I feel so blessed to be chosen by the Department of Health (DOH) to share about my personal advocacy on breastfeeding during the 1st Buntis Congress in Sarangani. 832 pregnant mommies from the seven municipalities were able to attend this congress. Several husbands also joined the event. Registered mommies got free check ups, free ultrasound, get family planning counsels, free laboratory consultations and Oral health services.
In Sarangani from January 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015 there were over 5,800 mothers who gave birth. However, in the same period maternal deaths reported were 6. The target is to bring zero maternal deaths by advocating mothers to get prenatal check up and giving birth in proper birthing facilities. I realized that a congress like this can make a huge difference because we are educating these women who are far from far flung barangays.
As for the statistics on breastfeeding, Sarangani has a record of 88% who breastfed after child birth. Our target is to get 100%! We are advocating hard!
- Colostrum -This brown to yellowish syrup excreted from the nipple is the first milk. It is filled with antibodies and protects your child from diseases and increases immunity. This is the most important fore milk our babies should get. Before the white milk coming from the breast colostrum maybe all that will come out for the next 3 days.
- Free – God prepared every mother with the ability to nourish and feed their own child. The great thing about breastmilk is it does not cost mommies anything. Families who actually breastfeed for 2 years can save up to P200,000. This can potentially be good savings for the family so long as mothers persevere and dedicate themselves to breastfeeding.
- Best Milk – Not even scientists can replicate colostrum or mother’s milk. It is the best milk with the perfect nutrition and even antibodies. You really do not need to even provide your child with vitamins because the breast milk is complete! It is also perfectly digestable unlike with formula milk which causes constipation and gas. In fact, even formula milk companies have already made their disclaimer – “breast milk is still best for babies until 2 years old”.
- Strong Babies – Babies who are breastfed have strong bones. They often have good control of their heads and crawl and walk earlier than non-breastfed babies. Since their immunity is high, they do not get sick easily.
- Practical – Mothers who breastfeed don’t need to buy milk bottles because they can just go direct latch. They also don’t need to carry loads of water and formula powder in their bags. They also don’t need a few minutes to make milk. Breastmilk is always available anytime.
- Bond – There is a secure bond between mother and child during breastfeeding. It is good for a child’s psychological and emotional health. Also mothers actually produce the oxytocin hormone that makes one feel loved and in bliss. This is such a beautiful maternal bonding experience.
As I explained breastfeeding to pregnant mothers-to-be, I also realized some mothers are shy. They feel ashamed to actually show their breasts in public. But as an encouragement to them to still choose to breastfeed, the Governor and his team prepared breastfeeding covers to give the moms of the congress. This was our way of pushing further our breastfeeding advocacy. Plus, they made me the endorser of their breastfeeding cover! The covers were a livelihood project of the Sarangani Moro Women.
Instructional material on how to use the breastfeeding cover:
The best part of the presentation was having my husband’s approval. He affirmed me by saying “excellent presentation!”. Also our children who I breastfed, Joshua and Anna came to support. I demonstrated how to use the cover with Anna too!
We want our mommies in Sarangani to be happy and healthy. My husband’s thrust is to really keep every Sarangani citizen healthy. And truly… breastfeeding is healthy both for baby and mommy!
To God be the glory for this opportunity.