Town & Country (Philippines) - - GIVING - By Mi­la­gros G. Au­gustines

Bud­ing Aquino-Dee was a new mother liv­ing in Canada when she was in­tro­duced to a tremen­dous breast­feed­ing sup­port sys­tem. “I was so moved by my own breast­feed­ing ex­pe­ri­ence there that I de­cided to get cer­ti­fied as a breast­feed­ing coun­selor,” Dee says. In 2006, she and her fam­ily moved back to Manila, where she quickly saw that there was a void in breast­feed­ing sup­port. Cu­ri­ous, Dee be­gan vol­un­teer­ing with ex­ist­ing ad­vo­cacy groups. “I re­con­nected with some of my friends from high school and col­lege, and now they were moms too, and doc­tors, chefs, ‘mom­preneurs,’ and cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives. we all had the same de­sire to form a group that could help bring back the breast­feed­ing cul­ture through qual­ity lactation ed­u­ca­tion and peer coun­sel­ing.” Dee fi­nally found the ex­act com­po­nents and kin­dred spir­its to help her be­gin her ad­vo­cacy. with the sup­port of eight other co-founders and in­sti­tu­tions such as The Med­i­cal City, LATCH, or Lactation At­tach­ment Train­ing Coun­sel­ing and Help, was born.

Through the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s lactation ed­u­ca­tion classes, peer coun­sel­ing, and cam­paigns to­ward nor­mal­iz­ing breast­feed­ing, LATCH pro­vides plat­forms for fel­low moms to “be able to pay things for­ward and help other moth­ers as well. You not only get sup­port and learn about breast­feed­ing, you also have an op­por­tu­nity to do mean­ing­ful work and con­cretely make a dif­fer­ence in fam­i­lies’ lives,” Dee says.

she con­tin­ues, “we se­lect projects that re­flect our core val­ues, which are quite pro­gres­sive and non­tra­di­tional. we be­lieve in col­lab­o­ra­tion and in work­ing with var­i­ous agen­cies, com­pa­nies, and in­sti­tu­tions, and ap­proach­ing ad­vo­cacy mat­ters in cre­ative ways, of­fer­ing fresh per­spec­tives on how to com­mu­ni­cate the heart and soul of the cause.”

while LATCH also hopes to grow its mem­ber­ship, its fo­cus re­mains on qual­ity over quan­tity. “we at­tract ser­vice lead­ers who sin­cerely want to make a dif­fer­ence in their own cir­cles of in­flu­ence. LATCH has grown and branched out, slowly but surely. each branch in Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Los Baños is au­ton­o­mous, but we are all united in fo­cus­ing on the prin­ci­ples of what makes the ad­vo­cacy im­por­tant, cru­cial, and rel­e­vant. when you ad­vo­cate breast­feed­ing, it’s a tri-chord of pro­mo­tion, pro­tec­tion, and sup­port. each area holds its weight and not one is more im­por­tant than the other.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on how you can sup­port the ad­vo­cacy, log on to face­book. com/groups/latch­moms.

NurS­ING SQuAD LAtch has con­ducted out­reach ac­tiv­i­ties, breast­feed­ing ini­tia­tives, and ed­u­ca­tional ses­sions in Manila, La­guna, Davao, and cebu.

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