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.
As a LATCH peer counselor, I have to be honest that I haven’t been doing as much one-on-one counseling as I would like. Counseling takes time and because I am a working mom, I have decided to limit my counseling activities to emails or phones or SMS as I can be with my kids while counseling others.
Becoming a good counselor takes practice and experience though and this is something that I am sorely lacking in. Hence, one of the projects I wanted was to have actual breastfeeding support counseling sessions.
Velvet Roxas started this activity through the Friday Meet-ups at the Arugaan Creche. I was able to attend 1 session. However, since it was a Friday, there were a lot of working families who could not attend. I found the Arugaan session to be very practical for new moms and an excellent learning experience for counselors like me. I wanted to replicate it and fortunately, Velvet agreed.
I also knew that there were several LATCH counselors who wanted to have more practical counseling experience so I invited fellow LATCHers to join. We had the activity on a Saturday afternoon. Since this was the first time that we were having this activity, we were unsure of how many moms to invite. Initially, there was supposed to be just 1 session. However, there were about 30 moms who signed up so we decided to split it into 2 sessions.
|packed back to back sessions|
On the date itself, there were some moms who ended up not attending and this was such a pity because they took slots which could have been used by other mom-baby dyads. There were also mom-baby dyads who attended even if they had no breastfeeding issues or if their issues were for older babies e.g. complementary feeding.
What I loved about the breastfeeding support sessions was the openness of the moms to learn. We were fortunate to have experienced wet nurse – Tintin Gustilo with us who taught the moms how to hand express their milk and how to cup feed the babies.
There were a variety of moms who participated and we even had one twin mom who had preemie babies. There were moms who were mixed feeding, exclusively breastfeeding and pure formula-feeding but wanted to go back to breast. The moms were also taught the laid back position and for the direct feeding moms, the latch and position was checked and corrected, if necessary.
It is tiring but very rewarding to organize activities such as this. I felt though, that it was a very enriching learning experience not just for the moms but for the counselors as well. We will be organizing another similar session on 30 November 2013. However, again, it will be limited to moms with babies ages 4 months and below. We will not be talking about solids, etc. so if that is your concern, please do not sign up.
Also, this activity is specifically organized for moms with breastfeeding issues. So if you are breastfeeding well, and just want to discuss or share your experiences, this is not the venue for you. If you want to read more about the event, click here.
If you do sign up, please make sure to put in an email address which you regularly check and the correct mobile number. Since there are limited slots, we have decided to be more stringent and cancel the registration of those who provide incomplete information or do not respond to emails. This will ensure that moms who really need the counseling/support are able to attend.
The announcement for the November Support Group session will be made on the LATCH Facebook Page so make sure you’ve subscribed to it.
Did you attend the October Breastfeeding Support Sessions? Share your experience in the comments!
This merits a special post. I am writing this post to support Kalusugan ng Mag-ina, Inc. and help them obtain funding from Grand Challenges Canada to establish a low cost lactation clinic in the Philippines. One of the criteria is vote-garnering using a 2-minute video.
The video voting period is from 12 September 2013 until 15 November 2013. We need your help! Here is the write-up of Dr. Lei Alfonso, project proponent:
We need your help to be heard Breastfeeding saves lives. While it is free, our mothers and babies need a supportive environment to receive its full benefit. Our proposed solution – A LACTATION CLINIC that will provide a low-cost, evidence-based, and community-based breastfeeding support for mothers. Increasing the rate of exclusive breastfeeding impacts newborn and infant survival.
You can vote by visiting this link:
short link – http://bit.ly/votebreastfeeding
Then click “LIKE”.
I cannot overemphasize the need for trained counselors who are easily accessible by mothers. With this project, I hope that dream will become a reality. I have seen Dr. Lei in action and I know that she has the capacity and capability to make this happen.
Will you help? Please vote, share the link and spread the word!
Edit: Please note “LIKE” is not enough. There must be public interaction so please register and comment. Thank you!!
Just found out about the World Breastfeeding Week 2013 theme and I am very very excited!! Theme for this year is “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers'”.
- To draw attention to the importance of Peer Support in helping mothers to establish and sustain breastfeeding.
- To inform people of the highly effective benefits of Peer Counselling, and unite efforts to expand peer counselling programmes.
- To encourage breastfeeding supporters, regardless of their educational background, to step forward and be trained to support mothers and babies.
- To identify local community support contacts for breastfeeding mothers, that women can go to for help and support after giving birth.
- To call on governments and maternity facilities globally to actively implement the Ten Steps, in particular Step 10, to improve duration and rates of exclusive breastfeeding.
Aren’t these objectives excellent? I cannot overemphasize the importance of having the right support to achieve breastfeeding success. I previously blogged about starting your own mommy group
You do not have to be an expert to organize a mommy group. To have an effective mommy group, I believe that the group has to be organized by local moms who are passionate to share their own lifestyle. Once you have formed your group, you can ask experts to speak about specific topics of interest.
|Nanay Rich demonstrates how to massage
*Photo from Nanay Rich*
But beyond that, you can take it a step further and get trained as a peer counselor. Arugaan has trained counselors in several cities and continues to train moms who are interested to be peer counselors. Lately, they have trained counselors in Davao City and Metro Manila. I previously wrote about how to become a breastfeeding peer counselor and you can read that here.
|Tintin gets ready to teach hand expression
*Photo from Nanay Rich*
Velvet and I are hoping to organize moms for a peer counselor training in Cebu. Velvet and Stan are from Cebu and Cebu is sadly lacking in breastfeeding support. What makes a peer counselor different from other counselors is that peer counselors (at least in the Philippines) provide free breastfeeding support and are usually moms who have breastfeeding experience.
|Velvet explains positioning and latching
*Photo from Nanay Rich*
Peer counselors are the “first line of defense” – helping moms overcome initial breastfeeding struggles. Of course, as emphasized in the LATCH training, peer counselors should also know how to YIELD. There ARE certain breastfeeding issues that must be referred to either a more experienced counselor or an IBCLC. However, given the numerous moms who have been experiencing initial breastfeeding issues (which I attribute to the aggressive marketing strategies of milk companies leading to an overall unsupportive breastfeeding community), there is a need to train more counselors so that more moms can be helped and encourage to breastfeed.
Looking forward to more peer counselor trainings this year!
Pamahiin No. 1: Pregnant women should avoid slippery foods (e.g. okra) because these would cause the uterus to slip.
Dr. Calibo: “No basis for this. Vegetables are vital sources of fiber and other nutrients. The uterus is safe inside the abdominal cavity.”
Pamahiin No. 2: A mother should not breastfeed her child if she has been working hard or has been exposed to the sun because her milk would then be too “hot,” turn salty and sour, and possibly cause illness to the child.
Dr. Calibo: “Not true. Sour foods will not cause the breastmilk to curdle. Citrus fruits and some tamarind-based or sour-flavored broths provide the needed nutrients to a lactating mother. This type of food will not affect the quality of breastmilk.”Pamahiin No. 4: Mothers should not breastfeed when sad, upset or angry because such emotions affect the quality of the milk.
Dr. Calibo: “Painful stimuli may affect breastmilk production. Hence, postoperative pain should adequately be addressed after the mother has given birth. Restrictive episiotomy is now being recommended as part of the “mother-friendly practices” of the Mother-Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (MBFHI), and also as part of the essential intrapartum care component of the Unang Yakap program.
Pamahiin No. 5: Colostrum is harmful to the child because it is “dirty” or “impure.”
Dr. Calibo: “This is false information and should no longer be propagated. Colostrum is rich in antibodies needed by the newborn in the first week of life. This is mistaken to be “spoiled” because it is golden yellow in color and not white as what the color of milk is associated with.”
Pamahiin No. 6: Unfulfilled pregnancy cravings for particular foods would result in illness to both mother and child.
Dr. Calibo: “I think the local term here is lihi. This does not influence the appearance of the child nor should it have ill effects if unfulfilled.”
In conclusion, Dr. Calibo says that physicians and other health professionals in general are trained to be socio-culturally sensitive to these myths or pamahiin. He stresses that it is the responsibility of the health professional to provide the right information regarding these beliefs.