily returned back to my original waistline. Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t gain much, and only my tummy protrude a bit in front and really look pregnant at 7 month. I’m just skinny. Anyway, I think I need a little more toning-up to do for my tummy. It never bothers hubby, so think I will do that only after I’m sure we are done with child-bearing.

As for my other sisters, they all did this but some have some weigh to shed.
Though I’m not sure if it works, I would continue doing it. It can get uncomfortable but I can bear with it a lot better compared to what I have to eat in that all 40 days.
In fact I'm wearing it right now, and it is not comfortable wearing it while sitting down with a notebook on my lap. Actually the best is to wear it just before bedtime, and I'm not supposed to move around.
And I'm below my ideal weigh again, and only after 9 days, I got my flat tummy back. Sometimes I do wonder what happen to the streached skin, well I think all slim moms are like that.

A bit relieved that I’m finally done with this. Anyway will probably write a bit more soon, about the tradisional massage and what I love and hate about being in confinement. Love to hear comments from other moms who also do this.

Friday, August 03, 2007

We finally have a name!

Told hubby many weeks ago that I was just happy with Adam. He said it didn't sound nice when combined with his name. He said he already had one name, and I almost screamed when I first heard it and I tried not to talk about the baby's name and postponed it till after the birth.
To me, as long as a name has a good meaning, it does not matter with the origin. I always love Beatrisya, and planned to name my first daughter with that. So that was easy for Bea1. We didn't prepare anything for Bea2 but on the first day after birth, he walked into the ward and announced his second daughter's name: Beasyara. I felt like jumping off the bed and kissing him sweetly for making my life easy. I just love the name. We didn't plan to have a trend but it just happened. As for Beanisha, it was a headache as we were kind of a little tight up with the trend. Had a name registered but hubby had it changed. With a lot of phone calls to some friends, we finally came out with it. We thought it is unique, we never heard it before but what a surprise, hubby found it in the mailing list of the company he used to work with.
That's why I was a bit relieved to have a boy, a reason to break the trend:).
And it is ok to name my kids after someone significant, like great-great-great-grandfather or some famous scientists, noble prize winners but I try to avoid actress or singers and certainly not Osama ;).
Ok back to the baby's name, hubby insisted that he had the name already and mentioned it again in the labour room right after the birth. I thought he was not serious and just playing a long trick on me. At the same time, he just looked serious. Told that to the nurse, and what a loud laugh I heard from her.
Friends started making a joke about it, and one of them said she hoped hubby was not serious.
We received more funny remarks from my family and I started to feel that I might need to threaten hubby if he was really serious about it.
Alhamdulillah, things changed yesterday just before he left for KL. We talked for a few hours, made a few calls, did some research and finally we came out with something that I fell in love the first time I heard

So, my wonderful readers...again I introduce our new bundle of joy...

Adel Rayyan!!

Nice or not? Adel is justice, and Rayyan is said to be the name of one of the doors to heaven. Also a district in Qatar. And it is the name of one famous Hafiz.
Now, I don't know what to call him, I love both Adel and Rayyan, Adel Rayyan would be too long but still shorter compared to Emily Elizabeth (of Clifford the Big Red Dog);). We will see.

To avoid chuckles and more funny remarks, I decided not to disclose the earlier name, I consider the case closed as hubby just made the registration this afternoon. And if somebody asks, what if we have another girl(s) in the future, I'd say we will worry about that later;).

This is what I do when I have nothing much to do, I ramble. I hope tomorrow I will come backwith more bloggable material.
Thanks for reading anyway!

Introducing my new baby....

Born at 1850, 27.07.2007 and weighs 2.97 kg. First two pics show first few minutes after birth. The 3rd, the first tear I saw and the 4th, he is ready to go home. Isn't he beautiful, look at the nose...gorgeous,isn't he. Ok, ok enough of that!

And now the birth story....
I'd been getting intense but irregular pain in the evenings the whole of last week. Didn't really bother me. We were late on Friday morning, and hubby in a way to avoid going to work seriously asked me if I had the pain. I had very mild but a bit regular. Today is THE day, he announced.
We sent the kids to the babysitter, went to my office to settle the last few things, had a HUGE breakfast and reached the hospital at 11am. But the pain just dissapeared.

Asked to be checked, anyway. I was 2 cm dilated. Without the pain I thought I better went back to the office but my doc just said a firm "no". Anyway, we actually were influenced by the nice date for our boy's birthday;). The ward was full and the put us right away in a labour room.

12.30 pm, the doc broke the water. Still could make a joke about it, and no pain till 3 pm. I brought my notebook in the anticipation to blog in the hospital, but hubby spent his time playing around with the camera in it, we were in our usual jovial mood when no one else was there and took some pics of funny faces.

4 pm came the drip. The nurse wanted to give me the pethidine right away, I refused as I just wanted to talk and I know I'm not proud of the way I behave under its influence. Got myself ready for some real pain. Got a bit serious, and talked to hubby about another way people give birth that I just knew was hypno-birthing, on how at one time I wished I could give it a try and why I thought I had to let it go. He talked about pharoahs and egyptian civilisation, related them to some surahs in the Quran...that's my husband;).

5pm the pain came, 5.30 I wished I could go to sleep and wake up when it was over. I hate the pain, but I don't exactly remember. You know the hormone, oxitocyn the one that people call love hormone. It works well on me, I don't recall the pain until the very moment I'm in labour again. Asked for the pethidine.

All I remember, after that the pain came hard without no rest in between. It was just different, the next thing was the urge to push and hubby was trying hard to cover my mouth with the gas mask (told him to do that earlier, I don't want to be too loud of course;)).
I remember the doc asked me to push gently, and I heard she said "Alhamdulillah..." just after the head was out, that was enough to calm me. Then, a loud wail and a "PLOP" on my tummy. He calmed down right after being covered, I was too busy looking at my beautiful baby, on how he looked exactly like Bea3 and thanking Allah over and over. And then suddenly, I saw his bird and let out a giggle...he is really a BOY;).
He is a really calm baby, maybe he is just so used to the chaos even when he was still in utero. Or maybe because besides us, he was also greeted with surah Al-Kahfi that was being played in the labour room. That is familiar to him as hubby played that a lot during my pregnancy.
It was a smooth delivery after all, and again I thank you for all the wishes. I'm now at my kampung, doing confinement. With a lot of things being taken care of, think I will have a lot of time to blog, now that I have the access. Watch out for more...hehe!