Breastfeeding mothers need not worry anymore about ‘sharing a meal’ with their babies when in a public place. The Breastfeeding Clinic, a non-government organization which advocates breastfeeding and empowering women, recently partnered with the Mexicali chain of restaurants to advance this cause.
Managed by Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, a dermatologist by profession, and Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, an advocate of healthy living, The Breastfeeding Clinic aims to create havens that would welcome breastfeeding mothers. “Through this partnership, we hope to fulfill our mission of social entrepreneurship, and give women the support they need to stand up for their rights,” says Dr. Esguerra.
Claudia Mabanta, owner of Mexicali, says, “I support this beautiful cause. I want mothers to understand that breastfeeding is not something to be ashamed of. It is a beautiful and natural act, and a privilege.” As a breastfeeding-friendly restaurant, mothers can be assured that they won’t be asked to leave or “hide” to breastfeed their infants, and that their rights will be protected in all of Mexicali’s 14 branches nationwide.
It is also no coincidence that Mexicali has a vegetarian-friendly menu, because this is aligned with the recommendations of the World Health Orgnaization’s Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health for mothers to consume at least 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day to avoid common lifestyle diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Asked if they will have a special breastfeeding station in the restaurant, Mabanta says, “We don’t want to alienate the mother by asking her to move to a corner of the restaurant to breastfeed. In Mexicali, the whole restaurant is your place, you can breastfeed as you please.”
This year, Andaya said that they are also looking to challenge their own Guiness world record of simultaneous number of breastfeeding women, which was recorded at 15,128 (nationwide) in May 2006. For more information about The Breastfeeding Clinic, visit www.breastfeedingphilippines.com.
In photo: Nona D. Andaya-Castillo (leftmost), Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra (3rd from left), Claudia Mabanta (4th from left) with fellow breastfeeding moms.