After the successful presentation at the employees' association meeting, C and I started work on the proposal by preparing a survey for female employees. The purpose of the survey is to obtain data on how many female employees are currently breastfeeding or have previously breastfed (successfully or not). We also wanted to obtain information to determine the necessity of a lactation room and essential components thereof. Thanks to Google Docs, creating the survey form and compiling/tabulating the collected information was easy.
However, creating awareness among female employees as to the existence of the survey was a challenge. Although we had obtained an endorsement from the employees' association, there was no resolution issued. C and I initially wanted the survey to be available through our local network. But we were informed by the division in charge of uploading announcements through our local network that we needed to get a resolution or email endorsement.
The minutes of the employees' association meeting were finally released and using the minutes, we asked Atty. M, the employees' association president to endorse our request for the publication. After several back-and-forth emails, we obtained a requisite endorsement and the survey was finally uploaded to our server. However, one problem was that our institution did not have one-to-one computer or internet access for its employees. So to make the survey more accessible, C converted it to a Word document which was downloadable to allow employees with no internet access to fill up with survey.
C was also able to secure a meeting with Ms. D, the manager of our Wellness Division. We met on a Thursday afternoon to brainstorm and discuss ideas. Initially, C and I were really pushing for the submission of a lactation program policy for the approval of our institution’s “board of directors”. I really feel that the establishment of a policy would be first and foremost to ensure that proper support is given to the nursing mothers who need to express milk at the workplace.
During the meeting, C and I raised our concerns. However, Ms. D emphasized that since this is a new program/policy, awareness must first be raised among the employees and management. Thus, she proposed the holding of a “Breastfeeding Awareness Festival”, similar to a “Wellness Festival”, which was recently held in our institution in commemoration of its 16th Anniversary. Ms. D suggested that we hold a similar event focused on breastfeeding to promote awareness. She also suggested that we hold talks and invite exhibitors of relevant products.
I was not really sold on this idea because I thought that it would just be a fleeting event with no concrete results. However, I realized that we really need to drum up interest before we can get the appropriate support for our program. Also, as I had discovered during the last employees’ association meeting, there were a lot of misconceptions about breastfeeding that could be addressed by an awareness program.
Ms. D is an expert at organizing festivals. She told us that she had ready sponsors for the event, namely Abbott and Nestle. Yikes!! Milk Code violation! C and I informed Ms. D about the Milk Code restrictions particularly on sponsorships of mommy-baby related events. She was very receptive to our suggestions and agreed to scrap Nestle and Abbot from the exhibitors’ list. The task of inviting exhibitors was assigned to me and I now have to look for about 20 exhibitors.
Aside from the exhibitors, I would also be looking for speakers on about 6 topics. We’ve decided to hold talks covering the basics, advanced problems, workplace issues, complementary feeding, nutrition for the breastfeeding mom, and the importance of dad’s or partner’s support. My boss has also been very positive and as a high ranking official in our organization, he will be giving an inspirational message on why we should allow and give support to moms expressing milk in the workplace. Hooray!
Think Happy Thoughts
C and I had thought that the commemoration of breastfeeding month in our institution would be a small event with just a talk or two. But with the support of Ms. D and Ms. A (of our wellness division), it has developed into a big affair! I am a bit overwhelmed but feel that this “excitement” will generate good and positive vibes towards breastfeeding awareness in our institution. Now, on to the preparations for the Breastfeeding Awareness Festival! JOther Posts in this Series: