Having a doula is more than just having someone with you during your pregnancy, birth, and in the early days of new parenthood. While it is true that we will be your advocate and support during your childbirth journey, doulas also provide access to a wide network of allies. As a matter of fact, it is a requirement during doula certification to submit a directory of contacts who can help you address any concerns you may have before, during, and after childbirth.
Today, we take a look at Yokabed – Home of Lactating Moms, a lactation center in the heart of the metro providing help to breastfeeding moms with their trained and experienced lactation counselors. The center provides families with prenatal and post-natal massages, as well as lactation massages and breastfeeding counseling.
Yokabed was founded in August 2022 (Breastfeeding month!) by Tin Cervantes, an Arugaan-trained lactation consultant and has been helping families with their breastfeeding journey for many years now. I first met her at a mom-and-baby meetup I attended with Doula Velvet Escario-Roxas. My eldest child was five months old at the time and I was seeking support and more information about breastfeeding. Tin was there, teaching hand expression and cup feeding for infants.
While Tin has been helping families for a long time, one of the things I am most amazed about her is how she has been a part of emergency relief operations specific to breastfeeding children in times of natural disasters. In 2009, when Typhoon Ondoy (internationally known as Typhoon Ketsana) struck the Philippines, many families lost access to clean water and because of this, infants who were formula-fed had to be transitioned to breastfeeding as a safe and reliable way of nourishment. Tin was at the frontline, providing help both as a wet nurse and a consultant for many babies at that time. In fact, she has served as a wet nurse for hundreds of babies already!
The Yokabed facility opened its doors in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since families could not be met at their residences at the time due to restrictions on movement and infection prevention, the facility was started so that families can still get the help they need concerning lactation and breastfeeding. But sometimes, even when breastfeeding is not problematic, we do not want to wait until it is before we consult someone who is capable and will be able to provide us with the information and help that we need.
Take Aika as an example, a mom who attended my Birthing with Confidence Childbirth preparation class. Aika had a natural birth with Dra. Menie Reyes at St. Luke's Medical Center and had an abundant supply of milk for her child. To support her in the early days of having the baby, she requested a home visit with Tin, keen to learn more about breastfeeding.
Aika eventually needed to return to work full time, reporting to the office daily. As such, there was a need for their family to transition the baby to feeding without mommy present. However, Aika encountered difficulties introducing their child to the bottle. In fact, she has spent thousands of pesos on bottles that promised to be the most natural and closest to the breast, but none of them fulfilled that promise. Finally I suggested to her, “Since you are having a hard time with bottle feeding, why not go ahead and explore cup feeding?”
Also Cupfeeding Infants
So Aika brought her husband, her mom, and their caregiver who will be looking after the baby to Tin and her team at Yokabed. While hubby, lola, and yaya were learning all about cup feeding, Aika was getting a lactation massage from the Yokabed team and found out that she already had clogged ducts from using a breast pump to build her milk stash. She was also reviewed on hand expression and encouraged that returning to work and giving her child the best nutrition is still possible, although it might take some work initially.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to get capable, dependable, and knowledgeable support. Difficult things are easy to learn, if someone capable will be providing the support and teaching you the ropes.
If you would like to know more about Yokabed and would like to avail of the services they provide, please send them a message at Yokabed’s official Facebook page or call them at 0999 781 7769. As of writing, they are in the process of relocating from their Quezon City spot to Marikina City and they currently only accept online and home service sessions.
Want to learn more about breastfeeding before the baby comes? Take part in my Breastfeeding with Confidence class, a two-hour crash course on the basics of breastfeeding.