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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Please Don't Water Down the Milk Code! Not now!!!

Right after reading the title of the blog post "Watering Down the Milk Code" from Chronicles of a Nursing Mom my first reaction was:

What they are watering down the milk code? What on earth! Wait! Who's they?

After reading the blog post I got all my answers! Obviously, I am not for watering down the milk code! Why now? I think there's more awareness now about breastfeeding. There are more products too for the breastfeeding mom and there are people (if I were a new mother) I can talk too.

My first Child was born in 1997 and aside from a Badjao outside my university, I do not know of another new mom with in my immediate circle who was eagerly breastfeeding! I have 2 older cousins who gave birth with in the year and both did not breastfeed. Both of them were literally in awe that my baby was just breast fed. I can not count the number of times my mom and 2 of her sisters suggested to me that my milk might not be enough!

The Milk Code is not new. Yet why is it that the milk code make a lot of people say "Ha?!!!" Jaw drop!
Simple answers could be:
1. "There's a milk code?" We don't know it exist! I learned about the milk code after getting a copy from a Department of Health booth in one of the mommy/baby/ preggy activities and after talking to my friend Lyn after she attended breastfeeding peer councilor training of Latch. I know there's a milk code and I am just so happy about it!

2. "I know there's a milk code but the scope of the milk code covers this and that?" I learned more about the milk code after talking to Jenny Ong. Years after my conversation with Lyn. I have read the milk code text that I got from The Department of Health. But somehow did not get it all in my head. My reaction: "Golly Me its part of the Law and it covers all of this and that!!! Toink!!!" I had to reread and this time highlight some of the stuff that I missed out the first time!

3. Guilt and fear. People who have violated/ violated with out knowing/ violating the milk code are not comfortable talking about it. But its here as it should and now is the time to understand it!

Why am I not in favor of watering down the milk code!
1. First of all not all the right people know about it. Right people means everybody!
2. Not because one can say the words "Milk Code" it means they understand the scope of it. Consider also that there are many types of learners out there and how will we make the milk code understandable to all the different types of learners out there?
3. How can we put the past behind and tackle the challenges in front of us if we water things down now.

Example
1. Just this afternoon I had a visitor at The POD. A new baby from a couple who previously attended Childbirth Preparation Class. I was most delighted to see this new family. Mom was breastfeeding while we were talking. She mentioned how the loving and dotting lolas are excited to give "XYZ brand of vitamins, same maker of XYZ infant formula and are also asking when will baby be given water.
2. I have witness older people in awe and/or feeling sorry for a baby for simply being breastfed. "Yan lang talaga breastfeeding?!Bakit? Eh may pambili naman...!" (That's all! Just breastfeeding?! Why? You can afford to buy...!)
Now where did this thinking stem from? I don't think I am pushing things too far when I say, years of advertisement hailing the superiority of formula and milk for children did this. I have memories of milk and formula advertisements and jingles. I can still sing some of them. Golly its part of my childhood memory!

3. Just yesterday, I met a mom who said she was diagnosed with mastitis and prescribed antibiotics 4 days prior to our meeting. She had fever and was feeling all down and out 4 days before I saw her. Her sister took her to the emergency room in one of the hospitals. The doctor who saw her in the emergency room told her and I quote the mom:
ER Doctor: "Kasi naman nagbrebreastfeed ka pa. masyado na mahaba ang oras na binigay mo sa anak mo. 1 year old na pwede na sya magfresh milk!"  (This happened because you are still breastfeeding. You have given too much time to your child. At 1 year old your child can drink fresh milk.) Since the doctor did not recommend formula, then safe to say she did not violate the milk code but obviously have very little understanding of breastfeeding.

We have a Millennium Development Goal particularly:
MGD 1 Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty
MDG 4 Reduce Infant and Child Mortality
MDG 5 Improve Maternal Health
With regard to MDG 4 and breastfeeding the Department of Health along with some very dedicated doctors have been actively promoting Unang Yakap! How can this doctor miss out on this??? Again, this was according to the unhappy mom. I was not there in the emergency room when this happened. Mom was prescribed to take antibiotics which she promptly started, but was not informed if it was safe to latch her baby or not.

I said: "Sayang natanong mo sana sa doctor kung pwede sa breastfeeding ang gamot na binigay nya. (You could have asked the dotor if the medicine she prescribed is safe for breastfeeding)

Mom replied: "Ay ayaw ko na syang kausapin!" (I don't want to talk to her anymore)

I am not trying to blame the young doctor. Maybe the emergency room was crazy busy?! Maybe she simply does not know what to do?! Where did she get her training? Do they cover breastfeeding in medical school?

These are just some of the reasons why now is not the time to relax. Now is not the time to water down the milk code. Now is the time to let everyone: Man, Woman and Child know and understand the Milk Code! I will start with those around me!

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