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Monday, July 30, 2012

Activities for Breastfeeding Month

It's breastfeeding month again and it is a hectic but fun filled month which I hope will increase breastfeeding awareness in the Philippines!

August 1 - 7, 2012 is the 20th World Breastfeeding Week and the theme set is Understanding the Past - Planning the Future: Celebrating 10 years of WHO/UNICEF's Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Painting at Home and Happy 7th Month E!

For E's 7th month pictorial, we finally executed the lay-out that we had long wanted to try - paints!  Aunty Helen of Hatch and Latch had gifted E with The Originally Natural Safe Finger Paint Tottle Set from Wee Can Too.  What makes it different from other finger painting brands is that Wee Can Too an edible art supply.
Our signature product and winner of the 2012 Cribsie Awards!  Fantastically Fun Edible Finger Paint, created in 2007 with babies in mind, adhering to a baby safe ingredients which are Organic! VEGAN, no wheat, no sugar, no preservatives!  Save enough to eat, Fantastic Finger Paints come in 5 colors!  Purple/Blue with REAL blueberries, Red/Pink with REAL beets, Orange & Yellow with REAL pumpkin and green with REAL spinach!  CPSIA Compliant.  Made from Organic Fruit & Vegetable powders, rice cereal and rice flour! If they can eat the can paint!  Paints come in 6 oz. convenient tottle bottles which have powder in them.   
Paint comes in powder form (as seen here).  You just add the water, shake and create.  Makes over 12oz. of paint per bottle (refill bottle with water and get more paint).  Must be refrigerated after water is added.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Transporting Milk? A Fridge to Go Giveaway

One of the popular posts in this blog is entitled "Tips on Expressing Milk While Traveling Without Baby".  It was written as a guest post by the local Fridge-to-Go distributor Stephanie Co.  She pumped exclusively for 13 months for her firstborn and is currently breastfeeding her 2-year old second child.  Steph shares that Fridge-to-Go made it much more convenient and hygienic for her to continue pumping while working full-time, traveling abroad or even going about the city on errands.  Here's what makes FTG special and especially useful for working moms:
With its Surround Cooling Technology and space-saving refillable cooling panels, Fridge-to-Go keeps its contents so that pumping mamas need not worry that their milk will spoil before they get home.  Fridge-to-Go gives unbeatable cooling for the most precious product of all - your breastmilk, which will be given to your most precious bundle - your child.  It is really worth every peso!

Monday, July 23, 2012

2011 Breastfeeding Rates from FNRI

Just in time for today's State of the Nation Address!! There is another reason why we should say no to the Monster Bill.  In a recently released 2011 Nutritional Status of Filipino Children and other Population Groups, breastfeeding rates are shown to have gone up! For babies 0-5months old, from rates of 29.7% in 2003, it went up to 35.9% in 2008 and is now 46.7% as of 2011!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Use this Draft Letter to Request for a Lactation Program

Do you want to set up a work place lactation room?  I previously wrote about our experience in setting up a lactation room in my workplace.  In my guest post over at My Mommy Journey, I shared the laws establishing the rights of breastfeeding and working mothers.  Because it is my dream that all public and private workplaces will have the support and facilities for breastfeeding and working mothers, I have taken it a step further and wrote this draft letter which you can copy, edit and use to submit to your supervisor and Human Resource Department to request for a lactation room and policy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Introducing F.A.B.

Without much fanfare, the Filipino Association of Babywearers has launched!  The Facebook page is up with a spanking new FAB Logo designed by Fancy Girl Designs in collaboration with me, Buding, Jen and Eliza.  Our peg for the logo was the Edsa urban art

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Guest Post and Giveaway: Why natural birth?

I gave birth to N normally but with an epidural.  I never had the chance to take any childbirth classes then and after hearing my mom describe how she tore and screamed when she was giving birth natural to my sister and me, I decided to opt for an epidural for this first birth.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tea at Anthology

dressed and ready for the tea party
Before summer ended, I was happy to have one last fun and educational activity for N - a shoe factory tour. E's ninang Jen of Next9 is a fan of Anthology shoes and she wanted to see how the shoes were made. So she spoke with the Creative Director Karrots Nazareno and was able to schedule a tour with our other friends. Karrots made it extra special by holding a tea party! I was pretty excited since I love tea parties.  I was also quite happy that Karrots permitted us to bring our kids.  N loves shoes and I wanted her to see how they were made - even if the factory was focused on men's and women's shoes - not kids shoes.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Aquiva is NOT the solution for picky eaters

Here's another example why we, as parents, must be vigilant and watch out for the unethical marketing practices of milk companies.

Wyeth's Aquiva has embarked on a very aggressive marketing campaign targeting schools through their "School Caravan" program.  They give out big cans of Aqiva powdered milk to students aged 4-7 years old.  N who is 4 and my nephew who is 7 got one.  N goes to a school in Manila while my nephew J goes to a school in Mandaluyong.  Another mom also reported that her child, who goes to a school in Quezon City, also received Aqiva.  Along with the Aqiva sample, Wyeth included a letter from its nutrionist, Mary Jude B. Icasiano and a survey form on picky eating.

Check out these boxes and boxes of milk samples at N's school.

Meanwhile, here's the sampling from my nephew's school.

The question now is: Is this prohibited under the Milk Code? Let's check what Sec. 6(b) says:

Manufacturers and distributors shall not be permitted to give, directly or indirectly, samples and supplies of products within the scope of this Code or gifts of any sort to any member of the general public, including members of their families, to hospitals and other health institutions, as well as to personnel within the health care system, save as otherwise provided in this Code.

The Milk Code is implemented through the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations issued by the Department of Health.  Under Section 21 of the RIRR, milk manufacturers are prohibited from giving gifts to the public:
Section 21.  Gifts of any sort from milk companies/manufacturers, distributors, and representatives of products within the scope of this Code, with or without company name or logo or product or brand name shall not be given to any member of the general public, to hospitals and other health facilities, including their personnel and members of their families.  
Meanwhile, under Section 52 of the RIRR, all donations must be coursed through the Inter-Agency Committee:
Section 52. Other Donations by Milk Companies not covered by this Code. - Donations of products, equipment, and the like, not otherwise falling within the scope of this Code or these Rules, given by milk companies and their agents, representatives, whether in kind or in cash, may only be coursed through the Inter Agency Committee (IAC), which shall determine whether such donation be accepted or otherwise. 
Last I checked, Wyeth is a milk company or manufacturer of a product within the scope of the Milk Code (they manufacture Bona, Promil, Progress).  But if you check their website, the infant formulas are NOT listed - only the preschool milk.   Wyeth markets Aqiva to be for children 4 years and up (Milk Code covers products for babies up to 1 year old).  However, even if Aqiva is not a product covered by the Milk Code, it is a "GIFT OF ANY SORT" to the "GENERAL PUBLIC".  Plus, it is considered a donation which should ONLY be coursed through the IAC.  So many violations there!

Let's check what Aqiva is really about.  In Wyeth's website, Aqiva is described as follows:
AQIVA is specially formulated to help provide nutritionally compromised children 4 years and older with proper nutrition at the stage when his diet may not always be complete. It contains an adequate caloric distribution of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat, for optimal energy distribution. It also provides more than 100% of the needed levels of Vitamin A, Calcium, Zinc and Iron, to prevent nutritional inadequacies. Aqiva also contains other nutrients such as DHA/AA, Lutein, Oligofructose and Nucleotides to ensure your child’s proper cognitive development, eye health, nutrient absorption, and immunity.
It is a product which Wyeth markets to compete with the Lactum (Mead Johnson) panatag milk.  In short, what Wyeth is saying - if your child does not eat well, don't worry, you don't have to help him develop good eating habits - just give him Aqiva milk.  Read the letter from Wyeth's nutritionist:
I'd like to highlight this part of the letter:  "If you've noticed that your child has a preference for unhealthy types of food, help them get Adequate Quality and Important nutrients with AQIVA to help ensure balance nutrition."  A survey form is attached to the letter which ASSUMES that ALL children have unhealthy eating habits.  Read survey question number 1 - there is no option for "NONE".  Since when has "eats slowly" become unhealthy?  Plus who determines the "ideal amount" of food?
If you read this article, you will learn that formula is one of the top three consumer products in the Philippines
In Asia, the Philippines is one of the largest markets for infant formula, and the likes of Nestle USA, Abbot, Wyeth and Mead Johnson all have significant sales in the country. Filipino mothers spend about US$469 million annually on infant formula, while multinational milk companies spent nearly $89 million on advertising - not inclusive of the travel, sponsorship and other perks they often provide to health professionals who promote their products. 
The formula milk industry is a HUGE market.  Aside from the School Caravan, Wyeth also has another promotion with Promil - i-Shine Talent Camp which requires purchasing Promil products to join.   Wyeth is amping its marketing strategies - it is indeed a huge pie (US$469M spending on formula milk in 2007).  Is this legal? Debatable.  Ethical? Definitely not!  And to think Wyeth signed the Integrity Pledge.

And I'd like to call the attention of schools allowing this "School Caravan" to flourish.  In N's school, the milk was already distributed to afternoon students.  When I saw the milk, I immediately complained to the head teacher.  The milk was not distributed and when I asked why, I was informed that they discussed my complaint with the principal and Wyeth and they will be writing to the parents and tell them that accepting the milk is OPTIONAL.

In my nephew's school, the milk was distributed to the parents during orientation.  But this school in QC was the worse!  Here's the experience shared by the mom:
"I got a can of Aqiva milk from X's school.  It's required to answer the survey that it comes with (it's even part of Xs assignment notebook).  I don't know how I stand regarding this.  He's 7 na.  Parang I don't know how to feel coz it's like forcing me to make my kid drink it kase can talaga and not a small pack.  Although X (and my other kids) do drink powdered milk from Wyeth, they're supported naman with a balanced diet.  Parang feeling ko "invasive" yung approach.  What I did was to answer the survey then at the bottom, I wrote this:  "Please respect the parents especially if they prefer to encourage their kids to eat properly. 'force-feeding' aqiva to my child is disrespectful and is in violation of the Milk Code."
Read the survey form again - question no. 3 - "Did your child enjoy drinking Aqiva?"  Make this part of a child's assignment notebook - how do you think the parent will comply with it?

Oh and aside from their Aquiva campaign, they also have another one for Promil:

Shame, shame, SHAME ON YOU, Wyeth!

Did your child also receive an Aqiva sample from school? Please share your experience!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Giveaway: Baby Leaf Diapers

Today's giveaway is sponsored by Baby Leaf Diapers.

Here is a short blurb about the brand:
Baby Leaf was born out of a working mom’s desire to provide only the best, safest and baby-friendliest for her newborn. Trisha Lim – the mom behind Baby Leaf – began the business with an ideal: to get only the best-quality, all-natural and eco-friendly items for her baby.  She and her husband, Stuart, have three beautiful little girls.
The name “Baby Leaf” stands for the newness and freshness that comes with being a new parent and having a new life to care for. Just as a new leaf signifies the start of a new life, Baby Leafs envision families experiencing the newness and wonder of parenthood, with Baby Leaf providing the freshest, Earth-friendly finds.

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