BREASTFEEDING IN THE WORKPLACEHow breastfeeding in the workplace is not just good for the mother and the baby, but for our society as a whole.

The idea of breastfeeding in the workplace may seem very complicated and intimidating but with the proper knowledge and support from the family and society, in general, can be easily achieved.  Mothers can both provide for their family and take care of their babies at the same time without compromising the other.

The economics and health benefits of breastfeeding has long been established and supported by numerous studies and research. It is a well-known fact that breastmilk is not only nutritious and provides energy for the baby but also contains cells, hormones, and antibodies that help protect babies from illnesses. Aside from these benefits that the baby receives from breastmilk, the breastfeeding mother also helps a mother’s health in a way that it prevents diseases like type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancers.

Breastfeeding also provides positive emotional effects to both the mother and child as it encourages bonding between the mother and child.

And it isn’t just the mother and child that can benefit from breastfeeding. Society as a whole benefits when mothers breastfeed their children. Not only does it save lives, but exclusively breastfed infants are also less likely to acquire and die from SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome. Breastfeeding is also an effective way of saving money. Breastfed infants are less likely to get sick, thus fewer, and lower medical costs to cover sick care visits, hospitalization, and prescriptions. Breastfeeding helps the workforce to be more productive as breastfeeding mothers are less likely to miss work due to caring for their sick infants as compared those who feed their infants formula. Lastly, breastfeeding is better for the environment because of the less demand for formula cans and bottles that will likely end up as trash and plastic waste.

Exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life is recommended until the second year of the child, together with complementary feeding.

It is important that mothers are given the proper support to be able to breastfeed their infants without any problems and this is where the family members, the workplaces, the government, and society as whole needs to step up. The support of family members is important in helping the mother build her confidence in breastfeeding. When a family is supportive to the breastfeeding mother and are knowledgeable in breastfeeding, they can provide not only physical help to the mother, but emotional help as well. Family members may learn how to handle breastmilk and cup feed which can be of help to the mother especially when the mother needs to go back to work.

Transitioning back to the workplace is a challenge for the breastfeeding mother, her baby, and the family or caretaker at home. Working mothers may be able to go back to work without having to worry about their child’s feeding if the family members or the baby’s caregiver learn how to handle breastmilk properly and feed the child.

Breastfeeding is immensely under-appreciated especially for working women, thus goes unsupported and uncompensated which leads to premature weaning or mothers not breastfeeding at all. Mothers who chose to invest in breastfeeding often lose income opportunities or even worse, work, thus there is also a massive need for the support of businesses, employers, labor groups and advocates, and the government in promoting breastfeeding and providing workplaces that are breastfeeding friendly. By the establishment of lactation stations and breastfeeding-friendly workplaces, optimal infant feeding practices are promoted.

Copy of Nutri Tip of the Week 10K 2.11
Cognizant of the power and reach of the radio as a key channel to inform, advocate, and influence positively the perception of the general public, the NNC-Region III continuously collaborates with DOH Central Luzon Center for Health Development for the airing of 2020-2021 Nutrition School-on-the-Air (NSOA) with the aim of improving the nutrition situation of mother and his/her child during the First 1000 (F1K) days. A NSOA-F1KDays and Beyond radio magazine will be aired by October 2021.

Early January 2021, one of the topics in 10 NSOA episodes aired in DWRW-FM 95 is the importance of breastfeeding in improving and sustaining the breastfeeding practices among lactating mothers. It was articulately discussed by Ms. Ching Pangilinan, the President of Breastfeeding Pinays (BP) in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, who certainly believes that breastmilk is a liquid gold. We must not forget: Breasfeeding “TSEk”: Tama, Sapat at Eksklusibo, which can also be re-written as “Breasfeeding: Tama, Sapat at Eksklusibo mula sa “Gintong Likido”!

Inspired by how Ms. Ching Pangilinan narrated the learning experiences of the BP association, I was also prompted to share the flight of an equally experienced mother, who requested not to mention her real name but just unlock her wonderful experience how she battled the challenges as a working breastfeeding mom. I asked her why she continues breastfeeding while working and going through the troubles of breastfeeding, she just simply answered: “I wanted to give my baby a heads-up and a head-start in life, through the best, safest, most nutritious milk there is”.

Image by CNO MabalacatAs an expression of support to the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) 2017-2022, the City Nutrition Office (CNO) of Mabalacat City held an Orientation on the PPAN 2017-2022 during the City Nutrition Committee (CNC) meeting on 22 July 2021 at the Sidegrill Restaurant, Barangay Mabiga, Mabalacat City.

The activity was graced by Dr. Victor D. Tiglao II, Chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Health. He congratulated the CNO for the continuous implementation of nutrition programs and projects in the Mabalacat City Government despite the COVID 19 pandemic. Dr. Tiglao gave his assurance that he will incessantly support the CNO in implementing the nutrition and nutrition-related programs.

The activity was attended by the members of the CNC, namely: City Health Office, City Environment and Natural Resources, City Planning and Development Office, City Social Welfare and Development Office, Department of Education, Department of the Interior and Local Government Unit, Public Employment Service Office, and the new members of the CNC such as the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, City Information Office, and Early Childhood Care and Development Office.

Ms. Joronny Gladys A. Lingat, City Nutrition Action Officer presented the ordinance on the reorganization of the City Nutrition Committee, along with the duties and responsibilities of its members (

Ms. Rovi Mae Fernandez and Ms. Hannah Camille Pasamonte presented the City Nutrition Office accomplishments and the nutrition situation in Mabalacat City, respectively. Results of the OPT Plus in 2018 to 2020 showed a decreasing trend of malnutrition in the city. 

Prior to the presentation on the PPAN, Ms. Rose Anne M. Cuyco, Nutrition Officer II of the National Nutrition Council-Region III, shared a brief background about the National Nutrition Council (NNC), its mandate, mission and vision, composition of the NNC Governing Board and major programs, among others.

The PPAN 2017-2022 consisted of eight (8) nutrition-specific programs, and 11 nutrition-sensitive programs, and three (3) enabling programs. The nutrition-specific programs which are DOH-led programs are the 1) Infant and young child feeding; 2) Integrated Management of Acute Malnutriton; 3) National Dietary Supplementation Program; 4) National Nutrition Promotion Program for Behavior Change; 5) Micronutrient Supplementation; 6) Mandatory Food Fortification; 7) Nutrition in Emergencies; and 8) Overweight and Obesity Management and Prevention Program. Complementing these nutrition-specific interventions are nutrition-sensitive programs. These are development programs and projects that will be tweaked to produce nutritional outcomes. Tweaking can be done by targeting households with undernourished children or nutritionally-vulnerable groups, or targeting areas with high levels of malnutrition, or being a channel for delivering nutrition-specific interventions. (PPAN Medium-Term Review, 2019)

10K on Wheels sa Malolos
Noong ika-9 ng Agosto 2021, matagumpay na nailunsad ng National Nutrition Council-Region III (NNC-Region III) kaisa ang City Nutrition Office ng siyudad ng Malolos at ng Kagawaran ng Kalusugan ng Rehiyon ng Central Luzon o Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health Development) ang 10 Kumainments-On-Wheels kaakibat pa ng ibang aktibidad tulad ng: Salt Testing, pagbisita sa vegetable garden ng lungsod at lactation station sa gusaling pang-lungsod.

Bago naganap ang pamamahagi ng 10 Kumainments stickers at banners sa mga kalahok na tricycle drivers ng siyudad ng Malolos ay nagkaroon muna ng maikling programa kung saan tinalakay ang mga paksang naka-hanay hindi lamang sa 10 Kumainments, kundi kaakibat rin ng pagdiriwang ng Breastfeeding Month sa buwan ng Agosto.

Unang ipinaliwanag ni Bb. Margarita Santos-Natividad Nutritionist-Dietitian IV ng DOH CL-CHD, ang kahalagahan ng breastfeeding sa kalusugan, hindi lamang ng sanggol kundi pati na rin sa ina. Inisa-isa din nya ang iba-ibang magandang dulot ng breastfeeding at inanyayahan ang mga taka-pakinig na ibahagi sa kanilang mga pamilya ang magagandang dulot ng breastfeeding. Dagdag pa niya, ang breastfeeding ay natural at ‘di hamak na mas murang alternatibo kesa sa nabibiling formula milk sa merkado. Binanggit din nya ang kahalagahan ng pagkakaroon ng lactation stations sa mga pampublikong lugar o mga lugar na madalas puntahan ng mga tao kagaya ng malls, at mga opisina. Sunod namang ipinaliwanag ni Bb. Antonette Garcia ng NNC-Region III ang 10 Kumainments na itinuturing na gabay na pang-nutrisyon ng Pilipino o Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos, ang pinagmulan at kasaysayan nito, at mga paraan kung paano ito maisasabuhay o masusunod sa pang-araw araw na pamumuhay ng mga Pilipino. Si Bb. Angelita Pasos, Nutrition Officer III ng NNC-Region III naman ay sunod na ipinaliwanag ang kahalagahan ng paggamit ng iodized salt sa pang-araw-araw na pagkain na una nang nabanggit ni Bb. Garcia sa kanyang diskusyon. Kahanay ito sa kampanya ng NNC-Region III, Kagawaran ng Kalusugan, at ng Food and Drugs Administration o FDA ang paggamit ng iodized salt pang-araw-araw para labanan ang iba’t-ibang Iodine Deficiency Disorders na laganap sa ating bansa. Kaakibat ng pagtalakay ni Bb. Pasos sa paksang ito, sinabayan rin ito ng pag-susuri ng level ng iodine o salt testing ng mga dalang asin ng mga kalahok na drivers, mga empleyado ng City Hall at Nutrition Office. Sa tatlong klase ng asin na sinuri, ang isa ay mababa ang lebel ng iodine at hindi pumasa sa pamantayan o standards na nakalaan, ang sumunod ay hindi rin nakapasa sa pamantayan, at tanging isa lamang ang may iodine levels na nakaabot sa itinakdang lebel na kinakailangan. Ayon sa naitalagang alituntunin, kinakailangan na mayroong 30-70 ppm (parts per million) na iodine ang asin na ginagamit sa pang-araw araw upang maabot ang inerekomendang iodine levels na nakasaad sa Philippine Dietary Reference Intakes (PDRI).

Nutrition Action Officers and Coordinators Draft2 1
“A good start promises a good ending”.  This is the conviction behind the conduct of the online workshops on Integrating Nutrition in the Annual Investment Programs (AIPs) of the local government units, particularly in Central Luzon. For CY 2021, the NNC-Region III conducted three (3) batches of online workshop for the provinces of Nueva Ecija on 1-2 June 2021, Aurora on 9-11 June 2021 and Tarlac on 29-30 June 2021. Participants composed of the City/Municipal Nutrition Action Officers, City/Municipal Budget Officers, City/Municipal Planning and Development Coordinators, City/Municipal Health Officers and City/Municipal Local Government Operations Officers from Palayan City and 11 municipalities of Nueva Ecija, 15 municipalities of Tarlac and 4 municipalities of Aurora attended the workshop.  Four (4) municipalities were able to present their 2022 AIPs: Bongabon, Nueva Ecija; Pura, Tarlac; and Dipaculao and Baler, Aurora. 

The major objective of the workshop is for the LGUs to prepare their 2022 AIP between July to September to be able to present in time for the budget hearing in October 2021.

The Provincial/City Nutrition Action Officers (P/CNAOs) and District/City Nutrition Program Coordinators (D/CNPCs) of Central Luzon are considered the backbone of the workshop as manifested by their cooperation and support in conducting the activity via virtual platform.  The banner above illustrates the interaction among the regional network as planners and implementors of the regional and local nutrition program. “One nutrition, One Central Luzon” remains to be the region’s battle cry in the prevention of stunting, wasting, undernutrition and overnutrition among preschool and school children, chronic energy-deficiency among pregnant and lactating women. Families of these at-risk groups are considered as the very important persons (VIPs) targeted in this AIP workshops.  To date, a total of 47 LGUs out of the 137 LGUs in the region had formulated their 2021-2022 Annual Investment Programs, not undermining the local nutrition action plans which are also integral part of the AIP costing workbook.

Central Luzon RNTWG Take it on ME“Take on ME” in Region III means switching on to Monitoring and Evaluation (ME) of the local level nutrition program implementation. Yes, the National Nutrition Council-Region III, in coordination with the Regional Nutrition Technical Working Group (RNTWG) as the Regional Nutrition Monitoring and Evaluation Team (RNMET) launches this year’s Monitoring and Evaluation of Local Level Plan Implementation (MELLPI) Pro for Local Government Units (LGUs) at the Provincial, Municipal and City levels and Local Nutrition Focal Persons (LNFPs) - the Nutrition Action Officers, District/City Nutrition Program Coordinators and the barangay volunteer nutrition workers – the Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs).  

Two online orientations on the MELLPI LGU Implementing Guidelines for 2021: Part 1 on Evaluating LGUs on 17 May 2021 and Part 2 on Evaluating the LNFPs on 17 June 2021 were held for the members of Central Luzon regional network to have deeper appreciation of the MELLPI Pro.

In 2018, the NNC-Region III started the training of LGU implementers on the use of MELLPI Pro electronic tools in the 7 provinces, 14 cities and 116 municipalities in Central Luzon. The two-prong objectives of the MELLPI Pro are: 1) to assess the nutrition program performance of the LGUs and the LNFPs, and 2) recognize those with exemplary performance in the delivery of direct nutrition and nutrition-sensitive services.

The training served as the turning point in nutrition program management among the nutrition committee members because apart from being local implementers, they too will serve as an independent body called MET or Monitoring and Evaluation Team at the municipal, city and provincial levels.

The tasks of the Municipal MET, City MET and Provincial MET along MELLPI Pro began in 2018 as the Regional Nutrition Monitoring and Evaluation Team (RNMET) no longer evaluate all the 137 LGUs but only the 7 provinces and 2 highly urbanized cities in Central Luzon.  Worth noting also was the varied reaction and acceptance of the 12 component cities as the new guidelines indicated that their nutrition program will be monitored and evaluated by the respective Provincial Nutrition Committees.