Sponsorship speech


by Senator Pia S. Cayetano (11 October 2006)

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, there is no food most natural in the world and proven safest for human babies than breastmilk, and no choice most natural and proven safest than breastfeeding. Breastmilk is the perfect, irreplaceable gift a mother can give picture-037.jpgto her baby. It is the best start a baby can have in life.

 On behalf of the Committee on Health and Demography, I present for our collective deliberation and approval, Senate Bill No. 2490 under Committee Report No. 149. The bill, originally authored by our colleague, Senator Juan Flavier, is called the “Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2006.”

The bill, among other further measures, proposes the establishment of lactation stations in workplaces and public places where nursing female employees and otherwise mobile lactating mothers can breastfeed or express their breastmilk.

The objective of SBN 2490 is plain and simple: to reestablish the culture of breastfeeding as the normal, natural and preferred method of feeding infants and young children and to provide the specific measures to enable working mothers to continue breastfeeding.

By providing nursing female employees private areas in the workplace, we, who are tasked to legislate are doing our job to institutionalize support for the practice of picture-003.jpgbreastfeeding, and to protect the right of women to breastfeed and to gainful employment. Likewise, by providing lactation stations in public places, mobile nursing mothers will be able to continue breastfeeding outside the home while attending to their other duties. In the end, we are able to secure the right of every child to a healthy life.

Mr. President, I am a breastfeeding advocate, not simply because I have read about the benefits of breastfeeding but because I breastfed all my three children, my two girls for a year each, even while I was working full time. I also breastfed my son Gabriel, who had a cleft lip and palate and could not suck for other reasons, such that I had to express my milk, bring it to the hospital where he was staying, to have it fed to him through a tube in his mouth that led to his stomach.


Working mother’s experience

Mr. President, like other working mothers, I also had to go back to work sixty days after giving birth. I was able to successfully breastfeed my two girls for a year because I was given the opportunity to express my milk at work. In the office, I expressed milk every two to three hours and stored it so I could give my milk to my baby when I got home.

Cost-benefit analysis

picture-021.jpgI know that both the private and public sectors will understandably worry about the financial costs of providing support to breastfeeding women in the workplace. But the benefits in the short and long term far outweigh the costs.

What are these benefits? Mr. President, allow me to cite some actual cases in the United States, where over one-third of the states in the last four years have enacted breastfeeding legislation, including mandating lactation stations in the workplace.

One, providing lactation stations reduces health care costs and employee absenteeism as a result of infant illness, because breastfed infants are healthier.

Two, lactation stations can increase workers’ productivity and company loyalty because they foster a positive work climate.

Three, lactation stations can improve employee retention and serves as a good recruitment tool for women of childbearing age.

Four, the lactation station program does not require tremendous logistics and is not difficult to implement.

In sum, providing lactation stations that allow mothers to choose to breastfeed is a low-cost way to get a high reward. It is an option that’s not only healthier for mother and child, but more economical too for any enterprise.

Senate Bill 2490 is a step towards the right path. By creating a supportive culture and work environment, it fosters one of the cheapest yet most valuable forms of health care available. The bill brings together working mothers and employers, the public and private sectors, to work hand in hand in order to make breastfeeding in the workplace and public places a reality.

Mr. President, Senate Bill 2490 deserves our support. Breastfeeding is best for baby, best for mom, best for our country, best for our future. Thank you.


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9 thoughts on “Sponsorship speech

  1. Breastfeeding is really the BEST thing to do . My daughter is 4 months old and I have been breastfeeding her since birth. I really appreciate the benefits of breastfeeding in terms of convenience for me and the nutrition benefit for her.

  2. Good morning ma’am, I am a company nurse of a call center in Baguio City and our company has ensured provision of optimum health among our employees and their families. Today, we have launched a company activity through HR and clinic for the advocacy of breastfeeding among our nursing employees. I would like to keep in touch for update on the status of the approval of the senate bill. Consider our company as a proponent. Thank you and more power!

  3. other countries have extended maternity leave while we only have 2 months in the philippines. why is that? i think breastfeeding will be more effective if there will be extended maternity leave. direct feeding is still better than expressed. at least for the fisrt 6 months.

  4. I am a mother of four. When my older 2 were born I tried to breastfeed. I wore an H cup bra and my nipples were so big that my children were never able to get full. I tried a pump and in a half an hour was not able to produce even and ounce of milk. I watched my children go hungry for months desperately trying to prove that I was tough enough. Giselle is not a role model she is cruel and punishing and shame on you for supporting her.

  5. im a breastfeeding mom up to this moment.. my daughter is 3years old..:) im happy that i still have ample milk for her. im a working mom too. i can see any reason for me to stop breastfeeding my daughter even if im working..:)

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