Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's in your breastfeeding consult bag?

From day one when I started visiting mothers at home to help them with breastfeeding problems, I always had a bag handy full of supplies. Of course, in the beginning the bag starts off ridiculously full and then as you gain more experience, slowly you discard unnecessary items and keep the worthwhile ones. Here's a look at what I carry around (yes, the bag stays in my car because I'm often called after work to consults)

  • Hand Sanitizer: I always either use hand sanitizer or ask my mamas permission to wash my hands once I reach their residence before I touch either any babies or breasts. 

  • Gloves are an important item in my bag. Before, I used to handle mothers and babies without gloves but after my mentor had an experience with a mother who had a communicable disease, common sense hit us that for our safety and that of the mother and baby, we should wear gloves. 

  • Most of the cases I see are cracked nipples. Some are worse than others. I always carry around a tube of lansinoh in case the mother needs some to use until her nipples heal. This stuff is a godsend!

  • Small hair dryer. Here's a tip you learn as go along. Cloths soaked in warm water are often used for engorgement but my little friend here works miracles! Combine it with the following item and your mama can finally get relief of painful melon like engorged breasts. Make sure to stay in tune with the mama so as not to burn her!

  • A comb. This simple comb, combined with the blow dryer does wonders for a mama needing relief of engorgement. Simply hold the hair dryer at a comfortable distance and setting and comb from the top of the breasts gently to the nipples and repeat going full circle

  • I call her "old faithful". My pump has been with me through many replaceable parts and mamas. Sometimes the mom wants to learn how to pump, sometimes she needs to take the edge off some pressure in her breasts, or to help erect the nipple in case of flat ones

  • I also see a lot of nipple confused babies who absolutely refuse to latch. In those cases, after the mom pumps (or if she chooses to use formula) I teach her a handy method we know as cup feeding

  • Homemade "Nipplette". This is probably my most prized possessions. Ina May's 2010 book "Ina May's guide to breastfeeding" featured how to make a nipplette by using an oral syringe and cutting off the long part and inserting the stopper the "Wrong side". Fit the nipple into the smooth side and gently tug to erect flat or inverted nipples. Success rate : nearly 100%. Cost: 1 Florin, compared to the 65 (nearly 30$, ouch)  Florins Avent's Nipplette costs. 

  • In case the mom pumps, and she wants to store her milk but wasn't anticipating expressing milk to begin with. Pre-sterilized milk storage bags

  • Breast Shell : Just in case my mamas want to catch their milk from one side while they pump the other. This also helps relieve pressure and draws out nipples subtly

  • Hand Towel : I get milk on me often. I've had it drip on me, puked on me, and even squirted on me from a distance. 

  • A stretchy newborn wrap : Many times, I don't know what mood to anticipate the mother and baby in. Sometimes the mother is home alone (dad at work, or single mom) or she's frazzled, or the baby has had a rough birth experience. Whatever the cause, I keep my wrap handy in case I need to give the mom a break and the baby some closeness and warmth. This usually gives the mom a chance to regroup and get her bearings together and recount her birth and breastfeeding experience or just to let all her emotions out. 

Are there other items you keep in your postnatal visit bag specifically for breastfeeding moms? 

From a Breastfeeding Counselor: A lesson on body image

It is no surprise that many women feel insecure or unhappy with their bodies, especially after giving birth. I know I certainly am one of them. Since giving birth, my belly and breasts haven't quite stayed the same, and I can get pretty down about it sometimes.

Since becoming a breastfeeding counselor and helping out many new mothers with breastfeeding it's only natural that I see a lot of breasts too. Young, old, black , white, latino. You name it, I've seen it. And as I was driving somewhere the other day, something occurred to me as I moped about my breasts. They're actually normal looking. Of all the consults I'd been on, I think I can't even reach a whole hand how many "pretty" and media-portrayed breasts I've seen, much less any of those that didn't have silicone in them. All types of women have breasts that look like mine, and I realized that my situation isn't so bad. We have little if any control over what our breasts look like (we have genes, gravity, age and pregnancy to thank for that.) and to know that men are more accustomed with so-called "floppy" breasts, is a comfort to me and helps me to fit in my skin, why bother to change something that you have no control over?

In a recent Tweet, I admitted that it was only after seeing so many breasts that were not the stereotypical version of perfect, that I came to accept and understand that real breasts are indeed worn, they do drop, but they've done so for a beautiful cause. Our breasts are the way they are because they have nourished, nurtured, and been lived in by our children. They have gone from objects of admiration to vessels of sustenance and back again. Any real man with children will understand these transitions and be fond of them for what they are, what they've done and that they stand in their own right. There's no need to be ashamed

A dear friend of mine, who is a birth professional also acknowledges this truth:

What about you? How has your role as a birth professional affected your own body image? 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Birth of a Father

This past Friday, my cousin's wife gave birth to their first child, Jack. As heartwarming as that was, what was really precious was to see little Jack tucked under his mom's hospital gown right after birth. He enjoyed skin to skin with his mom and breastfed straight away. Another beautiful photo arrived to me, but this time with Kyle and Jack enjoying some one-on-one skin time. A quick Google search for skin to skin contact with dad doesn't render too many beautiful pictures as it is the fact that mostly mothers are the ones in the photos, so that's why this picture was so special and meaningful to me...


Monday, December 6, 2010

Introducing CariBirth's new line of carriers - Bella Sophia Carriers!

This past Saturday was the official launching of my business', CariBirth, new line of slings and wraps, name Bella Sophia Carriers. I was filled with excitement as I saw my dream unfold before my eyes. I sat there and watched the seamstress cut each piece of fabric, measure each slings, sew, pleat, sew, turn, sew and then the last threads were gently snipped and  gently lifted off. I was giddy like a teenage girl at the sight of the Backstreet Boys.

I decided to have the wrap, ring and pouch sling made at the same time. I am very pleased at the outcome of all three but if I must choose, I can say the ring sling won my heart. The color, the aesthetic pleats, the thick shoulder part (the first one was done without padding, but padding is available too) and its teasing pink salmon color. I especially love it because the material is very sturdy and trustworthy. The shoulder part was triple enforced to ensure use through many kids and with delicious material like the one used for the Silly Salmon ring sling, washing it will only make it softer each time (hand wash please).

A pouch sling was also made and the material of this one is also very strong, yet light enough to be cool on those hot days. While the fabric was more pricey, I decided never to sacrifice good, strong quality material in exchange for more profit on each sling. I know that when I purchase commercially made slings, the first thing I do when I get it in my hands is to stretch, pull and tug on it. You can rest assured that Bella Sophia fabrics go through the same (if not more!) rigorous testing to ensure the right feel and most importantly, a safe sling you'll want to wear your baby/child in all the time.

Lastly, the wrap. Finding fabric for this baby proved to be a task more formidable than for the other carriers. Fabric too thin makes for a nice cool wrap, but simply cannot stand up to the wear and tug of putting a baby/toddler in it, tying, untying, wiggling, stretching and so forth. A thicker more dense fabric makes for a secure carrier that'll last you a couple of kids but means being warmer in an already hot climate. There I was, like a mad woman feeling, rubbing, tugging and inspecting for the right cloth for my wraps. I finally found one, right in between of the two. My next mission is to find a strong flannel material for stretchy newborn wraps so luxurious you'll want to wear your baby just to feel it on your skin! I've only purchased and used some of the best (and expensive, ouch!) brand wraps on the market that I've used with my own toddler and other young babies. This translates into Bella Sophia Wraps being tested and made with you and your baby in mind

I'm not a seamstress (that's why I hired one!) nor do I profess to know an extreme amount about sewing, but what I do have is experience with and knowledge about is what a good and trustworthy carrier feels and looks like. I could never produce and sell a sling I wasn't comfortable putting my own newborn in. This is the guarantee Bella Sophia Carriers makes to you, because it's from a "mother to mother with love..."


For orders or questions on wraps and slings, give Wendy Maduro a call at 593-4444 or send an email to

Friday, December 3, 2010

How Babywearing got its start on Aruba

The photo above was taken June 25th 2009. It was the re-launch of our breastfeeding support groups and it was a night I won't soon forget. Not only was the re-start of our support groups very exciting for Pro Lechi Mama, but I was especially stoked because it was the first time I started teaching moms about the art of babywearing.

Bringing babywearing back
Babywearing is not a new concept anywhere, and that includes Aruba. There have been many individual advocates in the past who've raised awareness about babywearing. These include Tamara Loefstok from Mommies & Bellies, and Shanti Gould from Prana. These themselves were babywearing mamas, and have in the past organized events having to do with babywearing and have advocated the practice. Tamara, a babywearing mama of two and maternity store owner, recounts to me the Sling Fashion Show she had organized at an Expo some years behind. Then, for some years, babywearing had slipped into the background until the early part of 2009.

In the beginning months of 2009, after seeing so many beautiful slings in Fitpregnancy, I decided to purchase some and hopefully sell them if I found any mother who'd be interested. Little did I know! I ordered a black ring sling from Maya Wrap, and a green paisley pouch sling from Slinglings. Because of the negative experience I had with the cumbersome and oh-so expensive Baby Bjorn, I had dismissed babywearing....that is... until I slipped Dahlia into one of my new slings! I fell in love! I carried her all over with me, in town, in the house, at the supermarket. People would stop and stare and many times tell me how beautiful the carrier was and how handy it was too! As the days passed, I engrossed myself in learning everything I could about babywearing. I carefully studied the manual that came with each of my slings, and I searched all over the internet for info on safety, positioning and more. Moms fell in love with my slings, and I fell into my role as a Babywearing Educator. For a certainty, I am the first to officially have classes and consults on babywearing, and as babywearing grows, I know I won't be the last!

Babywearing gets a jump start
As the months passed by, and I continued showing moms how to use the slings at the breastfeeding support groups, an old friend returned to Aruba. She was pregnant and had some very good sewing skills. Of course she saw my slings, and when she told me she was going to sew her own instead of buying  commercially made one, a light bulb went off in my head. Some weeks passed and as she neared her due date, I approached her with an idea. "What if you make the slings, and I refer people to you when they want to buy one?". It was an amicably accepted idea by both of us, and she did it. I was one of her biggest supporters and first customers. Finally! "Babywearing is going somewhere!" I thought. I'd purchase many slings from her and contributed a lot of fabric to her new sling making business and I was glad to do it for the sake of babywearing. As the months rolled by, she got more and more customers. She soon added the making of mei tais to her repertoire.
I could rely on her because she was not only an experienced seamstress, she also was a babywearer. Who knows best what works and what doesn't, what's comfy in a sling and what isn't than a combo of those two!
For many months we collaborated together.

Taking a different turn
I began offering more formal classes in the form of powerpoint presentations in which the parents also got a chance to test out the many type slings I had accumulated. A dear friend of mine, Noortje van Pelt, and I started out with this concept, but later decided that I would continue alone until her children were older and she could dedicate more time to it. I'll never forget the valuable tips, tricks and knowledge she imparted to me and I am grateful to her for introducing me to the oh so wonderful wrap! At the same time, Shanti Gould a certified yoga instructor, whom I'd met in December of 2009, invited me to give quarterly workshops on breastfeeding and babywearing at Prana, Aruba's leading yoga center. What better than giving classes on the two things I loved most! I felt extremely privileged by this invitation and remain grateful to Shanti for combining forces and putting babywearing to the fore.

After over a year of teaching, buying slings, speaking to moms, speaking to nurses, speaking to doctors about babywearing, I also started renting my slings out. I bought each type of carrier so that moms who weren't ready or financially able to commit to an unfamiliar carrier, could try it out in the comfort of their own home for 1,2 or 3 weeks at a time. This has also proven to be a very successful endeavor that is still growing! I've rented out my carriers to former breastfeeding clients, friends, even adopting parents. I've recently completed a photoshoot for CariBirth's step-by-step picture guide using local moms and close friends.

What the future holds
Because I come in contact with so many (expectant) parents, I get asked nearly all the time if I make and sell the slings myself. Due to time constraints and other obligations (like working a full time job, being a business owner on the side, mother and wife) I was unable to produce and sell the slings myself. Recently, however, my priorities have shifted and I decided that my business would start not only making slings, but also eventually start importing them as a wholesaler. This was decided with no ill intention but to give the parents a wider variety of choices and to further babywearing even more! I'm proud to announce that I have 3 orders in already for custom made Bella Sophia Carriers! I work closely with another seamstress and parents have the luxury of not only purchasing slings but also receiving a free complete consultation and step-by-step picture guide with each purchase. Moms (and dads too!) can leave with their purchase feeling fully confident in themselves and their ability to practice safe babywearing. This is just the beginning for my small business CariBirth. I see big, bright opportunities that lay ahead.

I'd also like to finish off by taking the opportunity to thank those who have and still believe and support CariBirth and babywearing. Minouche Lopez, my eternal mentor and one of my biggest supporters, Noortje Van Pelt, my original partner in crime and experienced babywearing friend. Andrea Justina my eternal breastfeeding and babywearing model who doesn't miss an opportunity to spread some babywearing love around, Jury & Joanna, two childhood friends of mine who've blossomed into beautiful babywearing mamas themselves. Angie Geerman, another knowledgeable babywearer and close friend, Shanti Gould, for believing in me and helping me get out there, and last but not least, Dahlia, the baby (now 3-year-old who still loves a sling ride!) who started my love affair with carriers.

Do you have any questions about babywearing? If so, feel free to contact Wendy Maduro at 297-593-4444 or send an email with your babywearing photos to

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A mother's love

During a photoshoot for my business' babywearing picture guide, our photographer snapped this photo in between shots and I fell in love with it...

Our models Jury & Jurian

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Breastfeeding Beauties

You know what I especially love about this Breastfeeding Beauty? Is that she sat and nursed her 4th child ( and 4th breastfed babe) in front of her friend, friend's 10-year-old daughter, her own daughter, two young sons and their friend. She did it with the most ease and nonchalance. I couldn't help but think what good she was doing for everyone around her, exposing these little ones to the natural progression of a pregnancy - lactation. Enjoy

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Breastfeeding Beauties

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their hard work. For if one of them should fall, the other one can raise his partner up"

Ecclesiastes 4:9

Andrea Justina & Jennifer Marie Roca &Eva & Bella

Breastfeeding Beauties

One of my first babywearing clients, Jennifer Marie Roca is our latest breastfeeding beauty. As nursing student and more avid learner who's always ready to dispel any breastfeeding myth, she gives us a beautiful example of how the love of a child and the success of breastfeeding despite ups and downs molds us and makes us stronger women, stronger mothers. Here she is nursing little Isabella

Friday, November 19, 2010

Breastfeeding Beauties

A breath taking photo from a dear dear nursing mother/friend of mine comes from Andrea Justina. A young wife and mother of one who constantly inspires me with her support of natural parenting and full-term breastfeeding. Here she is nursing her adorable, cookie-monster loving daughter, Eva (now nearly 24 months old)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So you bought a sling, now what?

You've finally gotten the sling you chose and you're eager to give it a go! But when you get the sling in your hands, you realize quickly "I don't know how to use it!" So what do you do then? Did you know that Aruba is home to a business named CariBirth who's owner is a babywearing educator? Someone specialized in giving classes and teaching women to practice the art of safe babywearing? Did you know that she visits you in the comfort of your home at the hour that's convenient for you, the day you desire and spends her time until you feel comfortable in using your new carrier. She's also the only person on Aruba that owns such a vast variety of carriers on the market and let's you pick and choose which one you'd like to rent before you commit to buying an unfamiliar carrier. She has both in depth knowledge and personal experience in babywearing and still wears her 3-year-old daughter. She has given lectures, classes and has been the first woman to officially start up and provide a place where women can learn more about and become confident and skilled babywearers. Why not give CariBirth's Wendy Maduro a call at 593-4444 or email at, and make your appointment for your own personal at home babywearing consult. Stop worrying and start babywearing!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Breast – Functionally Practical or Sexual?



An attractive young woman poses in a barely-there bikini for a beer ad. Plastered up high on a huge billboard, men gawk at this image, teenage girls idolize the model's shapely hips and rounded, full breasts, and little girls want to be just like her when they grow up.


In a park a mother sits with her baby on her lap. The baby turns his head from side to side as if he was looking for something. His mother picks up his rooting cues and lifts her shirt to offer him the breast. A family with a young child passes by and the mother immediately steers the young child's attention away from the nursing mother.


What's wrong with the two above mentioned scenarios?


It's how we view an important aspect of women nowadays. What's that you ask? The female breast. How we view this secondary sex organ influences an important aspect of the procreative cycle, namely, breastfeeding. I'm not just speaking about how women view their breasts and breasts of other women, but also the opinion a man holds. Why is everyone's opinion on the matter important? Because at one point or another, all of us, each one of us, will come in contact with a pregnant and/or lactating woman at some point in our life. Whether she is our friend, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, or the stranger sitting next to us, our opinion can influence her decision and desire to sustain breastfeeding. When you add up enough opinions and viewpoints of enough people, you get a general mental attitude and cultural view of a given topic. If enough people see a woman's breasts as something merely sexual that is to be kept in that context, you get a society that views breastfeeding or at least nursing in public, as something taboo. Besides having non-western cultures laugh and ridicule us for being nonsensical for thinking that of a breastfeeding mother, we also have to contemplate the short- and long term effects and consequences of this negative view. A lactating woman who feels embarrassed or even ashamed to nurse outside of the privacy of her own home is more likely to give up on breastfeeding altogether. As a matter of fact, this well contributes to Aruba's dismal breastfeeding rates at 6 + months. A mother cannot be expected to sit at home until the child decides to wean off the breast. This is not just in any context. Some will argue "Bah! Just let her bring along a bottle of formula or expressed milk when she has to go out, that's plain and simple!". I'll answer with an emphatic "NO!" One of the benefits of breastfeeding is not having to worry about having to prepare and walk around with bottles and such paraphernalia. It's the ease and simplicity of lifting your shirt and having the substance ready when the baby is, at the temperature the baby likes and in two attractive containers that draws many women to breastfeeding. Are we then going to burden this mother by indirectly and subtly making her feel she is not welcome to nurse her child in public? Is this even our right to have any say over this?


In a meeting with UNICEF'S Regional Director for the Caribbean, Nils Kastberg, revealed to us that by the time a girl is 14, she has already subconsciously made up her mind in what form she will feed her child – be it by bottle or breast. What does this indicate to us? Children both male and female, need to be, for lack of a better word, exposed to breastfeeding at the youngest age possible. Not just by being breastfed, but by being allowed and given the opportunity to witness this act of sheer nurture, love and warmth. Why do we say that both boys and girls need to see this? Because even though it's the girl that will grow up and actually breastfeed, the boy will grow up and eventually become someone's partner and someone's father. There is probably no greater influence on breastfeeding than that of the partner. A study revealed that when a woman's partner was fully supportive of her decision to breastfeed, 98.1% of women actually did. On the contrary, when a woman's partner was indifferent about the matter, only 26% went on to breastfeed. A man's opinion of his wife's breasts is far-reaching and is important.


Of course, just because a woman has the ineluctable ability to lactate, does not render her breasts as sole property of the child during his nursing years. Why can't we reach a consensus? Breasts are multi-functional. It's certainly something worth considering



Friday, November 12, 2010

Eats on Feets - Online Milk sharing page gets a head start

Source: The Amigoe
Edition: November 12th 2010
Author: Mirte De Rozario

Oranjestad - A mother in urgent need of breast milk because she accidentally spills her 7 ounce (200 ml) supply of expressed milk, was helped to fill that need in 13 minutes via the online milk sharing page "Eats on Feets." Because of the quick response, the mother did not have to supplement with formula. Wendy Maduro leads the chapter in Aruba that was started just this week on Facebook.

And yet, Eats on Feets is not just an Aruban network. Maduro, who is a board member of Pro Lechi Mama (Aruba's non-profit breastfeeding organization) requested to lead Aruba's chapter in response to a Global movement that strives to match human milk requests to donations of such.

This worldwide initiative, Eats on Feets Global, was started up by Canadian Emma Kwasnica. This breastfeeding advocate was spurred on to action after it became known that a new line of artificial baby milk was to come on the market. In opposition of this developing story, Kwasnica decided to create an online page on Facebook where moms could make informed choices about milk sharing between each other. The name :Eats on Feets" came from an American midwife who'd thought up the name. In the blink of an eye, Eats on Feets exploded in other lands. There are about 87 local chapters in 18+ countries.

Supply and Demand
Aruba's own local chapter on Facebook got its start this week. "The idea is simple", says Maduro, "You can compare it to Aruba Match, but then specifically for mothers who breastfeed. Mothers who breastfeed usually pump and thus build up a stash in their freezer, especially when they have a copious production. Those who've accumulated a reserve may decide to share this with another mother who may be in need for human milk but may not have access to it. Before, a mother may have had to supplement with formula, but with Eats on Feets, that's not necessary anymore."
Wednesday past, was the success of Eats on Feets clearly visible. Maduro put out an urgent call on Facebook for 7 ounces of breastmilk for a mom in dire need of it. Within 13 minutes, the need was filled, so revealed a post on Facebook from Maduro.
"I got a response from a mother whom I know, that she was able and willing to donate the amount that was needed." In this instance, PLM picked up the donated breastmilk and brought it to the recipient because of necessity. But in actuality, the parties involved are asked to make arrangements amongst themselves."
Maduro goes on to say that this same urgent call for human milk brought in a flood of responses. Maduro emphasizes though that she personally knew this mother and knew that she was healthy and had good quality milk. "Because otherwise I would not have facilitated the milk donation. As a mother who uses milk from another mother, you want to be careful and avoid the potential risk of giving your baby milk from a mother who may have a communicable disease."
She also mentioned and example of another donating mother.* "I was approached by an American tourist who was familiar with Eats on Feets and was who a regular donor of mother's milk. She was vacationing on Aruba and couldn't bring her expressed breast milk back to the States with her, and she asked me to find a baby on Aruba who was in need of human milk. That is exactly what Eats on Feets has as its mission. Mothers who milk share who can establish contact and fill the need either of a donation or request here on Facebook."

Chapter leader of Aruba's Eats on Feets page highlights that this initiative is free, that has as its only goal to provide a means, a space, where moms can meet each other. Where the health status of the donating mother is concerned, each recipient and donator is responsible for this individually. "On every Eats on Feets page, whichever land it may be, there is access to references and additional information for all interested about the risks and personal responsibility that each mother takes upon herself when she shares milk. I encourage all who are interested in this movement, whether you are a donor or a recipient, to inform yourself and know your source." Maduro goes on to explain what she advises mothers who are searching for a donation of maternal milk to do. "If when you put in a request and you get a match for a donor that you're personally familiar with, then usually there's no problem and you can choose to accept the milk without much ado. But if a recipient is not familiar with the donating mother, then, the mother at the receiving end may choose to ask that the mother at the donating end have the appropriate blood tests done to verify that she is in good health and that her milk is safe."

Facebook is a social networking site that allows an individual to choose how much personal information he puts out there. To maintain the relative privacy of Eats on Feets, each chapter understand and acknowledges that all those interested in donating/receiving is encouraged to post on their local page but that further arrangements be made between themselves. For more information on the guidelines of the page, visit your local chapter's page, Eats on Feets ~ Aruba. Since the opening of the chapter the beginning of this week, there has been  about 40 'likes' so far.

Footnote: The milk donation facilitated earlier this year by Pro Lechi Mama's Wendy Maduro was not established through "Eats on Feets Global". This donation came about by Aruban Breastfeeding Mamas' Facebook page , where Wendy was subsequently contacted by the donating mother before her trip to Aruba. Footnote my own 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eats on Feets ~ Aruba!

If you don't live, eat and breathe Facebook, or have been living under a rock then you probably have not heard of EOF Global, or "Eats on Feets". This amazing, far-reaching movement started with just one thought, taken over by an amazing woman and just exploded in what will probably be one of the biggest movements in milk-sharing in history since the wet nurse.

Where did the name "Eats on Feets" come from?

(The original Eats On Feets Creator)
"I started this page (the original EOF page) after receiving a phone call from a mom who was desperate to find breast-milk for her newborn. I posted her needs on Facebook and the response was immediate and fantastic. I thought it would be awesome if there were a page dedicated to milk sharing and tribe nursing.

So, this is a networking page for moms to share and receive milk when needed. I am not responsible for milk sharing results or content shared by other posters.

And a note of caution; KNOW THY SOURCE. While it is true that tribe feeding offers MANY benefits, there is ALWAYS the risk of disease/contamination.

I support many causes and movements but in the spirit of keeping the site as focused as possible status updates are specific to milk sharing."
With Shell's approval, Eats On Feets GLOBAL was initiated by Shell's good friend Emma Kwasnica. It's hub is on the FB page INFORMED CHOICE : BIRTH AND BEYOND. Safe mother to mother milk sharing is part of INFORMED CHOICE for today's childbearing/-rearing women!

I'd seen the EOF (Eats on Feets) movement bubbling days before November 7th 2010 (the day EOF went Live) and I didn't quite get it, that is... before I logged on to my Facebook and was blown away by this massive happening. I immediately jumped on the bandwagon and contacted Emma letting her know I wanted to open up a chapter in Aruba. She was thrilled to add the first part of the Caribbean to EOF Global's list of Worldwide chapters! I can only hope my sister islands also follow suit.

Are you an Aruban breastfeeding mama with a desire to donate your milk to another baby in need? Visit our FB fan page- Eats on Feets ~ Aruba - to look for a recipient now! Or perhaps you are a mom in need of breast milk for your baby, put your request on the wall and find a donor near you!

I leave you now with a tidbit about EOF on Youtube

Have more questions about Eats on Feets? Visit our FAQ page and find out!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Breastfeeding Beauties

A friend from long ago, blossoms into a beautiful breastfeeding mother. In fact, she can be deemed a true "Breastfeeding Beauty". That is, my friend, Jury Lanoy. Here she is nursing her adorable and ardent nursling, Jurian

Enjoy <3

The modern day wet-nurse

Wet nurse. A term familiar to nearly everyone. Although women are not employed full time as wet nurses any longer, the practice is far from dead. More commonly now, women share their milk when an opportunity arises of a baby or mother in need of milk.

Tonight, such a situation presented when a close friend and breastfeeding mama sent me a message telling me that her 7 ounce stash of milk for tomorrow was spilled. She said that she'd try her best to pump as much as she could tonight to be able to have enough for tomorrow, or else her baby would have to get formula in her absence while she'd be at work. I immediately exclaimed "Nooooooooooooo!" and that I would search for a donor immediately, for the lost 7 ounces of precious liquid gold we call breast milk.

I immediately posted on my Facebook, and on our "Breastfeeding Mamas" Blackberry group that I had a mama in search for milk ASAP. I then remembered a client that lived close by that I knew had a good supply and stash in the freezer. I gave her a call and she immediately went to check how much she could give. To my surprise and sheer euphoria, she could fill the whole 7 ounces! Then, simultaneously, another mom on the Blackberry group responded and said she could give 4. We were all overjoyed!

I grabbed a small cooler, filled it with ice and off I went to pick up and drop off the milk. In the mean time, I got a message on Facebook from yet another mom who had donated in the past who was saying she had 10 frozen ounces that were reaching their expiration date. Talk about moving mountains for some milk! Within half an hour, 3 moms were willing to donate a total of 21 ounces of their precious maternal milk to help this mom out! I couldn't have been prouder of all of them.

So the modern day nursing mother can become a modern day wet-nurse even if for just one time, in the blink of an eye

Breastfeeding is truly a self-sacrificing act that not only benefits your baby, but could also benefit another baby out there at some point or another. Sharing milk = Sharing love

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blackberry Breastfeeding Support Groups

The Blackberry has been called many things ranging from "pure bliss" to the ever infamous "Crackberry". Recently though, a new trend has emerged that has brought the two loves of many women together, the Blackberry chat group and breastfeeding. Fundacion Pro Lechi Mama Aruba has started their own "Breastfeeding Mamas" BB group. Spurred on by the success of their monthly breastfeeding support groups or "moedergroepen" they decided to bring peer counseling and encouragement to a whole new plateau. 

Moms in the group had this to say about this new concept:

"It's very good. You get to hear about what others go through and you don't feel so alone."
"Yes! Brilliant idea. I like the way we support one another and like A said, you don't feel alone plus you learn a lot from others."
"Especially with certain people around you, in my case that is, they see breastfeeding as something s strange. They're amazed when they hear that I'm still breastfeeding as if I should've stopped a long time ago. Thus, this group is good support!"
"I find it the best! Especially when you're in doubt and you don't know what else to do, you all are ready to help each other, it's something very great! "
Moms in this group enjoy forming new friendships with other local breastfeeding moms and also enjoy having their doubts or fears relieaved by the experience of the moms combined with the expertise and knowledge of the board members of Pro Lechi Mama. Are you pregnant and interested in learning more about breastfeeding? Are you a breastfeeding mom who wants to forms new friendships with other like minded moms? Then add 216BCAE8 and specify that you'd like to be added to the "Breastfeeding Mamas" group! If you're already in the group, why not add your friends? 

Note: Group is open to any and all seeking support and information with regards to breastfeeding. All group members are expected to behave in a kind, respectful manner even when opinions differ. Wrong information is subject to correction. Group membership is free and all are welcome!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

World Breastfeeding Week September 27th - October 3rd 2010

It's here! It's here! It's finally here!

World Breastfeeding Week! Aruba, along with Holland and other countries traditionally celebrate World Breastfeeding Week in the 40th week of the year. The 40th week was chosen to symbolize a pregnancy. Aruba was pretty quiet during the rest of the world's WBW, August 1-7 2010. But this time around, we're gonna be out and about!

One of the awesome stuff we have planned is our 2nd annual Quintessence Global breastfeeding challenge! Usually the challenge takes place at 11 am, but due to the hot weather, we've moved it to 5 pm. This year we've chosen a much more family friendly location with exciting things going on throughout the event. The event itself is from 4-6 pm at Wilhelmina Park. Families who attend are warmly encouraged to bring older children if they have any. We'll have a 'poppen kast', story telling,and a Sling Fashion Show in celebration of International Babywearing Week. There will be lots of prizes for the moms who take part in the challenge.

We're extremely excited to bring breastfeeding into the spotlight, where it belongs. The more we speak, the more we fight, the quicker we can raise breastfeeding to its original pedestal, as something normal.

Do you have any events going on during WBW? What about the breastfeeding challenge?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Have you considered renting a sling first?

My modest business, CariBirth, is the only business offering sling rentals. There are so many carriers out there (some really expensive ones too) that it often times overwhelms new parents. Some don't have the time and/or funds to go around and purchase carrier after carrier seeing which fits them best. For this reason, I decided to amass and rent my baby carriers. Recently, the rental has picked up, and the parents are surprised to hear they can actually try out the carrier of their choice for 1,2, and even 3 weeks in their home and out and about. It allows them time and opportunity to test out a given carrier in their day-to-day life without having to commit.

Of course, being the opportunist that I am, I take advantage of my clients allowing me to take pictures of them with the baby in the carrier. Today, a dad let me take many photos of him with the baby, and I relished in it because sometimes the clients are shy!

I now have some pictures of a dad wearing his baby to use in my classes and website.

"Thank you so very much"

Volunteer work holds a near and dear place to my heart. I believe that humans have the greatest capacity to love and do good for their fellow man through kind and sincere acts motivated by unselfish concern. From a young age I made it a point in my life to help others. There's no greater satisfaction than knowing someone else was helped, that you could've made their day a little bit better. 

When I was 19 I gave birth to a daughter. Her birth would open the doors to a world I've never known of before. I breastfed my daughter for a bit over a year and fell in love with my new life as a mother. When my daughter was 4 months old, I decided to further my education and become a certified childbirth educator. This brought me in line to receive an invitation to be on the board of Aruba's only non-profit breastfeeding organization, namely, Pro Lechi Mama. After about a year, and much more education later, I started going on breastfeeding consults. This organization runs solely on volunteers, not even being reimbursed for the long hours they put in. So why do we do it? Well, one of the reasons is because if we don't, who will? Who will attend to these mothers that call 1 o'clock in the morning (it has happened before) desperate for someone to quell their fears and allay their anxieties? We will. 

We also do it because we have been there. All of us at one point has been the anxious mother, with cracked bleeding nipples, begging for help to continue breastfeeding. We know what it means, and we yearn to help other mothers and families succeed. This love is what drives us to leave our jobs at 6 in the evening and come over by you until 11 o'clock at night until the baby overcomes his nipple preference and latches on. This same love is what makes us fight for your rights to nurse in public, to combine breastfeeding and work, to not fall victim to this bottle-ridden society. 

I gain much satisfaction from helping my mamas and babies. This comes at great cost, but is worth my while. You know when I have to fight back tears? When my mamas look at me with a glimmer in their eyes and thank  me. 

Today, on a breastfeeding, turned babywearing consult, turned sling rental, the mom and dad handed me a card. I opened it and nearly broke out in tears. They thanked me for the love and help I gave them with babywearing and breastfeeding and that if there was anything they could help me with to promote these two things, just call them. These tokens of affection are what pumps more energy into us. We ARE making a difference! People DO appreciate our work! 

I may have drastically altered my life when I became a young mother, but I can't help but be grateful to rectify the situation and that it has helped me put my own problems aside and just help someone else. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Breastfeeding Beauties

A photo that is dear to my heart is one of a local mother. Aruban mothers tend to be of a shy nature and don't really take pictures of themselves breastfeeding their children. I find this a shame because Aruba enjoys a vast range of ethnic diversity in its inhabitants. An Aruban can range from white as milk, to black as ebony, with mixtures of latino, asian and anything in between.

This photo was taken by an extremely talented young photographer named Annabelle Quandus. With love for Pro Lechi Mama and breastfeeding, she has taken photos of breastfeeding mothers and dedicated a whole wall of her art to the cause.

Ergo Sport Baby Carrier

It's here! It's here! It's finally here!

After months of yearning for an Ergo Baby carrier, I finally ordered it (with much pain) and got it today after a suspenseful three weeks. I barely got home, when I grabbed my nearly 3-year-old daughter and put her on my back.

IT IS HEAVEN! The thick plush padded straps, the very flattering waist belt ( good for those of us with a pouch ) and the sleeping hood all make this (expensive) carrier worth every penny.

Do you have an Ergo? What do you love about it?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Breastfeeding Beauties

This week's picture for our "Breastfeeding Beauties" series comes from a dear friend of mine, Noortje. I took this picture while at her house conversing with me one day. I never used it and was very happy to "re-encounter" the photo. Here is Noortje nursing her curly blonde haired Zoe

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Aruba's First annual International Babywearing Week

In the confusion and rush of planning the 2nd annual Quintessence breastfeeding challenge, I decided I was nuts enough to take on planning an event during the challenge to celebrate babywearing week. Because this is pure madness on my behalf ( toddler, full time job, side-job, planning the breastfeeding challenge) I decided to keep it  small this year.

I would like to take this opportunity then to invite all Aruban mothers, and even fathers, to participate in this "Sling fashion show" where we show case different style carriers, with different age babies/children. I know some wonderful babywearing moms who I'd love to recruit, but I'm also riding on anyone else who is interested!

You can give me a call at 593-4444 or email at

This is gonna be fun!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Breastfeeding Beauties

Victoria is another wonderful nursing mother I met on Facebook. I couldn't stop staring at her profile picture one day and asked her permission to use it on my blog and in my classes. This is a one-of-those pictures that you keep remembering.

Inexpensive props for breastfeeding classes

The use of visual aids in any class is essential to drive your point home. For visual learners, props help them remember the principles of your theme and may cement a connection between your topic and the object in question, for the rest of their lives potentially. 

I personally love using props because it engages everybody in the class instead of them being mere passive listeners. For my breastfeeding classes I use a few inexpensive but essential props. They are;

  • Medicine measuring cups
  • Newborn Diapers
  • Golf balls/ hazelnuts
  • A pitcher of formula 

Medicine Measuring Cups:

I start off by explaining them about colostrum and the ubiquitous fear of it never being enough to satisfy a newborn.  I give them each a plastic cup of water and ask them to fill it with 15 ml of the water. I ask them to hold it up, take a good look at it. I then go on to explain that the newborn stomach has a capacity to hold only 7-14 ml of liquid at a given feeding. They usually gasp and give me the 'deer-in-headlights' look. 

Newborn Diapers:

I then ask them to fill up the diaper with 3 tablespoons of the remaining water which is about 45 ml. I tell them that this what a wet diaper should feel like. I also ask them how many wet diapers a baby should have on the first, second, third and fourth day of life. 

Golf balls/ Hazelnuts:

Each couple gest a golf ball. I tell them to pick it up and look at it (the same goes for the hazelnut, but hazelnuts aren't easy to find in Aruba unless it's Christmas time). I tell them that on day 10, their baby's stomach is approximately the size of a golf ball. It was the size of a hazelnut at birth. They also gasp and many times I hear them murmur that the amount the hospital packs the baby in with is actually stretching its poor stomach. It's a true "AHA!" moment for all in the class.

A Pitcher of formula:

By far my most favorite part of the class is when I get to dish out formula for the expectant parents to drink. Each couple gets a cup with about 2 ounces and unless medically unable, all are urged to taste a substance that they are considering feeding their infants. This is also the time my husband gets the camera ready to take pictures of them gagging. I try to hold back my laughter but we all end up killing ourselves with the laugh at how bad formula really tastes. It's not just that it's bland and extremely sugary, but it actually tastes bad. I must give credit to the woman from whom I learned this. ICAN President, doula, CBE and friend Desiree Andrews told me once how she gives her couples formula to drink during childbirth education classes and that this usually impresses upon them to breastfeed and discourages unnecessary formula use. I must admit, it works with success. 

You don't always need expensive charts and materials to get yours clients thinking. Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity and imagination

Which props or visual aids do you use during your breastfeeding class?

Breastfeeding Beauties

I always ask my Facebook friends to send in pictures of them nursing to include in my classes and blog. I finally decided to start a series called "Breastfeeding Beauties" which will showcase these beautiful and unique photos I receive from these unique women.

To kick off the series is a picture of a wonderful and awe-inspiring woman I met on Facebook. She has 6 children and has breastfed all of them. She is currently breastfeeding her 15-month-old Tierneigh. Did I mention that this ridiculously gorgeous momma makes ridiculously gorgeous kids?!

Send in your breastfeeding photos to with a short text for the picture and have it showcased in "Breastfeeding Beauties".