Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Is breastmilk better than formula milk?

Breastmilk is better than formula milk! Seriously?

That's the most exasperating, recurring conversation I have over and over and over again with the older generation in the family. In their time, formula milk was the best thing money could buy; 90's babies would know - I along with many of my classmates grew up on S26 baby formula milk and we turned out just fine. Before formula milk was the trend in Malaysia, babies actually grew up drinking condensed or evaporated tin milk mixed with water because people in the country were so poor back then and even that generation turned out fine as well. 

So before I go on any further, please let me say that I fully believe that moms have no business bullying themselves or others about their baby-feeding choices. In a blink of an eye, Baby J just recently turned 6 months old and it has become a very big reminder to me to just enjoy today, this moment, just enjoy every day because I'd rather spend my days playing and discovering my baby than worry about my milk supply or that somehow because I'm not organic enough, I'm not a good mom. If your baby is on formula milk, then good on you for making sure baby is fed!

So, about that breastfeeding... since I have been having plenty of similar conversations with current and soon-to-be moms, I thought of creating a Breastfeeding 101 post for new moms to refer to. This might not be the actual technically correct method of doing things.... it's just how I do things at home with my kid so if you do things differently, don't worry about it.

This is a non-sponsored post but was inspired by The Honest Company to let all new and existing mommies know that there is no wrong way to feed your baby.

Can I prepare for breastfeeding before delivery?
Besides purchasing a breast pump and bottles (btw MAM bottles seem to work well with newborns). A friend's confinement aunty actually taught us to "season our nipples" (I promise you that was the actual words she used) to prevent cracked or painful nipples. Just apply this to your nipples every other day after shower and true enough I had no cracked or pained nipples in the past 6 months of breastfeeding. Thank you, mysterious confinement aunty!

You can purchase this at any pharmacy (I've seen it at Guardian and Caring pharmacy) 

What's the most important thing new moms needs to know about breastfeeding?
Your milk doesn't come in immediately after your baby pops out and that's fine. Every time baby wants to suckle, just allow baby to latch on (every 2 hours or so) and by the fifth day post delivery you'll wake up to engorged boobs. During the first five days, your baby will have a tiny stomach and is really drinking colostrum from your body which is richer and more nutritious than breastmilk. 

How do you maintain your milk supply?
I drink plenty of Chinese soup (you need those with meat to extract the fat) and I still drink the red date tea most Chinese girls drink during their confinement. Leave a comment if you would like the recipe! Mine only uses two ingredients. 

I drink from this stainless steel mug every day.  I also drink plenty of good ol' water to stay hydrated.

My big pot of red date tea, this amount can usually last me two days. 

What is your pumping routine? 
I only started pumping my milk out after baby turned 1 month old because I had this weird paranoia that she would get nippled confusion. 

Hands-free pumping bra helps a lot because you can then surf the Internet, do your banking, shop and reply emails within those 30 minutes of pumping! Because I was busy with work during the first few months with Baby J, I actually pumped every 3 hours and she was bottle fed while I worked. After 3 months of pumping on that schedule, I moved on to only pumping at 9am, 3pm and 9pm, usually producing over 32 ounces of milk per day. 

Now that things have settled down and I don't have help with the baby anymore, I direct latch baby anytime she wants (usually every 2-3 waking hours) and I try to pump extra milk once in the morning during her nap time and once at night after her bedtime. 

What do you do when milk supply is low? 
It has happened before where I get 1 ounce of milk per boob per session. I either wait ten minutes and then pump again or I allocate some time after baby is sleeping to do power pumping. It also helps to pump both your boobs at the same time.

How long do you plan to breastfeed? 
For as long as baby wants it. I do not plan on weaning.

Will you ever consider formula milk?
If I run out of milk to give my child then yes, definitely. 

What is the one thing new moms must know? 
Feeding your baby using the football hold is the best! Except instead of using your arm to hold baby up, use pillows ... then you get to feed her hands-free and do other stuff while baby takes her time. I watched so much Netflix and Korean dramas on my iPad during the first month when she woke up every 2 hours to feed for 20-30 minutes. It was awesome because I was sleep deprived from catching up on The Good Wife and baby feeding.

Did you have any problems latching baby?
Yes! The first two days of baby's breastfeeding adventures with me must have been super annoying for her because I was convinced I was suffocating her with my boobs so I kept trying to dislodge her. Again, the football hold with pillows is the best for breastfeeding babies IMHO.  Since I discovered it, baby has been able to drink as much as she wants while lying on a soft, comfortable surface that didn't shake or move every 15 seconds. 

I have only recently began introducing her to the conventional method of breastfeeding (i.e. the cradling style) and now that she's stronger with more neck movement, she can enjoy the traditional breastfeeding method better. 

How do you know your milk is enough for baby? 
After baby's feeding I'll check to see if I still have milk in my boobs. If there is then she should have drunk enough. I also roughly keep track of her nappies. Also, if a baby is hungry, she won't be shy to tell you about it.

Is the Medela a good pump?
Yes but be careful of spillage! I've spilled milk many times. At first I was skeptical about spending so much money on a Medela (nearly RM2,000) so I purchased a RM700 M1 Spectra. The Spectra is a great first breastmilk pump but overtime I noticed the suction and pumping was weak/inconsistent. The rubber part also tended to fall out mid-pumping so it was annoying to use - keep in mind that you'll had to use your breast pump every 3 hours! If your budget is tight though then I would definitely recommend the M1 Spectra.

Enjoy your adventure with baby and don't sweat the small stuff! If you have any questions feel free to email me or leave a comment and if I don't know the answer, I'll check with my pediatrician!  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

#iKONCERTinKL: iKON's first concert in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Three years ago, YG introduced the world to 6 Korean kids known collectively as Team B. Although the entire reality show "Who Is Next" was geared towards the older team (Team A) winning the competition, I and millions of other viewers around the world fell for Team B. 

Every time I need a good cry and motivation to keep on pushing myself to do better in this world, all I need to do is re-watch their final performance which ends with them losing the competition and face the reality that the dream they spent their youth chasing may never come true. 

(English subtitles available in video) 

And then 1 year later, the same kids were re-introduced and long story short, they officially debut as iKON with an additional member, the maknae (youngest) Chanwoo. 

If you have time to spare, you can watch WIN: Who Is Next with English subtitles here

After you've finished WIN, you can watch the next series, Mix and Match with English subtitles here.

The story ends well because 3 years later, I somehow had the privilege of catching their very first iKoncert Asian tour in Stadium Negara! 

I was pleasantly surprised when a fellow iKONIC emailed me a few days before the event to ask me about parking. Hello! I hope you had a great time in the mosh pit. :) I had initially planned to Uber to the venue but we decided last minute to drive instead. Just drive there 2 hours ahead and you shouldn't have a problem finding parking. I believe parking was about RM20 flat rate. 

Spent the first hour playing with our phones and it was Pokemon Go craze in August, so Wewo had a lot of fun catching Pokemons while hanging around. 

Spent the second hour buying and eating snacks in the comfort of our car with the air-cond turned on. This is a great time to drink water too because you're not allowed to bring water into the venue. 

As an older iKONIC I feel that it is my duty as their die-hard fan to support the tour by purchasing original merchandise. The Konbat light stick is a mandatory purchase for all iKonics! 

Yes, we purchased the most expensive seats because when you're closer to 35 than 25, it's better to enjoy the concert while sitting down in a nice big chair. I am happy to report that we were not the oldest iKonics in the stadium and I even saw parents bringing their kids below 10 years of age to the concert. iKon's songs are loved by many! 

The people! The excitement was palpable! I remember that I kept thinking about how I couldn't believe I would be lucky enough to watch a live performance of Climax. 

Mandatory shot to prove that we were there! 

Special fan event where iKonics held up banners during the 'Long Time No See' track thanks to iKON Malaysia!

My precious treasures 

Performance feedback (in no particular order) 

Dong Hyuk: Dong Hyuk always turns to the right/left when he sings. He has a beautiful profile and angelic voice.

Yun Hyeong: Yun Hyeong was always bopping his head to the music, you could tell that he enjoyed every bit of the concert and was really into each track. 

Hanbin: This young man is really handsome. His stage presence is really no joke  - during his solo rap (Be I) all he had was this high school level mirror prop but he was so amazing that the whole stadium was bopping to his flow. 

Chanwoo: He really made the night with the trademark, "BAGUS!" He's the newest edition to the team with the least amount of time to practice but he has very steady vocals, nice dance moves and natural chemistry with the rest of the team. I'm glad because during the 'Mix & Match' era, I voted for Chanwoo to win and join the team.  

Bobby: Bobby had a very unfortunate hairstyle (he probably recorded his single Holup during this time) as he was blonde with dreadlocks. Nevertheless he had crazy energy throughout the whole concert and he pairs very well with Hanbin (in terms of energy performance and charisma they compliment each other very well). 

Jun Hoe: Jun Hoe was Wewo's favourite going into the concert but after the concert, we agreed that all the boys were likable. Just like Park Bom said, Jun Hoe's vocal tone is delicious and delightful to listen to.

Jinhwan: I cannot tell you anything about Jinhwan because he is and has been my favourite for the past 3 years. He is perfect and everything he did at the concert was perfect. I love you, Jinhwan!!! 

It made me really happy to have Jinhwan talk about the Malaysia concert during a radio interview in Japan:

Final consensus: We had so much fun at the concert, the boys behaved exactly like how they behaved in the videos and the music was amazing. With so little props, they still managed to provide an A-Star performance. I am looking forward to attending the next iKoncert! 

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