Women who work seen to breast feed less
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The use of infant formula instead of breast milk is worrying health officials in Northern Mindanao.
While majority of women in the region breastfeed their children, the practice is not as prevalent among employed women, according to Dr. Cristilda Villapane, of the state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).
Villapane said the challenge was “the sustainability” of breastfeeding “as more mothers have now become part of the work force.”
Women working overseas are among those who were likely to feed their children with synthetic milk formula, Villapane added.
Villapane said working women are now protected by law, Republic Act No. 10028, or Expanded Breastfeeding Act, if they wanted to breastfeed their children in the workplace.
The law requires employers in the public and private sectors to designate lactation rooms for their female employees, Villapañe said.
The cost of building such a facility in the workplace is tax-deductible under the law, she added.
Under the law, lactating mothers are given an extra 40-minute break to breastfeed their babies.
At the Department of Health-managed NMMC, about 98 percent of women who gave birth practice breastfeeding.
Each year, Villapane said, the hospital attends to more than 7,000 lactating mothers. From January to July in 2019, the NMMC had already served at least 4,000 breastfeeding mothers.
Breastfeeding’s benefits go beyond nutrition. Studies said it also promotes emotional ties between the mother and child which is believed to be key to emotional intelligence of children later in life.
Jeremias Gupit, Commission on Population regional director, said breastfeeding helps natural family planning be more effective.
In the first six months of lactation, breastfeeding could help prevent pregnancies as infertility is a natural effect of some patterns of breastfeeding, Gupit said. /tsb
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