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Friday, February 25, 2011

Breastfeeding TSEK Launched!

Last Wednesday, I was able to attend the launch of the Department of Health's "Breastfeeding TSEK (Tama, Sapat, Eksklusibo) (Correct, Enough/Sufficient, Exclusive) program campaigning for mothers to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of their newborns' life.Although this news report quoted Sec. Ona, I didn't see him at the launch, which was a pity because I was hoping to meet them. According to DOH Undersecretary David Lozada, they plan to reinvigorate the breastfeeding campaign due to the continued low prevalence of breastfeeding, despite their efforts to promote it. Among the steps DOH plans to take would be (1) sending peer counselors to communities and workplaces to educate couples about the benefits of breast milk, (2) coordinating with barangay health workers, civic organizations and other volunteer groups to train peer counselors and reach out to new and expectant moms and (3) bombard print media, TV, radio and internet with advertisements and other marketing strategies to promote a breastfeeding culture in the country.
The entire program was divided into 3 parts but I only got to attend the launch, with Gladys Reyes as host. As Dr. Silvestre said, what struck her most about the talk of Ms. Vanessa Tobin (UNICEF Representative) was her statement about complacency when it comes to breastfeeding - moms becoming complacent that it comes naturally, stakeholders thinking that it's the same banana over and over again (more about this next post). There were presentations and I was happy to see that Stan's breastfeeding photographs were exhibited on stage.

Sorry for the grainy photos!! Taken from my camera phone.

I was happy to get reconnected with fellow LATCHers and other breastfeeding advocates like Velvet of Arugaan, Kate of NNC, Iza of Beauty, Brains and Breastfeeding and Dr. Mianne Silvestre. We discussed about the problems our groups faced and the things we could do to further support breastfeeding in the Philippines.
Honestly, we lost a great breastfeeding advocate when former DOH Secretary Francisco Duque was transferred to the Civil Service Commission. I am hopeful though that with the launch of this project, Sec. Ona will indeed push and support the campaign for exclusive breastfeeding in the Philippines.
LATCHers at the launch with QC Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte
*photo courtesy of Mec who blogs at
What do you think of the new campaign?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Break Time for Nursing Mothers

If you've been reading this blog since last year, you would know that along with several officemates, we were able to establish 2 lactation rooms at my office and that we are currently working on a policy. To document our efforts, I wrote a multi-part post starting with this. Yesterday, I received an email from Nanay Ines about a news report on the US federal law - "Break Time for Nursing Mothers", which was signed last 23 March 2010. This law "requires companies with at least 50 employees to provide reasonable time and a private space - not a bathroom - to pump milk until the baby is a year old." Interestingly, although the law is almost 1 year old, the US Labor Department has yet to draft guidelines and is still seeking comments from the public until today, 22 February 2011.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Understanding the Milk Code

I have been receiving several queries from various groups in connection with the sponsorship of bottle companies of their events and activities. I decided to put my JD and LLM to use and write this discussion about the Milk Code and its effects. However, what is wonderful about the law is that it is subject to various interpretations and each litigant actually has a chance, depending on the creativity of your lawyer :D. Hence, the following discussion is based on my own interpretation and is open to rebuttal or counterarguments.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Classes/Events for February 2011

This post is late - considering that it's already mid-February! If you're looking for weekend breastfeeding classes/meetings, here are upcoming ones:

1. La Leche League Makati is moving to its new home!! Meetings will now be held at Mothercare Greenbelt 5 branch from 11am to 1230pm. February meeting will be on 26 February 2011. Please pre-registered by emailing Abbie Yabot or texting your name, edd or baby's age, email add and contact number to 09228292268.

2. The Breastfeeding Club will be holding a breastfeeding class at the Medela House on Saturday, 19 February 2011 from 9am to 11am. Topic will be sustaining breastfeeding with a review of Breastfeeding 101. Fee is P500 (which entitles you to 2 other classes in the series). Interested participants may register at 0917-5614366 or email Medela House.

3. Yaya trainings are also conducted at the Medela House. For February 19, 2011 (1-4pm) topic will be all about newborn care and the support that a yaya should give to a breastfeeding mom. Other topics are included in the yaya seminar modules. For details and fees, email Medela House.

4. If you're in Davao City, check out MommySense's seminar on Breastfeeding 101 for Yaya. I can't over-emphasize how important caregiver's support is in a successful breastfeeding relationship especially for working moms! Class will be on 22 February 2011 at The Pod. See poster for more details.
*LATCH has no classes for February. Next class will be on 12 March 2011 at The Medical City. See you there!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breastfeeding Counselors in the Philippines

I previously posted about IBCLCs in the Philippines but realized that a lot of moms are still unable to get help because these IBCLCs are usually busy or charge an arm and a leg for consults. Aside from IBCLCs, new moms can get in touch with breastfeeding counselors for their breastfeeding issues.

Unlike IBCLCs or lactation counselor, there is no specific number of training hours or credits needed to be considered a breastfeeding counselor. While IBCLCs take on the difficult issues of breastfeeding, counselors normally handle issues on positioning, latching, first two weeks and are usually able to resolve the questions raised by new nursing moms. What is essential however is that the breastfeeding counselor has received proper training so moms can be correctly advised on their breastfeeding issues.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lactation Counselor Training - March 2011

I have been getting emails and posts from moms asking where they can get certified as a breastfeeding counselor. LATCH has plans to hold a training this year but schedule and details are not yet finalized. I promise to post details once every thing is ironed out.
I received information that Dr. Pat Kho (IBCLC) is holding a lactation counselor training in Makati Medical Center this March 2011. The training costs P10,000.00 and consists of 20 sessions spread out over 4 days. Topics range from the benefits of breastfeeding, how breastfeeding works, positioning, latching, how to counsel moms, breast conditions and infant assessment. You can contact Dr. Pat Kho (09178505872) to register and obtain more details. See curriculum below:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Breastfeeding and Medicines

A top email query I receive from nursing moms is whether xxx medicine prescribed to them is compatible with breastfeeding. Since I'm no doctor, I usually tell them to ask their pediatricians but they come back saying that the doctor immediately told them that xxx medicine cannot be taken while breastfeeding so they have to stop.
The internet is a wonderful resource and I have found a lot of answers raised by breastfeeding moms there. Foremost is Dr. Sears's summary of the various lactation risks of medicines. I've found that most of the medicines prescribed are actually under the "L2" category. I also usually check Kellymom's list of medications which have been approved by the American Academy of Pediatricians as compatible with breastfeeding.
My top favorite resource is this searchable database from the United States National Library of Medicines called LactMed (Drugs and Lactation Database) which is a "peer-reviewed and fully referenced database of drugs to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed. Among the data included are maternal and infant level of drugs, possible effects on breastfed infants and on lactation, and alternate drugs to consider." This is my secret weapon and when moms ask me if xxx medicine is compatible, I just type in the brand or generic name and voila, I immediately get answers to the all-important question of compatibility.
Meanwhile, if you do love your pediatrician and just find him/her lacking in updates on breastfeeding and medicine, I would highly suggest that you get him/her a copy of Dr. Thomas W. Hale's 2010 Medications and Mothers' Milk - which comes in book and pocket versions. He also has an online version for registered users. Dr. Hale is recognized as an expert in lactational pharmacology (transfer of medicines and other substances into mother's milk).
So the next time your doctor says that you can't breastfeeding while taking xxx medicine, be proactive! I suggest you click on one of the resources above, search the medicine, print-out the results and talk to your doctor again. You both might just be able to come up with a happy compromise.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review: Veggies and Meat Delivery

*Update 6/26/2012 - I've change the title to just Veggies and Meat delivery since not all of the vendors in the list offer organic items.

I've become more conscious of what food to cook/eat ever since Naima lessened her milk intake and started eating more and more solids. Unfortunately, the area where we live at has no accessible wet market and I usually end up shopping in SM Hypermart or Shopwise or S&R. S&R's produce is fresh - for Hypermart/Shopwise, I'm able to get fresh items if I go on delivery day. However, I don't think their produce are organic.
Sometimes, I'm able to go to Salcedo or Legazpi markets to buy vegetables (which I hope are organic because they're quite expensive!). I am constantly on the look-out for companies that deliver fresh organic veggies and was happy to have found a couple that do!

1. Shusaesh Farms, Inc. [Update: February 2013 - Shino has stopped deliveries :( Scroll below for other options]
In early 2009, I was quite happy to find a company that delivers fresh organic veggies. An officemate shared their number. The company is called "Shusaesh Farms, Inc." formerly "Francisco-Shinozaki Farm Inc." and is based in San Jose Patag, Santa Maria, Bulacan. I emailed Yasutaka Shinozaki for details on ordering and he sent me the following information about his farm:
"We develop farm from soil, no pesticides, no weed-killers, or no chemical fertilizers at all, take out insects, caterpillars and worms by hands every day, use smoke of natural leaves, branches and grasses, sometime spray vinegar or calamansi with garlic, even deploy fine nets to protect our vegetables, and use compost and other natural materials only. Our fowls are grown up in open area or rice field, never been kept in small cages all long, eat all natural stuff, like rice-bran/dusts, beans, corns, potatoes, greens, fish, seaweed, and our organic vegetables and fruits, and drink deep well or natural water only, running around or swimming around about 2,000 square meter area, we don't use anti-biotic in principle, unlike broilers, which are usually over-dozed with special hormones to grow"

You can read more details about the farm here. I started with vegetable delivery from them in May 2009. Shortly thereafter, delivery stopped because Shino's farm was affected with Ondoy - and this meant no deliveries for the whole of 2010!!
Early this year, Shino texted me and said that they were ready to receive orders again and I was happy to note that they did not increase their prices from 2009.
I put in my first order for the veggies (invoice on left) and requested Shino to adjust the amount of certain items e.g. squash (which I wanted less of) and lettuce (which I asked to be increased). I chose the small basket for P450 plus P50 delivery chip-in. The big basket is P650 and you get 1.5 more veggies compared to the small basket. Aside from veggies, you can also order eggs, chicken, duck (wild or white), goose and turkey. They also have fruits and other vegetables available which can be added on top of your basket order.
Shino admits that their vegetable prices are more expensive than ordinary but he justifies this as they put in more care towards the production and their harvest ratios are less. We used to correspond via email and he emails the harvested items for the week. However, since Ondoy, their internet connection has been spotty and he recommends contacting him via SMS - 0917838-8081 instead.
Check out my veggie delivery from Shusaesh Farms:

This company was referred by a friend when Shino stopped delivery. However, I found the prices quite expensive maybe because the produce was packed and flown in from Bukidnon. From what I gather, this company is quite popular with the expat community in the Philippines, though. My Personal Farmer is based on Village Supported Agriculture and designates a "village mother" in Metro Manila where you can pick-up your weekly delivery. You can read about their farming methods here.
Technically, there is no delivery straight to your home but you can choose a pick-up place near your home. You can choose from full box (P1600), half-box (P850) or couple's box (P800). Multiply those prices x 4 and that's the amount you need to pay to sign-up, because you need to commit to 4 deliveries - this was why I was quite hesitant to try their delivery.
In early January 2011, I was excited to stumble upon a Beeconomic Deal offering a half-box of produce at P425. I purchased 2 coupons and tried the January 26-27, 2011 delivery. For that week, my half box contained 1kg of carrots, 300g each of broccoli, green cabbage, celery and pak choi, 600g of squash, 200g each of cherry tomato, baguio beans and spinach, 400g of pechay, 200g of lettuce mix (butterhead and red wave), 175g of organic herbs (parsley, oregano, chives and lemon grass) and a 1.5kg pineapple!
Check out My Personal Farmer delivery:
The veggies were fresh and very-well packed. However, I do have an issue with the pick-up. The village mothers are clients who have been designated as pick-up points. They are not employees of My Personal Farmer and coordination plus patience is necessary for a successful pick-up. In my case, the village mother nearest to me lived in a restricted area so I had to deal with arrogant security guards before I could pick up - I don't think I want to deal with this every week.

Check out the vegetables delivery I had from Shinozaki (with radish) and My Personal Farmer (with broccoli and pineapple):

Except for the tomatoes, squash and lettuce, the box contents were quite different. So if you have the budget, you can opt to have weekly deliveries of half-box from Shino and another half-box from My Personal Farmer (with pineapples straight from Bukidnon!). However, given the huge variance in price, I will probably continue with Shusaesh Farm, especially since they deliver straight to my home.

Other vegetable delivery options:
I came across Emporium Antipolo (FB Page), a store in Antipolo that also delivers fresh produce. However, I was not able to try them yet as I'm still waiting for the response to the 2 emails I sent last week. Not too reliable, huh?
Another option to consider is Herbana Farms. According to their website, their produce is available at Mercato Centrale and Salcedo Market. I was able to get a flier for the Community Supported Agriculture Program but find the prices quite steep. You need to pay an annual membership fee of P1000 plus at least P1,200 for a box of veggies. Contact Gian Carandang at 09228180215 for details. A tip from a friend - text Gian on Thursday to order veggies then just pick them up at Mercato/Salcedo Market on Saturday. See flier for CSA below:

*I love Picasa's slideshow! I like using it rather than pasting my photos on the post. As you can see, I can't figure out how to arrange the inserted photos properly. :(
*Disclosure: All vegetables were purchased and paid for. :D

*Update - 02/01/11: Thanks to Rowie, I was able to add another veggie delivery option to my list - GoodFoodCo. I emailed them this morning and got a response this afternoon! Charlene gave me the following details:

What we're basically doing is a community-supported agriculture program where stakeholders in the city, like yourself, commit to purchasing a season's worth of vegetables to support the livelihood of small organic farmers in Tarlac and Zambales. What we offer in return is a basket of 3.5 kgs of fresh, seasonal organic vegetables every Saturday from Feb 12- April 30 which you can pick up at one of our designated pickup points (Loyola Heights, Valle Verde 5, New Manila and San Juan) between 9.30 am- 1pm.
Each basket is P400 and you need to commit to 12 weeks delivery. Check their blog for details.

*Update - 02/02/11: Found another CSA program - OrganicManila through the PinoyOrganics blog. The farm is located in Benguet and you need to pay a one-time, assignable and refundable fee of P1000 to purchase a share and participate in the program. Boxes range from P600-P1,950 and there are pick-up points in Makati, Quezon City and Pasig - none near my residence though! Visit their site for more details.

*Update - 04/13/11: Dainty Mom also wrote an article for listing 10 Organic Food Sources.  Also found another organic vegetable delivery through Facebook - The Green Grocer.  Check them out!

*Update 07/28/2011:  Found another weekly vegetable delivery from Down to Earth.   Prices are quite reasonable!  Plus they have grassfed beef, pasture raised pork and chicken! Check them out:

Regular  Box of 3-4 kilos  P2,000/mo.; 1 box/wk for 4 wks.
Medium   Box of  5-6 kilos  P3,400/mo.; 1 box/wk for 4 wks.
  Box  of 9-10 kilos  P6,400/mo.; 1 box/wk for 4 wks. 

*Update 08/15/2011:  Check out Down To Earth's blog post - "Eat What you Sow".  They also list down several sources of real food in Metro Manila.  Several are from the South, though.

*Update 09/29/2011: Here's another CSA Program - Organic Manila based in Pasay City.  Their veggies are sourced from Majayjay, Laguna - the Costales Nature Farms which you can book for farm tours.

*Update 10/10/2011: Another organic produce delivery based in Bulacan with a Makati office, as shared by Pat Grace - Green Earth Heritage Foundation.  I saw from the website that each bag of organic produce is P45 only!! That's cheap!  Let me know if you've tried them.

*Update 10/18/2011: Free range meats available via phone orders! As shared by Michelle.

*Update 6/26/2012:  Available from The Farm Organics - fresh organic grass fed beefs.  Call 0927-741-2660, 0947-939-6598, 4039130

*Update 7/30/2012: Found a Cebu-based organic vegetable farm who delivers - Tanny's Organic Farm.   Visit their Facebook page for details.

*Update 2/13/2013: Green Earth Heritage Foundation is a member of the Organic Farmers and Processors Association of the Philippines.  They deliver medicinal and local greens.  You can also visit their farm in San Miguel, Bulacan.  
Do leave a comment/feedback if you've tried any of the listed vendors. Thanks!

*Update 4/21/2013:
Photo from Balik Bukid Davao Facebook page
You can order organic produce in Davao City!  Visit Balik Bukid in Calinan.  Details in their Facebook page.  To order Balik bukid organic produce call louella at +639173021208
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