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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pearls from the Compostela Valley Breastfeeding Mission Experience - Part 3


This is the last of three parts.  Please refer to Parts 1 and 2. This is a guest post written by Dr. Lei who participated in all the aspects of the breastfeeding mission. Dr. Lei also runs an online store, Caleb's Closet and shares her thoughts in her blog, Lei's Anatomy.

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4. Human Milk transport and storage requires a lot of logistics but tapping on to the right network, we have available resources to make things work. 
Breast milk is a precious commodity that requires care in handling. Refrigerated human milk is good for 3-4 days. In the usual one-door domestic freezers, this extends to 3 weeks. For deep freezers, viability stretches from 6 months to 1 year. However, when frozen breast milk is thawed, it should be refrigerated, consumed or discarded within 24 hours.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pearls from the Compostela Valley Breastfeeding Mission Experience - Part 2


This is the second of three parts.  You can read Part 1 here.  This is a guest post written by Dr. Lei who participated in all the aspects of the breastfeeding mission.  Dr. Lei also runs an online store, Caleb's Closet and shares her thoughts in her blog, Lei's Anatomy.


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3. Substantial amounts of human milk can be collected and stored for the above babies.

We were able to collect 67 liters of milk in less than 2 weeks. (Having talked with Velvet, they actually came up with 100 liters in a single day, involving just one barangay!!). Substantial amounts of human milk can be collected and preserved properly.

After UNICEF’s call for milk donations went out to our Team UnangYakap, the response was crazy. In a matter of 24 hours, we helped mobilize private individuals (e.g. Maricel Cua of Medela Moms, Davao-based childbirth educator/advocate Alex Hao, blogger/advocate/lawyer Jenny Ong and mother support groups at the BangkoSentralngPilipinas etc,), the Lactation Units of The Medical City, St. Luke’s Global Hospital (through the leadership of Dr. Cristina Bernardo, IBCLC and Breastfeeding Committee Head of the Philippine Pediatric Society), and the 3 Human Milk Banks in NCR (Fabella, PCMC and the UP-PGH through the coordination of Dr .Fay de Ocampo, kangaroo mother care expert and Team UnangYakap).

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pearls from the Compostela Valley Breastfeeding Mission Experience - Part 1

I was quite blessed to be part of the breastfeeding drive for babies of Compostela Valley.  Through this drive, I was finally able to meet Dr. Lei Camiling Alfonso of Caleb's Closet Ecostore.  We had been email and FB-mates but never got to meet each other in person.  She was very involved in the drive and we finally met in my hometown when she flew in to transport breastmilk to ComVal.  I asked Lei to share her story and experiences during the trip to ComVal and she generously agreed.  Aside from her online store, Lei also shares her thoughts and blogs at Lei's Anatomy.  Read on and learn!

This is the first of three parts.
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Face it, our country is disaster prone. And relief work is something that has really sparked my interest because of the sheer need and urgency. This has taken a whole new meaning with my new understanding of breastfeeding and its implications for infants in disaster areas. Most health workers have little knowledge of breastfeeding and lactation management during crisis. I have read the theories and the expert recommendations, but I haven’t seen them work on the ground. During the holidays, I was privileged to be with my Team UnangYakap mentors, Dr. Maria Asuncion Silvestre and Dr. Donna Isabel Capili supported by WHO Philippines (thru the United Nations Central Emergency Fund) to conduct a breastfeeding mission for Pablo victims in one of the evacuation sites. I am thrilled to report to you some realizations:

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Baby Product and Giveaway: Beginnings Baby

The last quarter of 2012 was very hectic! I was invited to a Sparty by ARC Public Relations for Beginnings Baby which I unfortunately was not able to attend.  They still generously sent me the Press Kit for Beginnings Baby which included samples of the brand.  Because E is a giant baby, I couldn't try the products on him so I asked ARC if I could give them away on the blog instead and happily, they agreed.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cloth Diapering 101 on 26 January 2013

Modern cloth diapers are a lot different from the traditional "lampins" that our parents used on us.  Some may raise an eyebrow on why there is a need to hold a seminar just to use cloth diapers.  Well, there are a lot of new parents who are on the fence and unsure on how to use modern cloth diapers because of misinformation and the supposed inconvenience it brings about.

This seminar is directed to those families who are open-minded and interested to learn about modern cloth diapers.  Unlike the nappies of before, there are all sorts of different kinds - all in ones, pockets, all-in-twos, hybrid, etc. etc.  Plus there are all sorts of accessories available to make cloth nappying much easier.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Want to be a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor?

At the outset, let me emphasize that you don't need to be a breastfeeding counselor in order to help mothers.  I previously shared about empowering moms and setting up a support group in your locality. Read more about that HERE.

During the early days, moms usually need support and hand holding to face the breastfeeding challenges.  Especially if the family is not supportive, having a group to talk to or ask questions will definitely help the mom succeed.  More often than not, the moms just need a sounding board rather than

In any case, several readers have emailed me asking how to become a breastfeeding peer counselor.  So I decided to compile all the information I have and share with interested moms.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Facials for Pregnant/Breastfeeding Moms

Among the top concerns of breastfeeding and/or pregnant women refer to beauty choices - is it ok to have a perm while breastfeeding? is it ok to have a tattoo? is it ok to have a facial? and so on and so forth.  I usually refer moms to the relevant websites of La Leche League or Kellymom as both have comprehensive information on what treatments are safe for moms. I used to have regular facials when I was a singleton but this stopped when I became pregnant with N.  First of all, I had a really difficult first trimester.  When I was up and about, I was concerned with the ingredients used since I continued to breastfeed N.  I also did not know that it was possible to use natural ingredients for facials.
At the DermaPro Clinic
Thus, when Candy invited me to visit her new clinic, DermaPro and try out their all natural facial, I got excited.  It had been more than 5 years since I had my last facial, after all.  I met Candy during one of the warehouse sales I organized. Aside from being a breastfeeding mom, Candy also cloth diapers her toddler, Maisie.  Candy is also a dermatologist by profession and opened her clinic with her partner Feliz, who also incidentally breastfed her only child.  Thus, when they were discussing the services to offer their patients, they decided to include an all-natural facial to respond to the needs of patients with sensitive skin as well the pregnant and breastfeeding moms.
Menu of Services
What I like most about DermaPro is that the clinic is divided into individual spaces for the clients.  Unlike those huge mall centers where beds are laid out one after the other, patients from Dermapro are ushered into a private cubicle, allowing them to enjoy their treatment piece.  The clinic is also regularly staffed by a dermatologist - either Candy or Feliz. Now on to my treatment. Since I was still breastfeeding E, I opted for the all-natural facial.  I had researched that breastfeeding moms can have facials but must avoid products containing petroleum, formaldehyde, parabens, retinoid or salicylic acid.  I also read that facials consisting of chemical peels or use of any products that have a pH under 5.5 or over 10.5 should not be done by breastfeeding or pregnant mothers. To assuage my concerns, DermaPro shared the steps and ingredients of their all-natural facial service.
Facials usually consist of key steps. Cleansing, toning to degrease the skin and allow better absorption of subsequent ingredients that are found in masks, creams, and serums that could be applied during a facial, steaming to open up the pores, vacuuming and extraction of clogged oils and blackheads, high frequency to close the pores, and mask & cream application to moisturize the skin. After cleaning with a soapless cleasner, an alcohol-free toner was used. It contains chamomile flower extract, pot marigold flower extract, horse chestnut seed extract, panthenol, and aloe vera. The mask used contains water lily extract, green tea extract, and chamomile flower extract. Finally, the cream used contained safflower seed oil, hazel seed oil, panthenol, and aloe vera.
I had my facial on a Saturday morning.  I was a bit worried because I had heard of horror stories about people having red peeling faces after the procedure.  Happily, the all-natural facial had a great effect.  In fact, after my facial, I had lunch with friends, attended Moms on the Floor and had dinner with the family.  A girl friend even remarked that she thought I was glowing ;) You can visit DermaPro at 200 Wilson St., San Juan Metro Manila.  Call them at 2341354 or 09178328399.  You can also visit their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter for updates and tips on skin care.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Not Enough Milk: Insufficient Glandular Tissue and Sheehan's Syndrome

I have had this post in my drafts folder for sometime now.  I came across this Healthland Time article which encouraged me to finally write and finish this post.  This pretty much sums up the problem that breastfeeding faces with the medical community:
That’s because lactation is probably the only bodily function for which modern medicine has almost no training, protocol or knowledge. When women have trouble breast-feeding, they’re either prodded to try harder by well-meaning lactation consultants or told to give up by doctors. They’re almost never told, “Perhaps there’s an underlying medical problem—let’s do some tests.” 
While breastfeeding is natural, I do agree that there are some moms who really CANNOT breastfeed.  Before, this wasn't an issue because wet nursing was prevalent.  Don't have enough milk? Send baby to your sister or neighbor.  But now, with our fast paced, urban lives, we often live far from family.  Adding to these factors would the concerns of the medical community on pasteurization plus the influence of formula milk companies that their product is equal to breastmilk.  As a result, more and more moms believe that they really cannot produce breastmilk.

Way back in 1989, the World Health Organization identified specific health factors which may interfere with breastfeeding.  One of those mentioned would be lactation failure.  I believe that true lactation failure does exist and is the condition called hypoplasia or insufficient glandular tissue.  La Leche League recognizes the existence of mammary hypoplasia and identifies several factors to look out for:
What are the visual markers of hypoplastic breasts? In a study of 34 mothers by Kathleen Huggins, et al. (2000), the researchers found a correlation between the following physical characteristics and lower milk output:
  • widely spaced breasts (breasts are more than 1.5 inches apart) 
  • breast asymmetry (one breast is significantly larger than the other) 
  • presence of stretch marks on the breasts, in absence of breast growth, either during puberty or in pregnancy 
  • tubular breast shape ("empty sac" appearance) 
Additional characteristics that may indicate hypoplasia are:
  • disproportionately large or bulbous areolae 
  • absence of breast changes in pregnancy, postpartum, or both 
Hypoplastic breasts may be small or large. It is breast shape, placement, and asymmetry that indicate hypoplasia -- not necessarily size. Normal-sized breasts that are lacking glandular tissue may be made up of fatty tissue that will sufficiently fill a bra cup.
In dealing with IGT, what is important is being able to identify the problem and manage it - without making the mother feel bad for not being able to breastfeed her baby.  This website is quite helpful in providing more information about IGT.

Aside from IGT, postpartum conditions may also lead to failure to produce sufficient breastmilk.  Another mom, Bunny Rufino, shared her inability to produce sufficient milk due to Sheehan's Syndrome.   The US National Library of Medicine defines Sheehan's Syndrome as tissue death in the pituitary gland due to severe bleeding during childbirth.  Among the symptoms of this condition is the inability to breastfeed - breastmilk never comes in.

Bunny shares how she was able to breastfeed her older child for 2 years and so much milk that she ended up donating her breastmilk.  However with her son, her breastmilk is not enough - even after pumping 7x a day. She had a complicated birth - almost dying from massive blood loss.  Her blood was unable to coagulate properly and she had to be transfused with 25 liters of blood. She had to stay in the ICU for 5 days and remained in the hospital for almost 2 weeks.

Upon discharge, Bunny was adamant and really wanted to provide breastmilk to her son so she did research and found out about Sheehan's Syndrome.  She went to her endocrinologist who confirmed that her pituitary gland was damaged by severe hemorrhaging during her son's birth.  This affected her hormones, including prolactin - the hormone released by the pituitary gland that stimulates breast development and milk production.

Despite this condition, Bunny continued to breastfeed and supplemented with donor's milk.  She wanted to share to fellow moms that breastfeeding should not be treated with an all or nothing approach.  She emphasizes that proper support and treatment are necessary, especially from the mom's doctors.  Moms should not be left defeated and guilty that they cannot produce enough milk, when in fact it is not their fault but due to a medical condition.

As emphasized here, even if the mom cannot produce enough breastmilk for her child and needs to supplement, she should still CONTINUE to breastfeed and not stop.  It should be emphasized that any amount of breastmilk she can provide, no matter how little, is better than not providing breastmilk to your child at all.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year


2012 was a great year and I believe 2013 will be equally great or even better!  Both my family and blog has grown.  I'm excited for the opportunities coming in 2013.  I have enjoyed sharing thoughts,  engaging and learning from my readers.  I hope that we will continue to have fruitful discussions, learn from each others' experiences while promoting the natural parenting lifestyle!

Happy New Year everyone! From the COANM family
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