BPOs and lactation periods

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Hello World! It’s been a while. I have a lot of things I want to write about but reality got in the way.  I’ve taken on a more challenging role at my day job and the blog suffered.  However, the desire to write about breastfeeding and help fellow breastfeeding mothers is still there and is calling out.  So here I am trying to blog again.  Anyway, if you have specific questions you want to be answered, shoot me an email – latch[dot]jenny[at]gmail[dot]com and I will do my best to answer.  Please note also that I may choose to publish the query and reply in my blog – anonymously unless the writer prefers to be identified. Continue reading

Quick Guide to Breastfeeding Challenges

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Sorry, sorry… life has caught up with me! I really haven’t been blogging much as I’ve been focusing on my day job, kids, Mama.Baby.Love and replying to email/text questions of breastfeeding/babywearing/cloth diapering moms.  I’m cleaning out my draft posts (yes, I have numerous!!)  and I found this post which I initially wrote as a comment to another page.  I can’t remember if this comment was published — yes it has been that long!  So I decided to edit it a publish it in my blog.

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B is for…

Busy Blessings

I know I have been silent for some time… and that’s because I’ve recently received a blessing in my life.  I landed a new job!  It is a totally different field from where I was with before.  I’m in a new environment, new colleagues – and that explains my silence.  I still love to talk about breastfeeding and if you follow me over at Facebook, you’ll know that I have a lot to say about it.  I’m slowly getting the pace and feel of my day job and hopefully, I’ll be able to write more often.

Babywearing Continue reading

Guest Post: Sourcing Breastmilk for an Adopted Baby

Remember early this year when I posted about a milk sharing story about adoptive dads who sourced breastmilk for their baby?  This time, I am sharing a story closer to home.  Today’s guest post is from Jason Baker of PETA Asia Pacific.  A friend of Jason posted in one of my egroups about how he was looking for breastmilk for his adopted son.  Super small world, I patched him up with a kababayan from Davao City and Pangging became a regular milk donor.   Jason shared this story with me almost a year ago and I wasn’t able to share it until now.

http://instagram.com/p/k0x3uRKXSF/?modal=true

Why did I decide to share?  Since it is breastfeeding month, I’ve been seeing a lot of stories about breastfeeding in various news outfits. However, I was greatly saddened when a popular site shared a story about a mom saying that breastfeeding advocates condemn formula feeding moms.  She goes on to say that counselors live in posh villages, that formula milk is good enough for her child, that it is impossible for a working mom to commute and bring all her breastfeeding paraphernalia.

Kung gusto may paraan – if there’s a will, there is a way.  This is also why we want to normalize breastfeeding.  We don’t want mothers to believe that breastfeeding is the best and formula milk is second best – that is the strategy of the milk companies.  Instead, breastfeeding should be what is normal for babies and the use of formula milk is an intervention.  The experience of Jason in sourcing milk for his child is a story of dedication and perseverance.  I sent him a list of questions and I am posting his answers here with very minor edits:

1. Can you give us a bit about your background? I understand that you are a single adoptive dad. Would you mind sharing the circumstances of how you decided to adopt, even if you are single?
I never planned on being a single dad but I never found anyone, so when I started to approach 40 I decided to go at it alone. That said, I have never felt alone. Friends and family have been supportive. I learned a lot during the process and could really write a book about it. The adoption industry has some really great people trying to help babies/kids in need of families, but you also have people who are just trying to make money off of many potential parents who start to feel desperate. The law in the US, where I adopted, and around the world is such a mess. Things are set up to block the wrong people from getting kids, but that has also created delays for those that do qualify. And the reality is that SO few people are adopting for the wrong reasons but the delay results in so many kids being left in foster care. It just wrong. I would have adopted in the Philippines if I could, but they do not allow single men to adopt who are foreign. It’s time for the adoption laws here and everywhere to be overhauled. Some agencies and people find it hard to believe that single fathers can be great parents, but that is just a mindset from the past. I also think we just have a moral obligation to make the world a better place so adopting, if you want a child, is one way to do that.

2. Is getting milk from the birth mother not an option? 
No! Her medical history didn’t allow for it.

3. What made you decide to give breast milk to your child instead of formula milk?
To me getting breast milk is a basic human right! Every baby deserves it. If you look at all the research out there, like from Dr Spock’s bestselling book “Baby and Child Care”, you see that kids should never have cow’s milk. In fact, once he looked at all the studies, Dr Spock even apologized for having once suggested it was good to give cows’ milk-based formula to babies. Everything that science (and common sense) tells us is that breast milk is the perfect food for babies. I haven’t had cows’ milk in over 20 years because cows’ milk is not naturally designed for humans. In fact, over 90% of Filipinos are lactose intolerant. Cows’ milk is designed to make a baby cow gain 250 pounds in 6 months. That is hard on a humans body. It is the perfect food for, well, baby cows. Formula is a mix of cow proteins, sugars and fillers. Human milk is designed by nature for baby humans. No one profits off of breast milk so you aren’t going to see TV commercials suggesting it’s the best thing for your child, but it is. When I see ads suggesting that formula is something that is going to make your children strong and smarter, I just want to scream. I am encouraged to see the labeling on formula stating that breast milk is best for the first two years, but it’s not enough.

4. Where do you source or post your breastmilk requests? 
I’m always looking. I look on Facebook, I look when I’m traveling. I’m going to be in Australia in October and I can see that lots of people offer milk there so I’m already working on making arrangements. Getting milk has far and away been the hardest part of being a single dad. Or maybe it’s the biggest thing I didn’t expect to be hard. I knew my son would wake up at night. I knew I’d be changing a lot of diapers, and sometimes he would cry or get fussy in public. I just didn’t know getting breast milk would be difficult. In more developed countries, it’s easier to get breast milk donations because you have moms that keep pumping and freezing milk and suddenly realize they have 700 ounces of milk that they don’t need any more because their supply is so strong. Having that sort of extra freezer space is totally uncommon in the Philippines for BM storage.

5. How long do you plan to collect/source breast milk? 
I’m hoping until my son is two. I know I’ve gotten him past the biggest hurdle. If I can just maintain it, I will be happy. I do have to cut my son’s breast milk with soy formula because we’ve never had a supply where I felt we could risk using more. We usually only have 1 or 2 weeks in the freezer but at times we’ve only had a day’s worth left.

6. What are the challenges in sourcing breastmilk? Not getting enough readily available!

7. What were the reactions of your family/friends when you decided to give breastmilk instead of formula despite the difficulty of sourcing the breastmilk?
Most of my friends are well-educated on nutrition. My mom for example has a nutrition degree. Everyone around me was totally supportive. They understand how important it is for my son’s health and they also know how important it is to me. My friends have been amazing and helping me get milk. If they are going to be somewhere where they might be able to pick up milk, they let me know. They all understand that my son didn’t get a fair deal to his start in life so they all want to help him catch up which amazingly he seems to have done. He is a very happy baby!

Milk Mama Diaries: Experiencing the One Asia Breastfeeding Forum

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we write about the World Breastfeeding Week 2014 – Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life and share how breastfeeding can help the Philippines achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals developed by the government and the United Nations. Participants will share their thoughts, experiences, hopes and suggestions on the topic. 

Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries. 

This is a much delayed post! I’ve been writing it for several months now but was not able to finish.  I finally found the drive to complete it in time for Milk Mama Diaries Carnival.  I feel that this post will help me explain the relationship of breastfeeding with the 8th Millennium Development Goal – Global Partnership.

Last year, I had the opportunity to expand my breastfeeding views and grabbed it.  Thanks to Nanay Ines and Velvet of Arugaan, I joined the One Asia Breastfeeding Partners Forum 9 in Luang Prabang, Laos.  It was a very enriching learning experience and opened my eyes to the international issues surrounding the breastfeeding advocacy.
as a panelist at OABPF
I was very happy to meet Patti Rundall, the active campaigner behind Baby Milk Action.  I always visit their website and read a lot of her and Mike Brady’s works.  I was happy to to finally put a face to the name.  I especially found her presentation in BINGOs, PINGOs and DINGOs very enriching so much so that I used that same description for my own presentation during the last PPS Breastfeeding Congress.  
With Patti Rundall, Velvet and Lei.

Another presentation I found especially enlightening was that from the Indonesians – on why breastfeeding mothers end up failing.  Indeed, what they shared is true.  Breastfeeding mothers are often blamed for their “failure” to breastfeed and they themselves think they “failed.”  But in truth, it is the system that failed them, and also the people surrounding them.  Because of barriers to breastfeeding they face in every step, they have no option but to end up stopping breastfeeding.

Now how does this tie up with this year’s World Breastfeeding Week Theme? My goal is to tie up breastfeeding with the MDG Goal of Global Partnership.  This document from the World Health Organization explains the aim and challenge of goal 8:

Fifth, goal 8 calls for a global partnership for development. This unique feature of the MDGs recognizes that there are certain actions rich countries must take if poor countries are to achieve goals 1 to 7. Goal 8 is a reminder that global security and prosperity depend on a more equitable world for all.

Through my attendance at the OABPF, I was able to see how global partnerships can be used to pursue this goal.  The most active campaigners for breastfeeding who have gained worldwide recognition would be IBFAN and Baby Milk Action. Neither of these organizations are based in developing countries but they take action on issues happening in the latter.  For instance, the latest Breaking the Rules Report 2014 highlights the violations being done by milk companies in developing countries, bringing worldwide attention to their actions.  Without such watchdogs, the violations of these companies in developing countries would continue without any culpability.
Another MDG Goal which I would like to tie up with breastfeeding is ensuring environmental sustainability. At the OABPF, I had the chance to listen to Dr. Tess Perez on the issue of golden rice. Admittedly, I was not very familiar about this.  Golden Rice is a genetically modified rice by our own IRRI which has been enhanced with Vitamin A.  The big issue here is testing — the target of the tests are pregnant and lactating women.  Campaigners are up in arms because of the supposed “consent” being given by the subjects.  Proponents claimed that the subjects know what they are getting into while campaigners believe that this consent was not an informed one.  The debate continues.
Issues of the effect of GMO products on environmental sustainability still have not yet been addressed.  How long has GMO products been in existence and how to we know the long term effects?  Will we only turn back when it is too late the reverse the effects in the future?  In a forum discussion on golden rice, Velvet shared the precautionary principle in environmental law.   The precautionary principle is the “notion which supports taking protective action before there is complete scientific proof of a risk; that is, action should not be delayed simply because full scientific information is lacking.”
So how does breastfeeding relate to this?  Breastfeeding is environmentally sustainable, zero waste and changes according to the needs of your child.  I’d like to link to this Rappler article where Velvet explains the tenets that Arugaan follows in the running of their creche —
We buy food in season because we believe that Mother Nature provides us with fruits and vegetables when our bodies most need them: mangoes in April, avocadoes in June, and lemons/calamondin in September. We also ensure to follow the teachings of our forefathers and ancestors who, throughout the centuries, developed natural and balanced diets to fulfill our nutritional needs.  

nursing E with the tree of life behind me

The MDG goal on environmental sustainability focuses on the lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation, with the target of reducing the population without access by half.  Breastfeeding ties to this because breastfeeding CAN improve sanitation by reducing waste products.  Let me end with this quote from the Eco Waste Coalition:

Breastfeeding is a perfect example of Zero Waste, generating no trash and pollution and contributing to the MDG on environmental sustainability. Unlike the production of so-called artificial formula milk, breastfeeding entails no forest clearing, no mining, no tree cutting, no fossil fuel burning, no wasting. It’s the most basic remedy to the energy, climate and garbage maladies afflicting our society.

Original here
Want to learn more about breastfeeding and the millennium development goals?  Here are many thoughts and reasons why we should all advocate for mothers to breastfeed for the first 1,000 days of life #BF1st1000days 

Mec insists to do the Math and breastfeed!
Ams, The Passionate Mom says Breastfeed for a Better Future
Pat says breastfeeding saves money and the planet
Cheryl, the Multi-Tasking Mama, tackles maternal health as addressed by breastfeeding
2011 CNN Hero Ibu Robin highlights gentle births and breasfeeding, even in disaster zones
Felyn stresses that Healthy Moms = Healthy Babies
Monique reminds us that there are second chances in breastfeeding
Normi relates how breastfeeding gave her strength and purpose
Nats thanks Dr. Jack Newman for showing how breastfeeding can be a win-win situation
Em believes breastfeeding is a solution to societal problems
Marge shares what breastfeeding has taught them
Kaity was empowered financially and as a woman through breastfeeding
Madel relates her breastfeeding saga
Jen of Next9 reminds us to do our research and share what we know
Celerhina Aubrey vows to work on one mother at a time
Grace wants to put an end to stories of toasted coffee and similar stuff over breast milk
Diane shares how she prevailed when things did not go according to plan
Hazel appreciates mommy support groups
Roan combines two passions, breastfeeding and architecture
Queenie tackled breastfeeding as the best choice for the environment as well and breastfeeding myths and poverty
Rosa shares how the picture she thought of was realized
Sally believes breastfeeding benefits mankind and our planet Earth
Floraine reminds us that breastfeeding helps combat diseases
Crislyn was happy to realize that she improved her own health by breastfeeding
Armi reminds us how breastfeeding during emergencies is crucial
Arvi tells us how breastfeeding made her look at her body a different way
Clarice elaborates on how breastfeeding saves lives and the planet
Giane reminds us that women empowerment can begin by seeing breastfeeding as more than a feeding issue
Liza thought she was only breastfeeding for her child

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