I'm no expert on the law but I will take time to write about the bill that is being proposed at congress revising the current Milk Code. My reference is this article which I hope you will take time to read as well.
If I understand it correctly, the bill proposes the following things, all of which aren't favorable in supporting Breastfeeding. Here's my simple explanation why.
1. It proposes that the ban of advertisement of infant food and formula be modified so that milk companies can advertise their products for babies as early as 6 months old.
Why it's a no-no : A Breastfeeding mom should be encouraged to continue after 6 months. It is the BEST complimentary food for your baby as she starts solids. It is already a challenge getting this information out to moms. It would be even harder when there are advertisements around misleading moms that formula milk is better.
2. Milk companies will be allowed to donate their products during emergency situations and give samples within the health care system.
Why it is a no-no: Firstly, because formula milk requires clean water to prepare. Sometimes clean drinking water is hard to come by during emergencies. Also, breastmilk has the antibodies a baby needs to help fight off viruses which are common is relief centers. A breastfeeding mom who is already stressed because of their situation should be encouraged to continue and not be tempted to stop. Besides, there may be samples of formulas lying around now but what happens when they ran out? Mom has to spend money for formula. A can or even a pack of formula can be so tempting for a new mom. I am not saying that formula is bad, but for milk companies to make it seem like the better option is something I am not in favor of.
3. That pumping-moms should not get paid for the 40 minute daily allowance they have to express milk at the office.
Why is it a no-no? In a 8-hour work day, two 20-minute pumping sessions are just enough. This doesn't even count the time you spend preparing and cleaning. Besides, working and pumping moms can multitask. With nursing wraps and hands free pump, you can make phone calls, write emails and read reports while pumping. A Breastfeeding mom = a healthier baby = less absences from work. Why discourage it?
4. Removing of the English-Tagalog literature in formula milk, explaining it's risk.
Why it is a no-no? Simple, this basic mode of information is the most helpful one for moms. Growing, I didn't learn how important breastfeeding was from school or from my mom or aunts. I learned reading about it while I was looking at stuff at the grocery. There is power in the phrase "Breastfeeding is best for babies up to 2 years and beyond", because it is out there, everyone knows it - and that is how you get future parents interested.
5. Milk companies are allowed to participate in materials and events relating to breastfeeding and infant nutrition
Why is it a no-no? I can't imagine giving a breastfeeding seminar with a banner of a milk company close by. It doesn't make sense. As for educational materials, what message does it convey to moms when certain brands are being advertised in something that is suppose to be neutral? Lets me fair to the milk companies. You can realistically expect them to be involved without marketing their product.
Honestly, I have yet to see the wisdom behind this bill. I still don't know how this bill is beneficial to moms and babies who congress is suppose to serve. So please, if you think this bill shouldn't be passed, please do the following:
1. sign this online petition, it will only take a few seconds, promise!
2.. write your congressman about it. You can check out their email through this site. Jenny Ong of Chronicles of the Nursing Mom has a sample draft here.
Any thoughts? Please do share... :)