Thursday, April 3, 2008

Please Honor the Milk Code!

It was in the OB Ward when I was on duty that I first heard of the "Milk Code". Executive Order No. 51 (Philippine Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes) or more commonly known as the "Milk Code" protects babies from dying by
barring milk companies (like Nestle) from promoting their product as a substitute for breastfeeding which of course is morally wrong!

The milk code clearly states that breast milk should exclusively be given to babies younger that the age of one and that milk substitutes is a big no-no! Why? Because failure to breastfeed leads to the deaths of 16,000 children in the Philippines each year and 1.5 million infants die around the world every year (from The Manila Times and Baby Milk Action).

So why is breastfeeding so important that taking it away may lead to the numerous deaths of infants around the world? Here are the reasons:
  1. The babies immune system is still inactive and they only get their protection from a great number of childhood diseases EXCLUSIVELY from breast milk, specifically from the colostrum. Antibodies are passively given from the mother to the baby. Without these antibodies babies could die!
  2. Breast milk is the ONLY COMPLETE source of nutrition. Artificial food supplements that Nestle and other milk companies could never be a substitute no matter how many minerals and vitamins they add to their formulas.
  3. Formula milk is NOT STERILE! It’s been proven that some infant formulas contain enterobacter sakazakii, a highly lethal pathogenic microorganism. Milk formula labels don’t have warnings on these (from UNICEF).
  4. ONLY breast milk contain necessary growth factors that help babies develop physically, mentally, and emotionally!
  5. Bottle feeding will confuse the baby and will prefer to be bottle fed than breast fed making it very difficult to return to breast feeding.
Aside from protecting the baby from dying from diarrhoeal diseases, breast feeding has countless benefits not only for the baby, but for the mother, and society as well. You don't only strengthen family ties with breast feeding, you also help the government save a lot of money! Don't believe me then visit for the list of some of the numerous benefits of breast feeding!

So why is Nestle an INFANT MURDERER? It's because their
infant formula advertisements present artificial feeding as healthy and comparable to breastmilk therefore discourages mothers to breastfeed. Health claims such as “contains all the nutrition babies need for all-around visual, mental and psychomotor development” or “helps your baby fight against harmful free radicals of the environment” manipulate mothers. “Formula milk does not provide babies immunity from infection. It provides inadequate level of nutrition making babies susceptible to infection, malnutrition and death” stresses Sterken, a key player in the 20 country two-decade international boycott against Nestle & breast feeding advocate (from UNICEF). And with all said, Nestle even has the audacity to counter and challenge not only the Milk Code of the Philippines but of the codes of the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF)!

Help protect our babies from greedy unethical companies like Nestle! Join the boycott and spread the word that breast milk has no substitute! For student nurses and nurses, or any medical professionals working in the hospital especially in the Philippines, always confiscate milk bottles from mothers! We are the empowered deputes who will enforce the Milk Code. If the mother says that she is only using the bottle but the milk is breast milk and not formula, inform her to use droppers or tablespoons instead because again, using baby bottles for infants below age confuses them and makes breast feeding difficult.

Breast Feeding Resources:

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