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Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's A Busy Busy August

August is Breastfeeding Month with August 1-7 designated as World Breastfeeding Week. It's the month for celebrating breastfeeding and there are certainly a lot of activities planned.

LATCH will be running a month-long breastfeeding ad campaign in collaboration with QTV. Aside from TV ads, LATCH also collaborated with Eastwood City Mall and will be holding a breastfeeding photo exhibit on Monday August 2.
will also coincide with the launch of Eastwood Mall's Breastfeeding Room.
Monday's event is part of Eastwood Mall week-long activity called "Mom's Purest Love" culminating on Sunday with a LATCH Breastfeeding Workshop, Baby Wearing Event, Yoga and Cooking Demos and a Fashion Show launching Bianca Araneta-Elizalde's maternity/nursing wear line - Eden.

Meanwhile, also on August 8 is the annual Mommy Milkshake Marathon which is now on its 4th year! The marathon is organized by Janice Villanueva's Mommy Mundo and is open to babies, toddlers, kids, moms, moms to be, grandparents and anyone who believes in supporting the cause of breastfeeding in the Philippines. Registration fee is P200 for adults and P100 for kids from 3-16 years old. Babies below 3 can join for free. You can register by clicking this link. They are accepting only 400 participants this year. Email Janice if you have questions.

Medela Moms are also busy this August. As a result of their most recent visit to their principal (Medela Switzerland), they were given the go-signal to run a special warehouse sale in August for the Pump In Style Advance. Twenty (20) units will be made available at P17,000.00 only!! What a steal - to celebrate Breastfeeding Month! Purchase of the pump entitles mom to warranty and lifetime discount on services (upon expiration of warranty) and enrollment to MedelaSupports, a loyalty program which includes benefits such as discounted fees to events, exclusive invites. Purelan 7g is also on sale - buy one, take one for P395. Purelan does not expire and after breastfeeding you can use it on chapped lips, dry elbows, cracked heels or chafed nostrils due to a cold. Safe for baby, there is no need to wipe off before breastfeeding or pumping.
Also check out classes from The Breastfeeding Club held at the Medela House every month. This Saturday (31 July), the class will be "Breastfeeding and Beyond" at 930am. Other classes lined up are Beginning Breastfeeding (Breastfeeding 101) on September 25, Sustaining Breastfeeding (Breastfeeding 202) on October 23, 2010 and Breastfeeding and Beyond (Breastfeeding 303) on 27 November 2010. Email the MedelaMoms to register.
Classes at the Medela House are not only for moms but also for yayas - so moms can make sure that those who take care of their children are fully prepared for any threat that may befall them while they're not around. The 2nd part of the Yaya Training Program will be held on 7 August 2010 from 9-12noon also at Medela House. Topics include safety concerns and first aid training. For previous pump buyers, first attendee rate is P700 while 2nd attendee rate is P300. For non-customers, rate is P800 for the first participant and P300 for the 2nd participant.

Finally La Leche League will continue to hold its monthly meetings in Greenhills Podium Mall (August 14, 11am) and Rustan's Makati (August 29 - Sunday, 1030am). There are plans to move the Greenhills meeting from Mary the Queen to a mall - watch out for further announcements.

Happy Breastfeeding Month Everyone!

*Update 8/1/2010:
SM is also holding its own Breastfeeding Forum today, August 1 at Megamall and next week, August 8 at SM North Edsa. Check out the poster for more details.

Update 17 August 2010. Busy August is not yet over! Here are some more events to watch out for!

1. August 21-22, 2010 - All About Baby and Belly Mama Fairs at the Rockwell Tent. Shopping Hours will be at 10am-7pm. Several mompreneurs with nursing wear will be selling their clothes at this event! So check it out!

2. The Breastfeeding Club's 2nd Baby Shower Party!
This will be on August 21, 2010 1-3pm at The Medela House. It will be a fun day of games, prizes, mini talk on top 10 breastfeeding tips with loot bag giveaways. Slots are limited - register with Maricel at 09175614366.

3. Bosom Buddies - organized by SM Supermalls for Department of Health, World Health Organization and UNICEF. This will be an event to culminate breastfeeding month and will be held on Friday 27 August 2010 at SM Megamall, Atrium. It will comprise of a press conference int he morning, talk show with Caren Bayhon-Yrastroza in the afternoon plus a whole day exhibit of products and services for pregnant and breastfeeding moms!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Diet Program for Nursing Moms

One of the best breastfeeding benefit I truly enjoyed was burning 500 extra calories as a nursing mom. I didn't gain much weight when I was pregnant (I think just about 23 lbs). After I gave birth, I also didn't diet - in fact my appetite even increased and I was eating more than Stan. However, thanks to Naima's voracious nursing I didn't gain any weight.
I was quite intrigued by this write-up I read sometime in June about The Sexy Chef. Run by sisters Rachel (yes the singer!) and Barni Alejandro, The Sexy Chef is a health food delivery service based on the South Beach Diet. They recently a new program for 2010 called "Body after Baby".
The program focuses on the mother’s body after childbirth and going back to its pre-pregnancy form without sacrificing health, not even breastfeeding.
The Sexy Chef first gained popularity with its South Beach Diet delivery program and has opened outlets and kiosks in gyms serving healthy food.
Partnering with nutritionist Nadine Tengco, Rachel and Barni say that Body After Baby’s three goals are to regain the mother’s energy, help her sleep better and lose pregnancy weight.
Based on the book of the same title by Jackie Keller, the program focuses on the mother’s nutrition, as it considers her motherly duties.
The program’s foods are designed around the moringa plant, more commonly known as malunggay, chosen for its high-calcium content (four times more than milk).
For breastfeeding mothers, a moringa-fortified diet is available to encourage lactation.
Body After Baby “supports the natural process of losing weight, which is what your body wants to do after pregnancy,” Tengco explains. Weight loss, she says, is different from healthy eating and is truly a matter of science.
I was lucky enough to have my uncle cook for me and Stan right after I gave birth. I'm not sure how it is with other moms but definitely, dieting and meal planning were the last things on my mind soon after I had Naima. I was particularly intrigued with their special program for nursing moms:
Body After Baby also has a diet program specifically for breastfeeding mothers, since their intake differs from that of non-lactating mothers.
I checked their website but the new program was not yet up. I also called them to obtain a menu but was informed it is not yet available. There is no indication about the price of the program but I was browsing over their other menus and the South Beach Diet Program was priced at P875 per day (for 14 days) while the Pounds Away Program was P14,000 for 2 weeks (or about P1,000 per day).
Some moms complain that they didn't really lose weight even if their babies were nursing 24/7. I guess every mom's body is tailored differently. And if you eat a lot of junk even when nursing, the 500 extra calories burned won't make much a difference and you definitely won't lose or will even gain weight.
In my case, I have to admit, I haven't watched what I'm eating these past 2 years. I'm not much of a sweets person but I've increased by carbo intake (when I was nursing) because I kept thinking I can't eat less - my milk supply will dwindle. Now that Naima is 32 months and not nursing much, the heavy eating has caught up with me and I really do need do start dieting. However, the prices for the Sexy Chef's programs seem to be pretty steep and gives me a big push towards making my own diet program instead. But for those interested in Body after Baby and have cash to spare, you can contact them at 721-7399.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Breast Crawl

What is a breast crawl? According to, "every newborn, when placed on the mother's abdomen, soon after birth, has the ability to find its mother's breast all on its own and to decide when to take the first breastfeed." This technique is being promoted by UNICEF, WHO and WABA and is part of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
As part of the L.A.T.C.H. module what to expect in the first 2 weeks, we usually present a video of a breast crawl. Previously, we used a video depicting an Indian mother filmed in 2005. We have been fortunate enough to obtain a video filmed in the Philippines likewise depicting a breast crawl. I'm still trying to obtain a copy of the video for uploading but in the meantime, I'm sharing the video of a Maharashtra mom and baby doing the breastcrawl.

Recently, fellow Mec shared about the institution of the Essential Newborn Care protocol in Asian Hospital - where she's giving birth. The breast crawl is included in this protocol, which is said to reduce infant mortality. I'm not sure which other hospitals have instituted this protocol but this definitely something to consider when choosing which hospital to give birth at in the Philippines.

Update - 28 July 2010. Thanks to Claire for sharing the Philippine breast crawl video!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tips on Expressing Milk While Traveling Without Baby

One of the challenges that breastfeeding moms worry about is traveling. I've gotten inquiries about how to travel without baby and still maintain supply. I can't really answer that question since I've been lucky enough to always travel with Naima. However, I usually refer people to the site of Stephanie, who sells Fridge to Go. She has this wonderful comprehensive post about expressing breastmilk while traveling. This post was written in 2009 but I find that the tips she shared are still quite relevant.
She has agreed to be a guest poster and I am sharing her post with photos below. Do visit her site too. I have her Mini Fridge Sling which I used to transport Naima's milk from my office. I used it for more than 2 years and now it has a new home with my sister.

Guest Post by Stephanie Co:
Expressing breastmilk while traveling is not easy; but neither is it impossible! With a little chutzpah and a whole lot of planning and logistics, you can keep pumping even while you travel!

During my baby's first year, I had to travel thrice without my baby. By coming up with a game plan and a system, I was able to bring home all of my pumped milk each time I traveled.

Here are some tips that worked for me:

A. Things to bring:

1. Your pump
a. Electric Pump
Electric pumps that enable you to pump both breasts at the same time are time-saving. When you are in a hurry during travel, the 15 minutes you save by pumping both breasts at the same time as opposed to taking 30 minutes to pump both breasts one after the other is precious! Added up, it could mean 2 hours more for sightseeing, shopping, working, or sleeping each day!
b. Manual Pump
A manual pump is very handy during travel because it is so much lighter and portable than an electric pump. It is very useful during transit -- in the plane, a train, a bus, a car, etc -- any mode of transport wherein you will have at least 35 minutes to pump. Bring your manual pump along will enable you to make better use of travel time. Instead of still having to pump once you get to your destination, you've already gotten one pumping session down and it will be in another 4 hours or so before you'll need to pump again. It's also much easier to use when there is limited space, which is the case when you are on board a plane, in a bus, etc.

2. Storage Bottle/s or Storage Bags
I bring only 1 or two storage bottles. After pumping or when I get back to the hotel, I transfer the milk into the Storage Bags. Sometimes, I also pump directly into the Storage Bags. This way, I keep the Storage Bottles clean longer and hence, will not have to wash it right away.

3. Nursing Cover
A MUST for pumping in public. If you want to continue pumping even while traveling, you must forget about being shy. It's the only way you will be able to maximize your time. Take comfort in the fact that traveling gives you a certain level of anonymity and you can get away with more things when you are abroad than if you were back home. (Then again, being in Manila never stopped me from pumping in public -- it's really a matter of finding discreet spots.)

4. Detergent
-- I normally use a dish detergent for babies when at home. However, the first time I used it abroad, I was not able to find a very secure container so it spilled. Thank goodness I kept it in a separate ziplock bag. The next time I traveled, I used those paste detergents. I chose the one with the mildest scent and I think it worked fine. I am what some people call a "quack", wanting to use all things natural, etc. but every now and then, I compromise in the name of efficiency and practicality. If you find a good container for your liquid detergents, though, which I'm sure are available, then great. If not, get a detergent in paste form. Guaranteed, no spillage, no mess.

5. Sponge for bottles and Sponge for Sink
Bring a sponge to clean the hotel sink each time you use it to clean your bottles. Use warm water to rinse the sink just to be safe. Remember, just because it is "your" hotel room doesn't mean it's actually yours. It is still, technically, a "public" toilet and you will never know how well the cleaning lady really does her job.

Do not use the same sponge you use for your bottles for the bathroom sink. Get sponges in different colors so you can distinguish them and store them separately as well when not in use.

5. Small plastic container with holes or gaps that allow water to pass thru
Even after washing the sink, do not put your pump parts directly on the sink. Bring a small tray or plastic container for this purpose. This can also serve as a drying rack. Please refer to the picture for a sample.

6. Big Freezer Bags
Put your storage bags (once filled with milk) in here. It will be a safeguard in case any of the bags bursts or leaks. You can also keep you milk in this bag when requesting the hotel to store your milk from you. These bags will keep your milk from absorbing any freezer or refrigerator smells.

7. Dish rag
Bring a dish rag that is to be used only to wipe your bottles / pump parts when you do not have time to wait for them to air-dry.

8. Container for your pump parts
Always helpful, even in Manila. You can store your pump parts in your cooler or the hotel's refrigerator for use throughout the day. It's really not necessary to sterilize after each use. I promise.

9. Your Fridge to Go!
Essential while on the plane and especially when you are bringing home your pumped milk. During travel, depending on the model you have, it may be a bit heavy to lug around all day. After all, any thing you have to carry all day while traveling becomes a hassle after a couple of hours. Some options are:
-- If convenient, bring milk that was pumped outside back to hotel before you reach the 3 hour limit. Remember, freshly-expressed milk is good for 3 hours in room temperature. If you will make it back to your hotel room in 3 hours, you do not need to bring a cooler with you.
-- Put Fridge to Go in hand-carry luggage with wheels. This way, you don't carry it -- you just pull the bag that contains it.
-- For travel, the best model to bring is the Victoria of course it always depends on the number of days you will be away. For overnight trips, the Pack N' Go and Mini-Fridge are sufficient.

You need to use the best when cooler bag when transporting, and especially when traveling with, breastmilk. Fridge to Go outperforms any other cooler bag in the market. Check out Stephanie's page for the data.

10. Wet Wipes and Hand Sanitizers
Get the ones you can place in your bag for when you really do not have access to soap and water to wash your hands before pumping.

12. Tissue
Very helpful for accidental spills.

13. Bottle Brush / Tongs (Optional)
I did not bring these anymore to save space and to minimize the number of things I need to pack although if you prefer, these do come in handy when cleaning bottles.

14. Sterilizing Tablets (Optional)
You can find sterilizing tablets in the US or Singapore. I used them during my first trip but not on my succeeding trips because I figured, if the Medela manual says just wash in hot, soapy water then surely it is safe to skip sterilizing, right? Especially if it's only for a few days. What I do as an extra cleaning step is to pour freshly-boiled water on my pump parts using the electric kettle provided in most hotel rooms.

15. Medela Quick Clean Wipes (Optional)
This is handy. You can use this to clean pump parts when they're dirty and you have no way of properly washing it until you get back to the hotel. Just wipe it thoroughly with the Quick Clean Wipes after use and it's good to go the next time you pump. OR, rinse in hot water. Of course I always try to find a way to rinse it in hot water before using. Makes me uncomfortable not to rinse coz the wipes have soap. Thought of using pump cleaned with soap without rinsing first is scary. I never dared to follow Medela's instructions on this one.

B. To freeze or not to freeze your pumped milk
-- For trips below 6 days, there is no need to freeze your milk because freshly pumped milk is actually good for 7 days in the refrigerator. I say trips below 6 days just to be on the safe side. One Fridge to Go fan, however, went on a 7-day trip to Japan and brought home all her pumped milk chilled only, not frozen, without encountering any problems with her baby.
-- When you get home, that is the time you FREEZE your chilled milk.
-- For trips that go beyond 7 days, you must freeze. One Fridge to Go user was able to successfully bring home all her frozen milk by using dry ice -- just make sure to wrap the dry ice in newspaper to prevent it from "burning" your milk. She said she came home with all her milk still frozen. I have not personally tried this but have always kept it in mind should I need to bring home frozen milk in the future.

C. How to bring your pumped milk home:
1. Keep all storage bags in the Big Freezer Bag. Make sure the freezer bag is not too full so as not to cause any of your storage bags to burst.
2. Ask the concierge to freeze your Fridge to Go in the hotel freezer at least 2 nights before your departure. This is to ensure that it is frozen very, very well.
3. Packing your breastmilk into your Fridge to Go should be the LAST thing you do before you leave the hotel. This is to minimize the amount of time your milk is exposed to room temperature and to lengthen the performance of your Fridge to Go.
4. As an extra precaution, use blue ice to extend the performance of your Fridge to Go when traveling. You do not want to risk your milk getting spoiled in case of delays, traffic, or other unforseen events. In addition, the time you leave your hotel to the time your plane lands in your destination to the time you actually reach your home will take longer than 12 hours (even for short trips) and the cooling power of Fridge to Go, while already much longer than other cooler bags, is only up to 12 hours.
5. For extra long flights, some have successfully used dry ice. This has even enabled some to bring home frozen milk.
6. You may pack your Fridge to Go with breastmilk into your luggage for check in. Your Fridge to Go cooler bag will not condense and cause contents of luggage to get wet. As a precaution, you may place your Fridge to Go in the big laundry bags hotels provide.
7. If you prefer to bring your Fridge to Go and pumped milk with you on board the plane, you MUST have with you a doctor's certificate to prove that you are a breastfeeding mom. Even if you show your pump parts and even if your cup runneth over and you are obviously lactating, airport officials will, as a matter of policy, make you THROW the milk away. So, if you intend to carry any of your pumped milk on board a plane, you MUST have a doctor's certificate.
8. The rule in the HK airport is that as long as your CONTAINER is not more than 100ML, you can bring it in without a doctor's certificate. Otherwise, you need to throw out the contents.
9. The advantage of hand-carrying your pumped milk is so that you can make sure it stays cold. If, after several hours you notice that your Fridge to Go is losing its coolness, you can ask for ice from the airplane staff. Just make sure you have a ziplock bag ready for you to place the ice in. This will tide you over until you get home.

Like I said, pumping while traveling is not impossible. The rewards, on the other hand, are that you do not lose your milk supply and your baby will have so much nourishing milk once you return. That, my friends, is the best pasalubong you can ever bring home for your baby. Pumping while traveling, as is practically everything a mother does for her child, is truly a labor of LOVE.

I can't add anything more. This is an excellent, comprehensive step by step post by Stephanie Co. If you want to contact her to purchase her Fridge to Go products, you can email her here. She's expecting her 2nd baby anytime soon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brownouts and Breastmilk

I received several texts and emails from friends and acquaintances as a result of the power outages brought about by the recent storm Basyang. I decided to compile information and tips on brownouts and breastmilk in this post.

According to La Leche League International, the accepted practice is not to refreeze thawed milk:
Previously frozen milk that has been thawed can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. While there is limited evidence to date that milk thawed for a few hours may be refrozen, this results in further breakdown of milk components and loss of antimicrobial activity. At this time, the accepted practice is not to refreeze thawed milk. While some mothers and caregivers reheat expressed milk that was leftover and refrigerated after a previous feeding, there is no research on the safety of this practice. There is also no research about whether freshly expressed milk left unfinished at room temperature should be discarded, or can be saved for a short time (perhaps up to one hour as reported by some mothers and caregivers) to finish the feeding if the baby wakens from having fallen asleep or still appears hungry.
Breastmilk is food and the general rule is that once it is defrosted, you don't freeze it again, unless you cook it. In the Philippines however, it is common practice for households to defrost huge slabs of meat, then if they don't use it all up, freeze it again. Even in supermarkets - frozen meat is placed outside then back in the freezer at the end of the day. In my opinion, the statement that thawed milk can't be refrozen follows that same principle - primarily to prevent bacteria contamination. In the first place, once breastmilk is frozen, it already loses some of its immunological properties - which is why the hierarchy of feeding is direct, room temp, cold (refrigerated milk) then last is frozen.

Another comparison would be that of reusing previously unfinished milk. The
general rule is once the breastmilk is warmed and fed to baby, any leftover milk should be thrown away. I don't *strictly* follow this rule because (1) I don't want to waste my precious breastmilk; and (2) other studies have shown that it is okay to save milk leftover from a feeding for reuse immediate at the next feeding. So what I do is, when I've thawed or warmed milk then Naima doesn't use it all up this feeding, I put it back in the refrigerator and use it again for the next feeding. If she still doesn't finish it, that's when I throw it out. I go by the taste/smell test -- I ask Naima's nanny to taste or smell the milk before giving to baby before giving it to her or deciding to throw it out.

Anyway, back to brownouts and breastmilk. I'd like to share this article which I got from fellow N@Wie Mimi. This article cites a 2006 Breastfeeding Medicine Article entitled "Effect of Environmental Conditions on Unpasteurized Donor Human Milk" and states that even if the milk thaws, it is good to use provided it was not at room temperature for more than 8 hours:
The even better news is that, according to new findings in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine, checking breastmilk is actually a fine option. The researchers took frozen breastmilk and thawed it, refroze it, refrigerated it and left it out at room temperature. Essentially, they beat it up. What did they find? Breastmilk is fairly robust and does not grow bacteria easily nor lose vitamins A and C or free fatty acids (FFA) to any degree that would harm a full term baby. Breastmilk fresh from the breast or thawed in a clean container can be left at room temperature for less than 8 hours.
The author was actually writing about traveling with expressed breastmilk. Here is another portion of her article which I find to be highly applicable for breastmilk during brownouts.

What do you do with frozen milk you pumped on your trip? Don't mess with ice. Ice is warmer than frozen milk and will actually hasten to thaw your milk —who knew? This is because water freezes at 32° F and milk freezes at around 0° F. Use frozen gel packs to keep your frozen milk frozen longer in your insulated cooler in your checked luggage. Crumple paper all around the milk and gel packs to further insulate it. The study in Breastfeeding Medicine found that even if the milk thaws, it is good to use provided it was not at room temperature for more than eight hours. If it is cool when you unpack it—it is good to go. It is also safe to be refrozen. This is important because moms think they have to use it right away if thawed and may feed it to the baby instead of actually breastfeeding as soon as they get home. Better to get baby on the breast as soon as you return home, and refreeze or refrigerate the pumped milk for the next mother-baby separation.
To find out whether your milk indeed thawed during the power outage, here is a tip from Dot:
I read also to put an icecube in a plate inside your freezer. In case of brownout, check the ice. If the shape changed (which means that the ice cube melted then froze again). The same thing happened to your milk.
Note however - according to the Mothering Article, water has a higher freezing point than milk. Makes me wonder though if it defrosts faster than breastmilk? The ice cube tip still helps as it makes you aware if the cold level in your freezer changed.

Meanwhile, if you don't want to use the thawed milk, don't throw it away. Here is a tip from Mi'Ann:
Instead of throwing it away, you can donate it to the hospital where you gave birth. Just call the nursery nurse before going so you can check if you still need to be screened or if they ll just accept it when you give your pedia's name. For ex. cardinal santos said that theyll accept my thawed out milk.
Aside from your birth hospital, there are also several institutions which accept donated milk. Check out my previous post on milk banks for the contact details of these institutions. It's still the 2nd storm of typhoon season and I'm sure that more power outages will come. Breastfeeding mamas certainly need to make extra preparations to prevent wastage of that precious milk.

Check out this related post - Preventing Freezer Burn on Breastmilk

Update: 28 September 2011
Here's a quick note that Babymama Mi'Ann posted on her Facebook page during the height of Typhoon Pedring:

If you want to read the full text of the study - "Effect of Environmental Conditions on Unpasteurized Donor Human Milk", you can do so by clicking HERE.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's a Market Out there

Breastfeeding moms are rapidly becoming a huge market. Aside from the staple breastfeeding clothes, lingerie and accessories, there has been an amazing variety of products targeted towards the nursing mom. I first posted about innovative breastfeeding accessories in July 2009 and since then, I have discovered more breastfeeding related items enough to come up with a second post (coincidentally, 1 year after!).

1. Nursing Toys from Manhattan Toy Company
Nursing Nuna Pig, Nursing Nina Cat, and Nursing Nana Dog are the names of stuffed toy animals from the Manhattan Toy Company. Each set comes with 1 mommy animal with their younglings attached to them through a magnet. Fun for toddlers!

2. Bebe Gloton
A controversial breastfeeding doll Bebe Gloton is also available. Launched in 2009, this doll mimicked resulted in an uproar. It came with a halter top with flowers that little girls can wear. The doll will then "latch" on the flower and make sucking sounds. Advocates were happy and thought that it promoted that breastfeeding was healthy, natural while critics believed that it promoted the sexualization of girls. It's only available in Spain. Personally, I don't see what's wrong with the doll. Naima nurses her 2 babies - only her babies are quiet and don't make sucking sounds. I would buy it if it were locally available.

3. Milk-analyzer for moms!
Milkscreen from Upspring Baby is like breathalyzer for nursing moms. From the website: "milkscreen is a simple, two minute test to detect alcohol in breastmilk. milkscreen lets Mom know the volume of alcohol concentrated in her breastmilk." So how does it work? You put breastmilk on the milkscreen strip. Color will change of alcohol concentration in your breastmilk is 0.02%. Why that level? Because according to milkscreen makers, "studies have shown infants consuming breast milk with alcohol concentrations at approximately 30mg/dl, or 0.03%, and higher have exhibited distinctive changes in feeding and sleeping behavior.

I am an avid fan of mommy bargain shopping sites and every month, one form of nursing bracelet, necklace or band always comes up. The bracelet or bands were usually used as a reminder - for moms who forgot which breast they nursed at last. In my case, I never wore any band/bracelet but checked the primitive way - I weigh both breasts in my hands to determine which breast is heavier. Meanwhile, nursing necklaces are to distract babies from twiddling or to keep babies attention to nursing. At 2.5, Naima is still a twiddler!! I wonder if this habit could've been curtailed had I worn one of those nursing necklaces early on? There are also some necklaces meant for teething babies - both for moms and babies to wear!

This is not simply a towel - it's supposed to bring therapeutic relief by providing support and relief to breastfeeding moms. According to the website, it's "made of the softest, most luxurious knit terry velour to provide expectant ant new moms with gentle bust line support and to sooth sensitive nipples and breasts associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding." I don't know about you but in the early days of my breastfeeding experience, I'd scream if anything touched my sore sensitive nipples. This probably won't make it in my "pack in the hospital bag" list.

6. Breast-shaped plushies
I can't remember where I found this website but I found their Japanese breast shaped toys! The toys even had a village and their own language. Check the site for details.

7. Cold Drinks for Nursing Mamas
Forget about those malunggay or fenugreek teas for increasing breastmilk production. Glow Mama and Mamatini promise to be drinks especially for moms. Endorsed by the American Pregnancy Association (wow! there is such an association?!) Glow Mama is targeted towards the pregnant or new mom as a low calorie drink, packed with essential pre and post natal nutrients made from kiwi (yum! i love kiwi). Meanwhile, pediatrician-designed Mamatini is geared for the nursing mom and claims to help moms breastfeed better by boosting milk supply, increasing energy and increasing mom's ability to absorb and retain critical nutrients the body is using to produce milk for baby.

There is one more doctor-designed product which I chanced upon - a breastpump attachment for preemies which works with the major breastpump brands. But I can't seem to find it anymore. Will update this post once I do. See number 8.

Finally found the pump attachment I was looking for. I was referring to the Freemie - not exactly made for preemies only but was developed by a mom-physician, Dr. Stella Dao who had preemie twins. The Freemie is a breastpump attachment which works with Hyygeia and Medela pumps and allows moms to pump handsfree, without being exposed. With the Freemie, you get rid of the pump horns and attach the Freemie domes directly to your breastpump. However, there are certain situations where Freemie use is not advisable.

So which product will you buy?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Upcoming Support Group Meetings

This Saturday, 10 July 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.

Meanwhile, Best Friends in Breastfeeding will be conducting a support group meeting also this Saturday, July 10 at Mary the Queen (across Xavier school). Best Friends in Breastfeeding is run by La Leche League leaders. Meeting will be from 9am-11am. Babies, partners, yayas and other support persons are welcome. Topic will be pumping and going back to work.

If you can't attend the LLLI meeting this Saturday, there will be another one next Saturday - July 17 at Rustan's Makati, 3/F Play Area. Meeting starts at 1030am and topic is also about pumping, storage and going back to work. Attendance is free but you need to pre-register by texting 09228292268 with your name, partner's name, other companions' name (if any), baby's age or EDD.

See you at the class/meetings!

Monday, July 5, 2010

When to Start Solids?

Meanwhile, my niece Anya is turning six months on Thursday and her doctor already gave the go signal for her to start solids. My sister commented that during meal times Anya always stares at them and at the food. They are still deciding whether to start her as soon as she hits 6 months or at 7 months (which is actually 6 months adjusted).
Anyway, during one of the LATCH workshops, the resource doctor presented a study from the American Academy of Pediatricians which again referred to 4 months as the minimum age for starting solidds:

If you need a clearer copy of the guidelines/statement, the same is reproduced in this webpage. This policy statement actually referred to a study entitled "Effects of early nutritional interventions on the development of atopic disease in infants and children: the role of maternal dietary restriction, breastfeeding, timing of introduction of complementary foods, and hydrolyzed formulas." Because of recommendation number 6 (as quoted above), a lot of doctors believe that there is not much difference if a baby starts solids at 4 or 6 months, as long as baby is at least 4 months.
I still strongly believe that baby needs to be at least 6 months to start solids and I was very happy to read about this news two weeks ago, that based on a Dutch study, "babies are less likely to develop a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection if they are exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months."
According to the researchers: "We observed protective effects of breastfeeding on infectious diseases mainly in the first 6 months of life. Exclusive breastfeeding until age 6 months tended to be more protective, than exclusive breastfeeding until age 4 months." I need to show my sister this study and hopefully, they decide to delay starting Anya on solids.

*Update: I had a conversation with Dr. Z last Saturday. Doctors generally recommend 4-6 months because that this time, babies are developmentally ready for solids. However, the WHO recommends 6 months because this recommendation is targeted to 3rd world countries where access to clean facilities, ingredients, water for preparing solid foods are not generally available. Thus, if you check the American Academy of Pediatricians' recommendations, they state 4-6 months. Interestingly though, the US is a 1st world country - and we are not. This is why I still do not understand why our doctors here recommend starting at 4 months despite the WHO recommendation.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Breastfeeding Stations at Aegis People Support

Last Tuesday afternoon (June 29), I braved the wet rainy afternoon and heavy traffic to attend the launch of Cafe Au Lait at Aegis People Support. What is Cafe Au Lait? It is a "porta-let" (I know sounds gross!) type of booth which has all the trappings of a nursing station! A table, chair, electric outlet, some reading materials (even a mirror!) and more importantly - privacy for moms!!! It is a small booth but all the essentials are present. There is even a small refrigerator beside the breastfeeding station. Also, I love that management has made it really accessible for moms by providing not 1, not 2 but NINE breastfeeding stations for the employees! This means that there is at least 1 station per floor.
The breastfeeding station is located on the call center floor so if you have a noisy pump (like I do!), the call center agents near the station would definitely hear the buzzing sound.
I attended the launch upon the invitation of Janice Villanueva of Mommy Mundo. Janice helped her friend who spearheaded the Cafe Au Lait project in her company, Aegis People Support to make it a more mom-friendly work environment. Like Janice, I also believe that it is important to make companies aware about the benefits of making their work environments more mom-friendly, and how this contributes to their business' productivity in the long run.
In my own workplace, I was lucky to have a very supportive management who set-up 1 lactation room, with plans to set-up another one in a separate building.
I was quite late during the launch (it took me 1.5 hours from Manila to Makati that afternoon!) and missed several parts of the program such as talks on parenting and nursing; a welcome address by Senator Pia Cayetano - author of the expanded breastfeeding law; and raffle prizes and give-aways. I did check out the mother-baby bazaar co-presented by Mommy Mundo entitled “Mompreneur Market Comes to Aegis PeopleSupport”. And I was introduced to Marixel Laxa-Pangilinan, who was very pretty and gracious in person! Thanks to Candy Cu-Yaw for the introduction.
I only stayed for a short while but was glad to have attended the event. The lactation room set-up was an eye-opener and something which companies (especially those who claim that they don't have extra rooms) should consider when setting up their own programs/rooms.
Thanks to Janice Villanueva for the invitation and congratulations to Aegis People Support! This program is defintely one that should be emulated by Philippine companies.
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