Wednesday, 13 March 2019

My Breastfeeding Diary (Baby #3): First Month

*Warning: Detailed documentation of breastfeeding and its related terms ahead. Reader's discretion is advised; please do not read if you feel uncomfortable =)

The moment after I had delivered my baby girl in the delivery suite, she started puckering her lips and sticking out her tongue, which was a clear indication that she wanted to breastfeed. As usual, I latched her directly as I had done with baby boy when he was born and fully remembered how to do it despite not having breastfed for the last 4 years!

When I got transferred to the ward, the nurse in the ward immediately checked, as is their SOP, on how I am doing with breastfeeding. She proceeded to squeeze my nipples very tightly (ouch!) before exclaiming, "wow, that's very good, a lot of colostrum!"

Tip: make sure you start breastfeeding as early as possible and as many times as the baby wants in order to develop your milk supply.

The nurse checked my latching and was equally impressed by the baby's strong sucking. I think it makes a huge difference choosing to give birth without epidural because the baby is not drowsy after birth as compared to an epidural assisted birth.

Seeing that I was a very experienced mum (not to brag but I have done this three times!), they left me alone for the rest of my stay in the hospital. If I were the nurses, I would love having me as their patient as I made their job really easy! *laughs*

As usual, I requested that the baby room in with me (and not return to the nursery) so that I can feed her on demand. This is so that I have full control of my breastfeeding and can learn about her breastfeeding style from the start. Of course, this is only possible if you stay in a single-bedder room so please consider it if you can afford it.

Tip: Keep the baby with you as much as possible so that you can learn to recognise the baby's cries for milk (which is different from the baby's cries for comfort and pain), and respond to him/her before those cries become uncontrollable and stress-inducing. Don't be over-reliant on the nurses or your confinement nanny otherwise you won't be able to do it on your own. 

The first day of breastfeeding went well but the night was terrible. Baby wanted to feed every 15 minutes but only drank for 5 minutes before falling asleep. I did not sleep AT ALL for 24 hours since the delivery and was so exhausted that by 6am in the morning, I was slightly hallucinating!

Me and baby alone in our room in the morning

Thank goodness I decided to ask the nurse to bring the baby to the nursery for her vaccinations so that I have some alone time to freshen up. I felt so much better after that. Breastfeeding a newborn with a tiny stomach is not easy!

After discharge, I realised that my baby was still not pooping after 4 days since the first poop. Her paediatrician suggested feeding longer at each breast (10-15 minutes, instead of 5-10 minutes) so that baby can take in more of the fatty part of the milk. I had totally forgotten that the fore milk is made up of mainly water and that the hind milk which comes at the back is made of the fats that the baby needs to poop, stay full and gain weight. I did what the paediatrician recommended and viola, she started pooping a lot! ๐Ÿ˜„

Tip: If your baby is like mine and tends to sleep after sucking for 5 minutes, you can try burping the baby and then continuing to latch the baby from the same breast rather than switching breast. This is to ensure that the baby gets enough of the fatty hind milk. 

Happily sleeping soundly after a feed

As with all my babies, my breasts started to be engorged by the time my baby was 4 days old. However, I decided not to pump like I did with my baby boy as it could make the engorgement worse. Pumping was also more exhausting than latching and gave me a lot of problems with mastitis when I forgot to pump during the night due to exhaustion! (You can read all about my experience here). I was keen to not repeat the same problems I had with pumping too early in my breastfeeding journey hence, I decided to hand-express excess breast milk instead of pumping.

So far, baby girl is drinking far more breast milk than her brother so hand-expressing has been sufficient. This has worked so well for me that by the time my massage therapist arrived on the 10th day of my confinement, my breasts are no longer engorged. Although my breasts will get full and slightly hard before breastfeeding, they will be easily emptied by the baby after feeding.

A selfie of me breastfeeding my girl at home!

The biggest difficulty that I have with direct latching is the soreness of my nipples. Despite having mastered the correct latching position, I still experienced pain simply because my newborn baby's mouth is very small and my nipples were, well, not. The pain can be so bad that I had to bite my lip to endure it for the first 10 seconds every time my baby latched. Thank God that the pain subsided by the fourth week of birth once baby grew bigger in size.

My baby's drinking pattern: drink from both breasts at least three times on each side at a go and then sleep undisturbed for 2.5-3 hours after that. It can be very stressful for me when she wants a lot of milk in a short amount of time but my breasts needs time to produce the milk!

But all my hard work is worth it when I get to see all my hard work getting translated into baby fats! ๐Ÿ˜

Love spending quality time with her!

My eldest girl was a whooping 95 percentile by the time she turned 2.5 months old so I'm hoping that it will be the same for my littlest girl! At the rate that she is going, she is definitely on track! ๐Ÿ˜

After 28 days of confinement, I could finally go out with baby girl for the first time! Breastfeeding on the go has also been really easy ๐Ÿ˜„

Tip: The key to breastfeeding is PRACTICE! Make sure that you have useful tools that help you with breastfeeding as well. 

I'm really enjoying my journey breastfeeding and bonding with my baby! Cherishing every moment, the good and even the painful because I know that it will not last long! ♥️

This post is part of my series My Breastfeeding Diary, where I document the highs and lows of my breastfeeding journey. 

Past posts in My Breastfeeding Diary series:
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 1 Week
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 2 Weeks
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 3 Weeks
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 4 Weeks
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 2 Months
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 3 Months (Back to Work)
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 4 Months
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 5 Months
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 6 Months (Weaning)
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 8 Months
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 10 Months (Battling bronchitis)
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 12 Months
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 13 Months (End)

Sunday, 10 February 2019

The Birth of Our Littlest Baby Girl

*Warning: This post contains very graphic documentation of my birth experience, which may result in significant stress reactions in some mums-to-be. Reader's discretion is advised.

As I entered into the third trimester of pregnancy and approaching the Estimated Date of Delivery (EDD) of 12 Feb, I started to feel a sense of dread that I did not have for my first two pregnancies. As you know, things did not go as I had expected the last time I was in the delivery suite giving birth to my boy. The epidural I was given did not work in time and till date, I can still remember the intense pain of every contraction and it still gives me the shivers!

So, although my tummy was getting so big that it had become extremely uncomfortable for me, I was still not enthusiastic about getting her out.

I told the baby to hold off coming into the world till after the third day of CNY, as that's when my doctor will be back from leave. She's a good girl; she listened to me ๐Ÿ˜Š

On 7 Feb, we had fully expected to go into labour any time in the next few days so I stayed home as much as I could in preparation for delivery. We were hoping that baby will be born on 9 Feb 2019 as it was an easy date to remember.

However, 9 Feb came and went without any signs of labour except for occasional cramps that I've been feeling on and off the whole of the third trimester. I was starting to think that maybe she will be born on her EDD instead.

That night on 10 Feb 2019, I was awoken at 2.30am with very bad abdominal pain. Initially it felt like a bad case of diarrhoea so I went to the toilet and thought I could go back to sleep afterwards. That was not to be because the pain intensified and I immediately recognised the feeling. I was having contractions.

I looked at the clock; it was now around 3.30am. I thought that maybe I could sleep through the earlier part of contractions like I did for my earlier two pregnancies but the contractions were relentless. One contraction was occurring every 10 minutes.

By about 4am, the contractions were once every 5 minutes and I knew we had to get to the hospital ASAP. I quickly took a bath and informed the hubby and Mum-in-law that the baby was coming!

From experience, I knew that I needed to eat something in order to have the energy to push so the Mum-in-law quickly cooked some instant noodles for me. I could hardly eat as the contractions continued.

Left: Last photo of me pregnant just before we head to the Delivery Suite;
Right: Trying to finish my bowl of instant Noodles at 4.30am. 

At around 5am, after I had called the Delivery Suite to let them know that I was coming, the hubby drove me to the hospital (NUH).

At around 5.15am, I checked into the Delivery Suite. The nurses did the usual checks and the male on-call doctor did a cervical exam, which I hate! Thankfully this was the first time I'm getting my cervix examined for this pregnancy.

The doctor informed me that I was already 8cm dilated! As usual, it was their duty to inform me of my options for pain relief (which I had already memorised by heart) and asked me if I needed the epidural.

To be honest, I strongly contemplated getting the epidural even though I was already so far dilated. The dread of the pain that was to come was a very strong motivation.

However, the hubby reminded me that epidural injections had never gone well for me in the past. Epidural caused me to be unable to push my first baby out as I could not feel anything whilst epidural did not work when I was only 3cm dilated for my second baby. He was quite sure that it will not work this time and deep down, the logical brain in me knew that he was right. Nevertheless, the hubby left the decision entirely to me because I'm the one who has to go through the pain.

While I was still trying to make a decision, the nurse advised me to try breathing the Entonox gas to see if it can help with the pain instead. Although it did not help me when I was having my second baby, she said it could be because I was already in active labour and not able to breathe it correctly and at the right time. The gas also requires some time to work so starting on it early might help.

I finally decided (very bravely too if I might add) to try the gas instead of epidural and prayed to God that the labour will be so fast that the pain will not be long lasting.

Me breathing the gas whenever I started to feel contractions

The nurse was right; this time when I breathed in the gas at the right time and in the correct way, it did help me cope with the contractions. Although it did not take away the pain entirely, it reduced its intensity from a pain rating of 8-9 to a pain rating of 4-5. At least I was able to chit chat with the hubby in between contractions and not already screaming in pain like I did when I was giving birth to baby boy!

At around 6.30am, my doctor Prof Su Lin Lin came to check on how I was doing. When she checked my cervix again (ouch!!! ๐Ÿ˜–), I had dilated to 9cm and the baby's head was still "high up" which meant that baby wasn't coming out yet. Prof Su advised me to push if I felt like it as I was starting to feel the pressure on my cervix.

From 6.30-7am, the contractions started to intensify to such a degree that even with the gas, my pain rating was 10 out of 10! ๐Ÿ˜ตOne of the contractions was so bad that I started pushing and felt a strong pain in my youknowwhere, like pain you feel when passing excrement after 2 weeks of constipation just so much more intense.

The baby's head was probably in view after that contraction, which occurred some time after 7am, and the nurse promptly announced loudly, "call Prof Su! It's time!"

By now I was already screaming, crying and writhing in pain while the nurses tried to encourage me to focus on breathing the gas. I really tried to do what they said but at this point in active labour, no pain relief other than epidural will help!!

While Prof Su and the nurses prepared for the delivery, I was in so much pain I wasn't even fully aware of what's really happening. It was only when Prof Su said with such urgency, "OK push harder the baby's head is coming out!" that I realised that this was it! I pushed and pushed and pushed so hard that it really felt like my youknowwhere was going to explode! Thankfully, after three or four major pushes, the baby was out at 7.21am! Thank you Jesus!

She came out crying with gusto like a healthy baby should! She weighed 3.3kg, slightly smaller than her sister and brother. I was incredibly happy! ๐Ÿ˜

The worse part of the process was over but there was still stitching and the placenta that needed to be delivered so the pain was not all over yet. As I had no pain relief other than the gas, I could feel everything, even more than when my epidural did not work during my second delivery. Perhaps the epidural still managed to numb some parts of my body. This time however, certain stitches could still be felt even though my doctor had given me local anesthesia (it felt like multiple injections...).

However, all the pain was well worth it because I looked and felt energetic after the delivery since I did not have to suffer any side effects from epidural such as dizzyness, vomiting, shivering, etc. Really incredibly awesome feeling!

Skin to skin with the newest addition to our family!

I think I looked younger and better than how I had looked after giving birth to my girl 9 years ago (you can go check it out here).

I had to stay in the Delivery Suite for another hour to monitor my blood pressure before they could transfer me to the ward. During this time, baby girl was already smacking and licking her lips so I went ahead to latch her and she started breastfeeding right away.

When the hour was up at around 8.45am, I was taken to the ward at Kent Ridge Wing. There are two types of rooms for private patients: A1 (single bedder) or B1 (4-bedder). I've tried both and of course preferred the A1 for its privacy and spaciousness. Nothing beats having your own toilet!

My single-bedder room

The room was great except for the aircon or lack there of, which could be intentional because they didn't want babies to freeze. However, it was so hot that I was sweating the whole time! ๐Ÿฅต

I requested for the baby to be with me at all times in the room so that I can breastfeed on demand. I know this means that I will have to be very hands on from the start and get very little rest but I'm OK with that if it means that I'll be able to establish my milk supply and gauge her feeding pattern.

While I had my lunch, the hubby went to pick up the rest of the family to come meet their little sister for the first time.

My very healthy meal which I ate hungrily

The kids have been looking forward to meeting their sister for months! They were so happy to see her! ๐Ÿ˜

Our first family photo
The grandma and big sister couldn't wait to carry the baby!

The rest of the family also came to visit me throughout the day.

My mum and sister, proud grandma and aunt for the third time! 
Group photo with my family
Group photo with the bro-in-law and sis-in-law
My cousin (left) and colleagues (right)

There were folks who didn't manage to visit us in the hospital because I got discharged the very next day! This was the first time that I had only stayed one night in the hospital! Woohoo!!

Me with the baby alone in our room on the morning of our discharge

Thank you to all for your well-wishes and gifts! We are very blessed!

Gifts from my company, colleagues, church leaders and family

Thankful to Jesus for a smooth delivery and healthy baby girl. I was so grateful that I only needed to stay in the hospital for one night! There is no place like my comfy bed in my own home! ❤️


Just a final note:
I highly recommend Prof/Dr Su Lin Lin if you need a Obstetrician/Gynaecologist. She has delivered all three of my babies and I have seen her grow in her career from a consultant when I started seeing her in 2010 till now as professor and head of department at NUH! She is very patient and chillax, which I like because I'm equally chillax and don't work well with people who are 'gan cheong spiders'. Most importantly, she is good at what she does and I always recover very well after the whole delivery process.


Interestingly, our firstborn is an Independence Day ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฒ baby, our second one is a Christmas ๐ŸŽ„ baby (well almost Christmas anyway) while our third one is a Chinese New Year๐Ÿงงbaby!

Indeed, she's our best red packet of the year! ๐Ÿ˜

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

CNY in the Year of the Pig

It has become somewhat of a tradition to blog about Chinese New Year so this is a mandatory post! *laughs*

This is the second year I'm celebrating Chinese New Year while pregnant. Thank God that it's the final month of pregnancy and my baby is finally allowing me to enjoy the CNY feasting!

Yummy beef and crab for our reunion dinner
Home BBQ instead of steamboat for a change ๐Ÿ˜„
Cheese lobsters and scallops
Lee family reunion group photo
Heng family reunion group photo

I will probably only celebrate CNY while pregnant twice in my lifetime so I might as well enjoy it! Despite being 39 weeks pregnant and bursting at the seams, I'm so glad that I still managed to fit into the reddest maternity/nursing dress that I own!

Kids in their CNY outfits and wishing their elders happy CNY
Our annual CNY group photo
(man, I look like a whale! :S)

As usual, we gathered at my grandmother's house as we do every year for CNY. I will try to get a group photo of all the cousins every year and every year, I will try to convince my grandmother to be in it. Some years she would do it grudgingly and some years she would refuse. This year she actually willingly agree to take photos with us!

With my beloved grandmother

My grandmother is someone who fights for her family and refuses to let poverty stop her children from achieving their dreams. This strength and fearlessness of not being afraid to speak her mind was passed down to mother, then to my sister and I and hopefully to my daughters. We are strong and independent women and proud of it!

We went home after that to the first Lee family CNY gathering that we hosted at our home.

CNY Lo Hei
Huat ah!

I was soooo tired from all the festivities that I had to go hide in my room and lay down to rest before dinner! I spent the whole of the next day recovering from the first day of CNY *laughs*

Happy CNY! =)


Check out our previous CNY celebrations:

Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Final Trimester of Baby #3

Being pregnant with my third baby has been quite a different experience as compared to my first two pregnancies.

For one, I had gained a grand total of 23kg each for my first two pregnancies but had only gained 16kg for this pregnancy (considered little for me! *laughs*).

I think the weight gain was kept to a minimum because:

1) Pregnancy sickness resulting in vomiting
Unlike my first two pregnancies where I felt nauseous but did not throw up, I was throwing up in the toilet all the time for this one until about 20 weeks of pregnancy! This was new to me as I had never needed to speed walk to the toilet just to get whatever that baby did not like out of my body! ๐Ÿคข

Although I finally stopped throwing up after 20 weeks of pregnancy, I continued to experience nausea until 32 weeks of pregnancy. Yes, I'm one of the unfortunate women who experience pregnancy sickness for the whole pregnancy ๐Ÿ˜’

2) Diet
Again, unlike her siblings, this one does not like food that is too oily, too salty or too spicy. I can't stomach things like mala soup, fried chicken, chocolate, jelly and duck meat, just to name a few.

Instead, my baby really loves the plain ole Teochew porridge with salted egg and soda water with lemon! I eat this almost everyday! My baby also loves beef, which is my go-to food whenever I feel nauseated and can't eat anything else. She also likes ice cream and ice kachang, which I gotta have at least twice a week! ๐Ÿ˜‹

Thank God that the nausea finally went away after 32 weeks and I could enjoy most of the food that I have always loved! I gained like 5kg alone in the last month of pregnancy! *laughs*

3) Pilates
Technically, I also did prenatal pilates when I was pregnant with my boy and I still gained weight, but well... for this pregnancy, the only exercise I did other than walking was Pilates and it definitely kept me in good physical shape to handle the pregnancy.

Me doing Prenatal Pilates at my usual studio

I like to think that Pilates was the reason that I only spent 3 hours in the delivery suite for the birth of my boy. All the exercises we do to strengthen our core definitely helped in pushing the baby out!

(Update: I only spent 2 hours in the delivery suite for the birth of my littlest girl!)

With my colleagues in a dress that showed that I still have a figure despite being 34 weeks pregnant ๐Ÿ˜€

Unlike my previous pregnancies where I felt trapped in Singapore because we couldn't really travel, I did not feel the same way for this pregnancy. Perhaps it was because we had the option of travelling by car to Malaysia even if I couldn't travel by plane.

Some of our overseas trips during this pregnancy:

1) Ipoh
We got to visit the newly opened Movie Animation Park Studio (MAPS) at Ipoh as well as savour our favourite Ipoh food! So yummy!

2) Babymoon in Hong Kong

The hubby and I made the decision to bring our boy for the only trip via air for this pregnancy as we thought he would really enjoy Ocean Park. We had previously brought my girl to Ocean Park but not my boy so it was only fair that it was his turn. In future, we will definitely aim to bring all my kids to both Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland together as I love both theme parks!

3) Batam

You can always count on Batam as a good short weekend trip even when you are pregnant! It was such a relaxing weekend and it did not even cost us a lot of money.

4) Port Dickson
This was our first visit to Port Dickson and we really love it! The kids really enjoyed our very own private pool within our room at Grand Lexis Port Dickson!

Wearing matching t-shirts at the resort
Getting the kids to take pictures with my baby bump!
It's so big now that I can hardly fit into ordinary t-shirts anymore!

We also travelled regularly in and out of Johor Bahru until I was 37 weeks! After that, it became too risky for me to go to JB as we could get stuck in a jam on the causeway while I was in labour! Definitely not a situation that I would want to find myself in.

Lastly, this is probably the first time that I am not hating pregnancy like I did for my first two pregnancies. For my first two, I would usually be praying desperately for my baby to be born as soon as possible by the time I reached 38 weeks of pregnancy as I was getting tired of carrying such a heavy load everywhere.

This time however, I was not ready for the baby at all. Instead, I was hoping that she be born after 39 weeks of pregnancy as my doctor was on leave during my 38 to 39 weeks of pregnancy!

I suppose having gone through the full pain of labour in order to deliver my boy, you really can't blame me for dreading the pain that is to come in order to deliver my girl.

I'm just taking everyday as it comes and praying for God's presence and strength to be with me in the Delivery Suite. Praying for a smooth and VERY FAST labour and delivery!

Can't wait to meet my baby girl! =)

Very detailed ultrasound scan of my girl's face at 34 weeks of gestation

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