Natural Parenting Series: Babywearing Tips

This is the 3rd and last post of our guest, Jenny, from The Chronicles of a Nursing Mom on our natural parenting series. The first week, she posted about cloth diapering and last week, she talked about the rights of a breastfeeding and a working mother.

Disclaimer: I write this post based on my experiences in a babywearing family. I am not a babywearing expert but would rather call myself an enthusiast. I’m happy to be part of a babywearing family and want to share some tips with you culled from babywearing 2 children.

1. Babywearing requires confidence, patience and lots of practice!

Families often give up on babywearing because THEY THINK it is difficult. What I want to emphasize is that as with breastfeeding, babywearing is a learned skill. It is important that you practice, practice, practice! It helps to practice with a doll first and in front of a mirror. When I was learning the different types of carry, I also watched Youtube videos (and there are so many!) on a specific carry and type of carrier.

I also believe that confidence plays an important role in successful babywearing. Don’t be bullied into giving up. Practice alone or with a supportive assistant (could be your caregiver or partner). Don’t practice when there are doubting Thomases around you. Comments such as – baby is having a difficult time or baby is uncomfortable won’t help you!

2. Don’t share sizes unless it is a one-sized adjustable carrier.

Daddy S in a tight M pouch with baby N

A common question I get from families wanting to buy a baby carrier is whether the father and can share sizes. If you want to share carriers, get an adjustable carrier such as a wrap, a ring sling, a meitai or adjustable pouch. If you want to buy a regular pouch or a SaYa, you can share if father and mother are of similar sizes. But if the mom is 5’2″ and 120lbs while the dad is 5’8″ and 180lbs, you can’t comfortably share a sized carrier.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of using the right sized carrier. Your baby must be snug and not tight. If your carrier is too loose, there is a chance that baby will fall out!

3. Know thy carrier source and join a support group.

When you buy a carrier, it is important that you buy it from a reputable seller or manufacturer – someone who knows the essentials of babywearing safety. Don’t compromise and buy some department store carrier or some online knock-off just because it is cheap. There are some sellers or manufacturers who just copy popular products without understanding how these products really work. Plus, if you are unsure about using your carrier, it helps to join a support group. A babywearing association – Filipino Association of Babywearers was recently set-up and we have a Facebook page maintained by myself, Jen, Buding and Eliza. Since April 2011, babywearing events have been organized along with pocket carrier-specific meets. We still more meets and events scheduled so watch out for those and join. During our events, we usually have several manufacturers or sellers attend and do demos of their products. The demonstrations, including one on one instruction will definitely help you become a confident babywearer.

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! 

Natural Parenting Series: Cloth Diapering

For the next three Mondays, we shall be featuring a series of posts about Natural Parenting by our special guest Jenny Ong from Chronicles of a Nursing Mom! I have featured her in our Mommy Talks series last year and I am honored to have her write a series of posts on natural parenting for us.

During the early days of nursing her first-born, Jenny relied on online forums and foreign breastfeeding websites to keep her sane amidst the myriad of breastfeeding issues she encountered. Although there were Philippine based breastfeeding groups and advocates there was no one website which was solely dedicated to Filipino breastfeeding moms. She initially launched her blog to help promote her online store (fabnaima.multiply.com). After compiling her tips, research and experiences, the blog slowly gained a life of its own. Since then, Jenny has expanded her blog to include natural parenting, cloth diapering and babywearing. Aside from her blog and online store, Jenny is a government employee and lawyer, full time mom to preschooler N and baby E and supportive rah-rah girl to photographer-hubby – Stanley Ong (www.stanleyongphotography.com). She is also a LATCH accredited breastfeeding peer counselor.

In our efforts to go green, our family has decided to fully cloth diaper baby E. With my first baby N, we started cloth diapering her when she was about 7 months and not even full time. We would only use cloth diapers at home during the day and switch to disposable diapers whenever we go out or at night time.

With E, I built my cloth diaper stash with used diapers from my daughter Naima and my niece Anya. I also purchased assorted brands on sale. We have about 30 cloth diapers, enough for fully cloth diapering a baby, as long as you wash every other day. Aside from diapers, we have also opted to use cloth wipes which were dampened with regular water.

Given our experience with N, cloth diapering at home was easy. However, going out, especially for 1 whole day, was quite a challenge! One top necessity is a sturdy and big diaper bag with lots of pockets. At 3 months, baby Erik had regulated his toilet habits. This meant that we could reduce the amount of cloth diapers we needed to lug about. For short half-day jaunts, we normally had 3 cloth diapers in his bag. This number becomes about 7 diapers for whole day affairs. We also need to bring a pair of clean/dirty zip bags to store the new and used diapers.

Since we opted to use cloth wipes, I had to find a case big enough to hold at least 12 wipes and would not leak through. Happily, one of the old wipe cases we had was good enough – smaller than the regular wipes cases but big enough to hold a dozen damp cloth wipes. We also needed to bring a small bottle of water spray to soften sticky poo. Of course, a changing pad is a must – especially since changing tables at most public bathrooms don’t seemed to be cleaned at all!

Other must-haves include a receiving blanket, some bibs or burp cloths, change of clothes and a baby salve. One plus is that because I am a breastfeeding mom, I don’t have to worry about bringing the milk bottles, clean water and formula powder to add to my diaper bag’s bulk.

Most moms limit cloth diapering to the house because they think it is too much of a hassle to lug the cloth diapers. The benefits of cloth diapering merit a separate post. Suffice to say, once you go cloth, you’ll never go back!

Are you a cloth diapering mom? What’s in your bag? Hesitant to try cloth diapers? Share your concerns.

If you are interested to learn more about cloth diapering, there will be a Cloth Diapering 101 class at Medela House, Q.C. on July 7, 1-4 P.M. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

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