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    The month of August is celebrated as National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in the Philippines, based on a bill authored by Senator Pia Cayetano. The bill’s objective is “to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in the Philippines as the normal, natural and preferred method of feeding infants and young children.”

    Join in the celebration of Breastfeeding Awareness Month by showing your support and encouraging others to do so, too:

    1.  Attend a breastfeeding class.
    Breastfeeding classes are a huge help because they offer information, encouragement and inspiration to start — and continue — breastfeeding. It would be best, though, to make sure that the classes are given by experts who have the knowledge and experience to support you in your breastfeeding journey.

    One such class is the First Time Parents Workshop on Breastfeeding and Newborn Care on August 22, 2015, from 1-5pm. The workshop will be given by Dr. Jamie Cumpas, a pediatrician, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), facilitator in EduChild Philippines, and mom of three who also breastfed her kids.  

    The venue for the workshop is The Parenting Emporium, located at No. 29, 1st Street, New Manila, Quezon City. For more details, and to register, visit ManilaWorkshops.com.

    2. Breastfeed boldly.
    Although there is a growing awareness about breastfeeding here in the Philippines, many breastfeeding mothers still feel the need to “hide” and feel shy about nursing their babies, especially in public. This should not be the case.

    This is the reason why one Filipina mother, Kate Delos Reyes, chose to create “Go Breastfeed,” an online community that “promotes breastfeeding through education and empowerment.”

    Through Go Breastfeed, Kate hopes to “bring together pro-breastfeeding people and groups — parents, caregivers, lactation consultants, counselors, health organizations — to an online platform so that the joys and challenges of breastfeeding may be shared to a wider audience.”

    One of the components of Go Breastfeed is #GoBreastfeedBoldly — “a movement that encourages mothers to breastfeed boldly with pride and without shame.”

    #GoBreastfeedBoldly advocates “breastfeeding in public and body acceptance, which go hand in hand.”

    Kate eloquently shares the reason for this movement in an article on her website, GoBreastfeed.com: “Women who feel confident about their bodies are likely to breastfeed in public without hesitation. Women who see their bodies as vessels of nutrition as opposed to sex objects are likely the same women who offer their breasts to their babies at the first sign of hunger or discomfort.”

    So, if you’re a mom who breastfeeds boldly, you are encouraged to join the #GoBreastfeedBoldly movement on social media. Just post your photo breastfeeding in public, tag Go Breastfeed on Facebook, Instagram (@gobreastfeed) or Twitter (@GoBreastfeed), and use the hashtag #GoBreastfeedBoldly.

    3. Donate your breastmilk to "Alay na Gatas Ko, Sagip sa Buhay Mo"
    Details for the Milk-Letting Activity of Quezon City Human Milk Bank (QCHMB) of Quezon City General Hospital and Medical Center (QCGHMC) are as follows:
    When: August 5, 2015 / 8a.m.-12noon
    Where: 2nd Floor of QCGHMC and the 7 lying-in centers which are also known as milk depots, namely San Francisco Lying-In, Batasan Hills Lying-In, Betty Go Belmonte Lying-In, Murphy Lying-In, Kamuning Lying-In, ArseniaMaximo Lying-In, Sta Lucia Lying-In

    For more details, contact Dr. Catherine Co-Reportoso, Head of the QCHMB, or call (02) 4261315 local 1032 or 0922-8277494. This activity is in partnership with the Quezon City Health Department, and is supported by the Department of Health, QC Mayor Herbert Bautista, QC Vice-Mayor Josefina Belmonte and councilors of different sectors.

    4. Attend a lecture and donate milk to the Chinese General Hospital: Gatas Mo, Buhay Ko
    When: August 19, 2015 / 9a.m.-12noon
    Where: Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center 6th Floor Auditorium

    For more information, contact Amalia Carnian at 0921-2600995 or (02) 7114141 local 355.

    5. Join breastfeeding support groups.
    Every mother who breastfeeds, or has ever breastfed, knows the importance of having a strong support group. While the Internet has helped many breastfeeding mothers find the support they need, sometimes it helps to meet with fellow nursing moms face to face.

    Examples of breastfeeding support groups in the Philippines are La Leche League of the Philippines, and Seeing Doubles (for moms with multiples). Online support groups include Best About Baby for Younglings (B.A.B.Y.), Breastfeeding Philippines – Mothers, and Breastfeeding Pinays.

    6. Donate to a milk sharing hub.
    Even before its official launch last July 2015, The Parenting Emporium (TPE), a retail social enterprise, has been involved in milk sharing for quite some time now, as one of the advocacies under TPE founders Beng Feliciano and Maricel Cua’s former business. As breastfeeding advocates and peer counselors, they saw the need to help provide expert-backed information to breastfeeding moms and breastmilk to needy babies.

    Through the community that Beng and Maricel had built, which was composed of mostly breastfeeding moms, this need was soon answered — the generosity of the moms overflowed through their breastmilk donations, which were (and still are) carefully screened and pasteurized to ensure that the milk is safe and clean, especially for sick babies.

    Under the TPE Milk Sharing Hub, pasteurized breastmilk is dispensed to babies whose mothers may be unable to provide them with sufficient breastmilk for one reason or another. In addition, the mothers are given breastfeeding counseling and support so that they will eventually be able to provide for their own babies’ breastmilk needs.

    Previous beneficiaries of the TPE Milk Sharing Hub include victims of Typhoon Ondoy and Supertyphoon Yolanda, different hospitals and individual families who required breastmilk donations.

    If you are interested in donating your excess milk to the TPE Milk Sharing Hub, you may contact Maricel Cua at 0917-6247246, or Katrina Mitra at (02) 7253723 / (02) 7386272. You can also send an email to theparentingemporium@gmail.com. *Important reminders: Kindly prepare a Hepatitis-HIV profile that is less than six months old. If you have none, testing will be provided for free. Donated breastmilk should be less than three months old from date of expression.

    7. Read a breastfeeding book to your child.
    Did you know that there is a children’s book about breastfeeding available locally, written by Filipino breastfeeding moms? Snuggle Wuggle Wee, a book by Buding Aquino-Dee, Justine Tajonera, and Jenny Ong, tells the story of Clara, a little girl who is excitedly anticipating the arrival of her baby brother.

    The book’s beautiful illustrations highlight the even more beautiful storyline, which is focused on breastfeeding and how it creates a strong bond not only between mother and baby, but also within the whole family. This August, snuggle up with your child(ren) and bond over breastfeeding by reading this unique book aloud to them.  

    Available online for P250.00 at TheLearningBasket.com and MayumiandMe.com. You can also place orders by texting Buding at 0917-8252229.

    8. Visit a breastfeeding photo exhibit
    Details for United in Support of Breastfeeding are as follows:
    What: Launch of Breastfeeding Photo Exhibit (There will also be a breastfeeding class)
    When: August 15-16, 2015
    Where: To be announced
    Please check the L.A.T.C.H. Facebook page for updates on the venue, and other details of the event.

    9. Prepare yourself for the breastfeeding experience with a lecture
    Details for Mom 101 are as follows:
    What: Includes lecture on how to take care of the working mother; a fathers’ class on the role of dads in pregnancy and breastfeeding; and Breastfeeding 101: A Lay Forum Preparing Mothers for the Breastfeeding Experience
    When: August 8, 2015, 8a.m.-12noon
    Where: Henry Sy Sr. Auditorium, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Global City, Taguig
    This event is open to the public; entrance is free. For more details, please call the department secretary of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of St. Luke’s Global City at (02) 789-7700 local 7755.

    10. Attend a cooking class by breastfeeding advocates
    Details for Family Food Fun (Davao) are as follows:
    What: Cooking classes by breastfeeding advocates Ines Fernandez and Rich Talle of Arugaan
    When: August 29, 2015, 1.30-5.00p.m.
    Where: Northcrest Clubhouse, Cabantian, Davao City
    Check the L.A.T.C.H. Davao Facebook page for updates on this event.

    11. Learn more through a film showing
    Details for the “Milk” Film Showing are as follows:
    What: “Milk” is a film that brings a “universal perspective on the politics, commercialization and controversies surrounding birth and infant feeding over the canvas of stunningly beautiful visuals and poignant voices from around the globe.”
    When: August 30, 2015, 10:30 a.m.
    Where: Robinsons Galleria Cinema 2

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