All of us in the Philippines have most probably seen — and, for a great number of us, experienced — the devastation that can be brought about by heavy rains and floods. Just recently, Tropical Storm ‘Maring’ wreaked havoc on our country, and as I write this article, it’s ‘Nando’ that is bringing about heavy rains in Northern Luzon.
We experience this every year — tropical storms, typhoons and heavy monsoon rains come into the Philippines, causing heavy downpours of rain, which almost always results in floods, landslides and other disasters.
These in turn bring about emergency situations, and thousands of people are often displaced from their homes and seek shelter elsewhere, usually in evacuation centers. It is during emergencies like these that the importance of breastfeeding should be emphasized, along with the calls for donations of relief goods.
Why breastfeeding is important during emergencies
During typhoon-induced emergencies in recent years, such as those brought about by `Ondoy’, `Sendong’ and `Pablo,’ breastfeeding advocate Jenny Ong of “Chronicles of a Nursing Mom” wrote about the importance of encouraging mothers to continue breastfeeding their babies, and the need to educate the public about giving formula milk donations to relief centers.
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Here are some important points to remember from Ms. Ong’s emergency-related posts, all of which you can read by clicking here:
•It is not true that stressed or malnourished moms cannot breastfeed. What is needed is support and education of the breastfeeding mothers in evacuation centers.
•Breast milk is clean, costs nothing and is always available. If you are breastfeeding mom who can donate breast milk, choose to do so instead of donating formula milk or milk in tetra packs or cans. However, breast milk donations must be given through the proper channels and at previously designated drop-off points.
•If you see any calls for milk formula donations, please take note that these are a violation of the Milk Code. The only way to donate legally is to give it straight to the Department of Health. However, we must remember that our countrymen who are in evacuation centers do not have access to a potable water source and cleaning supplies which are essential for making sure that the formula milk prepared is safe.