Flying without my daughter

I had to attend the ASEAN Tourism Forum and it meant flying to Manila. I decided to just leave the children because I would be gone for just 3 nights. The biggest challenge for me was leaving my 1 year old baby who is still exclusively breastfed. This will be our very first time to separate from each other in a year.

 I bought my little Anna the sippy cup, a cup with straw because she opposed the bottle. We tried introducing her to formula and she just refused the formula milk. I thought, she won’t take it because I am still around. She would however sip duchmill yogurt drink (which she learned from her older brother). I bought 2 kinds of formula so she can choose which one she prefers while I am away. I also left several of my clothing that I have not laundered so she could have a sense of comfort when she smells me.

  
The night before I left, my little girl may have sensed it because she just fed almost every hour. I could not sleep! I did not have any spare breastmilk stored because once babies start to eat, supply usually deplete. 

I called a friend who left their daughter for a trip and she said that her daughter took the formula because she had no choice. They were gone for a week or even longer and their baby adjusted. So I trusted her advise and I also got this confirmation from another close friend who had the same experience. 

I left for Manila and focused on the sales mission for the next couple of days. I called to check on my Anna. I found out on the first day she was on full protest and did not drink from any of the sippy cups, nor from the bottle. She went on the whole day without milk and just munched away on food. I honestly started to worry.

  
Day 2- I learned that at 6 am she was supposed to take milk in between her sleep. However,  she did not. She woke up,  ate food and went back to bed. She was still protesting taking the formula milk. I had to start researching and learned that as long as she is eating a lot, she should be fine. So I relaxed. 

Meanwhile in Manila I had to express milk because my breasts were feeling painful. I was able to store some milk and many I had to throw away. 

Day 3 – I learned my strong-willed Anna just continued to refuse the milk that was given to her. I could not believe that she has reached this far without milk. She is well behaved but would cry before sleeping because usually we are cuddling so she could sleep. At night she won’t sleep early. She would stay up till 11pm and ask to go outside. There she would call “Mama… Mama…”. When I heard that, I felt that maybe she was waiting and hoping I would be home that night. I felt so bad to hear that report. 😢

Day 4- I could not sleep. I kept thinking of my children and how excited I am to see them. I wondered if Anna would still breastfeed when she sees me… I took the 6:35 am flight so I could be home the soonest that I could. I am missing my family.

As soon as arrived home, my son rushed shouting “Mommy!” … On the sideline with smiles and giggles was my baby girl who stood her ground to not drink any milk. She was so happy to see me that she positioned herself ready for breastfeeding. And that’s pretty much what she wanted to do all day was stick by me and latch!  

  This trip made me learn a few things about my daughter… When she sets her mind on something, she will stick to it no matter what. So for now we are going to continue breastfeeding until she is more ready to wean.

Those pearly whites!

I remember getting a bit worried when Joshua was 6 months old that his teeth has not come out yet. I hear stories of kids getting their teeth earlier. I must confess I felt slightly worried that I did not have enough calcium thats why his teeth was not here yet.

Of course the expectant MOMMY-me was looking at Josh’s every drool, providing his teether for his hardening gums, and letting him cut biscuits with his toothless jaw. I guess you can say as a first time mom you want to see the results according to the books!

So yes, not on the 6 month did his two lower teeth come out, but rather almost 9 months! Joshua and I were on a plane to Manila when his tantrum was unconsolable. Not even breastfeeding or breastmilk can appease. I was pretty stressed and tired on that ride because my son would not stop crying. This tantrum lasted beyond the air plane ride, to occassional crying between meals and play time. Worst, was at night he would awake fully crying and I started to suspect that it could be his teeth coming out.

True to that premise, Josh was in pain. He would feel relief from ice-cold candies as a pacifier. But I think one of the best discovery is the Xylogel. Recommended by my pediatrician, you apply this gel type paste on affected gum and it would somehow give an anesthetic numbing from the pain. When Joshua awoke the 2nd night in tears, I applied it over his gums and he slept well!

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I never thought it would be this way because my twin sister’s kids never had problems with their first tooth coming out. But since our experience was different it is good to know we have options to address the painful entry of those pearly whites!

Now as an exclusive breastfeeding mom, I am amazed at the resiliency of our physical anatomy to adapt having those new teeth around as I continue nursing my baby. Its not a horror story as I expected.

The great thing with this new development of Joshua’s new pair of teeth, is Josh’s new food adventures. His pearly whites help him cut through cheese, fruit, and other solids. This indeed is a blessing and great fun to watch!

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Precious Milk

Having spoken to several moms I learned that there is a lack of advocacy on breast feeding. Here is a list of common myths versus truths on breastfeeding and breast milk:

1. “I don’t have milk”. – Yes its true some mothers are not dripping milk before the birth of their baby. Some won’t have milk until it is stimulated by their baby. Milk naturally comes out 3 to 5 days after the first latch. Let it be known that 99% of mothers have breast milk.

2. “Milk has not come in yet, my baby will die of hunger”. – The baby from the womb has enough nutrients from the placenta and is full for the next 3 days. The tummy of the baby is as small as a cashew nut and will not need a lot of milk just yet. In the next 3 days, what comes out of the breast is the COLOSTRUM. Don’t let the nurses or midwives push you to feed your baby formula or glucose water. Instead, allow your baby to latch and suck on your breast. The breast milk will flow the more the baby has contact with it.

3. “You can’t store breast milk, so I just let my milk drip on my shirt and wash it after”. Oh No! Breast milk is precious! You can manually express it in a bowl or use a breast pump to extract breast milk. If you store milk in the refrigerator it can last for 7 days. If you store it in a single door freezer it can last 2-4 weeks, double door 1-2 months, and a separate freezer chest can keep the milk up to 6 months.The expressed stored milk can be given to your baby when you are away.

4. “I don’t have enough milk so my baby is not satisfied and cries because of hunger.” – If your baby has wet or soiled diapers, and is gaining weight, then for sure you are giving enough. I had to learn this… Not all crying mean that babies are hungry. But if you offer your breast at every cry, the baby who is naturally accustomed to sucking will take your breast even if not hungry. Watch out also if your baby is fussy because of gas build up due to over feeding… or if your baby spits out milk, it may be overfeeding too.

I realized it is also psychological. If you think you do not have, then even your milk supply gets depleted. If you think that you have, you maybe surprised at the ounces that you can get when you pump.

Other tips to let milk flow includes: Imagining your baby crying or actually hearing your baby cry can influence your body to flow milk. Also I have tried wetting my feet with the faucet and the sensation of dripping water also influences a let down (this i find most interesting). Expressing using a breast pump before or after breast feeding will signal your body to produce more milk.

If you still feel inadequate then I suggest you load up on wholegrain and multigrain. I eat oatmeal every morning and that does me good. Also malunggay in soups, clam shell soup, and different juices help increase my milk. If you can’t eat malunggay you can buy malunggay capsules. I was suggested by my friend to take Natalac and it has done wonders for me…

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Most of all, don’t give up or think negatively about breast feeding. If you feel frustrated, calm down and pray. God promises sufficiency in our every need.