Natural Parenting Series: Rights of a Breastfeeding and Working Mother

This is the 2nd post of our guest, Jenny, from The Chronicles of a Nursing Mom on our natural parenting series. Last week, she posted about cloth diapering and today she talks about the rights of a breastfeeding and a working mother. 

 

One of the things that I am most proud and happy to have achieved is the establishment of lactation rooms in my work place.  I’ve written a series on how we were able to do about it and you can start with the first post.   Since it consists of about 5-6 posts, I decided to write a short version to help working moms set-up their own lactation room or policy in their office.

 

First, it is important to know your rights.  Under Republic Act No. 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009, working and breastfeeding moms are entitled to paid lactation periods:

Sec. 12. Lactation Periods. – Nursing employees shall be granted break intervals in addition to the regular time-off for meals to breastfeed or express milk.  These intervals, which shall include the time it takes an employee to get to and from the workplace lactation station, shall be counted as compensable hours worked.  The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) may adjust the same: Provided, That such intervals shall not be less than a total of forty (40) minutes for every eight (8) hour working period

Secondly, aside from providing paid lactation periods, Republic Act No. 10028 also provides for the establishment of lactation stations, including minimum requirements plus a specific statement that this lactation station must NOT be located inside the toilet:

Sec. 11. Establishment of Lactation Station – It is hereby mandated that all health and non-health facilities, establishments or institutions shall establish lactation stations.  The lactation station shall be adequately provided with the necessary equipment and facilities, such as: lavatory for hand-washing, unless there is an easily-accessible lavatory nearby; refrigeration or appropriate cooling facilities for storing expressed breastmilk; electrical outlets for breast pumpts; a small table; comfortable seats; and other items, the standards of which shall be defined by the Department of Health.  The lactation station shall not be located in the toilet.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health released the Implementing Rules and Regulations on 22 August 2011 and provides additional standards for lactation stations under Sec. 10 of the IRR – “The lactation station shall be clean, well ventilated, comfortable and free from contaminants and hazardous substances, and shall ensure the privacy for the women to express their milk and/or in appropriate cases, breastfeed their child.”

 

For the lactation period, the DOH further specifies that the duration and frequency of breaks may be agreed upon the the employees and employers with the minimum being 40 minutes.  The recommended period is 2-3 breastmilk expressions lasting 15-30 minutes each within a work day. (Sec. 12 of the IRR)

 

What I like best about the Implementing Rules and Regulations is that it requires the establishment of a workplace policy.  In my office, we have set-up 2 lactation rooms.  However, we do not have a policy in place yet.  Some moms shared that whenever they get up to go to the lactation rooms, some of their bosses give them that “look.”  If a workplace policy is set up, these moms wouldn’t have to worry about those “looks” from their bosses or officemates.  What does the IRR say about the workplace policy?

Section 9. Workplace Policy – Every workplace shall develop a clear set of guidelines that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding program.  The written policy should be developed in consultation with the workers, approved and properly disseminated to all concern.  The Nursing/Lactating employees should be oriented on the proper handling, labeling, and storage of their own expressed breastmilk.  The policy should be part of the company’s general policy or manual of operation, and the policy should operationalize the provision of this IRR.

I have written about a sample proposal for a workplace policy here.  So what’s the next step? It would be to identify the correct department to approach.  When we were setting up our lactation rooms, we were being bounced back and forth between the Human Resource Department and the Medical or Clinic Department.  We eventually identified the correct sector – the Wellness Division of the Human Resource Department.  

 

Despite the existence of these laws, nothing will happen if no employee steps up and takes the initiative to ask for a lactation room and establishment of a lactation policy from her workplace.  Hence, armed with information, it is up to YOU the employee to make it happen. Sometimes, the employer just doesn’t know about the existence of the law and most of them are receptive especially since the grant of this benefit includes tax benefits. So, approach your Human Resource Department and ask for your right to a lactation room and policy TODAY.  

Jenny is nominated in Smart Parenting Online and Sangobion Mommy Blogger Awards contest! Vote for her by clicking on the button below! 

Mommy Talks – Daphne Osena Paez

Mommy Talks

As August ends and September begins. Our special guest for Mommy Talks this week is a TV host, producer. business woman, UNICEF Special Advocate for Children and National Geographic Ambassador (Live Curious campaign). She is also a mother of 3. Let us all welcome Ms. Daphne Osena Paez.

Chris: Hello Daphne! Thanks for sharing your time with us today. We all know that you recommend breastfeeding. Can you share with us why did you choose to breastfeed? Was it an easy choice? How long did you breastfeed?

Daphne: It was just a natural process for me. I never considered any thing else. So in my first pregnancy I read up on it. I asked my pediatrician about it. Told her I was committed. I also got assistance from a lactation consultant who came to my house and gave me a lactation massage.

How long- I don’t want to discuss the length. My message is to promote exclusive Breastfeeding for the first 6 months- exclusive means no water, no substitutes, no supplements, no baby food or formula. Then complementary feeding from 6 months onwards.

Chris: Did you encounter any problems? Can you share a certain experience? Share any tips on breastfeeding.

Daphne: Seek help from a Breastfeeding community. Go slow. Dont overdo in the beginning or you’ll be sore. Get lactation massage.

Yes on my 2nd baby I had developed a breast infection. Severe form of mastitis. I had a breast ultrasound. Doctor removed pus. I was on medication. Stopped feeding for 3 weeks. But continued to pump on my non-sick breast. Dumped the milk. Then when medically cleared I fed my baby again on the good breast. My infected breast had to heal.

Chris: What is your most unforgettable breastfeeding adventure?

Daphne: too many to share 🙂 I guess traveling to north America w the babies. It’s so easy. You can travel light.

Chris: Can you share any other tips or insights on breastfeeding?

Daphne: People always ask me how I did it – work and breastfeed. I wish I could say it’s as easy as bringing a breast pump and expressing milk every 3-4 hours. I mean it is, but it also takes more than that. Breastfeeding is a choice and a commitment. Yes I brought a manual breast pump with me everywhere I went. I also carried an insulated cooler-type lunch box to keep the milk refrigerated while in transit. I pumped in the car, in mall fitting rooms and in the makeup room. I had established a system of refrigeration and freezing. I did all that, but not all by myself.

The success of my breastfeeding relied heavily on the support of my husband, the entire household, my doctors, my work colleagues and friends. Everyone knew I was a breastfeeding mama. I made it known to them – so that they could help me.

I will tell you that breastfeeding is the most natural and normal part of motherhood. But it is also a learned skill. It isn’t the easiest at first, and it can be painful in the start, but once you establish a rhythm, it is the most convenient and beautiful process. All three kids have travelled on long-haul flights with us when they were infants and toddlers. Breastfeeding was the most convenient thing – no bottles, no snacks, no powdered milk, only the comfort of being on my breast.

Chris: This has been a very encouraging talk.. thank you mommy Daphne for sharing your insights on breastfeeding!  

You can read more about Daphne on her blog at http://daphne.ph/ and watch her show Urban Zone.

Mommy Talks – Jenny Ong

Mommy Talks

August is the month when we celebrate world breastfeeding month. I truly believe in breastfeeding that is why we will feature a breasfeeding mom and advocate today. Jenny Ong is the beautiful mom behind Chronicles of a Nursing Mom. I have been a fan of her blog since I first read it. I especially love her monthly “Milk Mama Diaries Carnival“.

Chris: Hi Jenny! Please share a brief background about yourself, your blog and your business.

Jenny: I am a lawyer by profession, admitted to the Philippine and New York bar. I used to work in a big law firm, focusing on intellectual property law with long hours but decided to shift careers to focus on family. I am now working for a government institution with regular hours. I met my husband in college and we have been together since 1998. We have 1 daughter, Naima who is now 3 years and 8 months. We are expecting our second baby this Christmas 2011. I started my business – Mama.Baby.Love because of the dearth of affordable nursing bras and accessories locally available. My bra prices range from P300-P2,000, allowing me to cater to moms with a varied budgets. Meanwhile, I initially started my blog as a vehicle to promote my business. But it gained a life of its own! Most of the breastfeeding information available online is foreign-based. So I decided to compile information, tips, research for Filipino nursing moms. I’d like the blog to be a one-stop resource for new moms who want to learn about breastfeeding and are in the Philippines.

Chris: How did you start breastfeeding? Was it easy? Please share some tips on how to start breastfeeding?

Jenny: It was not an easy breastfeeding start. I never attended any classes so I was uninformed. Plus, the hospital where I gave birth at was not that breastfeeding friendly. Naima was also jaundiced at 2-weeks with the pedia recommending that she be put on formula. That started my problems with supply, nipple confusion, sore nipples, etc. It was through persistence, determination plus support from my husband, friends that I was able to get through these challenges. I would highly recommend that moms attend breastfeeding classes or seminar (not parenting or child care classes with a 1-hour lecture on breastfeeding), read breastfeeding books and keep the numbers/email addresses of friends/family who successfully breastfed on hand. Right information and support is crucial in the early days.

Chris:  Why did you choose to breastfeed?

Jenny: It is the normal thing to do for my baby. Why give animal milk when she is not an animal? 😀 Seriously, I read about the benefits and I was influenced by my friends and relatives who breastfed. Further, I believe that although breastfeeding may not be the choice of every parent, it is not only the best but the normal and right choice for every baby.

Chris:  Share some stories about your breastfeeding adventure.

Jenny: Breastfeeding is dedication and commitment. Naima breastfed until she was 3 years old and 5 months. I pumped for about 1.5 years at work where I was able to help set-up 2 lactation rooms. My boss has walked in on me pumping and I have breastfed everywhere – church, beach, restaurants, airplanes (all the time!), etc. etc. I was also lucky to have ample milk supply to be able to donate to babies in the UP-PGH Milk Bank, PCMC Milk Bank, Angels Milk Bank, to my niece and several other babies including twins and triplets.
The most touching and recent adventure I had in breastfeeding was in weaning my daughter – http://www.chroniclesofanursingmom.com/2011/05/our-weaning-story.html

Chris:  Do you have any messages you can share  to moms who would like to breastfeed their babies?

Jenny: Take breastfeeding one day at a time. Remember, women have been doing it for thousands of years and succeeded in giving their children mother’s milk. Only 2% of women in the world cannot breastfeed. It will get easier and it is the best gift you can give your baby.

Chris: Many thanks for sharing your life, your advocacy and your time with us. Be blessed!

Memorable Moment

Being a stay at home mom for the past 7 years, I have so many wonderful moments with my 2 kids. Each milestone, each achievement, each funny moment, each tearful event, each artwork marks a special place in my heart. If I were to choose only one memorable moment, I would choose our breastfeeding moments. Both my 2 kids were breastfed. Starting to breastfeed my babies were not easy for me. For my first born, it took us 2 months to finally have a steady supply of milk and for her to switch to exclusive breastfeeding. Another factor was that my mother-in-law and my parents weren’t really very sold out to the idea of exclusive breastfeeding so it was a journey that I had to bravely face. For my second born who was hospitalized during his 4th day because of breastmilk jaundice, it was also tough at the beginning. We were still getting used to each other but we were confined in the hospital because doctor said he was too yellowish. Later, it was diagnosed to be because of the breastmilk or lack of breastmilk. After 5 days, we were able to go home already and continue on our journey together.

I have breastfed my daughter for 11 months and my son for 22 months. They were the most intimate bonding moments we had. Every time we nurse, I felt close and I knew that we are forming a bond. After many years, I am so glad that my kids are growing up with a close relationship with me and I believe that it all started with those breastfeeding moments. It wasn’t an easy journey at the beginning but it was all worth it.

I am posting this as my entry for Momma Finally’s Mother’s Day Giveaway

Our Breastfeeding Experience


World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year on the first week of August! In line with this, I would like to share my own breastfeeding experiences with my 2 kids. When I gave birth to my eldest 6 years ago, I didn’t know a thing about breastfeeding, I just know that I wanted to breastfeed her. I didn’t produce enough milk at the beginning so the doctor decided to bottlefeed her while we were still in the hospital. Though I had her roomed in with me so we can nurse more often. We continued nursing and mixed feeding for the first two months but after the initial months, we finally moved to exclusive breastfeeding. We breastfed until she was 11 months old.

As for my 2nd child, I also was decided to breastfeed him exclusively so since the day he was born, we nursed and I was quite sure that I was not producing enough milk but still we pursued. He was even hospitalized again because of Jaundice and later the doctor said that it was breastmilk jaundice. We just continued our exclusive breastfeeding until 12 months old. I decided to offer cow’s milk but we still continued our breastfeeding sessions until 22 months old.
We definitely had our struggles and hardships, but those moments will be forever etched in my heart and mind… bonding moments which I will treasure in my heart for always!