Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mom's breast friend

“Mom’s breast friend”
Sun.Star Davao, Dec. 1, 2012
When it comes to breastfeeding, the help and expertise of a relative, friend or a health expert during the adjustment stage of an overwhelmed mother is invaluable and crucial.

In 2004, hands-on mommies Lyn Buyco-Tan, Alex Morris-Hao, Sharmila Barretto-Ong and Jolla Amparo-Soriaga banded themselves together to form Mommy Sense, a breastfeeding support group based in Davao.

Through the challenges and joys of breastfeeding, the founders and key group members supported one another. Eventually, their Mommy Sense network grew as more meaningful activities beyond breastfeeding were added such as lectures by experts on “First Aid for Infants and Toddlers”; “Guidelines for Proper Stimulation of Infants and Toddlers”; “Dental Health for Babies and Toddlers”; among others.

In the past, the group also organized a successful photo exhibit entitled “Portraits of Love, Celebrating the Mother-Child Bonds of Breastfeeding” and “The Gifts of Breastfeeding”--A Mommy Meet and Skills Seminar which gathered over 500 mommies and mommies-to-be at the SM Davao Event Center.
Recently, the breastfeeding support group organized its 1st Mommy Sense Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Training through Arugaan and the Rotary Club 2000.

Arugaan is a Filipino term meaning “to nurture fully with lifetime commitment”. It is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that acts as a support system for women with infants and young children.  Arugaan is under the big umbrella of two international organizations, World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) which promote, protect and support breastfeeding.  

Thanks to the generosity of Rotary Club 2000, the speakers from Arugaan were able to come to Davao from Manila for the two-day training held at Lispher Inn. They were Velvet Roxas (head trainor and breastfeeding guru); Richilda Talle or “Nanay Rich” (lactation massage specialist); and Cristina G. Cervantes (junior trainor/wet nurse).

“This was something we having been planning for the longest time. We want, not a panel of breastfeeding experts, but of women who have the right information; have at least seen manual hand expression work beautifully; and can confidently and happily come to the aid of a breastfeeding friend who is having a difficult time or may have some questions”, explains Alex Hao, Mommy Sense co-founder.

The activity was attended by mothers and some hospital staff from Brokenshire Hospital and San Pedro Hospital.

After the series of lectures during the first day, the second and final day was considered as the highlight of the training with a host of hands-on activities such as lactation massage, demo counseling, cup feeding sample and working with latching on.

“During the training, there was a baby who experienced cup feeding for the first time. And, we were happy to see that she took to cup feeding really well”, shares Alex, who is a mother of four.

Alex clarifies that the mothers behind Mommy Sense are not breastfeeding experts but breastfeeding peer counselors. “We can lend a hand when it comes to breastfeeding and we have breastfeeding meet ups (for schedules, check the Facebook Mommy Sense page)”, she adds.

In addition, Alex says that Mommy Sense is not a breast milk bank. “It just happens that most moms in the group have young babies and can donate breast milk in special circumstances”, she discloses.

With a lot of mothers getting more passionately involved in guiding fellow mommies through their breastfeeding journey, the future of breastfeeding in Davao looks so bright!

E-mail the author at Visit

No comments: