Friday, August 16, 2013

Is breastfeeding for rich people?

Of course not. One look at all those documentaries of tribes and you'll see women with their breasts hanging out and a child (or two) latched on to her chest. It's those documentaries that convinced me that breastfeeding is the easiest thing in the world.

Of course when I gave birth to Vito, I was in for a shock. Breastfeeding is just about one of the most difficult, most painful things I've ever experienced! When Iñigo was born, I thought, "Second time around. This should be easier." Hell, no. It was even worse! I keep telling people, "I would rather give birth than breastfeed." Yes, it's that bad. But, hey, I breastfed both kids successfully. I'm still breastfeeding Iñigo actually. Breastfeeding is a skill that mommy and baby must learn. Once mastered, only then does it become the easiest thing in the world.

Nursing 3-month-old Iñigo at Power Plant. No cover. I'm a shameless hussy.

So here I was feeling smug about being such a fabulous breastfeeding mom. I have my breastfeeding clothes, my nursing covers, my breast pumps (one electric, one manual), my breast pads, my nursing bras, my bottles, my lactation aids. When I experienced trouble with nursing, I turned to books, online resources, videos. When I went back to work, I had my own office to pump milk in comfort, the pantry ref to store my milk and a cooler for transporting my precious milk back home. I am a fully equipped breastfeeding mommy! And it crossed my mind that my success in breastfeeding comes from my money. And it crossed my mind yet again that maybe the reason why many poor moms don't breastfeed is because they can't afford it.

One day, a few months after giving birth to Vito, I was at an Air21 to ship a package. The lady there was pregnant at the same time I was pregnant so I asked her how her baby was doing. She said her baby girl was doing well, just a bit on the skinny side. I told her that fat babies are not necessarily healthy babies and added that my Vito, who was born a few days before her daughter was born, wasn't fat either. "It's the breast milk," I assured her. "Hindi tumataba nang grabe ang baby na dumedede sa ina." And she replied that didn't feed her baby breast milk. She stopped nursing after 2 weeks because she had to go back to work. She said her breasts became so engorged, she had a high fever but she had to work. So she just wrapped her breasts tight in plastic and hoped the pain and swelling would go away.

"Pang-mayaman lang po yang pagpapadede," she laughed at me. "Wala po akong pump na sinasabi niyo. Kung meron man, saan po ako gagawa nun? Nakabantay po ako dito maghapon. Mas lalong di ko pwede pisilin yung dede ko para lang makakuha ng gatas. Wala rin po akong lalagyanan. Mapapanis lang po. Mas mura pa ang Bear Brand. Pwede na yun."

It's hard to be smug after you hear that.

The truth is breast milk is the best food for our babies. But there's also that truth that not every mother find providing that milk easy or without cost. If mothers didn't have to work, then no issue. We can all just stay home and breastfeed our children. No excuses! But many mothers need to work—either the father is absent or isn't earning enough. For these mothers, what is the solution?

I honestly don't know.

This Breastfeeding Awareness Month, my Facebook feed is filled with calls to attend breastfeeding classes at this posh hospital, to buy tickets to this breastfeeding rock star's talk, to avail of special discounts on breastfeeding paraphernalia, to pressure malls and other public places to build comfortable nursing stations with nice chairs and electric sockets and refrigerators, to condemn forever all moms who feed their babies formula. This is all good, of course. All good to us fabulously lucky mommies.

I'm not saying we should stop talking about breastfeeding. I'm forever going to be an advocate! I am in fact in the middle of editing a book on breastfeeding. But I know I'm really lucky. And that luck makes me feel so bad for those who aren't because I really don't know how to help them.

I told the Air21 lady, "Bilhan kita ng manual pump!" And I thought as I said that, "What are you doing? A manual pump is still a few thousand pesos! You have to buy her bottles and a cooler, too!" But I didn't need to worry because she refused my offer. She just laughed at me again. "Wag na, ma'am. Nanakawin lang yan. Salamat na lang po. Masaya na po anak ko sa Bear Brand."

I never went back to that Air21 shop. I was afraid of her. I didn't want to see her anger and scorn and shame and guilt. I know she felt that because when she laughed at me, I looked at her and knew what she was screaming at me silently: "Keep your fucking bleeding heart to yourself, bitch. You don't tell me what to feed my child!"

40 comments:

  1. this is where the misinformation and disempowerment comes from: "Wala po akong pump na sinasabi niyo. Kung meron man, saan po ako gagawa nun? Nakabantay po ako dito maghapon. Mas lalong di ko pwede pisilin yung dede ko para lang makakuha ng gatas. Wala rin po akong lalagyanan. Mapapanis lang po. Mas mura pa ang Bear Brand. Pwede na yun."

    1) hindi kelangan ng pump - you can hand express
    2) magdala ng kumot - pwedeng mag hand express habang nasa pwesto
    3) and i won't even talk about the law -- kase baka sasabihan mo ako - takot siyang mawalan ng trabaho kaya ayaw nyang i-push ang batas
    4) hindi mapapanis ang gatas dahil siya ay nasa aircon na lugar at pwede nyang iwan ang gatas nya hanggang 8 hours! more than 8 hours? magdala ng cooler -- hindi kelangan ng ref. walang ref sa bahay? lahat ng na-express ngayong araw, ipa-inom sa anak sa susunod na araw. pag-uwi, ibalot sa malamig na tubig ang gatas, ilagay sa clay pot para pwede pang gamitin sa susunod na araw.
    5) masaya na po anak ko sa bear brand - at yan ay formula milk marketing, etc. etc. for her, equal na ang bear brand sa breastmilk.
    ayaw na nya mag extra effort, ayaw na nya makinig. hindi lang pangmayaman ang breastfeeding. yan ang naiisip ng tao dahil sa laganap na formula milk marketing.

    here is a scanned document from the city of pasig -https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.580277258677572.1073741830.136666663038636&type=3 and again let me emphasize - sharing about the dangers of formula feeding is never a condemnation of formula feeding moms. if formula feeding moms feel guilty, etc. etc. it is them. why is it when formula milk promotes their product it is advertising but when breastfeeding advocates promote breastfeeding it is bullying or a condemnation of formula feeders.

    maraming classes sa LGUs. sa mga health centers regular ang mga classes. kailangan lang silang magsumikap pumunta. may mga na-train ng peer counselors sa community level. may mga kakilala ako na nag tatrabaho with squatter communities and na-empower nila itong mga squatter na magbreastfeed. ika nga ni manny villar - sipag at tyaga. ganun din sa breastfeeding.

    the jack newman lecture is not for this mom -- it is for people who work for the mom - yung hospital administrator na kung san siya nanganak, or kung sa lying in siya, sa ob gyne ng lying in nya. we all have to admit changes need to be made. and for years, doctors, hospital administrators do not listen to our expert local advocates because they are NOT doctors. and this is why we saw the need to bring in Dr. Jack Newman. he is the foremost breastfeeding expert and with his expertise and knowledge, we hope to change the breastfeeding culture in the Philippine society.

    p.s. for your readers, this is a good read - www.businessinsider.com/nestles-infant-formula-scandal-2012-6?op=1

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    1. I was telling her all that! Well, yung hand expression and the fact that she's in a mall so hindi mapapanis yung milk. She just kept laughing at me like I'm the stupid one.

      I feel so bad for these women. I know she was thinking I'm such a privileged bitch. Mala-"Let them eat cake" talaga yung feeling ko that day.

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    2. I feel bad for the lady, but at the same time, I can feel the lack of effort on her part. We're not that rich, too. I'm a single mother din, working full-time. When I needed to pump, I just bought a manual pump sa drugstore, worth around P100. I bought the cheapest bottles na BPA-free (not Avent). Lampin ang first nursing covers ko, good thing my cousin gave me hers (pinatahi lang din). There was even a time when I pumped milk na merong construction workers around. Dedma na lang haha.

      Also, there are breastfeeding classes sa barangay health center namin. Baka meron rin sa kanila. But based on what you wrote, she's already made up her mind. All the counselling and teaching in the world would not change her mind.

      I try not to judge formula-feeding mothers because some friends are using formula, so I'm "evaluating" the lady based on what you wrote lang. On the other hand, this is such as strongly-written article. So striking, Ms. Frances. :-)

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    3. Yes, that's the thing. She already made up her mind. That's why I backed off. I had difficulties with breastfeeding, too, and I wanted to quit every single day in the first two months. I still actually want to wean Iñigo na. But everything I've read about breast milk stops me. That's because I'm educated about it. It's hard to want to breastfeed if you think breast milk is not that important.

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    4. Boils down to the saying: Pag gusto, maraming paraan. Pag ayaw, maraming dahilan. It's in the mindset diba? Anyway, my baby is turning two years old but still feeds at night. I don't know how to wean her or if I should. Minsan, nakakatulog na sya and she ends up biting me. Ang sakit! Mukhang ginagawa na akong pacifier e. Kasi when I squeezed my nipple and out came the milk, umiyak sya. Sabi nya "no". I told her, "milk mo yan e". So I don't know if she's feeding out of comfort na lang. Hope you can help me, Frances. As much as you had when I was starting out with breastfeeding.

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    5. That's why we have to change that mindset! Stress!!!

      As for your question on weaning, naku, Liz, hindi ko alam ang sagot kasi Vito weaned on his own just like that. Then si Iñigo is still going strong! I think your daughter just wants to be loved and comforted by you =) Minsan din nakakagat ni Iñigo ang nipple ko. Ang sakit! Nagising talaga ako! I wanted to stop nursing then and there! But wag, Liz. As long as the baby wants, go lang nang go!

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    6. "sharing about the dangers of formula feeding is never a condemnation of formula feeding moms. if formula feeding moms feel guilty, etc. etc. it is them. why is it when formula milk promotes their product it is advertising but when breastfeeding advocates promote breastfeeding it is bullying or a condemnation of formula feeders."

      Jenny, you don't bully because you use facts to argue your points. I know. I read your blog and I am a fan. But for many breastfeeding advocates, they brandish about their breasts in superiority. I hate that meme: "My breasts make milk. What's your super power?" Really? So moms who don't breastfeed are not super? We love our kids less? We're not good enough?

      I also used to follow one of your friends (I won't say who she is because baka puntahan pa blog niya) but she once said that mix feeding totally makes the benefits of breast milk useless. I mix feed. I stay up all night to nurse my baby because I was gone all day. But oh woe is me! The breastfeeding nazi just said that isn't even good enough. Thank you for taking away what little pride I have for breastfeeding my child and replacing it with guilt.

      So yes, it is bullying. Truth without compassion is still bullying. Tell that to your gungho friends.

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    7. I like Jenny's blog, too! Jenny helped me decide to breastfeed.

      But yeah, I agree with you. While I believe we should all spread the good news about breastfeeding, we should be mindful of HOW we do it. Paramg nga ako, kahit inis na inis na ako kay Air21 lady kasi ang stubborn nya, I backed off because I was clearly making her feel bad. I will never be able to make her see my point if she's on defensive mode. So I just assured her that I'm sure she's doing her very best. And I believe she was doing her best under the circumstances.

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    8. "Truth without compassion is still bullying."

      I like that. I'll use that nga! =D

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  2. i agree. breastfeeding is not only for the rich. i breastfed Neo and we're not rich. when I went back to work, yes, I had to stop breastfeeding him - it was a hard choice but we both need to adapt. I know there are companies who allow moms to pump milk and they have a corner in their office to do that. sana all companies are like that na lang.

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    1. There it is again. You would've continued if your company had facilities. I just really am starting to believe that talking about breastfeeding is like shouting in the wind. W must push to create a culture that is pro-breastfeeding—longer maternity and paternity leaves, better working conditions for all nursing moms at all kinds of jobs, etc!

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  3. Hi Frances. I never comment, but this was a great read. Strong and painfully honest.

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    1. Thank you. I wish it was also a helpful read instead of an impotent one. =(

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  4. In my case, I had a pump, I am able to express milk in the office during my breaks, and the office has a fridge that I can store the milk into. The problems I encountered were 1.)the clinic is sometimes not available during my breaks (ours is scheduled break, so hindi same time palagi) and the nurse would be on break, 2.) the milk I store at home is not enough for the baby, he ends up consuming everything before lunch and I am not due to be home until later in the afternoon. On my baby's third month, ayaw na ni baby mag breastfeed, maybe because nasanay na nagformula milk, or nakulangan na, to the point na naiisip ko baka nagrarason lang ako. Either way, though the time I breastfed was short, I was still able to do it :)

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    1. You tried. And I know you'd have continued if things were different. But, as Jenny Ong of Chronicles of a Nursing Mom said, there's always a way to continue nursing. We just have to work harder. I do think, though, that for many women, the effort is just way too much.

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  5. Hi Frances,

    This is such a great and powerful article. I will share this on my FB wall. More people has to be aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. I pray that the world will provide an environment that is conducive for breastfeeding. Yung tipong mommies can give milk to their baby anytime, anywhere.

    God bless.

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    1. I seriously believe that the environment is already there. I breastfeed all the time, everywhere. I think it's this whole "I'm a modest woman" mentality that prevents women from whipping it out. Like si Air21 woman. Bakit nga ba hindi siya pwede mag-hand express where she's seated? Mag-cover lang siya. Hindi naman kailangan sobrang obvious. Hindi naman every hour ang expression. Pwede naman every 3 hours for just 15 minutes.

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  6. You know Frances, I was once in a salon and having my hair colored, among other things. I had to be there for around 5 hours so I pumped milk with my manual pump a couple of times. The lady who was doing my nails gave birth a couple of months prior to that and asked me about brestfeeding, where I keep my milk, if I do it exclusively, etc. Sabi ko she could do it, too, since she said marami siyang milk. But no. She didn't have a refrigerator at home. Sabi ko nalang kung ano man ma express niya in the morning, yun nalang i-feed sa baby so at least may one feeding of brestmilk while she's away.-Ria

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    1. Ack, sobrang sayang! But yes, kahit konti lang, kahit once a day lang!

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  7. Hi Frances,

    The title is quite provocative but I see where you're going. I've been laughed at, too, for suggesting that a working woman (factory worker, clerk, etc.) could obtain a quality hand pump, a cooler and 60 minutes of break time to express her milk every working day. I've also felt the frustration of trying to hand express while stressed out in a rest room and no, I don't think any woman could successfully hand express her milk in an environment that's not mother-friendly, that doesn't pay for a woman's maternity leave and that doesn't provide any facilities for her to pump her milk (much less provide the pump and the cooler).

    I had to step back to look at the problem. First of all, do blue collar employers truly value their employees? Do they show their workers compassion? Do they value the mothers among their workers? Does profit trump their compliance with the breastfeeding law? You just described the reality for a lot of blue collar working mothers. If they are working in an environment that is hostile to mothers, that frowns upon a 15-20 minute break so that a mother can express her milk...then it results in mothers having to switch to very costly formula or (and this is where it gets really heartbreaking)...feed their babies sub-standard not-for-infants milk products (like Bear Brand) with water that might possibly be contaminated. That's the tragedy of it all. Hostile working environments + aggressive milk/ dairy companies = undernourished babies.

    Breastfeeding is a human right. It's up there with a Filipino's right to clean water, an education and protection from abuse. It's that important. If companies partnered with their workers who are mothers and invested in: a lactation room, pumps that can be used by their employees, a cooler where they can store their milk, and the needed breaks for them to express their milk...then more working mothers would continue to breastfeed. If they saw their workers as true human resources and assets, then they would invest in their employees' well-being (and their children's well-being as well). This is where a lot of support is needed: the proper implementation of the breastfeeding law.

    Because breastfeeding is not a business (unlike formula) and women are not paid to feed their children...they fall into the cracks in our economy. There's no profit in breastfeeding. In fact...one step further...there's no profit in motherhood. But the wellbeing of our nation rests heavily on our Filipino mothers. What a great irony.

    When you mentioned in one of your comments that you hoped this post was helpful and not impotent...I could feel your pain. I often feel the same way. But this is an opportunity as well to reach out to employers and make a stand for working mothers. Opening up the discussion is a good start. Let's drum up support behind this. Let's have the implementing bodies of the law accountable. Let's have employers see their working mother employees as assets and invest in their wellbeing.

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    1. I love that Finland story you shared. You're right about employers treating their female employees as assets. But I also want to point out that in our former place of employ, there was no BF room, no special ref, hell, there was even no water. But did that stop us from expressing milk? NO. We made a way. We hid away in the bathroom. We put up curtains in our cubicles. We brought coolers and water. We made a way. I just want to put that out there. As Jenny Ong kept saying, if there's a will, there's a way.

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  8. I share your pain and feelings of frustration. Mothers make up a significant portion of our work force and shouldn't have to choose between breastfeeding and employment. This is why we have laws that were created specifically to protect our working mothers.

    The experience of this Air 21 employee isn't an isolated one. And while it is discouraging, there are meaningful ways that we can help. We can direct mothers like this to their local health center, where they can get both education and support. Those of us who are employers can support breastfeeding mothers by complying with the law. Those who work in offices can raise awareness of the law and invite experts to give talks on how to continue breastfeeding while working. Customers and consumers can raise breastfeeding awareness among the companies they patronize.

    You may want to consider writing Air 21 about your concerns. Your observations are powerful and may result in some action, or the very least some discussion, on their part. It's possible that this mother never even approached her employer about wanting to take breastfeeding breaks. But that only means the company has to be more proactive in providing information to its employees about their rights.

    This mother was successfully breastfeeding and felt that continuing to do so was incompatible with the demands of her job. As a result, she spends her hard-earned money on the cheapest alternative, which isn't even appropriate for children below the age of 1. Her child is at risk for serious illnesses because of this, and this will translate to requests for days off to care for her sick child and/or salary advances to cover health care costs. It may be too late for this mother (or maybe not) but there are surely many working mothers and mothers-to-be among their employees. We can try to make the road easier for them.

    We have a long way to go before we become a society where breastfeeding is the norm and where mothers who choose to breastfeed AND work at the same time are not penalized for doing so. We are making slow progress, but it is progress nonetheless. If we all continue to work together, and to put serious effort into the task, we will succeed in making the working environment healthier for generations of mothers and babies to come.




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    1. Yes! I love how you said we should all work TOGETHER. I have gotten criticism for this blog post which makes me sad because we should be focusing on how to help every mother, rich or poor, not on how this blog post made them feel.

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  9. Thank you for writing this article.

    True. Breastfeeding is not just for rich people. I have a cousin, who works as a teacher at a public school. She's a single mom now, having been separated with her ex-hubby two years ago. She breastfed her child until the little one turned three. She bought a cheap breast pump, and a cooler for her milk to survive while she's at work. She says, you don't necessarily have to buy the expensive pumps. For her, as long as it works, it doesn't matter. Mahalaga, she was able to provide breastmilk to her darling daughter.

    In my case, I was not fortunate to give my eldest daughter, Renee, breastmilk. I got all dried out when she was just four days old. No supplements or lactation aides was able to help me out. It just dried out like a well on a super crazy summer! Lol. So yea, I had to rely on formula to feed her. I'm lucky I'm able to breastfeed my second baby, Allie. Allie's 15 months old now and still BF'ing. I am so thankful that some malls have breastfeeding stations. But there are times that some establishments have none of those, so I bring a blankie to hide my you-know-what, while I feed my little one.

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    1. Yes. Ako nga, I hand express when my boobs are engorged and my pumps are nowhere near. And I have only used a BF station ONCE! I think they're unnecessary actually! I believe women should breastfeed anywhere and everywhere! No covers! No hiding away!

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    2. My guy friend recently asked me what's my take on breastfeeding in public because we have a common friend who posts daily on breastfeeding facts, how those who think it's gross to take out the boob in public should F off, and so many more pro-breastfeeding. Told him it's natural and women should not feel ashamed of doing it in public.

      I mean, we look at half to almost naked women on TV/Movies/Magazines, yet when a woman pops out her breast to feed her baby it's suddenly gross?

      He told me that while that's true, they should cover up. Well, I tried explaining it to him. I guess some men really are uncomfortable with it (despite them probably watching adult videos and all -- that's more gross).

      I'm lucky my husband isn't grossed out about it and would even encourage me to nurse in public even if I didn't bring out nursing cover. Once, a lady behind us at the grocery cashier was nursing her daughter while in line. He didn't seem bothered and was probably even happy that women do breastfeed in public without shame.

      Now we just tease our friends (they know we're still breastfeeding) when they come over and I make dinner. I tell them the milk I put on the dessert is breastmilk. LOL!

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    3. It's just so tiring when people look at you differently just because you breastfeed in public. Yesterday, I was at a resto in SM. People started staring when Allie cried and said "Mimi, dede" (Mommy, dede). I was in the middle of a meal so I thought I'd rather not go to the breastfeeding station. Sayang yung pagkain ko no? Haha! So yea, I fed her there while my hubby and I feed Renee her lunch as well, just like we usually do. Tinitingnan ako nung mga nanay as if di sila nakaranas mag-breastfeed ng baby. But then I saw this other mom who was breastfeeding as well. She was just across the table from us and she gave me a warm smile assuring me that there's nothing wrong with feeding in public. I thought, "who gives a damn about those people anyway?". Then an old woman approached me as well. She was on her way out. She told me, "Hija, ngayon lang ulit ako nakakita ng nanay na nagpapa-dede ng anak nya. Your kids are lucky." :)

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  10. This is a good read. More than just the post, the discussion in the comments section helps a lot.

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    1. Yes! I especially found the news about government programs on breastfeeding most helpful and positive! =D

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  11. Certainly not... it's just that breastfeeding is affected and impacted by money in the same way that other things (like air we breathe, water we drink, clothes we wear, hospital we give birth in, places we go to unwind and education we provide to our kids) are

    I get how you must have felt frustrated and how the advocacy must have felt like a hopeless, helpless thing. But inasmuch as we'd love to have all the major changes happen now, like a tree that will stand the test of time and elements, the breastfeeding culture has to take root and grow from all sectors, and even formula feeders have to be advocates as well (because it is a public health issue, not just an infant feeding issue)

    There are times like this one, where you won't feel that we have made any dent on the fight for it... but I hope you remember your own story, if not others'. There are other people as blessed as you are or even richer, who have not breastfed. And there are people poorer than you are who have breastfed, not just their children, but even a hundred other babies.

    One thing breastfeeding missions post-Ondoy has made me realize was that the poor actually breastfeed. But they start mix feeding from wrong information and formula donations and that desire to level the playing field with their children by giving them something they think will boost their IQ (like what the TV commercials say)... so for them, it's really just a matter of empowering them to do it exclusively, and spend whatever money they get instead on real food

    Most of the breastfeeding friends I have made ARE blessed financially, they had good education, they have jobs, etc... but I have seen them go out of their way to save one mother-child at a time from giving up for free. Surely, God must have blessed them/us/we so we could in turn bless others as well? Why should we feel guilty that we are blessed when it has allowed us to be an instrument to make a difference in the lives of others?

    Besides, different advocacy groups do different jobs... and all are necessary for changes to happen. Some confront the milk companies head on. Some train community health workers. Some provide employment to pregnant and nursing mothers. Some train parents and medical staff in a hospital setting. Some enlighten celebrity politicians and their EAs. Some inspire designers to create a line of uber fab nursing gowns. Some inspire mothers to be mompreneurs. Some inspire milk-sharing initiatives. Some invite experts in to sway the minds of medical practitioners and community leaders.

    If it so happens that the privileged are the first to benefit from all these... there is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is if everything stops there. But these privileged have nannies and helpers who learn about breastfeeding too. These privileged own companies or have important seats in the government where they can influence the middle class within their midst.

    Nothing is lost when seeds are planted and you continue to keep working to realize your dream. No matter how long it takes, no matter how many the stumbling blocks. That is what an advocate does.

    And yes, do write Air21 for this woman... be the voice she didn't have.

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    1. Great points! Thank you. Yes, I will write to Air21 about this.

      Can I just point out that I don't feel guilty about my blessings? I feel bad for her and women like her but I don't feel bad about myself and my life. I don't know why I feel the need to clarify that. I guess I just wanted to point out that I was very poor until I was 30 years old (that's just 6 years ago) and yet I've made good decisions in my life simply by informing myself. Like this issue, life shouldn't be affected by one's financial status. She made bad decisions because she REFUSES to inform herself.

      So I feel bad for her because she's stupid and stubborn and her life will never be better because of that attitude. Tinutulungan na siya, tinuturuan na siya, ayaw niya makinig. So it's not her money or lack thereof that made me feel bad. Like you said, richer women have refused to breastfeed, poorer women have nursed. It's really that stupidity and insistence on ignorance that shocks me.

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  12. As much as I can, I encourage my friends who are pregnant or just had their first born to breastfeed without being pushy. Like you, I can tell if they've already set their minds that it's hard, painful, etc. so I back off na. Yes, it is painful, super painful pa nga. And yes, it's hard because you have to learn with your baby and if needed, pump if you're working or having difficulties latching. But it's so worth it! My son rarely gets sick and our bond is amazing.

    I agree that breastfeeding can be costly but there are free and cheaper alternatives nga. I think it boils down to education really.

    I don't judge also formula feeding Moms because Jacob was mixed fed. Even up to now, we're still breastfeeding at 27 months but he gets formula rin.

    But I'm happy to say that one friend who just had her second child has been inspired by Jacob and I that we're still breastfeeding that she really persevered this time around and has been breastfeeding exclusively for 4 months! Ang saya saya!

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    1. I'm so glad you are that way!

      I really really want us moms to work together towards helping other mommies be informed, educated, supported. Of course there are moms who will refuse to breastfeed anyway. I know a mom ( she's a model and TV host) who says her hubby doesn't like it so she didn't. I want to strangle her hubby so I guess we should also be educating men, too! =)

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  13. Here 's a mindset that needs to change:

    "This Breastfeeding Awareness Month, my Facebook feed is filled with calls to attend breastfeeding classes at this posh hospital, to buy tickets to this breastfeeding rock star's talk, to avail of special discounts on breastfeeding paraphernalia, to pressure malls and other public places to build comfortable nursing stations with nice chairs and electric sockets and refrigerators, to condemn forever all moms who feed their babies formula. This is all good, of course. All good to us fabulously lucky mommies.

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    1. Indeed.

      But at least we're all celebrating breastfeeding, right? Better in a fab way than not at all. As the moms commenting here said, any step towards more breastfeeding awareness is progress. So I will support any activity that's pro-breastfeeding. Apart from the condemnation of formula feeders, of course!

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  14. Breastfeeding is not just for the rich people. True that! In fact, it made us richer because I was able to allocate that 1k/week Formula Milk cost to other household expenses because I've been breastfeeding my daughter who's turning 4 this September ;)

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  15. My sister who is under-aged and refuses to accept help (as much as she can) breast feeds her 5 month old baby. It isn't true that breastfeeding is for the rich only because I remember even before her third trimester she was already praying and preparing for the birth of her son, most of the times she does research on how to have lots of breast milk. Para daw diapers etc. na lang ang iintindihin, para atleast bawas sa gastos. An under-age kid thinks that way, I don't know if given a different situation where she has to attend school or work. She's still fortunate even though she prefers to live away from us. She's stay at home mom and her main job is to feed and look after my nephew and she wouldn't do it any other way. Sometimes pa she will cancel our lakwatsa or when she doesn't, complete paraphernalia talaga kahit commuting pa. She doesn't own electric pumps etc. She has a sample Avent manual pump with 1 Avent bottle lang na given by reps to my OB-GYN cousin, other bottle generic BPA-free stuff. Her nursing cover she bought at eBay for less than 200 pesos, no nursing bras etc. She doesn't even find the cover helpful, mabuti pa daw na mag button-up shirt or loose-fitting blouse. It's just a matter of preference. ;)

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  17. I am grateful with this post and the comments that it has gained. I would like to say that breastfeeding is not for rich people only, I've been breastfed by Nanay since I was four and all my other four siblings. And she was a working mom since then, she had to work alongside Tatay to provide for the five of us. The difference I think was that she had no employer as she sells her goods and she can go home and breastfeed us after doing so. I pity moms who want to breastfeed their children but had been limited by their circumstances, either it be their health condition, working environment and their support system, which I think is more crucial than the other factors. When I had my two boys, Nanay encouraged me to breastfeed, I failed with my first born but regained confidence with my second one who stopped just three months before he turned five this year. I am sad when "uninformed" onlookers label breastfeeding moms as "nagtitipid, scandalous etc." and also when mix or formula feeders feel guilty for not exclusively breastfeeding their children, worst is when they "think" that they don't have a choice.Generations before us breastfed their young and I think generations now should not debate about the advantages of breastfeeding. What this generation should look for now are conditions and support systems that could encourage them to breastfeed. Yes mahirap for working moms, but I agree, when we step out of that mindset that its difficult, only then can breastfeeding be a truly liberating experience for all moms and their families as well.

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  18. It's funny reading this post because before I gave birth, we made the decision to breastfeed. I was so cocky about it that I even told my doctors that whatever happens, do not let me formula feed even if I ask! My husband even made a comment that growing up, he always thought breastfeeding was only for poor people! (we are not rich! we're hopelessly middle class harharhar) but it just goes to show, my how times have changed! now some mommies are thinking that breastfeeding is for the rich!

    I's still successfully breastfeeding my 20-month old. I sincerely believe breastfeeding is for everyone. But I do understand that the hassles of being a working AND nursing mom can often feel too challenging that the easier choice is to formula feed. I pumped milk for more than a year and many times I felt my male boss's disdainful look when I left my desk to pump (in our office bodega! wala na ibang private na lugar). once he actually told me not to pump because he felt like it was taking a lot of work time. eh makapal naman mukha ko so go pa rin ako! ireklamo nya ako kung gusto nya ng magkatapatan kami ng mga karapatan ko sa batas! he didn't complain to HR naman. of course, many women wouldn't want to risk antagonizing their superiors and risk losing their jobs like that. most women I know who choose to formula feed do know that breastmilk is best. it's a matter of informing them of their right to breastfeed and that it can be done! sure it has its struggles but it is definitely possible.

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This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!