Philanthropy

Breast Friends Forever: Providing Breastfeeding Support to Filipino Mothers

Lactation Attachment Training Counseling and Help, or LATCH, spearheads lactation education classes, peer counseling, and campaigns toward normalizing breastfeeding.
IMAGE COURTESY LATCH
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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.


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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.

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This story was originally published in the April 2018 issue of Town&Country Philippines.

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Maria Milagros G. Augustines
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