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Introducing BMSG’s 2019-2021 EXCO

By BMSG Editorial Team
Photo Credits: Lisa Matthews from Lisa Matthews Photography

Our newly-elected EXCO for 2019-2021. Many of our EXCO members are actively serving counsellors and volunteers.

We are extremely glad to introduce you to our EXCO members for 2019-2021!

EXCO members are key in making important decisions for our organisation and they work very hard behind the scenes to provide opportunities and support to breastfeeding mothers in Singapore. Apart from the operational running of the charity, EXCO members also take on  various roles such as, and not limited to:

  • Coming up with new initiatives and events to help make breastfeeding more inclusive and normalised
  • Conducting explorations and research in the areas of support that counsellors provide
  • Developing training content and materials for counsellors and ensure that counsellors are kept abreast with the latest in breastfeeding knowledge
  • Exploring ways to  make the organisation more sustainable and accessible to the public

…and many more!

Without further ado, here are the 12 newly appointed members of the BMSG EXCO for 2019-2021!

Khatim Hamidon, President

Khatim served as the Vice-President in the previous Exco and is currently an executive at a local Voluntary Welfare Organisation. The mother-of-two  is also one of the longest serving counsellor and volunteer in BMSG. As someone who has been on the board for a number of years, she sees her role evolving from breastfeeding supporter to advocate. She aspires to make breastfeeding the norm for all babies and families and is interested in breastfeeding education for the masses.

Elaine Chow, Vice-President

Elaine was the President of the 2017-2019 EXCO. The mother-of-four, who has recently welcomed a newborn, is excited to focus her work on the quality of BMSG’s counselling services and to continue contributing to the breastfeeding community. Elaine had kickstarted several key initiatives in expanding the potential of the organisation while in the previous EXCO and her role remains key in sustaining these initiatives. Elaine remains passionate to help mothers and continues to serve as a counsellor on BMSG’s counselling channels on top of her work as an EXCO member.

Far’ain Jaafar, Secretary

Mother-of-two, children’s book author, educator and birth doula, Far’ain strives to champion women in mothering and motherhood through empowerment and mother-to-mother support. Far’ain previously served on the BMSG EXCO for 2017-2019 as a member and is currently still serving as a counsellor on BMSG’s hotline since 2017.

Atiqah Halim, Treasurer

Atiqah is a public officer, blogger and writer in her free time. She shares about her family travel escapades online and interacts on social media with fellow family travel junkies. She is also a children’s book author. Atiqah is passionate about giving mothers the right support as she feels that can make all the difference in a mother’s breastfeeding journey. As an actively-contributing counsellor, Atiqah has been serving mothers on BMSG’s counselling channels and also frequently facilitates the Breastfeeding & Going Back to Work workshop.

MEMBERS

Mythili Pandi

Mythili, a mother of three,  is a practicing doctor and is also one of the lead assessors on board the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) team. Mythili has also been serving BMSG for many years now and was also once President. As a representative of BMSG at the Association for Breastfeeding Advocacy (Singapore) (ABAS), Mythili is passionate about reaching out to doctors in promoting breastfeeding both in the community and in the medical realms.

Ellen Nepilly

An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Ellen has a private practice in Singapore. Ellen, who is also a mother to a boy and a pair of girl twins, is also a health nutritionist. Her experience raising premature twin babies and the tremendous breastfeeding support she received back then in a foreign country has fuelled her drive to help other women. Ellen hopes to give back to the community by providing information and support just as well as she had received during her early days of breastfeeding.

Jasmine Tan Tai

Jasmine is an adult educator and babywearing consultant. Her experiences with her children have led her find passion in helping new parents through the many hats that she plays. She aspires to bring the knowledge and beauty of breastfeeding to the next generation by engaging teenagers and youths. Together with her interest in digital marketing, it is her dream to impact  engage more families with the natural beauty of breastfeeding both online and in real-life. Jasmine is also studying to become an IBCLC.

Siti Nuraidah

When Siti was still an undergraduate, she had discovered BMSG in the course of her studies and speaking with breastfeeding advocates back then left a lasting impression of her. A civil servant and a full-time working mother, Siti has regularly contributed as a workshop facilitator in BMSG during the past two years. She is also an actively serving counsellor on several of BMSG’s counselling channels despite her busy schedule. As an EXCO member, she would like to continue the good work of the organization in providing informed mother-to-mother support and opening up new opportunities to help less-privileged mums. She is also studying towards becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

Nor Faizah Masod

Mother-of-four Faizah is an early childhood specialist and works as a doula on the sidelines. Having breastfed all of her four children till the age of 2 with some hiccups along the way, Faizah is committed to providing mother-to-mother support especially when they face roadblocks along the way. Faizah has also been on the EXCO for the past two years and desires to make a difference by contributing her skills in event management to the organisation.

Alona Hodik

A childbirth educator and studying to become an IBCLC, Alona is a dedicated breastfeeding counsellor with the BMSG. She is also due to complete her IBCLC certification by the end of the year. Alona is a mother-of-three who is passionate about helping other mothers and is frequently seen on the BMSG’s Facebook group providing counselling support to distressed mums. As a BMSG board member, she would like to expand BMSG’s face-to-face counselling and establish a supportive breastfeeding community in Singapore.

Yen Lim

Yen is Director for a TCM healthcare service provider that has been in Singapore for the last 50 years. As a mother who has breastfed her 2 children, Yen believes that mothers deserve good postpartum support. She endeavours to create a breastfeeding  society where the mothers can become breastfeeding advocates for many generations to come.

Emma Bell

Emma is a trainee Breastfeeding Counsellor with the BMSG. Her breastfeeding journey was not straightforward and was hindered in the early days with misinformation, but in searching for the answers she discovered a passion for helping other women overcome their breastfeeding hurdles. Emma is currently breastfeeding her four year old daughter and is active online in breastfeeding support groups. She is passionate about helping new mothers access good information and support which will set them up with confidence to meet their breastfeeding goals.

We hope that you will continue to support our EXCO members, counsellors and volunteers who have made BMSG into what it is today after over 50 years of existence. Together, we will strive to  create a world where breastfeeding is the norm and that mother-to-mother support exists as part of the natural course of breastfeeding.

To read our EXCO members’ individual profiles, click here.

BMSG Annual Report for 2018-2019 – A Brief Outline

By BMSG Editorial Team

In the first week of May, BMSG had our Annual General Meeting (AGM). As usual, our AGM reported our initiatives, developments and milestones that BMSG has achieved in the past year. Here are some of the highlights as obtained from our Annual and Financial Reports.

Attendees at the Annual General Meeting on 4 May. [Credits: BMSG]

Increasing Interest in BMSG Breastfeeding Programmes

BMSG is known to provide counselling and mother-to-mother support to all breastfeeding mothers in the community. Throughout the years, the way we provide such services has evolved. From just phone counselling in the 1980s, we now provide counselling services across several platforms, namely online (Facebook support group), WhatsApp, email as well as the phone helpline.

Our WhatsApp counselling service has gained popularity in the last year, gaining over 700 counselling cases within a year.

  • Increase in Counselling Channels

Based on a review of our counselling channels, we find that there has been significant increases in those which offer more online participation. Our closed Facebook group had a surge of members and now stand at 13,000 members and counting. Our WhatsApp counselling service has also garnered over 700 counselling cases just in the past one year year. With the introduction of services such as Chinese WhatsApp and WhatsApp groups for post-workshop support for our participants, this value-added service has definitely gathered significant traction in the past year.

Our counsellor Lanie (left) conducting a Mum 2 Mum Meetup at BMSG office earlier this year. [Credits: BMSG]

  • Increased interest in Face-to-Face Counselling

Our Mum 2 Mum meetups, our free monthly breastfeeding support meeting, have seen consistent attendance among mothers especially in the past year. With the introduction of the weekend sessions for working mothers, we found that more mothers are able to attend our meetups to seek assistance for their breastfeeding queries. As the weekend session is focused on working mothers, we discovered that mothers are asking work-related questions on how to manage their breastfeeding goals. This is a good complement to our physical workshops as it is a shorter session and and we can directly address their specific concerns.

Increase in Number of Counsellor Trainers

As part of improving the quality of our counselling services, BMSG takes a serious view on skills upgrading for its volunteer counsellors. While BMSG volunteer counsellors previously only had a senior counsellor who received training to become a trainer, in early 2019, BMSG decided to invite existing and senior counsellors to trainer as trainers for potential counsellors. Eight existing senior counsellors took up the invitation and underwent a training conducting by the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA). They successfully graduated from the training and are now taking turns to train at the current Counsellor Training 2019.

Significant Presence on Social Media

We have a strong followership on the World Wide Web. With over 10,000 likes on our Facebook page and an increase of 700 subscribers to our monthly newsletter (as compared to 200 subscribers in early 2018), we believe that we are moving in the right direction in positioning ourselves as an approachable and credible service provider. We stand fast to our believe that we remain as accessible to as many mothers and their family members as possible in addition to providing most of our services for free.

Our breastfeeding workshops are conducted monthly and taught by our volunteer breastfeeding counsellors. [Credits: BMSG]

Increase in Workshops & Talks

Our workshops and talks continue to be highly sought by parents. Our Breastfeeding 101 and Breastfeeding & Going Back to Work workshops remain popular and are sold-out often. Due to popular demand and affordable tickets, we are working towards conducting our workshops monthly from the second half of 2019.

Beyond paid workshops, we have been providing our services to members of the public in social settings. The Breastfeeding & Babywearing Workshops are co-organised by the BMSG, Babywearing Singapore and the National Library, and have been held  at various libraries monthly since the beginning of this year.

We are very excited to announce that we have started collaborating with other organisations, such as the People’s Association and private companies, to provide more services for the public. Look out for updates on our social media pages!

Our volunteer counsellor, Eve Van de Perre, conducting a talk at one of our public libraries. [Credits: Jasmine Tan Tai]

Future Plans

As always, we continue to review our initiatives and programmes to serve mothers better. We are excited to continue planning for the next year in order to engage breastfeeding mothers and their families. Works are in the pipeline for our annual flagship event, the Big Latch On, as well as niche events such as Tea With Breastmilk, a get-together with mothers to discuss breastfeeding-related topics and our annual public health talk.

Our Big Latch On event saw over 100 attendees in 2018. Here, our then-President Elaine Chow (in pink) with our Guest-of-Honour MP Rahayu Mahzam (centre) and Dr Yvonne Ng (left) from National University Hospital, who was our co-organiser. [Credits: BMSG]

Newly-elected Executive Committee

As this year also marks the end of the 2017-2019 EXCO, we were excited to welcome new members to the team during the AGM. This year, we were surprised to have close to 20 nominations! After a short but exciting presentation by each nominee, we each voted on whom we wanted to be on the committee. Do look out for our subsequent articles where we will introduce our new EXCO members for you to get to know them better.

Our nominees for the BMSG EXCO presenting their speeches before the voting process begins. [Credits: BMSG]

For a more comprehensive read of our milestones and developments, do click on the following links which are accessible to the public:

BMSG Annual Report

BMSG Financial Report for 2018-2019

BMSG’s newly-elected EXCO for 2019-2021. Read more about them in our next article! [Credits: BMSG]

We hope to have your continued support in our initiatives!