All mommies are quite familiar with the tagline: “Breastfeeding is best for babies.” For all the moms who know how it is to breastfeed, who have breastfed in the past, or who are currently pregnant and plan to breastfeed, I have good news for you.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states the following in its report on “Global strategy on infant and young child feeding”:
“Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.
Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infan ts should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding from birth is possible except for a few medical conditions, and unrestricted exclusive breastfeeding results in ample milk production.”
We are not alone in our search for the best breastfeeding support community to join, if you are looking for one. Two breastfeeding-advocate-minded local enterprises are holding a post-Breastfeeding Awareness Month event to help provide breastmilk to needy babies, namely “Mommy Milkshare: A MilkDrive for Moms Who Care.” This will take placefrom 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September 5, 2015, at The Parenting Emporium, 29 1st Street, New Manila, Quezon City.
The beginnings of a noteworthy event
“It all started when Jem Perez-Chua and Geraldyn Perez, the owners of Honeysuckle Philippines, approached us with this idea to ‘give back’ by organizing a milkletting activity,” Maricel Cua, co-founder of The Parenting Emporium (TPE) shares.
“We gladly agreed to co-organize because, as part of our advocacy on nutrition, one of our beneficiaries is the TPE Milksharing Hub*. The TPE Milksharing Hub fully supports milkletting activities like this, and responsible milk sharing,” she continues.
“We have participated in several milkletting efforts organized by local governments, hospitals, and even private groups. All collected milk from this particular event will go to the Fabella Milk Bank.”
Jem shares why she and her sister Geraldyn though of holding the MilkShare event. “We’ve been distributing Honeysuckle breastmilk bags for over a year now and given the reception of Filipina moms to our brand, we want to give back as well,” she says.
“We found out that the concept of breastmilk donation is not common knowledge, and some moms actually end up with a lot of ‘old frozen breastmilk’ because their babies simply weren’t able to consume all of their stored milk.
“So we thought — wouldn’t it be wonderful if another baby was able to benefit from that stored breastmilk instead? It could possibly even save lives!”
In addition, Jem and Geraldyn feel that there are “very few brands / organizations that are willing to set up breastmilk drives, because these events are really non-profit.” “So we want to help however way we can in something we feel very strongly about,” she adds.
Raising awareness, spreading the word about the advocacy
This mommy blogger joins this advocacy and 100% supporting the Mommy MilkShare event this year and in the coming years.
“For this first event, we reached out to The Parenting Emporium for guidance and lots of help,” Jem shares. “We found out that they have so much experience in this type of activity and we have none!
“The Parenting Emporium even took care of looking for speakers exclusively for the mom-donors to listen to,” Jem continues. “So it’s really great that we are both very aligned on this endeavor, because we just really want to help moms in whatever way we can. We hope more brands can join us in this cause in the future.”
The Mommy Milkshare MilkDrive: Uniting moms for the “breast cause” ever
“We know the benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond just the first year of life so we want to raise awareness about the importance of donating excess breastmilk of moms — because there are so many babies who need the milk,” Jem emphasizes.
“We don’t want moms to ever consider feeding their babies with formula milk — especially in the few months, just because they think there is no other solution.”
Jem adds that donating breastmilk is very fulfilling because “you know that you are nurturing the life of another baby in need, on top of your own baby.”
“We hope that we will be able to help a lot of moms and babies with what we can collect and donate, in partnership with The Parenting Emporium,” she concludes.
Event details to take note of
The Mommy Milkshare milkletting event is open to all breastfeeding moms who wish to donate their milk. “There is no registration fee, but it is exclusive for breastmilk donors. Mommies should bring frozen milk, expressed within 3 months, and should also be willing to be screened,” Maricel expounds.
Aside from the milkletting activity, participants can expect different activities as well.
“Jem and Geraldyn wanted to help mothers at different levels, so we came up with the idea of free one-on-one consultations for 4 moms (the first 4 to register) with a volunteer International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or IBCLC,” Maricel shares. “There will also be relevant talks and lootbags for donors.”
It is hoped that through this event for moms by moms, the message of “growing together as parents” will be shared to all, and that parents — especially mothers — will be encouraged to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, and share what they have with others.
To pre-register for the event, kindly contact the TPE Events Hotline: 0917-8110821. For updates from The Parenting Emporium, please send an email to email@example.com or follow TPE on Facebook and Instagram @theparentingemporium. To get in touch with Honeysuckle Philippines, contact them on Facebook and on Instagram @honeysucklephils.
If you are interested in donating your excess milk to the TPE Milk Sharing Hub, you may contact Maricel Cua at 0917-6247246, or Katrina Mitra at (02) 7253723 / (02) 7386272. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. *Important reminders: Kindly prepare a Hepatitis-HIV profile that is less than six months old. If you have none, testing will be provided for free. Donated breastmilk should be less than three months old from date of expression.
Tune in to Making Working Moms Work author’s first and upcoming podcast interview due out on 11th of September at http://www.workingmotherhood.com/podcasts/ (also available on iTunes)