Tag Archives: Breastfeeding

Join LATCH!: LATCH Peer Counselor Training Batch 5

My journey as a peer counselor with LATCH started two years ago when I went through the training seminar as part of LATCH Batch 3. Since then, my life has been intertwined with LATCH in more ways than one.

Apart from the talks, classes, breastfeeding testimonials, projects (Snuggle Wuggle Wee, Nanay Bayanihan and Dr. Jack Newman, y’all), there’s something about belonging in an organization full of like-minded women who care about a cause as much as  you do. We are all different, but all sisters in the name of breastfeeding.

We did LATCH Peer Counselor Training Batch 4 recently in Cebu.

The excitement and fire from the participants prompted us to schedule the Manila training leg sooner than later.

So do you wanna be a LATCHer? Check out the details below. The LATCH peer counselor training will be held on two whole Saturdays this March. (Click on the image to enlarge)

There will be an interview and all applicants will go through a screening process. As with all organizations, it’s good to know whether LATCH is a fit for you and what you represent and how you want to be represented. Let’s talk! Sign up to be on the candidate list on http://bit.ly/LatchManila5.

I hope to see your name on the list!

See You at Breastfeeding Uncovered! {Dr. Jack Newman Giveaway Winner Announcement}

I have to say. This may just be the most difficult giveaway I’ve ever done. I really wish I could just treat everyone I know to Dr. Jack Newman’s symposium. That’s how important and relevant I think this event is to the breastfeeding community.

First off, I’d like to thank all the people who sent in their entries. I was very touched by each one, and choosing the winners was not easy!

So the two winners for the Dr. Jack Newman giveaway are:

1. Diane Buddahim. May the symposium fuel your determination and kick off a journey into the breastfeeding advocacy.

2. Judea Baisas. I hope the symposium gives you the knowledge and information to rally more support in your company for lactation facilities and encourage other moms in your workplace to do the same. That is your legacy.

But let’s not stop there. It so happens that Unilab, a long-time supporter of The Painter’s Wife, stepped in and pledged FIVE more people to attend the symposium! So the additional five people who get tickets to Breastfeeding Uncovered are:

1. MJ Chua-Ordoña. I am sure your little patients in the NICU and their families will greatly benefit from the information you will gain from Dr. Jack Newman. We need knowledgable medical practitioners on the frontline!

2. Sandy Lorraine Hilario Tad-y. Thank you for sharing your breastfeeding journey so far. You are doing an awesome job and I’m sure the symposium will give you the motivation to go, go go!

3. Gayzell de Jesus. Your story really touched my heart and I celebrate your triumphs! I hope the symposium inspires you and may that fire spread to your co-nurses.

4. Em Alcantara. You deserve this so much. See you at the symposium and see you at the next LATCH training seminar.

5. Sally Abella. I know your heart is so attuned to the advocacy. I look forward to your growth as an advocate and a counselor.

 

To everyone, again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your entries really gives encouragement and affirms that breastfeeding has support here and there are people out there who are willing to learn, support, and protect breastfeeding.

See you at the symposium!

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Dr. Jack Newman in Manila! {Giveaway Alert}

Some weeks ago, LATCH posted this on their Facebook page: “Breastfeeding rockstar is coming to Manila!” I can’t put it any better than that, really. Dr. Jack Newman truly is a breastfeeding rockstar. He is considered one of the top experts on breastfeeding, and I would always check on what he says about certain issues when asked or when I myself am wondering. What he says about breastfeeding, goes!

So here’s the deal. He’s coming to Manila on August 31 to have a symposium at The Medical City. Tickets are at PhP1,100.00 if you buy them now, and they’ll be PhP1,500.00 if you get them at the gate. There’s limited seating though, so I really suggest you buy your tickets now! Here’s the poster:

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When I think about meeting him, I can’t help but tear up a little. I think about the coming symposium and all the doctors, nurses, medical professionals, breastfeeding advocates and moms who will hear him speak, and think about the thousands of lives that will be affected. (Whooooozaaaa. Naiiyak na naman ako!)

I am really excited and I hope this really makes a mark on the breastfeeding scene in the Philippines. This is LATCH’s main event for Breastfeeding Month, and we will have our training seminar for new breastfeeding peer counselors soon after. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to join the next LATCH breastfeeding peer counselor training session, attending Breastfeeding Uncovered is a pre-requisite.

It’s so important to me that lots of mothers benefit from this talk. And so, I want to treat two of the blog’s readers to a ticket. Time for a giveaway! Details are:

1. Open to all mothers, fathers, expecting moms and medical professionals who want to learn more about breastfeeding.

2. Open nationwide, but you will have to get the ticket from me yourself. This is a special event and tickets are limited, so I really want these tickets to go to two people who really want to go and can go. Please please, do not join if you are not available on August 31, 8am – 5pm for the symposium.

3. Contest will run from today until July 5.

4. If for some reason you win and can’t go, I will pick another winner from the entries.

How to win? Write me an email and send it to: giveaways@painterswife.com. In it, please let me know why you want to come to the symposium. I would love to hear about your breastfeeding journeys, your trials, your successes, your failures, whatever. Let’s make it all about breastfeeding – learning it, celebrating it, doing it and rediscovering it all over again.

I can’t wait to hear from you! Please please join!

 

To buy tickets to see Dr. Jack Newman in Manila, please log on to: http://breastfeedinguncovered.eventbrite.com/.

The One About “The TIME Breastfeeding Cover”: Manila Bulletin, May 19 2012

Here’s an article that came out on the Manila Bulletin on May 19th. Jenny of Chronicles of A Nursing Mom and myself were interviewed on our thoughts about extended breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and that controversial Time breastfeeding cover. Original article here.

Note: I have something to say about this part of the article: “It’s a well-known fact though that not all mothers can or want to breastfeed, and Teacher Eli believes they shouldn’t be condemned for it.” For me, it’s actually a MYTH that some mothers believe they can not breastfeed. I learned in breastfeeding class that only about 1% of mothers are actually not physically able to breastfeed, due to a medical condition. For a lot of women who believe they CAN’T breastfeed, most of the time it’s due to a lack of information, guidance or support. I can’t emphasize this enough: If you want to breastfeed, do your homework while you’re pregnant. Most of the problems we encounter as counselors occur from not knowing what to do or expect in the first few days after giving birth.

Anyhoo. Here’s the article! I would love to hear your thoughts!

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My Way

By REGINA G. POSADAS
May 19, 2012, 4:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — Breastfeeding is a practice widely praised and applauded by many.  But when TIME magazine displayed on its cover a skinny young woman with her almost-four-year-old son suckling on her breast alongside the provoking question, “Are You Mom Enough?” for its attachment parenting feature, numerous moms reacted negatively.

“I was a little appalled at the cover,” admitted my friend, Beng Meneses.  “It was very controversial, actually, and of course, received a lot of attention and publicity, good and bad.  It was shocking to see an almost four-year-old boy still breastfeeding, because honestly, I can’t imagine my kids doing the same.  But as is the case with everything else, the point of the article, which is “attachment parenting,” is a growing trend.  Whether it will have lasting power or is just a fad, I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”

Eliza Santiago-Ypon or Teacher Eli, another friend of mine who teaches at Gymboree and has a two-year-old son, had this to say, “At first it was, “Oh great!” and then it was “Oh no.”  I loved the picture.  I thought it was great that extended breastfeeding was being put into the spotlight, but combined with the headline of “Are You Mom Enough?”, it became inflammatory.  I didn’t think it was appropriate for attachment parenting at all.  No mother should be made to feel she’s inadequate, no matter what parenting style she chooses to practice.  I think it’s journalism meant to pit moms against each other, which I don’t agree with.  I don’t like mommy wars.”

Different strokes for different folks

My two mommy-friends have dissimilar experiences when it comes to breastfeeding.  Beng recalls that she did breastfeed her firstborn Justin, but due to some health issues, she didn’t produce enough milk to sustain him.  “So my experience with breastfeeding was not really extensive,” shares Beng.  “Although looking back, I wish I would have been able to breastfeed my children for nutritional value, since mother’s milk is reputed to be healthier than formula.”  This working mom, whose kids are now grown-up and in college, is also not a fan of extended breastfeeding.  “No, I don’t think I would have breastfed them until they were four.  That’s simply too big already for me.  As for attachment parenting, I think my kids turned out pretty well adjusted and normal for being raised the old-fashioned way.”

Teacher Eli, on the other hand, totally enjoys breastfeeding and intends to do it for several years.  “Breastfeeding Basti to four years was always my intention, even when I was still pregnant.  Attachment parenting supports extended breastfeeding.  In fact, there are times that we already look like like the couple on the cover (of TIME),” she says.

The experience of breastfeeding wasn’t smooth-sailing in the beginning for Teacher Eli, but she kept at it nevertheless.  “Now at two years old, I would have to say it’s probably one of the biggest and best choices I’ve made for Basti.”

It’s a well-known fact though that not all mothers can or want to breastfeed, and Teacher Eli believes they shouldn’t be condemned for it.  “No one should be made to feel they’re less if they don’t breastfeed.  As a breastfeeding advocate, I will always try to promote breastfeeding and its benefits to anyone I meet, but at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to be good parents.  I’ve met some who express regret and guilt that they didn’t breastfeed but have learned to move past it.  They have great, healthy children.  No one should make them feel they didn’t do the best they could.”

To new mothers who plan to breastfeed, Teacher Eli gives this valuable advice: “Educate yourself.  Be informed on the basics of breastfeeding, know what to expect, involve your support system in the decision, and keep a positive mindset.”  If breastfeeding is a constant struggle for you, “Don’t hesitate to ask for help,” says Teacher Eli.  “We’re fortunate that breastfeeding advice is so easy to find these days.  Organizations like L.A.T.C.H., La Leche League, and the growing number of breastfeeding moms are all sources of help, guidance and information.  Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s a skill that needs to be learned and mastered by both mother and child.”  In addition, she lauds moms who are already breastfeeding their babies, congratulating them on doing a good job, and urging them to “Keep it up!”

Parenting, Pinoy-style 

 On attachment parenting, Teacher Eli gladly observes that many Filipinos already practice it.  “Attachment parenting is actually not uncommon to us Filipinos.  When I was reading on it, the practice sounded very Filipino and much like the way I was raised.  We are a breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping family.  Those three are the most obvious ways we “practice” attachment parenting, but there’s so much more to it than just that.  It’s a whole philosophy built on positive discipline, nurturing, empathy, and balance.  It doesn’t mean that if you don’t breastfeed, babywear or co-sleep, that you’re not an attachment parenting advocate anymore.  That is what I don’t like about the TIME cover.  It suggests that people who don’t do otherwise aren’t sufficiently parenting.  It’s preposterous.”

Is EB for you? 

Only a few mothers would continue to breastfeed their children well into their preschool years, or beyond the age of three.  But while it is ultra challenging, extended breastfeeding can also be tremendously gratifying, according to Atty. Jenny Ong, a L.A.T.C.H.-accredited breastfeeding peer counselor, lawyer, and government employee.

Jenny, who is currently breastfeeding her five-month-old son Erik, recounts that she breastfed her firstborn Naima until she was three years and five months.  She says that her daughter, now four, still breastfeeds occasionally –once or twice a week for five minutes or less – usually when she sees her brother breastfeeding.  Here, she shares the pros and cons of extended breastfeeding.

Pros:  “A big pro is the comfort that I am easily able to give my child.  We love traveling and she doesn’t have any difficulty adjusting when we go to new places or meet new faces.  She also easily sleeps at night, which I attribute to nursing.  I also believe that she has grown to be a confident little girl because of attachment parenting and extended breastfeeding.  This summer, teachers at her art school and ballet classes informed me that my daughter comforts other four-year-old classmates who are crying or do not want to be left alone during class.”

Cons:  “Acrobatic positions.  My daughter nurses in whatever position she feels like.  Plus since she can walk and move independently, one con was when she wanted to nurse in public – she simply lifts my shirt or pulls down my top.  Dealing with comments from people around me, particularly from colleagues at work, is another…what I dislike most is the comment, “She’s still nursing until now?!” with raised eyebrows and an incredulous voice.”

Jenny’s advice to moms who plan to breastfeed for as long as possible is to “Take it one day at a time.  Don’t compare yourself with other moms.  Each mom has a different parenting style and we all parent the best way we can to our children.”  She adds that preparation, patience and perseverance are the keys to breastfeeding success.  “It pays to be well read, well researched and well-informed so you can properly address the issues raised by naysayers.”

The SM Breastfeeding Issue: UPDATE

I got a call from Berna Velasco, the Director for the SM Breastfeeding Program. Here are the points of our conversation:

  • SM does not and will never have a policy of disallowing breastfeeding in public in SM Malls.
  • The breastfeeding stations are a courtesy extended to mothers who wish to breastfeed their children, but they are also a symbol that SM is a supporter of breastfeeding anywhere. We both agreed that they are much like the special parking slots reserved for PWDs. Would you require a PWD to park ONLY in the designated parking area and nowhere else?
  • There is no policy or directive given to staff and security of SM to approach mothers who are nursing in public places and ask them to proceed to the breastfeeding room as a requirement.

We are meeting on Monday to talk more about the matter, as well as discuss SM’s reorientation and awareness programs for the following  year. Updates to follow!

Great news right? Go breastfeeding!

Oh, a few more personal points:

  • It is not my place as a breastfeeding counselor to consciously manipulate and impose my own comfort level of discretion on a mother. If it is her concern and she asks for tips on how to discreetly nurse, I will do so. Feelings and discomfort of others are something to be handled differently, and goes below our goals to 1) feed the child, 2) support the mother. I am hoping we’re all mostly mature enough to understand that. There has been so much that occurred between the time when public nursing was accepted to these times of altered norms and values that we have a lot of ground to cover before people accept that mammary glands are what they are. I hope someday seeing nursing women in public becomes the norm again. Do you imagine a world where people would be offended by the sight of a formula-feeding mother? I can’t but who knows? It might happen.
  • To all the trolls commenting about ogling mothers nursing, please do approach and ogle me when I am nursing because I would love to slap you with a lawsuit for acts of lewd conduct and sexual harassment. Those hiding behind fake accounts, you only become significant when you use your real name and face. Before that you are nothing but a loser and a coward, not just online, but I highly suspect, in real life as well.

Beauty, Brains and Breastfeeding Billboards: The Launch

I was invited to the unveiling of the latest campaign by Beauty, Brains and Breastfeeding last week at Lolo Dad’s at 6750. BBB is an organization that focuses on empowering women to breastfeed through information drives. This latest endeavor is in partnership with UNICEF.

Heading the organization as Director is Iza Abeja, and joining her for the campaign are UNICEF advocate for children Daphne Oseña-Paez and celebrity mom Patricia Bermudez-Hizon.

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Iza breastfed her son Joaquin till he was six, and is still breastfeeding her daughter Amina, who is now four years old. Daphne breastfed all of her three daughters, Sophia, Lily and Stella, for at least 12 months. Patricia breastfed her sons Vicente and Paul, and told her how her husband Vince was her number one supporter during her breastfeeding journey.

The organization wants to emphasize the importance of support for breastfeeding in the workplace and also in the family, proper information and benefits about breastfeeding, and making people aware of the state of breastfeeding in the country.

We were able to sit down with these awesome women to talk about the campaign.
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Of course we were there to see the unveiling of these:

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There should already be a billboard as well on MIA Road in Pasay City, on the DILG Building on EDSA and one in Philcoa in Quezon City. More billboards are under negotiation and should be up soon.

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I think this is a great campaign! The more mothers are empowered and informed about breastfeeding, then the better this world will become.

Have you seen the billboards? Tweet me a pic! Send me a tweet through @PaintersWifePH.

 

Give Life, Live Life. Breastfeed!

Once again it’s that time of the year – World Breastfeeding Month!

I’m so excited because there are so many things going on for this year. I was privileged to be part of a series of activities that will be launched by L.A.T.C.H. The tagline for 2011 is:

It’s such a wonderful, uplifting message and I think it embodies everything that breastfeeding represents. There’s also a special feature in the latest Working Mom magazine about nursing in public which is really one of the best and simplest ways to advocate breastfeeding.

I have to give a special WOOT! to my friend Marilen Montenegro and Iago (2nd row, first picture) and of course Buding Aquino-Dee, good friend and head mom of L.A.T.C.H. (1st row, 3rd pic). I met Anna Ongpin (1st row, 2nd pic) on the set of L.A.T.C.H.’s next round of campaign material. We had a short but lovely conversation about theater, life, satchels and of course, breastfeeding!

To see the full spread, get your copy of Working Mom now.

The magazine will also serve as your entrance pass to the All About Baby fair on August 13, 2011 at the Rockwell Tent. L.A.T.C.H. will have a booth there and you can drop by to meet the L.A.T.C.H. ladies, attend a free class and get free breastfeeding counseling!

What a great way to start off World Breastfeeding Month! There’s more coming up, so watch out!

I Am A Breastfeeding Mom

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (July).  For this month, we join the National Nutrition Council – Department of Health in celebrating Nutrition Month with the theme “Isulong ang Breastfeeding – Tama, Sapat at EKsklusibo!” Participants will share their experiences in promoting breastfeeding or their tips on how breastfeeding should be promoted.  Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants.

When I got pregnant, I may not have been sure of what kind of parent I wanted to be except for one thing: I was going to breastfeed.

Except I had no clue had to go about it.

Thankfully, I was smart enough to know that breastfeeding, as tranquil and effortless it seemed on TV, is not automatic. Natural, yes. Automatic, no. With that mindset, I sought out resources – friends who breastfed, Facebook contacts who posted status updates about breastfeeding, whatever. With an open mind, I attended a breastfeeding class with my husband, and the rest as they say, is blog history. In my little corner of the internet, I shared my thoughts, my stories, my tears and frustrations. And for some reason, people read, they related and passed the word along.

I’m just one mom, and I’m not a media personality who has the power to influence millions of mothers through my choices (yes, I mean them who chose to promote formula milk). But I will try my best to spread the word and help mothers make the INFORMED choice about breastfeeding their kids. Sometimes, information is all moms need to start.

I am fearless. I breastfeed anywhere. And I mean ANYWHERE. In a tricycle, at the checkout line of the supermarket, buying fish, during meetings – ANYWHERE. I don’t wait till the “proper time and place” for breastfeeding because in my view there is no such thing. I do it with or without a cover, and I smile and engage people in conversation when they look at me curiously. Most of the time, these people have questions, if not for themselves, but for people they know, and I take it as an opportunity to talk about breastfeeding and lead them to the proper support channels if they need more help. I will breastfeed Basti well into his toddler years if he chooses not to wean and I will not be a “closet nurser”, or those who say they have weaned their 2+-year old child but nurse them still at home.

I am informed. I try my best to keep up with the trends, not just on the facts of breastfeeding, its benefits and anything medically-related, but also on current news and events. I find out what the formula companies are up to, what organizations are supporting breastfeeding, ongoing campaigns in others countries, and also the media personalities who promote breastfeeding and also those who promote formula. I like knowing how the advocacy is moving forward, or being held back, and I love reading stories on its triumphs and successes. They make for good sharing when speaking with others. I hope to, someday, be actually trained as a counselor. (I really should, given all the questions I get about breastfeeding because of this blog!)

I am involved. I find out about what organizations are doing to promote breastfeeding and I take part in however I can. Be it a simple click of a Paypal button to donate, or to pose for pictures in an exhibit, take a friend’s call when she’s having breastfeeding blues, do a breastfeeding testimonial at a parent talk, take part in a PSA or even just wear a statement shirt in AugustI do something. One mother who gets the message will spread to 10 others. Though I love learning from the professionals, I also love meeting other moms who breastfeed and love hearing their stories.

I am supportive. The words that kept me going while I was going through my own breastfeeding blues were like gold to me. I am a cheerleader to every mother’s little successes – a good latch, milk supply going up, breastfeeding beyond the expected period, or even just plain MAKING THE CHOICE. It always brings me to tears.

Awareness is so vital. Some people don’t realize just how wonderful breastfeeding is and the mothers who choose it for their children are changing the world one baby at a time. Every mother who breastfeeds not only saves on healthcare costs for their family but also saves the country thousands of dollars as well. I don’t believe we are no match for the marketing specialists of formula companies. We have a product that’s way better than anything they produce, it’s free and it’s perfect. But we need to act on spreading the word, one mother at a time, in our own little ways in whichever corner of the world we are.

I am a breastfeeding mom. And I am so proud of it!

Other participating moms here. Please check them out!

W-u-r-r-w-u-r-r-w-u-r-r by Martha de Lusong (@frannie17) hosted by Jen CC Tan‘s MomExchange (@next9baby)
The Low-Milk-Supply Mommy Did It! by The Odyssey of Dinna 
More Breastfeeding Promotion Plus a Guest Post by Chronicles of a Nursing Mom (@mamababylove).  Guest post by Shaps Lim (@cromartielove)

Bohemian, Shmohebian. It’s All Parenting To Me

So I grew up in a traditional household. I went to the most traditional of traditional schools. I hung out with great, nice people, and I always knew the right place to be at the right time.

And then I went and exposed my real self by marrying a temperamental hermit painter who I just met a couple of months before our wedding date. Not only that, I got pregnant and spawned. So much for the status-quo, huh.

I was expected to marry a nice.. banker.. or an accountant.. at least someone with a calling card. It was expected that I was going to send my kid to my alma mater or if it was a boy (yay, Basti!) to the school for boys where I got my college education. (I still do maintain that my university is the ONLY university in Manila I would allow my son to attend, if he does decide to attend college one day)

Here I am now, yaya-less, purely breastfeeding and planning to do so into Basti’s toddler years and planning to homeschool as well. Basti is just 4 months old, and I’ve already had to deal with people who are not so keen and have raised an eyebrow (or two) on how I plan to raise my child.

Number One: The No-Yaya Policy

People have thought me a masochist for not hiring help. To them, it’s a silly and unnecessary choice to be tired, exhausted and permanently attached to my baby, at least for the next few years. To me, that’s not the choice I am making. Instead, I look at it as a chance to hold my baby in these days that he needs to be held, for my smell to be permanently engraved in his subconscious, to see and get to know my baby as he grows every minute of everyday. I think other mommies can relate to this. I will be selfish with my baby because he will grow up too fast and too soon, and I want him to know that his mom loved him every minute he was doing so. I am grateful that my husband has given me freedom to be a stay-at-home mom and that’s what I’m going to be. I’ll probably get some help when he’s older, but right now, the baby smell and the baby breath is ALL MINE!!

Number Two: Toddler Breastfeeding

“Masyadong malaki na yan mag-breastfeed pag 2 years old na or more.”

“May malisya na at that time.”

“Mas maganda na yata ang formula milk sa malaki. Pang-baby lang ang breastmilk.”

Isa lang ang masasabi ko. Ano ba. Mas marunong pa kayo kay God. He made breasts for milk, it was man who put the malice in it.

I will never stop mentioning this. The lack of education on the benefits of breastfeeding, plus the social stigma that has stained its purity is insane. I find it in breastfeeding rooms, in mommy mixers, and even in the closest of my friends and family members. I love how some people have embraced the breastfeeding experience with me, especially my mom, who admits she has learned a lot since Basti was born. I love her – she was there for me all throughout the birth and the first few weeks of Basti’s life, and goes with me to every pediatric checkup. My dad even thought that breastmilk stopped flowing at a certain point. He thought that babies just eventually went on the bottle and on formula because the mom had no choice. Heck, some moms even think they have no choice but formula. All these myths were broken for me on the very first day of breastfeeding class. If you’re an expectant mom and even if you have half-hearted or no plans at all to breastfeed, please at least attend a class and make an informed choice about breastfeeding versus formula. The benefits outweigh the pain, which is no more than just a brief period, really!

Number Three: Homeschooling

Reactions I’ve received to the statement, “We’re going to homeschool Basti.”

“You’re so lucky! I wish I could do the same.”

“What? You’re going to turn your child into a hermit!”

I prefer speaking to people of the first statement than the second. I believe you will only turn your child into a hermit from homeschooling if you lock the child in a room and not let anyone speak to him. The notion that school is the only place for socialization annoys me. I’ve met so many people from other places outside school: dance class, theater class, swimming class, gymnastics class, diving, badminton… My mother made it a point to encourage activities outside school and I will do the same for my child. In fact, the whole point of us homeschooling Basti is so that we go about the regimented school stuff as fast as we can, never worry about grades and honors, and be able to go out, and spend time in the world as a family. Orley goes as far to say that all he cares about is that Basti can read and write, and count money. That’s about all he expects Basti to learn from “school.”

My own principle is that I simply just don’t like how kids are growing up these days. I do not want the icons of Basti to be on the Cartoon Network or on a PSP screen. I don’t want him asking me for a cellphone at 8 years old. I want him to appreciate the simple things in life and enjoy it using his five senses. I don’t want the major part of his day spent in school and just a few hours with me and his dad. I don’t want our lives dictated by school holidays since my husband has a tendency to pack up and take trips with but 10 minutes to pack. It’s not important that Basti makes a lot of friends; we’ll be content with a handful of trusted buddies than a gaggle of acquaintances.

And on a more manipulative note, Orley and I are going for the art. In the age-old discussion between nature vs. nurture in how our kids will turn out when they grow up, we already have nature in our court. If we nurture Basti into the arts, then he will be an artist. Fingers crossed. Orley is hoping that even if Basti is a carbon-copy of me, his talent has somewhat seeped into our baby’s DNA. We’re hoping for a one-man exhibit by Basti’s 15th birthday.

It’s not going to be easy, and contrary to popular belief, not inexpensive either. I’m lucky I know a handful of people who are into homeschooling and enjoying it to the hilt. I’m really looking forward to their for guidance and advice.

So I’m taking the road less traveled. I never had a problem with that, and neither does my husband. With any luck, Basti won’t either!

August Is World Breastfeeding Month

This is my official World Breastfeeding Month entry for 2010. I’m sure blog surfers out there have encountered mommy blogs that tout, “Breast is best!” or “It’s the most natural thing in the world!” and all sorts of Hallmark-card and Paolo Coelho-esque inspirational messages.

Well, this entry is not one of them.

I’m focusing on hard facts.

One of the most often comments I get when people learn I am purely breastfeeding is this: “You’re so LUCKY you have milk!”

Guess what people, I am NOT lucky. I am INFORMED.

I’ve gone through the rounds of mommy blogs, both local and international. Save for a few, most are still posting how they could not breastfeed for some reason or the other – and all the reasons are wrong. Nothing a simple breastfeeding class or a talk with a lactation consultant could’ve solved. Here are some situations that made me shake my head in sadness:

– A mom fed her baby formula because she pitied the baby because she had “no milk”. She didn’t even try to latch.

– A mom didn’t even try to breastfeed because her mom and all her sisters had “no milk” hence breastfeeding doesn’t run in the family.

– Another mom pumped and pumped the day after her delivery, found she couldn’t get any milk and therefore concluded she had “no milk”. She didn’t try to latch. She gave up on breastfeeding and her doctor let her without informing her otherwise.

I am convinced: education leads to lactation. Though many moms express the desire to breastfeed, a lack of knowledge on the how leads to early discouragement. I’m with organizations such as L.A.T.C.H. and La Leche League in their advocacy to promote and educate everyone about breastfeeding. It’s not just about you and your baby, it’s also spreading the word and making our society a safe and friendly place for breastfeeding mothers. I’m lucky I’ve never encountered people who ridiculed or confronted me while I was breastfeeding in public, but it happens.

Picture from birthyourwayjax.com

So to all moms out there who want to breastfeed: Educate to Lactate! Shatter the breastfeeding myths! Make the informed choice and prepare to face the challenges and receive the rewards of breastfeeding your child. Lastly and importantly, SPREAD THE WORD.

To my mommy friends who supported me during my breastfeeding blues, thank you.

To Abbie Yabot and The Breastfeeding Club, I am grateful to you.

To Amelia Ann and the rest of L.A.T.C.H., I am with you!

And to all my fellow breastfeeding moms who go through everything and rejoice at that indubitable sensation of the perfect latch – I SALUTE YOU!

Happy World Breastfeeding Month!!!

P.S. Be there on Sunday for Eastwood Mall’s culminating event that celebrates breastfeeding! Brought to you by L.A.T.C.H. and Eastwood Mall!