An estimated 400 nursing mothers have come together in Taguig City on Thursday to donate breast milk for babies affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
Senator Pia S. Cayetano, in partnership with the Human Milk Bank of Taguig City, conducted a day-long breast milk letting event on January 23 at the Lakeshore Tent in Lower Bicutan, Taguig.
The event dubbed, “Breast Milk Ko, Alay Ko,” was made open to all volunteer breastfeeding mothers, including residents and non-residents of the city.
The donated milk will be stored and processed by the Taguig City Human Milk Bank and delivered to different evacuation centers in the province of Batangas.
“The essence of this is mothers helping other mothers,” Cayetano said during an ambush interview with media on the sidelines of the event.
The milk letting activity is in response to the appeal of the Batangas provincial government for breast milk donations for families who have been displaced by Taal’s eruption. It also follows the Department of Health (DOH) advisory encouraging breast milk donations for areas affected by the disaster.
“Nobody will dispute that breast milk is best for babies. But what do we do when, for some reason, a mother cannot provide that for her baby? There are moms who breastfeed but during a state of stress, their milk supply gets affected. That’s why we are trying to help out to those in need,” the senator explained.
“That is my challenge for all nursing mothers in Taguig and in other places, I hope they can also contribute. For those who have reached out and expressed interest to donate, we will assist. If we can collect those milk from different mothers, we will do so,” she added.
Meanwhile, the senator also pointed out that all donated breast milk collected from the event will be properly pasteurized to ensure that it is safe and clean.
“We want to be sure that the donated breast milk will be in good condition for the babies who will receive them,” Cayetano noted.
A breastfeeding advocate, the senator authored the Expanded Breastfeeding Act (RA 10028), which encourages health institutions to establish human milk banks.
Cayetano also authored the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act (RA 10821), which requires breastfeeding areas to be set up in evacuation centers to enable mothers to feed their babies in private.
“I have been a breastfeeding advocate for over 10 years now. I did my very first milk bank activity in Makati, and we’ve done it in Cebu and other places, including Taguig. I also personally breastfed my children,” the senator shared.
Furthermore, she encouraged other local government units (LGUs) in the country to initiate their own breast milk letting activities for the benefit of mothers who cannot nurse their children.
“It would also be great for other LGUs to have similar activities like this. Even if there are no calamities, breast milk letting remains a good practice,” she said.