Monday, January 26, 2015

Its an Advertisement! Not an Anti-Mommy War Campaign!

A formula milk advertisement that masquerades as a sort of public awareness campaign was shared on my wall in Facebook, you can watch it here. The advertisement showed the truth that when we get wrapped up in arguing for our choices, we lose sight of what truly matters and so we risk losing what we value most in the end. Here is a very valuable message in an advertisement. And because it is an advertisement, it seeks to increase product awareness which should result in increased sales- this is the problem! If formula milk sales increase wouldn't breastfeeding rates decrease?
Hopefully, this advertisement won't make it to our TV screens here in The Philippines thanks to the Milk Code. Unfortunately, it is making its rounds online! You can read about the International Code for Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes here and also here. You can also watch the full video of "A Formula for Disaster":

My problems with the advertisement are:
1. The term "Mommy War" - what nonsense! I say, leave no space in your day for idle playground talk. In my experience I have learned a lot and improved as person from being with other mothers as oppose to wanting to pull their hair out because of choices they made in birth, feeding practices and so on. Let's not be NASTY!
2. War does not happen over night, it is fueled and fanned. It also takes good people with good intentions who buy into or ride with an idea that seems to be for the greater good. For wars to happen, institutions need to take part and so on. I am going to stop here. I am quite sure you get the picture that war takes much more than opinion and petty playground friction.
3. The benefits of breastfeeding a child is not a belief. The benefits of breastfeeding are backed by scientific evidence (check it out here), (here are the risks of not breastfeeding).
4. Lastly, lets not get confused. This is a formula advertisement not an awareness campaign on the virtues of tolerance or forgiveness. It undermines breastfeeding. Again, if formula sales increase will breastfeeding increase or decrease?

Supporting, promoting and educating others about breastfeeding is a serious matter. We, parents have more compelling wars to fight in and bigger issues to fight for! There could be battle scars that still throb or wounds that need to heal. For some of us, there could be fires ablaze in a battle field that span the vast expanse of the mind reaching out to and for the heart.

Have a good day, my dear reader.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Months of the year = who's birthday?

Nh is learning about days and months as part of his math.
I found this printable blank calendar and here he is worrking his way through it:

I asked, "Why is it important to know the months of the year?"
Nh: "So you'll know who's birthday it is."

 Answers like this serve as a reminder of how important family life is. It is where we stem from.

How small my son's world is for now. How temporary, seemingly fleeting, this season of innocence is. He may not remember this day. I might not remember this day, but I hope that the tenderness and security of this season will resonate with him always.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Making of The Bremen Town Mucisians Puppet Show

The noise! The mess too! And the joy of listening to these two! The seriousness of it all! L and Nh are coming up with a puppet show and their production is all over the floor. L read "The Bremen Town Musicians" to Nh and now they are busy working on this project: a puppet show adaptation!
Academics, particularly L's Science work, is taking a back seat for this most important project. L is not digging her science as much as I hoped for. I shall give it a rest for now. Maybe in a few weeks, or months, or next year, she'll like to do it. It's almost a week now since they started this. I am surprised that they came up with it and excited to watch the outcome. I overheard that some flying action scene will happen.
To show L and Nh how excited I am, I bought a bag of chips. L quickly pointed out that it should be opened after the show because Nh and her might not be able to have some if we (the audience) ate it while the show is going. What a simple bag of Doritos can do. The motivation it inspires. We really need a deadline for this project. I'll also be taking this opportunity to squeeze in our homeschooling by telling them to print tickets with the necessary details about their show. When all this is over, we can have our floor space back!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

1st Mommy Meet Up 2015

  So happy to catch up with all who came to the meet up yesterday. And biggest thanks to Party Depot for the juice that made our snack table look special. Grrrrr!!! I was not able to take a picture of it!!!

For a brief while I wished I had a baby again too. So I borrowed and carried a baby to wake myself up from my momentary yearning.

And thank you ladies for coloring my prints will hang them in The POD's little store in 2 weeks. Also, we got to talk about falling hair! Here's some assurance that we will not go bald ladies. I am looking forward to the February Meet Up.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Here We Are 2015!

Last year was such a fast forward year!!! A LOT happened! Work, family and everything else that I added on --as if I don't have enough on my hands. This blog took a back seat despite me having so much to write about!
Here we are 2015! We started the year with a lot of cheer and congratulations after I posted this photo in Instagram and Facebook.

What a reaction!!! Unforgettable! #ACET results #haohs
Thank you to all my friends for the "applause." Our family is rejoicing with all the cheers you have extended to us. For the last 2 years Amber took care of her academics all by herself. We gave her our support and we told her to have a backup plan, and go for what she wanted to do, made sure she was safe when she went about submitting this and that, here and there; also making sure that birth certificates and other ID stuff were ready for her. But I was not part of her academic review. Through out the year I did check that her activities are safe, routines and rhythms of our family life is not chaotic, birth certificate and other ID's are handy and so on. 
Our little family is super excited for her. This is, I guess, officially the end of homeschooling for her.
Gosh how time flies!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What's that score again?

I got a text message the other night from a friend asking about the name of the score we talked about when we discussed about induction of labor a year or so ago...

She was referring to the Bishop's Score.
If you are considering having your labor induced, don't come into the experience with a mind set that it's just the same as if your body went into labor naturally.

The Bishop Score is something worth discussing with your doctor when considering an induction. You can also compute your Bishop Score here. It simply computes the readiness of your cervix (not your baby's readiness for life outside) and chances of the induction succeeding or not- in the event of which you will most likely have a cesarean. You might find the following helpful:

faQ from American Colege of Obstetrics and Gynecology 
Induction of Labor

Watch this video from Lamaze International "Let Labor Begin On It's Own"

Another interesting and alarming thing about induction of labor is the link being made between induction of labor and autism, you can read about it here- read the comments, consider it and this one too.

Dr Michel Odent who is all for natural labor and birth says: “Most women give birth now on a synthetic Oxytocin drip. It is the most common medical intervention in childbirth,” he explains. But with no long term studies on its side effects, he says: “We are playing with the Oxytocin systems of human beings without knowing what we are doing.” You can read more about this here.

I have 4 children. I have been through that waiting for labor to start phase. With every pregnancy, except for my first, I hoped I would give birth by 38 weeks instead of 40+ a few days! For me, it felt like:
Bring it on! I am so ready to stop being pregnant...
I want to meet this baby! 
The house is so ready for this baby! 
I want to try on all these new stuff I have accumulated for me and this little one. 
Its so hot! I am so fat no I am so BIG! 
I can't go anywhere! In reality I could go somewhere but then it's so tiring.  
I have nothing to wear that fits well! 
I really want to give birth and see this baby!!!

Even with my fourth baby, when I vowed I would enjoy every minute of where I was, I was certainly excited. I wanted to move forward. Let's be conservative about this. No body knows for sure how high the price is for rushing birth. I suggest to make this waiting phase part of your family's history, rather than a medical event.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Would You Buy Breastmilk?

If there was breast milk for sale, would you buy it?

As of date we do not have a breastmilk bank in Davao City! Most of the moms I know who donate breast milk do so because they have extra milk to share. They express milk thinking of their babies. They handle and store their milk with care because it is for their baby. If selling happens, the intention changes and don't you think the storing and handling will change too?
Some moms I know started their journey with a breast pump and not a baby in their arms (premature and/or sick baby). And now that all is well they feel strongly that they want to give back. And they donate their milk to their birth place.

HM4HB - Davao City Philippines is network where families looking for breast milk can link up with mothers who have breast milk to SHARE! Breast milk is donated NOT SOLD!
The POD has many times been a venue for the families to meet but there is NO BREAST MILK SOLD at The POD. There was NEVER an instance where breast milk was sold in the Facebook page of Mommy Sense, Davao's first mom to mom support group.

Last year, because of Yolanda, there was a freezer full of breast milk at The POD. But that was because there was an emergency and mothers saw the urgent need to help and reach out. Even those who did not have breast milk to share went ahead and donated breast milk storage bags, ice packs and so on. This was a big group effort and the milk was shipped to PGH for pasteurization. The POD is not a breast milk bank but was and can be a drop off and pick up point for breast milk in times of need. 

Since 2012 we had instances when Grandparents, Aunts, Dads, and Moms who have just given birth, walk into The POD looking for breast milk. We addressed this as best we could and assisted some moms with breastfeeding once the babies were out of the nursery or NICU.

{I use the word nursery although there should not be one since moms and baby's should not be separated at birth. Check out Unang Yakap EINC for this and this video too. However, some of the family members, if not the mom who just gave birth, who dropped by The POD or text/ called, looking for breast milk, have full term babies who do not require intensive care. But, in the order of things in their birth place mom was sent home and was asked to produce X quantity of breast milk for her baby who was left in the hospital. For nursery practice to stop, there should be policy, but policy is not enough, it should be hearts, minds and of course training of the doctors, nurses and staff etc!}

So why should YOU NOT BUY breast milk online or in your local sari-sari store?
Jenny Ong of  Chronicles of a Nursing mom addressed it here.
And because of this study.(Sari-sari store was not in this study)

I received a Facebook message last year that made me suspect the other person was selling breast milk but it turned out she was not. I covered the photo and name of the person.

Its up to you to decide I am just pointing out that as far-out as it sound, it can happen here in Davao City. If the practice of sending moms home and requiring her to produce X quantity of milk for her baby (just like that!) does not change then desperation can take hold and the next thing we know somebody is successfully selling and someone is buying. Breastfeeding is a community effort and I don't think breast milk should ever be for sale!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Our First Baby has a High School Diploma

Its official!!! Our eldest passed the ALS Exam! Congratulation to my dearest A. She can  move on to higher education. WOW!!! How fast!

 Screen Capture from here

What's the next step? Where will she go? What will she do with this high school diploma?
I asked her: "What do you want to take for college? "
While her dad asked her: "What do you really really want to do?"

We both got different answers. LOL

My girls and Ginger the Cat. A photo they sent me through Viber when I asked how they were while I was out for the whole day for the Mommy Sense 2nd Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Training by Arugaan.
Most of the students A's age will be entering the University this June while she has to write/email the Universities she wants to go to to ask permission if she can sit down and take their entrance exam this coming August and September. She has called one university so far and whoever she spoke to on the phone asked her is she has PEP Test  results which she does not have. You can read more about PEP Test and ALS  here. At any rate the person from the university that A spoke to said, she should write their admission officer or something like that. The PEP Test is only given once a ear here in Davao City but in manila its given almost every month. At the moment it would be too tight, time and money wise to rush A into taking the PEP Test . It would be cheaper to take the SAT rather than make a trip to Manila to take the PEP Test. Anyway, lets see how this goes. This year will be like her gap year.  I am very excited for my dear girl.

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