University of the Philippines Los Baños
Thursday, 22 June 2017 14:31

UPLB advocates installing lactation stations in campus

The Institute of Human Nutrition and Food-College of Human Ecology (IHNF-CHE) and the UPLB Gender Center held the “Seminar on the establishment of on-campus lactation station” on June 15 at the CHE Multi-Purpose Hall. The seminar aimed to educate UPLB constituents on the importance of breastfeeding and providing workplace support to encourage lactating mothers to breastfeed their babies.

On Feb. 10 this year, Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. signed Memorandum No. 017 Series of 2017, encouraging all UPLB units to establish lactation stations and enhance the information dissemination campaign on the benefits of breastfeeding. This is in support of the Magna Carta of Women (Republic Act No. 9710) and The Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act (RA No. 10028).

One of the speakers during the seminar was Dr. Maria Asuncion A. Silvestre, president and founder of the non-government organization Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina.

“Breastfeeding is effective for preventing childhood illnesses, stunting, and malnourishment, and for developing the IQ of children,” Dr. Silvestre said. She emphasized that exclusive breastfeeding for the baby’s first six months prior to introducing other liquids or soft foods and continuing breastfeeding up to at least the age of two is important in reaching the child’s full potential.

She also articulated the importance of community and workplace support to breastfeeding mothers. “Breastfeeding also protects the mother from ovarian and breast cancers, so it protects families and communities from illnesses,” she explained.

On the other hand, Jellie Anne C. Palencia, a nutritionist-dietitian from the Department of Health (DOH)-CALABARZON, discussed the basic requirements for a lactation station according to the standards set by DOH. It must be a well-ventilated and sanitary space that provides privacy and comfort for mothers where they can express and store their milk.

Chancellor Sanchez, in his message delivered by Dr. Portia G. Lapitan, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, emphasized the administration’s full support to establish lactation stations in the campus.

“The University is well-aware of the difficulties that most working mothers have to confront with, especially when they have to go back to work while still breastfeeding their child,” Dr. Lapitan said. “Having these lactation stations in UPLB will definitely help our colleagues to better attend to their child’s needs while also pursuing their respective professional goals in the workplace.”

Most of the attendees during the seminar were working mothers in the University. Also present were Dr. Normahitta P. Gordoncillo, director of IHNF, and Dr. Bella C. Cruzana, director of the UPLB Gender Center, who delivered the welcome and closing remarks, respectively. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)