Pinays are not breastfeeding enough

9:02 AM Wednesday, March 28, 2007



But we all grew up seeing women breastfeeding. How can this be true?

Actually, I don't have statistics to refer you to... but Apa Ongpin made that claim in an article he wrote for Working Mom magazine (October 2006, "Why I Love Boobs"). He said that "breastfeeding advocates discovered in their surveys that many Filipinos believe that formula is better than breastmilk".

At first, I really couldn't believe it to be accurate. I grew up seeing women nursing in jeepneys and sidewalks and while indulging in syetehan. But as I read on, I realized that it must be true indeed, for we wouldn't be called Pinoys if we didn't have colonial mentality really bad.

And so, our breastfeeding history goes... we were enculturated to choose formula as a better option since they're imported, and our women had to work, and everything just became a race to be more like the 'developed' countries.

If you must know, there is even a boycott going on against Nestle for playing the biggest role of having formula come between a child and his mother's breasts.

Need more proof that we're not breastfeeding enough? Telenovelas show struggling mothers banging on cans of milk as they struggle to feed their infants... the urban poor buy evap milk or powdered milk in un-labeled plastic packaging (or Bear Brand if they have the money) to feed their babies. And UNICEF found out that Philippines logs 16,000 child deaths every year caused by formula feeding. Add to this the cases of malnutrition, illnesses and complications and you'd be a corpse not to be staggered by the immensity of the problem.

Need more proof?

Did you know that:
1) It is very rare for a woman not to be able to produce milk for her young?
2) And that breastfeeding is a matter of supply and demand... and the mother's body will ultimately produce the required amount of milk to sustain a baby exclusively for the first 6 months of life?
3) That even women who have never been pregnant, or aren't pregnant, can produce milk... and breastfeeding adopted babies is possible?
4) That breast milk cannot be replicated, because it's not just food but also protection for the baby due to the antibodies it contains?
5) That size of breasts doesn't matter where production of milk is concerned?
6) That women who are sick with common illnesses (colds, flu) can and should breastfeed all the more to pass on their antibodies to their young?
7) That you cannot overfeed a baby with breast milk because breast milk adjusts to the baby's needs as he develops, due to a natural feedback system between the child and the breasts?
8) That nipples are self-cleaning?
9) That breast milk is always the right temperature?
10) That it requires a different sucking motion to get milk from breasts (some tongue action is also required), which is why bottle-fed babies will always prefer the bottles/artificial nipples because they don't have to work as much to get their milk?
11) That sucking from the breasts actually allow for a better jaw alignment for the child?
12) That breastfeeding lessens cancer risks for both the baby and the mother?
13) That breastfeeding has good long term effects to both mother and child?
14) That breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months can actually save the middle-income family at least P25,000, not including the savings from wastage, sterilization, cost of having a healthier baby, etc?
15) That breastfeeding does not really need to hurt, once you master proper latching?
16) That babies are unlikely to be allergic to breast milk, but may have allergic reactions to things you eat that are passed onto your breast milk?

Did any of you know these things? Have you even heard of a third of these things? We've always been told by formula commercials that breastfeeding is still best for babies, but we're not being told why. I'm sure am not alone when I say that I know a lot of women who have given birth and not breastfed because they believed they didn't have milk, or that breastfeeding will ruin their figures. Doctors and nurses don't even push a mother to nurse in most hospitals here.

But there is hope for us yet. GMA has made a token move of acknowledging that we must breastfeed more. I say token move because I have yet to feel the campaigns for this... and I had to learn of the above by attending a breastfeeding lecture and really doing research. I'm one of the educated and I still had to seek the information and support out... which should not be the case if the government is really intent in saving the economy and saving the Filipino children.

I am even put to shame by the fact that most women I know will research on outfits and overspend on baby stuff and accessories the minute they find out they're pregnant, without giving thought first on how they plan to actually take care of their child. Because breastfeeding is taking care of your child... and it is not just a choice one makes, but a commitment that will entail sacrifices and require a certain way of life.

I pride myself with having made the decision and commitment to breastfeed even before I actually saw myself married. And I thank heavens for the means i've had to have come onto the necessary information to really enlighten and empower me to do so, now that i'm pregnant.

And I am one of the lucky ones who can give birth in a hospital with a more informed staff, hospitals that allow rooming-in, that have lactation experts, breastfeeding advocate doctors, etc.

Others are not, however, and we must help the breastfeeding movement. Do not be misled anymore.

Breastfeed, Pinay, breastfeed!


For more info on breastfeeding, Ask Dr. Sears.


BTW, my girls have ballooned to 38B already... :)

jerks are made of men

8:03 AM Friday, March 23, 2007

I was trying not to fall asleep yesterday, so I went online and did my internet rounds (which, these days, is limited to reading up on anything and everything about pregnancy, of course)... an old gimik buddy (and one I used to flirt with before) messaged me in YM and we got to chatting.

Since he has impregnated someone last year, we talked about babies and the cost of having them. I even asked him if he could help us find a maid, since JRA and I are really useless at home, and due to my delicate pregnancy and my hubs' workload, the house is really becoming a pig sty.

Anyway... so on and on it went, our conversation.

And just like any other man, he had to verify if pregnancy makes women hornier. I was honest in my reply that I'm not really sure, seeing as sexual contact is a no-no for me (both orgasm and intercourse) right now... and it's really pointless to fantasize or self-titillate when I can't get release in the end.

And then he told me about all the other women he's sleeping with, while living with the mother of his child, and planning their wedding. He admits to knowing it's bad... but other women just turn him on, while his partner does not.

He even tries to rationalize what he's doing as saving his relationship... something about variety making him stay with his girlfriend.

Of course I told him it's all bull... that he just doesn't have a faithful bone in his body. And I told him i'd just pray that his girlfriend is also sleeping around... :)


When I was planning my wedding, I steered clear of MTC and my friends there... because I knew that the married men in my peer group were sleeping around, and that most of the women had no compunction of sleeping with married men. Add to that all the other tales I read or hear about...

Having been married for over a year now, I am not exempt from the temptations. A woman doesn't have to be pretty and really engaging even, because it's enough for a man's ego that you will betray your husband just to have sex with him. And I continue to 'meet' married men online, guys who chat me up by virtue of my libidinal reputation, who proposition me.

And I can't help but feel sad, a little, about being relegated to 'black book possibility'. After all, to a married man, you can't be anything more than a fling.

And I can't help but feel afraid, a little, knowing that even the most loving of wives get betrayed.

And I can't help but feel offended, a lot, for my fellow women... who are blind-sided by their love and trust.

And I can't help but feel sad again, a lot, because there's a bigger probability that these men, once caught, will be forgiven... if only to save the family.

If only forgiving them meant that they've become better partners... and not just better at hiding their affairs.

If only forgiving them doesn't mean enabling them... if only forgiving them doesn't perpetuate the belief that it's ok for a man to sleep around.

So yeah, jerks are made of men... and are made with women.


I know, married women can sleep around too.


And I wouldn't have a problem with the extra-marital affairs if they are 'blessed' by the spouse. But how many are in that kind of an 'open relationship'?

bye, Bessie...

6:25 PM Friday, March 16, 2007

I'm trying very hard not to be overly upset... but my ex texted me today to tell me of the news that his eldest sister died this morning.

Bessie underwent heart surgery last year, and I vowed to visit her but never got around to doing it. After all, we had our hands full with Py too... and I think I felt a little embarrased to go.

How come? Well... we were close when I was going out with her brother... and that was close to a decade ago. She once even went here on a Christmas Day with Ex, bringing gifts, and upsetting our parrot.

She was kind to me and my sister. I loved her and my ex's mother as much as I loved my ex. And breaking up with the ex, I actually mourned losing them as future family. But of course, after the break-up, we lost touch.

I feel so bad for not having visited her when she just came out of the hospital... for not bringing her the cake I planned to bring her. Tomorrow, i'd be going to her wake and I know my heart will break... for her... for her Mom (who's already 75)... for our reunion to be so sad like this.

I'm also slightly upset that the superstition of it being bad for pregnant women to attend wakes is getting to me a little... not really because I believe in it 100%, but because I am on bedrest and have been discharging blood for two days now (as opposed to just having blood along with my discharge).

But I know I have to go... and say my goodbye to someone who was very nice to me.


When Py died, my friend G consoled me (and herself as well, I think) by texting me that she's sure her precious LJ was showing Py around heaven.

I couldn't help but text my Ex the same... that am sure Py would only be too happy to take her hand and show her around heaven too. Or get her to take care of him.


Really trying not to cry. But not crying might be doing me more damage than good, no?


I have often missed you, Bessie. But now there's no more pain for you... let's just pray together so your parents will be comforted, and your family will be supported as they deal with losing you.

new 7 wonders of the world

5:29 PM Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The concept actually saddened me a little bit, but it is true that of the original seven wonders, only the Pyramids of Giza remain.

So now, they're choosing the new seven wonders of the world. As of this writing, there are only 116 days left to vote... the new list will be announced during the Official Declaration Ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal on July 07, 2007 (07-07-07).

I have already voted... I chose wonders from the old world, like the Pyramids of Giza, and Stonehenge: buildings, effigies, structures that continue to remain a mystery, that continue to fascinate, that are hard to replicate.

I'm sure i'd be in awe of, say, the Statue of Liberty, or the Eiffel Tower, or the Taj Mahal... but these structures, though they symbolize freedom, hope and love, will never elicit enough wonder. The Statue of Liberty IS a statue, the Eiffel Tower IS a tower, and the Taj Mahal IS a glorious resting place... but the Great Pyramid of Giza, supposedly a pharaoh's resting place, has yet to prove it was used as a tomb by King Cheops, and the Stonehenge remains an intriguing structure of unknown builders.

And, up to this time... wonders from the old world continue to amaze scientists and engineers because of the unique effort and planning that went in their construction. Heck, the Great Wall of China took centuries to make!

I am actually surprised that the Nazca Lines didn't make it in the final list, because it's also very wonderfully mystical and amazing.

And of course, it is quite sad that our own Banaue Rice Terraces was not included, since it's always been touted as the Eighth Wonder of the World (was it only in our country?). Then again, I have to be realistic. The NEW Wonders should be enduring... and our once beautiful rice terraces have been neglected as the Ifugaos took to new ways of being (the terraces are kinda high-maintenance, requiring back-breaking manual labor in the heat of sun and thinning ozone layer), and worms continue to flourish in and destroy the terraces. Sigh.

Anyway, my opinions are my opinions... but I really hope people around the world will vote, not because the structure is in their country or their continent... but because it is a true testament to ingenuity, beuty and mystique.

I made an icon at my sidebar... :) Have a say, people, and vote!

on thermometers

10:41 AM Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Of course, am fully on Mommy-mode right now (even if i've been reduced to this pill-popping, bedridden woman), so I was trying to come up with the baby essentials we'd buy for our baby.

Doing my research, I deduced that one of the wisest things to have around is a thermometer.

But what kind to have?

Oral thermometers, those mercury-based ones, are the same ones we generally use for armpits too, since babies won't put it in their mouth anyway.

And well, using a rectal thermometer isn't really appealing for me. Yuck.

And then, there are the digital thermometers now... I guess for those who seldom can read the mercury rising from the old-type thermometers. One of them is the ear thermometer, perfect for the fussy child.

But wait, what's this... a NIPPLE thermometer??!? Where the heck do you measure the temperature from? (I mean if you use an oral one in the mouth, a rectal one in the anus and an ear one on an ear...)

Well, turns out they're also called PACIFIER THERMOMETERS :) They actually provide the nipples, which the baby will suck on... and won't be requiring some other nipple before telling the temperature.

I'm going to have my sis buy me one in the US... they're supposedly easy to wash, and we intend to have our baby have exclusive use of his/hers, and they're relatively cheap (OK, not so cheap if we plan to buy the one in the P600-700 range... but still, hehe).

We're investing on an ear thermometer too... and intend to also use a mercury-type one.


It's just really so fun to shop nowadays for baby stuff, because here are all these suppliers coming up with never-before heard things... which most often that not, parents won't really need or use anyway. Hehe.

But I will concede, technology has made the essentials more practical to use. :)

american idol

11:00 PM Friday, March 02, 2007

Because i've mostly been staying home, I get to enjoy a lot of American Idol, Season 6.

I just adore Melinda Doolittle. Simon has commented on it again and again, but truly, her lack of air is just so refreshing! She's my top fave, followed by Lakisha and Jordin.

I also actually like Sanjaya's voice, but feel he hasn't done anything to deserve not being voted off.

And please, please, please... people, stop voting for Antonella!!! She has a good enough voice but she's absolutely not in the same league as Melinda, Lakisha, Stephanie, Jordin, Sabrina and Gina. The most she has going for her is her looks but talent-wise, she's as stiff as a corpse! And her bravado doesn't befit her since she can't outsing most of the Idol contestants.


I don't much care for the guys... but absolutely loved how Sundance cried during the eliminations tonight. But it's also really time for Sanjaya to be voted off. Honestly!

Anyway, I hope Melinda wins. Lakisha has such a strong and powerful voice but I think she'd end up like Mendisa and get voted off. It also doesn't help both Lakisha and Melinda that they're not slim and pretty... after all, packaging always counts. Which is why I wouldn't be surprised if Stephanie bags it, since she's already polished enough.


Don't anyone get me started on The Amazing Race: All Stars too.