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‘Tsek’ for Exclusive Breastfeeding

Mommy bloggers with ASEC Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial of the Department of Health and Dr. Anthony Calibo, Supervising Officer of Essential Newborn Care, Family Health Office (DOH) and Vicki Pastoriza and her team from Campaigns Cebu

Breastfeeding is a milestone event for every new mom and her child. Knowing that there is a life depending on you for love, affection, nutrition and survival is a badge that moms proudly wear. However, one of the most challenging moments for a new mother is being able to breastfeed successfully and exclusively. Recognizing this the Department of Health (DOH) launched  Breastfeeding TSEK: Tama, Sapat, Eksklusibo Campaign to address the needs of the breastfeeding mom and create awareness in the family, society and business sector.
The campaign aims to educate everyone about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding and the right way to go about it. TSEK stands for:

Tama – immediately and appropriately breastfeed within one hour of birth
Sapat – mother’s milk is sufficient in nutrients and quantity for the baby up to six months
Eksklusibo – exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life,not giving baby anything, not even water.

ASEC Paulyn Jean Rossel-Ubial of DOH made a call of support to parent bloggers to spread the word and help empower parents through a Bloggers Engagement at the Alejandra Hotel in Makati, last Saturday, May 14, 2011. Dr. Anthony Calibo of EINC explained the program in detail, including the harsh side effects of formula feeding that milk companies are not telling mothers.

Exclusive breastfeeding’ means that mothers feed the baby nothing else but breast milk-no water, other liquid, infant formula, or food for the first six months of life. When they said that breastmilk is still best for babies, nothing could be more true! Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients needed by babies to develop and be protected from illness.

Here in the Philippines, even though mothers are well aware of breastfeeding benefits, only one of every six infants are exclusively breastfed for first six months of life and although about 85 percent of newborns undergo breastfeeding, only half of them continued to be breastfed exclusively. 

One of the main reasons is that young mothers do not have the support that they need from day one of giving birth up to the time that they go back to work. Hospitals and birthing facilities that should be the first ones to promote this are not doing enough to help mommies and babies get a good start at breast feeding. My sister who lives in the U.S. told me that when she had her kids, the hospital gave her breastfeeding lessons, before and after giving birth. When her babies were born, they were immediately brought to her to latch on. ASEC Ubial’s sister who also gave birth in the U.S had her baby brought to her every two hours, as she was assisted to breastfeed.

Here in the Philippines, although hospitals are now promoting rooming in and they say that they are a breastfeeding hospital, you would be so lucky to get a pamphlet about breastfeeding. Some hospitals even feed newborns formula, while mommy is out at the recovery area. Tsk tsk tsk! (Yup! Happened to me and Sofie!)

For the working mom, aside from the silly fact that maternity leave is just for 2-3 months for mom and 7 days for dads, not all establishments are equipped with a breastfeeding room. If you need to express milk, the options can be narrowed down to the rest room, an empty office cubicle if you’re lucky or more often, moms just let them flow and give their babies formula at home.

The DOH Breastfeeding TSEK campaign is not just for mothers, it is for every body else who should be helping the moms out and empowering them, instead of helping the infant milk companies.It also aims to revive the Milk Code (EO 51) or the National Code of Marketing of breastmilk substitutes, breastmilk supplements and related products that was signed into law by then President Corazon Aquino.


Milk companies market their product by saying that their milk contains DHA, ARA, Taurine and other what not that’s supposed to help your child become a “gifted” child or a “batang may laban”, the fact is all of these things are present in moms breastmilk and its free. Formula milk also causes a strain in the babie’s livers and kidneys.

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