Personal Picks – Nipple picking

It is another of my Personal Picks Day! Today I’m going to share with you my choice of nipple for bottle feeding.

different brands of nipples and bottles

different brands of nipples and bottles

I take the night shift with my baby. He wakes up about 3 times from 10pm-6am and I breastfeed him, change his nappy, and sometimes even play with him if he is super awake. From 6-9am I try to catch on sleep. I leave my baby with the yaya, and she feeds him breast milk via sippy cup.

As my son grew, the sippy cup became too small for his mouth. It made it harder to control the flow of the milk into his mouth. So, my milk often spilled and Josh is underfed or chokes with the way we administer the sippy cup. It was time to move him to the bottle. But I was concerned of nipple confusion so I needed to test which nipple would be the best.

I tested Breastflow, Medela CALMA, Medela slow flow and Dr. Brown natural flow. I did not realize I could be this OC (obsessive compulsive) over nipples!

Breastflow has a nice large nipple with a center control that only allows milk to flow upon squeezing or sucking. The flow from this nipple is a strong, straight squirt once it is sucked. The Medela slow flow and the Dr. Brown natural flow both drips naturally even if it isn’t squeezed. The Dr. Brown has a a straw-like middle attached to the nipple that works to control the air inside the bottle to prevent babies from gas and even colic. Lastly, Medela Calma is a specialized nipple designed with a long tip to imitate a stretched nipple when sucked. It took about 4 strong squeezes before a soft drip is released.

Other mommies including my twin sister uses the Medela Calma nipple. The Lactation Counsultant told us that it is important for baby to exclusively breastfeed from the breast for the first 6 weeks to allow both baby and mom to get used to the latch. If there is a need to drink breastmilk from the bottle, the nipple should still encourage the baby to suck so that they would not get lazy and would prefer mother’s breast and direct feeding rather than bottle feeding. The basics on breastfeeding is more latching and sucking on the breasts means more milk. Less sucking on breasts means less milk. Bottle feeding in my opinion is only a temporary substitute to the breast which means the primary source of feeding should be mommy’s boobs. 🙂

Let me be clear, Josh is feeding once a day breast milk using sippy cup and we are now moving to use a bottle once a day… I introduced the Calma nipple to Joshua on his 7th week. At first I got worried because he might get frustrated because he has to suck hard so the milk would flow. But to my surprise he was totally fine! He finished 2oz in about 10 mins… And he latches well with me on direct feed 🙂 … In later days though, the calma nipple was just too long for my young babe. He looked like choking so he would let go of the nipple and cry.

We moved to using Breastflow. Again I was worried that he would not take it because he was lazy to suck the nipple (and I was around watching him). Later, without me around, he finished his milk in about 10 minutes. I guess he was hungry and he had no choice.

The other bottles I will reserve when he is bigger. Yey! No more spilled milk and so far no nipple confusion using BREASTFLOW! I can take my 3 hour sleep without worrying because my baby is satisfied and well fed!

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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.

Personal Picks – Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

It’s my first Friday in this blog. I will try to make every Friday a Personal Pick Friday… Weekly, I intend to blog about products and services that can be useful for baby and mommy. Its my personal review of a product or service we have used and inform readers how they fare.

Today, I want to share with you a really good investment. For those breastfeeding, you will need to invest on a breast pump. I know there are many brands out there and comes either automated or manual styles. Before I invested, I asked my other mommy friends what they use. Many of my friends prefer the Medela brand. So, I went on to research on Medela and how to purchase it. Medela has many kinds of automated breast pumps. They have Medela Swing, Medela Pump in Style, and Medela Freestyle.20130208_071113

My twin sister, who is a certified Lactation Peer Counselor uses Medela freestyle. Since she recommended it, I followed suit in researching this model. The great thing with the freestyle is it is a double pump (you can pump both breasts at the same time). Its main machine is small and handy and can fit in the palm of one hand. It also has a belt clip where you can attach this machine on your waist. Like its name, freestyle, you can really walk around and do other chores while pumping. Its kindda cool!

The reasons why you pump is to express milk so moms don’t get engorged, and to store milk for your baby’s mealtime in case you are away during feeding time. It also helps in tricking your body to produce more milk. Because your body is designed to produce milk the more it is stimulated by either your baby’s sucking or thru pumping.

I bought my Medela freestyle on Amazon. If you have friends or relatives who can bring this pump for you from the US, then buy it on amazon because it is cheaper. Now like i said this is an investment but it is worth the investment because this product can last you years even to the next child.

I bought on Amazon and it costs US$341 or less than P15,000 for the Medela Freestyle Breast pump package. It includes the following: A bag with the Medela Freestyle pump and its accessories, rechargeable ion batteries and charger, 2 Breast shields, 2 bottles, Ice pack with bag. If you buy it locally, it can be around P19,000 to P30,000. It seems pricey but I look at it this way:

Breast milk + Medela Freestyle cost per month:
P15,000/ 6 months of breast feeding = P2,500/month
P15,000/ 12 months of breast feeding = P1,250/month
P15,000/ 24 months of breast feeding = P625/month

If you go formula – you can use one can of milk at P900 in one week. That means your average monthly spend on formula is about P3,600/month. The breast pump and mother’s milk will still come out cheaper especially if you do it longer. Plus, breast milk is more nutritious for our babes.

Medela House in Manila can also tune up your breast pump if you buy your Medela breast pump from them. I have friends who have used their Medela breast pumps until their 3rd child. Which is why it is a good thing to buy and keep. 🙂

Feeding the BEST

I’ve heard it, you have heard it… Humans are probably the only specie that would offer their babies another specie’s milk. That is probably not true for all humans, but that line was the introduction of the Lactation Consultant during our breastfeeding class.  I asked my twin sister to accompany me to a breastfeeding class to help me prepare for my baby.  It was a real eye-opener and these are some of the truths I learned from the class about Breastfeeding:

1. It is complete.  Did you know that breast milk is a complete super food? You don’t need to supplement because it is sufficient with nutrients and vitamins that our little one needs.  It’s like manna from heaven, the perfect health food for babies.

2. It immunizes. A child that breastfeed for 6 months and drinks breast milk up to 2 years old have immunization from many diseases up to 12 years of age.  Even the COLOSTRUM which appears 3-5 days before the milk is a special super antibody provided specially for the baby. All this is produced by the body naturally.

3. It is good for the tummy. No constipation for newborns that feed on breast milk. It easily digests and is safer for the baby’s stomach. Constipation usually happens with formula.  Also your baby will not experience lactose intolerance (this refers usually to an allergy to cow’s milk).

4. It is good for bonding. A mother and child develops a stronger bond when they breastfeed. They spend more time together thus providing the child a sense of security, comfort, and love.

5. It makes mommy sexy. Two benefits go to the mommy when she breast feeds.  First, she can get her pre-pregnancy abdomen quicker. As the mom breast feeds her uterus contracts and goes back to its normal size sooner than those who don’t.  The second benefit is breastfeeding can be a natural birth control.  It delays the return of the menstrual cycle which protects the mom from getting pregnant again (but this is not a guarantee, so still be careful!)

6. It is convenient.  There are no need of bottles that crowd the baby travel bag.  There is no need to carry along water and powdered milk (that makes the bag heavy). Also no sleepless nights for daddy in trying to mix formula into the bottle.  The mom is all that is needed!

7. It saves MONEY. Do you know how much a family saves if the mother breastfeeds?  The family can save in 2 years more than P200,000.00 !  This is the part of the class where the husbands mouth drops, and looks intently at their wives to encourage them to breast feed.  Then the Lactation consultant gives the wives a come back ” This is why you can demand from your husband vacations in exchange of the savings!”  Hahahha… that is true!

I am amazed at how God provides for us.  Naturally, breast milk is the BEST milk with all the benefits that other milk cannot completely provide.  This encouraged me to also breastfeed my son by God’s grace.  Now that I know, why would I not provide my child the very BEST?

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Genesis 49:25 (NLT)

May the God of your father help you;
    may the Almighty bless you
with the blessings of the heavens above,
    and blessings of the watery depths below,
    and blessings of the breasts and womb.