By Grace Bondad Nicolas, Contributor
In June 2012, Calamba City Councilor Ruth Mariano Hernandez resolved to enact an ordinance regulating the advertisement and marketing of breast milk substitutes. The ordinance seeks to promote breast feeding as a healthier option compared to breast milk substitutes.
According to the ordinance, the public should be informed about the risks associated with the use of breast milk substitutes and related products through responsible and appropriate information dissemination, as well as regulated marketing and distribution. The public specifically pregnant mothers, should be well informed about the advantages of infant breast feeding and the harm of using breast milk substitutes. Aggressive promotion and advertising of infant and follow-on formula also affects health workers’ promotion of breast feeding, and misleads mothers regarding the benefits of breastfeeding their infant.
Responsible and healthy breastfeeding should keep these practices in mind:
- Breastfeeding should be initiated within 30 minutes after birth.
- Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months.
- Breastfeeding should be continued up to two years of age, with the introductions of safe, affordable and appropriate complementary food.
- Infant or milk formula may be hazardous to a child’s health and damage the child’s formative development.
According to the Calamba ordinance, the advertising, promotions and sponsorships of infant formula, breastmilk substitutes and other related products should be prohibited. The government and all concerned stakeholders must also continuously accomplish an information dissemination campaign regarding the advantages of breastmilk and the hazards of breastmilk substitutes.
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