Press Release
May 16, 2008

Pia hails 'breastfeeding-friendly' cities in Metro Manila

Senate committee chair on health and demography Senator Pia S. Cayetano today lauded the initiative of three major cities in Metro Manila to revive the culture of breastfeeding in their respective localities.

Cayetano cited the cities of Caloocan, Makati and Taguig for their efforts to encourage breastfeeding among pregnant and nursing mothers.

The lady senator, a staunch breastfeeding advocate, said local efforts to promote breastfeeding will greatly help mothers in making informed choices when providing nutrition for their babies.

"I laud the initiative of the local governments of Caloocan, Makati, and Taguig for taking the measures to ensure children in our communities will receive the best kind of nutrition available, which is breast milk," she said.

She also hopes that the step taken by the three cities would serve as a catalyst in reviving the culture of breastfeeding, which has declined alarmingly in recent years, especially in Metro Manila and other urban areas.

She said Makati and Caloocan recently passed City Resolutions while Taguig City developed a City Ordinance that are in line with appropriate infant and child feeding practices as recommended by the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

These practices include the preparation and initiation of exclusive breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, exclusive breastfeeding for six months, and continued breastfeeding up to two years and beyond, along with the introduction of appropriate complementary food.

Apart from the creation of breastfeeding rooms, the provisions also include: ? Strict enforcement of Section 8 of Executive Order 51, or the Milk Code, wherein health workers shall encourage and promote breastfeeding;

  • Arrangement of meetings, symposiums, seminars and trainings among health workers regarding relevant breastfeeding legislation;

  • Engagement in massive promotion and support projects regarding breastfeeding;

  • Establishment of community support groups to aid pregnant and new mothers with breastfeeding and complementary feeding problems; and

  • Monitoring and reporting of Milk Code violations.

In the Senate, Cayetano is also pushing for the enactment of Senate Bill No. 1698 or the "Expanded Breastfeeding Act" which she herself authored.

The measure requires the establishment of lactation stations in public places and in the workplace. Working mothers will also be allowed reasonable time to have 'lactation breaks' at work to enable them to express milk or breastfeed at the lactation station.

Aside from breastfeeding stations, the bill also pushes for the establishment of milk banks in public and private hospitals offering maternity and birth delivery services, in order to make breast milk available for infants whose mothers are temporarily unable to express milk due to their medical condition.

SB 1698 has passed on third reading in the Senate and is awaiting the version of the House of Representatives.

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