The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week. And breastfeeding advocates around the world are making sure women (and men) are made more aware of the importance and benefits of breastfeeding.
Towards the end of my third pregnancy, the helper, probably noticing I wasn’t buying bottles and feeding paraphernalia, asked me why I haven’t done so yet. I told her I intended to breastfeed. She was shocked, and said “Eh, ma’am, akala ko para sa mga mahihirap lang yung pagpapasuso?”
It was my turn to be shocked with her thinking. And then, I realized that many mothers actually did think that way – whether learned or not, rich or poor. Many mothers think that expensive, creamy, branded formula is best for their babies.
Because of this warped thinking that has probably been subconsciously inculcated in our minds because of aggressive formula marketing, many of our poorer mothers do their best to buy formula. We know that access to clean, potable water is a luxury in a developing country like ours. So guess what happens? They use contaminated water; because formula is expensive, they scrimp and put lesser milk than required. These result to diarrhea and undernourishment. In 2006, this article says 16,000 Filipino babies below five years old die every year. That’s because they were not breastfed but were, instead, given under-diluted formula mixed in dirty water. These deaths would have been easily prevented by breastfeeding.
I advocate breastfeeding. All my children were breastfed, and I would have wanted to breastfeed Nate a bit more longer if only I had better knowledge and support. He reacted to something I ate, leading to severe allergies and to what he has now – skin asthma. I look back with regret and should have continued breastfeeding him even if the pediatrician advised us to feed him formula. Had I continued, I think there’s a big chance that he doesn’t have skin asthma today. Haay, regrets, regrets.
Hard as milk companies try, there is nothing like breastmilk. Companies hype their formula, giving scientific-sounding names to compounds. But actually, breastmilk has all those naturally (ALA, DHA, ARA, etc, etc, etc).
Besides, the way infant formula is being aggressively marketed today, breastfeeding awareness advocates need to work double time to keep up. So whatever chance I get to support, I grab it.
In the Philippines, the advocacy group L.A.T.C.H. (stands for Lactation, Attachment, Training, Counseling, Help) has partnered with Eastwood Mall in a week-long celebration of breastfeeding and motherhood.
The mommy-and-baby fair is dubbed “Mom’s Purest Love”. Earlier this week, Eastwood unveiled its Breastfeeding Station where mothers and their babies can share intimate moments of feeding in privacy.
The Mommy Marketplace is an ongoing bazaar of everything related to motherhood and babyhood – babywearing, slings, diapers, baby clothes. (You might even get promotional pens and other items from the booths.)
The culminating event happens on August 8, Sunday, in the afternoon. Here’s the line-up of interesting events:
1-2 pm Talk on Breastfeeding and Babywearing by LATCH
3-3:30 Yoga demonstration by Jornada Yoga
3:30-4:00 Cooking Demonstration by CCA
4:00-4:30 Make-Up demo by Face Shop
4:30 pm A celebrity fashion show featuring Bianca Araneta-Elizalde’s maternity/nursing line called Eden.
If you are going to be in the area on Sunday, do check out Mom’s Purest Love fair by L.A.T.C.H.