Happy MOM-ments: I'm Sorry, Daddy :-(

Here's another happy moment I'd like J to read about years from now.

The other night, Big C and J were playing with the wooden peg puzzles, when J suddenly swung one of the puzzle boards up and hit his poor daddy in the nose.

Of course, Big C started rubbing his nose to get rid of the pain. You know what J did?

He gently removed Big C's hand and placed three baby kisses on Daddy's nose. That's what we do when J gets ouchies and I guess it works on him, because he believes his baby kisses will take away Daddy's ouchie.

What do you know? It works on adults too, because it put the biggest smile on Daddy's face.
Happy Monday to you all!

Of Teething and Tummyaches

So last night, the inevitable finally happened.

J bit his baby brother's toe.

Oh, my poor Little C. He wailed so loudly and wouldn't be soothed even after big brother J apologized. Good thing his foot was in his frogsuit and J's sharp little teeth didn't do much damage.

It started out innocently, with J being affectionate with his little brother and kissing Little C's tiny foot, as he's allowed to do. And then.. CHOMP!


To be fair, J did seem to feel really bad about it. I'm sure he knew he did something bad, because when I walked through the door to see what all the commotion was about, he ran to me and said, "Mama, popo!" When he saw how distressed I was upon finding out he bit Little C, his face got this really worried expression and when I asked him if he would do it again, he immediately shook his head to say no.

On that note, J also hasn't been feeling well lately. His back teeth are coming in, and he's been cranky, and his appetite very erratic. I swear, some days it feels like this teething thing will never end. I found this diagram that tells me teething can last up until 26 months! Oh, lord.

With J, a new tooth is usually accompanied by LBM. The "What to Expect" book explains this by saying that when kids are teething, they produce a lot more saliva (and believe me, they do!) so their stools naturally become more runny. I asked my doctor about it though, and she said there's no proven link that teething causes LBM. Most likely, because the kid's teething, he chews on his fingers to soothe his aching and itchy gums and despite Mama and Yaya's best efforts, sometimes those little fingers carry dirt and germs. The doctor assured me it's most likely a viral infection and will pass in a few days.

This has happened to us before, last Christmas when Yaya was on vacation. J was also cutting a tooth and pooping non-stop, so I had a pretty good idea of what to do this time. Upon the advise of my MIL, I diluted his milk at first, then bought lactose-free formula. According to the doctor, his stomach lining is most likely inflamed already, and the lactose in the milk is making a bad situation worse. The lactose-free formula will give his tummy time to recover. We usually finish a 900-gram can, mixing his regular formula in when the can only has about 1/4 left. His appetite's also a little wonky, on account of his tummy, so we've been trying to keep him fed with Yakult, plain congee (lugaw), bread and bananas, pretty much anything that he's willing to eat and won't make him poop even more.

Thankfully, the worst seems to have passed but for the next few days, J will stay under observation by Dr. Mama.

Enjoy the rainy weekend!

My Life as an EP-ing (exclusively pumping) mommy

Little C just turned 2 months old yesterday and it's been roughly that much time since I became an exclusively pumping (EP-ing) mommy. While committed to providing breastmilk for my son, I realized that direct breastfeeding isn't a lifestyle that works for our family. As I've mentioned in a previous post, direct feeding turned out to be a lot harder than expected, mostly since Little C is like big brother J, who won't stop feeding. I had a hard time with being stuck to one spot for the entire day with all the things that need to be done and I switched to EP-ing for Little C.

What's an EP-ing mom anyway? 

An EP-ing mom, according to my definition at least, is a mom who doesn't directly nurse her child, but instead expresses breastmilk for the little one's consumption. Mind you, being an EP-ing mom is just as hard as direct feeding. At least with direct feeding, you have the pleasure of holding your child while you're feeding him. That's one thing I miss terribly. But every time we try direct feeding with Little C, I ended up being stressed because there were so many other things that need my attention and my milk supply tanks, which is a worse situation for my baby boy.

What's a day like in the life of this EP-ing mom?

I'm at the pump every 2 hours from 6am to 6pm. After 6pm, it's every 3 hours, so pumps are scheduled at 9pm, 12am, 3am and 6am. Classic example of how motherhood means no holidays and no days off. No matter the day, I keep this schedule. This ensures that I pump more than 8 times a day, with each session lasting 20 minutes.

The time in between these pumps is scheduled for meals, baths, errands and household chores, including cooking. I also spend time with my boys, individually and together. Usually, right after I pump, I spend a few minutes cuddling or playing with Little C. Other times, I horse around with J. In the past few days, I've started taking a few minutes a day trying to teach him his ABCs, which is a bit rough going for now since his attention span is still a bit limited. We're making progress though. The time between my 4pm and 6pm pump is dedicated to cooking dinner and taking a walk with J. Between 6pm and 9pm, it's dinner time, family time and bath time. Big C spends time with J while I'm in charge of Little C.

I can also work in between pumps and while pumping. I bought a hands-free pumping bra from Tiny Tots, which lets me continue working while expressing milk for Little C.

How much milk do I get?

Each pumping session yields at least 2oz (worst case) and 4.5oz (best case). My best pumping times are during the wee hours of the morning, maybe due to the fact that the gaps between pumps are 3 hours instead of just 2. During the day, it's usually 2.50 to 2.75 oz. :-)

I'd have to admit it's not as much as I'd hope. You know those moms who post pictures of a freezer full of expressed milk? That's not me. I'm lucky if my milk even makes it to the fridge for storage. Usually what I pump is just enough to keep up with Little C's feedings. Right now, my total daily output ranges from 28 to 30 oz per day, which isn't enough for Little C's needs. He takes around 30-35 oz of milk per day in total, so we supplement with formula. It's usually needed in the late afternoons, when my milk supply is lowest. We've yet to have a day where he has nothing but my milk, but I haven't given up.

I refuse to let the fact that I'm mixed feeding discourage me. As it is, this is a better situation than two years ago when J was an infant. My milk was supplementing the formula, instead of the other way around. Now, Little C's consumption is at less than 20% on most days. (And yes for disbelievers, those statistics are legit. I have a spreadsheet. Haha.) And like I said, I'm still holding out hope that my patience with pumping will pay off and that my milk will be enough for my son.

For those who are wondering, it's not impossible. I actually know someone only let her baby latch during the first week and had a hard time with it, but has kept her baby on breastmilk until he was 8 months old. That's the dream for me.

What happens when I go out?

I usually bring my breastpump with me so I can keep up with the schedule. But when I'm out, the gaps between pumpings are usually 3-4 hours, which are about as far apart as I go. I make sure to pump just before I leave the house and count 3-4 hours from that time. I'm rarely out of the house for more than 6 hours, so I just pump once while I'm out and again as soon as I get home. It makes very little difference in my total daily output.

It's a new experience for me to pump while out of the house. When I was expressing milk for J, it was always at home. Since I wasn't able to supply much milk for him, I'd go out as I pleased and expressed as soon as I got home. With Little C, it's different. I'm actually capable of supplying most of the milk he needs so I'm stricter with myself. It's a bit disconcerting at first, but after a couple of times you get used to it. I've pumped while having dinner with friends, and in the car while travelling from one place to another.

It's a bit harder than it used to be with J, when I didn't keep to a strict schedule. Going out is also trickier and requires a lot more forethought. I have to think about how long we're going to be out, when I can pump and how long my cooler pack will last. So far, it's lasted me 6 hours and the milk was still nice and cool when we got home.

My new best friend and fashion accessory. :-)
It's two months into my life as an EP-ing mom. With J, I lasted until he was 8 months old, supplementing his formula diet with my breastmilk. Others in my position would probably have been discouraged, thinking that since most of his diet is formula anyways, might as well just give up and gone with formula after the first few weeks. But my thinking was a little breastmilk is better than none, so I kept at it, until my supply dwindled to practically nothing.

With Little C, I've been fortunate that my patience has paid off. My supply is increasing just a little bit each day. Still not enough to provide for his entire consumption, but just enough to keep me going until the next day. I haven't set an exact goal for myself, like stopping when he's 6 months old, or 8 months old like J, or until he's a year old or two years old. Right now, I'm just taking it a day at a time and hopefully, my one-day-at-a-time attitude will pay off and my son will eventually have nothing but my milk. :-)

Hello, Monday! - July 9, 2012

It's been a while since I last had a chance to take stock of the things that I am thankful for. In between managing a household that's adjusting to having new members, going back to work so soon after giving birth and making time for my two adorable little ones, finding the time to blog has been a real challenge. But when I do have a few minutes of free time, it's nice to sit down and reflect, to look over what has transpired in the past week (or weeks, in my case) and express thanks for all the good in my life.

  • Little C is turning 2 months old in a few days (how time flies!) and he's smiling more each day.
  • My efforts as an EP-ing (exclusively pumping) mom are paying off! On our most challenging days, Little C gets 8 oz. of formula to supplement my milk, but on our good days (although they're far and few in between) he only gets 2 oz. At the average, he gets around 4 oz. a day to supplement. While this is still far from my ideal of having him on nothing but my milk, I'm grateful that he's gotten so much from me already and I'm hoping to eventually produce more and get rid of the formula.
  • J has added new words to his baby vocabulary. He has learned to say "key" (for car keys, naturally), "B" (for USB - my son is a techie baby, through and through), "da-day" (for our new helper), "wee" (for whale), "mi" (for Mickey) and "co-cob" (referring to himself). He's also learned the different parts of the whale, which he can point to in one of his picture book (the whale's eye, teeth, tail and spout). In terms of his picture words (or pictures that he can point to when you say the word), he's added cake, crayon, cherry, and fish.
  • I finally found the Cars bandages that J likes. I bought some a few months ago, but I haven't been able to find any more. Yesterday, I chanced upon them in True Value so I got one box of Cars bandages and another box of Nemo bandages. They're waterproof bandages that have the characters from Cars printed on them. Given his increasing levels of curiosity and activity, J has gotten his fair share of scrapes. His latest ouchie? Getting his fingers jammed in the screen door. And with his tendency to pick at his wounds or scabs (which makes them worse), I've had to bandage them. The regular boring bandages don't cut it. He peels them right off. The Cars bandages? He refuses to have them removed and asks me to put bandages, even without ouchies. :|
  • The simple pleasure of watching my son help his daddy fix a doorknob. J acted as Big C's assistant handyman yesterday and I was amazed at how quickly he picked up the task. He knew which parts go where, although I don't know how he knew. I still remember the look of intense concentration on his face and the sight of him picking up screws and handing it to Big C and refusing to give his daddy the screwdriver, insisting on doing it himself.
  • Being able to jump back into work. Every day, despite the challenges that my work presents, I am happy because each project means that I can contribute to saving for my sons' futures, instead of simply depending on my husband to provide for us.
  • A box of free doughnuts! (Burp!)
  • A meal shared with old friends, which of course was full of laughter. Nothing makes a meal better than good company and great laughs.
  • A husband who indulges me in my post-natal cravings. Yes, there's such a thing as post-natal cravings. 
And now, there's work to be done and mommy errands to be run. Have a great Monday and a great week!

Happy MOM-ents with Big Brother J

The latest picture of my little boys

A quick post to record a happy memory!

As I was hard at work on today's project, I heard J calling out "Mama!" (to hear my son calling me never fails to bring a smile to my face.) from the playroom. I look up from the computer to see him holding Little C's empty bottle in his hand. (Translation: Mama! Shoti has no more milk! Get more, please!)

I love how he learns to help take care of his little brother more and more each day. We've pretty much gotten past the phase where he hits Little C (with "pretty much" being the operative words), and each day I see him grow to become Little C's big brother in more ways. For example, upon waking in the morning, his first word is "baby" and when Little C cries, he'll run to grab Little C's bottle and give it to him. My baby boy is really growing up so quickly.

But that doesn't mean J's shenanigans have stopped!

The other day, he saw me wearing my going-out clothes and of course, he wanted to ride the car. I told him that I wasn't leaving yet, but that we could take a ride later when I leave. I said I still have to make milk for Shoti before I go.

So what did car-crazy J do?

He grabbed Little C's empty bottle and pointed toward our room, to the chair where I usually sit and express breastmilk for Little C! (Translation: Go make milk, Mama, so we can ride the car NOW!)

A happy day to you all! Looking forward to the weekend that is just around the corner, but for now, I have to get back to work. Till the next post!