World Vision launched “Hakab na!” in Pangasinan
World Vision recently launched “Hakab na!,” an advocacy campaign aimed at promoting breastfeeding among pregnant and lactating mothers, in the Municipality of Bugallon in Pangasinan.
Hakab is a Filipino term used to refer to the act of breastfeeding a baby. “Hakab na!” is the Philippine’s contribution to the Global Big Latch On, an international awareness campaign on breastfeeding that started in August 2017.
Nearly 200 lactating mothers attended the event and simultaneously breastfed their babies, while representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and World Vision-trained Infant and Young Child Feeding peer counselors observed and taught lactating mothers about proper breastfeeding.
Department of Health Region 1 staff and a registered nurse Kevin Fernandez observed that many of the mothers still commit breastfeeding mistakes. “I’ve seen a lot of you not doing it right,” he told the participants. He continued teaching mothers how to properly breastfeed their babies. He emphasized that the baby’s mouth should not only latch on to the nipple alone but also onthe areola, the circular pigmented area surrounding the nipple.
Fernandez also corrected the belief that a mother’s amount of breast milk depends on the size of her breast. “That is not true. Regardless of the breast size and shape, it can produce enough milk for the baby,” Fernandez said.
Melanie, 35, a mother of twin baby girls, Cyrah Mae and Cyril Mae, said she learned a lot from the orientation. “I did not know that colostrum is highly nutritious and important for a baby,” she said. Colostrum is mother’s milk produced in the early days of breastfeeding.
Couple Eric, 20, and Aiko, 22, who just had their first baby, Ash Exekiel, 2 months old, found the “Hakab na” orientation beneficial as they raise their son. “As a father, I just I realized how important breastfeeding is to my son. It has all the nutrients he needs,” Eric said.
World Vision protects, promotes and supports exclusive breastfeeding (a diet of breast milk only with no other liquids or solids, not even water) during the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary feeding until two years of age and beyond.
Undernutrition caused almost one half of all deaths of children under 5 —more than three million children out of 6.9 million child deaths in 2011.
Breastmilk provides the essential nutrients that infants need in the first months of life. Breastfeeding continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life.
Here are other benefits of breastfeeding:
- If all babies were fed only breastmilk for the first six months of life, an estimated 800,000 children would be saved every year. (This figure is derived from the 2013 Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition finding that sub-optimal breastfeeding is responsible for 11.9% of all under five child deaths).
- An exclusively breastfed baby is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child. Non-breastfed babies have 10 times greater risk of death from diarrhoea, and 15 times greater risk of death from pneumonia compared to infants who are exclusively breastfed.
- Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers. Breastfeeding mothers have quicker recovery after childbirth and have natural birth spacing, unlike non-breastfeeding mothers who have slower recovery from childbirth and an early return of menses. Women who do not breastfeed increase their risk of ovarian cancer by 26% and premenopausal breast cancer by 39%.
- Supporting breastfeeding pays off for employers as well as families. Breastfed infants are healthier, with fewer episodes of illnesses and infections than their formula-fed counterparts. This reduces the number of days parents must take off work due to infant illness, and lowers costs to employee health benefits programs for prescription medications and other health care costs. Workplace support for breastfeeding also improves employee morale and retention of competent workers.
—World Vision/September 30, 2017