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Manila plans to set up milk bank

Manila plans to set up milk bank

By Margaux Ortiz
Last updated 01:02am (Mla time) 08/05/2006

Published on Page A18 of the August 5, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA City is studying the possibility of setting up a milk bank to collect breast milk for babies whose mothers have to work.

Cely Sangil, assistant head of the Manila Department of Social Welfare, said the local government was thinking of setting up a milk bank at the Ospital ng Maynila.

“The milk bank will function like a blood bank: lactating mothers could donate extra milk to the facility for use by women unable to provide breast milk to their own babies,” Sangil said in an interview.

“The city government is strongly supporting breastfeeding as a primary bonding activity between mother and child,” Sangil said.

Experts recommend feeding infants breast milk exclusively during the first six months of life. Breast milk can then be complemented with other food from six months until the child is about 2 years old.

Sangil said City Hall was encouraging women employees to give their babies breast milk. The employees could collect their milk and store it in the refrigerator of the city hall clinic to be picked up before they go home, Sangil said.

In a related development, Pampanga Rep. Anna York Bondoc said a bill, the Working Mothers Breastfeeding Act, would be filed in Congress within the year to give recognition to companies that support breastfeeding.

She said that under the bill, companies providing lactation rooms, where nursing women could collect their milk during breaks, would get tax incentives. “The incentives would encourage companies and institutions to support breastfeeding, which is a must for mother and baby,” Bondoc said.

Because breastfeeding was healthier for babies, absenteeism among female employees could be reduced as many childhood ailments could be prevented.

“Breast milk contains antiviral and antibacterial components that would make babies less prone to sickness,” the Pampanga representative said.

She added that another bill, the Family Support for Breastfeeding Act, would require couples to undergo breastfeeding counseling seminars before getting married.


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