Category Archives: Parenting

A belly-ful of sense


Published in the Daily Tribune Life
08 September 2012

From the womb, a tiny miracle of life emerges. While it’s worth every challenging phase, the phase itself, as every pregnant woman knows, is undeniably a crazy maze.
Pregnant women go through nine months of changes, and it’s not easy. The baby growing inside changes almost all the positions of the organs, making space for itself. From there, the soon-to-be mother starts feeling weird, nauseous and a little more uncomfortable everyday; then the morning sickness and constant cravings, among many other symptoms.

The hardest of challenges is when pregnant women step out into the real world. Not even a fourth of the whole world lives in Japan, yet this country takes mother care very seriously. Pregnant women in Japan are provided with badges by railways, airlines, hospitals and other service and retail companies so they can be identified and treated well while they are in public places. The badge alerts people especially during rush hour, to make room and give special care to pregnant moms.

From the same concept, Pigeon, a provider of baby and child care products and services in Japan, a the market leader in that category, is beginning a campaign to generate the same level of awareness called Baby in My Belly. This campaign aims to inform, educate and raise the level of public awareness on how to properly look after mothers-to-be; and for first-time mothers out there, this campaign can also yield valuable information.

Baby in My Belly was launched to the general public last August 26 at the Grand Atrium of the Shangri-La Plaza and had its next launch last September 1 at The Block, SM City North Edsa.

During each launch, Baby in My Belly put up a Wall of Mom’s Well Wishes, which is a collage of encouraging messages like wishes for a healthy pregnancy and delivery, wishes for the welfare of the baby and, of course, wishes for also the family members as they enter a new chapter of life altogether. Baby in My Belly also includes activities and special workshop sessions that tackle relevant issues for expectant mothers, several of which are in partnership with some of the country’s most reputable health institutions.

“Baby in my Belly highlights the importance of ensuring not just the baby’s well-being throughout pregnancy, but also the mother’s,” says Maye Yao Co Say, chief operating officer of the exclusive distributor of Pigeon products in the country, Richwell Philippines Inc.

“As the premier brand that looks after the needs of mothers and mothers-to-be, Pigeon goes beyond providing durable, high-quality and user-friendly products to underscore its commitment to these women with this initiative,” she enthused.

Proud mother of three and Pigeon brand ambassador Amina Aranaz-Alunan, expressed her enthusiasm for the campaign, saying, “It’s high time that Filipinos are made aware of the value of looking after pregnant women, and I can’t think of a better brand than Pigeon to be spearhead such an advocacy here in the country. As a mom, I have personally experienced the frustrations of an expectant mother. It’s important that her family, friends and even others know how to best support her during pregnancy.”

Etiquette guide

During the media event of Baby in My Belly, the issue on how pregnant women get upset in pregnancy was tackled. Though we were conversing on the frustrations of mothers during and after the nine months, the event itself was nothing but light and easy. We were all seated around the long, rectangular soft pink covered table enjoying a signature Margarita Fores lunch with Amina and Lexi Schulze.

The two kept exchanging stories of their ups and downs on their previous pregnancies. They also embarked on the practical applications of The Pigeon Mom Pregnancy Etiquette Guide, a guide that provides pointers on how people should treat women during and after the pregnancy.

For example Pointer #8 states: “No matter how tempting, refrain from touching our tummies unless given permission.” Any person really doesn’t like being touched especially by strangers, but somehow people forget this when it comes to pregnant mothers. People often think it is suwerte (lucky) to touch pregnant women so when one passes by they have the urge to grab a touch so luck can come their way.

Lexi reminisced when people asked if they could touch her belly while she was pregnant, but before she could answer their hands were already on her belly. Actions like these can really tick off a woman, making them want to stay home instead.

Another thing to remember is Pointer #10, which states: “Do not point out how much weight we’ve gained. That, my friends, is a valuable lesson that applies even after we gave birth.” Do not even guess, “You’re in your sixth month, aren’t you?” when you’re not sure because what if she was only on her third month; that just means you’re pointing out the person has grown bigger than usual and that will not make any woman feel great with herself.

The Pigeon Mom Pregnancy Etiquette Guide is located inside a newly released pocketbook of Pigeon called Mom’s Pocketbook, a perfect resource to help women journey through pregnancy.
Mom’s Pocketbook contains “important charts to be filled up during regular visits to the doctor; as well as detailed, step-by-step suggestions on how to care for oneself during and after pregnancy-for instance, what to expect when it comes to breastfeeding, accompanied by a selection of relevant Pigeon products that will prove useful for this,” Yao Co Say reveals.

“With Baby in my Belly, we are able to show our full support for expectant mothers, going beyond providing them child and mother care products that aid them throughout their pregnancy. After all, a baby’s well-being is not just dependent on how great your child care products are, it is also something that results from how well mom looks after herself and how others care for her,” she explained.

So what is there to expect when expecting? Pigeon teaches pregnant moms to expect the beauty of life and the surprises that comes along with it!

For more information on Pigeon and the Baby in My Belly campaign, call 441-1717; visit or the Pigeon Facebook page at

Debunking breastfeeding myths

Published in Daily Tribune Life
July 6, 2012


Having breastfed four children, the first three for over a year each and the youngest for three years, advocating breastfeeding is an effortless task that comes straight from the heart.

I was not a stay at home mom, who had all the time in the world to sit and feed for hours on end. When I breastfed my first child, I was a full-time lecturer at the UP College in Baguio, teaching Journalism. I remember leaking milk while lecturing as I taught four straight hours. I kept on lecturing with a straight face even as I knew my students were wondering why there was a growing wet patch around my chest.

When I had my next child, I was working for a multimedia production house that required me to even work evenings after a full day at work. On my third child, I was reviewing for the bar exams, while I breastfed him and his elder brother all at the same time. And by the fourth child I was practicing law while I breastfed non-stop for three years.

It was not easy, but I made it through. I am grateful to have had that opportunity to nourish my child and have a special bond with them all throughout. Many times I had to rearrange my work schedule to ensure that I could breastfeed my children. And, yes, pumping milk was important for the time I would be gone most of the day.

In a recent conference on breastfeeding with the Unicef (United Nations Children’s Fund) and the Beauty, Brains and Breastfeeding Inc. (BBB), it was heartbreaking to hear that only 34 percent of mothers in the Philippines breastfeed. When the misconceptions in breastfeeding were presented, I could wholeheartedly agree from experience that, indeed, they are myths.

Five truths

First, exclusive breastfeeding is not a hindrance to a woman’s professional success. Throughout my breastfeeding years, I was a fulltime lecturer in Journalism; a full time-law student; lawyer and multimedia manager. None of my bosses felt my breastfeeding interfered with the quality and timely delivery of my work output.

Second, breastfeeding is not inconvenient. In fact, feeding at night is easier when breastfeeding a child. The breast milk is always at the right temperature, it’s pre-mixed and always fresh. There are no bottles and teats to sterilize, no water to warm up and no powder that gets contaminated.

Third, breastfeeding is not an alternative to formula, and it is not only for the poor as the nutrition it delivers is just as potent for babies born to parents with means. The nutrients and immune-building properties of breast milk are unparalleled. Proper breastfeeding techniques will also help the baby latch properly and gets the milk flowing.

Fourth, breastfeeding does not deform a woman’s breasts. Proper breastfeeding techniques and exercise can ensure that a woman’s breasts do not sag. Using pillows (boppy pillows shaped like a horseshoe) on one’s lap also helps a mother breastfeed comfortably and with ease, preventing the unnecessary downward pull of the breasts. Plus, breastfeeding does not make one fat. It is the quality and quantity of food and the amount of exercise one engages in that determines the ratio of fat to muscle. When breastfeeding, the stomach muscles contract as one breastfeeds and help the breastfeeding mother get back in shape.

Fifth, breastfeeding on demand and in public is not shameful. In fact, many clothing devises afford some privacy to breastfeeding moms in public. Some malls like SM also have breastfeeding centers for moms and babies to bond while the rest of the family is gallivanting in the mall.

BBB moms Daphne Oseña-Paez, Unicef Special Advocate for Children and celebrity host; Patricia Bermudez-Hizon, sportscaster and wife of PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) player Vince Hizon; and Iza Abeja, BBC executive director, exclusive breast feeders and advocates for BBC attest to these truths as they emulate Beauty, Brains and Breastfeeding. With their careers, they were all still able to breastfeed their children and stay beautiful throughout the process as can be seen in their billboards along MIA Road in Pasay, Philcoa, Quezon City and Cubao near the DILG Building also in Quezon City. Breastfeeding education is key in opening the eyes of Filipina mothers that exclusive breastfeeding is best for their babies and even for their own bodies.

For more information on breastfeeding, visit http:// beautybrainsandbreastfeeding., children/breastfeeding_1.html or reallives_17981.html.