Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MILK ALERT!

This is one of the reasons why I am so thankful Oona was breastfed during her infancy and how I'm hoping I can still continue being her milkmaid. Right now, Oona is mixed-fed, leaning more towards formula (SAAAAAAD MOMMY LAYA!) and solid food. I'm nearly dry now, but for 6 months she was exclusively getting her food from me.

One thing I truly regret now from being a working mom, was that my milk supply began to suffer because I couldn't feed her on demand. Back then I had a stressful job that had me in the office
during the day and well into the night. Sure I pumped like mad and made sure my Medela PISO (Hehehe! No pun intended!) paid for itself, but not having Oona around to encourage the let-down made all the difference. So my milk went down eventually, that at eight months, she was having more and more formula because I couldn't keep up. By ten months, when I finally resigned from work, my milk was truly down since she also ate more solid food as well. I felt worse because just when I could be with Oona all day to respond to her needs, I had less milk to give her and she needed less as well.

At thirteen months, Oona still turns to me for comfort feeding at night. For me, it's an affirmation that we still share that bond and I treasure it more than ever! She still wouldn't accept a bottle from me and would only consent to my giving her formula when she's really hungry. Yes she's used to ac
cepting a bottle from her Dad, her Grandma or her Nanny Rina, but not really from Mommy. I'm glad she expects me to satisfy her need for sustenance and comfort, but it breaks my heart not to be able to give her as much as her little tummy needs now.

Her pediatrician recommended Nan HA1 when she started formula feeding. According to my research, NAN H.A. (Hypoallergenic) with Protect StartTM/ /Protect PlusTM has added probiotics ("good" bacteria) that helps create protective intestinal flora like breastfed infants have. It promotes gastrointestinal health, helps reduce the incidence of diarrhea and has easily digestible proteins that helps reduce the risk of allergies. So far Oona liked it and has been on Nan ever since.

She then graduated to Nan HA2 which for awhile concerned us because we couldn't find it in Waltermart where we shopped. It turned out that they just changed the HA to HW, but it's still the same banana. It's getting harder to find though since the demand's high and we have to go all the way to SM Supermarket just to find Nan HW 3, which she's on now because she's past 1 year old.

The growing unavailability got me alarmed too, especially since China's milk crisis. I had to go online to check if Nestle was affected. I know Switzerland is far from China, but who knows how far these things go, right?

Apparently, all milk that was manufactured anywhere else except China is safe. Nan HA 1 and 2 are from Switzerland and Nan HW 1 and 2 are from Germany and they have passed safety and hygiene tests. Other milk manufactured here in the Philippines are also safe like those from Mead Johnson, Wyeth and Abbott and no raw material for these products come from China.

At least, knowing Oona's safe has given me room to breathe a sigh of relief. For now. That is, who's to say it can't happen again? If not the chemical scandal that China's facing now, what about another form of contamination? There are periodic recalls, protests, boycotts and the like all across the baby milk brands. From metal particles to dioxin, packaging problems to chemical imbalances in the formulation, making baby milk is very sensitive business.

It's not just China who has a problem. Nobody's really safe and I may just be a paranoid mother here, but I'm scared because this is my child we're talking about. I would be lying through my teeth if I said I was primarily scared for everyone, but having your own child makes you a little bit selfish that way. I wouldn't want to be the mother of one of those kids who developed kidney failure and died or is now seriously sick and hospitalized from melamine in a brand I trusted. My guilt would be too great, eating me alive.

My child trusts me to make decisions for her well-being and health. She trusts me to raise her as a healthy, human being. And because of that trust, she will take what I give her. I fear the day then that through this trust, that nobody should ever violate (especially me, her parent), she would be taken ill or die. I feel for those mothers and fathers, it is not their fault and should never have been their burden in the first place. They could never have known that the trust they gave their brand would be violated, in effect violating the pact they had with their children. I can only barely imagine their pain, anguish and rage.

Yes, now I truly wish I could produce milk again for Oona, if only to beat a scare I never thought of. Breastmilk is truly the best food for our babies. It's pure, unadulterated, and perfect . . . just as Mother Nature intended specially for us. But if we can't and need something more for our children, may we be saved from the heartache China's parents are experiencing now.

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