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My Ramadhan Challenges

7 Jul

Salam Ramadhan Al-Mubarak to all muslims. It is also a joyous time for the non-muslims where I grow up in where we get all kinds of authentic Malaysian food selling at food bazaar or Pasar Ramadhan also known as PARAM. I love my Nasi Kerabu, Ayam Percik, Tepung Pelita, Popiah Basah, Kuih Lopes and the list goes on. Param is also a place where you tend to bump into your old schoolmates. As I grow older and having domestic helper who enjoys cooking, we hardly break our fast or Iftar with PARAM food or even buffet outside. Home is always the best place with the people you love, save time and energy too.
Salam Ramadhan

This year I feel a little bit more excited for Ramadhan and Syawal. Maybe it is because of our new bundle of joy who arrived in mid-May. Read about my birth story in my next posting. Perhaps I’m feeling really lucky to be given the opportunity to experience another Ramadhan and perform my ibadah while I still can. Either or, praise to Allah for all His blessings.

Since my baby was only 44 days young on the 1st Ramadhan and I’ve decided to fast, I know my biggest challenge will be fasting, maintaining my energy level and at the same time produce enough amount of breast milk for her. I’ve fasted while nursing my 2nd child but at that time she was already eating solids. Based on experience, I know I had to stock up my Expressed Breast Milk (EBM) during my confinement in case my body could not produce enough during Ramadhan. My body is also not the type that produce much milk like some of the lucky moms out there but I’m determined to put extra effort to make it enough for the sake of my baby and my obligations towards my religion.

5 Grains Oatmilk Drink will help to enhance the quality of milk produced

5 Grains Oatmilk Drink will help to enhance the quality of milk produced

So, besides my proven instant milk enhancer which is instant Longan Red Date drink, this time I’ve added the Oat Milk into my menu. I’ve shared this with many other nursing moms many times and I think I should put it in my blog for more moms to benefit. By the way, I strongly recommend that you drink them warm. I love this Oat Milk drink as it has other good stuff such as Barley, Soya, Brown Rice, Black Rice, Flaxseed and many more which make the baby happy too. Alhamdulillah my 3rd baby is definitely a happier baby after each meal compared to my 1st two kids. What makes me more motivated to nurse and fast this year is it is the first time for my 2 sisters and I to do the same simultaneously. My elder sister is nursing her 6 month-old son and my younger sister, a first time mom is nursing her 9 month-old daughter. We were so excited that we decided to break fast together on the 1st ramadhan and bake our special lactation cookies on that day. The cookie was filling indeed and very rojak I would say. We added everything we could think of which could help in enhancing our production. The ingredients included were Almond, Hazelnut, Flaxseed, Chia seed, Oats, Brewer’s Yeast, Butter, Choc Chips and Butterscotch Chips. Well now you know what we have been feeding ourselves for Iftar and Sahur.

I'm consuming this lactation cookies as often and as many as my dates during this Ramadhan.

I’m consuming this lactation cookies as often and as many as my dates during this Ramadhan.

My second Ramadhan challenge is performing the Teraweeh prayer. It is a long prayer with breaks in between but when you have 3 young children, it needs some coordination, management, patience and a lot of energy too.

My other Ramadhan challenge would be teaching my 6 year-old son to fast. We have sent him to Ramadhan camp a month before and talking to him about what to expect from this 30-day period. As expected there were a lot of WHYs coming from him, which needed some creative motivation. We even watched Upin & Ipin cartoon on Puasa episode together. I have to admit, Upin & Ipin cartoon rocks! They are hilarious and made me miss my childhood all over. It made me miss my cousins too. I’m really looking forward to meet most of them this Syawal and simply chat about the good old days….Have a blessed Ramadhan!

This is how I keep my 2 kids occupied throughout Isyak, Teraweeh and Witir.

This is how I keep my 2 kids occupied throughout Isyak, Teraweeh and Witir.

Have you bumped into a woman expressing her milk while stuck in traffic jam?

28 Oct

Medela Pump-In-Style

I have to admit that most of my motherhood decision has been influenced by my elder sister, Kuna. From drug free birth to cloth diapering and nursing. At the same time, I would be doing my own research on the benefits as well as support from my hubby. Nursing + working = challenging!

I was lucky when I was working in the office, I had a few colleagues who were very supportive of breastfeeding their babies until at least 1 year old. Even though we did not have a proper place to express milk during working hours, we turned one of the hidden pantry into our nursing room. It was good enough for us to express milk in private, has mini bar to store our milk, sink with water supply to wash and a kettle to boil water to sterilize our equipment.

Cool PIS backpack design

Since I was working in Sales & Marketing line, I had to go out from the office every other day therefore expressing milk was quite a challenge. I was determined to ensure that my son was on exclusive breastmilk, therefore I decided to invest on a rugged machine that will meet my active lifestyle – Medela Pump-In-Style. I love it so much as I find it quite compact and stylish. I could not find any other brand in year 2008 in Malaysia that stores the pump in lower compartment and the cooler bag in the upper compartment of a backpack. The cooler bag holds 4 pieces of 5-oz storage bottles and an ice-pack which can last for about 12 hours. Storage bottles are sold separately. Medela PIS is a double nozzle pump where you can express milk from both breasts at the same time. Save time and more productive compared to single nozzle. The parts are easy to assemble and dissemble too, which again means save time and easy to wash. Since Medela PIS is an auto pump, you have the option to either connect it to electricity, battery or even in the car! How cool and versatile is that? Car adapter is sold separately. If all that fails, you may also express milk manually using the manual pump. However, the manual pump included in this set is not as good as Avent manual pump. Tiring and can get quite frustrating. I only use it if I’m desperate to express the milk out and could not wait any longer, you would understand what I mean.

Where the rest of accessories are stored

For a start, you may need to get 6 – 12 5-oz storage bottles, preferably the BPA-free ones. The branded ones are more expensive than the locally made. I use Moms-Little-Ones as it is compatible with my Medela nozzle neck. Recently, I found Autumz has BPA-free storage bottles too which cost much cheaper than Moms-Little-Ones. Is it compatible with Medela? Do let me know.

The cooler bag, ice-pack and storage bottles

Once you get the hang of nursing your babies directly, you may start express your milk for storage immediately. It will also send signal to your body to produce more milk. This process takes a lot of patience and support especially from your family and friends. Negativity will not help at all in producing more milk. Stress is one of the main factors to the failure of breastfeeding. Therefore ladies, besides taking those herbal teas and special food to increase milk production, I would strongly recommend that you pamper yourself to spa and massages once a month. After all, nursing IS a lot of work and takes up energy. Did I mention that nursing will help you get back into pre-pregnancy shape much faster than those who do not nurse? Forget about paying big bucks to those slimming houses. Nursing moms will have this radiant look too. Double triple bonus, right?!

Motor, double auto pump, single manual pump and electric adapter

Cost wise, Medela PIS may seem to be quite on a higher side. I bought it for about RM1200, can’t really remember. But if you are mobile most of the time and thinking of providing exclusive BM to your babies, this would be a very good investment. I used the machine for 1 year for my first baby and now for my second baby. It is still working perfectly. I only had to replace the membranes for RM50. I plan to use it until at least my 4thbaby. The Medela PIS also followed me to all the scuba diving islands I went to. What was my Milk Expressing schedule like?

Simple double auto pump components

  • Direct feeding in the morning before I’m off to work
  • 9am – read newspaper & breakfast all at the same time for 10 minutes. Another 10 minutes is the total time I take to walk to the pantry and set-up the equipment, wash & store equipment and walk back to my office
    • 1pm – express milk and have lunch all at the same time for about 15 minutes. 30 minutes of power nap. Another 10 minutes is the total time I take to walk to the pantry and set-up the equipment, wash & store equipment and walk back to my office
    • 5pm – express milk, snacks and return some phone calls or sms all at the same time for about 10 minutes. Another 10 minutes is the total time I take to walk to the pantry and set-up the equipment, wash & store equipment and walk back to my office
    • Meetings and resume some work before I return home at 7pm. Direct feeding onwards at home

    Maximum I get to express while I was at work is about 16oz and my stock is only 2 full days. Therefore, I don’t produce much but sufficient.

    My current schedule:

    No fix schedule. I try to direct-feed whenever I’m with my baby. Whenever I’m out for work, I’ll try to express every 4-6 hours maximum. Most of the time had to be in the car and more often than not, while the car is moving….shhh. You can make another little investment by getting the car adapter because I tried using the manual pump which comes together with PIS and trust me, it can be quite demotivating and tiring. Not their best product design.

Manual pump

For your information, I am not the type of woman who produces a lot of milk for unknown reason. If I were to give in to some old folks tale and pressure from certain parties, I would not have nursed my 1st kid for 2 years. I believe in myself and put as much effort as I can to make it work. Even though my milk production may be low or rather balanced supply demand, I strongly believe that every single drop of milk that I offer to my babies is the best quality of milk.