Some 369 mothers in Iloilo City joined a simultaneous breastfeeding activity to support and educate women on its health benefits and show that nursing in public place is normal.
Dubbed “Hakab Na 2018! The Global Big Latch On”, the Saturday event was organized by the online support group “Breastfeeding Ilonggas” and supported by the city government. It was held at the Festive Walk Mall in Mandurriao district.
In an interview, Adhara Sebuado, co-founder and main organizer of the campaign, said the event is conducted in a public place to show that breastfeeding of babies in public is normal.
“The more people see women breastfeeding, the more normal it will become,” she said.
She said the event will encourage nursing mothers to follow the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) to exclusively breastfeed their babies from birth up to three to six months.
“Only few complied because of the poor implementation of the laws,” she said.
Sebuado is referring to Executive Order 51 or the Milk Code, which ensures the protection of breastfeeding.
She said among the participating women and babies in the event, a four and a half years old child was recognized for being the “longest latching baby” while the “youngest lactating baby” honor went to a 15-day old infant. An 18-year-old was recognized as the youngest breastfeeding mom.
She encouraged mothers to prioritize breastfeeding and extend the duration of their breastfeeding as recommended by the WHO.
“The longer a mother breastfeeds, the higher immune protection and benefits t(to the baby), not only nutrition wise but also psycho-emotionally to the child,” she said.
Mayor Jose Espinosa III, who graced the event stressed the importance of the activity because it has provided attention to the babies.
“The nutrition that the babies could get from the natural milk of their moms is really different compared to the artificial milk,” he said.
“This event will encourage more breastfeeding moms in our city and will promote closeness between the mother and the child,” he added.
Espinosa said he already directed the City Health Office to identify more assistance that the city government could extend to promote breastfeeding, as well as to improve the nutrition of all other children in this city.
The event started in this city last 2014 with only 52 breastfeeding moms taking part.
Sebuado said the number grew to 100 participating breastfeeding moms in 2015; 169 in 2016; 182 in 2017; and this year with 369.
The event is in line with the National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and International Breastfeeding Week this August. (PNA)