Monday, April 27, 2020

Breast Feeding Hacks


Precious times.Those early days can feel quite taxing but it ending also worries me.I am trying to get to twelve months despite my babies not being big fans.
Breastfeeding, one of the things each first time mum thinks will come easily and naturally.For some lucky women it comes very easy and they constantly are leaking milk.Some like me have to work very hard for it and others do not have any breast milk at all.

I have been breastfeeding for close to nine months now.In this time I have learnt a few things through research and experience.If you are struggling in breastfeeding and are looking for tips below are things that have worked for me.

Start early.

Those early days after you give birth are the window of opportunity in breastfeeding.It is at this time that one is able to build their supply to a level that they produce enough milk or even more milk than their babies need.If you are able to, breast-feed or pump within the first hour after you give birth.This is major key because the first few times one breast-feeds or pumps milk they produce colostrum.Colostrum helps babies build their immunity,creates a protective coating on your babies new stomach and is basically the highest quality liquid gold.

Feed or express often

Breast-milk production is demand based.The more there is demand for milk the more milk is produced.To ensure you are making enough,feed or express every two to three hours.Each feeding session should last for between 20 to 30 minutes or even more.If breastfeeding ensure that the baby empties the breast each time.If the baby does not do it express milk after each session.This has to be the thing I struggle the most to do.Hard but the payoff is worth it.

Hydrate and eat good nutritious food
Everytime I express milk,I label the storage bag with what I ate.Then when I feed it to the boys I tell them; `guess what mummy you are eating such and such kind of food`.I also do this to keep myself accountable and to ensure I am eating good food for the babies.

When breastfeeding eat for one and drink for two.

Fluids are what will make milk.Drink plenty of water,soup,porridge,milo,cocoa and anything warm fluid you like.Aim to drink atleast three litres of fluids.Also eat nutritious food,this way you ensure in addition to producing a lot of milk,the milk is also top quality.

There are foods known as galactagogues.These foods have the potential to increase milk supply.I have tried tonnes of them with little success 😂😂.Oats have worked for me,so I am always eating oatmeal porridge on most days.

Everytime you eat or drink something be sure to add an ingredient that boosts milk supply.
 
Lactation supplements

Breastfeeding needs support let no one lie to you.I found that lactation goodies from Lactarcare Kenya have worked wonders for me.They make cookies,muffins and teas.Good thing about them is they custom make everything.If you want sugar free everything they do it.If you are like me and hyper-acidity from pregnancy has never gone they make products that do not cause heartburns.I cannot say enough good things about Lactacare.If you are struggling with supply contact them and you will surprise yourself with how much milk you can make.In addition to selling lactation supplements they also offer advice which I find invaluable especially as a first time mum.

Have breastfeeding goals

            I often go on google and search breast milk images to see how over-achieving breast-feeders are doing
My babies spent time at the newborn unit because they came too early.Having babies in the newborn unit teaches you things like how mls and grams are so very important.

Each morning you see the pediatrician and he informs you of the progress your babies have made.He also informs you how much milk your babies are taking each feed.This gives you an estimate of how much milk is needed per day.This kept me expressing a lot of times to ensure that I met daily targets of milk needed.Most days and especially after the first weeks I could not meet demand because making almost 1000mls of milk is not easy but I aimed to get 80% of the babies feed.

Having daily milk production targets made me express more,drink loads of milo and porridge and research on milk production.Goals push you and this is why it is important to have them while breastfeeding.

Relax and let your body do the work

You will surprised to know that the mothers who exclusively breastfeed are mostly the rural mothers.Those with no access to research and lactation supplements.Do you know why? those mothers are relaxed,their main focus is the baby.They are not thinking of snap-back,what their maternity cover is doing or having nanny drama.

Breastfeeding is a natural body process.Trust your body it knows what to do but remember to eat,hydrate and feed/express often.

Attend a lactation/breastfeeding class 

To be informed is to be forewarned.

If you can attend lactation class run and do it.Breastfeeding comes with some challenges like: latching is not a given,how to hold a baby during breastfeeding does not come naturally,even how you hold the boobies during feeding is taught.I am lucky that I got someone to teach me these things for free.A lot of maternity nurses teach things related to breastfeeding after you give birth be sure to ask them if you need support.


Mums reading this what worked best for you during your breastfeeding journey??

Friday, September 27, 2019

Four things to consider when choosing a maternity hospital


So many hospitals to choose from...........................................
One of the biggest decisions one is required to make whilst expecting a child is where they plan on delivering their child or children(incase one is expecting multiples). I thought it would be a no brainer for me and that I would obviously go to Aga Khan because we only want the best right?. This is until I got pregnant and had to restart my pre-natal clinics three times over.Each time I found fault with the health facility I was visiting at the time.I started off at the Woman`s clinic in the CBD,then the Aga Khan at Capital centre and finally settled on Mater hospital.Mater chose me really because by the time my babies came at 32 weeks 2 days I was seriously considering a move.

I am grateful that I got the babies at Mater; it`s very near my home,their services although slow are excellent,compared to the big hospitals in Nairobi it is a bit cheaper and their newborn unit is A1.The only issue with the hospital is that during pre-natal clinics one sees the doctor first before going for the required tests and ultra sound.Then during your next visit you discuss the results from your previous visit(weirdest thing ever). This just didn`t work for me as always we were discussing old news with the doctor.The way to navigate this I found is to ask the doctor to prescribe the required tests, then I would you take them just before my next visit.

If you are pregnant and are undecided on where to go for pre-natal clinics and where to usher in your precious gift/gifts below are things you should consider when making this important decision.

Cost


 `Do you know how expensive it is to give birth in a private hospital`-Plan B


Giving birth isn`t exactly cheap.The good thing though is that there are so many hospitals to choose from.The really expensive,the affordable and even facilities that allow women to deliver for free.

When deciding on a facility ensure you are aware of all the costs involved.Costs would normally include; cost per night,drugs,doctor fees and theater charges incase one has a ceaseran section.

Different hospitals have maternity packages, when making the decision ask the hospitals you are considering for their packages.My suggestion is by the time you are twenty five weeks pregnant start looking at maternity packages and settle on one that is well within your budget.Sometimes you will need to spend more so its wise to choose a facility that is below your budget this way you are less likely to spend more than you had anticipated.Cut your coat according to your cloth.

Gynaecologist

There are so many gynaecologists in the market currently that trying to choose a good one is like trying to find a needle in a hay-stack.The main reason I kept on changing hospitals for pre-natal clinic is that each of the gynas I met seemed so disinterested.One I actually had to ask to review my urine tests because he didn`t look at the results.They all seem to be in a rush.

Choosing a good doctor is really important as they make a lot of the medical decisions for you.They prescribe supplements for you,treat you in the event of pregnancy related issues and have your medical history.Ask your friends, family,colleagues or anyone whose judgement you trust to suggest good gynas they have worked with and trust.I unfortunately didn`t find a gem of a gyna but had so many suggestions from friends.

Most of the gynas have specific hospitals where they have rights to deliver babies.When choosing one make sure you know which hospitals they work in and if these facilities are within your budget.

Newborn Unit/NICU

Tiny feet 💗💗
With pregnancy plan for the unexpected and pray for the best.A lot of babies spend sometime in the newborn unit.When deciding on a facility visit their new-born unit,ask questions and familiarize yourself with this part of the hospital.

If you are carrying a high risk pregnancy then this will be one of the main things to consider.Important things to consider are; quality of care given in this unit,reviews from people you know, the cost and the arrangements around how often you can see your little one(s) when they are there.

Access to the health facility

This is pretty obvious but proximity of the hospital to your home should be considered.With child-birth and pregnancy you can plan all you want but truth be told nothing is in your hands.It is wise to choose a hospital you can reach in the shortest time possible if an emergency happens.

I hope this is helpful and will assist you when deciding on maternity hospital.What other things should one look at? Let me know 😊😊.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Five Foods you must try when you visit Sri Lanka.

If there is one thing I did in 2018,it's that I ate to my heart's content.As with all things this has it's benefits and disadvantages.The good however outweighs the bad. For one I have no regrets or thoughts like 'maybe ningekula ile cake last week'. Sometimes I think maybe I should have gone easy on the rice last year because even if it's shrimp fried rice or vegetable biriyani at the end of the day it is still rice.FYI,vegetable biriyani I am so glad I tried you,because you are my answer to a delicious dish that doesn't have meat.The negative though is as expected I am basically a huge drum now,a friend that hadn't seen me since mid 2017, exclaimed 'UMENENEPA wala nini siku hizi?' 😭😭😭.

People travel for many reasons; to explore parts unknown,to rest,to learn new things and to experience a different culture .One thing is for sure,whatever your reason for travelling is you must eat every where you go.

My philosophy as regards eating while travelling is 'DO NOT EAT WHAT YOU CAN EASILY PREPARE AND EAT AT HOME'.I kept this in mind while visiting Sri Lanka.It's an Island country in Asia nicknamed 'The Pearl of India Ocean'.If you are ever in this beautiful tropical paradise be sure to try these foods.

Red Rice

Yum!!
It's very obvious that eating is one of those things that gives me joy.I am no glutton though so most times before a buffet confuses me,I try and make healthy choices.Red rice is whole grain,it has antioxidants and can aid in weight loss.On top of all this it so very delicious.Rice is a staple here.It's eaten at all meals including breakfast! My advise choose red rice for all it's health benefits.Also chances are like me this will be your first time eating it.

Buffalo Milk Curd

Buffalo Curd




Of all the foods I tried,Buffalo curd was what stood out the most for me.It tastes a lot like plain yoghurt and is eaten with a syrup made out of  jaggery.It's eaten as a dessert and felt like my redemption at the end of every large meal.This might be why I loved it so much.Guilt free dessert 😊.

Egg Hoppers

The deliciousness that is a egg hopper.
These are a breakfast meal that mimick the Somali anjera only difference is that they are bowl-shaped.They are made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk.One can have them plain or with an egg.They are the perfect breakfast as they are very filling.

Sea Food

Spot the shrimps on this plate 😋😋
Sri Lanka is sea food heaven as is expected for any place that is along a water body.There is such a wide variety ranging from; different fish species,prawns,shrimps,crabs..................the list goes on and on and on.It will be a shame if one visited the country and didn't eat any sea food.Eat what you love and then try something from the sea that you have never eaten before.

Coconut Sambol

Spicy coconut sambol,if you love hot food this will make you very happy.
Coconut sambol is some sort of  'kachumbari' that one eats with their meals.There are two types; plain and spicy.It's made out of grated coconut and if spicy loads of chilli is added to it.Sri Lankan's love their chilly therefore the spicy sambol isn't for the weak.The plain sambol however is so so good as it's just grated coconut 💖💖.

Spicy Beet Root Curry


Who knew beets could be used for more than smoothies and salads.Honestly it had never even crossed my mind until the day I ate some spicy beet root curry.I didn't particularly love this because of how HOT it was.If you love hot and spicy food,then this should be in your must try list. Also after eating this I did some research and found a beet-root and sweet potato soup recipe that is everything.Easy to make,nutritious and so delicious.

Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to.It's affordable,the people are very friendly,it's so very scenic and the food is out of this world.If you are looking for locations to travel to this year or to add to your travel bucket list.Sri Lanka should top it.