Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we write about the World Breastfeeding Week 2014 – Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life and share how breastfeeding can help the Philippines achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals developed by the government and the United Nations. Participants will share their thoughts, experiences, hopes and suggestions on the topic.
Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.
Our town was badly hit by Typhoon Glenda last month. My parents’ house served as temporary shelter for some of our neighbors who lost their homes. One young couple has a 6-month old baby. While we were busy repairing roofs and clearing fallen debris, I saw the mom prepare a bottle of milk for the child. No, it’s not a thousand peso-worth brand that we typically see in locked cabinets in stores. Hint: It’s a brand that will give the kid the right to brag ‘Laking gatas ako!‘ when he’s older. It is definitely not suitable for infants but they buy it because it’s all they can afford. When I asked her, she said she stopped breastfeeding at two months because “natuyuan na ako ng gatas“.
I knew I had to say something else. But I didn’t. Earlier that day, when I gave her some used clothes and cloth diapers, she couldn’t even smile when she mumbled her thanks. I took it as a sign that she is too stressed to be bothered with relactation talks at the moment. That day, I failed as a peer counselor.
If only she knew that she need not buy that powdered milk and those bottles at all and that all her infant needs to thrive is within her, then maybe she wouldn’t have given up on breastfeeding too easily.
Breastfeeding helps eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. It is cost effective and provides the perfect food for infants. Artificial feeding and the risks it comes with, are avoidable costs. For families in poverty, every peso not spent on artificial baby milk means more budget to spend on food and other needs for the whole family.
Here’s a disturbing example of how misapplied and unscrupulous marketing can endanger, hurt or even kill babies. “This eye-opening documentary reveals how the marketing of powdered milk has caused fewer mothers to breastfeed in the Philippines – including those who can ill afford artificial milk and suffer its harmful consequences. The milk companies’ formula for profits is a formula for disaster.” — documentary by UNICEF Philippines.”
There was another young couple who took refuge at my parents house during the storm. The mother was pregnant then and weeks later, she gave birth to a little girl.
The father, went to our backyard asking if we have ampalaya. Apparently, the midwife instructed him to put the juice into the infant’s mouth. I’ve never heard of this practice before and cringed at the thought. The next day, he was at the neighborhood drug store looking for a vitamin supplement. Fortunately, on both occasions, he listened and followed my advise not to give anything to the baby other than breastmilk.
When I finally got the chance to visit the newborn and the mom, I was prepared to lecture them about te importance of breastfeeding. It turns out, the mother had breastfed her first born son until he was about two years old. I was really glad to hear this. Here’s a woman who, despite the lack of proper education and support, understands how beneficial breastfeeding is and actually succeeded in it. So I turned to educate the father instead.
Breastfeeding helps promote gender equality and empower women. It is the great equalizer which gives every child a fair start in life, no matter what their circumstances are.
While it is something normal and natural, mothers still need all the encouragement and educated support they can get to succeed in it. Their family, especially their husbands, their colleagues, health workers, government, and society should let mothers know that: Everything your infant needs is within you. You can provide your child’s most basic needs: nutrition and protection from your breastmilk and love and warmth from your embrace.
Here are many thoughts and reasons why we should all advocate for mothers to breastfeed for the first 1,000 days of life. #BF1st1000days
Jenny shares experiencing the One Asia Breastfeeding Forum
Mec insists to do the Math and breastfeed!
Ams, The Passionate Mom says Breastfeed for a Better Future
Pat says breastfeeding saves money and the planet
Cheryl, the Multi-Tasking Mama, tackles maternal health as addressed by breastfeeding
2011 CNN Hero Ibu Robin highlights gentle births and breasfeeding, even in disaster zones
Felyn stresses that Healthy Moms = Healthy Babies
Monique reminds us that there are second chances in breastfeeding
Normi relates how breastfeeding gave her strength and purpose
Nats thanks Dr. Jack Newman for showing how breastfeeding can be a win-win situation
Em believes breastfeeding is a solution to societal problems
Marge shares what breastfeeding has taught them
Kaity was empowered financially and as a woman through breastfeeding
Madel relates her breastfeeding saga
Jen of Next9 reminds us to do our research and share what we know
Celerhina Aubrey vows to work on one mother at a time
Grace wants to put an end to stories of toasted coffee and similar stuff over breast milk
Diane shares how she prevailed when things did not go according to plan
Hazel appreciates mommy support groups
Roan combines two passions, breastfeeding and architecture
Queenie tackled breastfeeding as the best choice for the environment as well and breastfeeding myths and poverty
Rosa shares how the picture she thought of was realized
Sally believes breastfeeding benefits mankind and our planet Earth
Floraine reminds us that breastfeeding helps combat diseases
Crislyn was happy to realize that she improved her own health by breastfeeding
Armi reminds us how breastfeeding during emergencies is crucial
Arvi tells us how breastfeeding made her look at her body a different way
Clarice elaborates on how breastfeeding saves lives and the planet
Giane reminds us that women empowerment can begin by seeing breastfeeding as more than a feeding issue
Liza thought she was only breastfeeding for her child