Breastfeed your baby. Here's why.
There are Philippine laws and administrative orders from the Department of Health that health facilities, companies, health workers and even the public should follow if they do not want to be penalized, according to a city health personnel.
Annie Jean Coloso, city health office’s infant and child feeding coordinator during yesterday’s Breastfeeding Month celebration at SM City Iloilo, said that since breastfeeding provides benefits to parents and children in terms of health, savings and intelligence, the government has created laws to push for such practice.
First is Republic Act 10028, an act expanding the promotion of breastfeeding, amending for the purpose Republic Act 7600.
“This act provides that all government and private health institutions with rooming-in and breastfeeding practices,” Coloso said.
She said this comes with incentives.
“Under the act, all health facilities are also mandated that a newborn is immediately brought to the mother so she can breastfeed him/her,” she added.
The mother's warmth will also protect the naked child from cold or hypothermia.
She added that the baby’s continuous suckling on the breast stimulates two hormones – prolactin to produce more oxytocin, and the latter, to make the mother produce more milk.
“Oxytocin also helps reduce bleeding and makes the mother calm,” she said.
Thus, the Department of Health issued Administrative Order 2005-0014 which specifies the guidelines in infant and child feeding. The AO ensures that all newborns are initiated to breastfeeding within one hour, all infants are exclusively breastfed for 6 months, all infants are given timely, adequate and safe complementary foods; and breastfeeding is continued up to two years and beyond.
Violations will lead to reprimand for the first offense, suspension of one to 30 days for the second offense and dismissal for the third offense.
Coloso also cited Executive Order No. 51 or the National code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes, breastmilk supplement and other related products.
The EO mandates that informational materials shall include (1) the benefits and superiority of breastfeeding; (2) maternal nutrition, and the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding; (3) the negative effect on breast feeding of introducing partial bottle-feeding; (4) the difficulty of reversing the decision not to breastfeed; and (5) where needed, the proper use of infant formula, whether manufactured industrially or home-prepared.
It disallows manufacturers and distributors to give samples of the products covered by the code as well as gifts of any sort to the public.
Violation would result to suspension of health worker, distributor, manufacturer, or marketing firm’s permit.
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING
An audio visual presentation yesterday revealed several benefits of breastfeeding.
It helps shrinks the mother’s uterus after giving birth, aids in her weight loss, reduces her risk of postpartum depression and forms a stronger bond for her and the baby.
Mother’s milk has the right balance of vitamins, thus it helps the baby fight infections. It is also fresh and clean.
Coloso explained that babies who are not breastfed in the first six months have 25 times risk of dying. She added that a delay in breastfeeding after birth also raises mortality risk.
“So, the baby must be breastfed on the first hour of his/her life. For those born through caesarean delivery, it should be within 3-4 hours,” she said.
She added that breastfeeding increases the baby’s intelligence.
“Cognitive tests show that breastfed children do better by 4.9 points,” she said.
“As for the financial benefits, a family can save P2,000 a month compared to using formula milk. Breastfeeding also reduces a parent’s time off from work because the child is not sickly. And since he/she is not sickly, you reduce the cost in medicines,” she said.
“Feeding your children with milk formula is like feeding them with canned food. It has additives to retain its freshness. This results to weak teeth and gums. It also leads to obesity and raises the risk for diabetes,” Coloso concluded./Marie Katherine Villalon