Synchronized Breastfeeding Worldwide Kicks Off
Synchronized Breastfeeding Worldwide Kicks Off in 24 Countries
Children for Breastfeeding, Philippines in partnership with the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) will lead 24 countries to foster cooperation among nations in establishing another Guinness World Record on Simultaneous Breastfeeding in multiple sites to cap the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week.
The WABA, the initiator of the celebration of the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) emphasizes the need to initiate breastfeeding within the 1st hour of birth as the first and most vital step towards reducing infant and under-five mortality, by reducing the overwhelmingly high neonatal mortality rate. According to the organizers the act can save ONE million babies worldwide.
In May 2006, Children for Breastfeeding (CfB) broke the Guinness World Record on Simultaneous Breastfeeding in a Single Site when they gathered 3,541 mothers in partnership with the City of Manila, Nurturers of the Earth, the Health Department and UNICEF Philippines. The record was previously held by the Unites States of America with 1,130 pairs of mothers and children.
Last May 2 this year, Children for Breastfeeding also attempted to create the First Guinness World Record on Simultaneous Breastfeeding in Multiple Sites when they gathered more than 20,000 mothers in more than 400 sites in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). No official verification from the Guinness World Record is forthcoming until the results are audited and submitted to them officially by the organizers.
This time however, the group’s feat will cross national boundaries and time zones as they inspire other countries to establish their own national records. “New Zealand, Canada and Australia have previously held simultaneous breastfeeding in multiple sites and they will join us as well as other countries that will do this for the first time,” Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, Director of Children for Breastfeeding said.
The idea is simple: Join as a pair of breastfeeding mother and child or organize breastfeeding mothers and children in as many sites as possible in your own country and be a part of the network around the world. The affair aims to nurture a fellowship among breastfeeding mothers in their locality and country that can facilitate the formation of mother support groups. The organizers also want to institutionalize simultaneous breastfeeding as a form of universal prayer for peace and thanksgiving for the gift of motherhood and breastfeeding.
“For the Philippine organizers, the event adds a worldwide impact to the struggle we are waging against the milk companies that reached our Supreme Court,” Dr. Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra said. “This is another occasion to reaffirm our commitment to help save 16,000 Filipino children who die annually because they were not breastfed.”
Philippine organizers hope mothers and advocates around the world who participate in this event will also sign a petition to the people and leaders of the United States (1) to enjoin the multinational milk companies as well as the United States government to respect the WHO-WTO Doha Agreement that public health is far more important than issues involving intellectual property rights; (2) to enjoin US embassies to observe international protocol in presenting their demands to other countries in behalf of US milk companies, especially when it involves issues of Breastfeeding; (3) to make sure breastfeeding issues be considered as an electoral issue in the coming US presidential elections; and (4) to make it understood that America’s main business should NOT be “business itself”, but more importantly, international amity and the betterment of all humankind. This petition is an offshoot of the public expose’ of the secret sale by Wyeth Philippines of contaminated formula milk to Filipino children last year. The petition aims to thwart the tremendous pressure being exerted by US public officials and US big business interests on Philippine officials to water down the implementation of the laws that protect breastfeeding.
Among the objectives of the event
1. To develop links with mothers and breastfeeding advocates nationally and internationally in promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding worldwide and establish breastfeeding as the “norm”.
2. To create awareness of the importance of breastfeeding in the world and thereby encourage countries to ensure the implementation of better Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices and better support facilities for breastfeeding mothers.
3. To achieve maximum media coverage nationally and internationally to promote a public culture of awareness and knowledge on breastfeeding issues.
4. To make a permanent and on-going roster of the national records of each nation on simultaneous breastfeeding in a single site and in multiple sites in that country so that each year that country can strive to surpass its own records for every year that it attempts to make a Global Wave.
5. To provide a measure of how the Breastfeeding Movement around the world is progressing every year and to achieve the numbers worldwide that will help all nations cooperate in reviving the breastfeeding culture.
6. To help develop a caring, cooperative and peaceful society and world.
PROFILE OF THE PHILIPPINE EVENT ORGANIZERS
Dr. Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, Director of Children for Breastfeeding, is an outstanding alumna in her medical school, specializing in dermatology and a registered pharmacist. Her organization mobilizes children to support pregnant and breastfeeding mothers through the Seven Acts of Kindness.
Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, Director of Nurturers of the Earth is a teacher of natural family planning, natural childbirth, indigenous vegetarianism, natural healing that uses massage and food as medicine. She has rehabilitated severely malnourished children, helped breastfeeding mothers and many others heal from their illnesses through the use of indigenous foods.
They are two of only five International Board Certified Lactation Consultants in the Philippines. Esguerra and Castillo have participated in several international conferences as speakers and performers. They institutionalized the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week in the Philippines by convincing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue a presidential proclamation in 2005.
In partnership with SM Supermalls, the largest chain of malls in the Philippines, the IBCLCs assisted in setting-up the First Breastfeeding-Friendly Mall in their country. The project is being replicated in SM Supermalls 32 branches serving thousands of mothers nationwide.
They established the first breastfeeding clinic in a private hospital in the Philippines in 2002 and have set up the Philippine Lactation Resource and Training Center. To propel advocacy among medical professionals, they established the Philippine Academy of Lactation Consultants that institutionalized the Continuing Medical Education on Breastfeeding in the Philippine Medical Association.
WORLD ALLIANCE FOR BREASTFEEDING ACTION
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action is a global alliance of individuals, networks and organizations that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding based on the Innocenti Declaration and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding. WABA is in consultative status with UNICEF and an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). Its core partners are International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), La Leche League International (LLLI), International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), Wellstart International and Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM).
WABA initiated the World Breastfeeding Week
(1-7 August) in 1992 which is
celebrated annually in over 120 countries. WABA was also instrumental in establishing the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, Mother-Friendly Work Place Initiative and campaigning for maternity protection for women workers in the formal and informal sector. WABA’s activities are in the field of women and work, gender issues, mother support, HIV-AIDS. It has also initiated the involvement of men and youth in supporting breastfeeding and gender issues. Datuk Anwar Fazal, the co-founder and Chairperson Emeritus of WABA, was awarded the La Leche League International Health Awardin 1995 for his work in promoting the welfare of mothers and children world over.