August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month!
“Breastmilk is the ideal food for newborns and infants because it not only provides them all the nutrients they need for healthy development, but also contains antibodies that protect them from common childhood illnesses including diarrhea and pneumonia. The WHO recommends that infants be restricted to breastfeeding for the first six months of their life, after which, other foods should be given along with continuous breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond.
Breastfeeding has also been proven to bring mothers several health benefits, such as reduced risks of acquiring breast and ovarian cancer, faster restoration of prepregnancy weight, and less pr9bability of being obese. Studies have also revealed that breastfeeding provides health benefits later in life. Most adults who were breastfed as babies have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, are less likely to become overweight and obese, and are less prone to type-2 diabetes. “
My current workplace has strong support for lactating moms and conducted breastfeeding talks in 2013 and 2014’s breastfeeding month. This was a huge factor in helping me successfully breastfeed my two kids up to a total of 3.5 years.
But for those who are not sure what kind of support they should get in the workplace, here are some things you need to know from RA 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act:
- The workplace is required to provide lactating mothers with a lactation room – private, clean, sanitary, and well-ventilated rooms or areas in the workplace where nursing mothers can wash up, breastfeed or express their milk comfortably and store this afterward.
- You get an additional 40 minutes time at work that you can take to express milk in company provided lactation rooms. From RA 10028, “Nursing employees shall granted break intervals in addition to the regular time-off for meals to breastfeed or express milk. These intervals, which shall include the time it takes an employee to get to and from the workplace lactation station, shall be counted as compensable hours worked. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) may adjust the same: Provided, That such intervals shall not be less than a total of forty (40) minutes for every eight (8)-hour working period.”
- Any private non-health facility, establishment and institution which unjustifiably refuses or fails to comply with Sections 6 (Lactation Rooms) and 7 (Lactating Periods) of this Act shall be imposed a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (Php50,000.00) but not more than Two hundred thousand pesos (Php200,000.00) on the first offense.
- Lastly, a tip from ph.theasianparent.com – Relax while having your pumping session. As you pump milk from your breast, do not think about work-related concerns. Instead, think about your baby and enjoy the moment. Take note that feeling relaxed helps tremendously with the let-down or milk flow.
For a list of Breastfeeding support groups you can refer to the Chronicles of A Nursing Mom blog here.
- HP Philippines Women Network (images)