MANILA, Philippines - Religious organizations and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) recently teamed up in an effort to promote exclusive breastfeeding in the country.
The collaboration among UNICEF, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines - Episcopal Commission on Inter-Religious Dialogue and Religions for Peace - Philippines came as they celebrated the National Day of Prayer and Action for Children in Makati City last week.
All 3 groups have a common goal of improving the lives and welfare of children in the country, and this can be done by "supporting the national breastfeeding policy as a means to improve child survival and nutritional status," UNICEF said in a statement.
|(L-R)Fr. Luke Moortgat of CBCP Episcopal Commission on Health Care, UNICEF country representative Vanessa Tobin and Dr. Lilian Sison of Religions for Peace - Philippines.
Early this month, 2 lawmakers filed a bill that allows mothers to breastfeed while at the workplace as they seek to encourage breastfeeding in the country.
A main provision in House Bill 3527 or the Breastfeeding Act of 2010 is the mandatory creation of lactation facilities in all offices, where nursing mothers can feed their children even during work hours. (Read story here.)
According to Facts for Life, a joint publication between UNICEF and other agencies such as the World Health Organization and the World Bank, milk from a mother's breasts alone is enough to meet an infant's need for fluids in his or her first 6 months of life.
This means the baby doesn't need any other food or drink options currently available in the market -- not even water.
As it continues to push for exclusive breastfeeding in several countries such as the Philippines, UNICEF noted that less mothers feed their babies with milk straight from their breasts through the years.
The children's agency said soft, semi-solid and solid food are ideal for babies aged 6 months and up, while the mother continues breastfeeding.
Called complementary feeding, this will give children the variety of nutrients they need for their age, UNICEF said.