Five years ago, I was a first-time pregnant mom who devoured parenting articles from the internet.
Breastfeeding was a foreign concept to me then because I grew up seeing babies being fed from bottles. But the more I read about it, the more I wanted to make it work for my child. I got all the breastfeeding information I know from online resources, including Jenny Ong’s blog, Chronicles of a Nursing Mom. As much as I wanted to learn from an expert in person, I cannot find a breastfeeding seminar in or near Laguna.
Despite this, my firstborn and I did not have major issues except for the painful latch in the first few weeks and a few episodes of plugged ducts with fever as I was expressing milk at the office. I’m grateful that we’re blessed with the full support of Tatay, our family, and my co-workers.
I felt the need for access to local breastfeeding help when my friends, who had babies after I did, started seeking breastfeeding advice from me. So in August 2013, I attended an orientation for LATCH peer counselor applicants in Makati City. Then in March 2014, I decided to push through and joined the Batch 5 training in Quezon City.
During the orientation, two things stuck with me: (1) Sylvia Malabanan, one of the LATCH co-founders, told us that their dream is a future where families are empowered to breastfeed making organizations like LATCH obsolete; and (2) Jenny Ong suggested that I start a LATCH group in Laguna.
At the back of my mind, I was wondering if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. I was overwhelmed when I understood that completing the training means committing my time, talent, and resources to the LATCH organization. Not only are we required to take one-on-one counseling cases, but also need to speak publicly and help organize LATCH events while making sure to abide by the Milk Code. I remember how anxious I was during my first speaking assignment for a breastfeeding class at The Medical City.
Two years later, things have come full circle as I helped train another batch of passionate moms and formed LATCH Los Baños. The ladies of LATCH has inspired me to respond with L.O.V.E. (listen, observe, validate, educate/empower) and I was eager for the opportunity to pass it along.
Volunteering, I realized, is both selfless and selfish:
On the one hand, we do what we do in service of others often without remuneration. We spend a good amount of our ‘mommy me-time’ planning and facilitating seminars and responding to fellow moms who needs encouragement.
On the other hand, helping others help themselves brings us joy. It brings us a sense of purpose and, yes, even pride. And in doing so, we are surrounding ourselves with empowered humans who can lift us up when it’s our turn to be lifted.
If you would like to volunteer as a LATCH breastfeeding counselor, you may apply here.