I really cannot think of any good title for this post. I just had to post this anyway: Aria is FULLY WEANED from the breast. From MY breasts, which nourished her with my own milk from Day One.
No more breastfeeding, no more asking for “dede” to be able to sleep. Not even for comfort. Not even for…nothing. Hugs work. Blankets work. Dolls work. That’s enough for her.
I actually thought she’d wean after that two-week Europe trip I had in the middle of last year. Or even that overnight trip to Balesin last month. But she didn’t.
It has been close to two weeks of no nursing at all, no asking for “dede” to sleep. After our nightly prayers, she would just wrap herself in a blanket to sleep, then mightily proclaim that she will sleep by herself because she is a big girl.
Let’s count this exactly: Five years, five and a half months. From someone who had doubts in the early days, who was almost persuaded to give formula (to which I never gave in), whose original goal was just six months, it was more than what I prayed for.
Breastfeeding is an investment. Aside from not buying formula and bottles anymore, we had lesser hospital trips, and reduced risk for certain types of cancers. Not only my daughter, but for me as well. Plus the countless other positive benefits for the whole family. Even for Daddy, who always had a good sound sleep in the night.
What happens next? Baby number two so I could breastfeed again? That’ll come, Sa Tamang Panahon.
That’s why I am ever so happy to see MORE breastfeeding families nowadays, and actively promoting it through the organisations that I am part of — LATCH and Our Lady of La Leche Movement.
It is true, a mom could be emotional when weaning time comes. For some, they choose to force wean, for some reasons. But I let this one come naturally, on her own. And all I feel is bittersweet.
I am praying and will continue to support all families who choose breastfeeding. Trust me, it’s the BEST and ONLY choice you’d want for your children.
Flash mobs are always an instant hit with people. And this is one mob our family would definitely support.
Two years ago, my family participated in the first ever breastfeeding mob organised by Breastfeeding Pinays, an online support group of families who truly support breastfeeding. The mob was supposed to be held outdoors, at the Rajah Sulayman Park. Unfortunately, that day was a heavy downpour of rain. Aristocrat Restaurant came into the rescue, and gave a venue to a roomful of participants, mostly with babies to toddlers. We brought our own toddler, about to turn three years old at this time, who is still breastfeeding.
My husband wrote our experience during that very first breastfeeding mob here.
My daughter is turning five in August. She still breastfeeds, occasionally. I even thought she’d wean already as I was out of the country for two weeks last June. But then, she told me that she missed me, therefore she missed breastfeeding, too. There, she’s back at it, most often during sleepytime.
I never regretted any second spent on breastfeeding her, mainly because of the following reasons:
Economical. I don’t even want to compute IF we chose to give formula at any point in her five years. Sure, I’d give some fresh milk every now and then (or soy or hemp or whatever milk that’s NOT in powder form) but for the past year I rarely give her any milk. She eats more, and she eats everything, hardly gets sick, and is very healthy. Speaking of healthy…
Healthy baby, healthy mommy. Breastmilk gives both medical and health benefits for mom and baby. Baby gets her first immunization on the onset of breastfeeding as a newborn because of that very healthy colostrum. Mother, meanwhile, gets protection against certain cancer types, and exchanges immunity with baby. I’ve proven this because we rarely get sick, or we recover from sickness faster. The longer baby breastfeeds, the longer benefits for both mother and child. And I’d say, the father, too, who gets to sleep longer and therefore healthier.
Creating a healthier, wiser future generation. This perhaps is the most important to me right now. That’s why more work has to be done by breastfeeding advocates and support groups to be able to accomplish this. And this is one of my reasons why I trained to be a breastfeeding counselor–to pay forward the past five years of investing my time in breastfeeding my daughter (and the lifetime of benefits this will surely bring to our family).
Handa ka na ba humakab? (Are you ready to latch?)
This year, the global Big Latch On, locally known as Hakab Na!, will happen on August 1. The even aims to do a simultaneous latching all over the world, to emphasize that a world who breastfeeds is a healthier and stronger world. Here in our country, multiple locations are holding similar events, I will be attending the one in Pasig City.
Whether you breastfeed or not, we call on your support. Visit www.hakabna.com to join.
These are just four of the most common things I’ve heard (and said so myself) about breastfeeding.
Unfortunately, these phrases can make or break breastfeeding success.
One mom had a vision: to educate and empower mothers to breastfeed in the most accessible platform nowadays: the internet. And why would she not, with her experience as former country editor of Yahoo Philippines, spreading the news online is easier, and can reach a wide audience.
“I believe that no parent who completely understands the power of breastfeeding would choose any other way to nourish a child,” says Kate Delos Reyes, creator of Go Breastfeed.
Kate is a trained breastfeeding counselor and my batchmate at LATCH. Her experience as a breastfeeding mom of a two year old and her online expertise is much utilized in Go Breastfeed.
“We want Go Breastfeed to be a platform for breastfeeding advocates to reach more parents online,” she said, noting that the website aims to amplify the efforts of these groups, not to duplicate them.
The website is a one-stop site for breastfeeding concerns. New parents can immediately visit the CRASH COURSE tab for their first breastfeeding course. Read and exchange stories in their Breastfeeding Diaries and Forum sections.
Kate aims to make classes accessible by producing online training materials to make classes cost-free. The website is a good start to gather the attention of most people to support and protect breastfeeding.
To support Go Breastfeed, especially their efforts at making breastfeeding classes available to everyone, please click here. (http://igg.me/at/gobreastfeed).
Nuestra Señora de La Leche Y Buen Parto, or more popularly known as Our Lady of La Leche, is the patroness of mothers and mothers-to-be. Her image is that of the Blessed Mother breastfeeding her Baby Jesus. All mothers, particularly pregnant, nursing and trying to conceive, come to Our Lady of La Leche with their petitions.
The Our Lady of La Leche Movement aims to make the devotion to Our Lady known throughout the Philippines, giving spiritual nourishment to the Filipino family.
Devotion to Our Lady of La Leche steadily grows in the country through the movement that started in 2000. The following churches are fortunate to have an image of Our Lady enshrined in them:
1. Basilica of the Immaculate Conception -Intramuros, Manila
2. Our Lady of Fatima Parish – Mariveles St., Mandaluyong City
3. Espiritu Santo church – Rizal Ave., Sta. Cruz, Manila
4. St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral – Camp Crame, Quezon City
5. Sanctuario de San Jose – Greenhills East Subd., San Juan City
6. Church of Sta. Clara – P. Burgos St., Pasay City
7. Our Lady of Loreto Parish – Bustillos, Sampaloc, Manila
8. San Roque Parish – San Roque St., Mandaluyong City
9. Holy Family Parish –Faraday, Makati City
10. Shrine of Jesus, Truth, Way & Life – Reclamation Area, Pasay City
11. St. John Mary Vianney Parish – Barangay Cembo, Makati City
12. St.John the Baptist – Pinaglabanan, San Juan City
13. San Carlos Seminary chapel – Edsa, Guadalupe, Makati City
14. San Roque Cathedral – A. Mabini, Caloocan City
15. St. Francis of Assisi church – Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong city
16. Sto. Nino de Violago chapel – E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City
17. Parish of the Risen Christ – Bulihan, Silang, Cavite
18. Holy Trinity Parish – Calabash Rd., Sampaloc, Manila
19. Our Lady of Fatima Parish – Maricaban, Pasay City
20. Capuchin Retreat Center – Lipa, Batangas
21. San Rafael Arcangel Parish – Calaca, Batangas
22. Harrison Plaza chapel – M. Adriatico, Malate, Manila
23. San Agustin Parish – Palatiw, Pasig City
24. Medical City Hospital Chapel – Ortega, Pasig
Her Feast Day is celebrated on October 11, and in line with this, the OLLL Movement will celebrate the Feast Day with a special Mass at the Harrison Plaza Chapel on October 11 at 5:00 PM. Pregnant and nursing mothers with their babies and devotees are invited to join this special Mass. Those who would like to have a special part during the Mass, preferably pregnant and nursing mothers, may get in touch with the OLLL Movement by sending a Facebook Message at www.facebook.com/lalecheph.
The Our Lady of La Leche Movement prays for all pregnant and nursing moms for a safe delivery and plentiful milk that will nourish our children–our country’s future.
“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.”
In the years I have been breastfeeding our daughter, I have gotten mixed reactions. Some are happy for our family, others give me that dagger look, as if asking me why.
And in these past four years, I have always wondered about how a nation that breastfeeds can change the course of things. For a low-income family, breastfeeding should be automatically done. But it isn’t so, in this generation where milk companies let money and marketing do their talking.
Breastfeeding, for me, is beyond personal concerns. I know it would not only benefit my daughter and my family, but the whole society. We live in a condo, but the community outside the condo have a number of low-income earners. I usually pass by the small streets and see a lot of bottlefed babies. I even saw up close their bottles, and find out how diluted their milk is with its translucent color. I would not even wonder if they use clean water or not.
Breastfeeding helps eradicate poverty. If they only know that breastmilk is the most sterile, most accessible and cheapest milk there is (you won’t even spend a penny to breastfeed!). Thus, families will not be compelled to buy those cans of milk anymore.
You’re probably thinking now, but I can afford to buy, anyway, so why should I even breastfeed? That’s exactly where the personal reasons come in, like health benefits for mother and child, among many others.
I came to a point wherein I almost gave up breastfeeding. But I did not. I credit my husband for not only being there for me financially, but also physically and emotionally, when I doubted my ability to breastfeed an awful lot of times. He would do the research for me, giving in my simple requests or handing a drink over when my hands get suddenly full because of the newborn. He knew breastfeeding was best. He did not force me to do it. He’d even say that I can give up and top up with formula, but everytime he says this, I am more challenged to do better in breastfeeding.
It has been four years. No stopping yet. And instead of buying formula milk, we use the money to buy and cook delicious and nutritious food on our table.
In a similar light, breastfeeding also saves the environment. No formula milk preparation means zero use of cans, bottles, water and soap, electricity, and plastic. When we breastfeed, there is less carbon footprint that may harm the environment. We are ensuring and giving a safe environment to our future generation.
Likewise, breastmilk is the first zero waste food for baby. Organic, natural, and nutritious. My daughter, when she started talking at around a year old, tells me that my breastmilk tasted like strawberry milk. That’s funny, because at that time, she never tasted strawberry milk, not even on tetra packs.
Some would wonder, am I against formula feeding? Well, no. But I am against how these milk products are marketed. Those commercials, freebies, and free samples in the grocery surely would undermine breastfeeding. No wonder, they use a different tagline in the commercials nowadays. Remember when they say, Breastfeeding is best for babies up to two years? Instead, they now use, The use of milk supplements must only be upon the advice of a health professional. How cleverly done! Really taking away the importance of breastfeeding.
What should be done, then, to avoid these things:
1. Report Milk Code violations. These companies will continue to innovate their products, give you freebies and samples, because tell me, what can you still innovate about breastmilk and breastfeeding?
2. Educate one family at a time. Share a related breastfeeding link via your social media sites. Tell your mom, mother-in-law, husband, and other people that breastfeeding is not only beautiful and beneficial, but also contribute to a better society. This is why I trained as peer counselor for LATCH in order to reach out to more families who need breastfeeding support, and for myself to be better educated. Being and working with the amazing moms of LATCH especially these past months fueled my passion to advocate breastfeeding more.
3. If you’re the mom, Just Do It! And pray to Our Lady of La Leche to intercede. Having a child is a gift, much so, breastfeeding them.
The abovementioned points are part of the eight Millennium Development Goals set by the UN in 1990. The goals are set to be attained by 2015, which is next year. It may be that near, but happily, these goals are being achieved one day at a time.
Here are many thoughts and reasons why we should all advocate for mothers to breastfeed for the first 1,000 days of life #BF1st1000days
Through our breastfeeding journey, I was blessed to meet new people and learned a lot of things. One of which is the devotion to Our Lady of La Leche (Nuestra Senora de la leche y buen parto-Our Lady of Milk and good birth), patroness of mothers and mothers-to-be.
And an even greater blessing is that an image of Our Lady is enshrined in our church, Shrine of Jesus. The image is located on the right side of the church, below the projector. If I remember it right, this was enshrined even before I got married, perhaps back in 2007. Who would have thought that this image will be instrumental in my life as a breastfeeding mother and servant of the church.
There is another image in the chapel in our nearby mall, Harrison Plaza, and that’s where the yearly Masses in Her honor is celebrated every October 11, her Feast Day. Through a friend and fellow LATCHer Bianca Gutierrez, there I learned about the Our Lady of La Leche Movement, which propagates the devotion to Our Lady. The movement is led by Remedios Ticson-Gonzales (read a story about how it started here).
As I mentioned in a previous post, there will be a Thanksgiving Mass in honor of Our Lady of La Leche on August 30 at Our Lady of Fatima Parish Church in Mandaluyong, as Breastfeeding Awareness Month comes to a close. Here are the activities:
August 17-31: Our Lady of La Leche exhibit, showcasing the various beautiful images of Mother Mary nursing her Baby Jesus
August 30, Saturday at 8:00 AM, there will be a Thanksgiving Mass, with a special blessing for mothers who are pregnant, nursing and trying to conceive. This will be immediately followed by a talk on Breastfeeding Success, and a Medical Mission for pregnant mothers and babies 2 years old and below. The first 150 patients will be seen.
On August 12 at 9:00 AM, tune in to “Pinagpalang Bayan ng Diyos” on DWAD 1098am. Bianca Gutierrez and Em Alcantara will be discussing how Our Lady of La Leche has helped them through their breasfeeding journey.
The church is Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Mariveles Street, Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City. Here’s a map to the church. It’s near MRT Shaw. Click on the photo to go to Google Maps.
For more information, please visit http://ourladyoflaleche.tripod.com/mdevote.htm, or send a message through www.facebook.com/lalecheph
It all started with sharing her homemade lactation cookies to someone who is a total stranger, but was in dire need of foods which will help increase her milk supply.
Dea Macachor-Mesa is the mom behind Mom’s Basket, her small home business which she started last year. Visit her Instagram feed and read actual testimonials of moms who have benefited through her yummy, healthy, lactation cookies.
I got her to answer some questions (thanks, Dea!) for us to know how she started and what does she plan to do with her blooming business.
Touringkitty (TK): Is Mom’s Basket your fulltime business? Any other ventures/jobs?
Mom’s Basket (MB): This is just my sideline. I’ve been working full time as a writer for a US-based website for almost three years now.
TK: Why the name Mom’s Basket? How did you start it?
MB: A few days after I gave birth, my mom came home from the wet market carrying a bag full of veggies and meat; she planned on making a lot of soup to help increase my milk supply. I remember the feeling of reassurance I got from seeing her come home with all those ingredients for me. That day came back to me while I was thinking of a name for the cookies. Okay, she actually used a green SM ecobag, but Mom’s Ecobag didn’t have the right ring to it, so Mom’s Basket it is.
I started baking my own lactation cookies when my daughter turned 6 months old. My milk supply dwindled as soon as she started eating solids. I always made extra for my sisters-in-law and a couple of close friends. One day, a mommy posted in the Breastfeeding Pinays Facebook group desperately asking for help on how to increase her supply for her premature baby who was still in the NICU. Since I had a lot of extra cookies that day, I offered to send her some. That mommy posted about the cookies on the BFP forum, and that day I got a lot of private messages asking me if I took orders. I replied to every one to say that I don’t and gave them the recipe instead. At that time, I could barely meet my work requirements because I was too busy with the baby. However, I thought of nothing else that night. I thought to myself, “Why not?” The very next day, I set up a Facebook page, did costing on the cookies, and messaged all of those moms back to say I was ready to take orders. They were some of my first customers. That was October last year.
TK: What products do you currently offer?
MB: I have classic oatmeal (P299), chocolate (P339) and chocolate chip (P339), and red velvet (P339). They come in packs of 28 pieces that are good for 1 week. I ship nationwide.
(My personal favorites are red velvet and chocolate chip!)
TK: Plan for the product for 2014? What should we watch out for?
MB: As far as my offerings go, these are probably it. My husband keeps telling me to expand to other baked products, but limiting my product list to just cookies means my production is more efficient, there’s less cleanup to do afterwards, and there are fewer ingredients to stock. I will probably come up with limited edition flavors every now and then because I like to experiment with new cookie recipes. Personally, I would like to be trained as a lactation peer counselor within the year. Majority of my customers are mothers like myself who have issues with their milk supply, and I would love to get the training to be able to support them and help them out as best as I can. I’m in the process of registering my business.
TK: How do you juggle motherhood and the business?
MB: I get by with a LOT of help from my family. My husband, my mother, and my siblings take turn watching over my baby girl so I can do some writing and bake cookies. I have no yaya, I don’t want to get one, so I have to rely on my family to help me.
Also, I have to prioritize, and at the end of the day, my baby is my #1 priority. Many times, I’ve had to postpone deliveries because I’m not able to bake or buy ingredients. It helps that my customers are all mothers and are very understanding. But I make it a rule to always, ALWAYS be honest with my customers if ever I won’t be able to deliver.
TK: Top three tips for breastfeeding working moms?
MB: 1. Don’t give up. Breastfeeding and working are not mutually exclusive. You can accomplish both if you’re determined to do it.
2. Get all the help you can get. Involve your husband in your breastfeeding journey so he can support you. Connect with other breastfeeding mothers so you can also get support from them.