Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Inherited Jumperoo

Remember Aiden's Jumperoo?

Well, the poor Jumperoo stayed in our attic for at least the past 3 years. It accumulated dust, waiting patiently to serve baby #2. We finally dragged it down a couple of months ago to lend to a fellow neighbour. Despite not taking the battery out for years, it was still working perfectly! There was only a small slight tear on the seat (barely noticeable) but my neighbour was nice enough to sew a new seat cover before she returned the Jumperoo to us. Other than that, the lights, sound and movement sensors were functioning like new!

Last week, we finally got around to assembling the Jumperoo for Ian. Similar as Aiden, Ian at six months is stable enough to hold his head up unassisted and is able sit steadily, perfect for the Jumperoo. If back during Aiden's days, the Jumperoo took up half of the living hall of our old house (it's a big piece of equipment), this time around we had more space. So the Jumperoo is still in front of the TV, but at least it wasn't blocking our view of the TV.

Honestly, Ian has invaded my living hall. There's currently the Jumperoo, his rocker, the mattress for his tummy time, his soft toys and of course, Aiden's toys! My previously modern uncluttered living hall now looks more like a nursery! *big sigh* Anything for my two boys! I now request at least an hour notice for visitors so that I can make the area a tad presentable. (Achieved by throwing everything in the guest room!) I digress.

I love this picture! Surprised face at being thrown into a foreign object.
First thing that caught his attention. I was quite impressed that he was able to turn the blue lizard around. Great fine motor skills, Ian!
Aiden insisted that I feature a picture of him posing with his paper aeroplanes. 
Intrigued at the lights and sound.
Confused as Mummy kept calling out to him to pose, when all he really wanted to do was explore.
And then... he saw it! Something he could teeth on!
Look at that engrossed face. He practically shoved the poor plastic butterfly into his mouth and started sucking happily. 
Happy baby. What's with the off shoulder pyjamas, sayang?
The previous seat cover was all red. The polkadot seat cover is new. Since this picture doesn't do justice to the chubbiness of his thighs, here's another picture.
Scrumptious drumsticks!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Oh My Medela!

This is a mummy-mummy post so my sincere apologies to my male readers. You may want to skip this post!

Oh my Medela!

After six months of serving me very well, I started to see problems with the suction. I thought I did not place the connectors properly, or maybe my pumping position was wrong. So I would struggle to adjust the position while pumping and driving - definitely not safe and it made my normally stress-free, hands-free pumping sessions quite frustrating. Upon a closer inspection, I finally found the root cause of the problem.

Yes, I tore both of the breastshields, hence the pump could not maintain suction!

Medela Freestyle comes equipped with the M sized (24mm) breastshields.

Medela Freestyle users would know that the older Medela pumps were sold with the Soft-Fit breastshields, but those breastshields were discontinued a few years back. A friend mentioned that the breastshield replacements (called the Personal Fit) were hard and uncomfortable. So since I bought my pump back in 2010, it still came with those Soft-Fit ones and I took care of them very well. I made sure they were properly cleaned but never sterilized or submerged in hot water as I didn't want them to warp. But alas, they tore. And what bad timing - as I was scheduled for a business trip to Miri the very next day. (Typing this post in a hotel in Miri!)

I did not have any other choice but to rush to find a replacement. I could have simply bought them at Mothercare but since it wasn't a like for like replacement, I wanted advice from the experts. So I googled for the nearest Medela Service Centre in the area. Two locations came up - one in Bangsar and the other in Ampang. Although the one in Bangsar was closer to the office, I decided to head to the one in Ampang (behind De Palma Hotel) as I was more familiar with the area and access to parking. (I grew up in Ampang, remember?) And boy, was it a good choice to head to Ampang. Firstly, the Bangsar service centre has relocated to a different location in Petaling Jaya (closer to the industrial area and harder to locate). Secondly, parking was a breeze (well at least for me) and last but not least, I received valuable advice from the lady who was manning the centre.

Picture from
She started by asking whether the M size Soft-Fit breastshields were comfortable for me. Apparently, since Soft-Fit was made from latex, it was softer on the nipples and could still accommodate ill-fitted sizes. However, since the Personal Fit ones were made from hard plastic, if the breast shields are too small, they may cause painful abrasion. And since I busted my Soft-Fit breastshields so quickly, I suspected that I may need a bigger size.

Breast shield fitting.

From the Medela website: Note that your nipple should move freely and easily and should not rub against the sides of the tunnel. If the breastshield fits tightly, your nipple will rub against the sides of the tunnel with each vacuum movement of the pump. After several pumpings, you may notice that the outside of the nipple (rather than the nipple tip) is tender or sore.

I requested to test both the M (24mm) and L (27mm) size. There is a small room at the back of the centre where you could do a test pump because it is almost impossible to tell which size breastshield is the best fit without watching the nipple movement during pumping. We did a full 20-minute pump, and as expected - I needed a bigger size! It was quite a revealing moment though, as I discovered that with suitable fitted breastshields, I was able to express more milk as I was able to empty the breasts properly.

She also checked my pump and the suction. Suction was still good, but there was black dust gathering at the back of the unit which was not caused by the battery but rather the motor. She said that there was a case where the black dust contaminated the pumped milk so she recommended that I change the motor. I nearly balked at the price! The quote was about RM1300++ whereas a brand new Medela Freestyle can be purchased (cheapest) at RM1700++. It was quite frustrating, especially since I had only used the pump for only 6 months, and since I purchased it in the US, the guarantee did not cover Malaysia. According to her, if I had bought the pump in 2010 from a Malaysia Medela supplier, they would actually only start calculating the guarantee from the date of birth of the baby, in this case for Ian would be six months thus the motor would still be within the guarantee period (of six months).

Black dust at the back of the pump. Don't be fooled though, the outside of the pump looks absolutely brand new!

I also inquired about their trade in program - you can trade in your breast pump for a specified price and use it to offset your new pump. Unfortunately the program is for breast pumps that were purchased in Malaysia. She could probably still accept if the pump came with a three-pin head, but since mine came with a two-pin US adapter, she could not make an exception.

The Soft-Fit versus the Personal-Fit.
Can you see the size difference?

I also purchased a Hands Free Breast Pump Bra from Simple Wishes (sold at the Medela service centre) for RM139. It claims to be a bra (it has straps and all that) but to me it is a very clever tube top with holes in it for you to stick your breast shields through. I just used it yesterday and it was quite comfortable and stable. I enjoyed the exhilarating freedom of being able to walk around the house while pumping and still being modestly covered! (Rumah tepi surau, hence have to be careful with what I wear! Prancing around topless is a big no no!)

Simple Wishes Hands Free Breast Pump Bra. Comes in black and brown. I chose black.
Also comes with an extra panel (in case you need extra width) and straps that you can use like a normal bra or even like a halter top.

Anyway, I managed to squeeze a trip to the Mothercare sale before I left the Ampang area, as I wanted to get the Yoomi for Ian. Guess what? Both the Personal Fit and the Hands Free Breast Pump Bra were on 10% sale with an additional 10% for members. *grumble grumble*

Well, at least I had a one-to-one trial session to ensure that I bought the best fit. *ayat sedapkan hati*

Here are all the Medela Service Centre contact details, as of June 2014:

PJ Branch: 11, Jalan Tandang 51/205A, Seksyen 51, Petaling Jaya. 03-74516108/09 Updated as of Nov 2014: 03-77731989
Ampang Branch: Lot B2-G, Jalan Selaman 1, Dataran Palma, Off Jalan Ampang, Ampang. 03-42701128
Penang: 9-1-22, Taman Kheng Tian, Jalan Van Praagh, Pulau Pinang. 04-2827278
Johor: No. 35, Jalan Molek 2/1, Taman Molek, Johor Bahru. 07-3535988

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Halal Dim Sum at China Treasures, Sime Darby Convention Centre KL

Edited March 2015 to include a picture of the Halal certification. 

Hubby and I both enjoy Dim Sum immensely. But it is so hard to find great halal dim sum. And i'm not referring to merely pork-free. I'm talking about actual JAKIM approved halal certificate and all that shebang

I did a fair bit of googling, and other than Maju Palace in Maju Junction (which I have yet to try out) - this restaurant I am about to review came highly recommended. There were also a few reviews about how this place gets full especially without a reservation. So I decided to be the anal me and booked ahead for the family to have a dim sum lunch last weekend at China Treasures at the Sime Darby Convention Centre.

China Treasures, Sime Darby Convention Centre Kuala Lumpur

Anyway, before we delve into pictures, let me tell you how much I love the look and the ambiance of the restaurant. For a start, parking was free and Hubby was able to drop us off at the main lobby before he left to find parking. Since I was dropped off at the entrance, instead of having to wait for Hubby to help me scale the stairs, there was a ramp to the lobby so I could single-handedly push Ian effortlessly in his stroller with Aiden at tow as well. We took the elevator up to the restaurant and got ourselves settled in whilst waiting for Hubby to join us after parking the car.

The look of the restaurant was at par as a coffee house of a hotel, impeccably clean, stylish deco and bright lighting. The waiter/waitresses were dressed in smart shirts and vests. The restaurant was spacious as I had ample space to park Ian's stroller beside our table (but despite the spaciousness I could still eavesdrop on a neighbouring table, they were obviously having a family argument - but that's a totally separate story).

We made sure we refrained from having breakfast so that we could arrive famished to take advantage of the buffet. The more we could eat, the better the value right? *sucker for good deals*

Munched on peanuts whilst we waited for our orders to arrive.
Absolutely famished.
Aiden and his muka baru bangun tido.
Only this boy arrived all bright bushy eyed.
With a big cheeky smile too!
The order form. 

You simply put the quantity that you want into the order and pass it to any of the servers. Then wait patiently for your order to arrive. Don't be ashamed to ask for more order forms for your second, third or even fourth helping of dim sums! (We only managed three rounds.)

As Aiden doesn't really enjoy dim sum, we ordered fried rice for him ala carte. And I made sure that they did not charge Aiden for the buffet. I think kids above 4 years old will be charged the child price. However, if your child is like mine - state clearly that your child will not be having the buffet and order something else ala carte. To be fair, Aiden did sample the egg tarts, but they were kind enough to close one eye.

We kicked off the buffet with the famous China Treasures Mini Egg Tart and everything fried!

Clockwise from the top: China Treasures Mini Egg Tart, Deep Fried Beancurd Skin Roll with Mushroom, Deep Fried Mermaid Fish in Thai Sauce and Deep Fried Prawn wrapped with Crispy Dragon Beard.

Oh wow, the egg tart was silky and flavourful and the pastry was light and fluffy. Hubby and I both agreed, if we were to ever come back, it would definitely be for the egg tarts. We even ordered a second helping of the egg tarts - it was that good!

As for the fried dim sums, they were okay but nothing to shout about. I love anything fried so we wiped the plates clean. As for the mermaid fish? It was some sort of special ikan bilis lah! Or rather deep fried ikan bilis with sos cili Thai. Definitely not ordering that again, but since that was part of our first order and we were feeling so ravenous that we gobbled it all up.

Clockwise from the top left: Steamed Pandan Paste Bun, Steamed Rice Roll and Aiden's fried rice! The fried rice was quite a big helping - Aiden managed probably half of it then Hubby and I had to struggle to finish it up.
Steamed Crystal Dumplings with Fish Roe.
Clockwise from the top left: Steamed BBQ Honey Chicken Bun, Steamed Buttered & Salted Egg Yolk Bamboo Charcoal Bun, Deep Fried Shrimp Patties with Sliced Almonds and Deep Fried Sui Kow.
The Steamed Buttered & Salted Egg Yolk Bamboo Charcoal Bun deserves a special mention. It was our first time eating a black bun, let alone one with with a salted egg filling. But it was darn good. The flavour of the salted egg was intense, and when you pried the bun open, the filling was rich and thick. Absolutely fantastic.
Steamed BBQ Honey Chicken Bun, Steamed Siew Mai, Steamed Beef Balls and Beancurd Skin in Superior Broth and Steamed Dried Scallop & Cilantro Dumplings.
Steamed Dried Scallop & Cilantro Dumplings. Scallop and cilantro, in a dumpling! Need I say more? *drool*
Family selfie. Happy faces after the huge meal.
Aiden wanted to give it a thumbs up sign. *fail*
What's with that smile, Aiden?

We walked out of the restaurant full and satisfied. Upon our way out, I finally saw the coveted Halal certificate by JAKIM in a cabinet by the restaurant entrance. But for some reason I totally forgot to snap a picture of it. But trust me, it is there. *grin*

Edited March 2015: Here's a picture of their Halal certification.

Smile Ian, smile!
Training Ian for selfies!
OOTD. Matched my maroon Prada with my favourite Ferragamo heels.

So, if you're salivating for some good halal dim sum, China Treasures would be a good bet. Just don't forget that reservation!

China Treasures

Sime Darby Convention Centre Kuala Lumpur
1A, Jalan Bukit Kiara 1, 60000 Kuala Lumpur
T: +603 2089 3788

Dim Sum buffet hours: 1130am - 230pm (come early and stuff yourself silly!)
Price: RM50++ for adult, RM27++ for child

After the huge lunch, we decided we needed to burn off the calories. Here's a picture of us that afternoon. Hubby jogged, Aiden on his bicycle, Ian (relaxed) in his stroller and yours truly brisk walked while pushing the stroller around the neighbourhood.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Breastfeeding Journey

Six months!

After a less than lustrous record of breastfeeding Aiden, I decided to set a short-term target for breastfeeding Ian. Start small, I say - so six months became the target. I figured I would have at least the first four months of breastfeeding stress-free hence pump on demand, then for the remaining two months I would just have to learn to juggle between meetings and pumping. 

A few months before Ian was due, I dug out my Medela Freestyle breast pump out from the attic and turned it on for the very first time. Erk, I bought this pump back in 2010! Back then, Aiden was barely a year old and I was already planning for #2! And since I had a business trip to the US, I thought it would be a good idea to purchase the Freestyle since I didn't know when I would be heading that way again. Little did I know that I would frequent Houston at least once a year and #2 would only arrive 4 years after! Ah, if only I had a crystal gazing ball back then.

Albeit it being nearly 4 years old, everything was completely new and even wrapped!

The first few days of breastfeeding were a complete nightmare! (Heck, it's my blog and i'm always honest!) Ian refused to latch on properly, my nipples were completely sore, and he was such a light sleeper that I had to tiptoe around him. Then we brought Ian home and he wanted to comfort feed all the time. He was either sleeping or feeding. Visitors would come and and go and I would have to juggle handling them and a hungry baby. And Ian was constantly suckling, up to 30 minutes sometimes. I remembered the third day at home, he was just crying and crying - I asked Hubby to mix some formula (which was part of a gift bag I received during a check-up in Houston at 4 months pregnant). I was that desperate, I actually agreed to give my son formula which was nearly 6 months old. *sigh* But, as soon as Hubby finished preparing the bottle, I managed to soothe him so we poured that milk down the sink.

All the breastfeeding websites would say never to buy formula, as it would just tempt you to feed him with it. I guess I was not strong enough, because after the drama with the 6-month old formula, I told Hubby to buy a small tin of S-26 'just in case'. Ian was constantly asking for my breast and suckling until my nipples couldn't take it anymore so I was very worried that he was hungry because I wasn't producing enough milk. A friend told me to be positive, and she said that if he's hungry - "he will let you know, and you will know". Ian told me the very next day. He wailed so loud, and his cries were not the same normal. I reluctantly asked Hubby to prepare a bottle of formula, and again - as soon as Hubby finished preparing the bottle, Ian fell asleep. So we poured that milk down the sink too. 

Alhamdulillah, that was the turning point of my breastfeeding journey. My milk finally kicked in and I never heard that terrible hungry wail again. But the week after, another drama ensued. He wanted to suckle to sleep, but got angry whenever milk started squirting in his mouth. Erm, baby - Mummy can't really control letdowns okay! I'll be perfectly honest (and candid) - I shed tears that week. Imagine me crying, wearing a milk soaked t-shirt, trying to soothe a crying baby in the middle of the night. Not a pretty sight.

But still I persevered. And I smiled when I saw this:

This is so true. The first 3 weeks of breastfeeding are the hardest. After 6 weeks it starts getting easier. By 3 months you feel sorry for moms who have to make formula. 

During the first few weeks of breastfeeding, I consumed practically anything that claimed to be a milk booster. Dates are great but then Hubby bought for me some really scrumptious dates stuffed with nuts and I would have to constantly remind myself to limit the intake due to my strict confinement diet. But I guzzled water like mad to keep myself hydrated at all times.

My milk boosters.

I tried the Organic Milkmaid Tea during confinement out of desperation. To be honest, I was turned off by the smell, to the point where I would dread having to drink it. It made my sweat smell like fenugreek - and you know how much sweat one produces during confinement with all the bengkung, red dates and ginger concoction to be consumed daily. I didn't like it one bit.

Then I started taking Shaklee's Alfafa (not in picture). I saw a difference, but the pills also act as a detox, hence if I don't drink enough water I would get mouth ulcers. Painful! But at least I knew I could use it in times of desperation. Someone mentioned durians as a milk booster. I'm a durian lover, so I am not complaining - but I didn't see much difference. Maybe my body needed a whole durian buffet for better production?

With time, I managed to identify my own personal milk boosters. Dried longans boiled with rock sugar (gula batu) works wonders. And they taste good too. Really good that even Hubby has started quietly drinking it behind my back. He claims the drink is really refreshing! Whenever I remember, I would take milk thistle with my normal supplements. And last but not least - my favourite Quaker Fruit Bites. Just add cold low fat milk and it is ready to consume. With just two packets, I usually start to see a significant improvement in production!

Ian obviously guzzled the milk directly from one side, hence when I pumped I had a higher yield on the side which he did not nurse. 
My healthy production.

I should also clarify that I am an exclusive pumping (EP) mummy during the day, and a direct latch (DL) mummy during the night. I turned to EP due to several reasons. Firstly due to the sore nipples. Not to mention I kept forgetting which side Ian had nursed on. Secondly due to the frustration that Ian kept wanting to comfort feed. He was practically hanging off me all day during confinement, I couldn't do anything else! But the main reason was because Ian started getting mild silent reflux when he turned two months old. I think the biggest culprit was oversupply and forceful letdown. I had all this milk, and Ian was the type to guzzle it all up quickly and aggressively. Not a good combination! You can read more about silent reflux here and here.

I tried breastfeeding lying down (to slow the flow), even pumped before feeding to take the let down before offering it to him - but it didn't work. It would break my heart to see Ian struggling with silent reflux. It would take him just a few gulps of milk, and he would pull off and start struggling to swallow. I would try to console him but he would cry in panic and sometimes gag due to the reflux. In the end, I gave in and offered him breastmilk in a bottle. With the controlled flow, the reflux episodes were greatly reduced. Happy baby, happy mummy! 

But really, I enjoy being an EP mummy. It is the best of both worlds - it gives me the independence as Ian can drink from the bottle, but he still gets the nutrition from a mother's milk. I just need to remember to pump according to a strict schedule so that my supply doesn't go down. The Medela Freestyle became my best friend - I use it sometimes up to 5 times per day! 

It's not all bright and sunny though. During the couple of times I had breast engorgement, nothing else would relieve it other than direct latching. But because Ian was so used to the bottle, he gave me a confused look when I shoved the breast in his mouth. He gave me the "and what the hell am I supposed to do with this?" look. In other circumstances, the confused look would have been so adorable. But since I was in pain, it was quite frustrating. Looking back, the whole scene must have looked so silly! *smile*

I think an engineer came up with this! *grin*
My January stock.
Stock for when Mummy goes back to work.

Then I returned to work. And the luxury of pumping whenever I wanted flew out of the window. I was tied with work, meetings, lunch dates (okay fine that last one shouldn't sound so important)... you get the drift. The first few days I struggled to maintain my pumping schedule. I struggled to find pumping friendly work clothes. (You know you're a breastfeeding mummy when you decide what to wear based on how accessible your breasts will be.) I struggled with the lack of sleep at night, waking up a couple of times during the night for feeding then having to work the next day. I struggled with sore throats - I would discover in the morning that I had slept exposed half of the night - must have been too tired to pull my shirt down after feeding Ian half asleep, hence the aircon was blowing directly on me. I struggled with the messy let downs during the night - wet sheets, wet pyjamas. I struggled with engorgement in the office, with no Ian to help me out.

But similar to my early breasfeeding experience, it got better with time. Nowadays I am a complete pro at pumping while typing for my morning yield, and also a pro at hands free pumping while driving for my afternoon yield. I do power pumping as well in traffic jams - it makes the one hour of driving pass by effortlessly! During the weekends, I would bring milk in a bottle and warm it up when needed, and pump in the car during the journey to our destination, so that eliminated the need to nurse in public.

Would I have done anything differently? Nope! Despite the ups and downs, I enjoyed every bit of my breastfeeding journey. And if you are reading this while struggling with breastfeeding - I will not tell you that it will be easy. But I will tell you that it will be worth it.

Now lets see if I can attain my next target of breastfeeding until Ian turns one year old. No pressure though, since I have already met my original six month target!
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