Koala class, breastfeeding and Christmas decorations at my maternity hospital

PIC_3747LO#4 had “koala class” this past Thursday. Koala class is conducted for the newborn at my maternity hospital 2 weeks postpartum. Basically, the midwives check Mammy and babies progress. They physically check on baby too. Mom’s physical isn’t until 4 weeks postpartum. At the class they address any concerns you have and check how breastfeeding is going. If the staff feel that your LO needs further examination you get called to see the Doctor who comes to the room half an hour after the class starts and sees people in turn. This check up is free. :-)

Baby chilling at the koala class. You can see the baby weighing scale in the background, for checking how much baby is getting each feed and for also checking their general weight.
Baby chilling at the koala class. You can see the baby weighing scale in the background, for checking how much baby is getting each feed and for also checking their general weight.

I could tell from the newly found double chin that LO was putting on enough weight, but it was great to get it confirmed. She’s already 4 kilos (approx. 8lbs8oz), that’s up 600 grams since the day she was born. I am delighted as often 2 weeks in, the baby is just returning to their birth weight. She is breastfed and I don’t have a baby weighing scales, but I could check on Thursday and she’s getting about 100 grams from me in one feed. It is easy to breastfeed in Japan as it is widely supported  and encouraged with many free facilities and services for breastfeeding Moms in public spaces.  The midwives at the koala class offer great guidance for new Moms and provide useful tips for veteran Moms on breastfeeding (among other) issues. They also check that the baby is latching on correctly and getting enough milk each feed.  Koala class lasts about 2 hours. There is no present with this class, but sometimes you get a free sample of something. This past week we got a  3 pack sample of Merries nappies. :-)

Free sample of nappies and a booklet about newborns.
Free sample of nappies and a booklet about newborns.

I met two of my friends at the koala class, but in keeping with the Japanese tradition of postpartum confinement for a month, they headed home straight after the class.  My husband and my 3rd child met me in the foyer and we took some photos at the lovely Christmas tree on display, before we too headed home.

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Day 0 of postpartum hospital stay; presents galore

Maternity goods for the birthing mother plus baby wipes

Day 0 is the day you give birth. Regardless of what time of the day you give birth, day 0 ends at midnight on that day. On day 0 the presents start before you even give birth. On being admitted to the hospital you get a huge bag full of essentials for the birthing mother. It also includes baby wipes.  You get two packs of Pampers newborn nappies for the baby too, which you will find at the bottom of the baby cart.

Big bag of goodies

After giving birth you have a rest period of 2 hours for a natural birth (3 hours for an epidural) in the LDR room (labour delivery room). After that you have sometime with your newborn outside the nurse’s office. If you have family waiting to meet the new arrival it is at this stage they will get to first meet the baby. After this period you are brought to your room. The room is full of goodies. :-)

The contents of the big bag of goodies

My favourite within the big bag of treats is the toiletry bag. I got one for each of my children and used them until they were worn to threads. They have great pockets and compartments so rather than using them as toiletry bags, I actually used mine as an organiser within my baby bags, for holding wipes, cotton, food sachets, gauze, vaseline etc etc.

Toiletry bag

Also, within the big bag of goodies you will find a bag full of toiletries.

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Beautifully wrapped bag of toiletries provided by the maternity hospital for each patient

It includes beautiful soft cotton face towel and hand towel.

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It also has everything you need for your 5 day stay. Such as a toothbrush, toothpaste and cup for rinsing. A hair brush, a hair clip, a hair bobbin, ear buds, face wash, face toner, face cream, cotton pads, a body sponge, a cup and drinks (herbal tea, green tea, black tea and soup).

Cup and herbal tea, black tea, green tea and soups.

Within the room you will find a nursing cushion, also yours to take home. I got one on each child and found them to be really high quality. They come with a detachable cover for washing and you can wash the cushion in the washing machine on a gentle cycle and it will keep its shape.

Nursing cushion

Depending on what time of day you gave birth, a member of the “room staff” may call with your “congratulations on the birth of your baby” present. The present has been different for each of the kids. This time it was a beautiful “memorial box” (memory box), a hand sewn piece of gauze, parchment paper to write your baby’s name on for the naming celebration and some Keiai cookies! This was my first time to get a memory box. It is used to house the piece of the umbilical cord you receive shortly after giving birth (for more information please read my article on this unique Japanese custom), which comes in a matching little wooden box (I do have one of these for each child). It also contains a case for storing your child’s baby teeth and the set comes with all you need to print your child’s hand and foot impressions.  It is one of my favourite pieces from all the presents we’ve ever gotten from keiai. :-)

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The dinner I received in my room after giving birth.

Dinner in room day 0
Dinner in room day 0

Keiai Hospital official website: http://www.keiaihospital.or.jp/

General information in English on this website: http://daysofourlivesjapan.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/keiai-hospital-saitama-general-information/

Day 4 in a maternity hotel

The garden is illuminated by night
The garden is illuminated by night
“Day 4″ was the fifth and final day of my postpartum hospital stay on baby #4 (as the day you give birth is day zero). On the day you get released the hospital treats you to a hairdo in the hair salon on the 3rd floor. It involves a wash, head massage, hot towel treatment and blow dry. My appointment was at 9.30am giving me time to have an hour long sleep before it. It was much needed as I was up more than normal with little girl during the night. At least I remembered to take a photo of the garden illuminated by night, not that it turned out very well!

After my hair appointment I collected baby from the baby room and went to the last “nursing class” after it. Each day you are asked to join at least one session of group nursing, so the nurses can monitor your progress with breastfeeding. There are two main sessions each day at 1pm and 4pm, but on day 1 and day 4 for natural births, (day 3 and day 8 for caesarean) there is a session at 10am. You don’t have to arrive exactly on time, sometime in the hour is fine and up to 15 minutes early is also okay. We got some free samples on our last session. It was back to the room after, to put on make up and get changed and to gather all the presents and bags to come home with us.  Below the sleeping and sitting area of the room after the clean out. The sofa doubles as a bed, which you can pay to have made up for your spouse or family member to stay. If they do stay there is a family shower room separate to the shower rooms for patients. Each patient is also entitled to three “present dishes”; 3 free meals for a person of their choice, during your stay. You can use them or pay for meals for guests.

Part of the room
Part of the room
Fuji View where meals are served
Fuji View where meals are served

I used my “present dishes” on the lunch on day 4 with my husband and our 2 year old. MIL was supposed to use the 3rd present meal, but in the end she couldn’t come for the meal. I opted for a “children’s plate” for my 2 year old. There are 5 choices including an onigiri plate, curry or spaghetti. I opted for the latter. The portion size was very decent. A child of up to 10 would be happy with the size I think. It came with soup, salad and a dessert. Her table mat was a colouring page with colouring pencils available on lend. She also received a special treat of sweets in a plastic shaped pumpkin container as day 4 was Halloween.

Japanese noodles, lunch on day 4
Japanese noodles, lunch on day 4
Kids plate
Kids plate

She wasn’t the only one to receive a present; as luck would have it, every table in the Fuji View Lounge had a parcel at it. Inside was a lovely Halloween babygrow for newborns. That wasn’t the last present either. When you get discharged you receive a beautiful “birthday” cake, the professional photo taken of the baby on day 1 or 2 with a CD copy, and baby is wrapped in Keiai’s famous baby towel. We said emotional goodbyes and there ended a wonderful five day stay in a maternity “hotel”.

Halloween present
Halloween present
2 year old insisted on looking after the cake, so it got a little battered on the journey home! It still tasted delicious though :-)
2 year old insisted on looking after the cake, so it got a little battered on the journey home! It still tasted delicious though :-)

The official website of Keiai hospital is http://www.keiaihospital.or.jp/

For general information in English please see the blog post on this wordpress site; http://daysofourlivesjapan.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/keiai-hospital-saitama-general-information/

Day 3 of a maternity hospital stay in Japan

Day 3, the last full day. The day of the facial and foot massage. Also, the last physical check-up for Mama, before discharge.

Buffet breakfast day 3
Buffet breakfast day 3

Halloween Ornament
Halloween Ornament
I took a selection of tastes for breakfast again on day 3. After breakfast I took a nap, waking in time for my 9.30 appointment in the beauticians, where I had a foot massage and facial complements of the hospital. The facial included a chest and head massage. It was wonderful.

Waiting area for the beauticians and hairdressers.
Waiting area for the beauticians and hairdressers.

Lunch today was my 2nd favourite meal throughout my 5 day postpartum stay in the hospital (standard for a natural birth). It was Italian and included bite size tastes of various Italian cuisine. I didn’t get a photo of the soup.

La zuppa di oggi. (Not pictured). Boeuf au vin rouge braise en sauce pour quelques heures, servi avec des legumes de saison. Il mio piatoo di asagne in una piccola speciali. Frutti de mare, samonkisshu.  Insalata di stagione
La zuppa di oggi. (Not pictured). Boeuf au vin rouge braise en sauce pour quelques heures, servi avec des legumes de saison. Il mio piatoo di asagne in una piccola speciali. Frutti de mare, samonkisshu. Insalata di stagione
Italian lunch dessert. Dolci Misto Caffe Pane
Italian lunch dessert. Dolci Misto Caffe Pane

On day 3 you are requested to hand in the outfit that you want your baby to wear home on discharge on day 4. You can bring something from home or you can use the vest and one of the two outfits that are gifted on day 2 (in the goodie bag pictured in day 2 account). Keeping in line with her older brother and sisters, I chose one of the gifted outfits. The designer is one of my favourite for newborns; “Helianthus“.

Outfit for baby on her release from hospital, gifted from the hospital
Outfit for baby on her release from hospital, gifted from the hospital

In the afternoon, those of us who were getting discharged the next day had our last physical examination before leaving the hospital. This includes bloods, urine samples, weight and blood pressure check and an internal exam.

Dinner that evening was my 3rd favourite of the stay. Named “Creative Japanese cuisine”. It was as artistic as it was delicious.

創作日本料理 Creative Japanese Cuisine
創作日本料理 Creative Japanese Cuisine
Creative Japanese cuisine
Creative Japanese cuisine
"Creative Japanese cuisine"
“Creative Japanese cuisine”

The dessert, Japanese wagashi, was from a famous wagashi store in Kawagoe.

Dessert of dinner on day 3 from a famous store in Kawagoe
Dessert of dinner on day 3 from a famous store in Kawagoe

After dinner, I had my last shower and last use of the massage chair in the refresh salon. Once again I fell asleep before the nurse made her rounds and I was thankful that she didn’t disturb me as I knew from the following day, it would be a long time before I’d be so rested again!

THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR KEIAI HOSPITAL IS: http://www.keiaihospital.or.jp/

FOR INFORMATION IN ENGLISH, WRITTEN ON THIS WORDPRESS BLOG IN 2012: http://daysofourlivesjapan.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/keiai-hospital-saitama-general-information/

Day one of a hospital stay in a maternity “hotel”

Some photos of the food and the goodies on day one of a standard five-day stay (birth day is counted as day zero) in a Japanese maternity hospital.

Breakfast, which was brought to my room the morning after I gave birth. Little one #4 was in the baby room, where you bring your baby each mealtime to be watched, so you can relax over your food.

Breakfast in the bedroom
Breakfast in the bedroom

Lunch, which I had in the Fuji View Restaurant on the 4th floor. This is where you have all your meals during your stay, once you have had a 24 hour rest (48 hours for caesarean sections) after giving birth. This lunch was an “Oriental Plate” prepared by the chef teppanyaki style.

Part of the mini teppanyaki lunch
Part of the mini teppanyaki lunch
Steamed dumplings served with teppanyaki lunch
Steamed dumplings served with teppanyaki lunch

There was a little Halloween ornament on the table for every meal during the stay, which I thought was a nice touch. Here it is pictured with the delicious dessert.

Dessert of "Oriental Plate" lunch.
Dessert of “Oriental Plate” lunch.

Dinner was Kyoto style food. Kyoto is a region in Japan.

Dinner was served in a beautiful wooden Japanese box set.
Dinner was served in a beautiful wooden Japanese box set.
Dinner day 1
Dinner day 1

I don’t normally like Wagashi , but this was absolutely gorgeous, not to mention beautifully presented.

Dessert of dinner on day 1
Dessert of dinner on day 1

Meanwhile back in the room, I was enjoying more freebies. These goods are for the baby. Everyone is provided baby milk powder, a bottle, a brush to wash the bottle, milton tablets and other bits and pieces so you can prepare a formula bottle if you choose to bottle feed or supplement for the first few days. Second photo shows the vanity area where the goods were presented. The large milton sterilising box, the bottle keep, the kettle, the pot and the washing up liquid belong to the hospital, but are provided in each room throughout your stay.

Some of the baby goods gifted from the hospital
Some of the baby goods gifted from the hospital
Vanity area
Vanity area

Thanks to the various freebies, the delicious food, the restaurant ambience, the friendly staff and chatty patients, day one was as relaxing as it was enjoyable. Before bed I had a power shower in the “refresh salon” while the staff watched Little One #4 in the baby room.

THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR KEIAI HOSPITAL IS: http://www.keiaihospital.or.jp/

FOR INFORMATION IN ENGLISH, WRITTEN ON THIS WORDPRESS BLOG IN 2012: http://daysofourlivesjapan.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/keiai-hospital-saitama-general-information/

Pregnancy, Parenting, Play in Saitama

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