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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Breastmilk v. cancer

ABC News reports that an Englishman, Tim Browne, is using breastmilk to fight his cancer. His daughter is nursing her baby boy and sets aside a couple of ounces of milk for her dad. As cited in the article, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's research indicate that breastmilk may prevent growth of cancer cells.

Researchers have identified a protein in human milk--human alpha-lactalbumin made lethal to tumors (HAMLET)--that induces apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in which cells, responding to environmental signals, self-destruct. Apoptosis, a relatively new study in biology, is the natural mechanism the body uses to recycle material that is not needed for functioning. When apoptosis is initiated, the cell's genetic material becomes shredded so that the cell cannot replicate itself. With cancer cells, apoptosis is inhibited, allowing rapid growth of dysfunctional cells. Haynes says that the isolation of HAMLET as a trigger for apoptosis in cancer cells could give further weight to evidence linking breast milk to reduced incidences of some cancers.

Several other benefits of breastfeeding have been previously reported but if breastmilk can indeed help fight cancer, this will be a very welcome development in cancer research studies. However, the article also cites an ABC News medical contributor saying that "there's no research to say those same proteins in human breast milk will benefit this man."

A lot of other uses and home remedies using breastmilk are available on the internet -- from curing earaches to sore eyes (there's even a recipe to make soap out of breastmilk Note, however, that these remedies are not scientifically and medically studied. In fact, one of the breastfeeding counselors I know discourages the use of breastmilk for sore eyes. My favorite and most practical use for breastmilk comes from my mother-in-law's elderly mah-jong friends. My husband (and daughter) has a high/deep hairline -- and my mommy's friends suggested that I spread breastmilk on their heads to encourage hair growth... :D I've been doing this (only when Stan is asleep) and hopefully, there will be happy results :)

More and more health benefits are being discovered as breastmilk research intensifies. On the local front, I was recently asked to donate some breastmilk, my and Naima's urine samples for a study conducted in UP. I've requested for a summary/abstract once this study is completed. This is a very interesting development and hopefully, will yield positive and helpful findings 0n the benefits and uses of breastmilk, particularly in the Philippine setting.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

LAM thoughts

Last week, I went to my ob-gyne for my yearly pap smear. I also meant to ask her about natural family planning and contraceptives. After more than 1 hour waiting time (ugh.. you won't believe how late this doctor comes all the time!!), she finally arrived and it was my turn.
My main concern for this visit was to ask about birth control. It has been more than 2 years since my last menstruation (yes - no light spotting, bleeding - NADA) and I wanted to ask about both natural family planning (NFP) and the artificial birth control. My ob-gyne told me that since I was not menstruating, I didn't have to do any family control since I wasn't ovulating! I was shocked and didn't know how to tell her that LAM or Lactation Amenorrhea Method only worked in certain conditions. She insisted that I couldn't do NFP since I needed to compute from my last menstruation date and she did not want to prescribe any contraceptive. So that's that.
I believe that learning how LAM works is important since misinformation may result in unexpected pregnancies, leading moms to consider LAM as an ineffective natural birth control method. Based on research, LAM only works under certain conditions:

"A woman can use LAM if:
  1. her menstrual period has not returned since delivery (Bleeding or spotting during the first 56 days is not considered menstrual bleeding.) AND
  2. she is breastfeeding her baby on demand, both day and night and not feeding other foods or liquids regularly (Occasional tastes of foods or other liquids are permitted, but they should never replace a feeding at the breast.) AND
  3. her baby is less than six months old."
Some helpful resources for LAM are from:
La Leche League International
World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action
Breastfeeding.com

I'm not sure if other nursing moms have experienced the same treatment from their OBs. It's just disappointing because unlike other countries, Philippine women (especially pregnant ones) rely on their OBs (and usually take their word as gospel truth!). Midwives play important rules in the country-side but I have yet to hear about a midwife supervising the birth here in Metro Manila.
I am exploring NFP methods but really having difficulty finding the correct resources to get it right. I talked to someone from Institute for Reproductive Health Philippines (they distribute the cycle beads). But she wasn't able to help -- she said that I need to know when my last period was and use that as basis.
One of the breastfeeding counselors in my yahoogroups suggested the billings method or the basal temperature method. But I've yet to find the right person/organization to talk about this. In Makati Med, looking for natural fertility clinics led me to more OBs, who charge consultation fees to discuss NFP.
We are NOT ready to have another baby so I would like to learn about the correct way of billings/basal since hubby doesn't want to go the contraceptives route. Ho-hum... the search goes on.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Breastfeeding is not easy but is definitely best for baby

Welcome to the Carnival of Breastfeeding for May!

The theme for May is "share your story". When I first gave birth, a lot of my friends were breastfeeding and made it sound so easy. However, it definitely was not easy for me and I shed a lot of tears to make it work. This is my story.

Please check out the contributing bloggers' posts linked at the bottom of this post.
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As a new parent, everyone wants to give the best for their baby. During my pregnancy, I was bombarded with information that "breast was best". Thus, even before Naima Clarisse was born, I was dead set on breastfeeding her. Naima Clarisse was born on 05 December 2007 and it was a fairly easy pitocin-induced delivery with epidural anesthesia. Within an hour after her birth, she had latched on and drinking up what little colostrum I was producing. During her first 24 hours, she had pooped out so much meconium that Stan was converted into a diaper-changing machine.

We were discharged on 07 December 2007 and the next 2 weeks were filled with sleepless breastfeeding days. On discharge day, Naima weighed 5 pounds and 10 ounces. However, as a breastfed baby, we were informed that was normal and she should regain her birth weight on her second week check-up. We went to our pediatrician on 19 December 2007 for her second week check-up. Naima weighed 6 pounds and 9 ounces which was 4 ounces more than her birth weight. We were very happy! However, we were eventually dismayed to find out that she was jaundiced and even more so when we were informed that it was breast milk jaundice!! (For more information on breast milk jaundice, please read this handout from Dr. Jack Newman. He explains that breast milk jaundice is normal and does not require treatment or supplementation as long as the baby is gaining weight well and having lots of bowel movements. As always you should consult your doctor for medical advice.)

The pediatrician recommended that she be given 1-2oz of formula after nursing. By then, Stan and I were so paranoid that we decided that I exclusively pump so we could measure how much she was getting. This was the beginning of my endless pumping and worries.. "will i have enough milk"? With the stress and sleepless nights, I wasn't pumping enough and we had to supplement with formula. Also, as first-time parents, we didn't know that there was an art to bottle-feeding the breastfed infant. So to force Naima to drink milk, Stan would pull on the bottle every time she stops sucking == end result?! Nipple confusion. Every time Naima would latch on to me, she would stay only for 5 minutes or less because she wanted faster flow and she was pulling on my breasts like it was a bottle nipple -- adding to my sore nipples and breasts. It was a vicious cycle. At this point, I was exclusively pumping and didn't know long I would last. I even rented a hospital-grade pump and bought another double pump.

I was really determined to continue breastfeeding. When Naima was about 7 weeks, I felt that my supply had increased so I again decided to go back to direct breastfeeding. I had been told that direct breastfeeding extends the breastfeeding relationship - as compared to exclusive pumping. Again, I was plagued with sore and cracked nipples. At this point, I was ready to throw in the towel. I kept thinking, I was a formula-fed baby, hubby was FF, my siblings and everyone else I knew were FFed and we were doing great!

Maybe those die-hard breastfeeding advocates really got to me - I decided to continue giving Naima breast milk and go back to exclusive pumping. I guess I was also a masochist because after 2 days, when my nipples had healed, I again tried to do direct breastfeeding. And suddenly, everything became easier. Her latch had improved. There was still some pain on my right breast but it was tolerable. And I started thinking that I could do this! I continued direct breastfeeding for 2 weeks, not giving her any bottle for fear of a nipple confusion relapse. This meant I couldn't go out without her and I couldn't go out often since my mom wouldn't let me take the baby out.

Then plugged ducts hit! I had been pumping and freezing breast milk when we had to go to Cebu. In Cebu, I didn't bring my pump and failed to do my regular 3 pumps a day (in addition to nursing) -- resulting in engorgement! Plus, the fact that we were staying in hotels and had to fulfill some familial duties probably added to my stress ending in plugged ducts! So upon going back to Manila, I went to see an ob-gyne who was a lactation consultant and had her prick my nipple to free up the plugged duct! Boy did it hurt and for 2 succeeding days, it hurt every time Naima fed on my right breast! I was determined not to quit and my right nipple did heal.

Naima is almost 18 months and is still drinking breastmilk. I have gone back to full-time work when she was 7 months and have been expressing milk while we are separated. With hard work and determination, I'm able to pump enough milk for her daily needs and still have some excess to donate. Conservatively, I'm hoping we make it to 24 months. Then after that, we'll see how it goes. I just hope that I'm up to facing the challenges that breastfeeding will bring.

Check out the posts of the other Carnival participants:
Amber @ Strocel.com - The Story of Hannah's Weaning
Laura's Blog - Weaning a Toddler
Stepping Off the Spaceship - Life, Death and Nourishment
So Fawned - Sticking with it: Our Breastfeeding Story
Mommy News & Views - How Breastfeeding Changed My Life
And All That Sazz - Flying Breast Milk
Grudgemom - Breastfeeding Failures and Success
Baby Carriers Down Under - Kandy
Massachusets Friends of Midwives - Ben's Story: The best breastfeeding advice from the least likely source
Breastfeeding 1-2-3: The "I Told You So"
Breastfeeding Mums Blog: Breastfeeding made me the mother I am
Motherwear's Breastfeeding Blog: They said the latch was fine
Breastfeeding Moms Unite: Can Early Public Breastfeeding Sightings Shape One's Future Breastfeeding Practices?
Zen Mommy: Celebrating my chest in honour of breastfeeding
The Towells: For women in my situation (breastfeeding after breast reduction)
Blacktating: Nursing in Public
Crystal Gold: A Found Memory

Friday, May 22, 2009

Of Pools and Milk

I have been reading several stories of moms being banned from breastfeeding in or around swimming pools. The most recent is that of a mom in Nottingham, England who was asked to stop breastfeeding at the pool because she was violating the pool’s rule on no food or drink near the water.
Prior to that, there were also other incidents involving breastfeeding in swimming pools in Canada – 2 in Ontario (Scarborough and Newmarket) and another one in Calgary. Because of these incidents, protests were organized which resulted in changes in rules of the local councils and/or public apologies. Public awareness of breastfeeding in public also heightened.
I initially felt that there is a difference between breastfeeding in the pool or near/around the pool. Breastfeeding near or around the pool is perfectly acceptable to me, but I felt that breastmilk, being a bodily fluid, is something I don’t think the public would appreciate being added to the swimming pool water.
After some research, I got to this FAQ page on breastfeeding and swimming pools. FAQ No. 9 thoroughly discussed the “no drink and food” rule in connection with breastfeeding – breastfeeding is not just food but comfort and comfort certainly is not prohibited in the pool. A scientific paper is also discussed, which debunked the argument that breastmilk would deactivate the chlorine or may contain bacteria/viruses that could infect other swimmers.
Although we haven’t nursed in the swimming pool, I have nursed here in a public beach in Davao City. Personally, I wouldn’t want to nurse Naima in the swimming pool. I feel it is not hygienic. The pool waters are not clean and even if I am wearing a bathing suit, my breasts still came in contact with the icky water. I don’t want Naima swallowing pool water – nor would I want her to come in contact with something that was soaked in the pool water. But that’s just me.
I realize that breastfeeding is much like the law – there are always 2 sides and you could argue about it until you are blue in the face – but still not find a resolution. Information, biases, culture and influences all shape the perception in the face of nursing in public.

*The cartoon on this page is by Heather Cushman-Dowdee, creator of Hathor the Cow Goddess, a comics focused on breastfeeding and attachment parenting.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Much ado about a nursing toddler

A hospital in Manchester is being criticized for releasing posters of a toddler breastfeeding her doll in their efforts to promote and increase breastfeeding rates. Reports state that some hospital visitors/employees find that this is not normal and pressure mothers to breastfeed instead of supporting them.
My toddler, who is still nursing, also breastfeeds and babywears her dolls! I think she finds it normal to feed her babies (dolls) with mommy's (her) milk instead of giving them the bottle. When I'm there and playing with her dolls, she lets her dolls nurse from me.
Personally, I'd rather see her try to breastfeed her doll than bottle feed it. I believe that by learning that breastfeeding is natural at an early age, she will be part of the "new generation" who will have no hang-ups about breastfeeding. Hopefully, when she becomes a mother later on, she will also find that breastfeeding her baby is the most natural or "normal" thing to do.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reintroducing the US Breastfeeding Promotion Act

The last time a lactivist event happened in Manila was in June 2007 when Filipino breastfeeding advocates trooped to the Supreme Court and bared their breasts just before the oral arguments in connection with the Milk Code. I was 3 months pregnant with Naima then -- in the midst of all-day sickness -- and not even contemplating breastfeeding yet. The Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations on the Milk Code has been partially upheld by the Supreme Court and what is currently pending is a bill sponsored by Sen. Pia Cayetano entitled "Expanded Breastfeeding Act of 2007".
In the US, the Breastfeeding Promotion Act will be reintroduced on June 3, 2009 and an email (copy pasted below) has been circulating asking for lactivist presence during the presscon on that day. An essential point in the US bill which is not in the Philippine bill would be the performance standard for breastpump equipment.
In Sen. Pia's bill, she proposes the establishment of lactation stations and lactation periods (e.g. lactation break). Tax breaks had been previously granted under "The Rooming-In and Breastfeeding Act of 1992." However, even if the law (and incentive) has been in existence for more than 15 years, lactation programs are not yet well-established in majority of workplaces (private or government). Here's hoping that Sen. Pia's bill will pass into law and lactation programs (particularly in my workplace :D) will shortly be established.


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To all breastfeeding activists/lactivists/concerned citizens!

Rep. Carolyn Maloney is going to reintroduce the Breastfeeding Promotion Act to Congress in June. With a change in leadership in both Houses and a White House that is attuned to work/life balance issues, this year we need to push hard for passage! The Breastfeeding Promotion Act will:
* Add breastfeeding mothers in the workplace as a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964
* Provide incentives for employers to have private lactation areas for workers
* Create a performance standard for breastpump equipment
* Create tax deductions for pumping equipment

Rep. Maloney and other co-sponsors will hold a press conference on June 3rd at 11:30am on the Cannon Terrace at the Cannon Building on Capitol Hill. Once again we are gathering as large a presence as we can to attend the press conference in support of the bill.

Here is what we need from all who care about this issue:

First, we need you to contact your Rep. in the Congress (find him or her here http://www.house.gov/ ), this week, and ask them to sign on as a cosponsor of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act. The more cosponsors a bill has, the more attention and support it garners. We need all 435 Representatives to know how important this bill is to the 70% of mothers who work and may desire to breastfeed once they go back to work. So call AND email your Representative and ask to speak to a legislative aide today.

Second, we need anyone within driving distance of Washington, D.C. to make plans to join us on June 3rd at 11:30 am on the Cannon Terrace at the Cannon Office Building,Independence Avenue and 1st Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003. You can drive in if you are willing to come early enough to hunt for parking spot south of the Cannon Bldg. or take Metro to the Capitol South station on the Blue/Orange lines. This link shows a picture of the terrace where we will meet.

We need pregnant and nursing mother, their supportive partners, grandparents and all your cute little nurslings and toddlers to join us that day for the press conference. At previous introductions of the bill we have had between 100-200 attendees at the press conference. We would like an even bigger showing this year. It is very important that you RSVP to wchappel@myexcel.com with the number of adults/babies/children attending so we can be prepared (and have enough kid friendly snacks/drinks on hand). And so that I can email final details to all the night before the event.

Third, we need everyone who attends to plan on visiting the offices of their Representative in Congress immediately after the press conference, to personally appeal to them to throw their support behind the bill and sign on as an original co-sponsor. Don't let the opportunity to have face to face interaction with your legislators pass you by. Last time I went I had a very spirited conversation with a young female legislative aide who clearly didn't understand why her boss should care about this bill. The House of Representatives link above will give you the address of their Washington office. All of the legislative office buildings are clustered near Cannon Office Building. If you call ahead you can make an appointment (I would suggest you make an after lunch appt. time and go get some lunch with your kids after the press conference) to speak to someone.

Lastly, if you have a workplace lactation discrimination story you would like to share at the press conference please email wchappel@myexcel.com immediately. The speakers lineup is being put together now and some mothers may be invited to talk about their own stories.

This is the year to get this done! Please forward this message to every breastfeeding, parenting, working parent list and group to which you belong, just keep the contact info intact.

Thanks all,

Lorrie Leigh, AAHCC

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Setting Up a Lactation Program at Work, Part I

I met with C, a media officer, at our GFI. Because of the efforts of F, she also attempted to write and promote the establishment of lactation rooms. She went one step further and prepared a powerpoint presentation. It was impressive. She was able to compile comprehensive employee data and relevant Philippine information on breastfeeding.
On my end, utilizing my skills as a researcher, I came upon this site, aptly titled "Breastfeeding Pinay," which had information on developing lactation support programs and establishing lactation rooms in the Philippine setting.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Nursing Mom's Shopping Guide in Manila - Cover Ups!

*This is the 3rd of a series.
When I was a new nursing mom, nursing in public was something that I didn’t imagine that I could do. Still, I couldn’t control when Naima wanted to eat. I realized that I needed something to cover me up during these times. My first nursing bib was a complete cover-up from First Years. I requested my sister-in-law to purchase it from Canada. It was light blue in color and had a net in front so you could see the baby. But I didn't use it much. It was small and didn't go well with our tropical climate. The material was not light cotton.
During the early days, the internet was my best friend. I was happy to find nursingmom’s covers! I purchased one of Bessie’s early designs and have been using her cover ever since. However, I stopped using the cover when Naima turned 7 months. At this time, she was already a wriggly baby and was easily distracted by noises. She also didn’t want to be covered by anything! And since I usually nursed in private rooms, I opted not to use a nursing cover anymore.
Nowadays, as a 17-month old, Naima rarely nurses in public. She is busy playing, chatting, walking and eating. When she does nurse, we go to a quiet spot or I just turn my back on the crowd and nurse her. The nursing cover has served its purpose for me. I still sometimes use it when I need to pump in public or when I need a blanket to cover Naima with.
For moms on the look-out for nursing covers, I’ve compiled a list of bibs/covers/shawls available online and in brick and mortar stores. Happy shopping!

Brick & Mortar Stores:
Rustan’s is my all-time favorite baby shop. Their nursing room (in Makati) is very nice – well decorated and perfectly situated (in the middle of the baby section). Rustan’s Makati can be contacted through 8133739, loc. 251 while Rustan’s Shangri-la’s direct number is 6334660. They carry Nurse-Ease (1,550p now 995p) which is like a shawl that you put over your head and measures 36x38; Baby Martin (589.75p and measures 26x38) and Next9 (299.75p and measures 28x36). Rustan’s also carry Lilymoms wrap which costs 850p.

SM Baby Company is my most visited baby store. It’s near the condo - well, at least the Mall of Asia (5564354 and connect to Baby) branch is. The stand-alone stores are in Rockwell (8980928) and Podium (6374082). I actually prefer going to the stand-alone stores because I think the selection is better. SM Baby Company already carries its own brand of nursing cover that comes with wire/boning. It measures 34x24inches and costs 499.75p. They also carry the Owen brand (makes crib sheets) which has a see-through net at the neck. It’s made of a softer material, measures 27x35inches and is more expensive at 879.75p.

Two other baby/pregnancy stores that I’ve visited are Babyland and Procreation. Procreation is in Crossings, Shangri-La Mall and can be contacted through 6354410 loc. 25. They sell nursing bibs under their own label with boning at the neckline. These come in 4 colors and cost 799.75p. Babyland (www.babyland.com.ph) has several branches:
Robinson’s galleria – 6361912; ATC – 8072264; Festival Mall, Level 3 – 7721543; Mandaluyong – 531-1367 or 531-1217; Shoppesville, Level 2 – 7275276 and Glorietta II – 8671860. They sell Milksense nursing bib which measures 34x24inches. It has a wire around the neckline and costs 549.75p. It also comes in a set with an arm support pillow (not a C-shaped pillow), which costs 849.75p

Online Stores:
There are a great many online stores which sell nursing bibs. Two of them, Next9 and Lilymoms are also available at brick and mortar stores (as enumerated above).

Next9 by Jen CC Tan sells the most affordable covers. Her nursing bibs are 28x36 inches and cost 300p. Her bibs are available at Rustan's, Babyland and in her website.

As I mentioned, I purchased my second bib from Bessie of nursing mom. The size of her bib is 26 x 33in and costs 500p. Features of NursingMom's cover include: an adjustable neck strap that holds the cover in place, to keep you feeling secure while feeding; an open, rigid neckline that allows you to view baby and maintain eye-contact throughout the feeding session; a roomy inner-side pocket for storing breast pads, clean-up cloths, or your cell phone. I love her prints which she continuously updates. The covers are made with a single layer of fabric, providing wide coverage to ensure a discreet yet comfortable nursing session for you and your baby.

Another fashionable bib comes from Plume by Cher Anonas. Cher's bibs measure 24x33.5 inches and cost 650p. One feature of her bibs are D-rings which allow you to adjust the bibs. Her bibs are made of breathable and washable fabric; reversible (print/solid) and come with 2 pockets in front for small items.

From the INDIGObaby yummy mummies come an innovative nursing cover which Monica and Denise call the "Boncho". Their bonchos cost 565p and is a revamped breastfeeding poncho! Bonchos are available here. They've enumerated 4 different ways to wear bonchos which are not limited to nursing mommies.
1. Arm Love -through the arms
2. Shrug / Blankie -to keep you (or your little one!) warm and cozy
3. Teepee -with the buttons in front to create a teepee effect
4. Boncho -your revamped breastfeeding poncho!

If you're looking for INDIGObaby's original nursing bib, you can still get them from Dr. Zeka of HipMomsandBabies. The nursing bib costs 500p and are reversible - one side in cute printed patterns on one side with a complimentary solid color on the other. There are 2 pockets to hold small items and the bib also has an adjustable strap to keep it in place. This lightweight bib folds up easily for storage in your handbag or diaper bag. It can also be used as a lighweight sunshield/stroller cover , or a thin changing mat.

Another nursing bib available online is from ProudMama store. Their bibs cost 650p with dimensions of 31 x 20 inches. Features of their bib include an adjustable neckstrap to ensure the perfect fit; flexible boning in the neckline to ensure eye contact with your baby and to allow airflow - important in our warm climate.

If you want a wrap and can't get to the mall, you can purchase the Lilymoms wraps online. Features of the wrap are: a baby view which allows only mom to see baby; rings which adjust for a perfect fit; mom's exposed back & sides, including stretch marks (yikes!) are fully covered; a thumb loop inside ensures that the cape stays on even when baby moves and the wraps use cotton fabrics in up-to-date prints and plains.

Mommy matters also offers its own nursing cover called Moomy and me. The covers measure 24x34inches and cost 490p. Some designs are 30% off at 343p. The covers are made of 100% cotton fabric and has a peek-a-boo neckline to allow direct eye contact and provide additional ventilation for baby. They also have adjustable neck straps to fit most moms. The covers come with a bamboo knit jersey cloth on one corner of the cover for quick clean ups and has its own canvas bag.

Finally, if you don't like a bib or wrap to cover up your baby, Tiny Tots has come up with its own version of the Slurp and Burp called the Nurse and Burp. This cover is different because it is not a piece of cloth but is actually a sash with clever openings. The Nurse and Burp is described as:
made of two loops of half soft comfy cotton knit, and half woven burp cloth fabric. The stretchy part of the NURSE AND BURP fabric loop offers just enough coverage to comfortably nurse your baby, without flashing the world. Once in place you simply unhook your bra and unbutton or lift your shirt to access your breast. Once you’ve unhooked your bra, opened or lifted your shirt, you position your baby and slide the folds of fabric apart just enough to expose your nipple and the area that the baby needs to latch onto. Once baby is latched on you can arrange the fabric for optimal coverage. The NURSE AND BURP does not cover your baby’s head, it does not obstruct your view, and it does not significantly increase the temperature of your baby or you. When you finish nursing on one side, you can put your baby to your shoulder, to the woven burp cloth section, and burp away. When you switch sides, shift or rotate the loop to the opposite shoulder and you will have coverage on the opposite side. It folds up compactly and tucks easily into a diaper bag or purse.
This cover costs 550p, made of lightweight cotton and comes in 2 sizes: Small - which measures 40inches all around (for XS/S moms) and Medium - which measures 44inches all around (for M/L moms).

When I started my nursing career, there were just a few covers available in the market. But now, nursing moms have more options and are able to compare size, price and quality. There are even different types - wraps, bibs and sash. This is certainly a welcome development for shopaholic moms like me :D

*Update 5/31/2010 - shameless plug:
My online store also carries 2 brands of nursing covers - Next9 (at P300) and Cover to Clutch (at P750).  Check them out!

Other posts in this series:
All About Malunggay
Clothes, clothes, clothes!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More health benefits for the nursing mom

In late April 2009, 2 interesting articles on breastfeeding came out and I've been meaning to blog about them but got sidetracked with some stuff. The first was the latest report that on the benefits to a breastfeeding mom, which now includes a lower risk for heart disease. This finding adds to the previous benefits that nursing moms have specifically lower risk of osteoporosis, breast and ovarian cancer and Type 2 diabetes. However, experts also caution that the benefits may actually be a result of a healthier lifestyle practiced by nursing women, rather than a causal relationship between breastfeeding and health benefits.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Setting up a Lactation Program at Work, The Beginnings

When Naima was almost 7 months old, I got a phone call from my former boss who told me that her dad needed a lawyer in his staff. Since the workplace was near my home, she thought of me and asked me if I was already working. At this time, I was wrapping up a research work I was doing for a counsel of a multilateral development finance institution and was going to start looking for a full-time job -- perfect timing!
During the interview, I informed the boss-to-be that I was still nursing Naima and would be pumping at work so I would be looking for a private room or be going out on pumping breaks. He pointed me to his conference room, which was separated from his main office by a full sliding door and asked if that was good. It was perfect! I could close the sliding door during the pumping times. Our office was self-contained and had our own refrigerator -- so I had no worries about how to store my milk.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

IBCLCs in the Philippines

Early in the course of my breastfeeding career, I heard the term "IBCLC" countless times - during my hospital stay, consults with LCs, visits to various forums and online researches. An IBCLC is defined as "a specialist in lactation management," who "possesses the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes to provide substantive breastfeeding assistance and skilled technical management of lactation-related problems." IBCLCs are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. The Philippines belongs to the Asia-Pacific Region, with head office in Australia.
There are several breastfeeding support groups here in the Philippines but there are only five recognized and certified IBCLCs in the Philippines. However, it does not mean that only IBCLCs can give support to nursing mothers. Several members of the support groups are breastfeeding or peer counselors who have been trained to give support/information to nursing moms and may be working towards becoming certified as an IBCLC. The path towards being certified as an IBCLC is not easy and in fact a candidate is allowed up to 5 years to complete her certification.

Friday, May 8, 2009

New growth charts for babies

BBC reported that the UK Government has recently adopted the WHO Growth Charts for infant growth. Prior to this, growth charts being used were based on formula fed babies. The WHO adopted new growth charts in 2006 and according to the technical study, the key standard is that these growth charts "explicitly identify breastfeeding as the biological norm and establish the breastfed child as the normative model for growth and development."

According to Prof. Charlotte Wright, professor of community child health in Glasgow and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (project lead for the new charts), the new growth chart will result in the doubling of the number of overweight babies. The new charts will definitely be welcomed by breastfeeding mothers. As Prof Wright said: "We realise that we have been probably worrying mothers unnecessarily about their child's weight with a knock on impact for breastfeeding. Mothers of small babies who were breastfeeding may have come under pressure to supplement their feeding. Babies who were already ideal are actually overweight. Parents are going to get an early warning that their children are at risk of becoming overweight."

The WHO released these growth charts in 2006. The UK has just recently adopted them, while it seems that the US has not yet adopted them since according to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, the US growth charts were last updated in 2000. Click here for links to the 2006 WHO growth charts (I don't call them new since it's been 3 years since they were released).

It makes me wonder what growth charts Philippine pediatricians are currently using (I think they still use the old charts). I have met several nursing mothers who are often told by their pediatricians to "top off" or supplement with formula because their babies are gaining weight slowly. One mother was even advise to start on solids before the half-year mark if the baby will not gain XX number of pounds by this certain month.

My encounter with the growth charts came in the baby books given by formula companies to pediatricians. I guess we were lucky that Naima was naturally on the "heavy" side (owing to her dad's genes.. hehe) so being "off" the charts was never an issue with her and I was not told to supplement with formula. In fact, before she was 6 months and still exclusively directly feeding (I had not gone back to work yet), her pediatrician even told me that I should put her on a diet (which I never did). Hopefully, with the UK's adoption of the 2006 WHO Infant Growth Standards, the Philippines will also adopt these 2006 charts (or hopefully has already adopted it).

*Update: A breastfeeding mom, Kate Demetrio, who works at the Department of Health's National Nutrition Council, informed me that although the Philippines is still using the old growth charts, they are currently working on the adoption of these new infant growth charts based on breastfed babies for the Philippine health system. :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More May Events

Aside from ExpoMom this weekend, La Leche League Philippines (Best Friends in Breastfeeding) will be having its monthly meeting on May 9, 2009 (Saturday) at Mary the Queen Parish from 9-11am. I've been meaning to join this group for the longest time but Greenhills is a long drive from home. Naima is also currently having her Kindermusik classes every Saturday morning. Maybe I will drop by in June.

On May 13, 2009 (Wednesday), AWCP will be having a Mothers' Day Luncheon wgere several designers from their AWCP Bazaar will be presenting fashions to celebrate women of all ages. fellow LATCHer Cher Anonas of PLUME Nursing Wear will be there to showcase her lovely nursing wear designs. The Luncheon will be from 10:30 am ~ 1:30 pm at the Palm Grove Room, Rockwell Club, Makati. Entrance is by reservation only. For ticket info, contact AWCP: 850-0901 or text 09182339066.

Finally, on May 16, 2009 (Saturday) L.A.T.C.H. will be conducting a breastfeeding workshop/information session (Breastfeeding Basics) at The Medical City from 9-12nn. This is a free class on a first come, first serve basis. Classes will be at the 4th Floor, Conference Room 1. Class topics include Breastfeeding Benefits, What to Expect in the First Week, Positioning and Latching, Back to Work and Busting Breastfeeding Myths.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Nursing Bras for Sale

*Stocks updated as of 1 June 2009. New stocks coming mid-June.

As a full time work-out-of-home (WOHM) nursing mom, I'm in constant search of products I can use to help me express milk efficiently at work and be able to nurse in public easily. On top of my shopping list is a good nursing bra. I've amassed various brands of local and imported bras. I finally found a good brand that had a great fit, padded and inexpensive. I decided to share this brand with other nursing moms. So try out "Fabulous Mom" nursing bras.

As a special offer, shipping within Metro Manila is free for the month of May. The bras are all padded and I currently carry 5 styles at introductory prices. For orders, please click the "drop me a line" link at the left side of the page.
Betsy T-Shirt Nursing Bra - 999p (SOLD-OUT!)
A blessing to all our fabulous nursing moms! The much needed padded, seamless t-shirt nursing bra is finally here to compliment your nursing wardrobe. Betsy is padded with soft foam bra cup, and it is seamless so that you can wear your tight stretchy tops without worrying about your nipples or seams on your bra showing. It comes with removable underwire to suit all moms' personal preference. For new moms, remove the underwire for more comfort and for extended nursing moms, you may wear it with the underwire. 2 personal choices in 1 bra, cool yeah? :-)Easy one handed release/put back hook for quick and easy nursing. To nurse, unhook, then fold the bra cup down either inwards or outwards.
Sizes are in 36B, 38B and 38C; Beige ColorJill Padded Nursing Bra - 730p (Sold-out in 34B, 36B, 38B and 38D)
A soft cup padded bra which offers great shape and superb comfort - So there are no worries and embarrassments of your nipples showing after nursing. It has wider sides and back for greater support. It features a convenient one hand operated clip for easy and quick nursing. Fully drop cup for easy nursing and pumping. This also allows skin-to-skin contact with your baby during nursing too. There is still a layer of cloth with elastic side bands for extra support (at the side of your breasts) when the cup is dropped. A little thoughtful something designed by moms who know what nursing moms need.
Sizes are in 34B-D; 36B-D and 38B-D; Nude Color OnlyJoyce Padded Nursing Bra - 870p (Sold-out in 38C, both colors)
Another stylishly designed nursing maternity bra for our fabulous moms – Joyce, which comes in light blue and light green with beautiful embroidery which keep you feeling beautiful. It has cotton lined cups for extra comfort. It offers mom the excellent fit and great shape with its padded soft cups. You can wear it in the normal wearing style or in racer back style for extra support or simply to suit your styles. Features also include adjustable shoulder straps, no underwire and yet still give excellent support, softly padded for great shape, suitable for fuller cups too.
Sizes are in 34B-D; 36B-D and 38B-D; Light blue and light green colors availableRosie Padded and Lace Trim Nursing Bra - 730p (Sold-out in 34B, 34D, 36D and 38C)
Rosie is padded for extra comfort and to provide great shape under clothing. The padding will help prevent nipples from showing after nursing too. The sexy lace trim which creates the underbust band makes the bra looks so pretty and gorgeous. Available in romantic dusty rose which goes well with both light and dark color clothing, The fancy shoulder strap is something you won't mind showing when you're in your tank or wide neck top.
Sizes are in 34B-C; 36B-D and 38B-D; Dusty Rose color Kelly Padded Nursing Bra - 600p (Sold-out in 34B, 36B and 38C)
Kelly is padded for better comfort, better protection, better fit and better value for money! Kelly has a convenient hook for quick and easy nursing access. It features adjustable shoulder straps for better support, comfort and fit. It also has a more discreet 'window' opening, for that extra bit of privacy when breastfeeding in public. Made from high quality completely breathable cotton spandex material.
Sizes are in 34B-D; 36B-D and 38B-D; White floral print

Monday, May 4, 2009

God's Pharmacy

Got this email in one of my egroups and think that it is worth sharing. This is very interesting.

A friend sent this to me. It's been said that God first separated the salt water from the fresh, made dry land, planted a garden, made animals and fish... all before making a human.
He made and provided what we'd need before we were born.These are best & more powerful when eaten raw. We're such slow learners...
God left us great clues as to what foods help what part of our body!
God's Pharmacy! Amazing!
A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye... and YES, science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.
A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All o f the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are indeed pure heart and blood food.
Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.
A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three (3) dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.
Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys. Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body. Avocadoes, Eggplant and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).
Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterility.
Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.
Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries
Oranges, Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.
Onions look like the body's cells. Today's research shows onions h elp clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, Garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body. So... Thank you God...
Be grateful to Him...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Baby Wearing Baby

Although Naima has a stroller, Stan and I (or her yaya) usually carry regularly. We have 4 types of slings/pouches/carriers for her which we used at different times.
First was the moby wrap. I bought this from Inova's breastfeeding center. We had been told that the moby helped moms successfully breastfeed since it promoted kangaroo care, etc. What they did not say was that a lot of practice was necessary to make the sling work and what I did not realize was that it was not suitable for our tropical climate! We eventually got a Baby Bjorn Air, which Stan and Naima loved. Stan was the primary user and Naima could fall asleep in it.
However, it became difficult to use when Naima got heavier. So I
got a pouch from blissful babes. I used it whenever I go shopping since it keeps my hands free! It secures Naima, especially when we have to take the escalator in malls. Stan doesn't like the baby pouch coz he thinks there's "too much body heat". We also have a Patapum Toddler Carrier which we now used. It's a backpack carrier which I initially found a bit complicated. But I use it regularly now since it provides good back support. Naima is very well-behaved when she's in her backpack carrier.
Since Naima is regularly carried in her baby pouch, she uses it for her toys, too! Here she is carrying Froggy in her Baby Pouch and her new toy, Kiwi, in her homemade nappy sling. I love baby-wearing Naima. A sling/pouch is easier to maneuver and convenient to carry around. My only problem is that with Naima at 24lbs., I can't carry her for long without getting tired! Haha, I need more exercise :D

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Breastfeeding in the wake of swine flu pandemic

With the swine flu outbreak, Health News Digest reports that breastfeeding is again being recommended to protect infants. The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee "recommends breastfeeding as a critical strategy to prevent infection," while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes that non-breastfed infants are "are particularly vulnerable to infection and hospitalization for severe respiratory illness."

CDC even recommends that elimination of unnecessary formula supplementation, "so the infant can receive as much maternal antibodies as possible." The CDC also emphasized that breastfeeding should continue (with an increase in feeding frequency) if the mother is ill. Meanwhile, maternal illness which prevents safe feeding at the breast is not a reason to stop breastfeeding as the mom can still pump and she should be encouraged to do so.

However, the CDC recognizes that "the risk for swine influenza transmission through breast milk is unknown," although "reports of viremia with seasonal influenza infection are rare." In any case, according to the CDC, breastfeeding mothers who are taking antiviral medication treatment or prophylaxis may still continue.

Other practical tips on how to prevent the spread of germs include:
  1. Wash adults’ and infants’ hands frequently with soap and water, especially after infants place their hands in their mouths.
  2. Keep infants and mothers as close together as possible and encourage early and frequent skin-to-skin contact between mothers and their infants.
  3. Limit sharing of toys and other items that have been in infants' mouths. Wash thoroughly with soap and water any items that have been in infants' mouths.
  4. Keep pacifiers (including the pacifier ring/handle) and other items out of adults' or other infants' mouths prior to giving to the infant.
  5. Practice cough and sneeze etiquette.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Nursing Mom's Shopping Guide - Clothes, clothes, clothes!

*This is the 2nd of a series.

Purchasing breast feeding clothes isn't really necessary in a nursing relationship. It does make your life easier and if you love shopping like me, this will be another chance, rather excuse to shop for new clothes. I used to purchase my nursing clothes from the US and have them shipped here. I bought tops from Motherhood Maternity, Motherwear and tanks from Target. Happily, I've found several locally available nursing-friendly clothing and was quite surprised with the selection.

One of my very first nursing wear purchases came from Mommy Matters. This company is run by Janice Villaneuva. They have a wide selection but I found that the bamboo collection did not hold up well. Although really soft and comfy, my bamboo nursing nightie ended up with a couple of holes in the seams after about 6 months of use. What I like best about them is that they do fit-at-home service. You call them, they bring a suitcase-full of tops in your preferred size and leave it for a day or 2. You fit the different tops in the comfort of your own home and call/text them if you've decided on your purchases. You can also visit their stockroom in Pasig City. Mommy Matters can be contacted at 0918-9300313 or 7809898 or email.

I was also able to purchase nursing tops from Buding Dee (L.A.T.C.H. President) of Blissful Babes. I love her corsierre, an all-in-one stylish tank which provides good support and easy access - no bra needed! However, there is no store and you have to go to their stockroom in Green Valley Townhouses, Valle Verde 1, Pasig City to purchase. You also need an appointment to fit and they are closed on Sundays. Contact Joy at 671-5826 OR 0922- 4416032.

A recent discovery is Plume by Cher Anonas who sells very stylish nursing dresses. Cher was my classmate during the recent L.A.T.C.H. training. She just released her 1st collection, which I believe was well-received. I purchased a Talitha dress and really like it. It is my first nursing dress - I usually just purchased nursing tops. I wear the Talitha during those occasions when I'm out with always hungry Naima but want to dress up a bit. I've been texting Cher when she'll release her new collection - hopefully will see Plume in ExpoMom.

Pam Yap-Magallon of Bosom Buddy also sells nursing wear. She has tops, dresses and loungewear. However, I haven't tried purchasing clothes from her. I keep postponing because unlike the other vendors, I have not seen her actual products and I don't want to go all the way to Rizal to check them out. They are currently on sale. Contact Pam at 6564993 or 0916-6363593.

Meanwhile, I purchased a very comfortable bamboo tank at Egg Maternity. It was marked down to P800! Egg Maternity only has very few nursing pieces in stock. But since they are currently on sale (I think they are closing down), it's worth checking if the stock they have is your style and in your size. Egg Maternity is in 2/L Glorietta 4 (752-8203 to 04) and in the 2/L Main Mall (Grocery side), SM Mall of Asia (556-0115).

Earlier today I went to Rockwell's Urban Mom Bazaar to check out Mamaway Philippines. Mamaway is run by Jonie Cheng and her sister. It is a UK brand that is also being distributed in the UK. I've been wanting to purchase their tops but wanted to check the right size. However, Jonie is based in faraway QC. Luckily, they were able to get a slot at Urban Mom. I'm currently in the market for red and going-out tops. They had a good selection and I ended up purchasing 6 tops :)
Update: Mamaway now has a store in New Manila.  Read about it here

An established mall store selling nursing clothes is Procreation (6354410 loc. 25) in Crossings, Shangri-la Plaza. They also have a wide line of nursing tops. But I haven't yet purchased anything there -- I don't like the designs. But it's been more than 6 months since I checked out Procreation so they may have new designs. They also sell Bravado nursing tanks (which are quite expensive!).

Lastly, if you're already at Shangri-La Plaza, drop by Mothercare at the 4th Floor. They also have sleepwear that doubles as maternity/nursing wear. Choices are quite limited though. Contact Mothercare Shangri-la at 6311896. They also have a shop in Trinoma.

Other posts in this series:
All About Malunggay
Cover-ups
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