MORE THAN 500 mother-baby tandems joined other mother-baby tandems in 14 locations nationwide in the simultaneous latching of babies at the “Hakab 2016,” a breastfeeding activity, held in celebration of National Breastfeeding Month at Metrotent Convention Center, Ortigas, Pasig City on Saturday.
Together, they also joined the international activity dubbed “The Big Latch On,” wherein mothers in different locations around the world attempted to establish a world record for the most babies “latched on” (i.e., being breast-fed) simultaneously.
Breastfeeding Pinays (BFP), a non-government organization with about 120,000 members all over the country, hosted the event, the fourth time since its organization on January 22, 2013.
As the participants do the latching they also help in raising the awareness through colorful messages about breastfeeding.
The participants showed that a woman was also capable of breastfeeding two babies at the same time, indicating that in case of twin children, a mother need not waste time preparing the milk requirements for one.
Including walk-in participants, more than 1,500 participants gathered in the event, which also including manufacturers and suppliers of baby products and other supporters of the advocacy.
Adding significance to the event was the show of support among the fathers of babies being breastfed as they gathered to express their advocacy and assist their wives by giving them something to eat and drink during the duration of the event.
According to Breastfeeding Pinays president Abie Co, breastfeeding is environment-friendly.
“It does not produce garbage…Compared to milk formula it does not have packaging that will end up as trash to our landfills…It also saves fuel as it does not require boiling water or sterilizing bottles,” Co said.
The Department of Health (DOH) expressed support for the breastfeeding activity, lauding its aim to further promote breastfeeding benefits among mothers in the country.
In his speech, DOH Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Dr. Eric Tayag cited the beneficial effects of breastfeeding.
Dr. Tayag said that while the DOH was happy that there are at least “six out of 10” Filipina mothers who breastfeed their babies, there was still much to be done.
“The bad news is that the six months advocacy for exclusive breastfeeding is not being sustained,” Tayag admitted.
In that respect, he said that it was very important that awareness of the good effects of breastfeeding should be further strengthened.
He said what the DOH really wants to see is a nation of Filipinas breastfeeding up to 24 months.
He said that people should remember that the breastmilk of a mother provides proteins and vitamins that are vital for the growth of the baby.
He added that giving breastmilk to babies is also good in the sense that it is easily digestible.
He further said that ‘colostrum’ in the milk is a good source of antibodies that boost a baby’s protection against illnesses.
Moreover, he said that that aside from lowering the risk of ear infections, the milk could also play a role in reducing the risk for asthma and other infections when the baby grows up.
“The bonding it creates between a mother and the baby is also very important,” he pointed out.
He added that breastfeeding when included in the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life would have a positive health impact on the overall well-being of the child.