The day finally came! It was time to hear Dr. Jack Newman speak!
May I confess that everytime I thought of him coming here I shed tears. Yes, I am very iyakin. It’s quite embarrassing actually. But when I think of how he’s helped over 40,000 babies successfully breastfeed and the hours I spent watching his videos in the middle of the night, I can’t help it. He’s practically Basti’s pediatrician.
And he came, he spoke and we, as my co-LATCHer Em succinctly put it, were Encouraged, Enlightened and Empowered. My passion for the advocacy was fueled even more hearing about breastfeeding straight from him. I have so many thoughts in my mind, but here are a few that struck me:
- ON HYPOGLYCEMIA: Colostrum is the best milk to prevent and treat newborns with hypoglycemia. EDIT: Unlike formula, colostrum does not stimulate the secretion of insulin in the baby. (Thank you Doc Zeka! I must admit some of the technical medical jargon was confusing for me. I must review! I just read the slide that said this. Talk about mush brain!) I’ve heard many people tell me they were not able to breastfeed their children right away because of low blood sugar. He also talked about how mothers whose babies are at risk for hypoglycemia are helped to express colostrum so that this may be added to the colostrum baby gets from birth.
- ON JAUNDICE: Jaundice is not a contraindication to breastfeeding. Formula is never the answer to jaundice. There is no reason to stop breastfeeding just to diagnose jaundice. The solution: FIX THE BREASTFEEDING. Encourage effective feedings. From a study, it was discovered that there is no evidence that bilirubin levels of 20 mg% are hazardous to healthy term infants. If the reason is ABO incompatibility, it’s still not a reason to stop breastfeeding since this presupposes the notion that jaundice is caused by breastmilk.
- The tyranny of documentation and numbers. We should stop worrying so much about the numbers – weights, ounces of milk, how many ounces to consume, growth charts, etc. Focus on the breastfeeding, focus on the baby. Happy, healthy, thriving babies are always a good sign. Let us not create problems when there are none. So throw that feeding chart away, delete that nursing app, and focus on the actual breastfeeding.
- The reasons for a late onset of milk supply decrease. Dr. Jack cited reasons for this, such as the use of hormonal birth control, a new pregnancy, sleep training (I am not a fan of sleep training, so this was good news to me!), and frequent bottle use (teaches a baby a poor latch).
All in all, I learned a lot that can help me become a better breastfeeding counselor and educator. And, even if we knew the importance of this before, I am even more driven now to study techniques for proper latching and feeding. All the problems boil down to one simple solution: FIX THE BREASTFEEDING. I was very happy to see health professionals in the audience. More than the valuable knowledge that Dr. Newman shared, I hope they also saw the passion for breastfeeding that was expressed by the lay people in the audience and their need for our medical professionals to be knowledgeable about breastfeeding. I hate hearing horror stories of how medical professionals had influence on breastfeeding failure. It breaks my heart especially when they are in the front line of maternal and infant care.
I am so proud of my co-LATCHERs. Everyone did such a wonderful job.
The moving force behind Breastfeeding Uncovered, Jenny and Sylvia. Thank you for keeping us on our toes!
Dr. Jack is so warm, humble and easy to approach. Meeting him was a trip. Look at how giddy we all are.
He gamely signed books and shirts, and took pictures with the participants, even with the babies.
At the LATCH dinner, he even tried out tinikling! Hehe!
With the LATCHers.
Nanay Ines. Another breastfeeding superstar!
The ladies of LATCH.
We owe the creation of LATCH to these women, the founding members. (We forgot to bring Zeka’s tarpaulin along. LOL)
Thank you Dr. Jack for coming to Manila and sharing your knowledge with us. I owe a part of this little boy’s health to you!
This is not the end. The road of the breastfeeding advocacy is long, winding and totally uphill. LATCH is dedicated to being even more passionate in constantly offering opportunities to learn about breastfeeding so that we can all be encouraged, enlightened and empowered. Breastfeeding is for EVERYBODY. It is a life-saving, country-developing, world-changing act that starts with one mother-baby pair at a time.
My ending thoughts as this wonderful breastfeeding-themed weekend comes to a close: I will not be discouraged. I will not be derailed. I will focus on the people who need help, not the cacophony of negativity and whining that surrounds any advocacy. I will not let voices who complain how things cannot be done dis-empower me. We are the mothers, we are the breastfeeders, and we can do this!!!
Give life. Live life. Breastfeed!