Breastfeeding and Architecture

“Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we write about the World Breastfeeding Week 2014 – Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life and share how breastfeeding can help the Philippines achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals developed by the government and the United Nations. Participants will share their thoughts, experiences, hopes and suggestions on the topic. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.”

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I decided to exclusively breastfeed my second baby because I personally thought it is a winning goal for life. Breastfeeding is my personal goal that will give my son a victorious life by starting him right with the best food for babies, his mother’s breast milk. Here are is the link for more information on benefits of breast feeding.

I attended the breastfeeding club seminars by La Leche League leader Ms. Abbie Yabot at Medela House when I was still pregnant and after I gave birth. As a working mother, the seminar equipped me to exclusively breastfeed my child up until now that he is 11 months. I learned “unang yakap” and proper latch are needed to successfully breastfeed. IMG_73522013-09-18 16.51.39

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I learned how to build-up my BM stash and cup feed my baby (to avoid nipple confusion) before I go back to work. Also, Ms. Abbie inspired me to be breast milk donor.

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In every goal, challenges will be encountered. Here are some of my breastfeeding challenges. My son is tongue-tied and it’s a bit painful to breastfeed. His pedia said if there is no problem in the latch, there is no need to release his tongue-tied.

I could not afford electric pump so I just bought a manual pump. Our office do not have a lactation station so I was using a corner in the accounting office. I was bringing home about 12oz. to 15oz of BM. I even donated some.

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But after 2 months of using manual pump, I got tired, I had sore nipples and I experienced a sudden low milk supply. I was not bringing home enough BM to feed my baby but I Praise God that a neighbor was also breastfeeding and would come to our house to breastfeed my son in this shortage crisis.

I prayed and did all recommended ways to improved my output. I bought a new membrane for the manual pump. I ate galactagogues like cookies and malunggay oil, I started taking Nutrilite, the high quality organic supplements and rested my body. (I chose organic to be environmentally sustainable and safe for BF) I massaged my breast and thought of happy thoughts. And I thank God for answered prayers after 1-2 weeks, my output improved 2x the usual. Before, with my manual pump, I was pumping around 2-3oz that suddenly went down to 1-1.5oz per session and after praying hard, my output became 4-6oz. per session, up until now. So bring home around 16oz for 3-4 pumping sessions and up to 20oz. if I had 4-5 pumping sessions.

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I believe that the doubled breast milk output was because my baby learned to properly latch and empty my breast and the Nutrilite organic supplements that I took properly nourished my body, and of course my overwhelming desire to provide the best food for my baby.

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After 2 months of returning to work, I talked to my boss I got tired using my manual pump and to my surprised, he offered to give me a cash advance for me to buy Medela Freestyle double electric pump. But I told him that I need the raise that he promised to me before I went on maternity leave (that is 8 months due to high risk pregnancy). And the next week, he gave me a salary raise and gave me the cash advance. With my new Medela freestyle electric double pump, there was a time that I had an output of 9oz. in just one session.

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Overcoming all these breastfeeding challenges, I acknowledge and I believe that my abundant milk supply and Medela freestyle are “ALL HIS”, that is why, I weekly donate my extra output to mommies who have low milk supply, my winning goal in life.

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In my heart, I really wanted to share my knowledge and experiences on breastfeeding to other working mommies. I was thinking of conducting breastfeeding classes in my company and other companies but that would be tedious and overwhelming to me.

But this month of August 2014, while breastfeeding, it dawned to me, I am an Architect, I can design lactation room as required in RA 10028. I could help promote breastfeeding awareness through informing my fellow architects through my professional organization, the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) about implementing Republic Act (RA) 10028 in design of public and private establishments. This Act shall be known as the “Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009”.

“AN ACT EXPANDING THE PROMOTION OF BREASTFEEDING, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7600, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS “AN ACT PROVIDING INCENTIVES TO ALL GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE HEALTH INSTITUTIONS WITH ROOMING-IN AND BREASTFEEDING PRACTICES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

RA 10028 requires all public and private buildings to have lactation station, as stated in Chapter 3 Section 11. Establishment of Lactation Stations. – It is hereby mandated that all health and non-health facilities, establishments or institutions shall establish lactation stations. The lactation stations shall be adequately provided with the necessary equipment and facilities, such as: lavatory for hand-washing, unless there is an easily-accessible lavatory nearby; refrigeration or appropriate cooling facilities for storing expressed breast milk; electrical outlets for breast pumps; a small table; comfortable seats; and other items, the standards of which shall be defined by the Department of Health. The lactation station shall not be located in the toilet. Further, in Chapter 5, Sec. 18, the lactation station will have the Department of Health Certifications and in Section 19 will gain tax incentives.
“Sec. 19. Incentives. – The expenses incurred by a private health and non-health facility, establishment or institution, in complying with the provisions of this Act, shall be deductible expenses for income tax purposes up to twice the actual amount incurred: Provided, That the deduction shall apply for the taxable period when the expenses were incurred: Provided, further, That all health and non-health facilities, establishments and institutions shall comply with the provisions of this Act within six (6) months after its approval: Provided, finally, That such facilities, establishments or institutions shall secure a “Working Mother-Baby-Friendly Certificate” from the Department of Health to be filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, before they can avail of the incentive. Here is the link for top 19 breastfeeding stations in malls of Metro Manila. And here are the links of 6 breastfeeding Friendly Companies.

As an architect, my breastfeeding advocacy can be realized through architecture through information dissemination of RA 10028. Hence, this August 2014, I started sending information to UAP presidents. And my goal is to inform the UAP National President to reach all UAP chapter members as well as APEC Architects. My end goal is a global partnership with all Architects in making breastfeeding as a cultural norm by having lactation stations in public and private establishments. These lactation stations will then serve as a information dissemination on breastfeeding.

I am currently formulating my own lactation station design criteria for Philippine setting. In the hope that it will be use for “best practice on lactation/breastfeeding station”. Just like the American Institute of Architects AIA LACTATION ROOM DESIGN

My initial thoughts, there is a need to design for the specific design for its end user. I proposed the typical design is a dedicated breastfeeding station, which malls have right now.

My suggestions for these breastfeeding or lactation rooms are appropriate furniture starting with a comfy chair or sofa that could accommodate a mother holding a baby and should support the back of the mom. Moms can easy to sit and stand up while carrying her baby, meaning not so low and not so soft. Though armrest are appreciated, the width should accommodate a length of a toddler. I personally prefer a 2 seater-sofa over a single seater big lazy chair.

Nursing Mothers Room - Perkins
link here
Privacy is a another issue, nursing stations in malls use curtain for the door and a door with bolt that says “occupied” to avoid unwelcomed interruptions. This privacy design is good for pumping or expressing milk and must come with table or table-high counter-top with convenience outlet. Table top or counter top must be an easy to clean and maintain, preferably anti-bacterial surface. Electric pump can be noisy, hence, wall must be structured to minimize sound transmission to adjacent rooms. It is suggested to install sound absorbing materials such as fabric panels, curtains, carpeting, or other sound-dampening materials to minimize echoes.

However, some mothers do welcome socializing hence, common big sofas facing each other or single chairs are encouraged but should be enclosed that should not be visually accessible to men.

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Lighting and air conditioning should be relaxing, lighting and cooling can be controlled. I prefer that diaper changing station is also incorporated in the lactation station. it would be best if it would near the lavatory. Kitchen sink are preferred for washing bottles and pump parts with goose-neck or kitchen-type faucets are recommended.

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link here.

I proposed a second design for lactation station specifically for offices for expressing milk, which I will call temporary lactation stations for working mothers. It is rarely allowed in offices to bring breastfeeding babies & toddlers. This is my personal challenge, my office do not have any lactation room so I use a corner in accounting office. Some of my office mates did not exclusively breastfeed because of lack of such facilities.

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Hence, I would like to propose a design criteria for a temporary lactation room or an area in the office that can be converted into a lactation station when needed. In this way, offices can comply with the provisions of RA 10028 and can be certified as a lactation station by the Department of Health.

I have my whole lifetime to achieve my goals and dreams in promoting breastfeeding in the Philippines. My winning goal is to make breastfeeding a norm in the society through architecture. I dream in the future that Filipino architecture means environmentally sustainable where lactation/breastfeeding station is typical architectural feature in any public and private establishments.

Here are many thoughts and reasons why we should all advocate for mothers to breastfeed for the first 1,000 days of life #BF1st1000days

Jenny shares experiencing the One Asia Breastfeeding Forum

Mec insists to do the Math and breastfeed!

Ams, The Passionate Mom says Breastfeed for a Better Future

Pat says breastfeeding saves money and the planet

Cheryl, the Multi-Tasking Mama, tackles maternal health as addressed by breastfeeding

2011 CNN Hero Ibu Robin highlights gentle births and breasfeeding, even in disaster zones

Felyn stresses that Healthy Moms = Healthy Babies

Monique reminds us that there are second chances in breastfeeding

Normi relates how breastfeeding gave her strength and purpose

Nats thanks Dr. Jack Newman for showing how breastfeeding can be a win-win situation

Em believes breastfeeding is a solution to societal problems

Marge shares what breastfeeding has taught them

Kaity was empowered financially and as a woman through breastfeeding

Madel relates her breastfeeding saga

Jen of Next9 reminds us to do our research and share what we know

Celerhina Aubrey vows to work on one mother at a time

Grace wants to put an end to stories of toasted coffee and similar stuff over breast milk

Diane shares how she prevailed when things did not go according to plan

Hazel appreciates mommy support groups

Roan combines two passions, breastfeeding and architecture

Queenie tackled breastfeeding as the best choice for the environment as well and breastfeeding myths and poverty

Rosa shares how the picture she thought of was realized

Sally believes breastfeeding benefits mankind and our planet Earth

Floraine reminds us that breastfeeding helps combat diseases

Crislyn was happy to realize that she improved her own health by breastfeeding

Armi reminds us how breastfeeding during emergencies is crucial

Arvi tells us how breastfeeding made her look at her body a different way

Clarice elaborates on how breastfeeding saves lives and the planet

Giane reminds us that women empowerment can begin by seeing breastfeeding as more than a feeding issue

Liza thought she was only breastfeeding for her child

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5 thoughts on “Breastfeeding and Architecture

  1. Hi Roan! I practice architecture too and you are correct. Since there are a lot of small offices here, not all can allot a dedicated space for a lactation room. I like the idea of having the option of providing a temporary space instead.

  2. This is great! The possibilities are endless with regards to design and specifications to comply to RA10028 as long as employers are open to change. Thank you for sharing this with us!
    I opened my eyes to possible room arrangements. Heehehee

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