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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Inspirational Breastfeeding Projects

I am totally inspired by 2 breastfeeding related projects I recently read about.

The first is Best for Babes' BYOBoobz™ - "a home party kit with tools and resources needed to make your community truly babe-worthy and breastfeeding friendly". Breastfeeding advocacy should be dedicated to the community - I'm a believer - that it takes a village to help a mom and her baby breastfeed successfully. The home party kit will be launched on September 29.
Aside from educating the community, the kit could also be perfect for a baby shower party! Locally, Pam Magallon has prepared a guide to organizing a breastfeeding-friendly shower party. I know the party organizers mean well, but all the baby showers I've attend always involve some form of artificial nipple - bottle or pacificer. Breastfeeding stuff (e.g. pads, nursing bibs, pillows) are usually not included in the baby registry or as gifts (unless a breastfeeding mom presents the gift). A similar BYOBoobz kit available locally would be a fun way of educating the new mom and her community/support group about breastfeeding and how to help her succeed with it.
Next is the Laramie Breastfeeding Bag Project started by Amanda Mack at her local hospital in Wyoming. She shared the step by step procedure on how you can start a breastfeeding bag project in your own locality. Her efforts have certainly paid off. Barely a week after her post, several similar projects have been started in Kentucky, Michigan, Orlando, Houston and Port City!
The hospital where I gave birth at conducted breastfeeding classes and had a breastfeeding center to boot. However, when Naima and I were discharged, guess what we got? An Enfamil Diaper Bag with a Changing Pad, Enfamil Lipil water bottle and sachets of Enfamil powder! So much for being breastfeeding friendly, huh? Meanwhile, at our first well child visit at the local pediatrician's office, we got another Enfamil giveaway - this time it was a lunch bag filled with 2 small Enfamil cans. At this point, Naima and I were still exclusively breastfeeding and I had been really determined to pursue despite the sore nipples, worries about milk supply. Plus, I had a supportive husband who cheered me on to continue nursing Naima.
However, not all moms are able to resist the temptation of that can of formula lying on the dresser. As Mi'Ann shares, she was able to speak to a mom who had a 3-day old baby, had engorged breasts but was giving formula to her baby because her hospital had included formula samples in her take home bag. There are even stories of some nurseries bottle feeding babies, despite mom's clear instruction about breastfeeding.
A "Philippine Breastfeeding Bag Project" is certainly an ideal project. But I'm wondering if it will be feasible? I can't remember where I read this but formula companies spend $27 per baby for marketing while the US government allocates $0.21 per baby for breastfeeding marketing. A similar concern exists for this project - would there be sponsors for the hospital take home bag and its contents? Plus, compared to the US breastfeeding bag projects which are based in hospital with births at 40 per month, I think that Philippine hospitals have birth ratios that are much much higher than that! It is much easier and cheaper for hospitals to rely on milk or pharma companies to sponsor the bags but I definitely think that real breastfeeding friendly hospitals should allocate some part of their budget for this project.
Any breastfeeding mom/advocate up for these projects?


sun worshipper said...

the breastfeeding bags are a very good idea! i understand the concern about the number of births in the philippines versus the cost of producing the bags. i suggest that focus be first given in small hospitals or birthing centers to educate the lower class mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding. big hospitals already have their own breastfeeding projects anyway. add to this, upper/middle class moms have access to the internet, lactation consultants, and the like.

Anonymous said...

how's this for a campaign?

just kidding... i love the bag idea. maybe it could include 2-3 sessions with an LC perhaps?

Jenny said...

@sun worshipper - surprisingly, aside from conducting classes (done by volunteers), hospitals don't have any breastfeeding projects. smaller hospitals with midwives are more receptive to breastfeeding as compared to big hospitals with high-tech gadgets and expert specialists

@the lazy mama - 2-3 sessions with LCs would be ideal - but given that there are only 5 LCs in the whole Philippines, dunno how that would be feasible :D. that law is quite controversial - check out the gisele bundchen-bethany frankel brouhaha

Unknown said...

we really need to do something about this. in timor leste (east timor) where i gave birth to our kids, breastfeeding was really highly encouraged and moms were given good support by the midwives/nurses/doctors. a local women's NGO gave away maternity bags (not breastfeeding ones though) to moms who gave birth there. maybe we can link up with NGOs or other groups to start a pilot project or something. or start with breastfeeding brochures in Taglish. what do you think? BreastFeeding Filipinas Unite Blog! (

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