Press Release
February 21, 2019

Sen. Nancy files bill promoting breastfeeding

Senator Nancy Binay has filed a bill seeking to promote breastfeeding by requiring couples applying for marriage license to undergo a seminar on breastfeeding and infant nutrition.

Binay, who introduced Senate Bill No. 2051, said that once the bill is enacted into law, local Civil Registry will only issue marriage licenses to couples who can present a certificate of compliance certifying that they had attended a seminar on family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition.

She said the instructions and information on breastfeeding and infant nutrition as well as the certificate of compliance will be given free of charge.

"Early and exclusive breastfeeding of infants has the greatest potential impact on child survival. According to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), breastfed children have six times greater chances of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children," Binay said.

She said breast milk provides all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed by an infant. It also carries antibodies from the mother that help fight several diseases like acute respiratory infection and diarrhea which are two major fatal illnesses among infants.

According to a new study published online by La Leche League on Maternal & Child Nutrition, breastfeeding is beneficial not only to infants but to their mothers as well.

The study looked into adult conditions such as breast cancer, pre-menopausal ovarian cancer, diabetes, heart attacks and hypertention as well as into conditions that affect children such as ear infections, ulcerative colitis, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, gastrointestinal infections, obesity, and lower respiratory tract infections.

Dr. Melissa Bartick, assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Hospitalist at Cambridge who led the study, said they found out that if 90 percent of American mothers had breastfed for one year it could avert 5,023 cases of breast cancer per year.

For hypertension, the study found that 35,392 cases and 322 deaths might be avoided and only 55 women would have to breastfeed to avert a case of hypertension. Researchers concluded that more than 3,340 premature deaths in the US annually were associated with "suboptimal" breastfeeding, in which mothers breastfed for less than recommended, but in line with current rates. Most of the deaths, they concluded, were related to maternal, in particular from heart attacks and diabetes.

Bartick pointed out that the study was not meant to put pressure to women but rather to raise awareness on women's health.

For her part, Binay said it is the parents' responsibility to provide the "highest attainable standard of health' to their child. She said once the bill is passed into law, offices of family planning in every city and municipality will be mandated to give instructions and information not only those pertaining to family planning and responsible parenthood but also to breastfeeding and infant nutrition.

She said the Departments of Health and the Social Welfare and Development and the Population Commission shall furnish each family planning office with the proper information and resources on current studies and research related to family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition.

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