Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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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!  

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

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#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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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

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The 3 Best Baby Shower Presents Ever (No Diaper Cakes)


Before I got pregnant, I was a strong believer in giving soon-to-be mums diaper cakes at baby showers because (a) it looked awesome and (b) everybody needs diapers! I have also been lucky enough to receive soooo many amazing presents for Baby J and there are plenty of standard baby shower gifts you can impress any pregnant woman with but... 

Just in case you're looking to really impress or give a very close friend/sister something meaningful in preparation for their baby, here is a list of things I absolutely found essential in the past 5 months of motherhood: 

Nasal Aspirator 



This can save your baby from so much discomfort, save you sleep and save you from spending lots of money from going to the hospital! Must buy! 

Basically what the nasal aspirator does is it sucks out all the dirt and phlegm from your baby's nose. Babies can't blow their noses yet so you can imagine how much it sucks (or rather, doesn't suck) when your baby has the flu but can't blow his or her nose. I know of some parents who didn't know that this existed and in the end the phlegm travelled into the baby's lungs and the baby had to be admitted in the hospital. Even if baby doesn't have flu, you'll need it to suck out milk from the baby's nose when they throw up milk from their nose and they're going to be doing a lot of throwing up until they are about 4-5 months old (heh heh heh I bet you virgins didn't know that baby throw up milk from their noses). 

Important tip 1: All the other designs sold at baby shops do not work because of the low suction power. You must buy the nasal aspirator with this design for maximum efficiency. 

Important tip 2: If you're caught in an emergency situation where baby can't breathe well and you don't have a nasal aspirator with you, suck out the gunk with your mouth. You gotta do what you gotta do. 

Every time any of our couple friends welcomes a new baby, we gift them with this because it's so practical and hard to find 

I bought mine at Prince Medical Court upon Dr. Choy's recommendation (he is the most longwinded, most amazing baby doctor I've ever come across! He's like a Ghibli studio character) for RM60. You can also purchase it at Mum's Care, apparently they're the only shop selling this style of nasal aspirator. I also recently found out that you can purchase this at BabyDash.com.my for about RM57.13 (not inclusive of delivery).

Bamboo Belly Bandit



I knew my stomach wasn't going to shrink itself after delivery because I hadn't exercised since 2011 so I actually signed myself up for a postpartum bengkung traditional belly wrap. Unfortunately I had a C-section so all the lady did was massage my body to boost circulation  because no one wanted to wrap a wounded belly. By the time I found out about the belly bandit, it was already too late for me but I'm definitely getting this for my second pregnancy. Belly bandits can be used even with C-section!

Basically the new mum wears this immediately after giving birth and it helps to shrink the uterus, thereby giving you a flatter stomach quicker. Your stomach does the most shrinking in the first month after baby is delivered, so it's important to purchase the bandit before your delivery for maximum effect. As for me, I am just going to go back to plain fashioned exercise (sigh). 

The Bamboo Bandit retails for RM314 on Littlewiz.com so this could be a great gift for a couple of girlfriends to share and buy for a pregnant friend. 


Baby Bottle Warmer Carrier



You never know how kind people are until you have to ask them for hot water! 

Although Baby J takes breastmilk exclusively, I can only manually feed her at home because I have performance anxiety outdoors and she thinks the feeding cover is a chance to play peekaboo. So whenever we go out, we always bring along packets of breastmilk to be warmed up whenever she wants to drink. The problem with this is that baby only drinks warm milk and milk only stays warm for 20 minutes; which means that every time baby wants to feed, we need to drop by the nearest Starbucks for a cup of coffee and a cup of super hot water to warm up the milk. 

I just discovered this carrier which retails for about RM100 available at Isetan's Baby Section. You basically put in the warmed milk bottle in the carrier and it will stay warm for at least 4 hours. 4 hours, you guys! 

That means 4 hours of not having to worry where the nearest source of hot water will come from! Anytime baby wants to drink, just whip the bottle out and you're good to go! 


I'll update the list if I think of any other must-have items. 

Perhaps also consider: Hands-free breast pump bra. I use mine everyday so I can do other stuff besides watching YouTube while pumping milk but it really depends on how the new mom feels about breastmilk. There is absolutely nothing wrong with formula fed babies (I am a S26 formula baby!) so while for me this is an essential item because we decided to feed Baby J breastmilk, it might not be the ideal gift for someone who would like to quickly wean their little one off breastmilk. 


I also really, really still like IKON so I'll do a post on Jinhwan next! (Probably). 

Enough baby posts (for now)! 

xoxo 
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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

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How to get pregnant fast (SMEP)

Dear future parents,

I hope this post saves you three years of wait and heart ache!



Having said that, I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and that each child is truly a gift from God. At the same time, this is how we nudged things along... whether it was by coincidence or if it really is accurate, we will never know till we try for our next few babies. :) We definitely plan to have more babies in the future, so leave a comment if you want to know how it goes! 

During our first year of marriage, it was fine not to have kids. By the time we were in our second year of marriage, our loved ones were already cajoling us into having babies, which was pretty ridiculous. 

Random stranger: "Don't wait so long! You're not young anymore!"
Us: "What a good idea! I never would have thought about it on my own! I will go get a baby right now!" 

Aw man, I remember those annoying talks with annoying people who spoke such empty thoughtless words simply because they have nothing else going on in their own lives. If you don't have time for babies or can't afford babies, you shouldn't have babies! Babies are precious gifts that need all your love and adoration to grow into meaningful members of society! Don't have babies simply because your parents/ uncle/ aunty/ grandma/ sister/ brother/ friend/ etc says so! 

Anyway, enough disclaimers. Here's how we got pregnant immediately after trying this method. It's called the SPERM MEETS EGG PLAN and basically goes like this:

Things you'll need: 
Ovulation predictor kit you can buy at Watsons or Guardian, get at least 4 sticks
Pregnancy test kit (one is enough!)
Calendar
Fertile friendly lubrication (although people have gotten pregnant with Durex lube and KY Jelly, I recommend Preseed. I purchased mine for RM132.50 per box plus Poslaju delivery and 6% GST.

Very important! 
Remember to start taking acid folic before you start trying for a baby! One pack of acid folic costs around RM5-RM10 at any local pharmacy (when in doubt, just go to the counter and ask the pharmacist for acid folic). Just take one tiny yellow tablet a day for a super healthy baby. 

Steps to Get Pregnant

1. Mark down your first day of menstruation on your calendar. This is Cycle Day 1 (CD1).
2. On the 8th day after CD1, have sex. 
3. On the 10th day after CD1, have sex. Also begin testing to see if you ovulate using the predictor kit. Remember to pee on the stick at the same time everyday for higher accuracy! Throw the kit away after the timing expires to prevent false positive. 
4. Once you have double lines (positive!) on your ovulation predictor kit, plan to have sex on that day, tomorrow and the following day. 

That's it! 

If/When your next period is late for 3 days or more, you can then test for pregnancy. 


I actually took photos of my ovulation monitoring adventures (not knowing at that time I would actually get pregnant so .... yeah, I know the exact three days and locations we had sex to make Baby J.)


CD 10 results - faint line is not considered a positive. More likely I left the stick lying around for too long and went to do other stuff, not knowing what was about to happen to us that month. :) 


CD 11 - no line


CD 12 - no line


CD 13 - positive! 

Prior to SMEP, I used to have sex around CD14 or 14 days after my menstruation hoping that I could get a baby this way, but this method demonstrated that you can ovulate early or ovulate late and it's different every month, so unless you get lucky or get busy very often, you will probably miss your ovulation window. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

I want to try this but I don't have an ovulation predictor kit! 
If for some reason you did not get a kit and cannot know when you ovulate, then basically just have sex every other day from the 8th day after CD1 until 16 days after CD1. I guess this would be a less accurate method, though and for me it would be too tiring to have sex this way :P 

I tried this and it did not work for me!
Statistically, you will never have a 100% chance of getting pregnant every month. My doctor advised us to try for a baby 6 months in a row before worrying about infertility, so don't give up! I believe that the SMEP will allow any fertile couple to conceive within 6 months.

My Last Disclaimer
Honestly when we tried the SMEP, we didn't really think it would work hence it was quite a big surprise when I saw the big fat positive result one month later - right after we just signed on to buy our first house and new car. Luckily, we are blessed enough to provide our baby with a somewhat comfortable middle-class baby life but there were moments when I wondered how we'd fit the baby into everything else that was going in our lives, such as when Wewo decided to start a business right before baby was born. 

I think part of the reason why we are so happy with our baby is because my husband and I are committed to the baby and each other. So remember to review your life, your marriage and finances before welcoming baby aboard! 

And also, happy baby making! Practice, practice, practice! 



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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Pink dip dye hair at Centro W Salon, The Gardens MidValley



Getting your hair done has changed a lot in the past 365 days!


I was lucky enough to be invited by the kind Jessica for a free hair makeover session at Centro right after my baby confinement was done, and the pampering session was seriously fun:



Centro W Salon is located at The Gardens Mall, 1st floor (Lot F235B). The shop was kind of full on a Monday, so do call ahead to book at tel: +603 22877330. My hairstylist was called Han and he's pretty nice and cute!



After discussing what my new hair would look like with my stylist, I was then served coffee (coffee! OMG they serve coffee in hair salons now!). The coffee was good and rich, not even the 3in1 kind. A year ago, all they served at hair salons was Chinese tea. I was especially excited about the coffee because during my confinement, I only drank red tea and the occasional glasses of water so... I had nearly gone nine months without drinking much coffee. Ahem.


I have my very own entertainment centre! They have a menu of movies you can watch while you get your hair done so you won't get bored. (I chose Godzilla... let them fight!)

There are also plenty of power points so you can charge your phone/tablets and if you forget to bring your charger, just ask one of the nice staff and they'll be happy to help you charge your electronics.



Colouring the top of my hair dark brown.


Hair wash.


Highlights!






The bleached results before the pink dip dye was added.


And after the dye, we had another hair treatment for the locks.






If it's lunch hour, the staff will even offer to buy you lunch from the nearby Japanese restaurant. I had seafood salad because one absolutely does not eat seafood during baby confinement.

Here's what my hair looked like before:



And here are the final results! Coloured hair, it has been a longggg time and I've missed you!





Total work done: Haircut, hair dye (to cover the roots), hair bleach, dip dye, hair treatment

How much: Pricing is very transparent, available at their website: http://www.centrohairsalon.my/services/


Verdict: I'd definitely go again! It's also a great place to buy Kerastase products because that's the only brand they use!


Here's an animation of the new hair:




Note: It has been over 3 months since I coloured my hair. In terms of colour lasting, Han the stylist chose a pink dye that allowed the colour to stick for a full month which is pretty standard. If you're looking for colour that really lasts, try purple. My hair is not pink anymore now, but it still looks very pretty. More recent pics coming up in new posts!
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