LEGAZPI CITY, Aug 8 (PIA) – Working moms can still breastfeed even if they are away from their babies said the Department of Health (DOH) Bicol.
“Even though moms may have to work and be away from their babies, they can still breastfeed by expressing their milk and storing it at the workplace and feed it to their babies as they go home,” DOH Bicol Napoleon Arevalo said during the press briefing held last week to present the health celebrations for the month of August.
Expressing is a way of taking milk from the breast without needing the baby to suckle. It can be done through hand expression or through the use of a manual or electric pump.
“If a mother expresses her milk, her baby can still have the benefits of breast milk if she’s not able to directly feed her baby or if she can’t be with her all of the time,” Arevalo said.
Expressing milk is also one way of emptying the breast to signal the brain to produce more milk.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Arevalo stressed on the benefits of breastfeeding for both moms and babies particularly in promoting optimal development and protection of babies against chronic diseases.
“For the vast majority of infants and young children throughout the world, breastfeeding saves lives, prevents morbidity, promotes optimal physical and cognitive development and reduces the risk of chronic diseases,” Arevalo said.
Arevalo explained that breast milk may have similar nutrient contents with formula milk but babies may not absorb all of it. Mom’s milk on the other hand has enough nutrients essential for the baby’s growth and survival along with anti-infective properties that immunizes and protects the baby.
For mothers, breastfeeding has short term and long term benefits such as decreased post-partum blood loss, depression and risk of chronic diseases and increased child spacing due to lactation amenorrhea.
Breastfeeding TSEK: Tama, Sapat at EKsklusibo
Arevalo said the DOH advocates for Breastfeeding TSEK or the need for Tama or immediate and appropriate breastfeeding within one hour after birth, Sapat or sufficiency of mother’s milk in nutirients and quantity and EKslusibo or exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months.
“Ideally, babies must be exclusively breastfeed until six months and sustained even until two years. I myself was breastfed until five years old. I was only weaned when I have to go to school,” he said.
Rights of breastfeeding moms at work
The Republic Act 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act supports, protects and encourages breastfeeding and working moms. It includes establishment of lactation stations and additional breaks for lactation periods.
The law requires workplaces along with private enterprises and establishments to put up lactation stations for nursing moms.
It also requires lactation periods for breastfeeding employees, in addition to time-off for meals, to allow them time to express their breast milk. This period should not be less than a total of 40 minutes for every eight-hour working period.
National Breastfeeding Awareness Month is one of the health celebrations for the month of August along with Family Planning Awareness, National Lung month, National Tuberculosis Awareness, National Sight Saving, Whine Cane Safety Day, Mother-Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Week, National Hospital Week and Philippine National Health Research System Week.(MAL/SAA-PIA5)