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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hakab Na 2013 ("Latch On 2013): A Breastfeeding Mob

03 August 2013: first ever Breastfeeding Mob in the Philippines.

This event was with conjunction with breastfeeding moms in Metro Manila, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and even all the way in Singapore! Spearheaded by the Facebook Group called Breastfeeding Pinays, this event sought to promote women’s right to breastfeed and the importance of providing proper support to breastfeeding mothers. This is consistent with the theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week 2013, “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers.”
(Photo Credit: Mike Alquinto / NPPA Images)

Breastfeeding Pinays partnered with Kaya Women Empowerment and Support Group, LATCH (Lactation, Attachment, Training, Counseling, Help), Arugaan, Newlyweds@Work, Tickled Moms, Davao's Mommy Sense, Cagayan De Oro's Mommy Bright Side, the Bacolod Mom and Baby Club, and bloggers Jenny Ong (Chronicles of a Nursing Mom) and ElizaYpon (The Painter's Wife) in organizing this activity.

About 100 breastfeeding mothers, along with their respective relatives and family supporters, converged at Aristocrat Restaurant at Roxas Boulevard (Plan B from Rajah Sulayman Park, just across the restaurant, due to the heavy rains that afternoon) is one of the key events in the celebration of August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month. This included me and S. How could we not go and do this??? (1) S is a purely breastfeed baby, (2) I breastfeed with no shame (and cover-ups) in public when need be - so no problems there, (3) I wanted to promote breastfeeding through awareness, action and education in the best way as I can, and that (4) something so natural to human nature, shouldn't be considered as taboo - to give time to a worthy cause! Oh, lastly, I volunteered some before-the-event item that would require me to go to the event on that day!

Just wanted to give a run-down of what happened that day...

@2:15pm : We got to Aristrocrat Roxas Boulevard to register/check-in for the event. It was already drizzling by that time and rained harder a few more minutes after. There were already a lot of mothers, babies, kids, families at the venue and were crowding around but everyone was in a wonderful mood inside the cozy restaurant. We were all catching up and introducing each other. It was a huge EB ("eyeball") event for Breastfeeding Pinays, etc. It was wonderful to see familiar faces of Bing, Ting, Velvet, Jenny, Abie, Florde(Liza), and Mec. I was also able to meet other N@Wie moms in the process. :)

2:45pm : We were told to move to a bigger function room from the registration area so we can assemble for the feed. I believe I was assigned to Line A but I don't know why I kept saying Line C. Oh well, it was nice that Jenny was also in the same line so it all worked out just fine. There were too many people already in Line A by the time I got to the assembled line. Can you see me at the back section?

3:30pm : The latching fest started as each lines A, B and C mothers & babies in-tow slowly entered into the breastfeeding area set-up. After all found their places on the floor, Indian sitting positions, we latched our babies/kids and chanted "Hakab Na! Hakab Na! Hakab Na!". There were also mothers and kids that held home-made signs that showed breastfeeding support for all to see. It was a huge crowd of supporters in essence.
Media took full coverage of the entire event from start to finish. GMA7 was the first on the scene and definitely wasn't the last.

4:00pm : Just when we thought that it was all over, ABC-CBN and other media crew (photographers, videographers, writers assigned to cover the event) arrived and we had to do with whatever parents/kids were there to replicate the latchings again. The latching group was smaller but didn't mean that breastfeeding's message isn't as loud and clear as initially done a few minutes ago.
Their tardiness was due to the heavy rains that rerouted most motorists around Manila.

5:00pm : officially signaled the end of the Breastfeeding Mob, especially since the function room had another booking else I believed a lot of the mothers would have lingered on because there was a breastfeeding consultation scheduled after the latch.

As I write this post, I am still recovering from the wonderful experience of Hakab Na 2013 and would like to document some memorable moments ingrained forever in my (1) meeting other Breastfeeding Pinays in person, (2) experiencing a good/perfectly timed and repeated hakab/latch from S (with one faking it for the cameras - Oscar gold!), (3) no fuss from S with the noise and crowd, (4) feeling blessed to be around such giving and committed breastfeeding mothers and supportive advocates like Velvet, Jenny, Bing, Abie, Nanay Ines, etc!
I cannot wait to see what this event will initiate with regards to events for succeeding years to be. This will definitely be the start of BIG THINGS for breastfeeding in the Philippines!
Congratulations and Thank You to all the participants at the venue, before/behind-the-scenes, at their own homes and cars who supported this cause in their hearts, minds and spirit!
‪#‎hakabna2013‬ ‪#‎breastfeedingPH‬

Photo Credit:

Media Coverage on a successful event!

24 Oras Cover @August 3, 2013

Balitanghali Cover shown on August 4, 2013

Yahoo She Philippines featured photos in their site here.

Philippine Online Chronicles also did a feature/write-up on this here.

Yahoo News Canada (Yes, my hometown!!!) also featured more photos with yours truly here.
"Filipino mothers nurse their children during the Hakab na! A Breastfeeding flash mob event at the Rajah Sulayman Park in Manila, on 03 August 2013. Around 50 women in Manila joined other breastfeeding mothers in a simultaneous breastfeeding flash mob in key cities around the country, aims to promote breastfeeding among Filipino women as the country celebrates National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and the World Breastfeeding Week 2013."

More press information on the Hakab Na 2013 event...

According to Velvet Escario-Roxas, a breastfeeding guru, friend and one of the administrators of the group, the Philippines still lacks the necessary support and benefits for breastfeeding mothers despite the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009, including implementation of paid lactation breaks, lactation rooms and policies.

“Breastfeeding in this country is a national health crisis,” said Escario-Roxas. “Although breastfeeding rates have steadily gone up over the years through efforts by different government, non-government organizations and medical communities, there is still so much to be done. Forming this online support group of mothers and gathering together is one of our contributions to the cause.”

The activity also aims to remove the stigma of nursing in public. “We want to create a harmonious culture of breastfeeding in the Philippines. We want to encourage mothers to become more confident while breastfeeding in public,” said Benz Co-Rana, founder of Newlyweds@Work, also an online community of parents that promotes breastfeeding.

“To breastfeed successfully, the mother needs a stronger, well-informed support system from the hospital, the home and the workplace," stressed Co-Rana who successfully breastfeed her two children until they were two years old. “This is why for this campaign, we have everybody present, not just the mothers. We have the fathers, grandparents—everyone—to emphasize the need to support the breastfeeding mothers, and ultimately help raise a healthy and happy child.”

Breastfeeding Pinays Facebook Group seeks to address the need for local community support for breastfeeding mothers. By providing easily accessible and proper information to mothers and their support systems, the Breastfeeding Pinays community has become a lifeline for mothers with breastfeeding problem, questions and issues. Trained peer counselors support the community.

In just six months since its opening in early 2013, the community has grown to more than 3,500 members, with more users joining everyday. Aside from online support, members of the community also conduct small weekly meet-ups to hold “hands-on” learning sessions on hand expression, cup feeding and self-lactation massage. The meet-ups also address breastfeeding challenges, problems and difficulties.

Monday, August 05, 2013

DIY Superhero Baby Shower

I'm doing some catch up postings and I really wanted to post this DIY project I did for a friend's Superheros baby shower theme. When the date and theme was settled, I jumped into google and searched through as many inspiration and DIY projects as they come to pull off a good Superheros themed baby shower.

I made a simple superheros (modern chibi take) invite to give a flavor of the party theme and sky was the limit on creativity for this. The tags were also fun to make!

I thought of initially decorating their nursery to help the newbie parents before their bundle of joy arrived but due to time and location constraints (the room was still not ready to be decorated by the time the party rolled in) so I chose decoration where they can be displayed at the party and can be easily put-up at their home or used by their little one when he comes out in May.
The very first thing that came into my mind that would look great in their nursery is the initials of their baby boy - "J" and "N", a DIY comic book covered letters and took inspiration and instruction from Bird's Party Blog and Cherish Bliss. I wasn't able to get wooden letters or know where similar items were sold so I did it via styrofoam and cut out the letters then wrapped used/old comic books around it. It was tough to fully cover a styrofoam letter since the surface was not flat compared to a wooden or cardboard letter but it will have to do. I was able to do a thicker lettering than the normal wooden one, which came out quite nice. :)
I then bought some picture frames that would have cute baby chibi superheros in it. The stuff toys plaster on the windows are from a local stuff toy vendor.

For the banner, I got the idea for the comics and bib & onsies banners at Thriftress and PampersPlaydatesParties. I was able to find/source old action figurines & kiddie toys at a thrift store and loot bags had the same superheros theme in it.
It was a definite labor of love and happy on the expressions of the new parent's faces when they saw the whole place. So awesome!

Happy partying!!!

Worst Breastfeeding Advice -- Ever! (from the

Fair Warning: this is no way to criticize mothers who use the bottle or formula for their babies. This post is to educate and correct what others inform pregnant/expectant and even breastfeeding mothers about breastfeeding practices that are scientifically incorrect or misleading. Take the below as an FYI from a Lactation Consultant, Deirdre McLary. *******************************************************
Say what? Bumpies shared the most outlandish breastfeeding tips they’ve ever heard, and then we asked lactation consultant Deirdre McLary, IBCLC, RLC, CD, to explain why the advice is such bad news. Take note -- this is what not to do.

“My dad told me once, ‘You’ll know within two days whether or not breastfeeding is going to work for you.’ He told me this while I was still pregnant -- needless to say, my instinct told me this was bad advice.” -- danienross 
Why it’s bad advice: Breastfeeding usually starts out tough and then gets easier as time goes on. “It can take several days to weeks to feel in balance with meeting the needs of your newborn,” says McLary. “Plus, your milk doesn’t come in until two to four days after the birth, so each day brings a new and different adjustment as you transition.” If you’re struggling, she suggests getting help from a pro -- problems can be corrected with just a single visit to a lactation consultant.

“A pediatrician told me to let my husband give our LO baby formula at night so I could get extra sleep. Apparently he thought extra sleep would increase my low supply.” -- pitterpatter129 
Why it’s bad advice: The exact opposite is actually true. “Replacing feedings with formula will sabotage your milk supply,” says McLary. “That’s because milk supply relies on supply and demand. If you skip a feeding because some well-intentioned loved one wanted to let you sleep, you’re sending the message to your breasts: ‘Hey, we’re done here. No milk is necessary at this hour.’” And your body, as a result, will make less milk. You don’t want that!

“A friend who’s also a nurse told me to give my baby bottles of water over the summer when it’s hot. She went on and on about how I wouldn’t want to drink milk when it was hot, so obviously baby won’t want to either.” -- tokenhoser 
Why it’s bad advice: It’s not a good idea to give your baby water before he’s around six months old. That’s because he could fill up on it and drink less breast milk -- which has the nutrients he really needs. “Breast milk is all that your baby needs during the first six months of life,” says McLary. And as far as quenching baby’s thirst, breast milk will do that too. “It’s actually made of over 85 percent water,” says McLary, and we highly doubt he’ll turn it down when he’s hungry.

“Someone once told me to scrub my nipples with a washcloth to ‘toughen them up’ for nursing. Um, ouch!” -- museummaven 
Why it’s bad advice: You won’t do much more than make your nipples sore. “This is a ridiculous old wives’ tale that seems to persist in some cultures,” says McLary. “It’s absolutely unnecessary. The best preparation for breastfeeding is understanding that it is a natural, normal process.” Your body is naturally prepping itself for breastfeeding. All you have to do is, well, do it.

“My mother-in-law said that my breasts were too small to give my baby enough milk and that I should give him formula.” -- k-renee 
Why it’s bad advice: There’s actually no correlation between breast size and milk production. “Breasts come in all shapes and sizes, and unless you have glandular development issues (which is rare), your breast size will not compromise your ability to produce milk to meet your baby’s needs,” says McLary.

“My friend gave me this advice: ‘Don’t breastfeed. Breastfeeding makes your breasts saggy and gross.’” -- damabo80 
Why it’s bad advice: Research shows that saggy boobs are more likely to result from pregnancy in general than from breastfeeding. “Pregnancy and hormones make our breasts victims of gravity,” says McLary. “Breastfeeding has little to do with it.”

“This week, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law both encouraged me to not breastfeed because it would take up too much of my time and I would end up a slave to my baby and boobs.” -- lolinshag 
Why it’s bad advice: Sure, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time feeding your baby, but so do bottle-feeding moms. “Imagine the time you’ll spend buying formula and bottle gear, and cleaning, sorting, cooling and heating bottles,” says McLary. Plus, breast pumps make it possible to give baby breast milk while you’re away from her, so you don’t have to feel stuck if you want some “me time.”

“Drinking beer while breastfeeding will help baby sleep. Yeah, that’s gonna work….” -- dundasgirl 
Why it’s bad advice: “This is a scary and dangerous concept,” says McLary. Why? Alcohol can pass into breast milk like it passes into your bloodstream. Sure, baby will only be exposed to a small percentage of alcohol if you drink, but his body will process it at a slower rate. And rather than help him sleep, it actually could cause sleep problems for baby, not to mention impair his motor development (scary!). But McLary says that having a glass of wine on a date night with your hubby is okay: “The general rule on breastfeeding is, if she can drive a car, she’s okay to feed her baby. But don’t count on it making baby sleep any longer than usual.” So if you end up enjoying a glass of chardonnay at dinner, wait at least two to three hours before nursing baby -- just to be safe.

“My father-in-law believes that bottles are better than breastfeeding because ‘ you’ll know if the baby is getting enough.’” -- kelleylk 
Why it’s bad advice: Sure, if you breastfeed, you won’t have the luxury of ounce markings letting you know how much your baby is taking in, but there are ways to know she’s getting enough milk. “Make sure she’s happy, gaining weight, looking healthy and wetting between six to eight diapers in a 24-hour period -- and feeding every two to three hours,” says McLary. “Then, you’re meeting her needs.” And feeding her the healthiest way possible.