“The first step towards building a better nation is by ensuring the good health and nutrition of our babies through breastfeeding. The colostrums works best against malnutrition and diseases as it boost the immune system of infants,” said Atty. Catherine Legados – Parado, when DOLE-NCR launched its lactation station for clients and employees on 26 August 2011 at the 5th floor of the DOLE-NCR office along Maligaya St., Malate Manila.
“We feel the need to take the lead in implementing and supporting this program because the DOLE is at the forefront of promoting the creation of breastfeeding stations in private companies under our Family Welfare Program,” she said.
The move is pursuant to Republic Act 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 mandating the creation of lactation stations in workplaces and providing breastfeeding breaks for working, nursing mothers to enable them to combine family obligations with work responsibilities.
Being a mother herself, Atty. Parado is thankful that DOLE-NCR was able to put up one so nursing moms can express their milk during break time. The lactation station is equipped with a collapsible divider, comfortable sofa bed, side table, electrical outlet for electric pumps, refrigerator and a lavatory.
A report from the United Nations Children’s Fund revealed that the Philippines has a low percentage at 34% of mothers who exclusively breastfeed. “When we say exclusively breastfeeding, we mean that the mother only feeds her baby with breast milk for the first six months of life,” explains Dir. Milagros Eliza V. Federizo, Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator of the Regional Nutrition Council.
Thus, the RNC relentlessly works towards improving this statistics to 90%. Dir. Federizo stressed the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding as it is ranked among the most effective interventions to improve a child’s survival.
“The skin to skin contact which develops the bond between the mother and child during breastfeeding sessions, is very important to the emotional and psychological well-being of the child,” Dir. Federizo said.
Atty. Parado notes that among the neighboring Asian countries, the Philippines has the shortest maternity leave of 60 days for normal delivery and 78 day for caesarean delivery compared to mothers in Indonesia who enjoy 18 weeks of maternity leave while Canada grants 1 year maternity leave with pay.
She enjoins women and mothers to support the provision of the Magna Carta for Women so that mothers can enjoy a six-month maternity leave to nurture their young and recuperate from the pains of giving birth. Most mothers would give up breastfeeding when she reports back to work after the two month maternity leave.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that the high coverage of optimal breastfeeding practices could avert 13% of the 10.6 million yearly deaths of children five years old and below.
The launching of DOLE-NCR’s lactation station is in consonance with Department of Health’s celebration of Breastfeeding month this August.