Breastfeeding: a solution to societal problems

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.”

 

Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life! is the theme for this year's Breastfeeding Month, as set by the World Breastfeeding Awareness Week.

Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life! is the theme for this year’s Breastfeeding Month, as set by the World Breastfeeding Awareness Week.

In the years I have been breastfeeding our daughter, I have gotten mixed reactions. Some are happy for our family, others give me that dagger look, as if asking me why.

And in these past four years, I have always wondered about how a nation that breastfeeds can change the course of things. For a low-income family, breastfeeding should be automatically done. But it isn’t so, in this generation where milk companies let money and marketing do their talking.

Breastfeeding, for me, is beyond personal concerns. I know it would not only benefit my daughter and my family, but the whole society. We live in a condo, but the community outside the condo have a number of low-income earners. I usually pass by the small streets and see a lot of bottlefed babies. I even saw up close their bottles, and find out how diluted their milk is with its translucent color. I would not even wonder if they use clean water or not.

Breastfeeding helps eradicate poverty. If they only know that breastmilk is the most sterile, most accessible and cheapest milk there is (you won’t even spend a penny to breastfeed!). Thus, families will not be compelled to buy those cans of milk anymore.

You’re probably thinking now, but I can afford to buy, anyway, so why should I even breastfeed? That’s exactly where the personal reasons come in, like health benefits for mother and child, among many others.

I came to a point wherein I almost gave up breastfeeding. But I did not. I credit my husband for not only being there for me financially, but also physically and emotionally, when I doubted my ability to breastfeed an awful lot of times. He would do the research for me, giving in my simple requests or handing a drink over when my hands get suddenly full because of the newborn. He knew breastfeeding was best. He did not force me to do it. He’d even say that I can give up and top up with formula, but everytime he says this, I am more challenged to do better in breastfeeding.

It has been four years. No stopping yet. And instead of buying formula milk, we use the money to buy and cook delicious and nutritious food on our table.

In a similar light, breastfeeding also saves the environment. No formula milk preparation means zero use of cans, bottles, water and soap, electricity, and plastic. When we breastfeed, there is less carbon footprint that may harm the environment. We are ensuring and giving a safe environment to our future generation.

Likewise, breastmilk is the first zero waste food for baby. Organic, natural, and nutritious. My daughter, when she started talking at around a year old, tells me that my breastmilk tasted like strawberry milk. That’s funny, because at that time, she never tasted strawberry milk, not even on tetra packs.

Some would wonder, am I against formula feeding? Well, no. But I am against how these milk products are marketed. Those commercials, freebies, and free samples in the grocery surely would undermine breastfeeding. No wonder, they use a different tagline in the commercials nowadays. Remember when they say, Breastfeeding is best for babies up to two years? Instead, they now use, The use of milk supplements must only be upon the advice of a health professional. How cleverly done! Really taking away the importance of breastfeeding.

What should be done, then, to avoid these things:

1. Report Milk Code violations. These companies will continue to innovate their products, give you freebies and samples, because tell me, what can you still innovate about breastmilk and breastfeeding?

2. Educate one family at a time. Share a related breastfeeding link via your social media sites. Tell your mom, mother-in-law, husband, and other people that breastfeeding is not only beautiful and beneficial, but also contribute to a better society. This is why I trained as peer counselor for LATCH in order to reach out to more families who need breastfeeding support, and for myself to be better educated. Being and working with the amazing moms of LATCH especially these past months fueled my passion to advocate breastfeeding more.

3. If you’re the mom, Just Do It! And pray to Our Lady of La Leche to intercede. Having a child is a gift, much so, breastfeeding them.

The abovementioned points are part of the eight Millennium Development Goals set by the UN in 1990. The goals are set to be attained by 2015, which is next year. It may be that near, but happily, these goals are being achieved one day at a time.

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

10 Comments

  1. Mec

    Thanks for joining the Milk Mama Blog Carnival… and yes, breastfeeding is such a simple solution to sooooo many things. It may not be income generating BUT it is resource-saving.

    Reply
  2. Reigne

    One family at a time. One baby at a time. I also hope that one day, ang pag-formula feed ng baby ang maging last resort ng mga nanay. Nakakalungkot isipin na sa panahon ngayon, option nalang ang pagpapasuso. I am glad that mums like you (and me) are here to try and educate people. This is one good read mummy.

    http://www.celerhinaaubrey.com

    Reply
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  4. Cheryl

    Agree that breastfeeding is one solution to eliminating poverty. It should be an automatic option especially for low-income earners. Feed the mom so she can effectively feed her own baby as how Mother Nature intended her to.

    Very informative with regards to reporting Milk Code violations!
    Advocates are not against formula milk but how they market them is correct!
    Kudos to advocates like you!

    Reply
    1. Em Alcantara (Post author)

      As I was writing this post, I wanted to link the Milk Code Philippines website…but unfortunately, it’s not working! How sad. I am positive that sooner or later, we shall become a breastfeeding nation. With the many activities like this blog carnival to hype up breastfeeding, I have no doubt about it!

      Reply
  5. Jen CC Tan

    This realization is so true: “Breastfeeding, for me, is beyond personal concerns.” Now, imagine a world where everyone thought that way….someday, soon! 😉

    Reply
    1. Em Alcantara (Post author)

      Slowly, steadily, surely, we will all reach this goal!

      Reply
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