MORE than a hundred mothers from all over Cagayan de Oro City gathered at the event center of SM CDO Downtown Premier to participate in the global synchronized breastfeeding event to promote the normal practice of breastfeeding.
The event, dubbed as "Hakab Na," involved groups of breastfeeding women coming together at registered locations around the world to "latch on" their babies in a certain time.
This year's Hakab Na, a part of the Breastfeeding Week Celebration, was participated by some 105 mothers who made history as they simultaneously feed their babies around 11:30 a.m. Sunday, August 18.
The event was part of the advocacy of the mother support group, Modern Nanays of Mindanao, to normalize breastfeeding and to highlight how important it is not just for the mothers and their children but also for the fathers, community and country.
"Breastfeeding is hard but it is totally worth it. Learn about why you want to breastfeed and there are people who can show you the how, you just need to know who they are and where they are," said Nadine Casiño, founder of Modern Nanays of Mindanao.
She also emphasized the effects of breastfeeding to the economy, particularly on spending.
"[Breastfeeding] doesn't only affect the child, the mother, the father, but also the community and actually the country, because breastfeeding has big implications on our economy because if babies are not breastfed, it actually affects our economy. The money that you use to buy for formula feeding actually doesn't go to the Philippine economy because it's an imported good," Casiño said.
"Plus if your child gets sick, then you spend and that's a cost for our economy. If our kids do not get the optimal brain development, then that's a cost for the economy. If kids die because they are not breastfed, that is a cost for the economy," she added.
In the afternoon Sunday, August 18, talks were conducted for moms, their kids and the dads that made them learn more about breastfeeding and make friends with their fellow mothers and fathers.
In fact, a group of fathers, introducing themselves as the Modern Tatays of Mindanao, shared their experiences with their wives on parenthood.
Casiño said the topics for the afternoon lectures were selected inline to their goals of empowering parents and enabling breastfeeding, which is the theme for this year's breastfeeding month celebration.
"Dapat ma-equip nato ang parents on their knowledge on the benefits of breastfeeding, the loss that they need, kay para makabalo sila how to reach their breastfeeding goals. We want them to network with like-minded individuals," Casiño said.
"We want to make an enabling environment for breastfeeding mothers. Pasabot ana, dili enough ang breastfeeding lang. Kailangan nga enabling sya kay if I want to breastfeed, the environment won't stop me from doing it, it will support me," she added.
Most importantly, though, is their goal in normalizing breastfeeding not just in the workplace but also in any places where mothers can feed their child regardless of where they are.
"That is a big goal that we want to reach but you know, it takes time to make a norm, to change something lalo na ang kalaban mo are multi-billion dollar industry. So we have to be in the community, we have to really have strong partnerships para dyan," Casiño said.
August marks the National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in the Philippines. The celebration is to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in the country as the normal, natural and preferred method of feeding infants and young children.