DISCLAIMER: It’s important to note that the posts in this page are NOT intended to be a medical reference or to replace professional care during pregnancy, labor, or birth.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

My Gentle Caesarian Birth Story

Assalamualaikum & Greetings Dear Mummies,

Below is my Gentle Caesarian Birth Story. Hope it benefits all InshaAllah.

This was my 4th Birth, Alhamdulillah.

1st & 2nd Birth: Medicated SVD (normal birth). I was on Pitocin to augment labour & also Pethidine for pain relief (2008 & 2011)

3rd Birth: Drug Free All Natural Waterbirth (2014)

It was an uneventful pregnancy this time around, Alhamdulillah. Well, uneventful until the last minute😬

At 35 weeks appointment, doctor said my baby was already engaged🤗 orang kita sebut "baby dah turun". And also in cephalic position (head down). so just waiting for time.

At 37 weeks appointment, blood pressure not so pretty. Advised for diet control (less salt) & home BP monitoring. Fyi, I had a history of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension with my 2nd pregnancy, which ended up in spontaneous preterm labour at 36weeks😅 With home monitoring, BP still wasnt so pretty but wasnt that bad..especially in the evenings. Probably due to dehydration/tired since its the fasting month & I am fasting? We continued to patiently monitor..

Another issue I had this time around was premature contractions. It started eversince I entered 3rd trimester (around 28 weeks) so I had to be on tocolytics (to reduce the contractions). Most of the nights, I could not sleep at all because of the intense contractions & back pain.

Time to time, I did belly dancing to reduce the discomfort. It really helped especially for the backache & pelvic pressure.

Anyways, back to the birth story. At 38 weeks on dot, I couldnt stand the contractions & noticed some leaking. It wasnt all that painful until you feel like dying😅 but it was pretty unbearable until I couldnt do much anymore. And I had some liquor leaking & show which started around 1pm 13.06.17.

Rested at home, tried walking around until around midnight. Pestered hubby to take me to hospital then..brought all the essentials (gym ball, essential oils, bunga akar fatimah, dates, air zam-zam etc).

Checked in into the same labour suite as my previous birth, had a sense of familiarity already😊

On assessment, contractions 1 in 5, moderate intensity, cervix not favourable, os not open.
Ok...so decided to wait until tomorrow morning..
A bit frustrated that os wasnt open yet😔
However, doctor asked to be admitted in view of leaking liquor & regular contractions.

14.06.17 (Wednesday)

11am: Doctor came to review. Contractions getting intense but still no os opening. I was so exhausted from the surges..in view of leaking liquor for almost 24hours & me being exhausted of surges, we decided to augment the labour using prostin..

6pm: Still no progress😓 contractions more intense. 2nd prostin inserted. Rested, walked, ate, showered, squats using gym ball, hip rotations using gymball etc..

15.06.17 (Thursday)

11am: Os only 1cm. Contractions intensifying. I didnt take any painkillers just yet..hoping labor would progress soon.. 3rd prostin in..
Cried to myself feeling so demotivated & exhausted at that point.. felt that I did my best to keep the pregnancy as healthy as possible.. ate well, exercised etc.. wondering why it was sooo difficult this time around.. back pain unberable.. still continued to walk, exercise, stretch, eat etc

6pm: Os 2 cm. Surges 1 in 3. Doctor came to review. It was these options

1st: take a "home leave". Go out or back home for a while and come back later to monitor progress.

2nd: induce labour. Start pitocin & rupture waterbag.

3rd: have a caesarian section.

8pm: Me & hubby did lots of thinking. And prayed. After considering many factors like..

Why we didnt opt for induction of labour? Doctor warned us of the dangers & risks..hyperstimulation, risk of fetal bradycardia (low heart beat)..& considering the fact that, if vaginal birth were to happened, we strongly felt that it would have already happened naturally or with just prostin augmentation.. how come was so prolonged this time around? And our intuition felt something wasnt right.. plus my BP was on the rising trend.. and prolong leaking liquor wasnt so good as well, risks for infection..hence, we opted for a caesarian.. it was a tough decision to make, but Alhamdulillah we finally came to a conclusion..

So we called the doctor and agreed for a caesarian that night itself.. i expressed some breastmilk before going into the operation theatre..and requested for hubby to have the honour of skin to skin with baby right after birth..

11pm: At the OT, it was time for epidural. MashaAllah, only God knows I am sooo scared of needles puncturing me, what more an epidural!!! Its like my worse nightmare. But Dr Idora was the sweetest, she hugged me tight when the anaesthetic doctor gave me an epidural knowing I was super scared of it.. she was really a gem, I cannot forget that moment, I was so touched..

11.40pm: Surgery started. Hubby witnessed it together with me, he was just beside me the whole way, comforting me, Alhamdulillah.

11.46pm: Saw the amniotic fluid being sucked out! Big smile on my face. I knew baby was coming!!! Soon, I heard a cry & saw my baby. MashaAllah tears of joy & relief rolling down my cheeks. I was given the chance to hold his little hands & did some cheek to cheek skin touch with him. Soon, hubby got the honour to clamp the cord. And off the two of them went to have some father & baby skin to skin time for two hours while I finished with surgery & was transferred to ward.

Baby was in occiput transverse position & had short cord. Probably that was the cause of prolonged labour🤔

Post op, I was paranoid for a while. I couldnt feel my legs! Yeah that was expected of an epidural but it was the worse feeling ever. My legs were as heavy as it can be & At that moment I realized.. how ungrateful I had been to God's blessings..
Honestly, this was an unexpected pregnancy, and I am not ashamed to admit that I was tired of raising my 3 kids, let alone thinking of raising a newborn..I was in denial most parts of the pregnancy even though I tried my best to eat well , exercise & stay positive..
All that was running through my mind NOW AFTER NOT BEING ABLE TO FEEL MY LEGS was how lucky I was to have been given good health all this while.. and I shouldnt be complaining at all of how tired I am raising kids..instead I should be thankful of this wonderful opportunity! My paranoia with my legs continues up until the ward, i kept asking when would I be able to feel my legs? The nurses were sweet comforting me, saying soon it will be ok.. and true enough, in a few hours time, I could already feel them, Alhamdulillah..

At the nursery, hubby did skin to skin & the nurses fed my son my expressed milk. MashaAllah, I was so happy he got skin to skin time with daddy! And we delayed bathing him until the next day, let all that beautiful vernix (whitish substance on the skin) stay & do it's magic.

When I was back in the ward, about 2 hours post birth, I got some skin to skin time & also started breastfeeding baby.

Alhamdulillah, it was a new amazing, humbling & eye opening experience for me😊 I have no regrets or remorse that I opted for a caesarian because I knew I tried my best to have a healthy pregnancy & natural birth.. & I understood the need for caesarian in this situation. And it was done so gently & respectful of our requests & consent.

I hope sharing this birth story benefits other families InshaAllah❤️I am finally a lucky mother of four beautiful children❤️

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Tips on Pumping Breastmilk

Worried about not producing enough milk stock for baby while you are at work?

Which pumps to choose? How long & frequent to pump?

Which breastpumps to choose ? How to increase milk production?

All these are common thoughts that goes through a breastfeeding mother’s mind.
Worry not mummies! Here are some tips to ease your breastfeeding journey.

How Long & Often to Pump?

1. A Quality Breastpump is able to remove on average 99.4% of available breastmilk
from breast within 5 minutes of commencing pumping.

2. After 15 minutes of pumping, only minimal volumes will be removed after that
time period.

3. So, time recommended to pump (per breast) is 5 to 15 minutes.

4. You are recommended to pump according to baby’s normal feeding schedule at
home (while baby is with you). Meaning, if baby usually feeds every 3 hours or
so, try to mimic that timing while you are at work & pump every 3 hours or so.

Which Breastpump To Use?

1. Breastpumps are based on individual preference as every mother has different
preferences, priorities, budget & lifestyles.

2. A double, electric breastpump is highly recommended because double pumping
(pumping both breasts at the same time) saves the mother time and has been
shown to result in higher milk output than when using a single breastpump
(pumping each breast seperately).

3. A breastpump which is lightweight, portable & comes with a handsfree kit will
ease mothers to pump. When mothers feel at ease to pump, most likely mothers
will pump consistently. CONSISTENCY of milk removal is very important because
the more milk is removed from the breast, the more milk will be produced.

What Else Can I do to Increase Breastmilk Output
While Pumping?

1. Massage breasts before & while using electric breastpump. Finish pumping
session with hand expression method. The average milk production increases
by 48% when combining breast massage & hand expression during pumping

2. Look at baby’s photos or videos or sniff baby’s clothes while pumping. This can
increase oxytocin hormone (one of the main hormones in breastfeeding) & result
in better milk output.

3. Having some nutritious, yummy snacks OR comforting, warm drink during
pumping also helps mothers get energized & relaxed, hence helps to increase
oxytocin flow & result in better milk output.

Where Can I Get Quality & Affordable Breastpumps?

Check Out our Website www.evelove.com.my for range of breastpumps.

Where Can I Get Breastfeeding Support?

1. For Breastfeeding Consultation with Certified Lactation Counselor, you may
enquire for appointment via whatsapp 019.5005959 or click here for enquiry.

2. For Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Support, click here to find a Peer Counselor.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Does Mode of Birthing Have Any Effect on Breastfeeding?

It's been quite a long hiatus since I wrote. Truly I love writing and I find it a source of therapy for myself while I share whatever little knowledge I gained during studying and consultation sessions with my clients.

As a Childbirth Educator and also a Lactation Counselor, this is a topic close to my heart. Does MODE OF BIRTHING actually has any impact on breastfeeding success? Let's have a little insight on this topic.

Firstly, I will briefly enlighten on the lactation physiology for a better understanding.

Very briefly focusing on lactogenesis, it is divided into 3 stages.

Stage 1: Begins during the second trimester of pregnancy & continues until about day 2-3 postpartum. During this period, the breast undergoes changes to prepare for lactation while the constituents of milk are already being manufactured and ready to be released under stimulation of prolactin after childbirth.

Stage 2: Begins during postpartum day 2 or 3. This is when a mother might feel a sensation of breast fullness or also known as "milk coming in".

Stage 3: This is the phase of maintainence of breastmilk secretion. This occurs during days 14 to day 30 of post partum. This is when mature milk is established. Prolactin and Oxytocin is essential for effective maintainence of milk supply, therefore frequent nursing and milk expression (if necessary) is essential during this period of time to ensure sufficient supply.

Note the changes in breastmilk with time

Onset of secretory activation (lactogenesis II) is an endocrine@hormonal function, while maintenance of lactation, lactogenesis III, is an autocrine@local function with the control located in each breast. 

With this in mind you will understand that mode of delivery will not affect the physiological onset of lactation. 

Type of BirthDelayed Milk Onset
Spontaneous vaginal16%
Assisted vaginal42%
Scheduled cesarean27%
Emergency cesarean56%
                                         (Adapted from Dewey, 2003)1 

Note that the mode of delivery (vaginal vs cesarean) was not the cause of delayed lactogenesis. Only something that interferes with the proper functioning of the endocrine system will delay or inhibit secretory activation such as accidents at birthing for example, retention of a functional portion of the placenta that continues to secrete progesterone, or a hemorrhage severe enough to cause Sheehan's syndrome (pituitary gland necrosis). And so might stress.

   Below are some studies associating stress & delayed milk onset. 
High stress levels are correlated with high cortisol levels. Cortisol, in normal concentrations, is also necessary to initiate secretory activation (lactogenesis II) successfully, though what its role is isn't fully understood yet.

  • The relationship between the birth experience and lactation performance of 40 women was explored. Stress hormones were measured in serum or plasma during pregnancy, parturition (cord and maternal blood), and lactation. The researchers found that markers of both fetal and maternal stress during labor and delivery were associated with delayed breast fullness.2

  • Salivary cortisol levels were studied in women intrapartum and postpartum, to ascertain any link between them and the onset of lactation. Onset of lactation occurred later in women who had higher cortisol levels. Primiparous women had higher levels than multiparous women. They concluded that stress during labor and/or delivery is likely to be a significant risk factor for delayed onset of lactation.3

  • Two mechanisms have been suggested to explain the link between delayed lactation and stress. Firstly, maternal stress seems to interfere with the release of oxytocin causing poor milk removal. Although milk removal is not necessary to trigger secretory activation, it may be related to the timing of onset of full milk production or the volume of milk produced. And secondly, a newborn who experienced stress during labor and delivery may be too weak or too sleepy to latch on and suckle effectively at the breast.4

  • Cortisol levels were measured in the fetus and correlated with birthing circumstances. Umbilical vein cortisol was significantly elevated in association with spontaneous normal birthing, but highest for infants experiencing an instrumental delivery and lowest in infants delivered by elective cesarean section.5

  • Cortisol levels fell significantly during the breastfeeding sessions on Day 2 postpartum and correlated with the duration of skin-to-skin contact before the onset of sucking. However, between mothers having received epidural analgesia, with and without oxytocin, cortisol levels differed significantly. The researchers noted that medical interventions in connection with birth influence the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis 2 days after birth.6

What about Caesarian Sections & Instrumental Vaginal Deliveries?

Women who have a cesarean section experience a significant delay in initiating breastfeeding compared with women giving birth vaginally, with or without instrumental assistance.7,8 One study showed that breastfeeding rates at 8 months weren't significantly different7 while another8 showed that cesarean delivery was associated with a lower breastfeeding rate at discharge and at follow-up at 7 days, 3 and 6 months of life. In a further population that has a high breastfeeding initiation and duration rate, cesarean section delivery was significantly related to earlier cessation of breastfeeding.9

A Hong Kong study followed a very large cohort and identified cesarean delivery as a risk factor for:10
  • not initiating breastfeeding
  • for breastfeeding for less than 1 month, and
  • a significant hazard against breastfeeding duration.
  • Assisted delivery with forceps or vacuum, although not associated with breastfeeding initiation, was a significant risk for reduced breastfeeding duration.

An interesting study investigated differences in the hormonal patterns of oxytocin, prolactin and cortisol between women delivered by emergency cesarean section or vaginally, and their relationship to the duration of breastfeeding. The researchers found that the mothers birthing vaginally had significantly more oxytocin pulses on Day 2 than the cesarean section mothers. Furthermore, the cesarean section women lacked a significant rise in prolactin levels at 20-30 min after the onset of breastfeeding. They were able to link the oxytocin pulsatility on Day 2 to the duration of exclusive breastfeeding.11

I have not touched on the intrapartum factors like ability to eat, drink, IV fluids commencement, mobility, analgesia with regards to breastfeeding; which I will do so in future posts, hopefully :-)

Maternal Commitment? In the end, this is the most important key to breastfeeding success!

Several authors(7,9,12) have demonstrated that maternal commitment and support by health care professionals are significant factors in the mother reaching her breastfeeding goal when obstetric factors are against it. Intervention is sometimes lifesaving, and sometimes we are in no position to prevent unnecessary intervention. Giving the neonate and mother as much skin-to-skin contact as possible, being patient and continuing to support the mother for as long as it takes are all important to assisting her to follow through with her commitment to breastfeeding. 

Of course, early preparation like attending breastfeeding and birthing classes during the antenatal period would help mothers be well prepared on birthing and breastfeeding, empower themselves with knowledge and ensure that they understand what is happening during the time of labour to avoid stress on themselves should anything unplanned happen along they way.

So, moral of the story, be it spontaneous vaginal delivery or caesarian section..empower yourselves with knowledge, understand what is going on with your body and should you need necessary interventions, understand the situation, think rationally, avoid grudge or holding on to emotional baggage..please avoid stress...and believe that you can breastfeed your baby!


  1. # Dewey KG et al. (2003) Risk factors for suboptimal infant breastfeeding behavior, delayed onset of lactation, and excess neonatal weight loss
  2. # Chen DC et al. (1998) Stress during labor and delivery and early lactation performance
  3. # Grajeda R et al. (2002) Stress during labor and delivery is associated with delayed onset of lactation among urban Guatemalan women
  4. # Dewey KG (2001) Maternal and fetal stress are associated with impaired lactogenesis in humans
  5. # Mears K et al. (2004) Fetal cortisol in relation to labour, intrapartum events and mode of delivery
  6. # Handlin L et al. (2009) Effects of sucking and skin-to-skin contact on maternal ACTH and cortisol levels during the second day postpartum-influence of epidural analgesia and oxytocin in the perinatal period.
  7. # Rowe-Murray HJ et al. (2002) Baby Friendly Hospital Practices: Cesarean Section is a Persistent Barrier to Early Initiation of Breastfeeding
  8. # Zanardo V et al. (2010) Elective cesarean delivery: does it have a negative effect on breastfeeding?
  9. # Shawky S et al. (2003) Maternal factors associated with the duration of breast feeding in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  10. # Leung GM et al. (2002) Breast-feeding and its relation to smoking and mode of delivery
  11. # Nissen E et al. (1996) Different patterns of oxytocin, prolactin but not cortisol release during breastfeeding in women delivered by caesarean section or by the vaginal route
  12. # Janke JR (1988) Breastfeeding duration following cesarean and vaginal births

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Why is Direct Latching an Important Aspect of Breastfeeding?

Its been a while since I've written an entry and I am pleased to do so tonight while my three angels are fast asleep. I have been having this entry in my mind for a while but really haven't had the time nor energy to write up. Thank God for tonight :-)

The reason for this post is recently there has been quite a number of mummies who texted me mentioning they have breastfeeding problems (mostly latching issues). Sadly, some have opted to give up direct latching and continue to exclusively pump without further attempting to consult a lactation counselor to correct the latch.

Really, why is direct breastfeeding important? Nowadays there are so many high technology quality breastpumps around, we can get away with exclusive pumping, can we?

Well the answer is, I am afraid that NOT ALWAYS can we get away with exclusive pumping.

That being said, I do understand when some mothers have to opt for exclusive pumping. I had the "privilege" to experience relactation for my 2nd daughter. We had all the issues with us, starting from premature (weak baby) & drowsy mother (from anti-hypertensive and painkillers) at birth..then baby having a posterior tongue tie (which was difficult to detect), leading to latching issues, nipple injuries, which then led to inefficient breastmilk emptying, fussy baby, and ended up with low milk supply & a very depressed ME. I gave up with breastfeeding when my daughter was 6 weeks old and started relactating when she was 3 months old. During that period, she was bottle fed with formula milk. As I started to relactate, I attempted using the SNS for her, but she furiously refused after multiple attempts, it really broke my heart to force her to latch so I opted for exclusive pumping for the sanity of me to ensure I was happy & baby got the breastmilk she needed.
With God's will, I managed to establish my milk supply when baby was 6 months old and believe it or not, she is now 3 years 11 months and still drinking expressed breastmilk :-)

Needless to say, I DO UNDERSTAND why sometimes Exclusive Pumping happens.

But, I would also love to educate mothers on why direct latching should be the norm and should be attempted first before you actually decide to exclusive pump (if you wish).

This post would be extremely long if I were to write the ALL the benefits of direct latching. Hence, I will just pick on the bits and pieces of imporant facts on why direct latching is so important.

1. Direct Latching allows Skin to Skin Contact which Promotes Bonding, Releases Oxytocin and Endorphins(Love & Happy Hormones).

Just sitting down or lying down, it really feels good to be able to hold your baby in your arms, eye to eye, talking to him or her..it really releases the stresses of life & you get to REST despite how busy the life surrounding you is. Really, it is such a blessing in disguise.!
You just have to sit or lie down and do nothing for that moment while breastfeeding. Just you, your baby and that lovely bonding moment.
It really will promote healthy emotional growth for your infant & ensure you get that boost of love and happy hormones which is good for your emotional health as well! (protects you againts developing post partum depression).
This is why Skin to Skin & Rooming in with baby is precious and much promoted afterbirth!

Human babies and mammals are born with an inbuilt pre-programming to search for and stay closely orally attached to the mother's biological nipple. 
Babies thumb-suck and dummy-suck when they are deprived of the mother's biological nipple.....If a newborn baby cannot have access to it's mother's nipple to love and for enjoyment, comfort and safety, then it is going to find the next best thing to 'love' and this is usually a thumb or a dummy.
Elsie Mobbs RN RM Bsc MStud Psychol PhD

2. Direct Latching Eases your Logistics with Baby :-)

Really mothers, I know how it feels to be stuck to a breastpump 8 times a day. Really its no fun. Especially the part where you have to wash the pump parts so many times a day.
Then imagine outings with your baby. You have to bring along baby, baby stuff (diapers, clothes change etc) and breastpump! Like really, Imagine having to have a pump break, with having to care for baby and then having to feed baby breastmilk using bottle then wash the pump and bottles! Trust me, it is a hassle (despite being such a BLESSING, that you still get to provide breastmilk for your child).

What about night feedings? Think of having to warm up EBM while you are half asleep with a hungry baby crying, then having to wash the bottle afterwards, then pump milk in the middle of the night, and then wash the breastpump parts afterwards. It is indeed challenging and tiring.
I truly admire exclusive pumping mothers for their patience and determination. I have been there and done that, and when I look back, I realize that I only was able to do that with God's will.

With my 3rd baby, Alhamdulillah I am privileged & blessed to be able to directly latch. So my outings are made to ease with just bringing my extra large handbagto put a few baby stuff and my baby in a carrier or sling. No fuss of bringing EBM, ice bricks, hot water, breastpumps, etc.

3. Maintaining Breastmilk Supply.

I have yet to come accross a study/research stating that direct latching is better to ensure your breastmilk supply is sustained longer compared to exclusive pumping.
That being said, logically, when holding baby in your arms, there is so much oxytocin and feelings of love flowing through the bloodstream right? As we know, oxytocin is the hormone essential for breastmilk excretion to happen. Frequent direct latching & loads of oxytocin boost will surely sustain your breastmilk supply right?
Of course using a good quality breastpump would also assist in maintaining breastmilk supply if we frequently empty our breasts with frequent pumping sessions.That being said, I'd choose to cuddle up with baby than being strapped to a pumping machine if I had the choice to do so!

4. Dental Outcomes of Breastfed Children

Babies who were direct latching has better dental outcomes in future as indicated by various studies, studies quoted below. This is because the oral muscles and jaw movements involved in breastfeeding and bottle feeding is very different.

Toungue moves forward.
Tip of nipple at junction of hard & soft palate.
Lips wide and flared open.

Toungue bunched upwards and backwards.
Nipple does not reach junction of hard & soft palate.
Lips not wide and flared open.

Predominant breastfeeding was associated with a lower prevalence of OB, OJ, and MSM, but pacifier use modified these associations. The same findings were noted between exclusive breastfeeding and OJ and between exclusive breastfeeding and crossbite. A lower prevalence of OB was found among children exposed to exclusive breastfeeding from 3 to 5.9 months (33%) and up to 6 months (44%) of age. Those who were exclusively breastfed from 3 to 5.9 months and up to 6 months of age exhibited 41% and 72% lower prevalence of MSM, respectively, than those who were never breastfed.

Exclusive Breastfeeding and Risk of Dental Malocclusion
Karen Glazer Peres et al.

Pediatrics, Volume 136, number 1, July 2015

The acts of breastfeeding and non-nutritive sucking demonstrate opposite effects on oral development. 
Anterior open bite is significantly associated with reduced breastfeeding duration:
  • Prevalence of malocclusion was 31.9% in the non-breastfeeding group, 26% for breastfeeding less than 6 months, yet only 6.2% for 3-6 year old who had breastfed for longer than 12 months. 2
  • A strong association between any type of non-nutritive sucking habits (on pacifier or thumb/finger) and the development of either anterior open bite, posterior cross-bite or overjet was found in children at average age of 5.9 years.
  • Non-nutritive sucking activity, rather than the type of feeding in the first months of life, is the main risk factor for development of altered occlusion and open bite in deciduous dentition. However, children with non-nutritive sucking activity and artificially-fed had more than double the risk of posterior cross-bite. Breastfeeding has a protective effect against development of posterior cross-bite in deciduous dentition. 
  1. # Romero CC et al. (2011) Breastfeeding and non-nutritive sucking patterns related to the prevalence of anterior open bite in primary dentition.
  2. # Luzzi V et al. (2011) Malocclusions and non-nutritive sucking habits: a preliminary study.
  3. # Viggiano D et al. (2004) Breast feeding, bottle feeding, and non-nutritive sucking; effects on occlusion in deciduous dentition

Dental caries

Bottle-feeding or failure to cease use of pacifier before teeth eruption disturbs teeth development. The development of dental caries has the following strong associations:
  • pacifier use at 18 months
  • prolonged bottle-feeding  and night time bottle-feeding 
  • the use of bottle-fed sweet milk drinks and the use of pacifiers.Strep mutan and other caries-related micro-organisms are found in the mouths of children who use pacifiers and prolonged use of feeding bottles with sweetened milk.
  1. Yonezu T et al. (2008) Longitudinal study on influence of prolonged non-nutritive sucking habits on dental caries in Japanese children from 1.5 to 3 years of age.
  2. # Qadri G et al. (2012) Early childhood caries and feeding practices in kindergarten children.
  3. # Mohebbi SZ et al. (2008) Feeding habits as determinants of early childhood caries in a population where prolonged breastfeeding is the norm.
  4. # Tyagi R (2008) The prevalence of nursing caries in Davangere preschool children and its relationship with feeding practices and socioeconomic status of the family.
  5. # Ersin NK et al. (2006) Association of maternal-child characteristics as a factor in early childhood caries and salivary bacterial counts

Mothers, I truly would suggest that we try our level best to direct latch, seek help if needed and obtain all the support we can before resorting to exclusively pumping.
Needless to say, I know how it feels to be in a situation where I had to exclusively pump. So if you decide to exclusively pump, do it so with pride and CONSISTENCY to ensure that your baby gets the breastmilk he/she deserves :-)

Lots of Love.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Birth Plan

Assalamualaikum/Greetings Lovelies!

It's my pleasure to be writing this entry.

What is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is a document that tells your health-care provider, your birth team/companion (eg husband, spouse, doula etc) and the hospital staff what kind of childbirth you would like and how you would like your baby cared for after he/she is born. 

Imagine going for labour like going for a marathon. Oh yes, it is indeed hard work preparing for labour. BUT you have approximately 40 weeks or so to prepare for it. And what happens if you don't prepare for it? Just imagine going for a marathon without preparation. What are the worst scenarios that could happen? Fatigue, Muscle Crapms, Injuries, Giving Up Halfway etc...
Same goes to birthing.

When should you start drafting a Birth Plan?
If you ask me, personally my answer would be as soon as you plan to conceive @ at pre-conception stage itself. No such term as "too early" to prepare for birthing! It’s also a good idea to discuss the plan with your partner and your family if they are going to be involved in some way. However, it is your body, and your family needs to understand that you are the only one who can make some of the more personal decisions.

What should be included in a Birth Plan?

When writing a birth plan, consider the list of things you want during:

  • Labour (Consider things like pain relief methods, freedom of movement, allowing labour to progress naturally, how you want the room to be set eg music, aromatherapy, how many companions you want & who are they, do you consent to any invasive or surgical procedures, and if yes; under what circumstances)
  • After Childbirth (Consider Natural Placental Expulsion, Delayed Cord Clamping, Skin to Skin, Immediate Initiation of Breastfeeding etc)
  • Method of Care to the Newborn (Consinder whether or not you want vaccination for the baby, consider delayed bathing etc)

Below is an example of my birth plan. As you can see, after prior discussion with my healthcare provider, and after mutual agreement of what I request and what she agrees to carry out for me, we put all in writing and signed the birth plan. Two copies, one for me to keep and another for the hospital record.


Tips for writing a birth plan:

1. Keep it short & focused in point forms.

2. Do not cut and paste from someone's else's birth plan. This should be unique to you. But that doesn't mean you can't look at other people's birth plans  to get some ideas.

3. Avoid a list of "don't wants". Instead, mention what you want. This would not only make the birth plan a positive note to read, it may sound a bit more friendlier to the health care provider.

4. Be precise on what you want and avoid vague words like "minimal" or "only if necessarry". Your definition of "only if necessary" or "minimal" might defer from others.

5. Know what you want and be assertive about it. Use wordings like "It's really important that..." or "I humbly request your support ...." INSTEAD OF "I prefer..." .

What if my health-care provider refuses to co-operate with my Birth Plan?
Use your birth plan as a catalyst for your own research. Attend birth classes (trusted resources) & read up as much information as you can from evidence-based articles & journals.
 When you present your birth plan to your healthcare provider, pay attention to his or her reactions and listen to their feedback and consider their suggestions. Every individual & each case is not similar, hence your healthcare providers suggestions do play an important role in ensuring your well-being & safety. However, the point is for your healthcare provider to respectfully look into your birth plan, then discuss with you if there are any issues regarding it & educate you with all the necessary knowledge so that both parties can come to a mutual decision. Vice versa, if you find your healthcare provider acting in a demeaning manner to your birth plan & rejecting it without prior justification, hence my take is you should shop for other healthcare providers!
The White Ribbon Alliance has advocated for Respectful Maternity Care, so you have the rights to plan your birth & be attended respectfully by Healthcare Proffesionals!

Certainly, to write up your own birth plan, you have to be sure what you want first!!

Therefore, knowledge is important to be able for you to know what you want in the first place.
Learn, unlearn & relearn! For the best of you & baby!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Right-Left Breastmilk Imbalance

Dear Mummies,
Remember 4 days ago, I posted in my Facebook Page about Right-Left Milk Imbalance? Sorry this Mummy of Three kids has been busy so the follow up post is delayed. 

Anyways, you can see from the photo, on 4th of March my right side is way more than left side. And the photo below is today (8th of March), my Left side is way more than my right side.  How did this happen? 

TOP: 4th March 2015
BOTTOM: 8th March 2015

My personal experience aside, let's go through the CAUSES of Right-Left Breastmilk Imbalance:

  • Typical Anatomic Differences. It’s very common for mothers to have different number of milk ducts on both breasts. This can lead to variations in breastmilk supply and breast appearance.
  • Forceful or Weak Letdown. It’s also possible that you may have one breast with a more or less forceful letdown than the other. A forceful letdown could be overwhelming to your little one, causing them to pull away from the breast and prefer the other side. Likewise, a less forceful letdown could be frustrating to a hungry belly. To help your little one nurse on the less forceful side, do breast compressions to increase the flow while feeding.
  • Baby’s Preference. Some babies may, quite simply, just prefer one breast over the other. It may be more comfortable to them, or just easier for them to latch. If your baby refuses one breast, ask your doctor to do a thorough physical exam to check for birth injuries or an ear infection. This discomfort could cause your little one to reject certain nursing positions or breasts.
  • Mother’s Preference. Many moms may unknowingly prefer feeding from one breast and spend significantly more time with baby latched on that side. Some moms may prefer holding their little one with their dominant arm or having that arm free to do other things.
  • Breast Injury or Surgery. If you’ve ever had breast surgery or an injury to your breast tissue, your supply and milk flow could be affected. If you think this is the case, consider reaching out to a Lactation Consultant to help you and your baby nurse comfortably from that side.
How do I work towards getting almost the same amount of both sides?

Restoring Balance:
  • Begin feedings on the less productive side. Babies tend to nurse more vigorously at the beginning of a feeding, so start with the less productive smaller side to help increase milk production.
  • Nurse on the "less productive" side more often during each feeding. Nursing frequently is key to increasing and maintaining supply, so start pumping from your less productive smaller side more often. However, be sure not to neglect the "more productive" breast. Decreasing the time you spend nursing on that side could lead to engorgement, plugged ducts or mastitis.
  • Pump on the less productive side after feedings. At the end of your normal feedings, continue to pump for a few additional minutes, and store that milk for later use.
  • Pump in between feedings. If you can, try to add  a few extra pumping sessions throughout the day, in between your normal feedings. Consider using a hands-free breastpump so you can multi-task while pumping.
  • Use new tactics to encourage feeding on the less preferred breast. There are ways to begin to change your baby’s preferences. Start by trying new nursing positions on the less productive breast, because a new position could bring added comfort to feeding on that side. Also, try offering the less preferred breast when your baby is drowsy. They may be less aware and more willing to feed on that side.
Most moms will begin to notice changes in 3 to 5 days, but remember to be patient. Adjusting any behavior can take some time, so praise your little one when he or she nurses well and keep trying.

My Personal Experience

With both my elder daughters, I had right-left imbalance all the way with the right side being dominant or in other words "more productive". However, with my 3rd child, things are a bit different because I seem to have a balanced milk supply on both sides.

So what actually happened is on the 3rd of March 2015, I had mastitis on the left side which probably had caused some sort of injury to my milk ducts on that side leading to decreased milk supply on the 4th of March 2015. (photo above)

Since that day, I had done all necessary to restore balance on the left side that I think I actually overdid it, hence you can see on the 8th of March 2015, my supply on the left side is more that the right side :-)

Alhamdulillah, So I am actually glad to have had the experience of being unwell & getting to learn something new afterwards, which is the milk imbalance thingy can actually be "altered" or "restored" if we work towards it constantly. Glad to have had the experience and share it with all Mummies :-)

Much Love <3

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Kangaroo Mother Care

Dear Mummies,
Thought this would be interesting :-)

I am truly in love with it and wished I tried it with my 2nd newborn since she was considered a mild premature born at 36 weeks POG & weight a mere 2.1kg! She was a hypothermic at birth & we were adviced by paediatrics to avoid any air-conditioners and keep her warm.

I did keep her warm with skin-to-skin contact though. And breastfed her..
But that wasn't what is considered as `Kangaroo Mother Care'.
Want to know the meaning of Kangaroo Mother Care@KMC & more? Read on.. :-)

How it started?
In 1979, Dr. Rey and Martinez started a programme in Bogota, Colombia, in response to shortage of incubators and severe hospital infections.

What is Kangaroo Mother Care?
It is a whole package consisting of:
1. Skin to skin contact
2. Breastfeeding
3. Support for Mother & Baby

(WHO includes `Early Discharge' as one of the criteria of KMC)

~Adapted from www.kangaroomothercare.com

How does Kangaroo Mother Care differ from Kangaroo Care or Skin to Skin Contact?

How to do Kangaroo Mother Care?

Benefits of Skin to Skin Contact are summarized as below:

  • Better brain development
  • Better emotional development
  • Less stress
  • Less crying
  • Less brain bleeds
  • More settled sleep
  • Babies are more alert when they are awake
  • Babies feel less pain from injections
  • The heart rate stabilizes
  • The oxygen saturation is more stable
  • Fewer apnoea attacks
  • Better breathing
  • The temperature is most stable on the mother 
  • Breastfeeding starts more easily
  • More breast milk is produced
  • Gestation-specific milk is produced.
  • Faster weight gain
  • Baby can usually go home earlier

I definitely see the differences and benefit in early skin to skin contact with my own child.

My 2nd daughter (the one I practiced skin to skin contact & more of breastfeeding with) did catch up on growth fast, achieved milestones on a faster pace, I breastfed her much longer and she is definitely much more settled when lying on my chest-until now). She's kind of clingy though (which I love!). Still babywearing her at 18 months old!

After all, babies have been in the womb for quite sometime, listening to Mummy's heartbeat and following her around everywhere..Would it be logical to seperate Mummy & Baby at birth?

You can see babies cry out of anxiety due to seperation at nurseries...while babies whom are held in warmth by their mummies are much more calm & settled..
Babies find their way towards breastfeeding naturally with KMC..

Mummies should definitely check out www.kangaroomothercare.com for more info, Lots of Love!!!