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Flight Attendant Went Beyond the Call of Duty and Breastfed a Passenger's Baby
PHOTO BY courtesy of Patrisha Organo
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • Every mom knows how important milk is for their baby — some go as far as supplying their baby with breast milk across countries while some moms readily donate their breast milk if they know there is an oversupply. It’s not called liquid gold for nothing, after all.

    So, when Patrisha Organo, 24, a mom of one, a breastfeeding advocate and a flight attendant of Philippine Airlines Express, saw that a fellow mom was in need, she did not hesitate to lend a helping hand. On a now viral Facebook post, Patrisha shared the story of how she was able to help a passenger soothe her crying baby.

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    Even before her scheduled flight started on November 6, 2018, Patrisha knew that it was going to be a special day. In a phone interview with SmartParenting.com.ph, Patrisha shares she was recently promoted as an assistant line administrator; she was now a member of personnel assigned to train and supervise cabin crew. Her work on the local flight she was on that day was being assessed if she could become a cabin crew evaluator. As she wrote on her Facebook post, it was a “big step [for] my flying career.”

    It did become a special day but for a different reason altogether. On her Facebook, Patrisha shares that after the plane’s smooth takeoff, they suddenly heard an infant’s cry. She tells Smart Parenting that she let it pass for a few minutes since the baby was with her mother. But after a few moments, she had felt the need to check on them, especially when the passengers were already starting to stare at the crying infant and were growing uncomfortable by the minute.

    As a flight attendant, Patrisha knew a bit about the needs of crying children on a plane. It was often because their ears hurt from the pressure. But, this mom knew this cry was different: “Iba talaga ang iyak nung bata.” The baby was hungry.

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    Patrisha could empathize with what the passenger was going through because she was a mom to a 9-month-old girl herself. Here she is with her daughter, Jade, and husband, Orson, a pilot.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Patrisha Organo

    Patrisha checked on the mother and her baby, asking if everything was okay. She tried to tell the passenger that it was all right to feed her baby because it might also help relieve the pressure in her ears. “Teary-eyed, she told me that she ran out of formula milk,” Patrisha wrote.

    Patrisha reveals to us the mom had been in the airport since 9 p.m. of November 5, 2018, while the flight left at 5:10 a.m. the next morning. She was flying alone with her baby who was less than a month old.

    Patrisha knew that she had to do something, but there was just one problem: there was no formula milk onboard.

    “I felt a pinch in my heart,” Patrisha wrote. She not only knew how important it was to feed a hungry baby, but she also knew how helpless the mother was feeling.

    Patrisha, who had been breastfeeding for nine months, decided to take action. “There was only one thing I could offer and that [is] my own milk,” Patrisha shares. She asked permission from her superior officer, Sheryl Villaflor, the flight’s line administrator, and the baby’s mom to feed the baby her breast milk.

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    The mother agreed. Sheryl assisted her to go to the galley (the plane’s kitchen) while Patrisha carried her baby. “Pagkabuhat ko nung baby from the mother’s lap, tumahimik siya. She was rooting,” she shares.

    At first, Patrisha thought of pumping her breast milk instead of directly latching, but the baby started crying again when the mother took her back. “Sheryl told me, 'Pat, parang hindi na aabot if you pump.'” And so, she decided to breastfeed.

    Patrisha shares she saw the relief on the mother’s eyes. She continued to feed the baby until she fell asleep. That’s when she escorted both the mother and her baby back to their seat. “Just before I left, the mother sincerely thanked me.”

    For the rest of the flight, which was around an hour and a half, the baby continued to sleep. Before the mother deplaned, she again thanked Patrisha for her help. “Nahihiya siya, but I could feel the sincerity,” she shares.

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    Patrisha ended the post noting the flight indeed became special not only because she became qualified to be an evaluator but because she was able to help a fellow mom in need.

    “Thank you, Lord, for the gift of [a] mother’s milk,” she wrote.

    Her experience also motivated her to continue breastfeeding her 9-month-old daughter, Jade, for a longer time. Since she was mostly on the ground, Patrisha would pump while at work. But when she needs to board the plane, sometimes she would not be able to pump anymore, due to time constraints. (Patrisha clarifies that their airline allows flight attendants to pump while on air). In fact, the longest she’s gone without pumping is for nine hours. But it’s a sacrifice she is willing to make, mainly because she didn’t think she would be breastfeeding her baby for this long.

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    Patrisha shares her husband, Orson, was the one who convinced her to share the story online as it was truly inspiring.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Patrisha Organo
    She shares with Smart Parenting that before she got pregnant, she actually didn’t think of breastfeeding at first.

    “I was unprepared, and I thought of giving up after a few days of breastfeeding,” she says. But thanks to her husband, Orson, who is also a pilot for the same airline, she was inspired to continue breastfeeding. “Lahat ng support, binigay niya sa akin.”

    Unsurprisingly, Patrisha received a lot of love when she shared her story on Facebook. As of this writing, the post has been shared over 8,000 times and has received 29,000 reactions and more than 1,500 comments.

    While Patrisha is grateful for the kind words, she shares that what really moved her to tell her story was because she wanted to inspire other moms to help others in need of breast milk. “And also, to inspire them not to give up on breastfeeding,” she says. “Let’s all support each other.”

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