Last Saturday, I was finally able to visit Maricel and Beng’s newly-opened Medela House for the first time. I originally intended to attend Abbie’s Breastfeeding 303 class but I didn’t count on waiting for Naima. Maricel and Beng are the Medela Moms who distribute Medela breast pumps in the Philippines. Their showroom/stockroom used to be in Beng’s house. However, they’ve seen it fit to rent a space aptly called “The Medela House”.
The house was actually a bungalow which they are slowly converting into a showroom. I was pretty impressed with their plans. Maricel gave me a short tour and briefly explained their plans for the house. Since the house had several rooms, they reserved a couple of rooms for their children to stay-in (ala daycare at work).
The living room was converted into a lecture/session area. It was unfurnished, with soft rubber mats on the floor. It also serves as a “holding place” for the babies and toddlers while their mommies are listening to the lectures or participating in the seminar. During the Breastfeeding 303 class, Judy of Babysmiths brought some of their Wonderworld wooden toys which the babies and toddlers had fun playing with. Naima has a rocking caterpillar I got from Judy and she enjoys playing with it.
One room near the main door currently serves as their office, with the computers and boring stuff. The room beside it has been designed to be their showroom. This is where they display their pumps and other accessories. This also serves as their consultation room, where they help moms fit the shields and horns or assist moms in latching their babies.
What interested me most was the back room, which Maricel said will serve as their library and rental/pumping station. Maricel said that Medela will generously supply the books for their library. This is very good news since there are not a lot of good books in bookstores on breastfeeding. However, the books cannot be taken out of the premises.
The Medela Moms are also looking towards operating the first *real* pump-rental station in the Philippines. Currently, rental pumps are just not available in the Philippines. Four major Metro Manila hospitals allow you to rent their pumps but only the Medical City has hospital-grade pumps! The rest of the hospitals rent out either an Avent electric or Medela double electric which I’m sure are NOT hospital grade/multi-user pumps. Filipino moms are not aware of the differneces of hospital-grade multi-user pumps and regular pumps.
During last week’s lactation program presentation, we suggested the purchase of hospital grade multi-user pumps for the employees. The institution can then provide each pumping mom with 1 set of horns (to be taken from their medical allowance) and moms will just purchase extra sets of horns if they wish. However, one of the representatives objected and said that it was unsanitary to share pumps! I explained that it was going to be a hospital-grade multi-user pump but she still thought it was cleaner for each mom to bring her own pump. I thought it would be more practical (and cheaper for the moms) if the institution provides a hospital-grade pump in the lactation rooms since new moms need not purchase new pumps but would just need to get horns. However, I guess more *information* about hospital-grade pumps need to be shared in our institution.
Maricel shared though, that their hospital-grade pumps (Symphony) can only be used within the Medela House and cannot be rented out. I told her that it would be quite impractical with traffic and all. However, she said that it would be impossible for them to rent out the expensive Symphony pumps without a huge deposit. Requiring a huge deposit would be contrary to their objective of providing the hospital grade pumps, which is to give moms who can’t afford the Pump-in-Styles access to a good pump.
I shared that when I used to rent my Ameda Elite abroad, the rental station required me to swipe my credit card and informed me that if I fail to return the pump, they will automatically charge the succeeding months’ rental until I return the rental. The Medela Moms currently do not accept credit card purchases but this is something that they may want to look into once they start their rental station.
The Medela House, #29 1st St., New Manila, Quezon City (725-3723, 738-6272, 0917-5614366). Coming from Greenhills, it’s before you reach Aurora Blvd. From E. Rodriguez, go past Auora Blvd. It’s beside 8 Gilmore Place.