Monday, March 29, 2010

Expanded Breastfeeding Law - Part 2

The most lauded and welcome provisions of the law would be establishment of lactation rooms in all health and non-health facilities, establishments or institutions and lactation periods for working nursing moms.
What I like about the provision on lactation room (the new Sec. 14) is that it clearly states that the lactation room should NOT be in a toilet. There are also minimum standards set such as availability of a sink, cooling facilities for storing milk, electrical outlets for pumps, tables and chairs. I wonder how our current lactation station will fare? It was formerly an executive toilet converted into a lactation station - with toilet bowls removed from the stalls and replaced with tables and chairs.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Expanded Breastfeeding Law - Part 1

March is Women's Month and what better way to celebrate it than with the passage of the long-awaited Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009. Signed into law last March 16, 2010 (Araw ng Davao - my hometown!), Republic Act No. 10028 amends and adds to the earlier law, Republic Act No. 7600 known as "The Rooming-In and Breastfeeding Act of 1992".

The principal author of the law is Sen. Pia Cayetano (who is running for re-election this May 2010 and will definitely get my vote) with whom my very good friend, Deegee, works with. Deegee was telling me how supportive Sen. Pia was of her pumping at work and whenever they have out of town events or activities. You can read Sen. Pia's sponsorship speech here. I remember that as early as 2007, there was already a proposal to amend R.A. 7600 but it was only in 2010 when the new law was finally signed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Top Five Things I love about Breastfeeding

Welcome to March's Carnival of Breastfeeding
I wasn't able to join last month's carnival on breastfeeding challenges. This month's topic is on the joys of breastfeeding and what I like best about it. I think I'm actually on the tail end of my breastfeeding journey with Naima. She is already 2.3 years old and nurses only at night. So, here are the 5 things I love about breastfeeding

1. Limitless health benefits - Almost every month, I read about new research on more breastfeeding benefits. I've never encountered research on breastfeeding as being bad for babies but rather on how formula approximates breast milk.

2. Ease, convenience and instant food - Stan and I are travel bugs and I can only imagine the horrors of traveling with a formula can, gallons of mineral water, sterilizer, bottles - we'd be over our baggage allowance even without Stan's photography gear!

3. Savings savings savings! - Cans of formula milk range from 800pesos - 1,200 pesos for one week's consumption. Plus, you have to purchase feeding bottles, sterilizers, WATER, etc. etc.. Added to this would be health care costs of taking care of a sick child. Several studies have established that breastfed babies are generally healthier than formula-fed babies (see #1). This means that annually, you will be spending at least 45,000 pesos to feed your baby.

4. Quick comfort - New moms often complain about how their babies are always attached to them 24/7. My sister tells me that even after Anya just fed, she would still cry and can only be soothed at the breast. A lot of moms end up questioning if they have enough milk since their babies never seem to be satisfied. Thus, when everyone else around them starts questioning their milk supply, they become disheartened and turn to supplements. Moms (and everyone else around them) actually tend to forget that breastfeeding is just not for food but also for comfort. Your baby was thrust into a cold world from the warmth of your womb and breastfeeding (often) reminds them of the cozy nest they used to enjoy. Even now, whenever Naima is scared or bumps her head or wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, nothing quiets and comforts her quickly then nursing in bed.

5. And the thing I love most about breastfeeding is waking up with Naima saying to me: "Thank you Mommy for making the milk" :D Never fails to bring a smile on my face even if I wasn't able to sleep well because she nursed all night long.

Check out other joys of breastfeeding experienced by fellow blogging moms:
Life of a Baby Wearing and Breastfeeding Mom's Breastfeeding is how I connect with my little one after work
Breastfeeding Moms Unite's Poems about the Joys of Breastfeeding
Lucy & Ethel Have a Baby's Nursing My Little Person
Maman A Droit's A Joyful List
Code Name: Mama's Milk Songs
Little Snowflakes' The Joys of Nursing to SleepGood Enough Mum's You don't have to be crunchy to enjoy breastfeeding
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog's Things I loved about breastfeeding my son
Living Peacefully with Children's Nursing Haikus

Blacktating's What Makes Breastfeeding So Great

Friday, March 19, 2010

Reporting Milk Code Violations

UPDATE 1 September 2012.

The Department of Health has launched an online portal where you can report Milk Code violations! Visit this page:

I've had this in my file for sometime now but realized that I had not posted about how to report Milk Code violations. The University of the Philippines' Volunteers for Children has spearheaded the reporting of violations to the BFAD. As previously discussed in BFAD's milk code forum, a compilation of reports on 1 company is more effective than single reports handed in by sporadically. UP Volunteers for Children are compiling reports and consolidating them for submission to BFAD. Here are details on how to report violations, which I am reproducing from this site. Reports of violations should be emailed here.

What: Monitoring of violations of the milk code
Who can monitor: Virtually everyone may report violations of the milk code.
Who are covered by the code: manufacturers, distributors of products described below, and their representatives; health workers and health system; and any other company or brand name when they promote and/or market their product in such a way that they undermine breastfeeding; mothers and the
general publicProducts covered by the code: breastmilk substitutes; bottlefed complementary food; teats; feeding bottles;
other milks, foods and beverages when marked or represented as partial or total replacement for breastmilk (breastfeeding) simple terms, when these are promoted in a way to undermine breastfeeding.

Notes to take:
All health and nutrition claims for the products described above are not allowed-
Milk Companies should not give out any financial or material inducements or gifts of any sort (e.g. scholarships, raffle draws, etc.)
Milk Companies should not give out samples of products described above (whether to lactating mothers or any other person for that matter)
Milk Companies should not support and/or hold activities or events related to breastfeeding or other events where there are mothers and children are participants (this includes sponsoring the event of any organization, whether the event deals with breastfeeding or not)
-Other promotions like buy-one-take-one, discounts, bonus, tie-ins, etc. are also not allowed
- The use pictures of babies or children with other people in their container or label is also not allowed
- The display of promotional or marketing paraphernalia in health related places
The donation of products described above are also prohibited




1. Type of Violation:
2. Type of Material: (booklet, leaflet, ad, video cassette, mail audio, cd, display, webpage, text messages, visual, poster, billboard, e-media, telephone calls, Audio-visual, theater, other ____)
3. Where was the material found? (General hospital, maternity, pediatric unit, clinic, doctor's office, health center, pharmacy, supermarket, shop, by the roadside, magazine, radio, local tv, cable tv, junk mail, cinema, newspaper, video, scientific journal, internet, others ____)
4. Name of place/media/site where it was found/observed:
Date of publication (if possible):
5. If the market is an advertisement or program aired over TV or radio, give full description. If possible, provide audio or videotape.

Remarks/Findings/Proposed Action/Action Taken:

Monitored by:

E-mail your reports here.

Update: 19 June 2012
The Department of Health has set guidelines on the reporting of Milk Code Activities.  Access Department Circular No. 2009-0228 dated 17 August 2009 HERE. It will tell you where to report the violations and includes a printable form which you need to fill up and attach to your report. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spotlight on LATCH and Children for Breastfeeding

L.A.T.C.H. was featured in last Sunday's Philippine Daily Inquirer. I previously posted all about L.A.T.C.H. But in Sunday's piece, you will learn more about the beginnings of the organization. I was interviewed, along with one of the co-founders, Jen CC Tan. I focused on the activities that the newer members participated in while Jen talked about how LATCH was formed and the signature Best Beginnings workshop at The Medical City. Read the full article here.
Meanwhile, in today's Philippine Star, it was reported that Dr. Elvira Henares-Esguerra's Children for Breastfeeding has partnered with MENSA Philippines to "debunk the claims of infant formula makers whose advertisements claim that their products increase a child's intelligence." MENSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding, committing to avoid endorsing or accepting sponsorship from companies of milk formula and other feeding accessories or products which discourage breastfeeding.
I was again reminded of the Mead Johnson advertisement before about how mothers should ask their doctors how their babies can get +7 IQ points. There was no mention of any milk brand but at the bottom right corner of the screen, you can see an A+ logo. It's a good thing I have not seen that commercial air anymore (then again, I don't watch much TV!).
It really makes me wonder how effective BFAD's Milk Code implementation is?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Submit your best breastfeeding photo!

In one of my previous posts, I shared tips on taking breastfeeding photographs. My husband has realized the importance of preserving these memories and encourages nursing moms (who go to his studio for photoshoots) to include breastfeeding photographs. I'm pleased to report that there have been an increasing number of moms who are receptive to the idea of being photographed while nursing their babes and he has amassed quite a number of photographs.

So I'm certainly happy to see that one of the events for World Breastfeeding Week 2010 is a photography contest. C, my partner in crime in organizing our breastfeeding awareness festival, received an email from WABA with the mechanics on how to join this contest:

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2010 Photography Contest
Feature your breastfeeding photos in this year’s Action Folder! WABA is organising a global breastfeeding photography contest for WBW 2010. Ten winning photos will be selected, and contributors whose photos are featured in the WBW Action Folders, Posters and Banners will be awarded US$100 for each published photo.

What are we looking for?
We need stories that illustrate Baby-Friendly not only in hospitals but also in wider health care system – health centres, primary care, and communities. We are looking for any photo that TELLS A STORY of breastfeeding and the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
When taking photos, think globally and locally! We encourage you to submit photos that reflect different ethnicity and that include breastfeeding children, from a newborn to a child of 2 years or more.
Understanding on the issue would help you take a great picture! Please read the WBW 2010 Calendar Announcement at for more information.

All submissions must be completed together with the contest form which is also available on the WBW 2010 website.

All entries must be submitted by 15 April 2010 to this email.
For more information, please email:
Julianna Lim Abdullah, IBCLC
International WBW Coordinator
WABA, PO Box 1200, 10850 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-658 4816 Fax: 604-657 2655
I definitely will be after Stan to join this contest! :D

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Strange News...

Early this week, I read about how a nursing mom from Kentucky, USA was charged with felony assault for squirting milk on her jail guard's face. The mom was arrested for intoxication, transported to a detention center and while changing into her jail scrubs, squirted the guard with her milk! According to the jail's press release, the officer was successfully able to "clean the bio-hazard off her." Strange news indeed but as Penny Lane pointed out, what is disturbing is the treatment or perception of breastmilk as a bio-hazard.

This is probably the reason why the thought of breast milk cheese makes many people squirm. Sometime in 2008, PETA wrote Ben & Jerry's asking them to use breast milk in their ice cream instead of cow's milk. PETA got their idea from a Swiss restaurant Storchen, which was eventually banned from serving breast milk from their menu.

This year, a New York chef is in the headlines for serving cheese made from his fiancee's breast milk. Chef Daniel Angerer posted a recipe for the breastmilk cheese in his blog and his cheese warranted an appearance on the Today show but had no takers. In the TodayMom's survey, majority or about 65% of respondents did not want to try the cheese.

I probably would be willing to try breastmilk cheese if it was made out of my own breastmilk or my sister's. But I definitely would not want to eat cheese made out of a stranger's breastmilk! It's a pity I already gave away all my expressed milk. I think I might try to pump 2 cups of milk over the weekend since I certainly would want to try making this breastmilk cheese as Naima just LOVES cheese!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Free Breastfeeding Class

This Saturday, 13 March 2010, L.A.T.C.H. will be conducting a breastfeeding workshop information 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, take the entrance beside Starbucks. Topics include Breastfeeding Benefits, What to Expect in the First Week, Positioning and Latching, Back to Work and Busting Breastfeeding Myths. For inquiries, you can call TMC at 635-6789, loc. 6444. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nursing at the NAIA 1

Thanks to Nikki B for the heads-up!

Breaking news from the Inquirer: The Manila International Airport Authority opened today the "country’s first airport-based infant feeding station at NAIA Terminal 1 for departing and arriving passengers and their very young children."

Actually, we already have a breastfeeding station at the Davao International Airport. The opening of another one in a Manila airport is very welcome! So what's great about the MIAA feeding station?
1. It's airconditioned, with 4 cubicles, cots and comfort chairs
2. Right across Duty Free
3. comes with amenities like hand sanitizers, a water dispenser, bottle warmer and first-aid supplies.

What's not so great about it? You can only use the cubicle to feed your baby for up to one hour. What if you have a snacker?! The feeding station has a waiting area with cable television. So do they expect you to go to the waiting hour when your hour is up, then back again? Hmm... in that case, I think Naima and I are better off nursing at the regular waiting area without having to move after 1 hour.

Anyway, the feeding station is at Gate 16 and to use the facility, the passenger needs to show his or her passport and boarding ticket and fill up a registration logbook. This feeding station is planned to be replicated at the other NAIA terminals operated by the MIAA. Hopefully, every airport in the Philippines will soon have a feeding station as well.