Philippines – 3 August 2013. More than 100 mothers with their babies, children, husbands, families and support system held breastfeeding awareness campaigns in four key cities nationwide. The mothers rallied for their breastfeeding rights in various locations in the following cities: Manila, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod. This event is the first of its kind in the Philippines although similar “breastfeeding flash mobs” have been organized worldwide.
The activity seeks to promote the importance of providing proper support to breastfeeding mothers. This is consistent with the theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week 2013, “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers.”
The event also coincides with the celebration of Breastfeeding Awareness Month. The group believes that despite the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009, the Philippines still lacks the necessary support and benefits for the breastfeeding mothers such as implementation of paid lactation breaks, rooms and policies.
“Breastfeeding in this country is a national health crisis,” said Velvet Escario-Roxas of Breastfeeding Pinays.
Escario-Roxas added that although breastfeeding rates have steadily gone up over the years through efforts by different government, non-government organizations and medical communities, there is still so much to be done.
“We just really want to create a harmonious culture of breastfeeding in the Philippines. We want to encourage mothers to become more confident while breastfeeding in public,” reiterated Benz Co-Rana of Newlyweds@Work.
“To successfully breastfeed, the mother needs a stronger, well-informed support system from the hospital, home to the workplace," Co-Rana stressed.
Breastfeeding Pinays partnered with LATCH, Kaya Women Empowerment and Support Group, Arugaan, Newlyweds@Work, Tickled Moms, Davao's Mommy Sense, Cagayan De Oro's Mommy Bright Side, the Bacolod Mom and Baby Club and bloggers, Jenny Ong (Chronicles of a Nursing Mom) and Eliza Ypon (The Painter's Wife) in organizing this activity.
Breastfeeding Pinays, a Facebook Group, seeks to address the need for local community support for breastfeeding mothers. By providing easily accessible and proper information to mothers and their support systems, the Breastfeeding Pinays community has become a lifeline for mothers with breastfeeding problem, questions and issues. The community is supported by trained peer counselors.
Created in early 2013, the community now has more than 3,000 members and growing. Aside from online support, members of the community also conduct small weekly meet-ups to hold “hands-on” learning sessions on hand expression, cup feeding and self-lactation massage. The meet-ups also address breastfeeding challenges, problems and difficulties.
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