Monday, 8 July 2019

My Breastfeeding Diary (Baby #3): Back to Work

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


PREPARATION FOR WORK

Shortly after she turned one month old and fully breastfed by direct latch alone, I started to become worried about the amount of milk that I needed to prepare for her when I eventually goes back to work.

I was entitled to 16 weeks maternity leave (thank you Singapore!) and it is compulsory to take the first 8 weeks consecutively, and the last 8 weeks according to your personal preferences (it acts like annual leave).

I decided that I wanted to go back to work after 8 weeks of leave and then spread out the rest of my 8 weeks of maternity leave so that I only needed to work 3 days a week for about 5 months.

I had learnt my lesson the hard way with my boy, who didn't drink milk frozen for more than a month. I had to throw away bags and bags of my precious milk! This time, I was careful not to keep breast milk frozen for longer than a couple of weeks because I was sure littlest baby girl will not drink it.

In order to ensure freshness of the expressed milk, I decided to start pumping an extra 100-150ml of milk every day about 2 weeks before I was due to go back to work. By the time I returned to work, I had about six 180ml packets of milk for my baby.


BACK TO WORK

At work, I used a Spectra pump that I had borrowed from my friend. I really like Spectra as the suction is very powerful and can empty my breasts quite adequately.

My friend's Spectra S1
I have always pumped anywhere when I had my boy and that's not going to change now that I have my girl! I find it so much easier to just pump at my desk ๐Ÿ˜‚
My daily output

I usually pump about 150-250ml per session. I tried to pump at least 4 times (i.e. every 2 hours) when I'm at work but, unsurprisingly, I haven't been successful! I suppose I was too ambitious! Now I try to achieve at least 3 sessions a day at work so that I can maintain my supply.

Pumping 3 times a day wasn't the problem for me; it's washing my pump 3 times a day that's the issue! I really don't enjoy washing the pump!

When I complained to my colleague, she suggested that I put the pump parts in the fridge so that I can re-use it and not have to wash after every session. That really helped to lighten the burden of washing for me!

I read about the usefulness of the Freemie online and bought it to try it for myself. Instead of the usual funnels, Freemie collection cups fit into your regular nursing bra and collects your milk so that you can go hands-free. Apparently you can even pump while walking and I decided to try it. Guess what? It works! ๐Ÿ˜„

Freemie collection cups

You can choose to buy Freemie's pump motor or you can use your existing motor. Freemie is compatible with motors such as the Spectra and Avent. Do check whether your pump motor is compatible before you buy!

Unfortunately for me, when my Freemie first arrived, I found a crack in barrier. I tried to get it replaced but the process took a reeeeeaaalllly LONG time!!

There was a crack in my barrier when it arrived. Don't forget to examine all your pump parts before you use!

After multiple emails and calls back and forth for 2 months, a representative from the distributor FINALLY called me and told me that she will deliver the barrier to my house! I was so happy to receive it so that I can finally use my Freemie!

I really like the Freemie as it is indeed very convenient. I connect the cups to the motor, put them in my bra and viola, I can do whatever I need to do with both my hands. It is especially useful when I need to pump while taking minutes during meetings! ๐Ÿ˜„

To help me to transport my pump and milk, I also bought a bag with a cooler compartment at the bottom.

Pump at the top, milk at the bottom
Cooler compartment to store milk

I have since upgraded to a bigger bag but still use this bag to store the pump motor.


BABY REFUSES THE BOTTLE

While I was managing my pumping at work, the mum in law was trying very hard to feed the baby at home.

Unfortunately, no matter how we tried, the baby refused the bottle!

It was not the milk because she would reject all types of my expressed milk, no matter whether it was frozen or freshly expressed.

It was not the type of bottle teat or brand because we tried 3 types of bottle teats from different brands such as Avent, Pigeon and Dr Brown and yet she would reject them (I refused to waste money to buy more after that!). She would suck on them for the first day and then completely reject them the next day!

It was definitely not because I was hovering around and the baby could smell me because I was at work the whole time.

The mum-in-law tried letting her cry, hoping that she will eventually realise she had to suck it up and drink. I mean, as long as you are hungry enough, you'll eat anything right? Who would say no to a growling stomach? Most people would eventually give in, don't they?

Evidently, not my stubborn and determined littlest baby girl. The longest she had ever gone on a hunger strike, having drunk only 20ml the entire day, was 10 hours!

She wants what she wants and no amount of coaxing will do. It was a nightmare for my mum-in-law, who couldn't bear to hear her cries all day.

Finally we decided to try feeding her using a syringe, which was painfully slow and exhausting but seemed to work to get a little bit more milk in her system.

When she turned 4 months old and showed interest in food, the mum-in-law tried feeding milk with a silicone spoon to some success, it really depends on the baby's mood!!!! ๐Ÿ˜ด

However, the baby will only drink expressed milk for at most 2 feeds in a day. If the mum-in-law tried to feed her with expressed milk again, the attempt will be met with screams of anger! ๐Ÿ˜’


BABY AT WORK

I could tell my mum-in-law was almost at her breaking point and decided to give her a break by bringing the baby to office. I was hoping I could utilise my 'supermum powers' and take care of a baby while working a full time job.

Baby at work with her favourite person! ๐Ÿ˜„
Sleeping in her stroller at my cubicle

Although I managed to get work done while taking care of my baby (miraculously by God's grace!), it was physically and mentally exhausting! By the time I got home, both baby and I were so tired that we fell asleep earlier than usual and slept through the night!

If I can't take care of her for a whole day in office (especially not on days that I have meetings and/or trainings) and the mum-in-law can't take care of her for a whole day at home, the best compromise would be to split it between us (me half day, mum-in-law half day).

Usually this means that I will bring her to office in the morning, meet the mum-in-law for lunch and then she will bring the baby home (if I have meetings all day, she would bring the baby to me during lunch and go shopping till it is time for the baby's next feed). This arrangement has been very inconvenient for the mum-in-law logistically but has saved her a lot of frustration so she is happy with it so far. So thankful for a dedicated mum-in-law! ❤️

The littlest baby, on the other hand, LOVES going to work with me and meeting all my colleagues. She smiles at every single person she meets and wins their hearts! This is great because so far, no one has complained about her being in office!

So very grateful to understanding bosses and colleagues, who have had to endure the sudden cries of a baby every now and then but yet are always happy to see her in office! Colleagues have also volunteered to watch her while I finish my work. I really love my workplace! Very, very blessed! ♥️

Hopefully I won't have to bring her to work any more once she starts eating more solids when she turns 6 months old and can drink more milk via the silicone spoon. We're also crossing our fingers that she will suddenly drink from the bottle๐Ÿคž๐ŸปUntil then, it looks like the baby is sticking to me for a while, everywhere that I go!

Thank God that I still have maternity leave left! I'm enjoying every minute with my very clingy baby while I still can!๐Ÿคฑ๐Ÿฅฐ


~~~~~


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:

Baby #2
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)

Baby #3
Breastfeeding Baby #3: The First Month
Breastfeeding Baby #3: Back to Work

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Playdate at Jurong Lake Gardens Forest Ramble Playground

We arranged a play date with the boy's buddy (you know, the one who is only 7 days older) at the new playground at Jurong Lake Gardens. It has been at the top of my to-go list ever since it opened this year.

The playground, also known as Forest Ramble, is located between North and South carpark but from experience, the North carpark is nearer to the playground.

Do note that although it is an outdoor playground, it is closed every Monday for maintenance.

Forest Ramble consists of 13 play areas and each area is designed to get kids to mimick an animal's behaviour in nature. The area is also aptly named according to the animal that inspired it.

For example, the most prominent play structure in Forest Ramble is a tree house playground known as Snake Play due to the slides!

Climbing up and sliding down the slides at Snake Play
Feels very organic and even has trellis with climbing plants that I'm assuming will eventually climb to the top and provide additional shade for the play structure
Jumping off the slide
There is a slide for climbing UP rather than sliding down!
I think the designers observed that a lot of children love climbing up the slides so rather than dissuade them, they decided to encourage them!

The kids spent a lot of time playing at Snake Play after they had explored the other play areas beside it.

Navigating the ropes course at Monkey Play
See-saw made of wood at Squirrel Play. Very unique!
Learning how to balance on a log just like a squirrel at Squirrel Play
Jumping and balancing on bouncy boards
Climbing into a play structure that looks like a bird's nest
Little maze at Crab Play
(careful don't bump your head!) 

In the middle of Forest Ramble, near the water play area, there are toilets, bathing stalls and a nursing room. There are water coolers for you to refill your water bottles as well.

Water play area near the toilets
(I personally don't find this hygienic and refused to let the kids play here for more than 5 minutes)

We walked on to explore the other part of Forest Ramble where the flying fox and swings are found!

Bouncing on trampolines at Frog Play
Selfie with the baby under an umbrella because it was simply too hot!!
Climbing into the bird's nests at Heron Play

The kids loved the flying fox, which was smaller than the ones at West Coast Park but just as fun!

Helping my boy to get on and pushing him
Weeeeee!

Another unique feature of Forest Ramble is the four-way see-saw and swings of every kind!

Four-way swing/see-saw at Butterfly Play.
Best played with two opposing children of equal weight (such as the boy and his same-age buddy)
Left: Big swing that can accommodate more than one child;
Right: my girl enjoying the regular swings. 

For those who enjoy lazing around, there is also a hammock area where you can chill, enjoy the scenery and read a book.

Hammock area

The kids played non-stop for almost 3 hours and yet we did not manage to finish exploring the whole of Forest Ramble (we missed out exploring Sound Play and a merry-go-round). They were so exhausted by the time the daddy came to pick us after his work!

Obviously that meant that we also did not have time to visit Clusia Cove, a water play area with sand about 10-minute walk from Forest Ramble!

It's a good thing that we live nearby; we will definitely be back! ๐Ÿ˜„


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This post is part of my MadPsychMum Fun in Singapore Guide to all things exciting for kids! 
Check out other fun playgrounds and attractions in Singapore! =)


You can also follow us on Instagram or join us by using our hashtag #mpmfuninsg!

Friday, 21 June 2019

Bangkok IV Day 2: KidZania Bangkok

The kids were very excited because we're off to KidZania Bangkok today! KidZania Bangkok is located at Siam Paragon, which is about 10-15 minutes walk from our hotel.

On our way to Siam Paragon via the overhead bridge
Passing through Siam Discovery

KidZania Bangkok is located at Level 5 of Siam Paragon.

As usual, a huge airplane greets us at the entrance to KidZania

Checking in via the 'Departure gates' and queuing up at the bank to get our Kidzos

We are not strangers to the world of KidZania, having visited KidZania Singapore and KidZania Kuala Lumpur. If you're new to Kidzania, do read up on how KidZania works before going. Both English and Thai are spoken at KidZania Bangkok for ease of communication ๐Ÿ˜Š

It was too bad that KidZania Bangkok is not a participant of the B.Kidzanian pazzport programme otherwise it would have been even better for the kids who are B.Kidzanian citizens!

As usual, as there are too many jobs to cover in just one visit, we'll only highlight those we managed to do.

Meiji Milk Factory
Kids loved this as we don't have this in Singapore. At the end of the activity, the kids got a small bottle of Meiji milk each.

Making milk at the Meiji Milk Factory

Air Asia Aviation Academy
Kids were adamant that they wanted to be pilots (for the third time no less!) rather than cabin crew.

Left: Drinking their Meiji milk while queuing for their turn;
Right: Next in queue!
Parents can only observe their kids through the TV screen

Parents Lounge & Kindergarten
While the kids had fun at their 'jobs', the hubby and I hung out at the Parents' Lounge where no kids were allowed. However, they had to relocate us later to the Kindergarten for toddlers as the Parents Lounge was being used for a private event.

Left: Baby and I waiting for her sister and brother;
Right: Hubby found a corner to hang out at Parents Lounge. 
Kindergarten for toddlers

Baby was too young for the kindergarten but we still had a little bit of fun with her ๐Ÿ˜„

Lunch at Main Square
We dragged the kids to the cafe for lunch after their activity.

We shared a plate of beef bolognese spaghetti and a plate of sausage with fried rice

McDonald's Burger Restaurant
Despite being so full after lunch, the kids insisted to make burgers at McDonald's.

Learning to make burgers for the third time ๐Ÿ˜‚
Squeezing tomato sauce

The kids have done this activity sooooo many times and yet they still enjoyed it!

Construction Worker
This activity is unique to KidZania Bangkok. The kids took turns to control the crane, which moves albeit really slowly!

Let's start construction
Moving the bucket up and down using the crane

Courier Service
The kids have also done this activity soooo many times and yet,

Girl giving directions and boy pushing the cart

Yogurt Soft Serve Snack Truck
This activity is also unique to KidZania Bangkok. The kids enjoyed making it while this mama enjoyed eating it! ๐Ÿ˜‹

Activity conducted in a super cute Snack Truck!
Listening to the instructions
Stickers to stick on the cup! 
The yogurt comes with toppings!

My girl loves yogurt so this was great for her! The boy took one bite and told me he didn't like it (because it wasn't chocolate) so I ate it instead ๐Ÿ˜‹

Petrol Station
The boy wasn't tall enough to get a driving licence (poor thing was so disappointed) and the girl was too lazy (because you need to take a mock driving test) so they ended up becoming pump attendants instead.

Learning to pump petrol at the petrol station

Design Studio
Kids got a taste of interior designing at the Design Studio.

Laying out the decorations

Culinary School
The girl wanted to be a cook at Culinary School but the boy didn't so she did it herself.

Learning how to make jelly

Car Design
The boy preferred to design cars at the Honda Car Design Studio. He had a great time!

Designing at the Design Area

7 Eleven Mini Mart
Kids both enjoyed being cashiers and shoppers at this 7 Eleven.

Waiting behind the cashier for customers to pay
He really enjoyed scanning all the items
Finding things on a list to buy

Fire Department
All KidZanias have a fire department and even though the boy has done this activity twice before, he insisted on doing it again!

The boy is super into fire engines and firefighting right now so this is super up his alley!

The hubby and I took turns to watch the baby while the older kids did their activities.

Enjoying a good bounce on daddy's knee ๐Ÿ˜„

It was a great day for the kids, who had an awesome time, but the adults were happy to call it a day after their last activity! We likely won't be back to KidZania Bangkok but it was a nice visit while we were there.

We met up with the mum-in-law (who went shopping on her own instead) for dinner. Chaolay Seafood at MBK Centre had good reviews so we decided to try it.

Chaolay Seafood
Having a nice dinner after a long day
Clockwise from left: Thai Iced Milk Tea is a must in Thailand;
Seafood fried rice;
Spicy morning glory aka kang kong. 
Fried chicken and squid
You must order tom yam in Thailand! Haha

The tom yam was not bad but the rest had hits and misses. Unfortunately no wow factor for us.

After dinner, the girl and I did our nails at one of the salons at MBK Centre.

Very happy that she gets to do her nails
Pedicure and manicure
I think pedicures are more worth it for my girl because they last longer

Long but happy day (for the kids especially!) ๐Ÿ˜Š


Continue to >> Bangkok IV Day 3-5: Terminal 21 & Siam Paragon
<< Back to Bangkok IV Day 1: Baby's First Flight & Pathumwan Princess Hotel


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OR
Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Bangkok, Thailand 
as well as other travel itineraries!


You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)
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