Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Breastfeeding Debate in the Philippines

This article made me laugh so hard.

The breast-feeding debate in the Western world seems to be more over where it's done. The Philippine Health Department went as far as to ban baby formula commercials that advertise products for babies under 1 year old, and they want to extend the law to include formulas for babies up to age 2.

"Labels already include messages that breast milk is best for babies, but health officials want additional statements saying there is no substitute for breast milk and that formula should only be used under advice from a health worker . . .

"The World Health Organization recommends mothers breast-feed exclusively for the first six months and continue providing breast milk along with complementary foods until age 2. Research has shown that babies given breast milk develop fewer respiratory and intestinal diseases, and those given formula have a greater chance of developing asthma or allergies, along with obesity. WHO estimates up to 1.45 million children die annually in poor countries because of low breast-feeding rates.

"Exclusive breast-feeding rates during the first four to five months have dipped from 20 percent in 1998 to 16 percent in 2003 in the Philippines, where more women are working full time and juggling busy lifestyles like many women in the West."

Two words, Philippines: Breast. Pump.

The thing I have a problem with is that this issue has gone to the legislature. Is breastfeeding healthier? Yes. Must there be laws that will keep women from making the choice? No. That's not going to help anything. If women are too busy to breastfeed, let them bottle feed. It's better than not feeding the kid at all, correct?

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