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.

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!!!

The Magic of Skin to Skin

What is "Skin to Skin"?

As soon as newborn is transitted into this world, the newborn should be placed on mother's chest without any clothes/blanket as barrier between baby and mother's chest. Nobody should be pushing the baby to do anything; nobody should be trying to help the baby latch on during this time. The baby may be placed vertically on the mother’s abdomen and chest and be left to find his way to the breast, while mother supports him if necessary. The mother, of course, may make some attempts to help the baby, and this should not be discouraged. This is baby’s first journey in the outside world and the mother and baby should just be left in peace to enjoy each other’s company. (The mother and baby should not be left alone, however, especially if the mother has received medication, and it is important that not only the mother’s partner, but also a nurse, midwife, doula or physician stay with them—occasionally, some babies do need medical help and someone qualified should be there “just in case”).

Can "Skin to Skin" be done after a Caesarian Section?

Immediate skin to skin contact can also be done after c├Žsarean section, even while the mother is getting stitched up, unless there are medical reasons which prevent it.

What about Premature Babies? Can mothers practice "skin to skin"?

 Studies have shown that even premature babies, as small as 1200 g (2 lb 10 oz) are more stable metabolically (including the level of their blood sugars) and breathe better if they are skin to skin immediately after birth. Skin to skin contact is quite compatible with other measures taken to keep the baby healthy. Of course, if the baby is quite sick, the baby’s health must not be compromised, but any premature baby who is not suffering from respiratory distress syndrome can be skin to skin with the mother immediately after birth. Indeed, in the premature baby, as in the full term baby, skin to skin contact may decrease rapid breathing into the normal range.

How often is "Skin to Skin" recommended?

Skin to skin contact immediately after birth, which lasts for at least an hour (and should continue for as many hours as possible throughout the day and night for the first number of weeks).

Is "Skin to Skin" limited to mothers to practice only?

Of course not! :-) Daddies can play a role too!

What are the benefits of "Skin to Skin"?

 The baby: 

  • Is more likely to latch on
  • Is more likely to latch on well
  • Maintains his body temperature normal better even than in an incubator
  • Maintains his heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure normal
  • Has higher blood sugar
  • Is less likely to cry
  • Is more likely to breastfeed exclusively and breastfeed longer
  • Will indicate to his mother when he is ready to feed 
  •  Allows the baby to be colonized by the same bacteria as the mother. This, plus breastfeeding, are thought to be important in the prevention of allergic diseases. When a baby is put into an incubator, his skin and gut are often colonized by bacteria different from his mother’s.

Another interesting benefit of practicing "Skin to Skin" is the "Breastcrawl".
"Breastcrawl" is somewhat rather a phenomenon of the newborn finding it's way to the breast by him/herself.
Watch this heartwarming video by clicking the link below :-)

 Breast Crawl Video

Hope this was Helpful!

Happy Nursing Mummies! 

Sources (for information):

The Importance of Skin to Skin Contact, 2009©
Written and revised (under other names) by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC, 1995-2005©
Revised by Jack Newman MD, FRCPC and Edith Kernerman, IBCLC, 2008, 2009©

National Lactation Centre (Malaysia) 

Oxytocin: The Love Hormone

Dear All,

Have you ever heard that there is a hormone called Oxytocin, which is given the nickname "Love Hormone"?

Yes, it is true! It is a Love Hormone indeed..

Oxytocin is a mammalian neurohypophysial hormone (secreted by the posterior pituitary gland) that acts primarily as a neuromodulator in the brain.

When/How is this hormone released ?

Mainly, Oxytocin is released during:

1. Sexual Intercourse
2. Childbirth
3. Breastfeeding

So..that explains why it is the Love Hormone, doesn't it? :-)

 The simple illustration below explains briefly how oxytocin is released during childbirth..

Since God Almighty's creation is so unique and competent..

The hormone oxytocin doesn't just help expel the fetus from the uterus..

When the fetus is safely expelled from the uterus (born into this world), Oxytocin is still essential to contract the uterus to keep the mother from bleeding excessive bleeding after childbirth.

And mummies/future mummies, do remember to keep the baby skin to skin after birth as much as you can to maintain Oxytocin in the stream..

You may click on the link http://eveloveofficial.blogspot.com/2013/09/skin-to-skin-after-birth.html to read about skin to skin after birth.

Why do you need oxytocin after Childbirth..

First is to keep in contracting your uterus to avoid post partum hemorrhage (Excessive blood loss after Childbirth)..You uterus should be back to it's normal size soon after childbirth (few days or so)..

Secondly..You need Oxytocin to establish BREASTFEEDING !!!

This illustrations explains briefly how Oxytocin influences the physiology of Breastfeeding

Amazing isn't it?
So Natural, yet so Complete.

Much <3

My Lacta-Moments (with my 1st two babies)

First and foremost, I’d love to proclaim that breastfeeding is a gift for mothers from God Almighy. How honoured we (mothers) are to be able to have our children’s food, nutrition, medicine and comfort within us.

            Looking back at my first pregnancy..
            I was in the final year of medical school. Being in that field of studies, of course I was enthusiastic to breastfeed my baby because I was aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. Little did I know that there was more to breastfeeding than just theoretical knowledge. 

            Just like other first-time parents, during my 7th month of pregnancy, we went shopping for our upcoming newborn. There were the cots, the toys, the clothes, and the diapers. Little did we thought of breastpumps, storage bottles and cooler bags. My perception of breastfeeding at that moment was that babies just drink straight from the tap, burp and go back to sleep. No milk supply problems, no cracked nipples, no painful engorgements and no colicky baby.

            I delivered my baby girl via spontaneous vertex delivery after 12 gruesome (yet blissful) hours of labour. Alhamdulillah, mother and baby had no complications. I was drowsy after delivery because of the painkillers and wasn’t ready to hold my baby until about 3 hours after delivery. After I was conscious, I asked for my baby to breastfeed her. The first time holding her in my arms was so heart warming. I melted and broke down in tears. She was so beautiful. She was silently staring at me with those round, wide eyes. Those tiny eyelashes curled, just like my husband’s. After about an hour of staring at each other silently, she began to nudge and wiggle. She seemed uncomfortable. That’s when I thought it was a feeding cue, and attempted to breastfeed her.

My 1st Daughter as a newborn

            Of course, my first attempt wasn’t as fruitful as I thought it would be. She latched on for a while and went to sleep. When I unlatched her, she cried. Then when I latched her again, she only latched for few seconds and went to sleep again. The cycle continued for 2 hours until I gave up when I saw blood oozing instead for milk. I became frightened. The nurse comforted me saying it was normal for new mothers to experience that. Hence, my spirit was still high, and I was still optimistic.

            Since we were discharged the next day, there was me and my husband to take care of the baby on our first night at home. We were given a small tin of formula milk sample from the hospital upon discharge. That tin of formula milk became my saviour at that moment. My baby was always crying, never satisfied at the breast and only became calm after formula feeding. So what I understood at that moment is that I might not be producing enough milk  to meet my baby’s needs. I slowly gave up direct feeding because I really felt that I was going insane with the baby shouting and me being in pain.

            I then opted for expressing milk. Someone gave a low-grade electric breastpump as a gift upon my delivery. I tried using it but no milk came out, so I decided hand expression works better. I only manage to get an ounce or so after half an hour of expressing. In total, my baby only gets about 3 ounces of expressed breastmilk a day.That too, the quantity became less and less each day, until finally, my baby was just comfort nursing.
            Yes, that was the sad reality of my first breastfeeding experience. Alhamdulillah, my baby got a taste of breastmilk. Any amount of breastmilk is better that none, I am sure of that. 

            Moving on to my second pregnancy..
8 weeks POG
16 weeks POG
My 2nd Daughter as a newborn

            We were more mature this time. I decided to try breastfeeding again. I bought a branded single electric breastpump, because it wasn’t as pricy as a double breastpump but the MAIN REASON deep inside, I am still unsure that I can do it, so I wasn’t keen on splurging on a breastpump,  just in case I fail again. I lost confidence from my first experience!!

            My baby came four weeks earlier than expected. I informed the labour room staff that I wish to breastfeed my baby as soon as possible and to avoid formula milk feeding. Being hypertensive during my pregnancy this time, I was told to rest upon delivery and only held my baby about 5 hours post-partum. Of course she was already given formula. Best part is, the nursery nurse proudly exclaimed ` She feeds well, she drinks 2 ounces at one go’. Can you imagine how my heart broke hearing that? A newborn’s stomach is so small that only 7ml of milk per feeding would be sufficient for them. 

            I didn’t think twice and demanded that my baby be given to me for every feeding, even at night. This time around, I stayed for about 2 days post-partum because the doctor insisted to monitor my blood pressure. I attempted breastfeeding at all my baby’s feeding time, but history seems to repeat itself. She was never satisfied at the breast, and kept clinging on until blood started oozing again.

            The same scenario continued at home, and desperate for some sanity, I resorted to formula milk. To add to my despair, some gave remarks such as `Don’t torture you baby, you are not producing milk so just give her formula.’ 

            Desperate to make it work this time around, I tried expressing milk using my pump. It was more fruitful this time around. I manage to get a total of 10 to 12 ounces a day. It was enough for my baby the first two weeks, but as she approached the first month, my supply dwindled and her demand increased. I became discouraged. I was very weary. I had two children to think of this time around. After much struggle, and after my supply sank to an ounce a day, I gave up. Believe it or not, I gave up.

            Days pass by, and my baby was about 3 months old. She was overweight and put on a lot of weight after being fully on formula. As pleasing as it was to see a chubby baby, she was always colicky. Deep inside me, I yearned to breastfeed her again.

            God granted my wish. I was determined to breastfeed again. I told myself that I am not going to give up this time around.

            So I started my relactation programme when my baby was 3 ½ months. The first week, there was no milk at all, followed by droplets for the next 2 weeks. As if it’s not challenging enough to find the time and energy to pump, pumping only air with no milk is even more emotionally disturbing.  To top that up, there were the disturbing comments and unwanted so-called advice. Determined not to give up, I continued pumping 4 times a day. I stuffed myself with what I believed to be milk boosters. I tried latching on my baby directly but she angrily refused, so I decided to exclusively pump. 

            Alhamdulillah, the quantity of milk increased day by day. 

When my daughter was 6 months old, she was fully breastfed (of course, she started weaning as well). How contented I was. Goodbye to colic, hello to happy and healthy baby! When she was 6 ½  months old, we bought a deep freezer to store excess milk. Few months later, I have about 1200++ oz of milk in the freezer. Believe it or not? Yes, do believe it :-)

From droplets of milk..
To a freezer full of milk..

 I even give some to my elder daughter  mixed with her cereal. I make ice-cream and smoothies from my milk for her. I even had the chance to make soap from my milk for her to bathe with. My children eat, drink and bathe from my milk, Alhamdulillah. Being a mother who failed and learned from experience, I want other mothers to learn from my mistakes and successfully breastfeed their babies.
Mother's Milk Soap
Mother's Milk Ice-Cream

            I hope this inspires other mothers out there to breastfeed no matter what the problem was that caused them to stop or not breastfeed at all. It can be done! Consult a lactation counsellor to help you overcome the problem, and please do not resort to formula milk. Every individual case is different, so different approaches need to be taken to help you successfully breastfeed. Breastmilk in every way is the best food, drink, nutrition, medicine and comfort for your baby.

Jazakillahu khayr.

Pilgrimage while Breastfeeding

Assalamualaikum Mummies :-)

Love to share my personal experience with you with regards to performing Umrah while breastfeeding..

Alhamdulillah, I got the chance to perform Umrah while in the nursing period :-) This happened last year.

I suppose that Mummies can relate to this post to travelling to other places while Breastfeeding as well.

I had a short Umrah trip (4 days, 3 nights). Mashallah, such a beautiful experience, don't know how to describe it in words. Even thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.

Hubby & me brought our 4 year old daughter (at that time), and left our 5 month old baby with our mothers at home. So, being seperated from baby, I had to plan properly how to manage time to pump breastmilk and manage the storage (keeping in mind the long hours of flight and transits). Alhamdulillah, my efforts were eased!

 From KLIA to Jeddah to Medina:

Home to KLIA about 1 hour. Waited in KLIA for about 2 hours. Flight KLIA to Jeddah about 7 hours. 
Waiting for transit plane from Jeddah to Medina about 1 hour. Flight Jeddah to Medina about 1 hour.
Medina Airport to Hotel in Medina: 1 hour.

So that is about 13 hours of journey to consider about.

Night before journey: Made sure ICE PACKS was in freezer. Just before leaving home, made sure ICE PACKS was taken out from freezer and kept in COOLER BAG.

Before leaving the house: Pumped, washed and dried the parts and packed it up.
I kept my breastpump, poncho, cooler bag and ice pack with me in HAND LUGGAGE the whole time.

While waiting for the flight: I pumped in a corner which was a bit discrete (covered with a nursing poncho).
After pumping, kept the breastmilk in cooler bag and went on board.

On Board: I pumped about 5 hours later. I asked to borrow their chiller to keep my milk and ice pack as it has already been 8 hours since I left home and I am worried that the temperature might have dropped a bit and I want the chill to last for at least another 5 hours.. Unfortunately, the stewardess did not allow that. I convinced her, telling her the importance of the breastmilk etc etc and finally she agreed to provide me with some leftover ICE which she wrapped in a plastic and I stuffed it into my cooler bag to ensure the coolness remains for another 5 hours. I prayed Allah ease my efforts..

So we arrived in Jeddah airport, transit, board the next plane and finally arrived in Medina. My next pumping session was in Medina hotel. Being worried about the freshness of my breastmilk, as I took it out of the cooler bag to put in the chiller, I noticed the bottle of milk was so cold (almost frozen-like) but not frozen! Mashallah..how Allah eased my efforts!!! Logically, it couldn't have happened after such long hour journey..

So happy, took it as a positive sign from Him..

So the days went by and whatever milk I pumped in Medina, was kept in the hotel room chiller.

On my day of transit from MEDINA to MECCA..(which was by bus which takes about 6 to 7 hours)
Packed my EBM into cooler bag along with ice packs just before leaving. I asked the hotel for Dried Ice so that I can put in my cooler bag ensure extra coolness. Alhamdulillah, journey was smooth and as soon as we arrived in the hotel in MECCA, placed our luggages in the room and EBM + Ice Pack in chiller..We went to perform our UMRAH.

Subhanallah..Even thinking about the experiences can bring a chill of sensation and tears to my eyes..
What an honour to be invited there..

Since my hotel was just a few steps away from the mosque, I had my pumping sessions in the hotel only and kept EBM in hotel room chiller. But for mummies staying a bit far from the mosque, you can bring your breastpump and cooler bag into the mosque and pump milk and store it in cooler bag while prostration. I saw some mothers doing it as well.

So days passed and it was time to go home.
As usual, kept my breastpump with me along with my cooler bag in HAND LUGGAGE so that I can pump and store milk in between the long hours.
 I brought a larger cooler bag and extra ice packs as well to keep the EBM that was collected over the 4 days. Night before check out, kept the ICE PACKS in hotel kitchen FREEZER to ensure it can keep cool for a long journey. Before check out, took the ice packs from kitchen freezer, kept in with the 4 days EBM that was collected in the Larger Cooler Bag and place in in LUGGAGE (which was going in the cargo).

Why I did this?
This is because most airlines do not allow you to hand-carry liquds for more that a certain amount of `ml'. You have to obtain a certain form to declare the liquids before you can hand-carry it. So to save the fuss, I just packed in along with my baggage. (Which was better I think, I heard that airplane cargo has cold temperature!)

Reached home with the EBM intact, safe and sound :-)
So happy to feed baby with it, pumped in Tanah Suci! :-)
I hope she gets the Barakah of it!!!


1. Breastpump & Accessories
    -you might want to buy extra spare parts just in case you haven't washed your breastshields and it is already time for next pumping session. 
    -you might want to use a breastpump which has double pumping (saves time) and battery usage (just in case there are no universal plug points in the hotel you are staying and you might need to pump in flight or in the gate lounge while waiting for flight)
2. Small Cooler Bag (for hand carry)
3. Ice Packs (for hand carry)
4. Large Cooler Bag (to keep EBM when travelling back)
5. MORE Ice Packs (to keep EBM when travelling back)
6. Nursing Poncho (or shawl) for coverage
7. Ensure enough EBM stock for the duration that you are not around :-)
    It took me a week to prepare the stock for while I am gone.
8. Educate caregiver on how to feed baby EBM

So the above is how to manage EBM if you are travelling for less that 5 days.
What about travelling for more than 5 days?

Let's say you are going somewhere for 10 days. Than you can store your EBM in hotel kitchen FREEZER to ensure freshness. Bring along more ICE PACKS and keep the ICE PACKS in hotel kitchen FREEZER before day of check out so that they can retain coolness longer (since frozen milk cannot be re-freezed if it melts). Make sure you have a large cooler bag (luggage kind) to ensure freshness. Pack the Frozen EBM and Ice Packs alternating each other or in other words, the ice packs have to be surrounding the EBM @ Ice packs harus berselang seli dengan EBM atau Meliputi@mengelilingi EBM to ensure enough cool temperature.  :-)

 Hope this was helpful!