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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Breastfeeding + HIV is possible!

Sharing this joint statement I just received via email on the recommendations on breastfeeding, particularly for HIV-infected moms. This was published in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics.    Relevant portions on HIV provided below. 

IPA/ICM/FIGO joint statement on breast-feeding, including breast-feeding by HIV- infected mothers (June 2011)

Breastfeeding under special conditions such as HIV infection of the mother: 
In light of the changing evidence on transmission risks and recommendations on the use of anti retroviral drugs for treating pregnant women and preventing HIV infection in infants, we welcome the new recommendations on HIV and infant feeding: 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Healthy Food Events in August

Want to try something healthy before July ends?  Check out this event on Friday, 30 July 2011.   It's a preview of what's to come by end-August!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Guest Post: Why It’s Easy To Support Your Breastfeeding Wife When Your Favorite Sport is Basketball

Here is another guest post by my breastfriend Velvet's husband, Jonathan Adam Roxas.  Atan was one of my first guest posters back in 2009.  You can read his first post here.  Thank you Atan and Velvet for sharing your experiences once again!


My favorite sport is basketball and I even have a big scar on my leg to show it.  Breastfeeding was a topic I dared not discuss until I became a father.   Basketball and breastfeeding might seem on the surface to have no direct correlation with each otherbut they do have a lot in common.   What are the similarities of my favorite sport to my family’s breastfeeding experience?

More than eight years ago, my first thoughts on breastfeeding were that it seemed like an "exclusive" thing between my wife and my eldest daughter.  Watching them from the sideline for what seemed like forever, I decided I didn’t want to be left out and eagerly yearned to be part of the play.

Friday, July 22, 2011

More on Breastfeeding Promotion plus a Guest Post

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (July).  For this month, we join the National Nutrition Council - Department of Health in celebrating Nutrition Month with the theme "Isulong ang Breastfeeding - Tama, Sapat at EKsklusibo!" Participants will share their experiences in promoting breastfeeding or their tips on how breastfeeding should be promoted.  Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."
I don't know if you have noticed but the Department of Health has become more active in promoting breastfeeding.  There was a launch of the campaign early this year, followed by a bloggers' event in May plus the creation of their Facebook page and hanging of tarps in MRT stations.  Then for Nutrition Month, DOH has decided to again focus on breastfeeding as its theme, resulting in various activities in several regions nationwide, all geared towards promoting breastfeeding.
DOH Breastfeeding TSEK Tarp at Baclaran Station of LRT Line 1
*Photo from DOH Breastfeeding TSEK Facebook page
The efforts are indeed laudable BUT (of course there is a but!) I feel that there is much more to be done for the promotion to be effective.  For my post today, let me start with a bucket list of other ways by which breastfeeding can be promoted before I share the guest post.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Post: Breastfeeding is the Only Way

Welcome to the Carnival of Breastfeeding for July! This month's theme is "Breastfeeding the Special Needs Baby".  I asked Pittipat M. Chupungco to share her story about breastfeeding her second baby, Janina who was diagnosed with Apert Syndrome. She originally shared her breastfeeding story in a February post in her blog. Janina has recently undergone syndactyly release and Pittipat updated her story to include this recent development.  Read their story below.  Thank you, Pittipat for sharing!  Please scroll down to read the entries of the other participants.
The moment I found out I was pregnant, I did not think twice about breastfeeding my baby.  That was never a question for us.  When my eldest child was born, it was then that I realized that breastfeeding was not as easy as it seemed.  In spite of the challenges, we persisted and thankfully, succeeded.
When Janina was diagnosed with Apert Syndrome, our immediate concern lay on her chances of survival since very few doctors knew about the Syndrome.  Janina had breathing and cardio issues and had to be kept in the high-risk NICU.  Later on, when the doctors assured us that children with Apert Syndrome could live normal and healthy lives, we were able to get our bearings and focus on the long road ahead of us. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

On using soapnuts plus a giveaway

Soap what?!! This was also my reaction when I first heard about soapnuts.  From Wikipedia, soapnuts or soapberries are called such because their fruit pulp is used to make soap.  The insides of the nuts contain saponins, a natural surfactant.  I had been looking for an all-natural laundry detergent to use for N's clothes, as part of the eco-friendly changes that I am trying to do in my household.  Saw these soapnuts at Sunday Legaspi Market and purchased a trial pack for P100.  The soapnuts were from Chlorophyll and if you can't get to the Sunday Market, check out their details below.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Of Parenting Styles

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Philosophy
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared their parenting practices and how they fit in with their parenting purpose. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Three years ago, my friend Stephen asked me about Stan's and my parenting style. He had watched a show on the Lifestyle Channel about parenting styles in raising babies - "Bringing Up the Baby". The series focuses on the parenting styles advocated by 3 experts from different decades. For the 1950's, the expert was Dr. Frederic Truby King, who advocated a strict routine method. For the 1960's, it was Dr. Benjamin Spock, who is for individualized routine parenting. And finally, for the 1970's, it was Jean Liedloff, for the continuum concept. The basics of these styles are as follows: King - Discipline -- Predictability -- Early detachment of baby and mother -- Order -- One size fits all -- Start as you mean to go on; Spock - Acknowledges individuality -- Tailor-made routine -- Relieves parental guilt -- Balance and Liedloff - instinct -- Based on human evolution -- Community.
N is now 3 years and 7 months old.  Since Day 1, I can say that we have been following some form of responsive parenting in dealing with her.  She used to nurse on demand and there were no scheduled feeds.  We also co-slept with her and shared a bed.  
I am doubly glad that (even if we never really talked about it) Stan and I share the same parenting philosophy style.  At this time, we both agree that N's needs (and soon Flower) will take precedence over Stan's and mine.  We schedule everything according to her needs.  With my parents having the empty nest syndrome now, I realized that it won't be long before N and Flower themselves will want to be independent and Stan and I will end up with more time on our hands than we want.

As for bringing her up, Stan and I listen to our moms, to our friends, our doctors, but we do our own research and talk about what we think is best for N and follow this decision. We don't necessarily follow what other people tell us. Also, we don't keep N with us 24/7. We're lucky to have a yaya (nanny) who takes really good care of her (especially when I'm at work), reads to her, perseveres in doing arts and crafts, putting hot compresses when she has booboos, talks to her, makes her laugh and MOST IMPORTANTLY, doesn't watch TV when Naima's around.
If I would need to choose among the three featured styles on the show, I would like to think that our style would be more of Liedloff. However, given the changes we make to adapt to our own culture, I will still say that our style is uniquely our own.  Stan and I live by this quote from Dr. Jay Gordon which I really like and try to apply in the way we bring up Naima: "What many people try to do is fit the baby in to their lives, rather than wrapping their lives around the baby."

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon July 12 with all the carnival links.)
  • Between Love and Fear: On Raising our Children Sensibly — Mamma Earthly at Give an Earthly discusses the fear factor in parenting and how she overcame it, despite societal pressures.
  • really, when do i get my cape? — Sarah at small bird on fire is a working city mama trying to learn how to set aside her expectations of perfection and embrace the reality of modern parenting.
  • Baby, Infant, and Toddler Wearing — Child wearing is part of Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured's parenting philosophy. In this post, Sarah describes benefits of child-wearing and gives tips for wearing babies, infants, and toddlers (even while pregnant).
  • First Year Reflections — As her daughter's first birthday approaches, Holly at First Year Reflections reflects on how she and her husband settled into attachment parenting after initially doing what they thought everyone else did.
  • Making an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a guest post from Sam about the unexpected lessons giving a four-year-old an allowance teaches the child — and the parent.
  • How to be a Lazy Parent and Still Raise Great Kids — Lisa at Granola Catholic talks about how being a Lazy Parent has helped her to raise Great Kids.
  • Philosophy in Practice — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how her heart shaped the parenting philosophy in her home.
  • What is Attachment Parenting Anyway? — Gaby at Tmuffin describes the challenges of putting a label on her parenting philosophy.
  • Of Parenting Styles — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom talks about how she and her husband tailored various parenting styles to fit their own preferred parenting philosophy.
  • Moment by Moment Parenting — Amy at Peace 4 Parents encourages those who care for children (including herself) to explore and appreciate parenting moment-by-moment with clarity, intention, trust, and action.
  • Maintaining Spirituality in the Midst of Everyday Parenting, Marriage, and Life — Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured shares her perspective on finding opportunities for spiritual growth in every day life.
  • Parenting Philosophy — Lily, aka Witch Mom's parenting philosophy is to raise child(ren) to be compassionate, loving, inquisitive, and questioning adults who can be trusted to make decisions for themselves in a way that avoids harming others.
  • Long Term — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis thinks about who she would like to see her daughter become — and what she can do now to lay a strong foundation for those hopes.
  • Connection, Communication, Compassion — She's come a long way, baby! After dropping her career in favour of motherhood, Patti at Jazzy Mama discovered that building solid relationships was going to be her only parenting priority.
  • My Parenting Inspirations - Part 4 — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at her biggest parenting inspiration and how that translates into her long-term parenting philosophy.
  • A Parenting Philosophy in One Word: Respect — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction summarizes her parenting and relationship philosophy in one word: respect.
  • Knowledge and Instinct — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that knowledge and instinct are super important … as are love, encouragement and respect. It's the ideal combo needed to raise happy and healthy children and in turn create meaningful relationships with them.
  • THRIVE!The Sparkle Mama wants to set a tone of confidence, abundance, and happiness in her home that will be the foundation for the rest of her daughter's life.
  • On Children — "Your children are not your children," say Kahlil Gibran and Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • This One Life Together — Ariadne aka Mudpiemama shares her philosophy of parenting: living fully in the here and now and building the foundation for a happy and healthy life.
  • Enjoying life and planning for a bright future — Olivia at Write About Birth shares her most important parenting dilemmas and pours out her heart about past trauma and how healing made her a better parent.
  • My Parenting Philosophy: Unconditional and Natural Love — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about her parenting philosophy from a year of following her instincts as a mama.
  • An open letter to my children — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine writes an open letter to her children.
  • My Starter Kit for Unconditional Parenting — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses her wish to raise a good person and summarizes some of the nontraditional practices she's using with her toddler son in order to fulfill that wish.
  • Responsiveness — Sheila at A Gift Universe has many philosophies and goals, but what it all boils down to is responsiveness: listening to what her son wants and providing what he needs.
  • Tools for Creating Your Parenting Philosophy — Have you ever really thought about your parenting purpose? Knowing your long-term goals can help you parent with more intent in your daily interactions. Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers exercises and ideas to help you create your own parenting philosophy.
  • Be a Daisy — Becky at Old New Legacy philosophizes about individuality and how she thinks it's important for her daughter's growth.
  • What's a Mama to Do? — Amyables at Toddler in Tow hopes that her dedication to compassionate parenting will keep her children from becoming too self-critical as adults.
  • grown-up anxieties. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life explains her lone worry concerning her babies growing up.
  • Why I Used Montessori Principles in My Parenting Philosophy — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why she chose Montessori principles to help her now-adult children develop qualities she wanted to see in them as children and adults.
  • Parenting Philosophies & Planning for the FutureMomma Jorje considers that the future is maybe just a fringe benefit of doing what feels right now.
  • Not Just Getting Through — Rachael at The Variegated Life asks what truths she hopes to express even in the most commonplace interactions with her son.
  • Parenting Philosophy? Eh... — Ana at Pandamoly shares the philosophy (or lack thereof) being employed to (hopefully) raise a respectful, loving, and responsible child.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Being Present — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the changes her family has made to accommodate their parenting philosophy and to reflect their ideals as working parents.
  • Who They Will Be — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shares a short list of some qualities she hopes she is instilling in her children at this very moment.
  • Short Term vs. Long Term — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts how long term parenting goals often get lost in the details of everyday life with two kids.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Practicing and Nurturing Peace — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle sets personal goals for developing greater peace.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 1: The Yamas — In part 1 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie guest posts at Natural Parents Network about how the Yoga Sutras provide a framework for her parenting philosophy.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 2: The Niyamas — In part 2 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie explores how the Niyamas (one of the eight limbs in traditional Yoga) help her maintain her parenting and life focus.
  • Our Sample Parenting Plan — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shares hopes of who her children will become and parenting strategies she employs to get them there.
  • Philosophical Parenting: Letting Go — Jona at Life, Intertwined ponders the notion that there's no right answer when it comes to parenting.
  • Unphilosophizing? — jessica at instead of institutions wonders about the usefulness of navel gazing.
  • Parenting Sensitively — Amy at Anktangle uses her sensitivity to mother her child in ways that both nurture and affirm.
  • how to nurture your relationships — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog believes that sometimes all kids need is a jolly good listening to …
  • Philosophy Of An Unnatural Parent — Dr. Sarah at Good Enough Mum sees parenting as a process of guiding her children to develop the skills they'll need.
  • Life with a Challenging Kid: Hidden Blessings — Wendy at High Needs Attachment shares the challenges and joys of raising a high needs child.
  • Flying by the Seat of My Pants — Heather at Very Nearly Hippy has realized that she has no idea what she's doing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Join the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival for July

July is Nutrition Month!  For this year, the National Nutrition Council - Department of Health has decided that the theme will be "Isulong ang Breastfeeding - Tama, Sapat at EKsklusibo!" So what could be a more apt topic for this month's carnival but this?!
Breastfeeding has been receiving a lot of bad press lately from torture to bad advice to wrong help from professionals.  However, we all know how beneficial breastfeeding is to both mom and baby.  We really need to promote and spread the word about breastfeeding and its benefits.  For this month, please share about your experiences on how you were able to promote breastfeeding or how you think breastfeeding should be promoted in this country to increase breastfeeding rates and encourage more moms to breastfeed.
Read my May Carnival post to get an idea on how a blog carnival post looks like.  To join the carnival, please fill up this FORM.   Please include this short blurb on the top of your post: "Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (July).  For this month, we join the National Nutrition Council - Department of Health in celebrating Nutrition Month with the theme "Isulong ang Breastfeeding - Tama, Sapat at EKsklusibo!" Participants will share their experiences in promoting breastfeeding or their tips on how breastfeeding should be promoted.  Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."
If you don't have a blog but would like to join, please email me or Mec so we can arrange to have you hosted as a guest blogger.  Submissions are due by 19 July 2011 and the carnival will go live on 22 July 2011. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Guest Post: It's all about marketing

Today's Guest Post is by Clarice Talavera-Avinante, a fellow N@W and breastfeeding mom. Clarice is also an events organizer and you can get more details about her services by visiting her website. In one of my posts, Clarice left a comment/email that she previously did a market study on the claims made by formula milk.  Because of the study that she and her then-boyfriend (now husband) conducted, they made a resolve to breastfeed their babies.  Read on to learn what they found out:

When I was in grade school, there was a TV commercial of a formula milk showing a likeness of a baby slowly being scuplted. All the while the importance of taurine in the development of sight was narrated in the background. Towards the end of the commercial, the eyes of the sculpture were attached. It was a beautiful baby.

It was such an enticing commercial that I wondered about the importance of taurine and made me believe that that particular milk was THE milk babies should consume. Such was my curiosity that I asked one of my uncles about taurine. It turns out that he, too, was so enticed by that commercial that he researched on the importance of taurine. He told me that taurine was, in fact, essential in retina development but the good (or bad?) news was that we (and babies, too) needed very minute amounts of it and that it was actually abundant in animal protein (that's meat of fish, beef, etc.) So as long as you eat properly, you can get it. That was the first time I realized that commercials are able to make you believe what they want you to believe without outrightly lying.

Fast forward 15 years, I totally forgot about that TV commercial. I conducted a consumer research study on the marketing practices of formula milk companies. Since I didn't know anything about formula nor about breastfeeding, and of course, like any good researcher, I tackled the project without any bias.

I interviewed pediatricians and pediatrician's secretaries (They are the ones who keep samples of the goodies distributed by the milk companies' sales reps. Hahaha!), inspected in-store advertising, watched numerous TV commercials, scanned print ads, interviewed Milk Code experts, etc.  

Aside from delving into the usual marketing tactics (getting an endorser, distributing stuff with the  milk's logo, paying stores to be put in eye-level shelves, etc), I analyzed their claims. I was not a chemist nor a biologist nor a medical doctor so I didn't study the contents of the milk and if they had what they said they had. Just their marketing claims. 

The buzz word during the time we conducted the research was DHA. A very popular series of commercials during that time implied that the intake of their milk resulted to gifted kids. It was so popular that adults were jokingly referred to as "Promil Kids" when they were being smart. :) So I researched on DHA and learned that its addition to formula milk was so important such that the pricing tier depended on its presence. The cheapest milk in the market didn't have it. The middle-market had DHA-precursors (essential fatty acids LA and  ALA which will be converted to DHA and other fatty acids by the body). And the top of the line (i.e., most expensive milk brands) had DHA and EPA. My interest was piqued and I researched more (I mean more than what was needed in the study) and learned that DHA is indeed very important in the development of the brain. 

During this time, my then-boyfriend (now husband) asked me which of the milk brands I would give to our future kids. It was a an easy question; of course I would give the most expensive brands with ready-made DHA and other fatty acids. Of course I'd want the "best" for my babies! Who wouldn't want their kids to be gifted?

Since I'm guest posting here, it's obvious that I am now into breastfeeding. :) So what made me change my mind? Well, two things clinched it. First, I talked to an uncle and told him about the study. (Yup, the same one who researched on taurine. He's really into the health stuff.) He made me realize that bottomline, infant formulas were developed to substitute for breastmilk. I am ashamed to admit that I was shocked. That never occured to me. Cow's milk was something I grew up with. I had no breastfeeding models (mothers personally known to me who breastfed) so it was a fact of life for me that you get your milk from a can. I do not recall seeing anyone breastfeed except for one mother who breastfed her crying child in the jeep I was riding. So when my uncle told me that formulas are just substitutes, my perspective changed. Why give a substitute if I can give my future babies the real thing? My uncle even told me that until now (or until then, rather), in fact, research was still being done on the makeup of breastmilk because it still had "ingredients" and nutrition that had not been discovered yet which they still need to imitate. So the reason why they added DHA into formula was because breastmilk already had DHA. I honestly thought that research had made them realize the importance of DHA that was why they fortify formula milk with it. As it turned out, they were still just imitating breastmilk. So as long as the mom eats well, giving your babies DHA for optimal brain development was a no-brainer (pun intended).

Second, and this really clinched it for me because I love green mangoes, I learned that a good source of DHA is bagoong*. BAGOONG!!! Why buy expensive milk when you can give the optimal nutrition to your baby by eating bagoong and giving him your breast? LOL!

It was funny when you really think about it. You'd realize that as long as a good slogan was thought of, sales would come in. Another milk brand's slogan was about the calcium you can get from their milk. When you stop for five seconds and actually just think about it, all milk are rich sources of calcium. You don't need a special milk to get calcium.

It really is all about marketing. And yes, commercials can make you believe what they want you to believe without outwardly lying. As weird as it is, doing a study on infant formula made me realize the power of breastmilk. I sought my boyfriend's support as early as then as I promised myself that I would breastfeed. And I am happy to say, he's still supporting me up to now and I am still keeping that promise. :)

* bagoong - salted shrimp paste 
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