PCW Statement on the 2015 World Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Towards a ‘Breastfeeding Nation’

As we join the entire global community in observing the International Breastfeeding Awareness Month this August, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) echoes the need of converging public and private sector efforts to espouse support for breastfeeding.

The 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey revealed (NDHS) that the practice of breastfeeding in the Philippines is nearly universal at 94% of children born in the last five years having been introduced to breastfeeding. However, the 2014 State of the World’s Children Report published by UNICEF shows that only 34% received exclusive breastfeeding up to six months of age, as recommended by the World Health Organization.

The Commission, therefore, encourages stakeholders to further intensify their efforts in promoting breastfeeding and reinforce the implementation of the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009.

We call the Department of Health (DOH) to strengthen its Breastfeeding TSEK (Tama, Sapat at Eksklusibo) Campaign, establish better facilities for lactating mothers, and engage fathers and/or families in supporting mothers who breastfeed.

We also call on Congress to prioritize the proposed law that increases maternity leave to ninety eight (98) days from the current sixty (60 days). The suggested period will enable women to balance the fulfillment of their maternal functions and the performance of their work responsibilities. A longer period of maternity leave will also give women sufficient time to rest, recuperate and regain their full health. At the same time, it will contribute in the promotion of infant and child health by encouraging mothers to breastfeed their babies and promote mother-infant bonding.

We also appeal to private companies and employers to allow breastfeeding women workers to take nursing breaks in nursing rooms established within work premises. Replicate the laudable efforts of companies behind the clean and conducive breastfeeding or lactation stations in malls, airports and other establishments.

Lastly, we call on everyone to have the mindset that breastfeeding is beyond feeding a child and beyond a mother and child relationship for it can boost an economy. Breastfeeding is more than nurturing both mothers and children because it protects the future generation from sickness and enables them to achieve optimal health, leading to a healthy and wealthy nation.